Travellers Choice choose kerb appeal and efficiency with more Irizar Integrals
Two new Irizar Integral I6S tri-axle coaches have recently joined the fleet at The Travellers Choice, joining two similar vehicles delivered last year and bringing the marque’s representation on the fleet to a total of seven coaches.
Joint managing director John Shaw says: “The DAF-engined Irizars are consistently better on fuel than another make of coach we run, even though that make has an automated manual gearbox while the Irizar uses a fully-automatic transmission. There’s a consistent margin of half-a-mile-per-gallon in favour of the Irizars.”
DAF’s economical MX-11 330 449 bhp engines drive ZF EcoLife transmissions. The rest of the running-gear is also premium ZF product, with a positively-steered rear axle for the ultimate safety and comfort. Brakes and suspension are by WABCO and incorporate ECAS, EBS3, ABS-ASR and ESP systems for comfort and safety. Fogmaker fire suppression systems are installed.
Looks also play an important part in Irizar’s success at The Travellers Choice.
“Our passengers may not know much about coaches, but the Irizar product stands out from the competition when you have different coaches parked up side-by-side,” John says. “It’s important to have coaches that look like they are on the cutting edge, which is one reason why we chose the i6S.”
Factory-installed coach washing systems ensure the vehicles will always look at their best, while Alcoa Durabrite aluminium wheels add the final touch of class.
Inside, the 13.2-metre coaches do not disappoint, with 57 i6Plus seats featuring integrated dual USB sockets and lateral side panels, headrests and piping upholstered in iLeather.
Like all the coaches on The Travellers Choice fleet, the Irizars are maintained in house in the company’s impressive workshop facilities.
“There are no issues with the routine maintenance: and the Irizars are as easy to work on as anything else,” John reports. “As for how easy it is to fix complex problems, or what the back-up might be like for breakdowns, I can happily say I have no idea, as we have had no issues with our Irizars at all to date.”
With over 100 vehicles on the fleet, renewal is a constant process at The Travellers Choice, with the most durable vehicles being kept for up to 12 years and cascaded down to more local and less demanding work as they age. “At the moment, I can see no reason why the Irizars should not run the course with us,” John says. “But as the vehicles age, it does increasingly become about the back-up.”
John is taking a long-term view of the future of the coach industry and is continuing to invest.
“Sadly, I think this year is pretty much a write-off, as far as incoming tourism goes anyway,” he says. “The UK is a long way ahead of most of the rest of the world in the battle against Covid, which is obviously good, but it does mean that incoming work will be curtailed. In normal times, we’d handle 2000 incoming tours a year, but this year we will do three or four hundred if we are lucky.”
- Founded in 1872 in the Lancashire seaside village of Silverdale by Robert Shaw, The Travellers Choice is today run by brothers John and Mark Shaw. A wide range of work is undertaken, including Continental and UK tours and holidays, day excursions, educational and cultural visits and corporate travel.