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August 14 2017
By Tim Deakin

Tim is the Senior Journalist at routeONE magazine is also the title’s chief test driver, with considerable vehicle knowledge


Treka Bus: Taking safety and training seriously

Minibus passenger are at the highest risk of an accident when they are boarding and alighting, and Treka Bus does all it can to mitigate that. It’s also training buyers’ key staff as Treka Champions

Treka’s approach to safety and training is one of continual improvement

In the accessible sector, where passengers may be vulnerable, safety is paramount. It takes commitment from all involved to make minibuses as safe as possible, and Treka Bus is dedicated to doing its bit.

“In recent years there have been noted incidents involving injuries and even fatalities on accessible minibuses, but none of those, as far as we are aware, have involved a Treka product,” says Production Director Morgan Clissett.

“To maintain that record we work closely with our supplier partners. Whenever we see a report of injuries involving an accessible minibus, we take it on board and feed it into our programme of constant improvement.”

Additionally, the manufacturer’s training programme is about to become even more comprehensive with the launch of the Treka Champions scheme. Combined with its attitude to safety, the overarching idea behind it all is to add value to the product.

Brainstorming

Besides seeking feedback on how to improve safety, Treka searches for its own ideas. Morgan uses the illuminated fasten seatbelt sign that is standard on all its minibuses as an example.

“I was on an aeroplane and I thought ‘why don’t we have a seatbelt sign?’ We added one to the specification at no cost because our attitude to safety is not driven by turnover or profit figures.”

That’s common throughout the business, he adds. By constantly refining all areas of its products, Treka is able to take savings made in manufacturing and reallocate them to safety improvements.

Aviation industry was the inspiration for the standard-fit seatbelt sign

“We review things constantly to ensure that our minibuses are the safest that they can be, but also that they have the highest value at the end of their first life, maximum reliability and the lowest operational costs.”

Two ends of the scale

Some safety improvements are minor; for example, Treka realised that a rivet used to secure an item to a handrail could become caught in a ring on a passenger’s finger. The rivet was changed to something sacrificial, removing the risk of injury.

Others are more significant, and the manufacturer works hard to provide exactly what buyers want and need. That’s what it did with the integration of PLS’s DoorSafe barrier at the rear doors of minibuses

DoorSafe is an automatic barrier that rises when the doors are open and the lift is not raised, preventing people from falling from the rear doors; when the lift reaches floor level, the barrier retracts.

For optimum flexibility, Treka now builds all minibuses with a socket at the rear into which DoorSafe can be connected. But it doesn’t automatically provide the barrier arm; the customer decides that.

“We discussed with PLS how we could make DoorSafe even better. We decided to install all preparatory equipment as standard at no charge to the customer. All of the wiring is there and every PLS lift that we fit is DoorSafe ready,” he adds.

That gives choice. The buyer can order a DoorSafe device with each minibus, but it can also buy fewer DoorSafe arms than the number of vehicles it will receive, and move them around to suit. It can also take none at the point of delivery, but add them in later months or years.

Relationship is key

Treka’s decision to make all of its minibuses DoorSafe compatible is indicative of its attitude to relationships with customers, says Morgan.

Minor change to safety handrail was made to remove a potential risk

“We try to futureproof our vehicles. Handing the keys over is the start of the relationship, not the end of it,” he explains. To reinforce that, the Treka Champions scheme will deliver training to customers’ key staff.

“Treka Champions is open to every buyer, whether it takes a large fleet or a single vehicle. They can send staff to our factory in Brighouse, where they will receive training that is tailored to their vehicles.”

Each operator’s staff is trained separately and besides classroom time, they will see minibuses being built and be able to access electronic content concerning their own vehicles.

The reason for Treka Champions is simple, says Morgan: It’s to keep vehicle uptime as high as possible, and allow buyers to rectify small faults without the need for a manufacturer call-out.

“The first Treka Champions training will be in September and we are pushing its benefits with our customers.

“But it’s not just about us telling them things; we encourage attendees to question us on what we do and how we do it. Training is free-of-charge and all customers can take advantage of it.”

Add that to handover training, driver training, and a commitment to making its minibuses ever safer, and everyone’s a winner.

www.trekabus.com



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