|EBE10—King Long or King Kong||Euro Bus Expo 2010 Index|
I wonder when King Long will break into the English service bus market. Among a small selection of coaches was this 12m service bus, the XMQ6127J, one in Arriva’s former livery and destined for Malta.
Typically continental within, it represents, quite literally, a step change for that island, more used to step entrance Bedfords than brand new SLFs. At £120,000 and with a comprehensive five-year warranty, it seems a bargain.
The styling was functional. Nevertheless, unlike many of its kindred, there was a significant and usable area beneath he windscreen to display an operator’s name—something lacking and something to which commenters on this site have long referred. Trouble is, the area isn’t that usable at all, with badge and builder’s name.
The strapline appears to be, "Without compromise. Within budget". An interesting concept. Inside, there were a couple of strange or interesting features. The amidships emergency exit had tip up seating, as per newly available EU regs. The hand grabs were transparent, allowing the placement of advertising within.
The nodular bell pushes were of an odd yet nicely eccentric appearance. The stanchion hand grabs weren’t sufficiently tightly affixed to the seat frames and this will no doubt cause rattles and squeaking. Seating wasn’t well padded. And there was a vacant area behind the cab, over the front offside wheelarch, with a stowage compartment and large strapped down fire extinguisher.
Most strange of all, there was a full length radiator at foot level, along the rear seat. This is probably superfluous in a rear engined vehicle operating in Malta and makes for an awkward seating arrangement.
Even so, it undercuts MCV’s 12m single deck by a few thousand quid. Not unlike MCV, King Long can thump out buses in quick time (witness this order of 200 for Arriva Malta). Is there still work to be done fr the UK market, though?