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Sege Seats helps facilitate Gillicks’ regional growth

Over the past 10 years, Gillicks Buslines has become an important customer for Sege Seats while also growing its own operations in regional Victoria

Like many around Australia, buses and coaches have been a constant in Jason Gillick’s life. Now the owner and operator of East Gippsland company Gillicks Buslines in regional Victoria, Jason was first introduced to the industry when his parents decided to buy a school bus in 1986 and start a business.

“My parents ran that for quite some time until their marriage broke down and my father, Ian, took it upon himself to run the business,” he told ABC.

“He gradually got a second school bus and began putting himself on the map on the charter side of operations.”

While Jason grew up alongside Ian running the small family business, his path into the industry didn’t start with Gillicks Buslines. Instead, he worked at major Victorian operator Dyson Group. It took just over 20 years for Ian to build the business to a point where it could accommodate a second full time worker. When it did reach that point, Ian turned to his son.

“My dad progressively picked up a school run in Orbost and built the charter side until it became large enough to bring others on board,” Jason says.

“I was working with Dysons in 2007 when Dad got me to come across and work with the business.”

Jason joined the fold, which now includes Ian and his wife Glenda, as well as office manager Colin. By 2018, the charter side had grown to the point that Gillicks Buslines could buy its very first brand new coach.

It served as Gillicks Buslines’ first contact with an Irizar-bodied coach that featured Sege seats. Little did Jason know that the delivery would start a partnership that would grow the operator to a new level.

“The first brand new coach we bought was off Irizar in 2018 and it featured Sege seats,” Jason says.

“It was not long after I’d taken over the business from my father. I remember being shown the Sege seats for the first time – my initial impression was that they were very classy seats.

“In the years since, they’ve proven to be great value for money.”

Now six years onwards from the delivery of the 2018 coach and Jason has no complaints about Sege’s seats. He says they’ve “been fantastic” and have suffered no damage despite school students constantly playing with the seats on their daily commutes.

Gillicks Buslines currently has a fleet of 25 buses and coaches, nine of which are Irizar-bodied models featuring Sege seats. The past decade has allowed the country operator to continue expanding its fleet and operations, with Sege’s seats at the centre of it all.

“One thing I say about the Sege seats is when you walk into any bus or coach that features them, each seat looks the same – even the cheaper models look classy,” Jason says.

Image: Gillicks Buslines

“It’s got a bit of bling about it and some ‘wow’ factor that captures the attention of passengers when they first step onto the bus. Alongside the modern Irizar body, it’s a great way to entice people onto our services.”

The first coach featuring Sege seats in Gillicks Buslines’ models has now completed more than 400,000 kilometres. When parked next to a new coach, Jason says you can’t see a difference in the seats, such is the quality and durability of Sege’s models.

“These seats have allowed us to build the business and concentrate on purchasing more school buses in the past six years,” Jason says.

“We’ve tried to buy as many school buses as we can while building up our coach side by doing a lot of V/Line replacement, charter and tour work.”

Jason is satisfied with the Irizar and Sege seat package that he’s consistently buying, with a key part of the partnership being the aftersales care provided by the Sege team.

“The service they provide us is really good – if there’s ever an issue, they call us straight away or send us a new seat cover to fix it without charging us,” Jason says.

“We’ve been able to get their help in pulling apart seats and inserting USB sockets into the seats, finding out ways to make the process easy without damaging anything.

“We’ve got a range of different seat models in our vehicles from our simple school bus seats to our sophisticated coach seats that feature recliners and foot rests and the full works.”

Alongside trusted partners like Sege Seats, Jason says his family, including his father Ian and Ian’s wife Glenda, have been fundamental parts of the business’ success. He says their passion, combined with high quality coaches, is helping lead the operator into its next period of growth.

From Sege’s perspective, Asia Pacific director Lance Taskin says he’s eternally grateful for the support of Jason, who was one of the first operators to order Sege seats when the brand landed in Australia. While Sege first displayed its models in Australia at the Bus & Coach Expo in 2013, it was key orders in 2018, including from Gillicks Buslines, that allowed the brand to flourish.

“My motto has been not to push people to buy my product – I want it to be the customer’s choice to go with Sege seats,” Taskin told ABC.

“I’m happy to say I’ve achieved a model where people come and ask for Sege seats on their new vehicles because we provide more options for them.”

Taskin says he’ll continue to respect the choices of operators and customers, including Jason and his growing family business.

With Sege’s durability becoming a key part of its value offering to the Australian market, Taskin is excited by the various operators coming to him with proof of Sege’s sturdy seats in action. He says a key reason behind Sege’s strong seats is its structure – the design includes moulding the fabric and foam onto the frame without the use of glue.

With Taskin teasing that more Sege models might be on the way to Australia soon, he’s hopeful that the brand’s current crop will continue to stand the test of time and provide high quality seats for growing operators like Gillicks Buslines.

“We are very grateful for the customers we currently do work with, such as Gillicks Buslines, and look forward to expanding these partnerships in the future,” Taskin says.

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