Scania is a fleet favourite for Warragul Bus Lines
The two-axle Scania Touring coach is a Scania from bumper-to-bumper, an innovation that has met with widespread industry approval from large fleets and smaller independent operators.
After almost three years and around 100,000 km per vehicle, the verdict on Scania’s Touring charter coach fleet is very positive from Phil Radford, General Manager at Warragul Bus Lines.
“We took delivery of the first Tourings that came into the country in early 2019 and they have performed very well,” Phil says of the high-floor Scania buses that arrive fully built and needing only seats before starting work.
Warragul Bus Lines, a part of the Dineen Group, is based in eastern Victoria and runs a fleet of 90 buses, of which 75 are heavy buses, and 50 of these are powered by Scania. Of this group, the Scania-powered route buses have Express bodies, while there are 21 Scania bodied Tourings on the road, one of the biggest fleets of Tourings operated in Australia.
Phil says the Tourings have replaced older buses on the fleet including some Scania-Higer A 30s for private school work, and that he expects the Tourings will be on the fleet for at least seven years.
“Mostly these Scanias are running school routes and some charter work, but like all of the industry at present we can’t get enough drivers. Of the drivers we have, quite a few are away on leave having been locked down for so long during COVID.
“Demand from schools for charter work for camps and so on is very high at present and we have even had schools in Melbourne calling to offer us work if we have availability,” Phil says.
“The Scania Tourings have given us good reliability and good fuel and the 360 hp six-cylinder engines deliver good performance. The drivers like the way the Tourings get up and go, they love the way they drive. Most of the Tourings use the ZF automatic transmission but we have a few with Scania Opticruise, and those return better fuel.
“We have had Scania driver trainers in to give our drivers tips on how to drive most efficiently and explain how the technology onboard works, and even drivers who have been around a while say they have found the sessions useful.
“The driver training is also good at getting drivers to focus on their attitude behind the wheel as much as their actual driving technique, and both of these contribute to lower fuel burn and safer driving habits,” Phil says.
“We introduced the Touring to Australia because we wanted to bring a 100% Scania to the market,” says Dean Cash, Scania Bus and Coach New Vehicle Account Manager for Victoria and southern NSW.
“The Scania chassis and powertrain, mated to a Scania designed body, assembled under the eyes of Scania’s own quality assurance team is a combination that provides excellent reliability, performance and its robust build make it suitable for Australian conditions. Ease of ownership is another benefit, especially if combined with our Repair and Maintenance contracts,” Dean says.
“The Touring offers ample seating and 9 m3 of luggage space under the floor, accessed by large hatches along the side. For school and charter work you won’t find a more frugal, better built vehicle than the Scania Touring,” Dean says.
In 2023, Scania will offer an updated Touring with a new 370 hp six-cylinder engine mated to a new ZF gearbox or Scania’s Opticruise automated manual transmission.