Delivering a deeper wash for the south coast's buses

Go South Coast are one of Wilcomatic’s biggest success stories of recent years. The company, a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group, are an award-winning bus operator serving Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight with a fleet of over 850 vehicles.

The pressing need for a better quality wash

Go South Coast initially made contact with Wilcomatic after a recommendation from a contact at Lothian Buses, an Edinburgh-based operator that had also benefited from Wilcomatic-installed equipment. In the couple of years since, Go South Coast have purchased 10 wash systems and are now full advocates of Wilcomatic’s range of high-performance vehicle wash equipment.

Any company operating a fleet of such a size requires a strong washing solution, but Go South Coast’s need was even greater. Their status as a public transport operator means they are bound by strong regulations regarding cleanliness from the Ministry of Transport.

Their previous system, a well-known drive-through machine common to bus garages, had served them up to a point. While it was robust and guaranteed quick washes, they had found it simply wasn’t delivering the standard of cleaning they needed. Washes were frequently poor; it’s vital to all operators that the entirety of their vehicles are thoroughly cleaned – from windows to wheel arches. They realised a change of approach was necessary.

Wilcomatic’s answer

To achieve the thorough and, crucially, consistent washes Go South Coast required, Wilcomatic recommended they transition to a semi-stationary machine. These systems focus on one part of the vehicle at a time, with drivers incrementally moving through the machine to complete the wash. The advantages of Wilcomatic’s semi-stationary wash equipment include:

  • A high-pressure wheel wash.
  • A Reverse Osmosis (RO) system providing purified water for automatic window cleaning.
  • An overall more consistent and cleaner wash than traditional drive-through washes, all in two-and-a-half minutes.

Wilcomatic’s semi-stationary machine was more of an investment for Go South Coast but the efficiency savings quickly persuaded them they were right to go for the switch.

Making Wilcomatic’s system work for Go South Coast

The first challenge Wilcomatic faced when implementing the new semi-stationary machine was the small footprint of the existing wash bay. This proved to be slightly restrictive, but Wilcomatic were able to work within the constraints of the space available. 

Another issue was with the speed of the wash; a standard semi-stationary system takes around six minutes to clean a vehicle. This is clearly far too long for a business like Go South Coast who are dependent on a quick turnaround of their buses – for comparison their original drive-through machine took 90 seconds per wash. Wilcomatic’s solution crucially guaranteed that two-and-a-half minute full clean.

There were some teething issues in the early days of the change. For instance, drivers were occasionally too quick to move through the machine, leading to incomplete washes. However, once they and Go South Coast’s engineers were on board with the correct procedures and the improvements they’d see from the new system, any issues were quickly ironed out.

Continuing to seek improvement

The overhaul of Go South Coast’s washing capabilities has certainly improved their capacity to clean their fleet efficiently and to the standard required by the industry. Wilcomatic have worked hard to fine-tune a truly beneficial solution, one that strikes a balance between rigorous cleaning and the time pressures that Go South Coast face.

150

seconds for a full wash

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Go South Coast continue to show their satisfaction with Wilcomatic’s offerings by committing to an order of three additional machines per year as they continue to transform their systems. Meanwhile, the success of the partnership has been such that Go South Coast sites are frequently used as the benchmark when Wilcomatic are demonstrating their machines to prospective clients.

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