Operators learn how safety barriers can offer affordable options for coach interiors 

Sardo Bus & Coach Upholstery has come up with affordable products that can help with social distancing and avoiding the spread of germs. 

The company is seeing demand for its new clear plastic divider shields and two kinds of Do Not Sit bands.

Sardo’s new wrap-around Do Not Sit bands are in demand.

Sandy Follis, Sardo’s President of Sales, talked about the new products at the Aug. 27 United Motorcoach Association Town Hall.

“The main purpose of it is to try to get the coaches back on the road again by helping the passengers to feel safe. All the materials that we use meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards,” Follis said. “We’re using the clear plastic because we don’t want to do plexiglass barriers and make something that is permanent, so you’re always remembering COVID-19. We want to be able to just unsnap it and get rid of it.”

Tech giant Facebook bought 11,000 of Sardo’s wrap-around Do Not Sit bands while UMA member Arrow Stage Lines just finished outfitting 40 coaches with them, she said. 

For all coach models

Follis said the team at Sardo is happy to send out samples to operators who are interested in these products, which are made for all styles of coaches, including VanHool, Prevost, MCI, and mini-coaches.

Sardo is seeing demand for its new clear plastic divider shields.

On VanHool and Prevost models, the barriers go behind each of the passengers. There are usually 14 on the driver’s side and 13 on the other side. Each clear plastic barrier sells for $19.95, and the one for behind the driver costs $29.95.

When it comes to installation, you can do it yourself or Sardo can help. “Our crews go right to the operator,” Follis told operators. “You just call, and we send our crew out. Operators can opt to install some of the products themselves.

“This is something that we’re hoping that goes away and we can tear this plastic down later,” she said. “We’ve done a lot with Arrow, Compass, Facebook, and WeDriveU. It’s a good option in the short term to help operators increase their capacity and get through this.”

The company has begun fogging and sanitizing interiors after crews finish their work, so the vehicles are ready to go. Mild soap with a water rinse and a microfiber towel is recommended for cleaning the barriers.

New product on horizon

The company is about to release a new version of the barriers that attach to the luggage rack and goes straight across. It can be installed in seconds. 

“It should be ready in about three weeks, and it’s something we’ll put out there and show everybody how it works. Hopefully, that’s something that would be a lot easier instead of drilling the holes and putting in the snaps and everything,” she said. 

Follis doesn’t have a price yet on the new product.

Sardo is offering free samples of its products so operators can try them out on their coaches.

“We’re still here to help everybody. Let us know if there’s anything that you need, or if you have any questions,” said Follis, who works out of the company’s sales office in Orlando. The manufacturing facility is in Southern California.

One passenger per row

The barriers cost about $10 each to install, and crews can do it in a day, although there can be a wait time to schedule an installation. 

The red Do Not Sit seat belt bands cost $5.50; the ones that wrap around the seat are $8.40. 

“You can do a whole coach for about $538,” Follis said. 

The divider shields give the capacity of one passenger per row because one piece goes across the two passenger seats. 

“You can put one passenger behind each frame. It just makes you feel a little bit more safe,” said Follis, adding, “Companies have demanded this and have asked operators to have this in place.”

Related: How Arrow Stage Lines is helping UNL students stay safe as classes resume

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