Ten Volkswagen Crafter minibuses have been delivered to Shropshire County Council for an innovative new Demand Responsive rural bus service called ShropshireLink.
Based on the VW Crafter CR50 long wheelbase van with a 136 PS, 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine, the vehicles were supplied by CVI (Commercial Vehicle Innovation part of The Volkswagen Van Centre, Edinburgh) and converted by VDL Kusters who extended the vehicle wheelbase and lowered the floor to provide flexible seating for up to 16 passengers, plus a ramped entrance and space for up to three wheelchair users.
Shropshire County Council has introduced ShropshireLink to provide a local bus service in all rural areas of the county. This addresses the environmental impact of its rural bus services and provides access to local market towns and other essential services. The VW Crafter buses are more compact and economical with less impact on the environment than other traditional buses. This delivers several advantages: these buses can more easily access remote rural areas while offering a better environmental choice and lower fuel costs. In addition, Shropshire County Council forecasts that the new bus service will increase accessibility of all the rural homes to a local bus service on a minimum of two days per week from 57 to 95 per cent.
Unlike a traditional bus service ShropshireLink is not restricted to a set route or timetable. Instead, these VW Crafter buses travel flexibly within certain areas and where appropriate the bus will go direct to the passenger’s door. ShropshireLink can be booked up to seven days in advance via a dedicated booking and information line at Shropshire County Council's Customer Service Centre by calling 0845 6789068 or 01743 210368.
Stuart McKenzie, Sales and Operations Manager, Commercial Vehicle Innovation said: ‘We are really proud to handover this impressive new fleet of buses to Shropshire County Council and wish them all the best with their new rural bus service. The quality and durability of the vehicles themselves was obviously important to the Council, but equally important was the level of aftersales support from Commercial Vehicle Innovation and the UK Volkswagen Van Centre Network.’
Jonathan Hayes, Principal Officer for Transport Policy at Shropshire County Council said: ‘We undertook a great deal of research with existing bus passengers and potential users of ShropshireLink before we pulled together the specification for the vehicle to operate this service. This included accessibility, passenger comfort and the suitability of the vehicle to operate on very rural roads throughout the county. We are very impressed with the VW Crafter and so are our passengers.’
For further information on the Volkswagen Crafter visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk or for CVI Volkswagen minibuses visit www.c-v-i.co.uk. For details on ShropshireLink visit www.shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire/traveltransport.nsf.
Notes to editors: For more information, please visit www.volkswagenpressoffice.co.uk or contact John Rawlings, Press and Public Relations Manager, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on 01908 601478, 07872 379544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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