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Bus Stop Sales head provides unique perspective on local industry

From his time in the industry at the helm of Bus Stop Sales, director Pete White has plenty of experience evolving brands in the local bus and coach industry

Bus Stop Sales is known for sales and after-sales support. It’s a family thing.

Through nearly 50 continuous years of support for the bus and coach industry, the White family has plenty of experience in the sector.

Pete White, as the director of Bus Stop Sales, has followed in his father’s footsteps to provide a lifetime of knowledge culminating in the form of Bus Stop Sales.

Now, White is using his nous and family history to continue finding ways to make the Australian bus and coach industry better in the long run.

“This deep experience is core to my desire to see Bus Stop Sales continue its success,” White told ABC.

“However, I’m driven to elevate and support our industry through a very different lens, one that challenges traditional OEM thinking and focuses on supplying the best possible bus and coach solutions to all operators, large and small.”

This vision and drive dates back to Bus Stop’s premises in Brisbane. The Brisbane Bus Centre, based in the Brisbane suburb of Rocklea, has been a visionary move from White.

Bus Stop Sales invested heavily in the site, customising the substantial former Penske truck sales and service site to convert it from a truck outlet to a dedicated centralised hub for the bus industry, something White says has never been seen before on this scale and size.

This includes huge investment to support ICE products, however it has also been heavily focused on supporting the transition to new energy procurement, with White capitalising on the latter in recent years at Bus Stop.

The success that the King Long zero-emissions product has had so far in Australia through Bus Stop has done enough to convince White of the technology’s benefits. He says that “hybrid just isn’t the solution” regarding the sustainability challenge.

“Electric bus technology has decades of proven experience and the lowest total cost of ownership over the bus life, there is no model where investing in hybrid diesel solutions makes sense in an overwhelming majority of urban operations,” White says.

As White’s strategy has evolved, Bus Stop has extended its site to other manufacturers in the region. When Australian company BusTech Group was looking for a new location to relocate to in Queensland, it looked no further than Rocklea.

From all accounts, BusTech’s move to the Brisbane Bus Centre has been seamless and hugely successful, with BusTech delivering several buses from the site and meeting its goals of rapidly establishing its operations in Rocklea.

White says it has been fantastic to welcome BusTech to Bus Stop’s Rocklea site.

Just because the Brisbane Bus Centre has been a huge success for Bus Stop doesn’t mean that White is stopping now. He is already looking at ways to invigorate the local bus and coach industry through his position in Rocklea.

“Supporting local content is important to us and the way forward for the industry,” White says.

“We’ve established relationships with a local network of manufacturers and after-sales support locations, and we think this is the best way forward for the industry.”

White’s lens isn’t just limited to what Bus Stop and Australian manufacturers have been able to do within the country’s boundaries. Instead, he has a nuanced perspective on blending local content with imported models to help make the zero-emissions transition easier for the nation’s operators.

As the national distributor of King Long in Australia, this blend includes the Chinese King Long product that has continued to excel down under.

“The imported category offers choice, and we continue to invest time and funds to refine and reposition it towards product excellence,” White says.

“We’re focusing on selecting the best possible components from around the world to create outstanding products assembled by our boutique manufacturer; this is important to emphasise as our products stand alone as the most premium in the imported market.

“While we are compared initially on price, when the product components are evaluated, the overall value proposition is exceptional.

“Specifically on electric buses, China invested and embraced the technology more than two decades ago (the first King Long hybrid electric bus was built with lead acid batteries in 2001) while European OEMs didn’t. As such, King Long is fortunate to create zero-emissions bus packages based on millions of in-market kilometres.”

Beyond the product, White continues investing in people and systems to enhance Bus Stop’s capabilities in Australia.

The after-sales support side of Bus Stop has recently seen key hires internationally, with David Lowe joining Bus Stop in the multi-faceted position of after-sales manager, zero-emissions bus engineering team and new executive general manager of dealership and operations.

Lowe is an ex-Daimler dealer principal and has previously worked with King Long within international markets, joining general manager of fleets Stephen Long and general manager of southern states Guy Pex at Bus Stop.

“We are building depth and experience into our management team as we have identified continued investment in people, product and the after-sales support structure as critical to long-term success,” White says.

Through all of these changes and learnings throughout White’s time at the helm of Bus Stop, he has a few critical messages for the nation’s bus and coach industry. His most prominent one is directed towards operators wanting to make the transition to zero-emissions shortly.

“My key message is that we are a solutions provider that is partnering with best-in-class and like-minded suppliers to support both small and large fleet operations,” White says.

“Whether it be product customisation, locally built or fully imported options, charging solutions or infrastructure training, we’re curating the best package to support operators’ transitions.

“I’m confident that Bus Stop Sales is continuing to build momentum as it reaches further than it ever has in Australia.”

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