Ford has also launched its first protection screens, designed to fit the Transit and Tourneo Custom models. The screens are part of the manufacturer’s official accessories range, and are likely to be approved by TfL future for use in Tourneos used for private hire in advance of them becoming available to fit through Ford dealers from late July.
Screens to fit further models will follow, with Transit/Tourneo Courier and Connect models next up. Screens for Galaxy and Mondeo were likely in the future, said a spokesman. The screens are adjustable and have been developed with operators including public transport, school and private hire use in mind and are fully compatible with safety features including airbags.
“Operators have faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 and are adapting to new norms as they continue to provide their vital services to our communities and economy,” said Owen Gregory, director, commercial vehicle aftersales, Ford of Europe. “Our new protection shields provide additional support to our customers as they continue to operate in challenging circumstances, offering drivers and passengers additional peace of mind as they work and travel.”
The impermeable shields are made of transparent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic with integrated straps for simple installation, and can be sanitised as part of operators’ interior disinfecting procedures. Removable suction cups attach to the window interiors to provide unobtrusive fixing points for the straps, which also attach to existing fittings in the cabin. Customers can quickly and easily fit, adjust and remove shields without requiring interior modifications, and the design allows the shields to pack down flat for storage.
Once installed, the shields do not restrict passenger comfort, interior space or operation of the heating and ventilation systems. The transparent PVC material also allows the driver to retain full visibility of the windscreen, side windows and mirrors, and passengers can still hear and see each other as normal.
The shields can be fitted to offer four separate configurations, splitting cabins from front to rear and from left to right as desired, to provide the ideal configuration for each operators’ requirements. Fitting locations are:
- Between driver and front passenger seats
- Behind front seats to partition from the rest of the cabin
- Between driver and front passenger and behind front seats
- Between and behind driver and front passenger, and between second row seats.