EVM and Northside Truck and Van in Sheffield are supplying 260 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter school bus specification vehicles to OneBus. The order is worth over £12m. Based on a medium-wheelbase 314Cdi Sprinter with 7G-Tronic gearbox, the vehicles feature in-dash and saloon air conditioning and heating and were supplied by Northside Truck and Van. In a change from their previous configuration, the new models feature EVM’s well respected three-stage front entry, allowing access and egress of students to be fully monitored by the driver, increasing security. 12 Executive specification reclining seats in leather fill the saloon with overhead luggage racks and a large luggage cage right of the passenger entry door for luggage. Vehicle security is enhanced further with Cat Lock and ECU Guards, while all vehicles are tracked with a satellite tracking system. The 12-seaters will be used on school services, which the operate runs under a Section 19 licence.
OneBus is a not-for-profit company, wholly owned by Focus Learning Trust operating a passenger transport service, for educational charities that run schools within the Focus Group of schools. Employing over 600 dedicated educational professionals with almost 4,000 students in the UK and Ireland, the organisation maintains a network of vehicles across these areas shuttling students to and from school and extracurricular events. The service is operated to strict standards that comply with the relevant legislation and regulations. Focus Learning Trust was established as a registered charity in 2003 for the advancement of education, first and foremost providing leadership and support to its network of 28 UK independent schools, which are registered as schools with a religious character.
Several challenges faced the team at EVM, from the increased weight of the Euro 6 Sprinter to the logistics of delivering a large fleet successfully to each end user in various locations throughout the UK.
Commenting on the EVM Sprinter conversions, OneBus General Manager, Chris Giles, said: “EVM has turned it into a very nice minibus. We wanted to get a minibus that was under 3.5tonnes. They came up with a design that met it without compromise for comfort levels.”
They replace existing vehicles in its fleet, with Chris saying: “These new ones are far more comfortable and haver a higher specification. They have 12 passenger seats, so 13 seats in total. They’re good, they’re very comfortable. They are front entry design, which is the main difference between these and the ones they replace. We have good expectations for them.”