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The raised roof has a retractable awning on the passenger side and dummy awnings to hide two solar panels, one satellite dome receiver and four roof-mounted air-conditioning units.
CAMP SPRINGS, Md. — Road kings of customized coaches beware, a new motorcoach monarch is storming the town. Prime Transportation, a ground transportation provider since 1982, has added to its fleet stables a 2004 Setra S417 that’s been converted into an elegant, special-events executive coach.
With the ability to seat 40 passengers in two separate sections, simply riding in the coach is a special event in and of itself. It offers entertainment options such as satellite television, Bluray DVD players, iPod integration, Wi-Fi connectivity, along with a back galley with granite counter tops and an ultra-luxurious restroom.
The coach travels with two tents, 20 chairs, a 40” HD TV, Xbox Kinect, three tables, and portable air-conditioning units for supplemental outdoor activities such as tailgating at sporting events.
Operations manager Chris Johnson said the idea for this “luxury hotel on wheels” resulted from client feedback. “People tell us what they want and it’s our job to make it happen,” he says. “We were looking to replace a 40-passenger bus so we decided to build one that was versatile enough to fit a wide range of niches. It had to cater to the tastes of our high-end clientele but also be able to perform regular runs. It needed to be comfortable and have the amenities that make trips much easier, especially for groups that are out for weeks at a time.”
Substantial thought and planning went into the design, and with the help of Pat McCollum of Nashville Coach and Setra engineers, Johnson and his team conducted complete mock-ups inside the coach to determine how to get the most out of every inch of space to give clients more leg- and reclining room. The end result allowed the coach to be divided into different tiers of seating, similar to that of an airplane, with a 16-seat first-class front section and a 24-seat business-class rear section with seats arranged around tables to promote conversations. The spaces between the seats in the rear section vary in size so clients can be seated based on height for maximum comfort.
The division between first-class and business-class sections, each with independent entertainment options, gives the coach an unrivaled luxury airline atmosphere.
“We’ve been doing a high-end wine tour featuring celebrity chefs, and the client wanted the chefs up front so that people could come up from the rear to chat with them,” Johnson explains.
The lights and entertainment options in each zone work independently of one another to simultaneously accommodate up to three different forms of entertainment inside the coach. Everything inside the coach is linked to a generator so electronic equipment still runs when the engine is shut off. In addition, the roof-mounted air conditioners are ducted, and the air spreads more evenly around the coach. “The biggest obstacle was moving the A/C system to run on the generator, but Setra was very excited that we were doing this to one of [its] coaches and offered us on-call access to their engineers. As far as we know, we’re the first ones to gut out and rebuild on a Setra platform,” Johnson says.