NEW TREND 1
Who said in the age of easy access buses that the Sherpa minibus conversion was dead?
Of the many ways of exploring the historic city of Norwich, there’s now an alternative to the Blue Badge guided walk, the water bus tour or the big red open top double deck.
We understand that an enterprising operator has taken a Freight Rover Sherpa, once converted to ‘heritage’ style by the Cookie Coach Company, and remodelled it in open top “charabanc” style, to carry 12 passengers. It runs hourly around the streets of Norwich where its dimensions are no doubt useful along the city streets. Apparently, the vehicle’s proving popular with disabled people who either can’t easily walk around the city or who can’t mount the steps on the ‘conventional’ open top double deck. The venture trades under the name Olde Norwich Tour. The vehicle looks the part, though the E-reg plate gives it away as something a little newer than the 1930s.
Recalling an ECW bodied Bristol RE open top single deck conversion a United vehicle for Scarborough, we wonder whether this will catch on as a new trend. Hmmm… questionable.
NEW TREND 2
There’s a certain Thai restaurant on Charminster Rd, Bournemouth outside of which stands a chained up motorised rickshaw. This may be a bit of a gimmick but, elsewhere, such rickshaws may be on the verge of a breakthrough.
Brighton’s Tuc-Tuc Ltd cites demand as the reason behind the expansion of the UK’s first motorised rickshaw operation. In July, the company had become the first in the UK to operate under an O licence, on a fixed route from Brighton Marina from 10 July 2006. Marketed as super-low emission vehicles, its original fleet of 12 compressed natural gas vehicles will double to 24.
Tuc-Tuc believes it is set to change the urban landscape and become a massive tourist attraction, to boot. It plans to start in London in 2007. It started from an authorisation of one, in November 2005.
NEW TREND 3
In not so much a new but accelerating trend, a delivery of nine air-conditioned Mercedes Citaro O350s for Arriva the Shires’ flagship Green Line 724 (Harlow-Heathrow) further demonstrates the vehicle is becoming a serious contender in the high-end bus market. It already commands a significant slice of the European market as one of the continent’s most popular bus designs, with over 10,000 in service, including over 500 in Britain.
And it’s not surprising, as anyone who’s sampled (as passenger or driver) Wilts & Dorset’s more brand will know. Recent converts to rigid Citaros other than W&D’s 30, include Solent Blue Line, McGills, Centra and Plymouth CityBus. According to trade journal routeONE, evidence of Mercedes’ increase in popularity is the doubling of vehicle sales for the year to July 2006, compared to the previous year. Mercedes boasts lower whole-life costs.
Tuesday, 15 August 2006
NEW TREND 1
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006