PRODUCTION at a Scarborough coach manufacturer is stepping up a gear after the firm secured an order from a national transport group.
Plaxton has won a contract to supply its new model to Stagecoach for use on its megabus.com network across the country.
Engineers in Scarborough have been working on developing the new Interdeck Elite, following a £1 million investment from Plaxton’s parent company Alexander Dennis.
The new model will be the first through-deck coach to be built in Britain, and was designed in a bid to offer easier wheelchair access while maximising capacity.
Stagecoach is the first customer after ordering 11 vehicles from Plaxton to be built on Volvo chassis for delivery in late 2012, early 2013.
Kevin Wood, sales and marketing director at Plaxton, said: “This is an exciting addition to our market-leading range.
“We initially launched the Elite as a high-specification, tri-axle 14 metre coach in 2008, but always intended that it would develop into a range of top-quality models.
“First was the 12.6 metre two-axle model followed by the maximum length 15 metre in 2009, and now comes the Interdeck Elite, which will be available both as an express coach and as a touring model.”
Mr Wood said two features on the model stand out. Firstly he says there is no need to fit a wheelchair lift, while the coach still has the ability to offer up to 72 seats in a range of seating layouts.
Mr Wood added: “As well as building coaches for megabus.com we will be in a position to take orders for delivery to other customers in time for the 2013 season.”
The new coach will be based on Plaxton’s proven stainless steel technology, used in its Panther and Elite productions. However it will also introduce a new structure to accommodate the 3.9 metre high vehicle, which offers the potential for additional models in the future.
The Interdeck Elite order has been placed as part of Stagecoach’s £600 million investment in almost 400 ‘greener’ vehicles for its fleet. Stagecoach carries around 2.5 million passengers on its 8.000 buses every day on major bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, and Sheffield.