ADVANCED SAFETY KEY TO OPERATOR’S V/LINE COACH PURCHASE

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Daimler Australia


TWO NEW Mercedes-Benz chassis with BCI bodies have received ‘the thumbs-up’ on V/Line runs in the return Melbourne to Mildura and Swan Hill areas, according to Swan Hill Bus Lines (SHBL), in Victoria.

ADVANCED SAFETY KEY TO OPERATOR’S V/LINE COACH PURCHASE
Initial fuel-efficiency results show a 5 per cent saving over the Euro 5 coaches in the fleet, confirms Swan Hill Bus Lines' Peter Pickering.

The family bus company added two new three-axle MB Euro 6 OC500RF based coaches with BCI ‘Cruiser’ bodies to its V/Line service for the long country runs - and are pleased it did, SHBL states.

Owned by husband and wife Peter and Sue Pickering and operated by a very experienced team that includes their children Emma and Lachlan, Peter says they are very happy with them and that: "They are extremely quiet and comfortable."

"Most importantly, they are fitted with the most advanced safety features like Advanced Emergency Braking and a lane departure warning system, and keeping our passengers and the community safe is paramount for Swan Hill Bus Lines."

Swan Hill Bus Lines (aka BusBiz.net.au) is also expecting the buses to deliver when it comes to durability given the performance of existing Mercedes-Benz buses with BCI bodies on its fleet, the company states.

Pickering points to the example of a group of 0500RF coaches with BCI bodies operating for TrainLink in New South Wales.

"They have each done 800,000km in three years and stood up to it really well," Pickering said.

"We are confident that the combination of the OC500RF chassis and BCI delivers the comfort and durability that we rely on."

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SOLID SUPPORT

Swan Hill Bus Lines has had a long relationship with Mercedes-Benz, it confirms.

"Our relationship with Mercedes-Benz is really strong and one of the reasons we buy their product," Pickering said.

"We couldn’t ask for better support from the team," he added.

Mercedes-Benz buses are supported by an extensive network of more than 40 dealerships across metro and regional Australia, MB states. 

They come with a three-year or 300,000 kilometre standard warranty, with a five-year warranty available as an option, it adds.

Mercedes-Benz operates a national parts distribution centre with more than 3000 bus-specific parts to provide a rapid response to requests and ensure vehicle downtime is minimised, it explains.

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NATURALLY EFFICIENT

The two new V/Line coaches feature the 10.7-litre six-cylinder engine that meets strict Euro 6 emission standards while also saving fuel, says MB.

Pickering is pleased with the initial fuel economy results, which are showing a 5 per cent saving over the Euro 5 coaches in the fleet, he confirms.

The new engines, which are paired to the smooth-shifting six-speed Mercedes-Benz eight-speed Automated Manual Transmission, are naturally efficient, but Mercedes-Benz also provides driver training free of charge for each new vehicle purchase, to help drivers really maximise the efficiency of the vehicle, MD adds.

Euro 6 standards also require the engines to meet tough noise standards and Pickering says they are extremely quiet.

The three-axle models are 14.5m meters long and feature steerable tag axles at the rear for a tight turning circle, MD confirms.

The V/Line models feature the latest safety technology available, including Advanced Emergency Braking, which uses radar technology and can perform an emergency braking in the event of a potential collision without input from the driver, it adds.

They also have the Lane Assistant system, which uses a camera to detect if the bus is inadvertently leaving its lane and warns the driver with a vibration alert. The alert is not triggered if the indicator is engaged or below 70km/h, MB clarifies.

The buses also feature Electronic Stability program, which can reduce the risk of skidding during cornering, or during evasive manoeuvres by braking individual wheels to maintain control.

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SCHEDULED SERVICES

Mercedes-Benz says it also offers a range of flexible purchase options including flexible finance and leasing terms from 12 months up to 10 years, fixed interest rates, no ongoing monthly fees and structured payments with tailored repayments to suit the customer’s cash flow.

The company’s service plans allow for customers to plan for service and maintenance costs up front and maximise the residual value of the bus at the end of the ownership period. This includes scheduled services and maintenance to help keep the vehicle in good running condition, it explains.

Also available to bus and coach customers is Mercedes-Benz Telematics, which provides customer fleets with an overview of vehicle performance and enables the Mercedes-Benz team to work with customers to identify areas for improvement to ensure overall maximum efficiencies are realised, it adds.

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ABOUT BUSBIZ

BusBiz has been a family owned business for over 50 years, it states. In 1954 Lake Boga Transport Pty Ltd was formed to transport fruit from the Lake Boga area to the Melbourne market. In 1960 it diversified into school buses and in 1965 Swan Hill Bus Lines was born. In 1988, Swan Hill Bus Lines branched out into its own identity and under the direction of Peter Pickering, has grown to become today one of regional Victoria’s largest bus/coach operations, it explains.

Late 2017, Swan Hill Bus Lines began trading as BusBiz. Though its name might have changed it is committed to still providing the same fantastic service that has been its standard for the past 50+ years, it says.

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ABOUT WANDERLUST TOURS

Since Bus Biz was established in 1960, it has developed a reputation as offering high standards of customer service and reliability. It’s these two key factors which have contributed to its success and why people love to travel with it, the company explains.

All these quality characteristics, plus putting its guests first and its country friendly Aussie nature, are now part of the Wanderlust Australia DNA, it adds.

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