The trend towards high capacity, exceptionally well finished double deck buses appears to be gathering further momentum with operators in Kent and Southampton introducing Enviro400MMC models from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in recent weeks.
Paul Ham, Managing Director of the family-run business Hams Travel, based in Flimwell, near Tunbridge Wells, has added an 11.5m 85-seat Enviro400 MMC to his fleet of 50 vehicles, while Derek Wheeler, MD at Wheelers Travel, has complemented his line-up of 85 buses and coaches with a 10.5m 74-seat Enviro400City.
Both vehicles are finished to a high specification with LED interior lighting, sophisticated CCTV, DVD, PA and radio systems, state-of-the-art low emission packages, QRG (quick release glass), under seat lighting and seatbelts. The Wheelers Travel vehicle also has USB ports, while the Hams Travel double deck has wood effect flooring.
Derek Wheeler commented: “I think the steady move towards more premium vehicles, whether for service routes, private hire, contract work, day trips or special events, is now inevitable. People are used to cars with higher quality interiors and they expect the same when they go on buses and coaches.
“I am delighted with our new Enviro400City. It has a real street presence and endorses the image we are keen to project as a company. It will be a big bonus for large group hires, school outings and special events such as weddings.”
Paul Ham said: “I couldn’t agree more with Derek. Today’s business world is all about customer care and ensuring that we enhance the passenger experience. These high quality double decks project the right image, offer seating capacity that is hard to surpass – even with a coach – and, performance-wise, the Enviro400 has an incomparable track record.”
Richard Matthews, ADL’s Sales Director Retail Bus, commented: “When it comes to matching capacity and comfort the Enviro400 is in a class of its own. These latest deliveries follow others involving Go Goodwins, Swans, Westway and Skills, plus Tappins and Newbury & District, both of whom introduced six hi-spec Enviro400s to their private hire fleets.”
He added: “There is growing evidence of a trend towards buses that combine the option of 80-plus seats with a touch of luxury. In short, they raise the bar, whether for school transport, private hire or special events. It is also clear that they are helping operators win business.
“The options that can make a difference are many-fold too, so operators can tailor-make their requirements, ranging from high back leather seats, wood effect flooring, tinted windows, customised paint schemes and vinyls to modern CCTV and communications systems, low bridge warning detection, digital tachographs and satellite navigation, as well as low carbon certification.”