Scania-STA 'friends' again

It’s been a long time since Scania placed a low floor in the STA fleet, but that just changed

Scania-STA 'friends' again
Friends again

By David Goeldner | October 11, 2011

The Australian Bus and Coach Show provided a timely venue for the handover of Scania’s first of a hundred low floor city buses to NSW State Transit Authority following a successful joint tender bid with Custom in Sydney.

STA CEO Peter Rowley was on hand at the Rosehill show last week to accept the keys of the first Scania-Custom low floor, with 65 to be delivered during 2012, and the balance making its way into the STA fleet by June 2013.

Rowley says it’s the first Scania taken into the Sydney fleet since 1996.

"We’ve had a long relationship with Scania and it’s the first re-entering of an agreement between State Transit and Scania so I think it’s a very positive step forward – the first of 100 vehicles," Rowley says.

Scania National Manager for Bus and Coach Trevor O’Brien says it’s been a ‘long time between drinks’ with Scania and STA.

"We recognise there were a few things we didn’t do well in the past," O’Brien says.

"About five years ago we sat down and realised that we had to get the relationship back on track."

O’Brien says rather than trying to sell what Scania wanted to sell, they started listening to STA, now placing the K280 UB4x2 chassis not just in Sydney, but across Australia as the ‘low floor of choice’ for other state and territory government clients.

"When we did this tender we decided to up our horse power, we’ve always had 230hp vehicles in the past which always did the job, but just," O’Brien explains.

"We know we needed more performance because of the terrain in Sydney, so we dropped the K230 all together and the K280 is now the standard city bus for Australia."

Custom CEO Mark Burgess, the recent winner of BusNSW Supplier of the Year Award, says its ‘great news’ for his company.

"Any contract is joyously received," he says.

"With Scania we are enjoying government contracts in four states now, so we’ve got a strong partnership together which is seeing good results for both companies across Australia."

Rowley says STA regularly assesses Sydney’s low floor requirements under metropolitan service contracts and anticipates a need for up to 90 vehicles (a year) to maintain average age.

"We will be purchasing more vehicles in another six to 12 months," says Rowley, although a fresh tender will be offered, with no guarantee that Custom and Scania will win again.

But the signs are bright for continuing success between the respective parties.

"Scania came up with a good product," Rowley says.

"We’ve been purchasing 12 litre vehicles, so it’s good that we’ve now got a 9 litre vehicle that Scania has put forward plus a 7 litre vehicle from Volvo."

Rowley is currently undecided as to where the first of 100 Scanias will be deployed, given they are all replacement vehicles.

"At present I am undecided as to the particular depots where they will be stationed, but that will be determined with my General Manager of Engineering next month," he says.

Burgess says winning the tender with Scania is ‘great for the state’ and supports Custom’s decision to step up its technology.

"I think we’ve really stepped up as a company in delivering great quality by doing a lot of R & D to deliver state-of-the-art type products in city buses," he says.

"We think we are delivering great products to our customers."

O’Brien says Scania, too, has thrown more resources at technology.

"A lot more technical resources have been put into the Sydney area," he says.

"I think it’s ironic that with some of the things we’ve learnt in the process of this contract we will now push into other areas as well."

The Scania-Custom partnership has also found recent success at Action Buses in Canberra, winning a tender for 20 articulated low floors.

Rowley sees a new era emerging in government bus supply contracts, but wouldn’t be drawn on how this might relate to the proposed NSW Government bus supply panel.

However, Rowley believes having Scania back in the fold with STA shows the competitive nature of the manufacturers.

"I think it’s a positive thing for the bus industry and State Transit," he says.

IN THE PHOTO: Scania’s Trevor O’Brien, Custom CEO Mark Burgess, and STA CEO Peter Rowley

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook