|Alexander Dennis' new Enviro400H City (Steve Hodgson)|
Many thanks must go to Steve Hodgson for providing the following excellent photographs from Coach and Bus Live 2015, a two-yearly trade show taking place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Below are some of the highlights from the show.
Potentially the star of this year's show was the somewhat surprisingly announced Alexander Dennis Enivro400H City. which was officially launched on September 30th - the first day of the show. Nineteen of the type have already been ordered ready to enter service with Arriva London on service 78 later in the year. The new type is designed specifically with London in mind, and has already been compared to the revolutionary "New Bus for London". The lower dash area bears resemblance to the family look established with the launch of the "MMC" (Major Model Change) range of vehicles launched last year. With two doors, a glazed staircase and the capability of carrying ninety passengers, the new Enviro400H City is a definite contender of similar products from key competitor Wrightbus. Alexander Dennis CEO Colin Robinson told Route One how Transport for London were keen to establish a common passenger feel between this new model and the Borismaster.
|The unusual new convertible EVM Cabrio (Steve Hodgson)|
Launched at Coach and Bus Live was the new Cabrio model from minibus and minicoach manufacturer EVM, based upon the popular Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis. The new type resembles a partnership with the latter and convertible minicoach builder Caleche. The new Cabrio is based on the Panoramique model, not available in the UK, from Caleche. Seating 19, the Cabrio can be driven in both open top and closed top form, with an electronic sliding window system contoled by a cab button allowing the all glass sides and roof to roll backwards. The Caleche website claims that the associated Panoramique allows passengers to "engage in sceneries which Minibus passengers have never experienced before. Instead of uncomfortably moving into a position where you can just get a small glimpse of the surroundings, you are now free to comfortably look at everything the outside world has to offer. " EVM have claimed to be aiming this new type at the British, Irish and Australian market where the manafacturer have sighted potential for open top minibuses.
|Optare Metrodecker for Yorkshire Tiger (Steve Hodgson)|
Appearing for the first time in an operator's livery was the Optare Metrodecker, acclaimed to be the lightest double decker of its class with a gross vehicle weight of just 1800 kilograms - the competing Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMC weighs in at 20500 kilograms. Powered by a Euro 6 Mercedes Benz Engine, the fully integral Metrodecker is available in both left and right and drive variations, with Transport for London specification available. The example exhibited at the National Exhibition Centre for Coach and Bus Live carried the Yorkshire Tiger livery, an Arriva subsidiary with a network spanning across West Yorkshire, where the bus is to be loaned to for a long term trial. Launched in May 2014 at the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, the Metrodecker has not taken off as well as Optare expected with no solid orders placed before Coach and Bus Live. It will be interesting to see if the Metrodecker is another industry failure, like the previously launched Rapta and integral Olympus, both of which never took any orders.
After going into administration in the summer of 2014, Bluebird Vehicles of Scarborough sold the deeds to their popular range of low floor minibuses to Mellor Coachcraft. The latter were also present at Coach and Bus Live. On show was the Orion model, taken on from Bluebird. Based upon an adapted Fiat Ducato van chassis, the Orion has been favoured by local authorities and operator's running services through ornate villages which do require a large capacity. Two variants of the Orion are currently available, these being the Orion Lite and Orion Stage Carraige. The Stage Carraige variant is capable of seating twenty passengers, and accommodating two standing passengers on a full length flat floor. Meanwhile, the Orion Lite can seat sixteen, with seats fitted on removable seat rollers to house up to four wheelchairs. Both variants are very much small buses, with a full height interior, wheelchair ramp, destination equipment, emergency exit doors and push bells. In contrast, however, the driver's cab area bares much resemblance to a standard Fiat Ducato van.
|Mellor Coachcraft's popular Orion model (Steve Hodgson)|