21/02/2014

Volvo and Marcopolo raise the bar in bus safety



by Christina Cortese

Volvo Bus Australia has entered into a partnership with body building giant Marcopolo and backed by Volgren Australia, to deliver the newest model Euro5 Volvo B7R that sets new safety benchmarks for the Australian transport market.

The new units combine the best-selling Volvo B7R chassis with the renowned Marcopolo body, and bring a new dimension of quality, safety and cutting-edge technology to the market.

Queensland-based Southern Cross Transit took delivery of the first two units in January and is currently running them in their school charter routes.

According to Southern Cross Managing Director, Frank Oliveri, safety is the number one priority of Southern Cross Transit, who are responsible for transporting school children throughout Brisbane’s western suburbs and Ipswich.

“Volvo is known for producing some of the safest and most efficient chassis; and Marcopolo has a sound reputation for building very high quality bodies. The combination ensures we deliver our passengers point to point, safe and sound,” Frank said.

He said that while regulations dictate basic safety requirements such as rollover protection, it is important for bus operators to go above and beyond basic requirements by utilising current technologies like reversing sensors and cameras.

However, features like these generally don’t come standard on buses, leaving operators to carry the cost.

The new Volvo B7Rs with the Marcopolo body come standard with several safety features that aren’t usually found on regular buses, such as reversing sensors, security and forward-facing cameras, anti-crush door controls, full-capacity seatbelts, LED clearance lights and interior lights, and windshields and bonded glass panes that maximise driver visibility.

“We would never have been able to afford these features if we had to buy them after market. By providing a cost-effective bus with these standard safety features, Volvo has allowed us to deliver the highest level of safety without having to pass the cost on to our customers,” Frank said.

In addition, the Volvo B7Rs have the mechanical features that are necessary for any operator who is serious about safety, including four wheel disc brakes and ABS for responsive braking, and active suspension that allows for a smooth ride and exceptional manoeuvrability.

“The ability to manoeuvre a bus is often overlooked, but it’s an important characteristic of a good chassis. The Volvo B7R excels in this area. It’s easy to navigate through the narrow and hilly streets of Brisbane’s suburbs.”

Another element not often associated with safety is serviceability, but Volvo Bus Australia is ahead of the game in this too, offering a simple, high quality design and unmatched aftersales support.

“The design of a Volvo chassis is simple, which is perfect for bus operators. The less complicated a bus is to maintain and service, the more attention we can pay to our customers,” Frank said.

“The aftersales support Volvo Bus Australia offers is another reason we have been a loyal customer for the past 30 years. Their designated bus support team is second to none and we have a dedicated Volvo Bus representative, Ray Andrich, who has been instrumental in helping keep our business running smoothly.”

Ray Andrich, Volvo Bus Australia’s Regional Sales Manager for NSW and QLD, explained that the new partnership between Volvo Bus Australia and Marcopolo means operators like Frank and Southern Cross Transit can afford top of the line safety features for their fleet without compromising quality.

“We recognised a demand in the market for cost-effective products that still deliver not only on quality, but also provide leading technology, equipment and support. The partnership with Marcopolo, who are a leader in the global body building arena, now allows us to offer this to our customers. And as Marcopolo is backed by Volgren – a leader in the Australian bus building industry - we are confident that we’ll be able to meet and exceed the needs of our customers,” Ray said.

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