The Alwar plant of Ashok Leyland's new bus body facility is abuzz with production of Ultra Low Entry (ULE) buses ordered by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). According to the schedule mutually agreed, the supplies against the total order of 875 buses will be completed in February 2010. This facility will also produce the 200 ULE buses ordered by the State Transport Undertakings of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
According to the company's official statement, "The new facilities are set across approximately 20,000 square meters in Ashok Leyland's Alwar plant, which had spearheaded the induction of CNG technology in Delhi buses, with a supply of over 3,500 CNG bus chassis till date. The bus building facility is equipped with ultra-modern machinery that has been globally benchmarked and is the best in class. These include the cubic framing fixture, hydraulic automated panelling, conveyors for automation, body lifting mechanisms, paint booths and a shower testing facility."
It is to be mentioned that the ULE buses, with a floor height of 390 mm, have a step-less entry. These 12-metre-long buses have an integral all-steel body, with 35-seats in 2x2 configuration. It will be powered by a 230 hp turbo-charged, inter-cooled engine and fitted with automatic transmission. The use of Multiplex wiring is a unique feature influenced by considerable of electronics employed in the bus. Safety, passenger ride comfort and convenience and easy driveability have been key considerations in the design and manufacture of these buses.
The bus is equipped with electro-pneumatically controlled doors with lock sensors so that it can be operated by driver. Neither will the bus move when the doors are open nor will the doors open when the bus is in motion. Anti-skid vinyl flooring with silicon impregnation, conveniently located grab bars, sleeved stanchions and a stop request buzzer are some of the other safety features. The bus is fitted with a Speed Limiting Device and an efficient braking system.
Apart from the low floor and wide doors that afford easy entry and exit, passenger comfort and convenience are further addressed through air suspensions for jerk-free rides, complemented by modern, comfortable roto-moulded seats, air-condition and electronic destination boards. Equipped with laptop connections and a music system, the bus is also disabled-friendly.
The Stretch Panelling process is one of its kind in India - the steel and aluminum panels in the bus are stretched to their maximum elongation limits to ensure a smooth, dent- and wrinkle-free surface.