The new contract forms part of a wider re-organisation of transport operations in the Pilsen Region that includes an overhaul of the timetable and a reorganisation of some parts of the network, with due consideration to the impact of coronavirus.
The DB-owned company is at the forefront of transition to zero emission buses in the Netherlands, where, according to a report published in late 2019, it operates one third of the country’s electric buses.
In order to comply with the new measures related to Covid-19, each bus will be thoroughly cleaned overnight with strong disinfectant and passengers are expected to wear a face covering, in line with public health advice. The front two seats closest to drivers will be cordoned off and drivers have been issued with protective equipment, Arriva points out.
There will be a demand responsive element in the new contract. From August, customers in more rural areas will be able to make a request to be picked up from their nearest bus stop half an hour before departure. This can be done via telephone, online or by making a request on another Arriva bus service.
The region is normally popular with tourists and visitors. With that in mind, Arriva will attach some buses with bike trailers or racks in the summer, and ski boxes in the winter. These will be focused on routes to Šumava (Bohemian Forest), Český les (Upper Palatine Forest) and other tourist spots.
Iveco, MAN and Setra buses for Arriva in Pilsen
Arriva is now responsible for the operation of 235 bus routes, which are mostly focused in and around the city of Pilsen.
Four different types of buses have been introduced ranging from minibuses that can accommodate up to 20 passengers, through to larger buses that can accommodate up to 55 people for use on busier parts of the network. The new buses include 12 small Dekstra minibuses, 145 standard Iveco Crossway buses, 92 standard MAN buses and 66 big capacity Setra buses.
The new buses have been designed in such a way to ensure the most comfortable journey experience as possible. All buses are low floor making it easier to get on and off the bus. The seats have been designed with comfort in mind, including extra leg room. The buses also have Wi-Fi and phone charging points. Some buses will be equipped with audio visual announcements and information screens, displaying route and traffic information.
Jana Siber, Managing Director for Mainland Europe, said: “I am incredibly proud of the Arriva team in the Czech Republic for mobilising the contract against the challenging backdrop of global disruption to supply chains because of coronavirus. Mobilising a new contract that involves the introduction of 315 buses is no easy feat in this current time. Ensuring the safety of passengers and our people remains our key priority and we have measures in place to reduce the risk posed by coronavirus.”