The multi-national Mobility Networks Group and its UK bus and coach accessible lift division, PLS, have achieved significant enquiry levels regarding its new Access lift innovations at Coach & Bus Live (stand F20, NEC, 30th Sept – 1st Oct).

Mobility Networks is regarded as one of the world’s leaders in wheelchair access solutions for buses, coaches, mini-buses and domestic vehicles. Part of Mobility Networks, Passenger Lift Services (PLS) is the UK-leading name in the design, manufacture and maintenance of powered lifts and ramps for the PCV sector. At this year’s Coach & Bus Live, PLS demonstrated a range of pioneering product features that enhance existing access solutions – resulting in additional advantages for convertors, operators and passengers. This evolving excellence in engineering is being driven by PLS’s renowned focus on R&D along with the added advantage of Mobility Networks’ global connections. With offices worldwide, Mobility Networks continues to expand its international reach in terms of specialist manufacturers and suppliers so that the best components and technologies can be leveraged across the whole PLS Access portfolio. The latest Access product developments from PLS deliver weight-saving advantages along with enhanced usability and streamlined maintenance through a greater use of common components within the manufacturing process.

Adam Beck, PLS Managing Director, demonstrates the latest AccessTM Coach ski-lock lift (Mega-H) to Plaxton engineers and designers at Coach & Bus Live 2015.
Adam Beck, PLS Managing Director, demonstrates the latest AccessTM Coach ski-lock lift (Mega-H) to Plaxton engineers and designers at Coach & Bus Live 2015.

Mike Simmonds, CEO of Mobility Networks said: “As part of Mobility Networks, PLS has been delighted with the response to its latest Access lift innovations at Coach & Bus Live. The international strength of Mobility Networks’ gives PLS the ability to leverage more cutting-edge ideas and solutions from around the world. This ensures its reputation as the industry leader in accessible vehicle lifts will continue to be intact, now and in the future.”

Displayed on a fully operational rig, new innovations showcased by PLS included its:

* latest Coach Ski-locker Lift now with extending platform  

* all new ‘Mega-H’ bottom of locker coach lift 

* weight-saving Inboard Lift and Cassette AccessTM Lite platforms

The ‘Mega-H’ is the first choice for retro-fits to existing coaches as PLS can offer a comprehensive and competitive package solution.

The Access Coach Ski-locker Lift is a robust, fully automatic large passenger platform that provides side wheelchair access to executive and luxury coaches. The ‘Mega’ version provides the longest lifting cassette-based platform on the market and can deliver an impressive 500kg SWL. This lift now incorporates PLS’s latest concept in safety handrails which have been redesigned for easier deployment and storage through the inclusion of a new ‘Index Plunger’. Durability and safety have also been enhanced through a new, single extrusion hinge ‘Pod’ that provides better ‘positive locking’. The new handrail design has facilitated the inclusion of higher side kerbs along the edge of the lifting platform – again increasing peace of mind for wheelchair users when being lifted to coach floor level.  Handrail panels are now affixed using cutting-edge adhesive technology so that riveting is not required – hence reducing production time and improving aesthetics. 

The PLS stand and Coach & Bus Live 2015
The PLS stand at Coach & Bus Live 2015 demonstrated several new innovations in vehicle access

The automatic roll-off stop has also been reengineered using design concepts from other Mobility Network products. Now manufactured from a more robust single component, it also includes a new rubber lead edge, which provides a more precise contact between the lifting platform and the road surface. Coupled with a weight saving of 20kg across the design, the latest Access Coach Ski-locker Lift from PLS will continue to be first choice for most coach operators.

Alongside the main rig on the PLS stand, other examples from the growing Mobility Networks’ portfolio were displayed. These included an example of the FlexiRail vehicle flooring system that provides flexible securement of seating and wheelchair passengers, and the all-new aluminum IVA Bumper Step. The Bumper Step provides step-up access to mini-bus rear doors and can be installed over a platform lift cassette housing. This new design is 100% alloy TIG welded and two alloy-extruded ribs, which provide structural stiffness, have replaced the original steel frame. This new design now only weighs 7.5kg, hence saving convertors 16.5kg in weight and resulting in improved vehicle fuel efficiency.