Looks, reliability and service win more business for Irizar from Passenger Plus
Outstanding service back-up, reliability and customer kerb appeal are the key reasons why south-eastern operator Passenger Plus has added three new Irizar coaches to its fleet in the last 12 months, with the latest arrivals being a pair of i6 Integrals.
The company started in 2012 with 11 brand new vehicles, operating in the corporate sector including it’s first i6, now replaced with a Euro 6 model. It now has eight full-size coaches offering from 25 to 53 seats operating alongside more midi-size vehicles, and is branching out into other areas of the market.
Director Mark Drury said: “We wanted to do things the right way from the start, and that meant running vehicles to a standard that corporate customers were prepared to pay for, but without being too glitzy.”
The core of Passenger Plus’ work is in running staff shuttle services, which Passenger Plus does as part of the transport plans that it draws up for large companies which, in Mark’s words, “Have more employees than parking spaces.”
“In the majority of cases, the main thrust of the most effective plan is to shuttle people from the nearest railway stations,” he explains.
“The companies we work for demand transport to a certain standard. The coaches are not usually booked by the person who will travel on them, so it’s important that they look right: modern, safe, comfortable, but not too opulent.”
“We find the Irizar i6 Integral fits the bill perfectly for this job. It has the necessary ‘kerb appeal’ yet is suitably understated.”
While one of the coaches replaces an older vehicle from another manufacturer, the other is being added to boost fleet numbers as Passenger Plus responds to local demand by diversifying into running its own programme of day excursions. Again, the kerb appeal of the i6 Integral has an important role to play in building customer confidence.
This is something the company takes very seriously: it has a string of awards and accreditations to its name, most significantly being one of just 50 operators in the UK to meet the CoachMarque quality standard.
The attention to detail is such that the two new 12.9 m Irizar i6 Integral coaches are each equipped with built-in vacuum-cleaning systems, which help ensure that the interiors are always kept to the highest standards.
Other equipment reflects the standards in safety and service set by Passenger Plus and includes CCTV, seating with seat-back tables, USB sockets, and three-point belts, DVD and CD players, a drinks machine, cant-rail lighting, and destination equipment.
The drivelines are DAF MX-11 271 369 hp engines driving ZF EcoLife transmissions.
Mark says, “The DAF engines are reliable and good on fuel, and we enjoy excellent back-up from Irizar. Unlike some manufacturers, they will send someone with the relevant skills to deal with a problem: for example, an air-conditioning engineer to deal with an issue with air-con. It sounds obvious but other manufacturers still insist on sending truck technicians to a coach.”
“All our maintenance is outsourced, and we need reliability. We aren’t the kind of operator that has an old vehicle sitting in the yard to be used just in case. In fact, for operators working in and around London such as ourselves, that strategy really isn’t an option any more. Since our inception, we have been replacing vehicles at three-to-four years old, and with increasing environmental constraints on the operation of older vehicles in London, that strategy is certainly paying off.”