ROUSH CleanTech’s new regional training is off to a great start. In May, members of our field operations team traveled to Western Bus Sales in Boring, Oregon. With help from Mollie Blagg, president of Western Bus Sales, and her team, a two-day program was offered to propane customers from around the region.
One Dealer; Big Difference
In late 2015 the ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird sales teams conducted a propane product training seminar for the North Central Bus & Equipment sales team. Immediately, Paul Fiereck, Denny Knutson and Chris Wirz, with the help of Brian Raygor (a propane supplier), hit the road presenting the benefits and savings of using propane to power school buses. The result was truly astonishing.
Today, Paul is a huge propane autogas promoter who uses the tools available to him from Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech to sell more buses. He’s found that scheduling technician training for school districts during the sales process significantly helps the district to integrate propane buses into their fleet even easier.
When the districts’ technicians are on board, they act as great advocates for the new fuel because of the simplicity of the system compared to diesel. Telling a technician that their regen issues can be completely eliminated is like music to their ears – and propane offers that.
Through the demo program available, the North Central team brought buses directly to school districts and put them up on hoists to give them a more in-depth look at the propane fuel system. They are often accompanied by propane providers and ROUSH CleanTech, Blue Bird representatives on sales calls.
Selling propane autogas fueled units are now an integral part of Denny, Paul and Chris’ presentations. Minnesota is primed for a major shift to propane autogas!
Western Bus Sales Hosts Regional Bus Training
ROUSH CleanTech’s new regional training is off to a great start. In May, team members from our field operations team traveled to Western Bus Sales in Boring, Oregon. But, we couldn’t pull this off by ourselves. Both Mollie Blagg, president of Western Bus Sales, and her team were vital to the success of this two-day program.
From the outset of planning, Mollie coordinated all of the agenda items with our training coordinator Lance Shuttle. Western Bus Sales is no stranger to hosting these types of events, as they have held service training for its customers for years. The difference this time was the more extensive two-day agenda that would attract folks from across the region.
With the agenda and date set, Western Bus Sales reached out to their propane customers to invite them to training. They sent email blasts and posted details of the event on the company’s website. Customer-service representatives followed up by reminding customers of the event during phone calls.
The training was held at Western Bus Sales’ newly upgraded facility. The expansion boasts a 10-bay service shop where technicians handle all warranty service. ROUSH CleanTech’s Jess Henderson was blown away by the building. “This place is huge, and looks like a 5-Star BMW repair facility, only bigger,” said Jess. “They have a new, automated bus wash, like the one you drive a car through. Mollie says it eliminates their worst delivery bottleneck.”
The first day of training was mostly Western Bus Sales’ staff, including field service techs, external service techs, other Blue Bird dealer techs, fleet account techs, and folks from two school bus providers. The company is located in the northwest corner of the state, so people traveled quite a distance to attend training. The agenda focused on warranty and other areas that school district customers don’t necessarily need to know.
The technicians were excited about the training. They have been working on propane buses for some time, but hadn’t had the chance to talk face to face with ROUSH CleanTech and Ford experts.
The second day focused on fleet service training. This customer group had a mix of people — with some having operated propane buses for years, others who have just started operating, and some who are about to get propane buses. It was a great turnout of 21 attendees from 15 school districts. At the end of the day, all of the attendees shared their experiences with propane buses, which helped to solidify their choice to go with propane.
Once school district’s lead technician left saying, “I don’t know why we haven’t ordered more of these! There’s no reason we have to be cautious.”
All in all, the training was a huge success and Mollie is hopeful it will lead to more propane buses sales.
For a schedule of upcoming regional training, click here, or call 800.59.ROUSH for more information.
Dealer Comes Through
What do you get when you purchase a propane bus from our competitor? Nothing! Just ask Colorado/West Equipment’s Jeff Koza who came through for the Boulder Valley School District when it purchased IC propane buses that never showed up.
Last year, the school district purchased 10 propane buses from IC Bus. After waiting, and waiting, the district has yet to receive them (it’s been 13 months and counting). When the red flags began flying, they turned to Jeff to find a solution.
While the school district was rewriting the bid, Jeff suggested help from ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird by offering plant tours, on-site visits and . Meeting the Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech manufacturer reps, the district staffers were reassured that they would not only get a great solution, they’d actually get propane buses on their lot.
This meeting encouraged the school district to change the language of its bid and, ultimately, went with Blue Bird propane-powered buses. Now, the district plans to purchase 17 buses each year for the next 5 years.
We want to congratulate Colorado/West Equipment’s Jeff Koza on his commitment to the customer and to propane. He was able to secure an order from a customer who had previously ordered from a competitor, and to show why Blue Bird offers the best propane fuel system in the bus industry.
Bus Sales Rockin’ in Tampa Bay
There’s no other way to say it: Propane bus sales are rockin’ in the Tampa Bay area! More than 170 buses powered by propane are operating in four school districts in the bay area. Chris Rustman and his team at Florida Transportation Systems have worked with four local school districts to add these clean-operating buses into their fleets.
These school systems are hitting the key points on what makes propane such a strong option for school buses: fuel savings, emissions reductions, and infrastructure cost and flexibility. Here’s a look at some facts from Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk school districts that you can consider when selling propane buses.
Historically, propane autogas costs up to 50 percent less than diesel. That is right in line with Pinellas’ savings of about 60 percent per gallon for propane. Pinellas is running 58 propane buses. Pasco is saving more than 55 cents per gallon compared with diesel prices. Pasco also has 58 propane buses.
Pasco’s propane school buses replaced some retiring diesel models from the early 2000s. Each year, the district’s propane-fueled fleet will emit over 72,000 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions and almost 2,000 fewer pounds of particulate matter compared with the replaced buses. Vehicles fueled by propane autogas emit 80 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared to diesel.
Installing propane autogas fueling infrastructure costs less than any other transportation energy source — conventional or alternative. Pinellas and Pasco installed private fuel stations. Pasco has two stations; one with a 3,000-gallon tank and the other with a tank that holds 3,600 gallons. Pinellas installed an on-site fuel station with an 18,000-gallon tank that opened in January.
The other two districts went with other fueling options. Polk takes advantage of the propane fuel station at the local sheriff’s department for its five propane buses. Hillsborough has its propane provider supply mobile on-site fueling, or wet hosing, for its fleet of 50 propane buses.
As a part of this deployment, we joined with Chris to share this achievement with the local media and they were very excited about the story. Numerous trade publications and local newspapers picked up the story, and one television station ran a piece on the evening news.
Here are some examples of the coverage:
The ROUSH CleanTech team would like to congratulate Chris, Steve and Ross for all the work they’ve done to encourage the use of propane school buses in Florida. Keep up the great sales!
Do you have a great story about propane buses to share with your community? Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the possibilities.