On making the decision in 2015 to upgrade its ageing fuelling facilities, Princess Coaches of Southampton set out a number of key requirements. Foremost was to implement an effective fuel management regime, to monitor usage and help measure and better control carbon emissions.

The company takes its responsibilities to the environment very seriously. All of the company’s coaches meet the latest standards for the London ‘Low Emission Zone’ that came into effect in July 2008. Notwithstanding this investment, the company has committed itself to an on-going policy to identify any further environmental measures that will help lower its carbon emissions.

“By bringing both diesel and AdBlue onto the Merridale system, we now have all the benefits of automatic stock management for both commodities.  Since the drivers are using the same key fob, this arrangement underlines the need to top up the AdBlue, as an essential part of the refuelling procedure.”

One of the unique features of the Princess Coaches set-up was the introduction of automatic mileage readers to streamline the refuelling process. Since they were one of the first Merridale customers to adopt this method, we decided to make contact again to see how they were getting on after three years of operation.   

“We are happy to report that the Merridale system is fulfilling our requirements and we are more than satisfied, “says Fleet Manager, Richard Mathews.

He continues. “We specified the Merridale vehicle mileage readers to help speed up the refuelling process. Each of the fleet coaches are fitted with this unit, which reads the data from the onboard computer and transmits this by a wireless link to the pump on refuelling. They are not permanent fixtures so as fleet vehicles are replaced the reader units can be removed and transferred to the new coaches without any difficulty.

“There is one bit of advice we should pass on to other operators, who may be thinking about adopting this method,” says Richard.

“It is important to recognise that the mileage reader and vehicle fob are a matched pair. After swapping over the first three new vehicles, our fobs and vehicle mileage reader units got mixed up somehow. Whilst this did cause a little bit of confusion at first, it was sorted eventually but nothing really to do with the Merridale system.”

AdBlue dispenser incorporated
Another development since the Merridale system was installed in that monitoring has been extended to cover the AdBlue (diesel exhaust fluid) dispenser. Previously this was a separate procedure and drivers entered details of each transaction onto a hand-written log.

“By bringing both diesel and AdBlue onto the Merridale system, we now have all the benefits of automatic stock management for both commodities.  Since the drivers are using the same key fob, this arrangement underlines the need to top up the AdBlue, as an essential part of the refuelling procedure.

“Reprogramming the keys for the additional pump was a relatively simple process. After turning on the control panel, the driver is asked to select either Pump 1 for diesel or Pump 2 for AdBlue.

Richard Mathews concludes by saying. “Princess Coaches has continued to push forward its policy for providing high quality coach travel for its customers. This is exemplified by the replacement of a number of vehicles to meet the requirements of the latest – ultra-low emissions zones now applicable to central London. We are also looking ahead, as we anticipate the roll out of these measures to other cities around the country, including of course Southampton, where we are based,” he said.