Freightliner Custom Chassis Building Bus Chassis for Veterans Hospitals

Freightliner Custom Chassis is building 100 bus chassis which will be used by Veterans Administration hospitals.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) continues to expand its presence in the commercial bus market. The company recently secured an order to supply the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) with 100 FCCC MB-65 commercial bus chassis.

Farber Specialty Vehicles, based in Columbus, OH, will customize the buses that will be built on the FCCC MB-65. The buses will be used for routine patient transportation at Veterans Administration hospitals across the country. Farber Specialty Vehicles chose Glaval Bus bodies equipped with FCCC chassis because of the superior design, durability and reliability of the FCCC MB-65.

“We needed a rail-style chassis in order to outfit the buses with coach-style bodies, and we needed diesel engines and air suspensions,” says Ken Farber, president of Farber Specialty Vehicles. “We’ve done business with FCCC for a long time, and we knew the FCCC MB-65 would provide an ideal solution for the GSA.”

Powered by the Allison automatic six-speed transmission and an EPA 2010 Cummins ISB 6.7-liter engine with up to 300 hp, the FCCC MB-65 is designed with a lowered engine for a flat-floor cockpit that offers convenience and flexibility to bus body builders. Its front and rear Hendrickson SOFTEK Taper Leaf Suspension provides a smooth ride and superior handling, while an industry-best 55-degree wheel cut adds outstanding maneuverability.

Farber develops buses and vans for applications ranging from law enforcement vehicles to mobile classrooms and veterinary facilities. FCCC and Farber routinely partner together to develop customized solutions built upon the FCCC XC commercial bus chassis, Farber noted.

The FCCC MB-65 chassis will be shipped to Glaval Bus in Elkhart, IN, where Glaval, a subcontractor for Farber, will build the commercial bus body onto the FCCC MB-65s. Farber will complete the customization for the Veterans Administration buses.

Farber says the GSA contract specifies two bus configurations in order to provide some vehicles which do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). FCCC will manufacture 72 MB-65 chassis with a 190-inch wheel base and a 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for a 26-foot body, which will not require a CDL to operate. The remaining 28 FCCC MB-65 chassis will have a 276-inch wheel base and a 32,000 GVWR for a 32-foot body.

“We are pleased to partner with Farber to accommodate the commercial bus order by the GSA,” says Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. “We continue to grow our presence in the commercial bus market primarily because of our focus on meeting customers’ specialized needs, and Farber recognized this. We are confident that passengers being transported to and from VA hospitals will notice the comfortable and smooth ride, while the GSA will be pleased with the MB-65’s durability and reliability.”

FCCC will begin production of the MB-65 chassis to fulfill the order this month, with work expected to continue into 2012. Farber estimates the first buses for the order will be completed in January.