Lightweight Kiel seats continue to attract commuters, save fuel

Posted on July 18, 2014

KIEL North America, a trendsetting seat provider to transit systems around the world, supplied seating for 31 commuter coach buses to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) BusPlus Program starting in November 2013. Now with some buses in their seventh month of operation, MassDOT officials say that the lightweight and ergonomically designed seats have exceeded their expectations.

RELATED: Transit trending toward maintenance-free seating options

After conducting a study among the privately operated bus sector in New England, the MassDOT 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.

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 buses features 51 Kiel Avance 2050 seats which have been manufactured at the Kiel North American facility in Elkhart, Ind., and are fully Buy America-compliant. The lightweight seats provide the highest standard of comfort combined with a contemporary and ergonomically correct European design, according to the company.

For the passengers’ safety, each seat is equipped with a three-point seatbelt that is FMVSS 210-compliant. 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%. This equals approximately 260 gallons of diesel per bus per year or an annual savings of over $32,000 for the entire fleet of 31 buses, according to the company. In accordance with the GreenDOT initiative of MassDOT, 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.

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