The vehicles will primarily see service running educational tours
Suffolk-based Galloway Travel Group has upgraded its 50-strong fleet with the purchase of two new 53-seater Plaxton Panther-bodied Volvos.
The vehicles are being used for specialist educational trips for schools across the UK as part of Galloway’s Educational Study Division which includes trips to the First World War battlefields, the Normandy beaches and European capital cities. The division holds the Quality Badge award by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
The Panthers are 12.8m two-axle vehicles featuring 53 Politecnica GTV reclining seats with all age three-point seatbelts, trimmed in blue moquette with light coloured leather headrest inserts and piping. A matching courier seat is installed in the easy access entrance with drivers benefiting from a Grammar fully adjustable seat.
Other specifications include climate control with a roof-mounted Thermo-King air conditioning unit and tinted windows. There is also a kerb level washroom with fridge and servery area above.
The Euro 5 Volvo B9R chassis incorporates a rear-mounted Volvo D9B 9.36-litre engine with 380bhp and Volvo I-Shift automated gearbox.
Externally, the vehicles are enhanced with Alcoa Dura-Brite alloy wheels and feature in-house designed graphics which are appropriate to the First World War educational tours on which the vehicles will be primarily employed.
David Cattermole, MD of Galloway Travel Group, said: “As a progressive company, we have a vision of delivering high standards to the school travel market and the acquisition of the Panthers supports this. They represent value for money and offer the combination of 53 seats with good luggage capacity and a toilet on a two-axle vehicle, providing us with operational flexibility. We had good experience with a Plaxton Panther we operated for a short period last year and are well accustomed to the Volvo chassis. We get good support from our local Volvo dealer and our initial experience with Plaxton has been very positive.”