Guest Blog: Prevost Service Vans take the call

Prevost sends out its fleet of over 50 Nissan NV cargo vans from a network of 16 service centers across the U.S. and Canada.

Prevost brings their tools, parts, and know-how to the rescue of broken-down coaches everywhere.
Prevost brings their tools, parts, and know-how to the rescue of broken-down coaches everywhere.
Photo courtesy of Prevost

To the operator facing his broken-down coach in the middle of the night with customers stranded out on the road, the arrival of the technicians in their Prevost Service van is nothing less than the cavalry coming to the rescue. They bring their tools, parts, and know-how to work an unconventional schedule, night or day in every type of weather.

Prevost sends out its fleet of over 50 Nissan NV cargo vans from a network of 16 Prevost Service Centers across the U.S. and Canada. Fully stocked for the most likely contingencies, at least one unit is on call at each facility and others as needed in the more populous locations. With the potential of four more Prevost Service Centers opening in key locations this year, even more service vans will become available. 

Meanwhile, a similar concentration of 10 service vans is at the ready in the Toronto, Ontario, area to serve transit customers. Another will be based in Washington D.C. where demand for emergency repair service runs high. 

“Our largest deployment is out of South Plainfield, New Jersey,” says Prevost Service Network Director, Randy Castillo. “We send 21 dedicated vans into New York City on a daily basis to service our major transit customer’s Prevost commuter buses and Nova Bus transit vehicles.” 

Additionally, there are certified service providers through Volvo Trucks available to Prevost and Volvo Bus operators; making Prevost’s service footprint the largest and most wide-spread among the major coach OEMs. 

Prevost service vans to the rescue 

Mike Ramos, Prevost service lead in the San Francisco, California, area says he has seen it all — at least until the next distress call comes in with its new set of challenges.

One recent episode involved a driver in route from Eureka, California, phoning in late one Saturday night to report electrical issues and make an appointment to drive directly to the Prevost Center on his arrival the next morning.

“Talking to the driver by phone, I learned his problems were escalating by the minute,” Ramos says. “We canceled the appointment and immediately arranged for a rescue coach to transport the 56 passengers.” 

Ramos then deployed two technicians in the service van for the 600-mile roundtrip to change out the batteries and alternators. 

“They had everything back in order 30 minutes before the rescue bus arrived,” Ramos says. “The passengers were so relieved to be up and running they remained onboard and traveled on rather than transfer to the older coach.”  

In another incident in the Bay Area, a pulley snapped, rendering the coach out of commission on the side of the road headed into a blind curve. Again, Ramos dispatched the service van, this time equipped with floodlights, strobes and flashers to allow the two technicians to work safely. 

A Highway Patrol officer arrived on the scene to direct traffic and stay with the coach until the repair was complete. Two hours later the driver and passengers were on their way.

“This repair was more involved than we usually see out on the road,” Ramos says. “However, when we can work as safely as this, we can usually do more than we think. We will always make the attempt regardless of the challenges.”

Prevost goes the distance

“Our mobile service is at its best within a 100-mile radius,” Castillo says. “We will travel further as the circumstances merit. We never want to leave a coach stranded.”

Each Prevost Service Center stocks its service vans for the most common issues in the prevailing market. For example, the vans in Florida are prepared for routine motorhome service, while those in New Jersey are most likely anticipating issues with transit bus customers. 

“We carry only what is necessary for the safest and most expedient roadside repair to get the bus moving,” Castillo says. “More times than not than not the issue is with tires, hoses, and belts or a particular diagnostic reset.” 

When to take a PASS 

“We are by no means miracle workers,” Castillo says. “As every operator knows, situations arise out on the road where the damage is far greater than a mobile unit can address.”

In which case, the Prevost Action Service System (PASS) is available 24/7/365 to operators requiring assistance. Qualified trained PASS representatives are on call to advise and direct them to the nearest emergency Prevost or Volvo Truck service center. PASS also helps with scheduling emergency towing and maintenance, expediting delivery of parts, and if needed, assist with the paperwork. 

Not every call is a crisis  

While the service vans are always standing by for emergencies, more typically they are called to Prevost customers at their facilities for routine service and repairs, as well as contracted preventive maintenance.

“We send out our technicians to honor all bulletins, recalls, and warranty repairs,” says June Uom, Prevost service manager for the San Francisco facility. “Because of time constraints our customers often find it more convenient and cost affective to request a Prevost Service van – particularly for operators with large fleets, even when it requires the technicians to stay over until the work is complete.” 

Prevost owners and operators often request van service in a certain area they are traveling, such as a major event or specific tour destination. 

“A customer asked us to be on-call during Cherry Blossom Season in Washington D.C.,” Castillo says. “We sent a technician in a service van out of New Jersey for a week and was busy most of the time.” 

On-site at NASCAR 

As the Official Motorcoach of NASCAR, Prevost dispatches its service vans to approximately 14 races a year across the country in fulfillment of its sponsorship commitment to provide on-site support.

“We will send one or two vans to the raceway prior to the event for scheduled maintenance and repairs on the Prevost motorhomes belonging to the drivers and staff,” Castillo says. “We also make service and parts support with on-site express delivery available through the weekend for our customers and NASCAR fans experiencing issues with their coaches and motorhomes.” 

John “Viggy” Vignona has driven for NASCAR veteran Jimmy Johnson and his family for the past 15 years; nine years in a Prevost Marathon conversion model. Vignona says the NASCAR circuit keeps him on the road for no less than 36 weekends throughout the year. 

“We are grateful for the Prevost technicians who bring their vans to our location when we need service or have an issue with our motorhome,” Vignona says. “They are an immense help with the little stuff that is so [time] consuming. We pull into raceway on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and the service team comes out for service and anything that needs attention before the Johnsons arrive. This is their home and we do all we can so as not to interrupt them.”

As it plays out, he says at any stop on the NASCAR race schedule he is never too far from one of the 16 Prevost Service Centers.  

“Fortunately, I've never broken down on the side of the road,” Vignona says. “I've only been towed one time in all my years of driving. I got a tow into Jacksonville last July when a fuel injector failed. Prevost  

wanted to send the van, but I preferred getting the motorhome into the shop for the repair.”

Prevost at Super Bowl LIII 

With hundreds of coaches arriving in Atlanta, Georgia, in January for NFL Super Bowl LIII, the Prevost Customer Support team in three specially stocked service vans were standing by for light maintenance, repairs, and emergency assistance.

 “We tried to anticipate our customers’ more typical situations,” says Eric DeGeorge, Prevost Customer Support Manager, Southeast Region, Winter Garden, Florida. “We needed to stock enough parts and repair equipment to get them up and back celebrating the game.” 

Castillo says without the service vans Prevost would suffer serious gaps in the emergency repair and maintenance it is able to provide customers in need.  

Information provided by Prevost

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