The safety of bus travel in South Africa has been under the spotlight in recent times with a number of horrific crashes. A concern for safety accelerated the decision by the SA Board of Jewish Education to replace the bus fleet used for transporting pupils of the King David schools in the Johannesburg area.
The old fleet was a mixed bag of makes and included one bus dating back to 1979. Although they had been well-maintained by the organisation’s own workshop in Linksfield it was decided to replace them all with a new fleet, consisting of eight 65-seaters and five 33-seaters.
The buses service 10 schools based on five campuses and are used for transporting pupils to outings and sporting events as well as taking them to and from school.
The new buses are based on Hino truck chassis, the 500 Series 1626 in the case of the 65-seaters and the 300 Series 915 for the smaller buses. The transaction was handled by Garth Middleditch, sales manager of Hino East Rand.
The bodies were made by Busmark 2000 of Randfontein, a family-owned business that dates back to 1973. It is the preferred bus body builder for most of the major truck companies in SA, Including Hino.
The standard specifications of these two types of buses were adapted to suit the specific requirements of the King David Schools and feature live tracking, finger-print recognition and closed-circuit television in each bus.
The King David Schools’ transport department is headed up by Henk du Preez, who started working there many years ago as a truck bus technician. He has a staff of 17, including 12 permanent drivers – many of them with long service – and workshop staff. Virtually all the vehicles in the transport department are now either Hino or Toyota models.
The buses were handed over at a special function at the Linksfield campus.