Healthy on the inside

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This week’s Industry Guide examines suppliers of seating, flooring and interior products, which help brighten up the inside of coaches and buses

It’s vital that coach and bus operator do not neglect the interiors of their vehicles. After all, the vast majority of the passenger experience takes place on board, and while an attractive livery can help to promote the business, a quality interior is what will make customers enjoy their journeys.

Perhaps the most important consideration here is the seating. A wide range of different materials are available, and operators should choose the correct material for the role the vehicle will undertake. Getting this wrong can put off passengers, or lead to unnecessary expense, making it more difficult to make sustainable profit margins from the vehicles.[wlm_nonmember][…]

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Vehicles frequently used on school services, for example, can benefit from being hard-wearing and resistant to vandalism, and many schools will appreciate the addition of three-point seatbelts.

Meanwhile coaches and buses used on commuter routes may demand high quality leather seating, as they are effectively competing with luxury commuter cars. Urban bus services, which passengers may only board for a few minutes at a time, likely do not require the height of luxury, while similar seating may prove uncomfortable for passengers on a long-distance coach tour.

Vehicle flooring can also serve multiple purposes. High-specification vehicles can benefit from quality carpets or wood-effect flooring. Tracked flooring, while not as aesthetically appealing, can allow for very simple and easy seat configuration which is ideal on vehicles which may need to carry variable numbers of wheelchairs.

A luxury interior requires more than just quality seating and flooring. Passenger expectations are on the rise, and they are sure to appreciate extra amenities like USB charging points for smart devices.

Some operators are beginning to push the boundaries of what facilities coach and bus interiors can offer. From seatback entertainment systems drawing from the vehicle’s WiFi, to more common dropdown monitors and DVD players, giving passengers the opportunity to do things which they cannot while driving is sure to make the industry more attractive.

As well as kitting out interiors, they must be properly maintained. No matter how high the specification of the interior, all feeling of luxury is lost if it is dirty or covered in litter, and even when properly maintained, a refurbishment may be required later in the vehicle’s life.

Many suppliers offer quick turnarounds on replacement seating, which can fit into the timetable of an operator tour if they happen to be passing by.[/wlm_ismember]