Lothian are to introduce eight new wheelchair accessible coaches as a significant upgrade to the Lothian Country fleet to be deployed on growing express routes into the capital city.
Part of a multi-million pound order, the new interurban Plaxton Leopard based on the 12.8m model of the versatile coach, is fitted with 49 comfortable seats with three-point seat belts.
Double doors in the centre of the vehicle with an integrated full wheelchair lift are designed to allow a large numbers of customers to alight quickly at their destination and
Wheelchair users travel in a designated wheelchair bay in the main saloon opposite the centre doors, secured in a forward facing position using a simple wheelchair and passenger restraint system.
Built on the Volvo B8R 4×2 by Alexander Dennis, the new coaches boast a clean Euro 6 engine and a host of safety features, such as an Advanced Emergency Braking System and Lane Departure Warning.
Richard Hall, Managing Director of Lothian, says: “Public Transport is changing rapidly and as operators we need to adapt to our customers’ demands and expectations. Creating modal shift from the car ensures we will reduce congestion and environmental impacts across our society.
“To give commuters a credible alternative coupled with high levels of customer service means that our investment in these new 49-seat coaches with improved accessibility features has been designed with the customer’s comfort and convenience in mind. We look forward to seeing these vehicles on service across our networks soon.”
Colin Robertson, Alexander Dennis Chief Executive, says: “We are delighted to once again work in partnership with Lothian to develop another new and exciting product. The new Plaxton Leopard interurban coach has been tailored to meet Lothian’s exacting specification and the demands of a busy interurban operation.”
The first of the new coaches will be handed over to Lothian this week and will be unveiled at the UK Coach Rally in Blackpool on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of April.
Last month we revealed that First West Lothian had indicated the infamous ‘Bus Wars’ are to return the capital in response to Lothian’s attempt to further drive them out the region.