The story of Irizar and Intercape
Irizar has been supplying luxury bus service company Intercape with luxury coaches for a good few years. It’s been a partnership where both have reaped the benefits, writes GAVIN MYERS.
It all started back in 1979, when Johann Ferreira Snr started a service company in Cape Town called Intercape. The main focus was a shuttle service between Cape Town’s airport and the city centre. In 1987, Intercape applied for and obtained intercity permits for the transport of passengers between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and so one of the leading and largest privately-owned transport services in Southern Africa was born.
To this day the Intercape buses cover in the region of 18 million kilometres per annum, ferrying passengers in comfort to their destinations, with a distinct emphasis on safety, dependability and affordability. Therefore, the choice of their vehicle’s chassis and body is a decision not taken lightly – every Intercape passenger’s safety and comfort is of utmost importance.
Which is why, when the time came in 2005 for Intercape to replace its old Neoplan liners, which had been in service since 1988, it was Irizar’s durability and strength that won the decision in their favour. The replacement Irizar body was purchased for one of Intercape’s chassis and the PKD body was fitted to a Volvo B12R chassis – which is currently still in operation. This vehicle was put through extensive testing and, as stated, due to the durability and strength of the body it was decided to convert all the Neoplan coaches to luxury single decker Irizar coaches.
Owned 100% by the Irizar Group, Irizar Southern Africa assembles PKDs from Brazil to supply to southern Africa. Irizar itself has been in South Africa since September 2004, so it obviously speaks volumes for the local concern that Intercape chose them after just one year of being properly represented in our local market.
Intercape currently has a fleet of 90 vehicles, the majority of which are double decker intercity coaches. The Irizar coaches are made up of nine full luxury 52-seater coaches on Volvo B12R chassis – of which one is the flagship vehicle of Intercape, the Irizar PB, which has been in South Africa for almost two years. There are also ten 50-seater luxury coaches on Scania F310 chassis, and eight full luxury 56-seater coaches on Neoplan chassis.
Says Intercape COO, Wynand J Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen, of Irizar: “Irizar has the ability to adapt to its customer’s needs and therefore the decision to do the Neoplan conversions on the Neoplan chassis was given to Irizar. Their willingness and ability to give personal attention to [their] customers and attention to detail has made them the choice of body builders.” Not only is this what gives Irizar the edge over its competitors, but it in turn allows Intercape to gain a competitive edge over their competitors.
Intercape’s mission is to maintain and grow Intercape as the intercity transport operator of choice in southern Africa, and the number of customers satisfied with the Irizar coaches is proof that Intercape is reaching this goal.