Mellor reveals demand-responsive ‘micro-bus’

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Mellor is launching a new product at Busworld 2019, the Pico low floor eight-passenger micro-bus, designed specifically for the demand-responsive market

Mellor
The first images of the Pico show the glass sliding entry door. MELLOR

A new Mellor product is set to be launched at Busworld 2019.

The Pico is designed explicitly for the demand-responsive market.

Sales of Mellor’s small platform bus designs have reached record levels; the company puts this down to the experience gained working with operators and passengers for more than 50 years, austerity and the realisation that size appropriate buses are ‘the best way forward.’

In recognition that Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) in the broader context of mass transit has fallen short of its potential, Pico is the first of a planned series of products that Mellor hopes will address this issue. Mellor believes that the benefits of elegant access, coupled with a passenger space ‘honed to suit the needs of today’s travellers’ are an important part of the success of DRT projects. Mellor has also recognised that patronage can fall short when standard minibuses are used and a change in passenger experience is now needed to improve perception and provide operators with a product that delivers on all levels.

A qualitative research exercise has informed the Mellor design team. Data was gathered from engagements with public transit authorities, taxi and private hire business and social enterprises, all working in various forms of passenger transport. Unlike the minibus platforms used in recent DRT experiments, Pico is a low-floor eight-passenger ‘micro-bus’ built respecting the best traditions of public transport; a good experience is essential but so too is a vehicle that can accommodate inclusivity.

Pico is also designed to meet the demands of emerging route planning technology, together with key aspirations mapped out in most international future transport strategies: efficiency, flexibility and eco-friendliness. The key to Pico’s future success lies in the well-established partnership that Mellor designers have created between the Fiat Ducato and Mellor’s low-floor chassis technology that creates a flat floor throughout the bus.

Pico’s design was developed on the principle of evolving technology; it has many components in common with the Mellor Orion and Tucana buses, and is available in both diesel and electric drive formats. With more than 1,000 units sold, Mellor is extremely confident in the reliability and robustness of the vehicle’s design. Pico passengers can expect single step entry from a sliding electric door, integrated ramp access, a feeling of space, simple wheelchair security and configurable seating plans.

Pico’s look and feel is designed to harmonise high-end MPVs with a taxi-bus that has all the expected refinements including WiFi, USB charging and destination AV systems, all customised to meet the operator’s requirements and budgets. John Randerson, Mellor’s Managing Director, said: We believe in low-floor platform technology and the way it brings all of society’s passengers together in a shared, familiar and comfortable space; with Pico we can do this on fully low-floor 3.5T small bus.

“Particularly in the DRT sector, it is our view that standard minibuses create access issues for some; for others, they create a containerising experience that falls short of the passenger experience that Mellor aspires to offer.

“Speaking with taxi and private hire operators has been a new experience for Mellor, we have learned a lot about their commercial imperatives as well as the opportunities that we have to serve both established companies and the emerging aggregation of digitally savvy owner-drivers. This is still the early stages of a change that may be disruptive today but will inevitably become mainstream as we have seen in services such as the Dutch and Benelux community bus model.”

The new vehicle will be launched at Busworld 2019 in Brussels next week – CBW will be bringing you further details soon.

 

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