Over 100 VDL coaches for European public transport sector
The VDL Groep’s coaches are increasingly more often used for public transport in Europe. Following recent orders from Iceland and Ireland, the Bus and Coach Division of VDL Groep, VDL Bus & Coach, will make its debut in Latvia’s public transport sector on 1 August 2021. The Latvian passenger transport services company BBus is strengthening its public transport operations with 31 VDL Futuras and 21 MidEuro intercity-type buses.
The BBus order is VDL Bus & Coach's fourth order in a row in which VDL Futuras are used in the public transport sector: at the end of last year VDL made its debut in the public and intercity transport sector in Iceland with 5 Futuras; in July, Bus Éireann deployed 30 coaches for its commercial intercity transport in Ireland and later this year, a further 53 double-deck Futuras will be delivered to the Irish National Transport Authority (NTA) for use on regional lines and for commuter bus services.
“With the ability of our buses to be used for high-quality public transport in various European regions we are showing how versatile our VDL Futura range really is,” says Willem van der Leegte, President and CEO of VDL Groep. “VDL has been building coaches for many years that are not only suitable for luxury long-distance travel but also for intercity and scheduled services. Our partners’ confidence enables us to make major steps forward. We are particularly proud of the partnerships we have with our customers in Europe that are resulting in ambitious operations, including with our VDL Futuras in the public transport sector.”
The tourism sector has been hard hit due to the travel restrictions imposed to limit the further spread of the coronavirus. Van der Leegte: “In addition to the introduction of the new generation electric VDL Citea, we are also working hard on the continued development of our touring platform. These orders totalling more than 100 coaches partially compensate for the decline in the tourism segment. Through means of our flexibility and by offering customer-specific solutions we are well-positioned in terms of the use of coaches for the public transport sector. With its turnkey solutions, VDL Bus & Coach competes for large contracts and tenders in this segment.”
For 2021, our two areas of focus are to use the VDL Futura to further expand VDL Bus & Coach’s position in the public transport segment and to prepare ourselves to the maximum possible extent for the time when tourism will once again be on the upswing. VDL Bus & Coach is in close contact with customers to optimally shape this recovery.
VDL Bus & Coach has been successful with the VDL Futura in public transport for several years now. Hundreds of Futuras are used for this purpose every day. For example, Futuras are used in various operations in Ireland, France and Scandinavia and the double-decker Futura is used for public transport in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany and other countries. In this way, passengers are comfortably brought to their destinations throughout Europe by means of high-quality public transport by coach.
In recent years, the international intercity segment has grown considerably. Due to the liberalisation of this market, various private parties now offer regulated international lines throughout Europe. In parallel with these developments, priorities have shifted to CO2 reduction and passenger comfort. As a result, the coach is a serious alternative to other forms of public transport in certain countries. Especially in countries where public transport infrastructure is insufficient a great deal is being invested in high-quality and comfortable travel coaches for regulated transport of passengers over long distances.
In two phases this year, VDL Bus & Coach will deliver 53 double-deck VDL Futuras to the National Transport Authority (NTA), the organisation responsible for public transport in Ireland. The coaches will be used on regional lines and for commuter bus services. These vehicles are optimally designed for use in public transport. For example, the coaches guarantee maximum passenger flow by means of wide boarding and exit steps. Passengers with mobility impairments can also make use of the coach, because the bus is wheelchair accessible. Furthermore, their greater overall height of 4.17 metres enables the ceiling heights on both the lower and upper decks to be a more generous 1.82 metres. This gives passengers greater freedom of movement.
In July, Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus company, began deploying 30 VDL Futuras for commercial intercity transport. These vehicles will be used to connect the communities along the entire western seaboard on some of Expressway’s busiest routes. All Futuras are equipped with a lift, making them accessible to passengers with wheelchairs. In addition, there is an advanced payment system on board that enables contactless payment.
Starting in August, VDL Bus & Coach will be delivering 31 coaches to Latvia. These VDL Futuras are equipped with camera systems and destination indicators. In addition, the coaches have been optimised to carry a maximum number of passengers. Thanks to the 350-kg capacity wheelchair lift in the middle exit, all Futuras are wheelchair accessible for passengers with mobility impairments.