HIGER Proves hit for BelBaker

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For Brisbane bus charter company Belbaker, innovation is something that comes naturally for an organisation that had its origins in a highly successful network of childcare centres.

Not surprisingly for such an innovative company, Belbaker has easily embraced change particularly when it comes to the brand of coach it has chosen for its growing fleet, after
purchasing three new Higer coaches in the past 12 months.

Based in the Queensland capital, the company now has two 12.2metre Higer RoadBoss, a 12.3metre RoadBoss and an 8.5metre Ryder with two more Higers on order.

Adam Baker, the general manager of Belbaker charter operation says the key reason why the company has started buying Higer was price, but ultimately it was a combination of a number of factors including strong local dealer support and overall parts and service

"Price was definitely the main driver, Higer offered strong value for money and in this
business it is all about bums on seats and return on investment, if you can minimise the amount of money you spend on buses then the business will be more profitable," said Adam Baker.

"The Higers have proved to be very good buses and our drivers in particular love them as do our passengers," he added.

'I even had one of our drivers personally ring me to say how impressed he was with the Higers, which I reckon is a good indicator that we made the right decision," he said.

Fuel efficiency has also been a major plus for Belbaker and its new Higers, with all three vehicles returning impressive fuel economy.

"We were genuinely surprised at how good the fuel economy was and further investigations have shown they are very fuel efficient, which again benefits the bottom line," said Adam.

"Another thing that has impressed us was the genuine interest by Higer technical people from China to meet operators like us and to get our feedback on what was good and what
could be changed or improved," he said.

'They were really genuinely interested in any comments, gripes or things to improve and the fact that they are looking for direct feedback from customers is very impressive," Adam added.

Belbaker was founded in 1969 by the Baker family and since then the company has grown to have a number of childcare centres around Brisbane. The company originally bought a bus to enable it to offer a pick up and drop off service for its child care centres but found the vehicles were sitting around for most of the day leaving valuable assets under utilised.

According to Adam Baker, the company was awakened to the charter business when a local school's bus kept breaking down and they asked us if we would help out with its small bus.

"We went from transporting about six children too and from child care each day to having
regular work moving up 450 students a week," said Adam.

"It grew a life of its own and I could see a business in its own right so we bought a couple of small buses and placed an ad in the paper offering bus charter services. The phone started ringing and each time we have added a new bus the work just increased to meet the added capacity," he explained.

"We handle a lot of school charter work transporting students to excursions and sports events but there is a growing demand for corporate work and we are also targeting that
sector," he said.

'My original vision was to maybe get to the point where we would purchase a 57 seat coach, now we have 14 coaches and the fleet and work continue to grow," he added.


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