Bus tow? No problem!

johnboy 21 July 2011 29

As seen in Civic this afternoon.

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bus tow


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29 Responses to Bus tow? No problem!
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ML-585 ML-585 3:05 pm 27 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

Look to be honest with no facts and figures in front of me I would say once per week would be about the point you would look to purchase an asset such as this, but as I said I’d also be looking into what is driving this constant need for tows.

I’d still love to know how many tows a week they are doing.

If you want to know how many tows are being done per week, I suggest you sit outside Belconnen Depot on Cohen Street and count how many times the tow truck goes out.

But I think it’s fairly safe to say that it is used more often than once a week, on average.

Bussie Bussie 10:31 am 27 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

Look to be honest with no facts and figures in front of me I would say once per week would be about the point you would look to purchase an asset such as this, but as I said I’d also be looking into what is driving this constant need for tows.

I’d still love to know how many tows a week they are doing.

This is where your ignorance is getting the better of you. You have no idea if this “constant need for tows” is normal or not. ACTION has about 400 buses, some of them over 20 years old, so with our guess of one tow per week that’s only once every 8 years per bus.

Sir Pompously Sir Pompously 6:55 pm 26 Jul 11

Towing is a rare event that happens only when the bus cannot be fixed on the road (You would probably see it out once or twice a week). The tow truck I believe was a gift to ACTION from MACK for their large purchase of Renault PR100.2 vehicles, which are in fact a reliable unit (It is rumoured that MACK could not move that line of truck, they had a surplus!). It replaced an older unit (probably a Leyland, I have only seen pictures of the rear of the old truck), and I am fairly certain only a few mechanics are trained to drive it but they are not employed for the sole purpose of doing so. I have seen other Government bus operators that in fact own their own tow trucks, as private companies charge through the nose for the hire of one and cannot always be there to tow the vehicle ASAP. The tow truck is also used as a mobile work station, helping the breakdown truck by lifting a vehicle when it is being fixed on the spot and access is required underneath the bus. You will find most buses with problems will either never leave the depot, or will be placed “on the bricks” as soon as it is returned and the problem rectified before its next in service run (Go to Belconnen Depot on a Saturday morning and see the line up of vehicles waiting for problems to be fixed, by monday peak only the worst cases will be left!).

I can see what screaming banshee is trying to say, however the problem with mechanical beings is that no matter how much you maintain them to the best standards, you will always have a problem. So the best way to cover your bases is to have a tow truck handy, when a problem that just cannot be fixed out on the road arises!

screaming banshee screaming banshee 12:31 pm 26 Jul 11

Funky Claude said :

I have been told that the tow truck was given to Action by Mack…

That’s got to give you confidence in the negotiation procedure doesn’t it –

“OK, here’s the contract for the 100 buses, and if you look to appendix A you’ll see that we’ve thrown in a tow truck free of charge”

“Gee, our fleet needs a tow every now and then but we haven’t seen a tow truck as a requirement previously”

“Ahh, well you’ve got a fleet of Mack vehicles now and its just something we here at Mack like to do for our very special customers. You .umm.. dont want to be caught out, y’know”

It’d be like buying a new car with an engine and gearbox rebuild kit thrown in for free.

Look to be honest with no facts and figures in front of me I would say once per week would be about the point you would look to purchase an asset such as this, but as I said I’d also be looking into what is driving this constant need for tows.

I’d still love to know how many tows a week they are doing.

Bussie Bussie 10:37 am 26 Jul 11

Whoops forgot to finish my comment, was going to say that as well as the breakdown truck they will occasionally send out a mechanic in a ute with whatever tools and parts they think are needed to fix a minor fault.

Also if a gas bus runs out of fuel that necessitates a tow.

Bussie Bussie 10:35 am 26 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

No, I am not an expert on bus maintenance per se, but I am well and truly across the benefits and methods of maintaining ‘equipment’, I am also across the benefits of leasing/hiring as opposed to owning

OK then. I accept that if there was only one bus tow a year required it would be foolish for ACTION to own a tow truck. How about you accept that with say one tow a week required it’s not so foolish. Also accept that the amount of preventive maintennance required to get to that one tow a year (yearly engine rebuilds? a giant x-ray machine like the airlines have to look for metal fatigue?) is probably not worth the effort. There are also buses damaged in accidents which ACTION has little control over.

Each depot has a breakdown truck. They will also occasionally send
Seeing as you don’t

Funky Claude Funky Claude 5:07 pm 25 Jul 11

I have been told that the tow truck was given to Action by Mack, perhaps having been included in a tender package free of charge as sweetener. Given that the unit is a Mack and the comparably aged buses are Mack/Renault it seems possible.

damien haas damien haas 4:30 pm 25 Jul 11

ACTION also have a breakdown vehicle which is like an NRMA tuck for buses. It can perform roadside repairs and get a bus mobile again, when the tow truck isnt required.

The towtruck lives at the Belconnen depot.

Keijidosha Keijidosha 2:16 pm 25 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

Crash the tow-truck into the giant penis, two problems solved but I’m guessing the wrong one will be re-erected.

Here’s something I think we can all agree on.

ma7trlb ma7trlb 1:30 pm 25 Jul 11

i’d reckon the tow truck would cost less than a bus… which for a fleet of 400+ buses, would make it a pretty shrewd investment.

Plus, to balance the books, they could offer a “nightbus” service, where they tow you and your drunk buddies home in your own car (and still cost less than the ill-fated service of the same name)

screaming banshee screaming banshee 1:30 pm 25 Jul 11

The persistant bugger that I am…here goes…

Even if the truck is old now, it was new at some point and as things age they cost more to maintain.

Abels are one company, they may have more than one truck

No, I am not an expert on bus maintenance per se, but I am well and truly across the benefits and methods of maintaining ‘equipment’, I am also across the benefits of leasing/hiring as opposed to owning

Buses don’t carry their own tow-truck, and the NRMA will only change your tyre if you have one on-board.

Crash the tow-truck into the giant penis, two problems solved but I’m guessing the wrong one will be re-erected.

Keijidosha Keijidosha 1:08 pm 25 Jul 11

Following banshee’s logic I’m going to throw away my vehicle’s spare tyre and jack. When I get a flat tyre I’ll just call NRMA and wait an hour or two for them to show up, rather than having the equipment to deal with the problem myself in 10 minutes.

ACTION is not an airline, and as such there is no need for them to have a 100% preventative maintanence program. I would wager that the cost of a dedicated tow truck (and cost of bus downtime) is far less than increasing the level of preventative maintanence across the entire bus fleet. Standard risk vs cost equation.

Bussie Bussie 12:17 pm 25 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

No, its false economy. If the buses are breaking down often enough that action were spending too much on towing contractors, the answer is not to buy your own tow truck, the answer is to address the maintenance issues.

You’re really determined to display your ignorance aren’t you?

Are you an expert on bus maintennance? Are you sure that more preventive maintennance/checks would be enough to prevent the brakes locking on as happened in this case or all the other things that can necessitate a tow?

Do you know how much a tow truck costs to buy compared to how much it costs for someone else to tow a bus?

KB1971 KB1971 10:25 am 25 Jul 11

Classified said :

That tow truck is not new. I suspect Action has owned it for many years, and that it is more effective for them to be able to collect a bus when they need to with their own equipment rather than using a private towing service (which may not be available when they need).

Sometimes buses break down, and if they already own the towing vehicle it makes sense to use it. I wouldn’t have thought it would cost bulk dollars to keep the tow truck running at the age it is anyway.

Fo sure.

Also a quick look in the yellow pages indicates that there is only one tow truck in the area that could tow a bus & thats Abels in Queanbeyan. Most people here want ACTION busses to be uber efficient but that would not happen if they are stuck waiting for a tow truck to finish on another job down on the Cann Valley Highway or the Clyde Mountain.

Can you imagine the uproar if a bus was torched overnight while waiting for a tow? There is your cost benifit saving right there……….

Classified Classified 8:44 am 25 Jul 11

That tow truck is not new. I suspect Action has owned it for many years, and that it is more effective for them to be able to collect a bus when they need to with their own equipment rather than using a private towing service (which may not be available when they need).

Sometimes buses break down, and if they already own the towing vehicle it makes sense to use it. I wouldn’t have thought it would cost bulk dollars to keep the tow truck running at the age it is anyway.

pandaman pandaman 1:49 am 24 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

No, its false economy. If the buses are breaking down often enough that action were spending too much on towing contractors, the answer is not to buy your own tow truck, the answer is to address the maintenance issues.

Man, you sing a familiar tune. It goes a little something like this “If we lived in a perfect world where everyone and everything played by my perfect rules, you wouldn’t need that capability, therefore I’m keen to remove that capability in order to save a few bucks”

I totally get your viewpoint, but economic rationalism doesn’t necessarily fit best with practical reality. I’m not going to rant and argue, I’m just going to say that I for one am totally cool with the idea of Action having this capability in house.

Oh and plus, it’s a very cool and useful machine. I can think of worse things for tax dollars to be “wasted” on. For example penis shaped public art.

screaming banshee screaming banshee 8:36 pm 23 Jul 11

No, its false economy. If the buses are breaking down often enough that action were spending too much on towing contractors, the answer is not to buy your own tow truck, the answer is to address the maintenance issues.

ML-585 ML-585 3:01 pm 23 Jul 11

screaming banshee said :

Yes, s*** breaks down and that is unavoidable, but should/does it break down often enough that it is financially justifiable to operate their own tow truck with all the compliance and expenditure that goes along with it?

So what’s the alternative? Isn’t it better to have an in-house tow truck staffed by drivers who are experienced with the ACTION fleet than to use a private heavy vehicle towing service?

Anyway, if it were more cost-efficient to outsource the towing operations they would have done so long ago.

Innovation Innovation 11:12 am 23 Jul 11

Just an idea but why bother repairing the bus? Couldn’t the truck just tow the bus along it’s route? I suppose it’s not practical because it’s higher off the ground and the elderly and infirm would have trouble getting on and off……. Perhaps they could ride up front with the tow truck driver?

screaming banshee screaming banshee 10:58 am 23 Jul 11

Jesus christ, you’re all missing the point. Yes, s*** breaks down and that is unavoidable, but should/does it break down often enough that it is financially justifiable to operate their own tow truck with all the compliance and expenditure that goes along with it?

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