A new Irizar i6 integral to PSVAR spec has proved a timely arrival at Edinburgh’s AAA Coaches as the covid crisis sees the bulk of the company’s work switch to rail-replacement and schools.
Pre-covid, the 28-stong fleet would be mostly engaged in third-party tour work, and the coach has replaced an older vehicle of another make.
Manager David Maloney said: “We are lucky in that in more normal times we have a diverse base of different types of work. While we are still doing some tours, it’s predominantly schools and rail replacement now, and PSVAR is an important requirement”
The new 12.2-metre Irizar has 53 seats and a Masats KS7 wheelchair lift, together with front, side, and rear destination signage. If a wheelchair user needs to be accommodated, two pairs of seats can be removed.
Other fitments include seat-back tables, Bosch Smart Series audio and twin-monitor Actia DVD systems, drinks machine, and a centre sunken toilet.
The driver and guide seats are finished in leather, and safety equipment includes active cruise control, lane-departure warning, and advanced emergency braking systems.
An economical DAF MX-11 270 367 hp engine drives an advanced ZF EcoLife fully-automatic transmission. David Maloney said: “Over the years, we’ve tried all sorts of different engines and transmissions, but the DAF – ZF combination has emerged as the most reliable combination. We know they work well for us.
“Each type of coach has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the Irizar has the most strengths, and also looks the part.
“We choose Irizar because we want to be associated with a top company. We know that our major customers also look at our competitors, and if we run the best coaches, we are placed to get the best work.”
Ease of maintenance is also a strong point.
“We do most of the routine work in-house, and the Irizar is definitely the most accessible coach,” he recounts.
In normal times, AAA would be looking at a three to four year replacement cycle, but this may be extended in the case of the new Irizar.
“We aim to always have the best coaches on the road, and that won’t change, but business-wise we now have to do a more rigorous analysis of everything we do and everything we spend,” David says. “The new Irizar i6 Integral sends out an important message: that in spite of everything, we are still doing OK.”