Maja Stomby is not your typical truck driver. Just 22 years old, she’s a field test driver evaluating Scania’s newly developed L-series, low-entry cabs for urban environments. “It’s very much like driving a nice, premium passenger car,” she says.
Driving big, heavy vehicles in an urban environment is always a demanding challenge. You’re obliged to keep track of vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and other – while manoeuvring in tight places. Often it involves repeated starting and stopping, getting into and out of the cab many times per day in dense traffic. With time pressure building up, this can be very stressful, even for the most skilled drivers.
Such driving is Maja Stomby’s daily life in Jönköping, Sweden, where she handles a heavy refuse truck. When asked by her employer, Alvarssons Transport, which operates for the worldwide environmental group Suez, if she would like to undertake the long-term testing of Scania’s newly developed low-entry cab for urban environments, she gave an immediate “yes!”
Feels like an upgrade
“I’m not that tall, as you can see,” Stomby explains, “and climbing in and out of a traditional truck cab every few minutes is not for me. So working with a low-entry, kneeling truck felt like an upgrade.”
Anyone who needs to get in and out of a cab many times per day will appreciate an easy climb and low cab floor. This not only minimises the risk of tripping or falling and work-related pain in the back or knees, but it also improves efficiency.
The new Scania L-series is exceptional in this respect. The floor is 220 millimetres lower than on the Scania P-series. It provides easy one- or two-step access and has kneeling as standard on the one-step version and as an option on the version with two steps.
“A big difference”
“The kneeling function of this new truck has really simplified my working days,” Stomby says. “As soon as I apply the parking brake, the front air suspension drops 100 millimetres. Then it’s more or less a matter of walking in or out of the truck. When arriving at a collection point I’m always in a hurry and usually jump out before the kneeling is finished. But when I enter the cab it makes a big, big difference.”
The driving experience itself is also considerably improved for Stomby. The floor height is just 80 centimetres, and the view all around the cab is unbeatable, aided by a lower, narrower dashboard, lower side window sills, newly designed rear-view mirrors and a driver position that is farther forward and closer to the door.
The safety issue
“It’s very much like driving a nice, premium passenger car,” Stomby says. “I spend so much time by myself inside this truck, and I can feel that it’s not that hard to get used to and addicted to this environment.”
Ergonomics play a safety role in Stomby’s own physical situation inside the cab: the low entrance step and good handles when climbing in and out of the cab help to minimise strain on her back and knees. Both sides of the cabin offer the same entrance heights. With the space between the engine tunnel and the dashboard, Stomby can easily move across the cabin when she wants to avoid oncoming traffic.
“Being a field test driver for such a truck is really a privilege,” she says. “I’m the only one driving it and have been able to furnish it with my own things. It feels like a home to me.”
L-SERIES: new city cab allows interaction at a lower level
- An entirely new low-entry cab series developed for urban environments
- For applications in distribution, waste and construction operations
- Up to three passenger areas; easy to move around inside the cab
- A single boarding step combined with automatic kneeling
- Offers optimum ergonomics and interaction with other road users
- A Scania City Safe Window to provide enhanced vision and safety.