St John’s College in Harare, Zimbabwe, was doubly lucky when they acquired their Iveco Daily passenger buses a few years ago: They got safe, reliable transport for their pupils, but also they concluded the deal on their 28-seater bus just before new import duties would have made it prohibitively expensive. Kevin Whatman, campus manager for St John’s College (which includes St John’s Preparatory School), says the schools have invested in four Iveco Daily buses – three 28-seaters and one 16-seater – which they use to transport pupils both in and around the capital, Harare, and further afield in Zimbabwe. “The Dailys we use for the Prep. School are mainly used around Harare, but the others regularly travel right across the country – to Bulawayo, to Marondera – carrying teams for sports and other events.” The Iveco deal happened just at the right time, too – as St John’s was looking for new vehicles and before the government hiked the import duties on smaller buses.“The Ivecos have been very reliable for us and we haven’t had any major problems” says Kevin. That’s because the vehicles are regularly serviced and checked by the Iveco dealer in Harare, William Bain.“We take them in every six months to prepare them for the regular VID (Vehicle Inspection Depot) checks.”
These checks are mandatory for public service vehicles in Zimbabwe and William Bain ensures that the St John’s fleet is compliant.“We also have to have our drivers tested every 12 months, too” adds Kevin, emphasising the safety aspect of school transport.The Ivecos are not only sturdy but safety is important too: “They all come fitted with seat belts as standard”, says Kevin.
For the longer trips, the Ivecos can pull a trailer for team luggage.“Generally, we only put about 22 of the boys in the 28-seater because they are rather large and it makes for a comfortable journey. But the pupils at the Prep school are a lot smaller so we can fill all 28 seats.”
Kevin says the Ivecos have proven economical, in terms of fuel consumption, which is important because running costs of St John’s vehicle fleet need to be kept as low as possible.All in all, the St John’s decision to go with Iveco has been worth while, says Kevin, although he adds, a little sadly, “it’s just a pity about the duties now…”