Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s (MBSA’s) Sandown Motor Holdings has won the tender to provide the 134 buses necessary for the roll-out of the 18 km Phase 1B of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
The deal is valued at more than R300-million.
Rea Vaya Phase 1B covers ten stations, passing through Noordgesig, New Canada, Pennyville, Bosmont, Coronationville, Newclare, Westbury, Westdene, Melville, Auckland Park and Parktown.
MBSA’s bus and coach unit will supply the bus chassis for the 134-unit requirement, divided into ninety-three 12 m feeder buses, and forty-one 18 m raised floor, articulated buses to be used on the trunk routes, said MBSA commercial vehicles bus and coach brand manager Dr Dirk Ansorge on Friday.
Marcopolo South Africa will supply the bus bodies. Local content on the bus bodies is expected to exceed 80%, as demanded by the tender.
MBSA bus and coach national sales manager Shane Henry noted that South African content on the bus chassis would reach around 30% by volume, and included local components such as tyres, wiring looms and fuel tanks.
Ansorge said the bus chassis and power trains come from Brazil, with local completely knock-down assembly taking place at MBSA’s East London plant.
The Rea Vaya contract will create 40 additional jobs on the bus line.
The buses – all of them wheelchair friendly – will use clean-burning Euro 5 engines, said Ansorge, and feature fully automatic Voith transmissions.
The first Rea Vaya Phase-1B unit is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“We will start assembling the chassis and releasing them to the body builder from the first week in June, through to the second half of October,” said Ansorge. “The plan is to assemble up to 10 chassis per week.”
The vehicles are expected to have a life cycle of 12 years.
Sandown Motor Holdings has also offered the City of Johannesburg a maintenance, driver training and fleet management proposal, which is still under discussion.
Henry believed Sandown Motor Holdings won the contract to supply the buses as it offered a “good price and a very attractive delivery schedule”. Sandown is also a level 2 black economic-empowered company.
Ansorge noted that Mercedes-Benz had 17 000 buses in operation in 20 BRT systems worldwide.
MBSA is a subsidiary of the German Daimler group.