NEW-LOOK CUSTOM DELIVERS FIRST BUSES

By: Fabian Cotter


EXCLUSIVE: CUSTOM BUS GROUP - the new entity of the traditional namesake Custom (Coaches), owned by the Dunn Group, of Telford’s buses fame – has delivered its first city buses to western Sydney operator Busabout, recently.

NEW-LOOK CUSTOM DELIVERS FIRST BUSES
At the hand-over: (L-R) Mark Nichols, MAN sales executive; Scott Dunn, Custom Group director and business owner; Joe and Tony Calabro of Busabout.

The two new CB80 low-floor city buses were delivered 10-11 September, respectively, according to a Custom Bus spokesperson.

Busabout has not traditionally purchased the Custom product; however, after taking delivery of its two new CB80 low-floors the company confirms it intends to purchase more of the model from Custom in future.

Insiders reveal the delivery came about as a show of support; Busabout was the first customer to place an order for two vehicles on the MAN RC2, 19.320 Euro 5 chassis with the newly managed Custom Bus Group, for the Busabout operation at Smeaton Grange, Sydney.

Owners Tony and Joe Calabro say they were absolutely delighted to see the buses finished prior to the agreed date and built to the highest quality levels they expected.

"We were given two growth buses by Transport for NSW and needed a quick and timely build. We had previous dealings with Custom Bus sales manager Mick Neskes, so we gave him a call," said the Calabros.

"Custom Bus not only committed to a time frame, but finished and delivered the two CB80 buses ahead of schedule."

"The over-all build quality is quite good. We found a few problems on our initial inspection, but these were fixed and sorted within a few hours on the same day.

"After sales and service was very impressive, to say the least," they confirmed.

In terms of future business with Custom, the Calabros say they most definitely are up for pursuing that.

"We spoke to Scott Dunn and Mick Neskes about the factory and procedures during and after build and were very impressed by the emphasis they have on quality and reliability," the Calabros explained.

"We know ... the first two buses that Custom Bus has fully built are of good quality - [so] we have no doubt or hesitation in using them for future orders."

"Another big advantage is the close proximity to us," they added.

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HECTIC START

When Scott Dunn purchased the business on the 16 March, 2018, he immediately started to call all bus operators with the announcement that he purchased Custom Bus Group. It was also an attempt to obtain as many orders as possible for the new business, as it kicked off with a completely clean slate - with no ties or affiliations with the previous regimes, but most critically with no work, says Mick Neskes, Custom Bus sales manager.

"Part of this process was to contact the operators who already had existing orders with the previous business - essentially of a similar name ‘Custom’ - with the aim of capturing as many of these orders as possible," he explained.

"The next task was to completely up-root and move all the machinery and equipment from the plant at Villawood, to 18 Vallance Street, St Marys.

"Due to a large number of changes which have been implemented, we have improved our efficiencies immensely," he said.

"And by reshaping our production line, ie: by adding improved quality measures into the work stations, and creating line-specific builds, we are currently producing the highest of quality buses, on time, and in larger volumes," Neskes explained.

"Our aftersales business is steadily growing daily with increased parts sales, and yet we currently still have build slots available for this side of Christmas."

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ABOUT BUSABOUT

Busabout is a family owned business that has been operating public transport and charter services since 1951, it states.

The company currently employs more than 200 staff and operates in excess of 180 buses on scheduled route and school services across New South Wales.

It provides connections to the rail network, major employment centres, schools and shopping centres, and transports several million passengers per year, according to the company.

In 2009 Busabout acquired the services and assets of Fearnes Coaches in Wagga Wagga.

The main areas serviced in metropolitan Sydney Contract Region 15 include: Campbelltown, Camden, Narellan, Menangle, Mount Annan, Catherine Field, Oakdale, Eschol Park and Leumeah with regional links to Warragamba and Wollongong. In Wagga Wagga, Busabout operates all of the scheduled services in the city.

The company's Sydney bus depots are located at Smeaton Grange and Campbelltown. Busabout Wagga’s main depot is located in Wagga Wagga and a regional depot in Harden.

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