The Kent-based operator made the decision after suffering failures and additional costs after excessive sidewall damage with its previous mix of budget brands.
Austin Blackburn, managing director of Go-Coach Hire, explains: “As vehicle numbers grew, so did the associated costs. We had a collection of local suppliers with a variety of brands, and were getting an increasingly inconsistent service in terms of pricing and tyre quality.”
Bandvulc BDE1 Citymaster tyres are now being fitted to drive axles, with Uniroyal products on steer axles. The Bandvulc tyres incorporate a sidewall strengthening system called Armorband to give additional protection around the tyre. A coloured internal strip on one side gives an early warning if the barrier is compromised.
“In fairness, I am anticipating a higher spend in year one with this new strategy,” says Blackburn. “We have to wash out those old economy tyres and some odd ones that have come on buses recently bought in for the fleet, but I am confident year two will see us getting payback from our investment with longer wear performance and much reduced sidewall damage.
“Although it’s still early stages for the new approach, I am already seeing massively reduced sidewall damage reports, and that is very significant.”
He also praises the performance of local dealer Watling Tyres: “Watling Tyres has been everything I could have wished for and has made itself a major part of the team.”
Go-Coach’s in-house technicians handle wheel-fitting and have been trained on tyre regrooving by Bandvulc for use where appropriate. At the moment, both the Go-Coach team and Watling Tyres carry out routine inspections as they prepare for a hand-over to Watling Tyres, which will then use the inspections and fitting schedules to deliver routine management reports for the operator.
“I am looking forward to that,” says Blackburn. “The management information will be invaluable in monitoring and controlling costs as we get the fleet settled down fully into the Bandvulc/Uniroyal mix.”