Ensignbus is to become the UK importer for the Chinese manufacturer BCI – CBW can now confirm.
The 12.5-metre long, 98-seaters will be equipped with seat belts and air-conditioning. Mechanically, they will boast proven, familiar components, including Cummins Euro 6 engines and ZF gearboxes and axles. They will also be PSVAR (Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations) and ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) compliant.
The buses are to be launched next month, when Ensignbus will outline its plans for further vehicle types which will follow.
Peter Newman, Ensignbus Chairman told CBW: “It’s an all-purpose vehicle. The maximum seating capacity for a new double-decker currently available is around 84 seats, but that is with standard bus seats, and minus seatbelts and air-conditioning.
“These vehicles are being built to our specification. We recognise not everyone will want that but the buses can be customised according to the requirements of individual operators. We wanted a multi-purpose double-decker, which could be used on a variety of work. Schools ask for 80 plus belted seats.
“We also have a requirement for a higher-specification double-decker for corporate private hire work as ‘people movers’ for events and so on. Those customers want a higher standard of accommodation than can be found on a traditional service bus, with refinements including high-back seats, seatbelts and air-conditioning.
“We operate a lot of rail replacement work too. On some of our diagrams, passengers can be on the buses for about an hour or more, so too they need a higher standard of comfort than is found in a ‘normal’ local buses.”
Asked how many are on order, Peter replied: “We’ve got five coming – four of which are for Ensignbus’ own fleet. One was was originally destined to be a demonstrator, but it has already been sold to a customer who wanted a vehicle to our specification. As a result, one of the Ensignbus four will be used as a demonstrator.
Looking to the future, Peter enthused: “We’re quite excited about this project. We’ve spent a long time looking for someone to build what we want. We’ve already received a healthy amount of interest.”