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What's the Latest in Church Transportation?

Churches looking for safer alternatives to the standard passenger van will be delighted with Ford's new offering, the 2015 Ford Transit. Available with optional dual rear wheel configuration, the new Transit promises better traction, improved handling, and rollover resistance.

Churches across the country face the same challenges when purchasing vehicles for their parish; passenger safety must be their first priority. The prevalent climate of passenger van fatalities from rollovers and loss of control crashes has sent former passenger van buyers reeling. Many churches have moved up to small buses, which have significantly better safety records—steel-wrap construction and wider chassis being major factors.

Replacing both the Ford Econoline and Ford Club Wagon series vehicles, the new Ford Transit claims 4.6 percent improved gas mileage vs. the former E-series products.

We sat down with Kirsten Hall of Best Bus Sales to find out why the new Ford Transit is a viable option for churches:

"Insurance companies raised rates on the club wagons and single rear wheel passenger vans that made it virtually impossible for churches to use a van for transportation, according to Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. Many churches turned to small buses to appease insurance companies, but were forced to increase their budgets: buses cost more to own and operate than passenger vans."

What makes this Ford product different than the Econoline or Club Wagon?

"The new transit is the first passenger VAN actually recommended by church insurance companies due to its Dual Rear Wheel option. Dual rear wheels dramatically improve stability and reduce the potential for vehicle rollover. Add Ford's patented Advance Trac with Roll Stability Control (RSC) (standard on all Ford Transit models) and the new Ford Transit is a desirable option for churches."

The Transit comes standard with a 3.7 liter V6 Engine with options for a 3.5 Liter Eco-Boost or 3.2 liter PowerStroke diesel. The Ford Transit is built on a unibody chassis providing a comfortable driving experience on highways and while maneuvering.

The Ford Transit has three available roof heights and several seating options available, with or without luggage. The increased interior height allows passengers as tall as 6 feet 4 inches to stand upright while boarding. Wheelchair lift options are available from bus and van dealerships. Custom seating plans can permit the Transit to accommodate four wheelchairs with tie-downs. (Custom floor plans for multiple wheelchair tie-downs must be installed by a dealership specialist. Custom seat options are also available.)

Patrick Swaggerty of Best Church Bus discussed some available options that churches may find useful:

"Shuttle bus dealers offer the Ford Transit with additional standard options including sliding doors, driver side running boards, power group, tilt, cruise control, and Reverse Park Aid.  Bus dealerships stock vehicles specifically for markets like churches and senior communities. They can equip the Transit Wagon with overhead luggage racks and reading lights."

Other vehicles with comparable safety options worth investigating are Dodge RAM ProMaster wagons, Chevy Express wagons, Nissan NV wagons, and Sprinter vans. Best Bus Sales offers the above plus a complete line of buses accommodating up to 55 passengers. Mobility equipped vans and buses are also available.

Ford pricing and available discounts combine to make the 2015 Ford Transit a safe and affordable option for churches with small-scale transportation requirements.

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Religious Product News