Returning to the road

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This week’s Industry Guide examines providers of breakdown and recovery services

When vehicles or equipment suffer problems in the field, it is vital for to correct the issues as soon as possible to ensure minimal downtime. Having an efficient system in place to ensure breakdowns are covered can allow the operator to have less spares in its fleet, and hold on to less spare parts.

The best way to avoid breakdowns is good preventative maintenance, either through contracts with maintenance suppliers or good diagnostic equipment and compliant maintenance from the operator itself. However, there may still be times when things go wrong, and operators must be prepared for the worst, particularly as the sheer size and weight of coaches and buses makes them difficult vehicles to recover.

Because it is impossible to predict where a breakdown will happen, and it may well not happen in a convenient place, a good breakdown service provider will offer coach and bus operators extensive coverage. It may be available on all days of the week and all days of the year, and may cover the whole of continental Europe to ensure that operators can be sure that the vehicle will be seen to even in the event of a breakdown during a European tour.

Experienced breakdown services may have a good idea of the problem with a vehicle from the description given by the driver. This can allow them to load up on potentially useful parts before arrival, increasing the likelihood of the issue being fixed at the roadside.

Good networks can also provide coach operators far from home with replacement vehicles and drivers. This avoids the expense of sending an empty vehicle long distance without any passengers. It also helps to limit the inconvenience suffered by passengers, softening the blow of a vehicle failure and making repeat business more likely.

With complicated equipment involved in many aspects of coaches and buses, it’s inevitable that occasionally something will go wrong. With many vehicles carefully specified for their
target markets, having a breakdown of onboard equipment can result in the vehicle being unable to serve its function properly. It’s essential to have the equipment repaired as quickly as possible, and worth checking whether suppliers offer some form of breakdown service to cover their products.

Such suppliers can also offer training to improve an operator’s preventive maintenance and help them to solve issues themselves.