Stanford Coachworks have had the pleasure of carrying out our very first New Generation Super Flat Floor conversion for a community transport in Berkshire. 

Crowthorne Community Minibus' vehicle which includes their personal signwriting.Crowthorne Community Minibus’ vehicle which includes their personal signwriting.

Crowthorne Community Minibus

The Crowthorne Community Minibus provides a friendly service for elderly and disabled people living in the Crowthorne area. The charity collects clients from their homes and transports them to various places for interesting day trips where they have the chance to meet new people before being returned home later that day. Crowthorne Community Minibus supports around 200 members and consists of approximately 30 drivers and a board of trustees; all of which are volunteers!

SCW's specially designed Super Flat Floor.SCW’s specially designed Super Flat Floor.

The Stanford Coachworks Conversion

Our New Generation Super Flat Floor system is exclusive to Stanford’s and has been specially designed to protect the wheelchair accessible tail lift by increasing its ground clearance whilst also allowing for more space in the rear saloon by removing any wheel arch intrusions. To protect the tail lift we have housed it between the Super Flat Floor and the original vehicle floor; this ensures that no corrosion or damage occurs. Due to the increased height of the floor, all Super Flat Floor conversions must be carried out on an extra-high roof model chassis. 

Base Vehicle

Crowthorne Community Minibus’ conversion is based on the New Generation Mercedes Sprinter 516. The extra-long wheelbase, extra-high roof model includes automatic transmission, satellite navigation, a single cab passenger seat and for safety reasons, a 62mph speed limiter and tachograph. The factory white paint finish was chose to compliment Crowthorne’s personal blue signwriting.

Inside the front cab area of Crowthorne's minibus.Inside the front cab area of Crowthorne’s minibus.

In the front cab area both driver’s and single cab passengers’ seats and seat boxes have been reupholstered in a blue patterned moquette to match the rear saloon seats. The SCW team have also re-trimmed the headlining in this area to compliment the moquette. Behind each seat we have included a wheelchair clamp storage box so that Crowthorne’s volunteers can easily access any equipment needed to safely secure any clients using wheelchairs. Situated in the centre of the dashboard is a touch-screen monitor that displays content from the rear parking camera along with a 360-degree birds eye view of the vehicle. Additionally, we fitted our new design SCW switch panel to the left of the drivers steering wheel. This includes the controls for the rear saloon lights, reversing alarm, tail lift, Eberspacher rear saloon heating, air conditioning and for the electric side step. 

Space for up to 14 passengers or 5 wheelchairs in the rear saloon thanks to our specially designed Super Flat Floor.Space for up to 14 passengers or 5 wheelchairs in the rear saloon thanks to our specially designed Super Flat Floor.

Rear Saloon

This particular conversion features 14 M2 tested Phoenix Blenheim passenger seats in the rear saloon. All 14 of the seats include NMI removable seat fixings and the 3 rearmost additionally include carriage wheels. With seats removed the Sprinter has the potential to facilitate up to 5 wheelchair occupants.

To reupholster all of the passenger seats, we have used a new 2019 Camira blue / grey moquette. The seat bases and lower back curve have been upholstered with a wipe clean breathable Ambla bases. To compliment these seats, blue and yellow metro head rests have been included. The design of these head rests and the high visibility yellow colouring allows them to double as grab handles for passengers. 

To provide Crowthorne Community Minibus with maximum space in the rear saloon, our Super Flat Floor system has been installed. This means that they can now travel with even more passengers!

To accommodate the 14 seated passengers or 5 wheelchairs, tracking has been fitted. Laid on top of the floor is our vinyl non-slip covering.

Inside, the whole vehicle has been fully lined and insulated then all lower side panels have been trimmed in a soft feel dark grey material. Trimmed in the same dark grey material to match the rear saloon are the rear and side doors panels. From the lower window line, up to and including the roof, a contrasting soft feel light grey material has been used. Installed into the roof for rear saloon illumination are 4 LED down lights with blue and white facility.

The PLS tail lift housed between SCW's Super Flat Floor and the vehicle's original floor.The PLS tail lift housed between SCW’s Super Flat Floor and the vehicle’s original floor.

Accessibility

Seated passengers can access the rear saloon via a 1100mm fully electric side step fitted below the electric side load door. To make entry easier, the Super Flat Floor has had two steps cut into it. 

Next to the step, two vertical stanchions have been installed. One of these stanchions forms into an upholstered modesty screen. This will help assist passengers with entry and exit. For passengers using wheelchairs, a PLS fully automatic tail lift, housed within the vehicle for protection, has been included. Crowthorne’s passenger escorts can secure wheelchairs to the floor, side wall and full-length tracking using the Unwin Quattro wheelchair and occupant restraints provided.

 

Safety with Stanfords

Converting our vehicles to the highest safety standards possible is our main focus. Therefore, our team have worked extremely hard with the Vehicle Certification Agency to gain our National Small Series Type Approval. We have also included many extra features on Crowthorne’s minibus to ensure the safety of both driver and passengers. These features include rear door open and step warning buzzers. The driver will be alerted by this once the handbrake has been released. Another feature is the white noise reversing alarm, this will sound when the vehicle is put into the reverse gear.  

Paul Dedman handing over the minibus to the staff at Crowthorne Community Minibus.Paul Dedman handing over the minibus to the staff at Crowthorne Community Minibus.

The Handover

Paul Dedman delivered the minibus to David Hobbs, Crowthorne’s chairman, and the rest of the staff at the centre in Berkshire. The brand-new vehicle delighted Crowthorne Community Transport. They were so pleased that we had taken all of their requirements on-board. Finally, we would like to thank Crowthorne Community Minibus for their custom. We really hope that everyone at the organisation enjoys using the first New Generation Super Flat Floor Mercedes Sprinter!

 

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