Keeping it clean on the road

Increasingly, operators are turning to external organisations to look after cleaning of their coaches and buses.

One supplier is Leadec, an international industrial service specialist, headquartered in Stuttgart employing 18,000 people worldwide. In the UK, it is based in Warwick and employs 2,700 people.

Says Leadec GM Transport Operations Nigel Moore: “Few sectors are as time critical or operate to such tight turnarounds as transport.

“While operators recognise the importance of giving vehicles a thorough clean, this has to fit in with a wider programme of vehicle maintenance.

“That’s why we’ve developed a pioneering workflow approach to vehicle cleaning, providing cleaning teams with a timed, step-by-step guide to delivering a thorough time-efficient clean.”

This approach has been honed through working with operators in the rail sector, including Virgin West Coast.

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Leadec already works in the rail sector, which sets high standards

“Experience gleaned from using our workflow process with train operators has helped us deliver a quality service to bus operators.

“Looking after 1,500 buses nationwide, of which a significant proportion are in London, we’ve adapted our workflow plan to meet the specific needs of bus operators,” he adds.

Because most buses are continually in service from first thing in the morning until after midnight, especially in urban areas, it’s traditionally harder to keep them clean.

“We’re working to deadlines which are sometimes even tighter than those in rail, and with a larger volume of vehicles, so a workflow plan reflective of this is absolutely crucial.

“We’ve pioneered a system that gets buses ‘road ready’ in just nine minutes.”

As soon as the bus arrives at the depot, it is parked in a ‘safe zone’ where the team boards to clean the interior and collect waste. The bus is then refuelled, washed and parked.

This surface clean is complemented by a more in-depth clean once a week.

“In this instance, we have more room for flexibility, as this deep clean is carried out when the bus is not in service.”

Cleaning during these sessions includes the removal of graffiti, sanitising the vehicle’s floors and horizontal surfaces, and a thorough clean of the driver’s cab.

“Key to the successful implementation of this workflow plan is ensuring our team works together as a cohesive unit,” says Nigel.

“In such time critical operations, it’s important that team-members know what is expected of them – and when. Alongside a thorough training programme, each vehicle is checked at the end of each clean.”

Its stringent auditing process uses an app, giving client managers the chance to log examples of damage or uncleanliness as they find them. The data gleamed from each audit is loaded to a dashboard, giving the team real-time insight into the overall state of each vehicle within the fleet.

Based around 20 key inspection areas, the app gives cleaning staff the chance to highlight potential red flags directly to the client, enabling them to take preventive action more efficiently.

It’s also important to take note of external auditing. The national Bus Passenger Survey is pivotal in reputation and is determined by customers. Transport for London also audits the quality of cleaning achieved on the capital’s buses daily.

It’s essential to ensure a robust system is in place to consistently deliver. After all, your reputation may depend on it.

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