Mellor to launch DRT mini
Rochdale coachbuilder targets ‘microbus’ market and taxi companies with lowfloor eight-seater Pico based on Fiat Ducato
Mellor has chosen Busworld in Brussels to launch a ride-sharing ‘microbus’ with appeal to the DRT sector.
Sales of Mellor’s small bus designs have reached record levels, and it says that size-appropriate buses are the way forward. In recognition that 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 says 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.
Research has informed the Mellor design. Data was gathered from engagements with public transport authorities, taxi and private hire business and social enterprises, all working in various forms of passenger transport. Unlike minibus platforms used in recent DRT services, Pico is a smaller, fully lowfloor microbus with front-engined base vehicle.
Pico has many components in common with the Mellor Orion and Tucana buses, and is available in both diesel and electric formats. Pico passengers get 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 systems, all customised to meet the operator’s requirements and budgets.
John Randerson, Mellor’s managing director, said: “We believe in lowfloor 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 3.5-tonne 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 opportunities we have in 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 Dutch and Benelux community bus model.”