In a UK first, vehicles offer two wheelchair spaces with display screens showing live footage from the top deck
Following a £6.5 million investment in a fleet of 30 new fully accessible vehicles, Edinburgh Bus Tours has been hailed as a shining example in the accessible tourism sector.
The company, which is run by Lothian Buses, showcased one of its new fleet, a Majestic Tour bus, at the Rehabilitation International World Congress hosted by RI Global and Shaw Trust at the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) today (Wednesday, 26 October).
Chris McCoy, head of the Accessible Tourism Programme at VisitScotland, said: “Edinburgh Bus Tours is an excellent example of a company which understands the accessible tourism business case – a market worth £1.3 billion to the Scottish economy. By investing in its fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles, the benefits will be felt not only by visitors, but by the tourism industry as a whole.”Andrew Parkins, programme director, Rehabilitation International World Congress 2016, said: “We are delighted to have Edinburgh Bus Tours in attendance showcasing one of its new fully accessible vehicles. Shaw Trust is a UK based charity that delivers opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people so we recognise the importance of tourism for all and independent travel. These are topics that we’ll be exploring as part of the Congress programme so it will be great to have an example of an accessible sightseeing vehicle at the EICC.”
In a UK first, vehicles offer two wheelchair spaces with display screens showing live footage from the top deck. Class two mobility scooters can now travel on board and there are subtitled commentaries on display for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Guide dogs are welcome to travel on board too.
Other benefits include:
Panoramic, uninterrupted views thanks to more glass in their design
Cleaner and greener buses – they cut carbon emissions by an impressive 40% and other harmful emissions by a staggering 95-99%
Improved connectivity with Wi-Fi available on all new vehicles
Taking its five-star status from VisitScotland seriously, Lothian Buses’ teams say they went to great lengths to design the new buses with partners Wrightbus and Volvo Busin a process which took around a year.
Paul Ralph, director of Access and Inclusion at Euan’s Guide, said: “Having travelled on many buses over the years it was great to see tour buses that had finally got it right for the wheelchair using tourist. Surprised and pleased to see two wheelchair spaces with plenty of room to manoeuvre.
“Brilliant idea to have a video screen in front of each wheelchair space where you can get a view of what’s in front of the bus. It makes the commentary so much more meaningful as you share what others can see. The ‘icing on the cake’ was to discover the fabulous glass panels running up the side of the stairs to the upper deck. No more wondering what’s on the other side of the bus that people are looking at…I could see it too!”
The new buses are in operation on the Edinburgh Tour, Majestic Tour and City Sightseeing routes.