Bus manufacturer Van Hool has built something of a motorized funeral home.
The Belgian company has collaborated with Koninklijke Beuk, a Netherlands-based provider of passenger transport services, to develop a funeral coach for the Dutch market.
The 35-ft.-long (10.7-m) coach, based on Van Hool’s EX11L bus, is designed “to provide the deceased with a serene and intimate mode of transport on their final journey, accompanied by mourners,” Van Hool says in a news release.
“Our coaches were already being used at funerals,” says Monique Beuk, director-Koninklijke Beuk. “Due to the increasing demand to also transport the deceased on board, we took the initiative to work with Van Hool to develop a funeral coach.”
A standard EX11L can carry up to 47 passengers, while the Koninklijke Beuk model can accommodate 26 mourners along with the deceased whose casket is secured to a bier, or platform, after being placed on the coach using a reinforced lift (below).
The coach features several seats with tables, tinted windows for privacy and a U-shaped seating arrangement at the rear. Three onboard screens allow photographs and film footage of the deceased to be displayed, and music “fitting to the deceased” can be played, Van Hool says.
“As part of the concept, it is also possible to travel a predetermined route past a number of locations that played a role in the life of the deceased,” the company says.
Drivers are specially trained. “The onboard technology requires specific knowledge, and transporting a deceased demands a respectful driving style, the right etiquette and empathy for the occasion,” Monique Beuk says. “There are no second chances – the bar is higher than usual. Our drivers feel honored to be able to contribute towards an individual’s final journey.”
The EX11L is not among the Van Hool models sold in North America.