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Easy does it

Age is no barrier in the bus business, as Les Symons can attest.

Les Symons still holds a very active role in the operations of the business he started in 1965. Les and his son Graham currently operate Symons Bus and Coach Service Narooma, south of Sydney.

The company’s 22-strong fleet features several Scania-powered buses and coaches, from a stalwart 1997 K 93 to a brand new 57-seat Scania Touring bookending an Express low floor city bus with seatbelts, a pair of K 310 Coach Design school buses and a five-year-old Scania-Higer A 30.

“The common benefit across the range is that the Scanias are just so easy to drive,” Graham says. “Across all our applications, school and charter work, around town or on highways, there’s just no fuss with them, and the drivers love them too. They’re the buses that give us the least trouble.

“Our number one priority is to get them out the gate in the morning and safely home again in the evening and the Scanias do it so easily. We’re not doing big kilometres per day, but even so the Scanias are very reliable, and if we don’t use one for a week or so due to school holidays, it’ll always fire up on the first touch.

“Our A 30 has been brilliant. It’s had five years of dirt road running on some very rugged surfaces and it has handled it really very well. In fact, I’m quite surprised how well it has held up, and as a bonus there’s barely a speck of dust in the luggage bins, which is very unusual. Over the decades we have had lots of different bodies and none has been as dust-free as the A 30. I would not hesitate to recommend them,” Graham says.

“As we’re operating under the Transport for NSW programme, we keep our buses for 25 years plus 1, and the newly acquired Touring has replaced a bus we’ve had on the road for more than two decades.

“We service the vehicles ourselves, and we have a diagnostic ‘Scantool’ from Scania, and we get a lot of help from the Scania branch, which is why we keep going back to Scania. The vehicles are very reliable and if we have a problem, we get a resolution quickly,” he says.

The company covers the coastal area from Bodalla to Bermagui, and Graham says they have stayed relatively busy through the COVID-19 blighted year, assisted by NSW families visiting for weekend breaks and holidays, given the border closures to the north and south.

“The new Touring just delivered to Symons is a Scania from bumper-to-bumper, so the operator has only one port-of-call for anything to do with the vehicle,” says Logan Hoser, Scania NSW Bus Account Manager.

“We warrant the body, the chassis and the drivetrain, which promotes a high level of quality and operator uptime, and ultimately peace-of-mind over the long term. Across the world there are few on-road operators who own and run our buses for such a long, unbroken period, and our significant market share in Australia is testament to our legendary reliability and durability,” Logan says.

“Just as Les and Graham have many years of bus and coach experience, our buses remain comfortable, safe and good to go after a long and hard working life on the road.”