Scania, a Swedish-owned assembler of trucks and buses, unveiled its first Scania Touring bus with locally built body designed to meet the demands of bus operators such as energy efficiency, safety systems to reduced emissions and noise levels, excellent uptime, high levels of passenger comfort and luggage capacity.
The first five units of this couch bus will be handed over to Bicol Isarog Transport Systems, Inc. (BITS), the first local bus operator which purchased the transport units.
“To offer local bus operators utmost flexibility and more savings, Scania is unveiling the first Scania Touring with a Philippine-made body to be handed over to Bicol Isarog Transport System. This provides operators, like Bicol Isarog, a myriad of options in terms of body configurations and choice of materials not to mention parts are readily available. But you can expect the same level of engineering excellence and riding comfort as with all Scania buses,” said Don Ramos, sales manager at BJ Mercantile, Inc., the local operator of Scania.
The first Scania Touring bus with locally built body came into being when Scania and local bus body manufacturer Del Monte Motor Works, Inc. (DMMW) formed a partnership in 2019. DMMW strictly adhere to the Body Building Guidelines of Scania and all drawings and every components of the bus structure and other data are forwarded to Scania in Sweden for monitoring and approval. Scania’s requirements or standards must be strictly followed. For every stage of the assembly process, actual pictures or drawings are submitted to Scania before proceeding to the next stage.
Ramos notes that the first unit is a prototype unit which took them 75 days to finish – from chassis until it was completely built up. The second up to the fifth unit took them around 45 to 60 days to complete.
The resulting bus body design is patented for Scania and cannot be used for other brands. Customers then have a lot of choices in terms of interior design – from the audio-video set-up, to interior lighting, all the way to seat options wherein they can choose to install regular bus seats, de luxe or the top-of-the-line lazy boy seats. They can add a bathroom especially for long-haul trips while some can opt to transform the bus into a mobile conference room or a mobile hospital.
“The beauty of locally made body is we can configure on what they need,” said Ramos.
For BJ Cu, general manager of BITS, they grabbed the opportunity to be the first to own the Scania Touring bus with a locally made body because of Scania’s very good after-sales support courtesy of the 24/7 workshop and guarantee of parts availability. This is also the reason BITS purchased 13 more buses that are for delivery next year.
Another important factor why BITS opted for Scania is because of its Fleet Management System (FMS), an application which provides connected services for both the operators and drivers. Through FMS, operators can identify and use real-time information such as vehicle data, fuel consumption, fleet position and driver performance that are useful to enhance productivity while reducing costs. It can also detect mechanical and electrical errors remotely informing Scania’s professional technicians which parts and tools to bring for faster repair in case of breakdowns on the road. However, this can be easily avoided by scheduling regular Preventive Maintenance when prompted by the FMS.
Scania Touring buses are also equipped with the standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Speed Limiter, Traction Control, Driving Mode (economy and standard), Hill Hold, and Auxiliary Break (retarder). Features that support the driver whether they are on the open highway or in busy city environments include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assistance, Blind Spot Warning, Electropneumatic Parking Brake, Vulnerable Road User Collision Warning and Underrun Protection.