Driver Group shifts focus with Allison automatics


One of Melbourne’s biggest bus operators, Driver Group, claims it’s achieving superior fuel economy, increased efficiency, as well as improved drivability and safety, by using Allison transmissions across the majority of its fleet operating in and around Melbourne and Victoria

Driver Group shifts focus with Allison automatics
Driver Group shifts focus with Allison automatics

One of Melbourne's biggest bus operators, Driver Group, claims it's achieving superior fuel economy, increased efficiency, as well as improved drivability and safety, by using Allison transmissions across the majority of its fleet operating in and around Melbourne and Victoria.

According to Peter Sinclair, the depot manager for Driver Coastal and formerly the national maintenance manager for the Driver Group, Allison transmissions have been embraced in particular for operational and safety benefits but also because of reduced fuel consumption, minimal maintenance and improved reliability.

"Our experience with Allison transmissions mated to Cummins engines on the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is excellent, with very good fuel economy returns. Overall, we're anticipating substantially lower running costs with the Allison equipped buses, particularly in downtown Melbourne," he says.

Cummins' latest Euro 5-compliant ISBe5 6.7-litre engine, rated at 265hp, have been mated to Allison T280R fully automatic transmissions and fitted to four Driver Bus Lines' Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle vehicles- a service that operates in heavy traffic eight hours a day, every day of the year.

"We knew we had to offer a low-emissions engine solution to secure the contract, and we wanted better reliability and lower running costs over the contract period and beyond. That was behind our choice of Allison and Cummins," Sinclair says.

"We have tried automated manuals, but the reliability was not all it should have been, so we have moved back to Allison fully automatic transmissions.

"We have found the Allison-equipped buses to be reliable, which is important when running on tight timetables with commuters relying on the bus to arrive on time."

Commenting on the issue of safety, Sinclair continues, "The Allison allows our drivers to focus on operating the vehicle, particularly on busy city and suburban routes".

With no performance complaints and drivers reporting excellent acceleration enabling them to maintain speed in heavy traffic flow, it's no surprise that of the 132 buses operated by Driver Group, more than 75 are now equipped with Allison automatics.

With a history dating back to 1931, when brothers Eric and Reg Driver built their first bus and began operating in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, Driver Bus Lines - now known as the Driver Group - is still 100 percent owned by the Driver family and operates under four trading names, Driver Bus Lines, Driver Coastal, Gray Line and Great Sights.

Its fleet is made up of 132 buses and coaches that provide route services, school runs, school charters, sightseeing, shuttle services and tours.

 



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