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Why fully automatic transmissions are the fast track to luxury for coach operators

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A luxury coach is one that travels smoothly and quietly. Where the journey is free of jolts from gear changes and the acceleration is swift but effortless. Where the driver arrives as relaxed and comfortable as the passengers, having been able to effortlessly manoeuvre the vehicle with both hands on the wheel. As a result, everyone on board feels safe and calm.

Specifying a fully automatic transmission guarantees all of the above, whether taking 57 holiday-makers on a cross-continent tour or 30-plus children to and from school every day. We look at two examples, one big and one small, of coaches that would not do without their Allison transmissions.

Van Hool

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alt=”” src=”file:///C:UsersHMARRI~1AppDataLocalTempOICE_0D011EB7-56B9-4C98-997C-13590761CED0.0msohtmlclip11clip_image002.jpg” />Van Hool and Allison have cooperated in the European coach market since 2015, with Allison fully automatic transmissions specified on the TX and some EX range coaches. Richmonds Coaches (pictured) was the first UK coach operator to take delivery of Allison-equipped vehicles and has since ordered more, joining a growing number of fleets in continental Europe.

Underneath Richmonds Coaches’ TX16 Astrons is a 510-horsepower DAF MX13 engine, fitted with an Allison Torqmatic® model T 525 with retarder. The coaches cover an average of 37,280 miles annually.

“When it comes to transmissions, our preferred solution is a push-button automatic, and Allison, of course, has the answer,” says company owner, Andrew Richmond. “Allison gearboxes deliver a smooth ride for passengers and are easy for drivers to use.”

Improved fuel economy is another benefit from the Van Hool / Allison partnership as expressed by Cosimo Sposato of IAS Touring, a southern Italian coach operator. “Fuel consumption has been reduced thanks to Allison’s automatic transmission. In our experience, for a bus like this, it is excellent. Considering that this Altano travels an average of 7,000 km a week, it means big savings for our company.”

Otokar Navigo T

At the other end of the scale, the 37-seat Otokar Navigo T is becoming an increasingly popular choice of midicoach, where Allison transmissions are specified. UK fleets are enjoying their experience of the 8.4 metre-long coach with Allison T 2100 fully automatic gearbox.

One convert is Ridleys Coaches of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, which has the contract to run Warwick Independent Schools’ transport service. It acquired its Navigo T in 2017, which is driven by Graziella L’Evanen (pictured), who was very grateful for the comfort of a fully automatic transmission.

Said office manager Luke Lewis: “Anything we buy brand new now has to be automatic as we just find that it gives our passengers a comfier ride and is also beneficial for our drivers. We have had a lot of feedback from our drivers and passengers about the comfort and styling of the vehicle as it is just amazing! The seating capacity/size of the Otokar is very beneficial for us as we use this coach to ‘mop up’ the children of the Warwick Schools in the hard to reach areas!”

Gary Scougall, managing director of Eve Coaches of Dunbar commented positively on the fuel economy of the Allison-equipped Navigo T in a previous Route One article: “Its fuel returns are proving to be good, too; on rural duties with little motorway driving it is turning in 16 mpg, and experience suggests that 18 mpg is possible on longer journeys.”

For more information on how Allison transmissions can make the difference to your coach fleet, and for details of Allison’s latest fuel saving FuelSense ® 2.0 technology, please contact Jumel Choudhury Allison’s dedicated UK market development manager for bus and coach.