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Volvo Bus Continues to Impact Local BRT Industry

Volvo BRT buses are operating in many cities

Volvo Bus Southern Africa is continuing to deliver top-quality transport solutions to cities across South Africa. The City of Tshwane recently became the fourth major city to implement a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, following in the footsteps of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay. Volvo Bus SA has been successful in supplying buses to three of these systems. Volvo has many years of experience in working together with cities that have introduced BRT.

VolvoIn Latin America, for instance, where BRT buses cover 25 million kilometres per day, Volvo has 80% of the market share for articulated buses and 100% for bi-articulated buses.

At present, Volvo BRT buses are operating in cities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, India, South Africa and Sweden. However, BRT is not a solution limited only to the largest cities. Many of the concepts for modern transport systems are applicable in most of the world’s cities.

The company’s most recent achievement was to win the contract to deliver 131 buses to the City of Tshwane by 2016. The delivery of the first 30 buses for the inception phase of the TRT system was completed at the end of May this year.

The balance of the vehicles will be delivered in 2015 and early 2016. Of the 131 buses, 85 will be rigid 12m units, while the remaining 46 will be 18m articulated units. The rigid 12m Volvo B9L low-floor bus chassis with Marcopolo Gran Viale bodies are equipped with diesel-powered Euro 5 engines.

These units are the first full low-floor BRT buses to be manufactured and delivered on the African continent. What makes these units so unique is the fact that their engines are fitted to the far left-hand side of the chassis, and their engine-cooling systems are mounted to the rooftop.

This unique configuration allows for a complete unobstructed flat floor inside the bus, and is more advantageous in city operations. All the units also boast a full airsuspension system and automatic transmission complete with integrated hydrodynamic retard to ensure maximum passenger comfort and vehicle operational stability.

The Volvo bus chassis are assembled at the company’s CKD plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

The Volvo bus chassis are assembled at the company’s CKD plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, according to the highest global quality standards. After the low-floor chassis are fitted by the bodybuilders, Volvo Bus does a pre-delivery service on the complete bus to ensure the quality of the units before they go into service. “Over the years Volvo Bus has established itself as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of buses and coaches,” said Marius Botha, General Manager of Volvo Bus Southern Africa.

“We believe that our success can be attributed to much more than just our history. It is about listening to our customers and providing them with the best solutions for next-generation public transport and travel.” The company believes in adopting and implementing world-class engineering to help cut energy and resource consumption in cities across the world.

Fuel efficiency, effective maintenance solutions, renowned safety and outstanding uptime are all Volvo hallmarks. “At Volvo Bus we strongly believe in the complete lifecycle productivity of our products,” said Botha. “A bus or coach is an investment. During its lifetime it generates income, and there are costs for fuel, driver wages, taxes, maintenance and service to consider. We are therefore committed to support our customers through a range of aftermarket services and training.”

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa