Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins has underlined its commitment to safety by commissioning a third low-entry Mercedes-Benz Econic for operation in London.
The 6×2 Econic 2628LL wears the colours of Travis Perkins’ Keyline division. The chassis has a steering rear axle for enhanced manoeuvrability and is fitted with a dropside body by Massey Truck Engineering, of Sheffield, as well as a rear-mounted, 14-tonne/metre HMF crane.
It operates from a depot in Canning Town, East London, and transports heavy construction and civil engineering products such as drainage pipes, steelwork and palletised materials to construction sites across the capital.
The company’s first two Econics are also 26-tonners and work for its CCF business – one is based at Canning Town, the other at Borehamwood, in Hertfordshire. Both have curtainside bodies and carry truck-mounted forklifts for off-loading. They deliver sheeting and insulation materials.
All three trucks arrived via Wellingborough Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, a long-standing supplier to Travis Perkins; the Dealer is due shortly to deliver a fourth, which will be finished in the operator’s familiar green and gold livery.
The low-entry Econic offers major safety advantages for work in busy city centres. Most significantly, it has a deep, panoramic windscreen, fully-glazed kerbside door and a much lower seating position than a traditional construction chassis. The driver therefore benefits from a significantly improved field of vision, and finds it much easier to see and make direct eye contact with other road users, including particularly vulnerable bike riders.
To further enhance visibility, Travis Perkins’ vehicles are additionally equipped with a full complement of cameras covering front, rear and both side views, as well as Sidescan® systems which sound an audible warning to the driver and the cyclist if a bike moves up the nearside of the truck.
Travis Perkins’ Central Fleet Manager James Taylor confirmed: “The Econic is ideally suited to work in urban environments, where we share roads with cyclists and pedestrians, along with other traffic.
“These trucks represent something of a departure for us but we received excellent support from Mercedes-Benz and Intercounty throughout the specifying and ordering process. As a result they are ideally tailored to deal with the challenging conditions they face in daily service. The vehicles have been well received by our drivers who find the low seating position and extra all-round field of vision aids both safety and comfort”
Travis Perkins also operates a number of Mercedes-Benz Arocs and Antos rigids, as well as a sizeable fleet of Sprinter vans and Lutons. “These vehicles are superbly built, economical to operate and extremely reliable, while the manufacturer’s back-up is of the highest standard,” continued Mr Taylor.
There are now more than 20 Econics working in London on construction-related duties. The first, an alloy-bodied tipper built for aggregates work, was delivered last summer; others commissioned since include tipper-grabs and skip-loaders.