Develop regular preventative maintenance and cleaning regimes, with a formal fault-logging and repair process.
Strategies for vehicles checks can be regarded as an efficient set of procedures for predictive-preventative maintenance. For bus fleet maintenance two separate procedures can be defined:
Management of breakdowns of running buses (it depends on the seriousness of the breakdown),
Workshop operations (time of repair depends on the seriousness of the breakdown, preventative maintenance, providing reports on failures and repair protocols)
From the management point of view, it is possible to identify different methods for on-line team assistance and for workshop operation team assistance, while from an economic point of view, it is possible to evaluate and manage the possible outsourcing of maintenance (Carrese, Ottone 2005).
Systematic vehicle checks with clearly assigned responsibilities result in a reliable service. Checks of the vehicle interior and exterior can be done by the driver, or by authorised personnel from the operator or the public transport authority. Passengers may also report their observations if these have not been picked up by the regular official checks. Obligated periodical checks are fixed by the predictive / preventive maintenance policy of the operator and / or bus manufacturer instructions.
Since the 1980s vehicle checks have been upgraded with computer-based maintenance management systems,which enable a clearer database structure, automatic decision support systems, diagnostics, etc.
The aim of a cleaning strategy is to provide a high-level cleanliness of the bus fleet and bus stops. In order to deliver that an operational cleaning plan should be approved. The operational cleaning plan should describe the implementation of cleaning standards, quality assurance, training, communications, equipment and material, health and safety aspects. Cleaning as a high-quality feature can be organised according to the following types of cleaning procedures:
Integrated periodical (e.g. daily dry cleaning, weekly wash and complete disinfection, and replacement of broken parts every six months
Segregated periodical (e.g. floors and stairs washed weekly, windows washed every 15 days)
Extraordinary cleaning (e.g. when reported by driver).
In order to meet environmental goals, vehicle bodies (exteriors) can be washed with recycling water and detergent without chemicals, etc.
Periodical checks can become a routine. Therefore, measures have to be undertaken to avoid deviations from high-quality standards.
Improved maintenance also means larger investments and staff training.
Damage, soiling or graffiti should be repaired or cleaned as soon as possible, because the vehicles are the ‘business cards’ of the PT operator (this is also a marketing issue).
When ordering new vehicles, the use of easy-to-clean materials should be considered. Since manufacturers often provide a large variety of configuration and equipment details, the operator should be aware of ordering possibilities regarding difficult-to-clean interior elements (e.g. carpeted floor).
Coimbra (Portugal): Coimbra applies a policy on clean buses. Fleet renewal has taken place with an emphasis on clean and accessible vehicle technologies.
Dundee (UK): Travel Dundee contracts out bus cleaning, with buses being swept out and mopped, and ledges and the driver's cabin all cleaned each night. Every 4 weeks there is a special clean, focussing particularly on seat cushions and windows. There is also a thorough annual inspection, which involves the buses being stripped, roofs cleaned etc. A cleaner is also employed by Travel Dundee to sweep some buses at major terminal points during the day. If a bus gets particularly dirty en-route the cleaner may well go out to it or the bus may be changed for another. Also the night fleet supervisor will check the cleanliness of 10% of the fleet each night.
Dordrecht (The Netherlands): A fast repair of damages and / or removal of other graffiti is usually performed (if possible within 48 hours).
Graz (Austria): A special group of employees is responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the bus-stops; this group makes regular inspections.
Györ (Hungary): Periodical checks and cleaning (with a requirement that the number of journeys lost because of vehicle failures should be less than 1%).
Monaco: Buses are cleaned inside and washed outside every day, as part of the very high quality expectations of the network.
Leuven (Belgium): A special policy on graffiti removal is applied. The removal of any racist graffiti is especially performed as a priority (normally within 24 hours).
Toledo (Spain): Periodical checks and cleaning. The buses are washed and cleaned daily (exterior automatic washing, interior vacuuming, and cleaning of seats, and holders), floors and stairs washed weekly, glasses washed every 15 days, a complete disinfection and replacement of broken seats or parts every six months.