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Feature Article

Canter 816 Crew Cab - Evolution Traffic

General manager Chris Kerr discusses how the combination of safety, reliability and carrying capacity make Fuso Canter and Fighter autos the trucks of choice for Evolution Traffic.

Chris Kerr, Evolution Traffic New Zealand general manager:

I’m Chris Kerr, I’m the Evolution Traffic general manager for New Zealand. When I started, we were basically in Auckland – we’re now across the North Island, and shortly we’ll be into the South Island as well.

So, the parent company is ERMG or Evolution Road Maintenance Group. They’re the biggest single traffic management company in Australia, and obviously, the goal is for us to be the biggest traffic management company in New Zealand.

So, we’ve got three main business streams, so we do temporary traffic management – the trucks, with the cones and the signs – we do training – so we’re very busy in the training space – and we do traffic management planning.

We have a standard design that we use for all of our trucks. If you’ve got a vehicle that you can trust, so it meets your basic needs, then you can drive all of your maintenance programmes and the tenure that you’re going to get out of that vehicle – that makes a lot of sense from a maintenance point of view.

And so, if you pan around the yard, we’ve got a large number of Fusos.

William Peterson, Evolution Traffic fleet manager:   

We have 35 Fusos currently. These crew cabs – this style – we have another three of. They’ve just gone to the AMT, which is what we quite like. We wanted to move away from manual transmissions. The last three we had were really good.

They’re durable, they stand up to the boys who can sometimes be a bit rough. They’re versatile, they basically get anything we need done. Good cost, and they’ve also got quite good after sales support throughout the nation. 

Chris Kerr, Evolution Traffic New Zealand general manager:

Safety and carrying capacity are the two primary drivers, but safety by far and away the main driver. But, we want to be able to cart the amount of gear that we want to cart. So, if we are going to go do a motorway closure – we’ve got to carry 300 cones, we’ve got to carry 60 signs. And they’ve got to be able to be offloaded and loaded safely and securely.

Since I’ve been here, all the trucks that we’ve added have been Fusos. We’ve made the decision recently that we want them to all be automatic because in fact, we are wearing out clutches at a terrible rate.

That’s partly because of the type of operation, so you have to be able to drive down the road at between 5km/h and 10km/h so that we can cone out, and so our drivers ride the clutches.

Effectively if you like, we’ve got three main types. So, we’ve got a smaller truck base, which is what we call a level one truck – so they’re the general run about truck and they’ll do lots of small projects. And then we’ve got the TMAs, which is the large truck, and we’ve got two types of that. We have a working vehicle and a non-working vehicle, what we call the shadow.

Julia Pritchard – Evolution Traffic trainer/practicing STMS:

I’m Julia Pritchard, I’m one of the HD drivers here in Class 2, and one of the trainers here also at Evolution. I drive every day, every time I’m working I’m driving the Fusos. Having a good, reliable, easy to manoeuvre truck that’s comfortable to drive definitely helps.

Chris Kerr, Evolution Traffic New Zealand general manager:

We know the maintenance regimes, and so we don’t have to change any of our processes. The price was particularly good. We have a very strong relationship through Keith Andrews, and it’s a relationship we would hope to continue.