Collins Bus Corporation announced the SafeGuard XChange seat that allows school bus operators to retrofit a base bench seat into one with three-point lap/shoulder belts will be standard on all Collins, Mid Bus and Corbeil model Type A school buses.
The XChange seat was first introduced to the industry by IMMI last April as an option for school districts or bus companies that need to purchase new buses today but that might need to install lap/shoulder belts tomorrow under new school board or state regulations. Collins is the first school bus maker to make the XChange a standard feature following the implementation of NHTSA's revised FMVSS 222 school bus passenger protection rule that requires lap/shoulder belts on all newly manufactured buses 10,000 pounds or less GVWR. The final rule went into effect last October.
"Providing cost-effective, upgradable seating solutions to our customers — and throughout the industry — simply makes sense," said Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus Corporation. "To build the highest-quality Type A buses to the highest standards of safety means we must partner with other industry leaders. We've long admired SafeGuard and look forward to offering their innovative seating products."
The XChange seat will be manufactured at IMMI's newest facility in Burrton, Kan., 17 miles to the east of Collins Bus plant in South Hutchinson. The companies said the new operation should create more than 30 new jobs in the first 12 months of operation.
"This year, we're celebrating 10 years of building seats for the school bus industry, with more than 150,000 seats in service," said Larry Gray, CEO of IMMI, which is headquartered in Westfield, Ind. "Partnering with Collins, [which] has always been a true innovator in the small bus market, allows us both to take a significant step forward in offering flexible seating systems to the school transportation market. It's truly a winning combination for our collective customers and the industry as a whole."