by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Ohly & Weber chooses Tourismo for MeinFernbus: Mercedes-Benz Tourismo to travel the distance from Frankfurt to Leipzig

Ohly & Weber Reisedienst GmbH, travel service partner of Germany's pioneering long-distance bus company MeinFernbus, has already provided three Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coaches for the new long-distance route between Frankfurt and Leipzig. Handing over the vehicles to Frank Weber, Managing Director at Ohly & Weber Reisedienst GmbH, at the plant in Mannheim, Konstantinos Tsiknas, Head of Sales at Mercedes-Benz Buses and Coaches in Germany, spoke of the importance this new long-distance route represents and the need for customised equipment levels for long-distance vehicles.

Tourismo and the long-distance concept

The Tourismo is one of the most popular touring coaches from Mercedes-Benz ever, with well over 15,000 vehicles having been sold since production started in 1994. The success of the Tourismo comes down to its particularly economical and safe design, as well as very flexible individualisation options which result from a large range of special equipment. Frank Weber confirms that: "Our passengers really like the Tourismo. It offers them a high level of comfort thanks to seats which are particularly easy on the spine and an engine which runs quietly. With yearly mileages of more than 200,000 km, the combination of operating costs, reliability and re-sale value of the vehicles is a decisive factor for us as a bus company. The extremely low fuel consumption of the Euro V EEV engines is a major part of the economic aspect. Ohly & Weber has now made full use of these characteristics and the equipment levels suited to long-distance regular service buses in order to transforming the Tourismo touring coach into a long-distance regular service bus. What's more, on almost all of the lines, there are Omniplus workshop partners available in close proximity around the clock.

The order was taken for a 2-axle Tourismo M and two Tourismo L vehicles. Just like all other long-distance regular service buses from MeinFernbus, the coaches will feature the company's eye-catching pea-green exterior. Inside, high-quality 4-star seating arrangement has been used. All 49 seats found in the Tourismo M and the 57 seats in the Tourismo L vehicles have been ordered in the Travel Star Xtra (TSX) design with Softline upholstery. The on-board entertainment programme includes a radio and video system with CD/DVD player, a navigation display which can be displayed to passengers, as well as two 48.26 cm (19 ″ ) TFT screens. Furthermore, every bus has its own WLAN network, which allows passengers to surf the net and send emails free of charge during the journey.

As long-distance coach travel does not generally involve tour guides or service personnel, catering facilities for the passengers present a particular challenge. In the future, this role will thus be carried out by vending machines. A selection of everything from chocolate bars and snacks to cups of coffee will be available from the two machines which are built into the kitchenette near the central entrance. The central entrance is also monitored by camera. The high-performance roof-mounted air-conditioning system with 32 kW output and the additional driver's workstation climate control have also been adapted to long-distance travel, as has the flushable on-board toilet.

Powerful, environmentally friendly drive

The Tourismo L vehicles are powered by the impressive in-line 6-cylinder turbo diesel engines from the OM 457 LA series, with 12 litre displacement and an output of 315 kW (428 hp). With a maximum torque of 2100 Nm, the engine meets the requirements of the environmentally friendly EEV exhaust emission category (Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicles) without the use of a particulate filter. The same OM 457 LA engine type is used in the Tourismo M, however with a reduced output of 300 kW (408 hp) and Euro V emissions category. Power is transmitted to the tried-and-tested hypoid drive axle with the Mercedes‑Benz 6-speed transmissions GO 210 and GO 190.

Long-distance services: the environmentally friendly alternative

A recent amendment to the Passenger Transport Act in Germany will certainly shake up the German long-distance market for bus travel. Since April 2012, MeinFernbus has transported 95,000 passengers from A to B on its two long-distance lines alone. Tickets for the long-distance coaches are generally available at a much better price than the corresponding rail options and, in terms of environmental friendliness, the busses are clearly streets ahead.

With its new long-distance line between Frankfurt and Leipzig, Ohly & Weber Reisedienst GmbH is branching out into long-distance regular service bus routes and thus expanding its range of travel services from its previous fields of touring routes and classic regular service routes. Founded in 1932, the family company views this business venture as an exciting and lucrative opportunity with plenty of growth potential. Operating the long-distance route is MFB MeinFernbus GmbH, more of a start-up company on the German long-distance travel market having only been established in June 2011. MeinFernbus currently organises the lines together with eleven medium-sized bus companies. The three new Mercedes models from Ohly & Weber are thus part of six new lines altogether, which MeinFernbus is already getting set to launch this November.

Credits: Daimler AG

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