French transport operator STCAR (Société de Transport Côte d’Azur Riviera) has taken delivery of 21 Setra double-decker coaches. The TopClass S 431 DT models are to cover the 27 kilometre route between Nice and the Sophia Antipolis technology park near Antibes. During peak periods the cutting-edge three-axle coaches will depart every ten minutes, taking staff to the science park where up to 35 000 people are employed by over 1000 companies. The number 230 route along the Côte d’Azur is the first route in France to use double-decker coaches.
The coaches feature a panoramic roof, allowing passengers to enjoy the view of the seafront on one side and the Alps on the other during their journey. The head sections of the 83 "Setra Voyage" seats are trimmed with hardwearing and easy-care "Composition" blended leather. Reading lamps, folding tables, footrests and USB ports at each seat all make for a highly enjoyable trip. Passengers can also charge their laptops and smartphones via the two 220 volt sockets, centrally positioned below the seat rows. The coach, which is equipped with a wheelchair space, features an on-board destination display which shows passengers the double-decker's current position and provides information on the stops along the route throughout the journey. The S 431 DT models are equipped with video cameras to monitor the top deck and the rear stairs and also have cutting-edge safety and assistance systems on board. These include Lane Assistant (SPA) and adaptive cruise control (ART) with Active Brake Assist (ABA 3), which is capable of automatically initiating emergency braking even in the case of stationary obstacles.
The next stage planned is the introduction of a dedicated bus lane, which should make the route even faster and more comfortable in the future and further boost passenger satisfaction. According to a survey, 97 percent of users are impressed by the comfort of the S 431 DT. 65 percent of the passengers surveyed prefer travelling on the top deck.
The S 431 DT, first introduced in 2002, was the flagship of the Setra TopClass 400. This premium model series was superseded in 2014 by the TopClass 500. The 13.89 m long double-decker coaches, available since 2013 with Euro VI drive systems and the 375 kW (510 hp) OM 471 engine, remain an integral part of the current product range. The Setra TopClass 400 coaches boast over 40 new features not offered by their Euro V predecessors. These include a revised cockpit with a new multifunction steering wheel, two staircases as standard and a luggage compartment door that is 23 centimetres wider.