Overcoming impairments: New ceiling lift raises the bar for universally accessible coach travel
The MAN Bus Modification Center has achieved a first, equipping an MAN Lion’s Coach with a ceiling lift for Voyages Emile Weber. This will make trips safer and more comfortable for passengers with physical disabilities.
- New track-guided mobility system ensures direct and convenient access to rear toilet
- Ceiling-mounted aisle transfer chair makes travelling simpler and safer for passengers with reduced mobility
- Wheelchair users and others with mobility impairments can use exterior lift to board MAN Lion’s Coach through separate door
Voyages Emile Weber was one of the first transport companies in Luxembourg to specialise in the needs of people with restricted mobility. Properly addressing the functional needs of customers living with disabilities requires vehicles that are fully geared to them – vehicles like the MAN Lion’s Coach converted by the experts at the MAN Bus Modification Center (BMC) in Plauen, Germany. “We have equipped the first truly universally accessible coach with a ceiling lift,” says Heinz Kiess, Head of Sales & Marketing at the MAN Bus Modification Center. “As a result, MAN will be able to continue providing pioneering solutions for transporting people with reduced mobility in the future – including to companies that specifically operate in the coach segment,” he adds.
With the ceiling lift’s assistance, passengers with ambulatory difficulties can move safely and comfortably from the door to their designated seating space. Wheelchair users board the coach itself via a modern exterior lift, which was retrofitted to the MAN Lion’s Coach.
Another special feature is the rear toilet, which the BMC experts have also retrofitted to the MAN Lion’s Coach, and which passengers can access directly using the ceiling lift system located in the aisle. “This allows people with disabilities to move from A to B with ease,” Kiess explains. “One of the impressive attributes of the new system is its quiet operation – the passengers virtually breeze through the coach,” he adds. Flexibility is ensured by the lift’s rotating seat, which is a fixture in the vehicle, suspended from a track mounted to the ceiling. As well as being upholstered, the seat features a lap belt, backrest, footrests and a grab handle.
The toilet cabin is also designed with accessibility in mind. For instance, additional grab rails have been installed on both sides of the toilet to ensure the occupant’s safety as they move around inside the cabin. In addition to this, the space is also equipped with an emergency alarm button, a smoke alarm, a double socket, a hand dryer, and paper towel and soap dispensers. In keeping with contemporary preferences, its energy-efficient lighting is supplied by modern LEDs.
The MAN Bus Modification Center – the centre of excellence for bus and coach upgrades – began its operations in Plauen in 2015. The facility employs around 140 staff, who strive to fulfil specific customer requests in terms of final fixtures and fittings for buses.