One of Thurrock's new wheelchair minibuses

Thurrock buys five new wheelchair Mercedes minibuses

Published:  18 November, 2015

Five new wheelchair-accessible minibuses have been bought by Thurrock Council for its adult care services team.

They chose the 5.0-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 513 BlueTEC with low-emission Euro VI engine technology and seven-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, based on comfort, driveability, robust build and green credentials.

The vehicles were supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Retail Group Fleet Sales team and adapted by specialist bodybuilder and converter Treka Bus, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

The vehicles run five-days-a-week, transferring clients between their homes and day centres, with attendants on board to assist. Two of the new vehicles are based on Long chassis cabs with coachbuilt T16 minibus bodies and the other three on Extra-long panel vans.

Each can carry up to 16 passengers on conventional seating or a maximum of six in wheelchairs. Phoenix Blenheim M2 removable seats are fitted to in-floor tracking using NMI seat fixings for maximum layout flexibility. They are also fitted with rear-mounted PLS Access Lite passenger lifts and Eberspächer Kiev climate control systems.

The converted panel vans additionally have PLS Aqua side-steps, while the coachbuilt vehicles have been specified with Treka Bus Voiceover Information Systems, which provide operational information and warning messages in multiple languages as required.

Thurrock Council's fleet and logistics manager Matt Trott said: ‘We wanted a durable, low-pollution and future-proof vehicle and the latest Euro VI-engined Sprinter fitted the bill perfectly.

‘These vehicles normally operate in heavy traffic so the smooth automatic transmission also provides greater comfort for passengers, as well as relieving stress for our drivers.'

Thurrock Council expects to run its new vehicles for seven years, during which time they will be maintained in-house.

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