Bus/Motorcoach Companies Can Use Today’s Tire Technologies And Data-Driven Solutions To Drive Productivity, Efficiency, Safety And Sustainability
By Robby Hamby, Director of Commercial Product Strategy, Bridgestone Americas
The bus and motorcoach industry holds a unique and important role in our mobility ecosystem. While other commercial fleets transport goods, bus and coach fleets are responsible for our most precious cargo: people. Accordingly, it is important to remember that it is tires and tires alone touching the roadway – and they are much more than black and round. Tires are complex and sophisticated pieces of technology that carry the full load of these vehicles while also carrying their occupants safely to their destination every day. Buses and motorcoaches also encounter a distinct set of varied road conditions — from the stops-and-starts of urban streets, to long journeys on interstates, to winding and sometimes treacherous roadways. They require tires that will get them where they are going both safely and on time.
Enhancing The Right Tires With The Power Of Retreading
There are three key areas that we see most bus and coach fleets prioritizing when selecting their tires: maximizing performance, minimizing operating costs, and promising safety. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to work closely with a tire manufacturer to create a comprehensive tire management program that includes smart tire selection to optimize a fleet’s tire performance and minimize cost of ownership.
Tires engineered for wear, durability, low rolling resistance and designed with high-quality materials that stand up to the rugged demands of fleet operations are critical to the overall fuel efficiency and performance of a vehicle. One of the most important ways fleets can maximize and stretch these tire investments is to implement retreading. Retreading provides fleets with the opportunity to drive bottom-line efficiency while increasing the sustainability performance of tires. Retreading helps increase fuel efficiency, extends the life of a premium tire casing, and allows fleet operators to customize tires to the needs of the fleet by selecting performance characteristics based on material composition and pattern design.
Leveraging Mobility Solutions For Proper Tire Maintenance
Investing in the right premium tires for your motorcoach fleet is one thing but maintaining them is another. Proper monitoring and upkeep are critical to ensuring the full utilization of a fleet’s tires and maximizing their investment. Today, fleets are accomplishing this by pairing technology enhancements and digital solutions with premium tire products to produce data-driven, actionable insights that can help companies take better care of their tires, ultimately improving their business and bottom-line performance.
Digital tools, such as advanced tire monitoring solutions, provide data on tire pressure monitoring and temperature to detect and avoid tire issues before the occur. Yard-based monitoring solutions utilize localized routers to capture data from the sensors, and today they can also allow fleets to gather data while out on the road. Insights derived from this data can be accessed by fleets via mobile app, allowing fleets to take immediate action when a critical tire issue appears.
Similarly, solutions like service event management platforms are designed to reduce downtime and streamline communication for service events, easing service compliance and creating efficiencies for fleets and dealers. These cloud-based platforms centralize communications in a single app, enabling fleets to monitor the entire service process and seamlessly dispatch to service providers for tire service events and light mechanical work. Digital solutions that monitor the health of tires are revolutionizing the way bus and motorcoach fleets can care for their tires and better address issues before or when they happen.
Looking Toward The Future
Like all areas of mobility, the bus and motorcoach industry is at an inflection point, as the adoption of electric and autonomous fleets becomes ever greater. As EVs become a bigger part of coach fleets, it will be necessary for tire manufacturers to design products that provide the same benefits, tire life, and handling that they do today for non-EVs. Tire manufacturers are already working toward this increasingly electric future, launching tires designed specifically for electric applications — including buses — in recent years. Given an EV’s impact on tire wear, retreadability has become a vital component when designing tires for electric bus and motorcoach fleets. Manufacturing tires with this in mind allows fleets to extend the life of their tires and maximize their investment.
Increasingly, forward-looking fleet operators are viewing tires not so much as a cost to be minimized, but as an investment to be maximized. By connecting tires, technology and teamwork, mobility companies are advancing innovative tire technologies and data-driven solutions that drive productivity, efficiency, safety and sustainability at every step.
Bridgestone Americas, Inc. is the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, a global leader in tires and rubber, building on its expertise to provide solutions for safe and sustainable mobility. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Americas’s commercial business offers Bridgestone Fleet Care, a customizable suite of solutions that connect products, data, technology and service to simplify vehicle care and tire management while enhancing business results and efficiency. Bridgestone Fleet Care’s tire monitoring service, IntelliTire, and service event management platform, REACH, help customers spend less time on tire and maintenance issues and more time growing their bottom line. Visit bridgestone.com/.