Bus Industry News, Bus Safety, Technology

Tassielink Transit invests in United Safety splurge

For Tassielink Transit’s Shane ‘Bubbles’ Dewsbery, United Safety & Survivability Corporation’s varying systems are an attractive way of encouraging passengers back onboard buses.

Tassielink Transit was searching for innovative ways of making the passenger experience safer and more comfortable when it decided to combine new safety and ventilation systems from United Safety with the latest Scania low-floor buses it had on order.

The process started roughly six months ago when the Scania low-floor buses went into build for Tassielink Transit. The operator is marketed as the largest regional bus operator with the most extensive bus network around Tasmania, operating from Hobart to Launceston and from the east to west coast.

Tassielink Transit managing director and industry stalwart Dewsbery remembers first meeting with United Safety & Survivability Corporation (United Safety) to consider a pioneering addition to their newest fleet of vehicles.

“The team at United Safety first explained the product to me and I saw there were lots of benefits in it,” Dewsbery told ABC.

“The team then came to the Coffs Harbour bus plant and showed me what they intended to install on the bus and how it would work.”

Dewsbery says he was so impressed with United Safety’s fire suppression and air purification systems that Tassielink decided to have the Active Air Purification and Fogmaker Fire Suppression Systems installed on their new Scania vehicles.

The Scania low-floor buses open possibilities for Dewsbery. He says Tassielink Transit will now be able to make its services even more accessible, with low-floor vehicles being easier to ride on for people in wheelchairs and other inhibited passengers.

To support this accessibility spree, Dewsbery leapt at the chance to feature United Safety’s systems onboard the new fleet of buses.

The Active Air Purification system works to remove pathogens from the air in the bus. United Safety says that it eliminates greater than 99 per cent of germs, microbes, viruses and bacteria using naturally occurring hydroperoxides.

United Safety National Executive Sales Manager Matthew Jarrett says Active Air is mounted in the return air duct of a bus’s HVAC system. As the system sucks in air, it passes over United Safety’s catalyst system. This is where the change happens.

Jarrett says the Fogmaker Fire Suppression System uses high pressure firefighting agents to douse engine bays in the event something goes wrong.

United Safety’s product leaps into action once there is circulated air. The catalyst creates a naturally occurring environment where clean air is filtered back out through the air-conditioning vent to actively fight pathogens in the air, including COVID-19 particles.

“As long as air remains circulated, our system will keep creating hydroperoxides to fill voids, drop onto surfaces and ultimately prevent transmission,” Jarrett says. “Our Active Air system helps increase ridership onboard buses by keeping passengers safe onboard.”

United Safety says this technology will replace old methods of wiping down buses, which Jarrett says is rendered useless when people get back on the bus and reintroduce pathogens into the air.

Instead, Active Air actively works while the bus operates, cleaning the air and surfaces to protect both drivers and passengers.

Jarrett says the system was re-introduced to public transport when commuter sickness syndrome returned. Now, the product has been re-engineered to target the COVID pandemic.

While United Safety & Survivability Corporation is headquartered in America, the company says it has identified a gap in the Australian market for safety products onboard heavy vehicles. In particular, it has found its air filtration systems are valuable commodities in a post-COVID Australian transport landscape.


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“Active Air moves away from conventional overcleaning that happens onboard buses,” Jarrett says.

“Our relationship with Tassielink and ‘Bubbles’ gives us a wonderful opportunity to get our system out there and known in Australia.”

United Safety is also implementing its Fogmaker fire suppression system to keep passengers safe in case of emergency.

The water mist system is already widely used around Australia. Jarrett says United Safety has currently installed more than 10,000 pieces of this equipment in the nation.

 

Although Tasmania isn’t currently mandated to have fire suppression systems onboard buses, Jarrett says other states like Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria have these rules mandated, making the Fogmaker an important safety consideration for operators.

“The conversation we had with ‘Bubbles’ was about how we helped protect his assets, drivers and passengers,” Jarrett says. “The Fogmaker is all about safety.”

The fire suppression unit starts with a detection unit that can detect a thermal event, such as when there’s a heat spike in the engine bay. The system will then drop the pressure in valves and send alarms to the operator via a small fire panel.

The third component is the distribution and agent network. Once the loss of pressure occurs, it trips the system into discharging the suppressant, which is located in various nozzles around the engine bay, providing for direct application to a potential fire event.

Dewsbery says United Safety’s systems will keep Tassielink buses safer while also increasing convenience and comfort for passengers onboard.

He says introducing a low-floor scenario into buses that cover a longer distance and remain more accessible for passengers requires an improvement in ventilation systems used.

‘Bubbles’ says United Safety’s systems fit the requirement perfectly.

“One thing I love about the United Safety’s products is that you can retrofit them into other vehicles,” Dewsbery says.

“The relationship between using public transport and COVID is still there, so we looked into enhancing passenger comfort on Tassielink journeys.

“If United Safety’s products are going to contribute to passengers feeling more comfortable using the buses, it’s worth a try. As an organisation, we aren’t scared to try something outside of the norm.”

These safety systems are onboard the first Scania new bus generation models to be delivered in Tasmania.

The newest bus will run from Hobart to Bicheno and Swansea, covering 120,000 kilometres annually by making the 330 kilometre round trip carrying locals, school children and tourists.

The United Safety products come onboard the high/ low floor combination platform bus that has coach seats and seatbelts fitted, along with decent underfloor luggage bins to accommodate both bicycles and tourist backpacks.

With an Express body on top, these passenger comforts are also supported by United Safety’s leading bus safety products. The new Scania bus will replace an older Express bodied Scania that will be re-routed to run from Hobart to Port Arthur and other southern Tasmanian towns.

“These safety features onboard the Scania bus are an important addition to our offering,” Dewsbery says.

“The new generation Scania dashboard provides drivers with increased visibility and air vents keep them cooled or warm independently from the passenger saloon.

“The new safety features will not only please our existing drivers but help us to attract new drivers.”

Dewsbery says he is satisfied that the new technology onboard the new buses will enhance customer comfort. The industry titan always considers technology that enhances the positive experience passengers can have onboard his buses, including United Safety’s product range.

“I feel very comfortable with the United Safety and Scania products we’ve invested in,” he says.

“The process has been very simple from my perspective. Being in Tassie, it’s good to have that support from both United Safety and Scania to update our fleet with the latest in safety and ventilation technology.”

For ‘Bubbles’ and Tassielink Transit, he says he can’t wait for the new systems to be running daily, keeping Tasmanians safe as they climb back onboard buses.

“We’re really excited to introduce systems that contribute to passenger comfort and safety, such as what we have received from United Safety to raise the positive perception of public transport in Tasmania,” Dewsbery says.

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