New 49-seat interurban Plaxton Leopard coaches support further Lothian growth
Report and pictures courtesy of Alexander Dennis
As part of a multi-million pound order with Alexander Dennis, eight new Plaxton Leopard coaches will soon provide a significant upgrade to one of Lothian’s operating subsidiaries. They will be deployed on growing express routes operated by Lothiancountry into Scotland’s capital city and are built to a new interurban specification with 49 seats that was developed in close collaboration between the operator and manufacturer. They will be unveiled at the UK Coach Rally in Blackpool on 6th and 7th April 2019.
Lothiancountry began operations in August 2018, introducing vital connections between Edinburgh and West Lothian. Since launch the company has seen significant market stimulation and customer growth across its network of services.
The new interurban Plaxton Leopard is based on the 12.8m model of the versatile coach. It has 49 comfortable seats with three-point seatbelts. A double door in the centre of the vehicle allows large numbers of customers to alight quickly at their destination reducing dwell times at stops and integrates a full wheelchair lift. Wheelchair users travel in a comfortable designated wheelchair bay in the main saloon opposite the centre doors and are secured in a forward facing position using a simple wheelchair and passenger restraint system. A full set of destination displays ensures that the interurban Plaxton Leopard is fully compliant with PSV Accessibility Regulations.
The Volvo B8R 4x2 chassis provides a proven and reliable underframe for the interurban Plaxton Leopard. Its clean Euro 6 engine is matched to a ZF EcoLife automatic transmission. A suite of safety features such as an Advanced Emergency Braking System and Lane Departure Warning complete the specification.
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.”
Philip Owen, Bus Sales Director at Volvo Bus UK, comments: “Volvo Bus are very pleased to have supplied the B8R coach chassis to Lothian for the new Leopard interurban coach which represents another forward thinking and innovative design approach from Lothian that is totally focused on meeting its customers’ needs and exceeding expectations.”
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.”
Mark Ballam, Coach Commercial Manager at Alexander Dennis Limited, says: “Interurban services are a growth market across the country when provided with the right vehicles for this type of operation. In addition to Alexander Dennis’s wide range of specification options for our Enviro buses, the Plaxton range offers purpose-designed models including the new 49-seat Leopard interurban coach.”
The first of the new coaches will be handed over to Lothian this week and will attend the UK Coach Rally in Blackpool on 6th and 7th of April, where they will be shown to the public.