Collins customizes the Ford Transit
By Matt Scheuler
Paramount to a paradigm shift, Collins Bus Corporation, a subsidiary of REV Group, Orlando, FL, known for small and midsize school and student activity buses, is introducing its first commercial vehicle this month — inspired by the new Collins school bus and built on the Ford Transit chassis.
While the Collins Ford Transit models differs significantly from its peers which are also built predominately for accessibility, its standard door openings, as well as wheelchair accessibility and securements, meet all ADA requirements for all OEMs.
In terms of standard accessibility
, the Collins Ford Transit comes with an electric door with optional manual door control at the entry, an ADA-compliant rear entrance sized for a standard lift — customer’s choice of Ricon or Braun ADA high-opening; extra wide for standard lift; as well as standard wheelchair restraints.
The Collins Ford Transit is available in multiple floor lengths, yet a body length different unlike other Ford Transit upfits. This model seats 18 passengers with an optional feature for rear storage.
The narrower, longer body length features five window sections plus and additional inches to accommodate a few more passengers or a proprietary collapsible storage space.
As Collins bus has traditionally been a school bus builder, this new product brings Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding for paratransit opportunities to the company, and gets Collins into shuttle bus markets, as well as other conventional avenues for small and midsize commercial buses, which Collin has never participated in until now.
Collins custom tailored the overall height of the Ford Transit to accommodate the larger, taller door opening integrated into the Collins body, and presents a smooth sidewall. However, in spite of its differences from other Collins products, the Collins commercial bus is assembled on the same production line as every other product, with many standard features consistent with any other Collins vehicle.
The body also features an optional extra external storage bay for tools and safety equipment, and is one of the only small buses in a commercial mark
et to offer this feature.
Beginning in 2014, Collins invested two years to develop and produce the Ford Transit concept and design for both school bus and commercial applications. In the meantime, REV acquired THOR Industries, which includes sundry small and midsize buses in its portfolio. At that time, REV saw little need to develop another, leaving Collins to continue its focus on school buses — until the appearance of the Ford Transit chassis. As Collins was already in on the ground floor, REV charged Collins to proceed with the concept for commercial markets.
Drivers of the Collins Ford Transit School Bus are saying this is clearly the bus they want to drive. They attribute this to the unparalleled windshield visibility, and the fact that the Ford Transit handles more like a conventional SUV than its competitive cutaway vehicles. Drivers will no doubt have similar responses for the Collins Commercial Ford Transit.
Matt Scheuler is general manager / vice president of Collins Bus Corporation, a division of REV Group. REV is a privately-owned corporation dedicated to serving fire & emergency, commercial and recreation specialty vehicle markets worldwide. Visit www.collinsbuscorp.com and www.revgroup.com.