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Bus Stop Sales helps local school continue growing King Long fleet

Bus Stop Sales and manufacturing partner King Long accelerated their success in January by providing their Australian-designed school charter bus to a local Queensland operator

Momentum continues building for Bus Stop, as months of effort behind the scenes allowed the dealer to deliver 28 new vehicles in January alone. Bus Stop Sales national fleets general manager Stephen Long says the delivery number is a reward for the brand’s focus on the entire business in recent months.

“January was an exceptional month for us, courtesy of our operational team, who competed an amazing job at getting the buses customised to the required specifications,” Long told ABC.

“From a growth perspective, we continue improving each month.”

This evolution was on display when Bus Stop Sales made a special local delivery to Fassifern Coaches. As part of the order, Bus Stop delivered 13 brand new King Long vehicles to the rapidly growing Queensland operator.

In August 2023, Fassifern Coaches was awarded the new transport service contract for Ipswich Grammar and Ipswich Girls Grammar Schools, with 13 of these new vehicles now servicing school bus runs for the two schools. Long says the process for this order started when Fassifern Coaches, led and owned by Giovanni (John) Musso, tendered for the two school bus transport contracts.

“I went with John and Fassifern chief operating officer Marisa Lofaro to present the buses to the schools and took the principal and senior staff of each school on a test ride,” Long says.

“They loved our King Long 6120 model. Once John confirmed his tender was successful, we got to work to fulfil the order for Fassifern Coaches against significant time pressures.”

The new King Long coaches were delivered with 57 belted passenger seats, ZF European axles and a UK-made Cummins ISL engine. Long says Bus Stop ensured the vehicles were made and delivered to fit the timing required, drawing on its international experience with partner King Long to ensure the buses were perfect for the two schools.

“Bus Stop holds over a million dollars’ worth of European engine components and axles at the King Long factory to support customers needing quick deliveries,” Long says.

“This particular case was an amazing order, as it was a real team effort. We’ll continue putting our products into schools, mining and contractual work all around Australia.”

Image: Bus Stop Sales

Long says the Fassifern Coaches management team, consisting of Musso and Lofaro, have been “amazing customers to work with” on the order, ensuring the supply of high-tech buses and innovative services to both schools.

Despite constant shipping challenges, Long says he’s proud of the growing Bus Stop team for successfully delivering the vehicles in time for the service contract to begin. By all reports, the buses have entered seamlessly into service, with Long saying that he’s receiving comments that the buses “look amazing”.

Musso believed in the King Long model to the point that he decided to go above and beyond the school tender, ordering an extra bus for charter requests. The addition of the vehicles and the contract is set to bring a significant expansion for the Fassifern Coaches team.

“I purchased Fassifern Coaches almost 20 years ago, when it had around 18 buses in its fleet and was based in Boonah, Queensland,” Musso told ABC.

“We’re still there today at 112 Hoya Road, Boonah, but we now have around 60 vehicles undertaking school and charter operations all around the Scenic Rim and into Ipswich and the surrounding suburbs. A new depot located in Ipswich is now active due to this expansion.”

When it came to establishing the tender requirements, Musso cast his eye over the bus and coach market for a suitable product to secure the deal. He selected Bus Stop and the King Long bus due to the value, the team and the aftersales support provided for his new school operation.

“I’d purchased King Longs in the past and liked several features. I saw the improvements made over the past 10 years and was impressed,” he says.

Image: Bus Stop Sales

“I decided to take the 6120 model to the two schools and showcase their benefits, which helped us get over the line with their vehicle choice. We had been operating two runs for the schools previously, so when the opportunity came up to tender for a new contract, we worked extremely hard to get the win.

“We are both proud and excited to have been awarded the tender and to grow the business in such a big way.”

These King Long vehicles are out early each school morning, leaving the depot from 5.30AM onwards to take students to both schools. The current contract also includes five late services that finish around 7.30PM four nights a week.

Musso says both the drivers and vehicles have been very busy quickly ticking over the hours and kilometres.

“For a school bus operation, the drivers are getting plenty of work,” he says.

These 13 school vehicles join four older King Long buses (purchased 10 years ago) in the Fassifern fleet. The extra 6120 unit was also purchased and transformed into a 70-seat passenger vehicle by Musso’s team.

The goal was for this extra bus to service large capacity charter requests. However, this vehicle has since been snapped up on a permanent run by another private school in the area that Fassifern Coaches also services.

Having now received these buses, Musso says there are many aspects of the vehicles that impress him. In the finer details is where he’s found the most benefits.

“The air-conditioning unit is a real climate control and on a solid mount, so there are no issues with mounting it on a shaker plate,” Musso says.

“The six electric thermo fans provide a much more efficient system than a single hydraulic fan. This system is far superior.”

These features have convinced Musso that the King Long product has raised the bar over the years. It’s why he’s looking to invest further in Bus Stop and its King Long product.

“We’ve already begun conversations with the schools in relation to adding another two runs and hence two more King Long buses are in our sights,” he says.

On Long’s side, the Fassifern Coaches delivery is a highlight in his time at Bus Stop to date. He sees a simple recipe for success – the quality of King Long’s vehicles combined with a growing network of commercial and support team members. Add in increased aftersales support and huge steps in parts support and Bus Stop Sales is onto a winner.

“We’re only going to continue getting stronger, as we have a unique product range that can cater to any needs and no boundaries as to what we can provide,” Long says.

“We’re all about supplying an end-to-end solution to local businesses courtesy of fantastic supply partners like King Long, so it’s wonderful to keep offering transport solutions to our customers.”

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