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Truck Tech Group embraces bus maintenance and prepares for industry expansion

As a predominantly truck-based service and maintenance business, Truck Tech found itself enticed into the bus industry. Now, it has grand plans to expand its bus side in Australia

For a heavy vehicle repair company that spans the eastern coast of Australia and both the truck and bus markets, Truck Tech Group has humble beginnings.

“I started Truck Tech back in 2007 out the back of my service ute,” Truck Tech founder and CEO Barry Saad told ABC.

In the 17 years since Saad first began working on heavy vehicle services and repairs, Truck Tech Group has grown to span more than just trucks. While the business always puts its foot forward to work on truck repair, mechanical and preventative maintenance requirements, Truck Tech Group didn’t initiate its own entry into the bus market. Instead, the bus industry came to Saad and his team.

“Back in 2014, we were approached for a tender to work in the bus industry that we took on,” Saad says.

“We started by working for State Transit Sydney buses, inspecting vehicles and slowly growing into the servicing and maintenance side.”

From there, Truck Tech also took on repair and engine reconditioning jobs for buses and coaches in New South Wales. Nowadays, the business also completes workshop-based repairs for operators as well as on-site jobs at bus depots around the state.

Cameron Ling is now leading Truck Tech’s growth footprint in the bus industry, bringing a wealth of experience in the sector to Truck Tech’s operations. With more than 17 years spent working in the bus industry, he has led and diversified Truck Tech’s dedicated bus division, now incorporating niche capabilities such as the servicing of articulated bus turntables.

Image: Truck Tech Group

While Truck Tech didn’t intend to enter the bus industry, Saad says that Ling and his team are now finding opportunities to evolve and complete a wider range of tasks for the sector.

“The growth into the bus and coach industry has seen us notice a gap in maintenance support for operator depots,” Saad says.

“Operators don’t tend to have someone to lean on when they need extra maintenance and repair support, so we support them, their staff and their workshops.

“It’s been such a great chance for the business to diversify and learn new skills.”

While Truck Tech continues to embrace more requirements for bus and coach companies in NSW, Saad says the most popular service the business has is completing on-site services and repairs. This often allows Truck Tech technicians to venture to operator depots or provide crucial workshop support for larger jobs.

If needed, Truck Tech also offers a pick-up and delivery service to operators where Truck Tech drivers pick up a bus in need of repair from the depot, take it back to a Truck Tech workshop for repairs before then dropping the bus back to the operator. Saad says this offering has become a popular choice for many NSW operators.

When COVID-19 disrupted the bus and coach industry, Truck Tech found a new way to provide value to the NSW market. While continuing to complete maintenance jobs and keep buses serviced, Truck Tech began offering a helping hand to sanitise buses.

“We came up with a solution for our customers in the industry so that they could continue operating,” Saad says.

“Many operators had a challenge when it came to sanitising buses, so we put together a team of 35 people, made up of family and friends of our staff who had recently lost their jobs in other fields, and brought them into the business and trained them to complete bus sanitisation tasks.”

Image: Truck Tech Group

It’s this quick thinking and innovation that has allowed Truck Tech to gain a unique foothold in the bus and coach market. While its maintenance side could still operate under its usual internal protocols and systems during COVID restrictions, the bus sanitisation side allowed both the local community and operators to find benefits in a challenging time.

This same forward-thinking mindset is being taken to the zero-emissions transition. Saad says the focus on zero-emissions transport remains “very close to Truck Tech’s heart”, with the business running electric service vehicles and other zero-emissions models in its fleet.

“Our workshops are all solar-powered – we’re very committed to a sustainable future,” he says.

“Moving into the electric space is a passion of ours, so it was a no-brainer to focus on zero-emissions transport with buses.”

Truck Tech is now partnering with zero-emissions bus manufacturing companies such as BYD to service the latest range of battery electric buses coming into Australia while also working with the likes of ARCC to support hydrogen fuel-cell buses. Saad says this electric and hydrogen journey is only at the very start.

It’s in this space that Truck Tech has also identified a gap in the state’s bus industry, with Saad ready to escalate the business’ zero-emissions servicing and maintenance capabilities.

“There’s a huge opportunity for operators to buy electric and hydrogen assets, but no one is out there maintaining these vehicles really well after the sale,” he says.

“We are quickly becoming the maintenance and repair experts in the electric and hydrogen vehicle world for operators. We now have the capacity to repair all electric buses that we can in NSW and in Australia moving forward.”

Currently, Truck Tech’s truck services cover NSW, including Sydney and greater Metro, as well as the Central Coast region, and Victoria through its Dandenong site. In February, Truck Tech also opened up a workshop in Yatala, Queensland, with the brand now having more than 140 staff and over 70 service vehicles across Australia’s eastern coast. Truck Tech also has a nationwide network of sub-contractors to provide extensive coverage across Australia.

On the bus side, Saad is intent on expanding Truck Tech’s offering outside of NSW and further around the east coast to keep more new-age buses maintained and serviced. With Ling continuing to look after the bus side of Truck Tech, Saad is ready to ensure Truck Tech becomes a pillar of the Australian bus and coach servicing industry.

“With our current recruitment and internal training programs, Truck Tech is working towards becoming the largest independent electric and hydrogen vehicle repairer in Australia,” he says.

“We’re working towards having a national footprint for both our truck and bus markets.

“The next step for us is to grow our footprint and servicing into the Victorian and Queensland bus markets.”

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