“Over the past five years, especially, there’s been a greater focus on operators and bus suppliers working together to tailor training programs for drivers,” Tony says.
“A bus driver is always going to be able to get into a new bus and drive it, but good training can help them make the most of a new model’s features, give their passengers a more comfortable ride and know how to deal with minor issues that might arise.”
Tony said Greyhound chose to dedicate two of its new coaches to a six week training program before the new models hit the road.
“The fact that Greyhound was prepared to complete this level of training before putting those new buses into service demonstrates the value of good training. Drivers each spent time learning about the chassis and the Irizar body and test driving the new model.”
Much of the training delivered by Volvo and Greyhound was focussed on fuel efficient driving. “Fuel efficiency was one of the reasons Greyhound Australia chose the Volvo B13R,” Tony said. “Helping drivers maximise the fuel efficiency features of the bus is very important.”
The fuel efficiency training focussed on the use of features like Eco Roll. “Using Eco Roll, fuel consumption can be minimised, especially in metropolitan areas and while coasting. Using this feature has the added benefit of enhancing passenger satisfaction through a smoother and more pleasant ride,” Tony said.
Other fuel-saving tips focussed on taking sensible approaches to bus operation, Tony said. “For example, we remind drivers that if you’re at a changeover and have a 15 minute wait; it makes more sense to shut the engine down than to leave it idling.”
Greyhound Australia’s General Manager – Procurement, Melinda Rich, said pre-service training was an important component of Greyhound’s approach to introducing new buses.
“Volvo has supported us with a significant training program for our drivers, which is important as ultimately it is our drivers who will ensure we get the best performance on the road out of the new coaches.
“Our coaches are some of the hardest working in the country, often covering more than 300,000 kilometres each year. We needed to partner with a supplier that could offer us a high quality and safe product, with proven reliability, all backed up with a national service network.”
Greyhound Australia is about to put the first of 30 new Volvo B13R coaches into operation as part of its national Express fleet.
The fleet upgrade is in line with Greyhound’s commitment to environmentally friendly travel alternatives.
“We were particularly interested in the balance between performance and fuel economy, so we trialled coaches in a range of short haul and long haul duties in our Express network. In the end, it was the B13R coach that offered us the best combination of power and performance, while offering good fuel economy,” Melinda said.