Our first fleet of front entry New Generation Mercedes Sprinters for SHB hire on behalf of our local county council, Essex, are currently in build!
514 Mercedes Sprinter front entry Stanford Coachworks conversion for Essex County Council.
Essex County Council run a scheme called ‘Ugobus’ which provides tailored transport throughout Essex using their newly updated in-house fleet of Stanford Coachworks bespoke accessible minibuses. The fleet undertakes a range of contracted work from local community transports, schools and colleges. Non-profit organisations and registered charities can also hire the vehicles with a fully licenced driver.
The brand-new wheelchair accessible SCW minibuses are all based on New Generation Mercedes Sprinters and feature our front entry flat floor design. All 35 metallic silver vehicles are 514 long wheelbase models and include automatic transmission, 100kph speed limiter and tachograph and a Euro 6.2 engine to ensure that they are compliant with any ULEZ regulations in and around London.
Entrance into the rear saloon is via our SCW cut in front entry step situated at the cab passenger door. Grab rails have been installed for assisted entry and exit with the rearmost forming into an upholstered modesty screen. For wheelchair passengers, entrance is via the PLS Access cassette tail lift located underneath the rear of the vehicle.
Front entry cut in step (left). PLS Access cassette underfloor tail lift (right).
For the comfort and safety of the driver, we have installed a driver’s screen with a night blind and modified the foot well to form an emergency exit under NSSTA regulations. The driver’s seat has also been reupholstered to match the rear saloon colour scheme.
In the rear saloon we have installed our specially designed flat floor system that eliminates any wheel arch intrusions allowing space for up to 6 wheelchairs with seats removed or 15 M2 tested Phoenix Blenheim passenger seats which include both NMI seat fixings and carriage wheels for easy removal. All of the seats have been upholstered in a brand-new 2019 grey and blue patterned Camira moquette with wipe clean Ambla breathable vinyl bases and lower back curve. The seats have been fitted with all age high visibility yellow seat belts and our metro head rests which double as grab handles for passengers. 6 of the 15 rear saloon passenger seats are Phoenix Blenheim Shuffle seats which allow for wheelchairs to be fitted without having to remove any additional seats. All seats and wheelchairs can be fitted to the 8 lengths of tracking in the flat floor using either the NMI removable seat fixings or Koller Fast wheelchair restraints provided. To ensure the safety of everyone on-board we have overlaid the flat floor in grey non-slip lino, this also gives the vehicle a more luxurious finish!
Phoenix Blenheim standard and shuffle seats inside the Sprinter.
The whole vehicle has been fully lined and insulated. Lower panels have been trimmed in a grey wipe clean material and all upper panels have been trimmed in contrasting soft feel silver material that compliments the patterned moquette passenger seats.
Recessed roof panels trimmed in matching moquette have been positioned on either side of an emergency escape roof hatch along with blue / white LED roof lights and two pairs of rear saloon speakers. For the comfort of all passengers rear saloon Eberspacher air conditioning and heating has also been installed.
The interior of Essex County Council’s accessible minibus.
To aid the driver we have included many safety features such as reverse warning sensors and bleepers, battery guard and runlock system. A high-tech camera system with side sensors, side and high-level rear cameras with night vision facility and an audible left turn warning has been installed and is all displayed on an in-cab monitor. We have also installed a cycle warning system which alerts the driver of any cyclists in their blind spots.
We pride ourselves on safety therefore all vehicles converted by Stanford Coachworks are built to the highest quality and safety standards. Each of the 35 vehicles for Essex County Council comply with all of our National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) regulations.
It is an absolute honour to be able to provide our very own county with Stanford Coachworks minibuses. Working with Essex County Council and SHB Hire has been a pleasure and we hope to continue supplying them and more boroughs with our conversions in the future!
Article and photos by Madison Wiggins.