Cruising along the Sunshine Coast: 150 MAN city buses for Durban, South Africa

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Durban is a true holidaymakers’ paradise. The South African city on the Indian Ocean casts its spell on countless tourists every year thanks to its many attractions and beaches for bathing and surfing. Various modes of public transportation – including 150 new city buses recently delivered to Durban Transport by MAN Truck & Bus – get visitors, locals and commuters alike from A to B.

Durban Transport, one of the most important providers of public transportation in the coastal city, had very specific requirements in mind for its buses. “All the more reason for us to celebrate winning the order,” says Gary Aliphon, Bus Fleet Manager at MAN Truck & Bus South Africa. He continues: “The operator wanted high-floor chassis that would enable taller boarding platforms to be served as well. Another priority for the operator was the use of anti-corrosive materials in the vehicle due to the coastal climate.” One other special feature was also down to the climate conditions prevailing in the city on the Indian Ocean: The vehicles’ engine cooling system was modified and improved with the aim of enabling it to continue operating reliably – even on the sweltering summer days experienced in Durban.

MAN RR8 and RR9 high-floor chassis equipped with a powerful Euro 5 engine rated at 320 hp (235 kW) and a six-gear automatic gearbox form the backbone of the city buses. In addition, decreased noise levels and exhaust emissions protect the environment and the city’s residents alike. The ESP program, electronic brake system with ABS and ASR all guarantee on-board safety and comfort for drivers and passengers. MAN experts at the assembly plant in Olifantsfontein assembled the 12-metre-long buses. “Both the chassis and the body were supplied by MAN, which enabled us to offer the customer a suitable solution from a single source,” Aliphon emphasises.

The vehicle’s chic contemporary design also proved persuasive. The sleek aesthetics of MAN buses always go down well with transport companies, passengers and experts, as proven by the array of international awards won by the design team over the years. These include the prestigious iF Design Award, which MAN Truck & Bus scooped for the fifth time in a row this year. “Naturally, these city buses customised to Durban Transport’s specifications are no exception. They score highly with their cutting-edge design, which not only causes a stir in the streetscape, but also vastly improves their aerodynamics,” says Gary Aliphon. What is more, style and safety go hand in hand: while the vehicles’ LED daytime running lights are a striking external feature, they also help to ensure outstanding visibility.

The buses even know how to make an impression on the inside. Generous seat spacing means that passengers can travel from A to B as comfortably as possible. The kneeling function also means the bus can be boarded with ease. Drivers were also kept in mind, however: the instruments are arranged such that all important information is visible quickly at a glance. Another neat feature is the fibreglass construction of the side panels, which reduces the buses’ gross weight. After all, the glass-reinforced plastic is not only corrosion-resistant and sturdy, but also very lightweight. Their reduced weight and improved aerodynamic properties make MAN vehicles very eco-friendly while reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs at the same time.

“Efficiency, eco-friendliness, comfort and safety were all essential criteria for Durban Transport when choosing their city buses. Yet this customer still had very specific requirements, which we brought to fruition in the vehicles through close cooperation. The objective was – and still is – to ensure that drivers and passengers can get from A to B in safety and comfort at all times, even in Durban’s extreme summer temperatures. And we succeeded in doing so,” summarises Rudi Kuchta, Head of Business Unit Bus at MAN Truck & Bus.

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