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

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS FABIAN COT­TER

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

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