A TALL STORY
The beauty of the new Setra S 531 DT high-end double-deck coach is twofold – and a mere listing of specifications in no way would do it justice. What it represents in other aspects of city bus travel and greater coach tourism in future truly sets it apart
We take a closer look at the landmark Setra S 351 DT doubledecker we brought to you last
issue, and size up just what it all means in the real world now – and in future. There’s lots to discuss... Fabian Cotter reports.
WHERE TO BEGIN? There is so much to cover... In its rawest terms, and right off the bat, the salient points are this: As an OEM bus it can apply the brakes itself in an emergency, and it can inspire greater Australasian tourism patronage, capitalising on year-on-year statistical growth and imbuing ‘bus travel’ with much needed ‘halo status’ to the benefit of us all. Or something like it at least – given the iconic Setra brand from the massive Daimler stable is not intended for our shores. But we will get to that.
Firstly, though, it’s the safety features that have put the Setra S 531 DT on the global bus and coach map. In the right combination of the latest iterations of Active Brake Assist (4) and Sideguard Assist, it is a first on any bus or coach in the world, according to Daimler.
And while technologies such as Active Brake Assist and advances similar to Sideguard Assist – for the blind spots; it monitors a vehicle’s side periphery - have been on cars from a few marques for a while now (and even, in more recent times, on trucks) on a bus such capabilities are arguably even more at home. How so?
Buses and coaches are at heights and widths and lengths that make ‘mindfulness’ of pedestrians in dangerous proximity to a moving bus in city environments crucial. Doubt that? Just go watch at street level in major cities at peak periods on weekdays during lunch hour. Observe busy intersections for the ‘cellphone-obsessed zombies’ who obliviously cross the paths of traffic in their trance-like state. Sure, not all are in full-on ‘Dawn of the Living Dead 7.3’ mode, but a lot of them these days are.
In the event of an unforeseen human error or otherwise, such