When Tony Sargent became the Transportation Director of Lexington, South Carolina School District Two in 2012, he was faced with the task of purchasing two more buses to be used for after-school activities such as the sports and music programs.
Sargent decided to purchase two CE Series IC Buses for his activity fleet, and will soon be purchasing two more. “The drivers like the performance, the pulling capacity, and the pickup speed,” says Sargent. The buses are making the drivers’ lives easier and safer, too. “The stop arm and door switches’ location on the steering wheel really helps the drivers from having to reach,” Sargent explains.
With the addition of the two new buses, the department’s activity fleet now totals six CE Series buses. When making his decision, Sargent didn’t blindly follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, though. He decided to conduct his own research and make sure that IC Bus products were the right choice. “I wanted to go out myself and see what other people had to offer,” says Sargent. “I went to the other school bus lots and had them do an interview to tell me what type of product they had.”
The results? IC Bus was the winner, for bus performance on the roads as well as customer service. Sargent worked closely with the local IC Bus dealership, Carolina International, to make sure they put the right engine and transmission into their buses for optimum performance on trips to team games in distant towns, settling on the MaxxForce DT. “I haven’t had a complaint yet,” notes Sargent. “We take long trips in those buses, going up and down hills, and we want to make sure we’re maintaining the best speed so that we don’t clog up traffic.”
When Sargent and his team began to install their standard video systems in the new buses, they were impressed by how simple it was to get them set up. “It was easy to outfit those buses, because they have a designated area for additional hookups,” explains Sargent. These video systems help the drivers see what’s going on at the back of the bus, as well as capturing footage of the outside of the bus during its route.
As for the look of the buses, Sargent is proud to display his CE Series buses at the front of the lot. “I get all kinds of compliments from the community,” says Sargent. “They always look great.” Because the town sometimes uses the buses for community trips, he wants to make sure that the appearance of the buses makes his district stand out.
Though Sargent is very impressed by the buses themselves, what truly sold him on IC Bus was the customer support provided by Carolina International, and specifically by salesman Richard Kester. It was Kester whom Sargent spoke with when deciding to purchase IC Bus products back in 2012. “Just by being there and seeing that the drivers are able to call Richard was very impressive,” Sargent recalls. “Richard comes out here to check on us and make sure the buses are running correctly. If a driver is out of town on one of the activity trips and finds something unusual going on with the bus, they can call him directly and he’ll answer their questions. I think that’s awesome.”
For Sargent and his department, Kester’s actions spoke louder than words. “This guy not only sold us four buses, he sold us a part of him,” Sargent says. “He really made himself available if we had any problems. That to me was a no-brainer right there.”