Colombiabus newsroom – Charlie Rodríguez/Joseba Mendoza
The renewal of public transport vehicles in the Colombian capital continues, and its citizens are experiencing the most important incorporation of vehicles in its history. It has been two years when bi-articulated, articulated, gas standards, electric buses and midibuses of various types have been incorporated into the ranks of the main passenger transport operators in Bogotá.
This time, the turn is for the zonal component, which receives 110 new units of the Marcopolo New Senior 600 urban model, mounted on the Mercedes-Benz Of917 chassis, capable of carrying up to 50 passengers inside between sitting and standing. New vehicles that will facilitate the movement of passengers in the most remote parts of the Colombian capital, thanks to their compact dimensions that allow them to turn with more solvency in the narrow streets of the city’s neighborhoods.
A TESTED AND PROVEN MODEL
The forward door midibuses became an industrial trend during the early 2010s. Although Marcopolo had in his portfolio the successful Senior model, suitable for the bodywork of front engine chassis, the formal configuration of the same, having an aerodynamic front glass, it did not quite fit the new trend of midibus configuration, with the access ahead of the front axle. In response, they presented the luxurious Audace model, a derivation of the Brazilian model of the same name, incorporating luxury finishes and the design philosophy of the 7th generation.
Despite the acceptance of this vehicle, especially in the tourist segment of the market, the war in this category of bodywork was given more by price and practicality, than by luxury. It was so Superpolo decided to launch a product never seen before (not even in Brazil), called New Senior, capable of serving the inter-municipal, school and urban markets, with more favorable production costs, lower overall height, lower weight and greater modularity in the production process .
The 600 version of the New Senior (the one with the lowest platform) is the protagonist of this installment, and has received a series of adjustments to make its operation simpler, more comfortable, safer and above all, profitable. So much so, that in order to optimize the weight of the vehicle, facilitate access control and guarantee the protection of drivers against pathogenic threats such as Coronavirus, and vandalism attacks, now the midibuses return to the configuration
original door between axles, leaving free the front space next to the driver.
Another interesting detail incorporated into the new units is the modularity of the side lining, with a view to reducing repair times due to minor collisions. In this way, the aluminum side sheet is sectioned into several parts, both in the central part and in the underside of the body. Thus, if a repair is necessary on the sides of the bus, only the affected part can be replaced quickly, without having to repair the entire side sheet. This results in less downtime for repairs and lower maintenance costs.
Another interesting detail on the exterior of the body are the asymmetric rear-view mirrors. In this way, the mirror on the right side is much further from the line of sight, than the one on the driver’s side, practically fixed to the access door. This allows a better visual, also reducing the cost of damage or repair of these accessories.
SIMPLE BUT SAFE
The Mercedes-Benz OF 917 platform is a new commitment by Daimler to offer more universal vehicles, thanks to the presence of Fuso as one of the group’s brands. It is a vehicle designed for the transport of passengers (there are no equivalents of this chassis with trucks of the brand), with a straight frame, mechanical suspension and a compact 4-cylinder in-line engine that delivers 170Hp at 2-500 revolutions per minute.
It is a simple mechanic, easy to coach, but also simple to operate, which is reflected in the driving area, where the instruments. Another interesting detail on the exterior of the body are the asymmetric rear-view mirrors. In this way, the mirror on the side is much further from the line of sight than the one on the driver’s side, practically fixed to the access door. This allows a better visual, also reducing the cost of damage or repair of these accessories. Thus, if an arrangement is necessary on the sides of the bus, only the part can be replaced quickly, affected, without having to repair the entire lateral lamina. This results in less downtime for repairs and lower cost of maintenance.
Thanks to the location of the engine, which is located at the front of the mobile, the rear area has been intervened to locate passengers with reduced mobility. The hydraulic lift for wheelchairs is installed there, which is incorporated into the exit ladder at the rear end of the bus, in addition to a space specially designed for the fixation of the disabled passenger. The exterior lighting is very well-defined in this model and is part of the active safety systems incorporated into the bus. The front area features easily replaceable round low and high lamps, as well as fog lights on the lower part of the front bumper. The low beams, upper delimiters, DRL light, as well as the taillights have LED technology.
A REVIEW FROM THE INSIDE
Although the regulations for body building are strict and give less and less room for creativity in the internal configuration of mass transport vehicles, it is the small details that they allow manufacturers to achieve differential points that tip the balance in their favor when it comes to choice by operators. In this case, the passenger lounge of the New Senior has been configured with 13 seats and space for 37 standing passengers, which have handles in metallic pipe with a non-slip finish along the aisle. Most of these handles are fixed to the bodywork thanks to an aluminum profile that runs through the saloon, avoiding drilling holes in the hood and roof trim.
Passengers with priority boarding have their blue seats duly differentiated, as well as the space for travelers with live help (guide dog), which have their special location. The renewal process is ongoing, and thanks to the operators who trust the national products, companies such as Superpolo continue to create jobs, both directly and for each of the suppliers that makes an effort to achieve safe and quality products.