For the past few years, tour and motorcoach ridership has been on a steady increase. In 2012 alone the motorcoach industry transported passengers across 75.7 billion miles within the United States and Canada. With each motorcoach travelling an average of 49,800 miles each year, it’s important to make sure each bus stays in top shape. Let’s discuss a few useful tips that can help prolong the life of your tour buses.
Maintain Tour Bus Inspections
This may seem like a no-brainer but it's important to mention. We all know how time seems to just fly by and without a reminder it's easy to miss special dates, especially those that only come once a year. Programs like Google Calendar or Remindeo are free and easy to use. Reminders are automatically sent to your email or cell phone to make sure there is never a lapse in your inspections.
Log It Publically
Keep a log to ensure proper vehicle maintenance. Also remember to ask your dealer or service shop for a copy of all services performed on your bus. This will give you exact dates in case you need to back track or identify a reoccurring problem. Creating a simple log outlining your vehicle's factory maintenance requirements is easy and effective. Keep a copy in the office and one on the bus. Update them when maintenance has been performed so both the office and your driver know your bus maintenance is up to date.
Your drivers should always perform a pre-trip inspection. This inspection includes everything from wiper blades to fire extinguishers and tire pressures to turn signal bulbs. Engine noises, warning lights, alignment issues and fluid leaks should also be noted. These are things that will not only keep your passengers safe but will help you bus run efficiently for a very long time.
The post-trip inspection is the same as the pre-trip inspection. Reporting any issues that need attention to the proper personnel means they can be addressed before the bus is scheduled for use again. Checking the vehicle maintenance log and reporting any overdue services should be included in this inspection. If your tour bus needs to be inspected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, set a reminder for your appointment every two or three years.
Spot cleaning is essential for maintaining a professional image and ensures a comfortable and positive customer experience. It also helps to prolong the life of your bus's interior. But an occasional detailing will bring new life to your older bus. You don't want your customers doubting the professionalism of your company because of a few dirty seats.
Replace, Repair, Retire
As your bus ages a thorough and detailed inspection should be performed to ensure everything is operating properly. This includes windows, overhead reading lights, non-slip stair covers, interior and exterior trim, headlight covers, glass and paint. Make sure all safety items, like loose handrails or trim that has pulled away and might accidentally cut someone, are replaced or repaired immediately. Other cosmetic items, such as dents or paint damage, should be attended to when possible, especially to prevent rusting. When you notice a bus seems to have problems more often than not, it’s important to consider upgrading that part of your fleet.
Proper bus maintenance will help protect your investment in the short and long term while ensuring a safe, comfortable and professional experience for your customers. Addressing these key areas will help keep your bus on the road for many more years to come.