Lightweight Kiel Seats continue to attract commuters, save fuel
Eight month into the BusPlus Program, the Massachusetts DOT sees savings and an increase in customer satisfaction
KIEL North America, a trendsetting seat provider to transit systems around the world, supplied seating for 31 commuter coach busses to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation BusPlus Program starting in November 2013. Now with some busses in their 7th month of operation, MassDOT officials say that the lightweight and ergonomically designed seats have exceeded their expectations. After conducting a study among the privately operated bus sector in New England, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation concluded that besides more reliable service, passenger comfort was a key factor in increasing the attractiveness of regional public transport. Other surveys agree that in many metro areas across the nation commuters are looking for alternatives to long commuting times, rush hours, and traffic jams, but are not willing to sacrifice the comfort and convenience their cars provide.(1)
Accordingly, the MassDOT Bus Plus Program is a unique partnership between public and private transportation entities that aims at providing stellar service and the highest level of convenience for intercity commuters. Seven privately owned New England bus companies received 31 state-of-the-art clean-diesel commuter coaches through the MassDOT BusPlus Program last fall and immediately began to offer additional services and routes.
Each of the 31 busses features 51 Kiel Avance 2050 seats which have been manufactured at the Kiel North American facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and are fully “Buy America” compliant. The lightweight seats provide the highest standard of comfort combined with a contemporary and ergonomically correct European design. For the passengers’ safety, each seat is equipped with a three point seatbelt that is compliant with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #210. The Avance 2050 also includes power outlets so riders can charge their electronic devices, magazine nets, sturdy foot rests and well designed arm rests. Because the advanced design, the seat back profile is more streamlined, therefore dramatically increasing leg room for greater comfort and space to move about the coach.
With a seat pair weight of just 97 lbs., the Avance 2050 is also a fuel saver and will reduce the amount of gasoline needed by about 4%. (2) This equals approximately 260 gallons of diesel per bus per year or annual savings of over $32,000 for the entire fleet of 31 busses. In accordance with the GreenDOT initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the reduction in seat weight alone will minimize the CO2 emissions by almost 6,000 lbs. per bus per year compared to heavier standard seats.(3)
“It has been a great privilege for Kiel to support the goals of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and its exemplary BusPlus Program,” says Thomas Schwank, General Manager of Kiel North America. “This innovative program infuses both private and public transportation with the highest amount of comfort, safety, and productivity for intercity riders. We are happy that our sophisticated lightweight seating systems are not only pleasing to the travelers but also a huge benefit to the operating costs of the owners.”
(2) Applied Energy. “Strategies for the Road Transport System Based on Renewable Resources – The Case of an Import-Independent Sweden in 2025.” June 2010. Volume 87, Issue 6, Pages: 1836-1845.
Founded in 1945 in Nördlingen, Germany, Kiel is a leading manufacturer of innovative passenger seating systems for commercial vehicles and public transportation, including seating solutions for busses and trains on the local, regional, and intercity level. Kiel seats distinguish themselves with their high quality, sophisticated technology, and their contemporary design while meeting the highest requirements both in safety and passenger comfort. Kiel conducts business worldwide with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Turkey and dedicated sales teams in Greece, France, Austria, and the UK.
Susa Quinn | Kiel NA LLC | Head of Corporate Communications