French automaker designs new disability equipment for local communities
The Renault Master 12-seater bus will now receive disability and wheelchair lift equipment fit-outs for local hospitals, welfare organisations and schools thanks to a partnership with Melbourne-based Norden Conversion automotive equipment conversion and equipment specialists.
The wheelchair accessible vehicles can be fitted to accommodate up to three wheelchairs, while limiting existing regular seating. This function makes the van/mini bus available for a variety of fleet customers requiring disability access.
The new equipment includes a Braun L918 chairlift with wheelchair restraints, all without requiring any third-party modification to the vans or buses.
Nick Kotsonis, GM of Norden Conversion said the fit-for-purpose vehicle has a number of design features which will make life easier for many.
“We designed an internal layout that removed the raised floor from the passenger area and some seats, and installed restraints for wheelchairs without needing any additional modification,” he said. “The rear barn doors open wide which means it is easier for the wheelchair operator to move the chairs into and out of the van. Because the lift folds neatly inside the van and the doors close normally we are able to keep it free of road grime and out of the weather.”
The easy-clean vinyl-covered seats fold in a number of ways to accommodate maximum passengers if only one wheelchair is aboard. “One of the advantages of the generous headroom is carers for wheelchair passengers will not need to bend their heads when moving inside,” Nick said. “There is just that much more usable space inside for them. The flat floor also reduces trip hazards, which is appreciated by community transport providers conscious of OH&S standards.”
“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,” Nick said. “Renault offer a more competitive price than other European suppliers, a price comparable with suppliers from Asia, but superior in terms of interior space and carrying capacity.”
The Master Bus will make demonstrator appearances at a number of display events.