When you run a bus service, your business is only as good as the vehicles in your fleet. This holds true whether you’re managing a local public transportation system, a private transportation business, or any other kind of bus charter operation.
Staying on top of bus maintenance is the most important factor in passenger safety and, ultimately, the success of your business. This can be an overwhelming responsibility when you’re just getting started. But if you come up with a plan for keeping up with regular maintenance and repair needs for your fleet, it will be a lot easier to assure your customers, employees, and yourself that every vehicle is ready for the road. Use these tips to get started!
Require daily inspections.
Every driver on your team should be completing maintenance checks at the beginning of each shift. This is just a basic inspection to look for obvious maintenance issues to reduce the chances for an incident while carrying passengers. Give your drivers a daily checklist to go off of and hand in or leave for the next driver. Your list should include visually checking things like fluid levels, overall structure, tires, lights/signal function, seatbelts, brakes, steering/horn operation, door function, and cleanliness.
Schedule regular inspections with a professional.
Preventative bus maintenance will save you a lot of time, money, and headache in the long run. You can’t expect your drivers to become experts on vehicle maintenance and repair, so it’s important to have them inspected routinely by a professional bus mechanic/specialist. During inspections, mechanics can take care of routine maintenance tasks such as changing the oil and filling coolant and other fluids. They will also look for any potential issues with major components such as the tires, brake system, cooling system, battery, and exterior rusting.
Keep a stock of essential parts.
Over time, vehicle repairs will be an inevitability for your fleet. Having extra parts on hand will help the maintenance and repair process go faster and smoother. An out of commission bus can be a serious inconvenience, causing schedule disruptions and financial burdens. By planning for it ahead of time, you can avoid the inconvenience and have your vehicle up and running again ASAP. Make sure you’re stocking up with high-quality parts, such as tires and batteries, and providing drivers with basic tool kits for quick-fix issues on the road.
Take care of maintenance problems as soon as they’re identified.
A large majority of extensive and expensive repairs begin as quick, cheap fixes. Addressing issues right away will help keep costs lower, your fleet functional, and individual vehicles safer for your drivers and passengers. You may be tempted to put off fixing a minor problem to avoid dealing with pulling a bus off the road or due to budget constraints. But you can be sure that small issue will snowball and become a more serious, inconvenient, and costly problem down the line.
Don’t forget about cleanliness.
Maintaining your buses doesn’t just mean taking care of mechanical and structural problems that inhibit vehicle function. It also means ensuring each bus is in top-quality condition to give your passengers a comfortable and satisfying customer experience. Have drivers perform a few basic cleaning tasks along with their daily checklists. A quick sweep of the floor or wipe down of the seats will make a big difference. Every month or two, have drivers or maintenance team members do a deep cleaning of the interior and exterior.
Hire a maintenance manager.
Speaking of a maintenance team—you should have one! Maintaining an entire fleet of quality vehicles is a full-time job in and of itself. You should have a team of employees dedicated to maintenance specifically, helmed by an experienced manager. This will help you stay on top of maintenance and keep within your budget. Your team should have access to experienced bus mechanics too, so they can handle issues quickly and efficiently to keep your operation running smoothly.
When you start off with high-quality buses for your fleet, it’s much easier to keep up with maintenance over time. At Northwest Bus Sales, we offer new and used buses in prime condition to meet the needs of your bus business. The certified mechanics we work with help us ensure every vehicle is road-ready before you take it off the lot.
Give us a call at 800-231-7099 today for more information about our buses!