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The Berkhof Ambassador is a low-floor city bus produced by the Dutch bus manufacturer VDL Berkhof between 2001 and 2011 when it was replaced by the VDL Citea. The section between the front and rear door are at the same height. The seats at the very rear are a bit higher, and can be reached by using stairs.
Berkhof Ambassador from Østtrafik
|Assembly||Heerenveen and Valkenswaard|
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1-2-0 or 2-2-0|
|Floor type||Low floor|
|Engine||Diesel engine by Cummins or DAF|
|Capacity||80 passengers (up to 34 seated)|
|Power output||205 bhp|
|Transmission||Automatic Voith transmission|
|Curb weight||8,359–8,728 kg|
This type of bus is most commonly used in the Netherlands and Denmark. In the Netherlands, owners and operators include:Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Hermes, Syntus and Veolia Transport. In Denmark, owners and operators include: Arriva, City-Trafik, De Hvide Busser, DitoBus, Kruse, Nettbuss and Nobina. In Italy, owners and operators include CA.NOVA.
The Ambassador has been in production since 2001, and its exterior is largely unchanged; the interior, however, has undergone several changes, and the vehicle is assembled at low cost. The older series (built from 2001–2005) has an inferior suspension, which causes the bus to rattle. The Ambassador was originally equipped with a Voith automatic gearbox, which was noisy. Later versions are sturdier, and more-recent Voith gearboxes are quieter in use. The combination of better isolation and a more environmentally-conscious Cummins engine makes the bus quieter. The suspension has also been improved, allowing for a smoother ride.
The first series (Connexxion/Hermes) of Ambassadors was delivered with green LCD route signals (line number and destination). These occasionally malfunctioned, and later series were delivered with orange LED route signals. This type of bus has been involved in several incidents: in December 2003 a driver was killed after becoming stuck between the front door and the bus (this type of door has since been replaced), and during a storm on 18 January 2007 an Ambassador was blown off a dike due to its light weight.
Connexxion has ordered the most Ambassador buses by far; in 2005 it placed an order of 300 buses for €50 million. Since the capacity of VDL's factory in Heerenveen was inadequate for an order of this size, the factory in Valkenswaard was equipped to build Ambassador buses as well. Following its success in the Netherlands, the Ambassador was also exported; orders were placed by operators in Denmark, Germany and Israel. In July 2008, Connexxion placed a 355-bus order for the Ambassador, to be delivered throughout the year. The total cost of the order was €75 million.
Using knowledge and experience gained from the ALE120, VDL designed a 10-meter midibus which is designated Ambassador Low Entry 106 (ALE 106) (bus length 106 dm, or 10.6 m). These buses are primarily used in several cities in the Netherlands. The bus is built on a DAF/VDL SB120 chassis, which was also used for the Wright Cadet. In 2008, the DAF/VDL SB120 chassis was exchanged for a VDL SB180.
The Ambassador 200 is a 12-meter-long lightweight bus made for local and long-distance transportation. Hundreds of buses from this type have been produced. It is designated as Ambassador Low Entry 120 (ALE 120) (the bus length is 120 dm, or 12 m). Its coachwork rests on a DAF/VDL SB200 chassis, which is also used for the Wright Commander from Wrightbus. The weight of the older buses differs from later models because of different materials and a different engine. Its interior varies by company. The passenger seats are made inexpensively; they are plastic cups with a layer of foam on the seat and fabric on top. Several buses have been equipped with more-luxurious seats.
The following table shows the Ambassador 200 buses in service in the Netherlands and other countries:
|Arriva Netherlands||323||Ex. Veolia: 0050-0051, 0053|
Ex. Connexxion: 0207-0215
Ex. NoordNed: 6100-6109, 6171-6189, 8064-8069
Arriva: 3154, 3158, 3159, 8001-8069, 8201-8244, 8301-8382, 8401-8451, 8651-8670, 8851-8860
|Arriva Danmark||19||1058-1060, 1302-1303, 1761–1762, 3040-3047, 3056-3057, 5640-5641|
|Veolia Transport Netherlands||393||Ex. BBA: 901-902, 5050-5057, |
Veolia: 5001-5049, 5058-5242, 5243-5342, 5343-5363, 5364, 5365-5367, 5368-5391
(5319,5320,5321 and 5367 are sold to "Zwaluw reizen")
|Keolis Danmark||49||224-228, 2310-2314, 2431-2437, 2481-2499, 8515-8528
Ex. City-Trafik: 2431-2436, 2481-2498
Ex. Nettbuss: 224-228, 2499, 8515-8528
Ex. De Hvide Busser: 2437 (De Hvide Busser 8725)
Ex. Umove: 2310-2314 (De Hvide Busser/Umove 8720, 8715, 8727, 8729 & 8731)
|Connexxion Netherlands||1110 +
12 Ambassador 120
|Ex. Hermes: 1734-1747, 1756–1760, 1761–1771, 1773–1776, 1777–1787, 1790–1791, 1811, 1815, 1828, 1836-1840, 1843, 1844, 1850-1860 |
Ex. Stadsvervoer Nederland: 5101-5131 (tot 01-01-2008 SVN-series 101-131)
Connexxion: 4134-4229, 4230-4253, 4254-4277, 8100-8224, 8233-8254, 8278-8375, 8380-8728, 8792-8828, 8883-8976
Ambassador 120: 8226-8232 (Maassluis, Den Haag), 8225, 8376-8379 (urban transport Zaandam)
|DitoBus, Denmark||21||4656-4662, 4736-4749
Ex. Østrafik: 4746-4749 (Østrafik 7603-7606)
|Hermes, Netherlands||196||1734-1793, 1801-1860, 3330-3404, 3479-3483|
|De Hvide Busser, Denmark||18||8715-8732
Sold to City-Trafik in 2014: 8725 (City-Trafik number 2437)
Sold to Keolis in 2016: 8720, 8715, 8727, 8729 & 8731 (Keolis number 2310-2314)
Stayed at Umove but got a new number: 8732
De Hvide Busser was sold to Umove in 2013 and the entire fleet followed over, in September 2015 De Hvide Busser changed name to Umove and in December 2015 the Ambassadors got replaced by brand new VDL Citea LLE
Ex. De Hvide Busser/Umove 8732
|Besa Trans, Denmark||2||Ex. Kruse: 7122-7123|
|Millennium Transportation International||3||02-25, 02-26, 02-27 |
later as BBA InterHoMe 903-905, now Connexxion 3156-3157 and Snelle Vliet (Coaches) 204
|Syntus, Netherlands||243||2146-2148, 3046-3048, 3049-3060, 3248-3250, 3255-3256, 4001-4052, 4101-4146, 4150-4154, 5001-5024, 5101-5126, 5127-5152, 5301-5305|
|Taxi Centrale Renesse, Netherlands||14 Ambassador 120||419-432|
|Transportes Sul do Tejo, Portugal||37|
|VBN / BVN, Germany||37|
|12||CA.NOVA ex. Veolia, owned in 2011: from number 355 to number 366|
A large number of buses have been exported to Denmark, Germany, Egged in Israel, Portugal and Sweden.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berkhof Ambassador.|