Posted on October 15, 2014
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. ― OperatorJames Carroll chose a floor for his new Ford Transit Van that can go far in drawing lucrative corporate clients.
His new 2015 Transit, which he picked up Oct. 13 from Towne Livery in Orchard Park, N.Y., contains a wood-grain patterned PVC floor that has the effect of creating an upscale “hardwood planks” look gaining popularity in limousine buses and vans.
Carroll, owner of Superior Limousine and Transportation Services in Bowie, Md. is one of the first limousine operators in the U.S. to buy a Transit upfitted with such a floor. The Altro floor was installed by Fenton Mobility Products of Jamestown, N.Y., which specializes in wheelchair-accessible and para-transit vehicles. [Orchard Park and Jamestown are both in the Buffalo region].
“We got this because it gives the vehicle a more professional look than a carpet by itself,” said Carroll, who runs seven chauffeured vehicles. “It mirrors more of an upscale, executive-type Transit vehicle. We also considered the longevity of not having to replace a carpet. Over time, when you have 10 or 11 people on a regular basis, that carpet will start showing some signs of wear and tear.”
Carroll spoke to LCT Wednesday afternoon while driving the Transit to his company. He plans to enter it into fleet service by this weekend. The Ford Transit Van, a major competitor to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van, hit chauffeured fleets for the first time in August.
David Bastian, commercial sales manager at Towne Livery, arranged the installation with Fenton Mobility, which can handle flooring requests for his Transit clients. “The wood-type floor is the big thing now. We’ve gotten a lot requests,” Bastian said.
The PVC floor, which comes with a 12-year warranty and in eight colors, costs an additional $2,195 per van, which includes materials, installation, and interior trim/molding bordering the seats and walls. Carroll bought the largest model Transit Van, with 14 + 1 seating, a 22-foot extended wheelbase, and a 9-foot ceiling. A 6-foot, 4-inch man can stand upright inside.
“I went to Fenton because they have expertise in doing floors for vans and wheelchairs,” Bastian said. “They can attach the floor to the factory floor, so we didn’t disrupt the sound deadening features and other parts beneath the floor.” Because the floor is made of PVC material, it adds durability and requires only regular soap and water for cleaning.
Carroll looks forward to serving corporate clients with the new Transit because the model amenities exceed those of his Ford E-350 Econoline 15-passenger van. “One of the downsides of that vehicle is if you have seven or more people with luggage, you have to pull the backseat out. With the Transit, you don’t have to do that.”
The extended wheelbase version of the Ford Transit Van, the specific model most compatible with luxury chauffeured group transportation, comes with a 100 cubic-foot cargo area.