Coach of the Year
The focus of this award is very much on the vehicles from the passenger perspective.
The design of buses and coaches has been changing rapidly in recent years, driven by the need to meet new regulations on emissions, noise and accessibility, but also by the need to accommodate new technology and higher standards of facilities demanded by customers.
But the passenger’s viewpoint needs to be paramount, if the industry is to survive and prosper – especially when, for many people, the ‘competition’ comes in the form of ever more sophisticated and well-equipped cars.
Judges are looking for comfort, facilities and ease of access as well as exterior appeal and mechanical reliability.
The Winner: Setra 416GTHD (Evobus (UK) Limited)
The Setra wins the award for the second year in a row, having been nominated by operators from all over the country.
As one put it very simply: “Quality of build, understated design and passenger comfort. It's the one to beat!”.
Another told us, "The SETRA 416 Comfort Class has turned my company around. The passengers comment on the comfort and the smoothness of the journey. The wide isles and entrance door are perfect for the less abled. The safety systems are second to none with the adaptive cruise control and EPS system."
Runner Up: Neoplan Tourliner (Neoman UK, Swindon)
First imported into the UK in 2007, the Neoplan Tourliner has become established as a robust and flexible vehicle.
Operators who nominated this praised its "excellent build, service, MPG and backup. The vehicle was praised for its stylish, roomy interior, and engineers like the MAN "Add Nothing" engine too.
Highly Commended: Van Hool T9 (Van Hool UK Limited, Wellingborough)
Praised by operators as "elegant and stylish", the T9 builds on Van Hool's reputation for excellence in coach building. The Belgian company enjoys a high reputation in the UK and another operator praised the vehicles' comfort, safety and reliability.
The double deck "Astromega" version of the T9 was chosen last year by Stagecoach for its new vehicles on the Oxford Tube.
Who could be nominated?
The chassis manufacturer and/or body builder of any public service vehicle designed for charter or longer distance travel currently available for purchase within the United Kingdom.
… and by whom?
Readers of Coach and Bus Week were asked to nominate vehicles in their fleet which experience has shown to have high levels of passenger appeal and won praise from customers – as well as being reliable and efficient to operate.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
People nominating vehicles will be asked to state the reasons for their nomination, which will be followed by a judging process.
The criteria for deciding on the Coach of the Year will include:
- Accessibility for passengers
- Passenger comfort
- Passenger facilities
- Interior Noise level
- Fuel efficiency
- Carbon emissions level.