Mass Transit line-up offered by David Fishwick

first_imgAn up-and-comer for minicoach and minibus buyers is the latest-generation Ford Transit. Dealership David Fishwick offers a range of them to meet many needs, including accessible and minicoach modelsThe range of Transits offered by Fishwick includes several variantsLots can be said for the current-generation Ford Transit as a minicoach or minibus. It offers a respectable capacity and many options at prices that compare well with other models in its sector.Colne-based dealership David Fishwick supplies a range of Transit conversions to suit various applications, including minicoach, accessible minibus and even stage carriage work. All are proving popular.“We can do many things with a Transit because it’s an excellent starting point for conversion,” says Business Development Manager Matt Eames.Fishwick’s Transit range extends from 11 to 17 seats – with a wheelchair lift if required – and it includes a variety of higher-end configurations; as an example, recently supplied was a nine-seater with a large boot, a water cooler and a coffee machine.Transits are supplied by Ford as factory-finished minibuses. They are then converted to the desired layout without affecting the OEM warranty.Various base modelsThree base Transit models are utilised. The smallest, with a GVW of 3,500kg, carries up to 11 passengers, while the 4,100kg GVW long-wheelbase model goes as far as 14 seats. At both of these weights, vehicles are ordered specifically for the customer.Extra-long wheelbase examples are always in stock and thus finished conversions can be supplied quickly. GVW is 4,600kg, and a twin bench next to the driver delivers a 17-passenger capacity; with a single nearside front seat, 16 is the maximum.The largest Transit comes as standard with the highest roof option, allowing people who are over 6ft tall to stand easily. On all high-roof Transits, sizeable overhead luggage racks are factory fit and they have LED lights and, where applicable, rear air-conditioning vents.The heaviest Transit accounts for the vast majority of those supplied by Fishwick. To ex-factory specification, they have a payload of 1,589kg and a towing capacity of 2,100kg, both of which will be useful on luggage-heavy work.Transits well-equipped for their role and come with competitive price tagsTwo trim levels are offered: Base and Trend. The Base retails ex-factory at £26,995; the enhanced Trend has a £2,000 premium, but it is more popular because the value of its additional equipment more than outweighs that uplift. To those figures must be added an additional sum for the conversion work.Among the Trend’s additional items is independent saloon air-conditioning. Others include powered mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, metallic paint, titanium-effect grille and an upgraded driver’s seat.As standard, the Transit has a 125bhp engine, although a 155bhp option is available at extra cost, as are a rear-view camera, satellite navigation and a towbar.No automatic gearbox is yet available, and so all Transits come with the six-speed manual. All of those supplied new by Fishwick are Euro 6 models.Conversion workA basic conversion, which Fishwick calls the Operator’s Minibus, adds £1,000 to the ex-factory prices, putting a comfortably-specified 16- or 17-seat Trend at £29,995.This Operator’s Minibus includes PSV preparation – legal lettering, the addition of a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher, and the issue of a COC – along with relocation of the tachograph, lowered rear wheel arches and the addition of chrome trim. Additional options are available, including a boot in place of the rear row of seats, a powered sliding side door, and USB sockets.Fishwick is keen to work with buyers to deliver Transits that are suitable for niche applications. That is demonstrated by several that have been built for bus operators in the Outer Hebrides.They are configured with front LED destination display units and powered sliding side doors. They are covering high mileages in tough conditions, and are proving reliable.Accessible Transits can carry up to four wheelchair users at 4,600kg GVWAccessible alternativeThe Transit is a good base for a cost-effective accessible minibus, and on the 4,600kg GVW model Fishwick can offer a product able to carry up to four wheelchair users.As part of the conversion to accessible layout, the Transit receives a tracked Koller Smartfloor and a PLS cassette lift, and the seats are replaced with one of a choice of removable types.The latter point is important; the removable seats are lighter than those used by Ford, and thus the overall capacity of an accessible Transit is identical to an unmodified one.“We can do accessible variants at all three GVWs, but experience shows that buyers in this sector usually want the heaviest variant,” says Matt.“Even so, this year we will examine whether it is possible to uprate the 4,100kg GVW Transit to 4,250kg when a lift is fitted. That would retain a passenger capacity of 13 or 14.”Wheelchair-accessible Transits come with the necessary testing having been undertaken and the requisite paperwork to enable them to go straight to work.“On a 4,600kg GVW Transit, the cost of conversion to an accessible layout is £15,000, meaning that a Base model comes in at £41,995,” he adds. “The standard specification on an accessible Trend model blows many other welfare-type minibuses out of the water.”Fishwick converts accessible Transits in-house on a rolling programme, and the type accounts for around 20% of volume.Package for stage carriage work is available, including an LED blind unitWhy take Transit?The Transit’s capacity and the extent of its options list have made it a realistic option in the markets that Fishwick is targeting. Pricing and availability are good, and an anti-corrosion dipping process at the build stage will aid durability.Parts availability is via Ford’s extensive dealer network, and the manufacturer promises excellent fuel consumption.While its figures have been generated in a controlled environment, an unladen weight of little over 3,000kg at its heaviest and an efficient driveline should see in excess of 30mpg achievable in many applications.“We believe that the Transit will become a standard platform for many operators’ requirements, although for top-end and higher-capacity vehicles the Iveco Daily and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will remain the natural choice,” says Matt.“The Transit is so good that it has already taken a chunk of the 16-seat market. The gulf between the Ford and its competitors has shrunk a great deal in recent years, and it will continue to do so.”www.davidfishwick.comlast_img