Renault creates accessibility

Renault Australia has taken steps towards creating more wheelchair accessibility for buses

Renault creates accessibility
The Master Bus design is easy to work with, so Norden has purchased one for demonstration use

Renault Australia has converted eight of their new 12-seat Master Buses to comfortably carry two wheelchairs each.

The modifications, which were carried out by Melbourne-based Norden Conversion, mean schools and community groups are able to more easily transport people who previously would have found travelling difficult.

Model line manager for Renault Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Lyndon Healey says Renault saw the need for more accessibility and used the Master Bus to fill it.

"The Master Bus is a very versatile vehicle, which ordinarily seats 11 passengers and the driver," he says.

"We could see a demand for a bus that offers accommodation for two wheelchairs from community groups and schools that maximises the regular number of seats retained.

"Working in conjunction with Norden, we have created a product that meets a wide range of needs."

Renault says the converted Master Bus could also see use in regional bus operation where wheelchair access is a priority to businesses and patrons, as well as in the health and social services sector.

"We are confident this design will be viewed with a good deal of enthusiasm by these customers, and we look forward to helping more operators gain access to more efficient vehicles that make their lives and those of their passengers easier," Lyndon says.

Nick Kotsonis, Norden’s business development manager, says the Master Bus design is easy to work with for conversions, so much so that Norden has purchased one for demonstration use.

"We will take the Master Bus with the two wheelchair conversion to a number of shows around the country to show it off," he says.

"What we have created is a very flexible design that is easy for the operator to reconfigure in a minute or two to suit the needs of the day."

"For the two wheelchair specification we designed an internal layout that removed the raised floor from the passenger area, replaced some of the seats and installed the restraints for the wheelchairs and lastly, added the Braun L918 chairlift, all without requiring any structural modifications to the bus."

Norden designed the re-fit so that the regular double seats – which are folded away to create wheelchair space – can fold back down when there isn’t a wheelchair in place to allow seats for extra passengers.

"One of the advantages of the generous headroom is that carers for wheelchair passengers will not need to bend their heads when moving around inside.

"The flat floor also reduces the tripping hazard, which is appreciated by community transport providers, conscious of OH&S standards."

Norden says the Master Bus can also be fitted with three wheelchairs, though this reduces the amount of space for regular seats.

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