Offering vehicle service and support to coach operators is not for the faint of heart. It calls for investment in parts, technicians and tools. Those are all boxes ticked by Tewkesbury-based Arthur Spriggs and Sons. It is now an OmniPlus BusWorld service partner.
That means it can provide a wide range of services for the Mercedes-Benz and Setra coach and bus ranges. It complements Arthur Spriggs’ established OmniPlus BusPort accreditation and represents a major investment from the family-owned business.
But Arthur Spriggs is not just a service agent. It is an LGV operator of over 100 years’ standing. Its priority in establishing a Mercedes-Benz service point was to support its own fleet, which is exclusively from the German marque. Before that, it had moved away from another manufacturer because of poor dealer support.
Operator’s insight for Arthur Spriggs
Arthur Spriggs remains an operator. That gives it an insight into what is required in terms of responsiveness and approach, says Director Chris Spriggs.
“As a business we have always been in a service environment. We understand the cost of downtime and how important it is to get a vehicle back on the road. Much of our own fleet is on contracted work so the impetus to act is clear.”
The initial Mercedes-Benz service point grew quickly. Management time and resources were both allocated to drive further expansion. That is continuing, with major work soon to increase the number of workshop lanes.
As an OmniPlus BusWorld portal, Arthur Spriggs can carry out servicing, repairs including to accident damage, pre-delivery inspection, diagnosis, warranty work and much more.
It has invested in parts specific to coach and bus and it receives a daily delivery. Parts can also be couriered in a VOR situation. Additionally, the premises are a DVSA Authorised Testing Facility.
Coach and bus wishes
“Coach and bus was always an area that I wanted to get into,” says Chris. As part of its expansion into the PSV sector, the business has invested heavily in training. It has various ‘champions’ within its structure, including a Bus Champion.
In total, five members of staff are trained in coach and bus disciplines. Several operators already work with Arthur Spriggs, including Daish’s Holidays, Greenline Coach Holidays, Pulhams Coaches and others. It also looks after Bristol Airport’s Mercedes-Benz Citaros and hopes to grow its sphere of influence within the passenger-carrying sector further.
While the Tourismo is by far the most numerous product from the Daimler Buses product stable in the UK, the Tewkesbury firm can look after other models.
The Setra brand is supported, as are older Mercedes-Benz coaches dating back to the O303. Additionally, through its experience with goods vehicles, it is able to work on Atego and Sprinter chassis used with midi and minicoaches respectively.
It is in the process of expanding its workshop space, with more to be given over to coach and bus. In the long term, Chris does not rule out investing in the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles, although he accepts that is a long way off.
To gain accreditation as an OmniPlus BusWorld partner, the Tewkesbury site was audited to ensure compliance and that the required steps had been taken. That’s in addition to regular audits of its wider Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle capabilities.
Arthur Spriggs currently works with one coach operator from well outside its patch. It carries out work on vehicles that are in the area as and when required. A nearby chain hotel proves a useful place for drivers to stay; the vehicle remains at the dealers overnight.
“With the coaches and buses that we support we do everything except sell them,” says Chris. “Our intention is to be a partner that operators can work with and trust.”
The extent of its capabilities include being able to manage and carry out all maintenance for fleets. Arthur Spriggs also has a tachograph workshop, with a dedicated bay on site for that purpose.
But it’s not just within the garage where the needs of the coach and bus sector have been considered.
In reception a dedicated closed space for drivers has been provided. There, besides being given unlimited access to wi-fi and phone calls, they will be asked to complete a short survey while waiting.
The results of that are forwarded to EvoBus (UK), which Chris says delivers further impetus to ensure that things are done correctly.
And doing things right is where Arthur Spriggs’ focus is destined to remain. “I’d rather have one dealership and run it properly than have ten that are all so-so,” he concludes.