The Dodge Sprinter Shuttle Bus from Daimler Buses

My best friend Greg Martin recently left the auto dealership arena and is now the National Accounts Sales Manager, West for the 11 Western United States for Daimler Buses North America. I didn't know this fact, but Daimler Buses is the number one worldwide leader in bus sales--including the U.S.! They build the Orion, Setra (we got to ride in a couple of these in Chicago in March. What an awesome bus!) and now the Sprinter line of buses. Greg sells the Sprinter line of buses.

Since Greg just got his first demo unit, we arranged a meeting in historic Sonoma, CA to get a closeup view of this new product. I have to say, having been on a lot of shuttle buses, this is off the chart better in every way. The 15-passenger demo had optional leather seating with individual seat belts and though I am 6' 3", it was very comfortable and feels so spacious. I could stand up without bending over and that is a welcome change. We sat inside and talked for a while and since it was a cold, rainy day, he turned the heater on and it warmed us up right away and very quietly as well.

Speaking of quiet. . . this is a diesel motor, but you would be hard pressed to know that from the sound. It is amazingly quiet. The Sprinter bus comes standard with the Mercedes-Benz 3.0 Liter V-6 U.L.E.V. (Ultra Light Emissions) engine which has plenty of power, yet exceptional fuel economy. Compared to a typical gas shuttle, it saves approximately .30 for every mile driven! Add in maintenance and other savings and in 100,000 miles of service, you've saved about $56,307. That's serious savings.

The next important aspect to us was ride. There is no comparison between the ride of this shuttle bus compared to the typical shuttles we've experienced. It was a very smooth ride without a lot of typical back and forth swaying. The longer wheelbase (170") makes a great difference in the ride compared to the typical 138" wheelbase on most shuttles.

The entry height was very low due to the chassis design and tire/wheel size, so that makes it very easy to get in and out of. Interior headroom is 75" and since the door entrance height is 80" it makes it no problem for we tall folk.

This bus comes in a number of different standard configurations for specific industries like the Hotel Shuttle which is like the one we saw with some luggage area in the rear, the Airport Shuttle, which has perimeter seating with an 80" luggage rack on the opposite wall of the entry door. Then there is the Commuter Shuttle which accommodates 16 passengers with storage deleted, and the Paratransit Shuttle which is designed to accommodate wheelchair lifts side and/or rear and is ADA compliant.

What an improvement in design and execution this unit from Daimler is compared to all of the shuttle buses I have been on and they are many. It has all the right features in the same overall footprint which speaks of great engineering. Well done Daimler!

You can call and talk with Greg Martin at 707-843-3260 or email him at greg.martin@dcbusna.com.

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