MANNING UP: MAN A95 DOUBLE-DECKER

By: Steve Skinner , Photography by: Barry Ashenhurst


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Try as we might we couldn’t seem to get MAN’s new A95 double-decker bus to roll even one degree

Let’s get one thing straight from the outset: double-deckers aren’t necessarily prone to rolling over.

We experienced this on our recent drive of the MAN A95 double-decker chassis with Gemilang’s ‘Eco Range’ body.

Try as we might, we couldn’t seem to get the bus to roll even one degree despite some tight cornering at a virtually empty Sydney Olympic Park precinct. (Check out the video soon on busnews.com.au; and authorities please note: it was done very carefully and legally).

It was a surprising and pretty amazing experience, which MAN puts down to having stabiliser bars on each of the three axles of this 12-metre low floor city bus, combined with its low centre of gravity and light aluminium construction.

Adding reassurance was MAN’s electronic stability program (ESP), which would have instantly and automatically reduced the engine torque or braked targeted wheels if we had got too carried away.

But great roll stability is not the only standout feature of the A95 Eco Range.

The other remarkable thing in our book is the fact that this bus has only one step on the bottom deck, right at the back row of seats.

That’s because it has a portal axle (see photo) which are common in Europe but unusual in Australia so far. The differential is offset to the left, and there are intermediate planetary gears stepping up to the wheel centre, so passengers don’t have to "walk over" the axle – enabling a flat aisle right to the back.

This bus will be one of the big attractions (literally) at the Australian Bus and Coach Show in Sydney in October.

It’s been designed by Gemilang Australia especially for the Sydney market, and is being trialled by Transport for NSW operators -- hence the distinctive blue government paint job. It has passed the rigorous TfNSW procurement panel requirements.

To read his exclusive test review of the A95 double-decker chassis with Gemilang’s ‘Eco Range’ body see the August issue of ABC magazine. Click here to subscribe

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