Beestons won over by Irizar Integrals

Julie Hartley hands over the keys to Tom Munson of Beestons

Beestons won over by Irizar Integrals

Beestons (Hadleigh) Ltd, which can claim to be one of the oldest-established coach operators in the country, has chosen Irizar Integrals for the first time as it accelerates its fleet renewal programme in response to tightening emissions controls in London.

The company, which was established by the Beeston family in 1840 as a ‘horse and cart’ operator before being sold on to the present owners’ family in 1971, runs a mixed fleet of around 30 buses and coaches, with capacities ranging from 33 to 82 seats. Beestons runs its own programme of excursions including London theatre and shopping trips, river cruises, and days at the races, plus private hire and schools work.

Two new Irizar i6 Integrals have joined the front-line coaching fleet this year: one a 10.8 m 41-seater and the other a 12.9 m 57-seater; replacing older coaches from another manufacturer. The smaller coach has a rear-mounted floor-level toilet, while its larger counterpart has a central sunken-mounted facility.

Both coaches have i6 seats with tables, and ileather piping. Other passenger amenities include Actia video and Bosch audio systems, and drinks machines.

Beestons is a BUSK-accredited operator with six-star compliance rating, and consequentially both coaches have three-point seatbelts fitted throughout. Other equipment includes towing hitches for luggage trailers, and reversing cameras. The already stylish appearance of the i6 Integral is enhanced by metallic paint, anti-chip vinyl, black-tint windows, rear side-marker lamps, and drive-axle covers.

The coaches have identical drivelines, with DAF’s economical 369 hp MX-11 271 engines driving through ZF AS tronic automated manual transmissions.

Beestons’ operations director Tom Munson said: “The tightening of London’s Low Emissions Zone regulations meant that this year we decided to replace not one but two of our frontline coaches. We shopped around every coach dealer in the UK for suitable Euro 6 vehicles, and Irizar (UK) came up with by far the best value deal for us.

“It’s our first experience of the Irizar product, but we have a lot of faith in the DAF driveline. We’ve run other DAF-engined vehicles and found them to be problem-free and good on fuel.”

Tom Munson anticipates keeping the new coaches for between five and 10 years, and they will be maintained in-house by Beestons, which operates a six-weekly inspection cycle across its entire fleet.