Mellor confirms low floor bus rumour

By Rachael Buckley

Rochdale coachbuilder poised to enter the fare-stage market with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based bus

*Visit the “Discover Strata” web page here for more information.*

Mellor Coachcraft has confirmed the news published in the trade press that it is about to launch a Sprinter-based 22-passenger low floor bus.
Aimed firmly at the stage carriage market, the coach-built vehicle is unique in this sector in that it has space for two wheelchairs in the low floor area, thanks to the extra width it has created within its coach-built body. The Sprinter will offer significant fuel savings over most current, rear-engined midi-buses.

Re-engineering has been undertaken with the full co-operation of Mercedes-Benz, which has formally approved the chassis work. This has involved lowering the prop shaft to sit below the central, low floor section, among other changes. Mellor has used leading-edge CAD technology to create the body frame and mouldings.
Christened the Strata, the vehicle has destination displays, a ticket machine platform, single-step entry, fold-out wheelchair ramp, bell pushes, ‘bus stopping’ display and meets all current stage carriage regulations, including DDA. While options such as three-point seatbelts and different seating options could also see CTOs and local authorities buying the Strata for community duties; however the vehicle has been primarily engineered for fare-stage, mainstream bus use.

“There is always innovation in the bus market,” said Mellor General Manager John Randerson. “Recently, Stagecoach’s order for 30 lowfloor minibuses signals a change in bus fleet demand which the Strata will satisfy. This new design reflects Mellor’s ambition to product vehicles that reflect operators and users demands for fuel efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly integrated transport solution. The market should expect to see further exciting developments in our vehicle line-up in the coming months.”

Mr Randerson said creating the Strata used core coach-building skills both at its Rochdale production unit and at Mellor’s satellite engineering facility in Scarborough. With a body frame built from stainless steel and extensive use of plastics and GRP, the Strata is durable and light.

“We have used the Sprinter as a base vehicle because the driveline has a reputation for performance and reliability, coupled with low running costs and a huge dealer network,” he said. “We expect the Strata to deliver 22-25 miles per gallon, which could potentially halve fuel costs on some routes. In addition, the Strata will excel in narrow streets and housing estates, where parked cars are a major headache for bus drivers.”

Dimensionally, the Strata is just 7.5 metres long and 2.3 metres wide – 30cm wider than the base vehicle – giving a large, 2.2-metre-wide interior saloon on two levels.
The electric sliding door leads into a wide door aperture for passenger and wheelchair access, while the Strata also has a rear emergency door on the offside.
Production of the Strata will begin in July, said Mr Randerson:

“Over the past three months there has been significant industry consultation to ensure that the product meets the needs of the industry. This has led to significant order commitment.”

John Randerson

John Randerson

Specification

Passengers total Max. seated Max. wheelchairs Max. standing
22 21 0 1
22 18 1 3
22 15 2 5

 

Overall (all mm) Saloon (mm) Upper saloon (mm) Lower saloon (mm)
Length Height Width Wheelbase Length Width Length Width Length Width
7760 2760 2300 5000 5207 2200 2680 2200 2527 2200

 

Doors
Entrance door type Aperture width Rear door type Aperture width
Ventura rapid sliding 950mm Rear side emergency 550mm

 

Additional Specification

Seating – Rescroft CT Lite – combination of forward-facing double seats and inward-facing tip seats to wheelchair areas.

Alternative seating – Kiel Ligero seating – combination of forward-facing double seats and inward-facing tip seats to wheelchair areas. Both available with three-point seat belts if required. Other seats may be available on request

Destination displays – Mobitech or Hanover, front, side and rear

Heating, ventilation and cooling systems – Eberspacher or Webasto

Stage carriage ancillaries – Bell pushes, bus stopping display, ticket machine base plates

Interior lighting – Two rows of continuous strip LED saloon lighting and blue night-light function. LED rear and marker light package. Illuminated step edges.

*Visit the “Discover Strata” web page here for more information.*