A batch of 90 Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)-compliant Dial-a-Ride vehicles are entering service in London, based on the Mellor Tucana II easy-access low-floor minibus.
The Tucana IIs are based on the Volkswagen T6 Transporter chassis, with a modern Euro 6 diesel engine and a stop-start system that switches the engine off in stationary traffic. They also feature Autonomous Emergency Braking.
The Dial-a-Ride service in London is a door-to-door assisted transport service around the city and provides a lifeline for those not able to travel without assistance, catering for more than a million journeys a year. There are plans to increase the fleet to 300 buses in total before the ULEZ expands to the North and South circular roads by 2021.
James Mead, General Manager of Dial-a-Ride, said: “Dial-a-Ride is part of the city’s social fabric, making sure vulnerable Londoners are not isolated in the community.”
The buses will be built at Mellor’s manufacturing facility in Rochdale, Lancs. John Randerson, Managing Director of Mellor, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with TfL on [its] Dial-a-Ride scheme. It will be great to see the Tucana II in service around London and we’re excited to be supplying one of the most recognised capital city transport operators in the world.”
Dial-a-Ride is part of an assisted transport strategy in the capital. TfL says that improving accessibility to public transport is integral to helping disabled Londoners lacking confidence in getting from A to B. It employs ‘travel mentors’ to assist people with how to use information at bus stops, stay safe when travelling and use ramps to board. The mentors have provided assistance to more than 3,000 disabled Londoners over the past 12 months.