Middlebury, Ind.-based Arboc Specialty Vehicles has grown substantially in roughly four years. And with its latest announcement, the company that began with five men and a dream expects to grow even more.
The South Bend Tribune reported that Arboc Specialty Vehicles, now with 100 employees, recently announced it will expand its product offerings through a partnership with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) out of Gaffney, S.C., on the co-development of a low-floor rear engine custom chassis.
The first vehicle to utilize the new chassis will be Arboc’s new Spirit of Liberty product line. The new line is on display this week at the American Public Transportation Association show in Indianapolis.
The new bus will feature a low floor with no steps inside from front to rear with a ramp entry.
“There will be no steps over the rear axle,” said Don Roberts, president and chief executive officer for Arboc. “It’s the first time there’s ever been a true flat floor from entrance to the back of the bus.”
The company plans to build the new bus in lengths of 28, 30 and 33 feet. The bus will seat as many as 37 passengers, and there also will be space for up to six wheelchairs.
Like the Spirit of Mobility and the Spirit of Freedom, which already have resulted in the production of 1,400 units, the Spirit of Liberty features an entrance that wheelchairs can roll up, rather than utilizing a lift, as some competitors do. That feature, along with a wide door, also allows loading and unloading to take place in a timely fashion.
And like its Arboc counterparts, Roberts expects the Spirit of Liberty to be in demand nationwide and in Canada.
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Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) will look to expand into the growing paratransit market through an emerging partnership with ARBOC Specialty Vehicles on the co-development of a low-floor rear-engine custom chassis.
Commerical Carrier Journal reported that through the partnership, which started in fall 2012, FCCC and ARBOC Specialty Vehicles – a custom builder of paratransit vehicles for a variety of applications based in Middlebury, Ind. – are working through a close, collaborative process to develop a customized, dedicated chassis for ARBOC’s Spirit of Liberty product line.
The new product will be powered by an FCCC rear diesel pusher and feature an innovative low-floor design that will eliminate the step-up over the rear axle, and will equip the Spirit of Liberty well for its expected use in a variety of low-floor applications like assisted living facilities, hotel and rental car transport, transit agencies and others. The chassis will offer customers a GVW of up to 25,900 lbs. It features ARBOC’s spacious low-floor interior throughout the passenger area with no steps, and it includes oversized wheelchair zones.
“We’ve seen a strong anticipated demand for the Liberty since introducing it in 2012, and we are excited about the new opportunities this new Liberty concept brings through partnership with FCCC,” said Don Roberts, president and CEO of ARBOC Specialty Vehicles. “Working with FCCC helps us ensure not only that we offer the marketplace a superior, high-quality product, but also one backed by a superior dealer service and factory support infrastructure.”
“This bus will be an innovative, low-floor product built for tomorrow, today,” he added.