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The revival of the closed driver’s cab

The closed driver's cab will ensure the protection of the driving personnal, here seen in a Mercedes Benz Citaro I © Mercedes Benz

The Corona/ COVID-19 crisis has led to the rebirth of a detail in our buses that had largely died out in the past decades: the closed driver’s cab.

In the past few days, both Mercedes and the Brazilian bus manufacturer Marcopolo have presented such installation kits. These can either be delivered within brand-new series buses or retrofitted to buses which are already in operation.

The purpose of these cabins is to protect the driver, especially in times of Corona. If the driver has to cash in, as in many supermarkets, the safety distance required for health protection cannot be maintained. In the supermarket, the cashier sits behind a protective screen made of plexiglass. In the bus, the driver is supposed to sit in his (almost) closed cabin. However, there can of course be a small opening through which the ticket and money can be transferred back and forth between the passenger and the driver. Accordingly, the cabin door to the passenger compartment is also offered with an integrated cash register, depending on customer requirements

Closed driver’s cab in a Marcopolo bus I © Marcopolo

But the driver’s cab also has another advantage: it protects the person behind the steering wheel from attacks. Unfortunately such attacks happen, too – albeit fortunately only rarely.

Mercedes emphasizes that these driver’s cabins are not temporary, but a very professional and permanent solution. The cutting disc is made of clear single-pane safety glass. The door between the driver’s cabin and the rest of the interior of the bus is 780 mm wide and 1,400 mm high. The retrofit kit is available for all Citaro and CapaCity since the year of construction 2011.

The safety window does not impair the driver’s view at all – for example, the right side mirrors. Accordingly, it also has a type approval in accordance with ECE R 43.

Mercedes is currently working on developing a partition with a protective screen made of polycarbonate rather than safety glass. Polycarbonate is already used today, for example, for the windows of aircraft or the lens of car headlights and meets all legal requirements. Above all, however, older cabs can also be retrofitted with driver’s cabs with polycarbonate windows. Appropriate attempts have already been made, and Mercedes emphasizes that these tests have been very promising.

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