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.

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.

Our 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. 

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 has been chosen to compliment Crowthorne’s personal blue signwriting. 

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 headlining in this area has also been re-trimmed 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. Our new design SCW switch panel has been fitted 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 and 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.

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. All of the passenger seats have been upholstered in a new 2019 Camira blue / grey patterned moquette with wipe clean breathable Ambla bases and lower back curve. 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. 

Our Super Flat Floor system has been installed to provide Crowthorne Community Minibus with maximum space in the rear saloon meaning that they can now travel with even more passengers! Tracking has been fitted to accommodate the 14 seated passengers or 5 wheelchairs; this has then been overlaid in non-slip vinyl floor covering. 

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

Access to the rear saloon for seated passengers is via a 1100mm wide fully electric side step fitted beneath a factory fitted electric side loading door. 2 steps have then been cut into the Super Flat Floor and 2 vertical stanchions, one of which forming into an upholstered modesty screen, have been installed on either side of the step to allow for assisted entry and exit. For passengers using wheelchairs, a PLS fully automatic tail lift, housed within the vehicle for protection, has been included. Once inside the vehicle each of the wheelchairs can be secured to the floor, side wall and full-length cant rail tracking using the Unwin Quattro wheelchair and occupant restraints provided. 

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. Rear and side door panels have also been trimmed to match in the same dark grey material. From the lower window line, up to and including the roof, a contrasting soft feel light grey material has been used. 4 LED down lights with blue and white facility have been installed into the roof to illuminate the rear saloon. 

We want to ensure that our vehicles are converted to the highest safety standards possible therefore our team have worked extremely hard with the Vehicle Certification Agency to gain our National Small Series Type Approval for our Mercedes Sprinter conversions. 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 used to alert the driver of these hazards once the handbrake has been released. Another feature is the white noise reversing alarm which will sound when the vehicle is put into the reverse gear to alert pedestrians of the moving minibus. 

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

Paul Dedman delivered the minibus to David Hobbs, Crowthorne’s chairman, and the rest of the staff at Crowthorne Community Minibus’ centre in Berkshire. Crowthorne were delighted with their brand-new vehicle and were so pleased that we had taken all of their requirements on-board to build them a minibus with everything that they required. We would like to thank Crowthorne Community Minibus for their custom and we hope that everyone at the organisation enjoys using their new bespoke Stanford’s minibus!

 

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