Month: April 2021

Leasing or rental: It’s your choice with Mistral

first_imgWhen purchasing a coach or bus, there is more than one way to pay for it. If finance or rental is on your radar, it may be worth speaking to Mistral, which specialises in both areas and knows the industry wellMistral’s primary partner is ADL Plaxton, and it can still offer Euro 5 E200sBuying vehicles is part and parcel of the coach and bus industry, and funding them is a game of choices for the operator.While a stable, cash-rich business may elect to pay upfront, rental or finance agreements allow a more effective overall use of cash. That is where Mistral comes in.Mistral has traditionally operated as two businesses. Mistral Asset Finance does what it says: It offers finance on coaches and buses. Mistral Bus and Coach, meanwhile, rents them for periods of up to 10 years.Both companies are now more closely aligned than ever. “They essentially carry out the same type of transaction,” says Mistral Group Managing Director Steve Low.“How we differentiate is simple. On the Bus and Coach side, we own the vehicle. On the Asset Finance side, it sits on the operator’s balance sheet.”Sales and support staff are shared across both Mistral businesses. The Asset Finance arm can fund almost any coach or bus, new or used, and the Bus and Coach side focuses on renting vehicles from the Alexander Dennis (ADL) stable, including Plaxton.“Our primary partner is ADL and we work closely with its retail sales team,” says Steve. “If an operator wants to rent an ADL or a Plaxton, the enquiry will be passed to us, and if funding is required, we can introduce the Asset Finance aspect as well.”Mistral Group MD Steve Low: Staff shared across both arms of businessThe benefits are…Why should an operator choose finance or rental? Because it’s not always efficient to write a cheque, says Mistral Asset Finance Chief Operating Officer Guy Wadsworth.“It ties up a large amount of capital, whereas with finance or rental the money can be put to work funding a number of additional vehicles.”ADL and Plaxton’s full range, from the smallest Enviro200 to the largest coach, can be supplied on finance or under rental by Mistral, and with much of its business done with retail customers, it can still offer Euro 5 Enviro200s.“An operator can order a Euro 6 Enviro200 MMC through us, but the retail market remains centred on Euro 5,” says Steve.Mistral has staff based at Plaxton’s North Anston premises and it enjoys a good relationship with ADL. If a customer wants to rent a vehicle that ADL cannot supply, Mistral Bus and Coach will look at sourcing from other manufacturers, as it has done with a number of Yutong TC9s and TC12s for a specific contract with an existing customer.A major part of Mistral’s rental set-up is its flexibility. If a deal is for a fixed period to suit a contract, it can be extended if the tender is renewed but a new vehicle is not justified.Equally, if an emergency contract is won and a vehicle is required rapidly, Mistral can accommodate that. It can also take a vehicle that is part way through a rental agreement and transfer it to Asset Finance if the operator decides to buy it outright.Coach rental has become prominent over the last year, says Steve. Previously, operators’ preference was to buy, but they are becoming more aware of funding options. Mistral expects that to be a growing trend going forward.Full range of Plaxton products is also funded and rented by MistralFinancial timesMistral Asset Finance funds almost any coach or bus. Once the operator pays the finance agreement, the vehicle becomes its property.“We offer on-book lending – using our own money – and we also have a panel of lenders. We would be the broker in the latter relationship,” says Guy.“On-book lending allows us to look at financing vehicles that are coming from another operator, rather than a dealer or manufacturer. In the former case, some lenders may be put off, so we can do what we see as unique deals on finance.“Because of our broad lending base, we should be able to find the ideal home for any deal.” That includes older, lower-value buses such as school double-deckers.Using Mistral, adds Guy, gives the operator the benefit of its experience in the coach and bus sector. It is familiar with the industry and it has knowledge of residual values. That allows it to accurately calculate the risk involved, and offer the best rate.On the other footSignificantly for operators, banks are coming under pressure from the government to lend money, and they see PCVs as good assets.“Coaches and buses are desirable from a funders’ point of view. If the operator’s business is a viable one, there should be no situation where we cannot source finance for it,” says Guy. “Confidence is growing, and from an operator’s point of view, that’s good news.”Low interest rates are available, but to finance an asset at the best rate companies like Mistral need to know as much about the operator’s business as possible.“We get an understanding of its credit requirements, it balance sheet and what it needs. If we have good information to begin with then we can pair the customer with the right funder,” says Guy.“Being able to do that revolves around understanding the customer. The more we know, the better the deal.”www.mistral-group.comlast_img read more

The best policy for alcohol and drug testing

first_imgOperators must conduct alcohol tests correctly, says advisor AlcoDigitalOperators have been reminded of the importance of testing drivers for alcohol and drug use by safety expert AlcoDigital.It points out that while it is a criminal offence for any worker to be unfit due to drink or drugs, employees much demonstrate due diligence to prevent it from happening in the workplace.“One of the first steps in setting best practice is deciding a company alcohol limit,” says Drug and Alcohol Safety Expert Suzannah Robin.“There will be many factors determining what this should be and it will very much depend on each business, but we recommend that the limit is below the current legal drink-driving limit, rather than dead zero.”Ms Robin says that while zero may sound like the only target to aim for, discrepancies can be caused by medicines, among other things.“Using a scale of differing limits to determine the next steps that an employer should take in the event of a positive alcohol test will provide managers with a clear set of rules and help to avoid any unjustified gross misconduct disciplinary hearings.”Operators can use a variety of high-quality evidential breathalysers to provide quick results, but carrying out the test properly is also important, says Ms Robin. Alcodigital is operating training courses throughout the country until November 2018 to help employers achieve best read more

Road Safety Designs adds BrightAngle triangle

first_imgBrightAngle warning triangle can be seen from up to 300 metres awayRoad Safety Designs has developed BrightAngle, a warning triangle that has been revolutionised to improve safety.Its flashing, high-intensity LEDs allow a hazard to be seen from up to 300 metres away, in all weathers and at all times of the day and night.The warning triangle helps road users to stay safe when a vehicle is stopped at the side of the road.Even during daylight, stationary vehicles may not be visible until it is too late, and using a warning triangle can reduce the collision risk.www.brightangle.comlast_img read more

New Reading Buses’ CEO arrives

first_imgThe new Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses says it is an “exciting time” to be joining but with challenges to face.Robert Williams, new Chief Executive Officer of  Reading BusesIts recent acquisition of Newbury & District following its expansion into Windsor and Slough with Greenline and Thames Valley at the start of the year have been specifically highlighted by Robert Williams, who took over his responsibilities this month.These developments have added to what is already “a very well respected, multi award-winning organisation”, says Robert, who is “absolutely delighted” to be joining Reading Buses from Stagecoach South West, where he was Commercial Director.Moving from one of the big groups to one of the few remaining municipally owned companies will present its own set of key challenges, including some difficult financial ones, he acknowledges.“Not least the cost of coping with congestion, but also the degree to which our local authority partners have funds to be able to assist,” says Robert, who was once a conductor for Reading Mainline.last_img read more

Wi-fi improved by Brighton and Hove and Metrobus

first_imgAfter partnering with RebelRoam, Brighton and Hove and Metrobus have increased the speed and reliability of wi-fi on their buses.Although the operators already have free wi-fi on their vehicles, the popularity has “put pressure on both bandwidth and speed” says Head of Customer Experience Luke Taylor-Sales.He continues: “Our free wi-fi is already very popular with our customers. There are around 12,000 successful sessions every day on our buses, which shows how much customers value it.“We know how frustrating it can be when the wi-fi on the bus feels a bit clunky. We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve found a practical solution through RebelRoam to give people a hassle-free wi-fi experience on our buses.”last_img read more

Tourismo range gains entry-level, PSVAR compliant model

first_imgEvoBus (UK) has added a PSVAR compliant entry-level variant of the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo to its range. The cost-effective model “responds to the new landscape of the coach industry” and it has been created following customer feedback, says the dealership.At 12m long the coach seats 53 passengers and has a centre toilet. Its specification includes the 7.7-litre OM 936 engine developing 354bhp coupled to the Powershift eight-speed automated manual gearbox. Three-point seatbelts and USB charging points are provided for all passengers.The entry-level Tourismo specification has been developed specifically for the UK market. The coach is available to order for the summer season. EvoBus (UK) notes that 53 seats on two axles and factory fit PSVAR compliance makes the new product “a true all-rounder.”Adds Director Mercedes-Benz Sales Jonathan Prime: “We appreciate the devastating effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the industry and many of our customers. Having listened to their feedback, we wanted to build upon our successful Tourismo product line-up to offer an entry-level model with full PSVAR specification at a brand-new price point.“The new model complements the existing range, meaning that we are able to meet customers’ requirements for a multipurpose, flexible solution.”The Tourismo’s standard 24-month complete warranty with Europe-wide breakdown assistance is provided on the new model, which complements the existing Travel, Touring and Touring Plus specification levels.EvoBus (UK) can provide a comprehensive specification break-down of the entry-level Tourismo via email. Bespoke enquiries should be directed to Area Sales Managers.last_img read more

Michigan, Indiana State Police enter national cruiser design contest

first_imgIndianaLocalMichiganNationalSouth Bend Market Twitter The Indiana and Michigan State Police. The Indiana and Michigan State Police are both entering a national contest to see which state has the best-looking state police cruisers.Forty-seven states have entered the contest, which is run by the American Association of State Troopers. Maryland, Georgia and Oregon chose not to participate this year.The public will have the opportunity to vote through July 30 at 3 p.m.Michigan is currently in 2nd place in the voting. You can see the photos and vote by clicking here. Pinterest Facebook By Tommie Lee – July 26, 2019 0 616 WhatsApp Pinterest WhatsApp Facebook Michigan, Indiana State Police enter national cruiser design contest Google+ Twitter Google+ Previous articleMan missing; swept from river mouth into Lake MichiganNext articleArea lighthouses will be making appearances in the pop aisle Tommie Leelast_img read more

Area Pre-K programs will benefit from new funding

first_img WhatsApp By Tommie Lee – August 15, 2019 1 243 Pinterest Twitter Facebook Area Pre-K programs will benefit from new funding Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Google+ Facebook Google+ IndianaLocalSouth Bend Market Some communities in the State of Indiana will benefit from early education grants totaling more than 870 thousand dollars.That list includes three education programs in our area. The money will go to counties where On My Way Pre-K is newly available. That state-funded program is free for families who qualify, and provides a quality early education option that was expanded statewide by Governor Holcomb in May of this year.The funding announced Thursday includes capacity-building grants for Lakeland Schools in LaGrange County, Max’s Playhouse in Starke County, and the PACE Early Learning Coalition in Pulaski County. Previous articleWoman injured in Wednesday night shooting in South BendNext articleMichigan Attorney General joins effort for gun safety ruling Tommie Leelast_img read more

Autopsy completed on man found dead in street in South Bend

first_img Twitter Pinterest Autopsy completed on man found dead in street in South Bend Twitter Pinterest Previous articleSouth Bend Police search for suspect in rape caseNext articleCrews in South Bend to pick up tree debris from weekend storms Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Facebook Facebook By Jon Zimney – September 30, 2019 0 549 The autopsy conducted for Trey Martinez, 27, showed his manner of death was ruled a homicide and the cause of death was determined to be sharp force injury to the neck.Martinez was found, dead, in the area of Marine Street and Indiana Avenue early Sunday morning, Sep. 29.This remains an active St. Joseph County Metro Homicide investigation. Investigators have interviewed witnesses and continue to review evidence.Anybody with information regarding this case is asked to call the Metro Homicide Unit at  574-235-5009 or Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP. IndianaLocalNews Google+ WhatsApp WhatsApp Google+last_img read more

Goshen woman injured in fiery one-vehicle crash in Cass County

first_img Facebook Goshen woman injured in fiery one-vehicle crash in Cass County IndianaLocalMichiganNewsSouth Bend Market WhatsApp Twitter Google+ Google+ Pinterest (photo/Cass Co Sheriff) A Goshen woman was injured in a crash and vehicle fire Wednesday night in Cass County.Sheriff’s officials say it happened shortly after 9 p.m. on Harvey Street near Walnut Road in Cass County’s Porter Township.They believe the driver failed to negotiate the curve and crashed into several trees. She was able to exit the vehicle before it caught fire but sustained injuries.Officials do not believe alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash. WhatsApp By Tommie Lee – October 3, 2019 0 484 Pinterest Twitter Facebook Previous articleRep. Upton sees ‘legitimate questions’ about TrumpNext articleCertain chicken salad products recalled over listeria concerns Tommie Leelast_img read more