Anthony’s Travel has expanded its burgeoning PSVAR-compliant fleet with the delivery of a Yutong TC9. It was supplied by Pelican Bus and Coach.

The TC9 is the fifth PSVAR-certified coach with the operator. Those vehicles run alongside an accessible minicoach and a PSVAR-compliant bus.

The Yutong has an additional door ahead of the rear axle and a lift is mounted within the luggage locker as part of a specification developed by Pelican earlier in 2020. It can carry 34 seated passenger or a maximum of six wheelchair users. Most work to achieve PSVAR compliance was carried out by Yutong in its factory in Zhengzhou, but the Hidral lift and some other items were added after arrival in the UK.

Four 49-seat accessible coaches already in Anthony’s fleet received front, side and rear destination screens in February to achieve PSVAR compliance. The certification process for those vehicles was completed recently. Anthony’s has chosen white LED displays across its PSVAR-compliant coaches rather than the more common orange screens to give a discreet appearance.

Managing Partner Richard Bamber says the PSVAR-compliant TC9 has been purchased with the future in mind post-coronavirus COVID-19. It forms part of the Cheshire operator’s long-term investment plan.

“We are delighted to have taken delivery of this beautiful accessible coach. When we ordered it, the world was a much calmer place, and we could not have envisioned the time ahead. It is a tough time for everyone in the coach industry and, like everyone else, we have had to adapt and watch out outgoings.

“As a company we have strong foundations that will see us through the pandemic. With coronavirus COVID-19, coach operators’ days are spent firefighting, with an ever-changing landscape of regional and national restrictions and false starts. But there will be a future post-pandemic and we must not lose sight of it.

“There will certainly be an appetite to travel. We wanted to continue with our long-term investment plans, so cancelling the TC9 was never an option.”

Mr Bamber adds that as a pair of family businesses, Anthony’s Travel and Pelican worked together to get the coach into service under challenging conditions for the industry. The PSVAR-compliant Yutong TC9 has made a good first impression, “and most importantly, passengers like it.”

In addition to a standard PSVAR-compliant variant of the TC9, Pelican also offers the TC9M. It is customised to mobility requirements and can carry up to eight wheelchair users.