Australasian Bus & Coach Issue 440

Page 1

100 years: Ventura Bus Lines New home: Irizar Best Bus: Big Bird wins CONSAT TELEMATICS LUMINATOR WEBFLEET Global focus Combined suite Harnessing telematics

Changing times

Recent news from all parts of the Australasian bus and coach industry highlights that the sector is evolving in front of our very eyes

As Bob Dylan sang; the times, they are a-changin’. The start of 2024 has given way to a variety of bus and coach companies making substantial shifts in the way they operate.

For 100 years, Ventura Bus Lines has been a staple of the Victorian bus industry. As a stalwart operator starting in the state’s eastern suburbs to now covering major regions of the state, the proud family owned business was sold earlier this year to Singapore asset management company Keppel Infrastructure Trust for an enterprise value of $600 million.

It caused a ripple across the local bus industry, as one of its more successful family business pillars decided to look to new owners for the next generation of bus and coach operations.

Earlier this month, another Victorian institution followed suit, with Crown Coaches confirming it’s exploring a sale to a new owner to help bolster its electric ambitions. Both Crown and Ventura are some of the last major family-owned bus operators still continuing in both Victoria and Australia. Their sale intentions are a sign that the dynamic of running buses and coaches in Australia is changing before our very eyes.

In a separate part of the bus and coach market, this same change can be seen in technology.

Our April edition of ABC focuses on telematics and its rapid evolution from a fancy perk to a necessary requirement onboard a modern bus or coach.

This is encapsulated by INIT, represented on our cover for April. The global software company started as a German university student’s project while completing their doctorate in the ‘80s. Now, INIT has an impressive global reach, with its array of telematics, ticketing and fleet management solutions also becoming a hit in Australia, as can be seen from page 20.

Webfleet’s telematics solutions have become a popular part of the local

market. From page 36, the Webfleet team provides some insight into how its system can be used to uncap several benefits.

In the local telematics market, Consat Technologies has been a constant in recent years. While its Australasian presence is only increasing, this month’s story takes ABC back to Consat headquarters in Sweden, where a chat with CEO Pär Thuresson on page 32 unveils the brand’s history developing intelligent public transport solutions and its evolution with electric buses.

We then go from telematics to passenger information, with Hanover Displays preparing to harness its global expertise with the local release of a new high-definition LED destination display and an enticing online portal on page 38. While Luminator has a different background in the technology game to Hanover, its latest Australasian bus and coach solution, as can be seen on page 40, combines all of its leading features into the one system. To finish the telematics focus, the Perth-based DTI Group is taking its high-quality emphasis to the telematics sphere on page 42.

Outside of telematics, ABC pays tribute to Ventura Bus Lines’ centenary celebrations on page 24. The family day encapsulates the diverse history of the Victorian operator as it heralds in a new era. ABC also attended the opening of Irizar Asia Pacific’s new Pakenham facility and found out how the site will help take the bodybuilder to the next level. Challenger Bus & Coach continues to make more deliveries, with its latest order seeing it travel to the Torres Strait Islands from page 43.

Whether it be operating bus companies or creating telematics devices, the April edition of ABC is a bookmark in time that shows that the local bus and coach industry is undergoing a transformation.

ABC • 4
Image: John Lindsay, Victorian Department of Transport and Planning
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In the know

4. editorial | changing times

Recent news from all parts of the Australasian bus and coach industry highlights that the sector is evolving in front of our very eyes

8. news | all aboard

An overview of the latest Australasian bus and coach news that you need to know features


BIC is working to continually reinforce the industry through the fastest succession of change it’s seen

20. cover story | init EVOLVING FORCE

With more than 40 years of experience, INIT is bringing its global expertise to Australasia to help solve key operator challenges

24. feature | ventury century A FORTUNATE VENTURE-A

It’s been more than 100 years since the Cornwall family first founded Ventura Bus Lines. Through acquisitions and change, the Victorian bus company recently celebrated a special ton 29. feature | irizar GROWTH PLANS

In March, Irizar Asia Pacific officially unveiled its new Melbourne home. Now, the bodybuilder is looking to continue its upward trajectory

32. telematics feature | consat telematics ELECTROMOBILITY EMPHASIS

Consat Telematics has rich history as a trusted intelligent PT solutions partner. Now, it’s turning its focus to the global electric bus transition

36. telematics feature | webfleet HIDDEN EFFICIENCY

Telematics solutions like Bridgestone’s Webfleet have proven to be a core business tool for many bus and coach operators, yet operators are continually finding new ways to use telematics to further improve operations

38. telematics feature | hanover displays NEW SENSATIONS

International destination displays and passenger information systems powerhouse Hanover Displays has unveiled new products for the bus and coach market

40. telematics feature | luminator SUITE APPROACH

Luminator Technology Group is once again improving its capabilities in Australia with the release of a new technology suite for local operators

42. telematics feature | dti group LOCAL HEROES

DTI Group is combining decades of CCTV and passenger information experience with its latest sleek telematics solution for Australian bus and coach operators

45. feature | challenger MAIDEN VOYAGE

Challenger Bus and Coach’s latest delivery saw it recently spread the trademark Challenger quality to a tour operator in the Torres Strait Islands

48. column | busvic DAY AND NIGHT

July 27 is set to be a massive day for BusVic as it hosts its ZEB summit and celebrates its 80th anniversary

51. competition | best bus BIG BIRD

The winner of April’s ABC Best Bus, brought to you by VDI, is of a bright Terranova Tours Scania bus with a twist


49. events


Be sure not to miss out on an opportunity for these fantastic in person events

54. factory facts | bus deliveries MARCH DELIVERIES

We have all the latest bus and coach supplier sales data collected and recorded for you review, check out how the market has performed in the past month

58. back seat | news


In the Victorian towns of Sandy Point and Venus Bay, an exciting electric mini-bus trial is set to pave the way for sustainable small-town transport


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45 29 ABC • 6

Crown explores sale

Despite expecting to record $29 million in revenue this year, Crown Coaches is looking at a potential sale to an owner that can help increase the operator’s electrification capabilities

Pioneering and popular Australian bus and coach operator Crown Coaches has confirmed with ABC that it’s exploring strategic options to ensure the future growth and sustainability of its business.

This includes the potential of welcoming a new owner to the helm of the Victorian operator that has been a constant presence on roads for 57 years.

Following a recent article in the Australian Financial Review hinting at Crown Coaches’ potential sale, the operator confirmed it is looking to build on its long-standing legacy and commitment to innovation and excellence in the sector.

“After considerable reflection, the Haoust family has decided to explore the possibility of selling Crown Coaches,” Crown Coaches director Renee Haoust told ABC

“This decision is not made lightly, but with a firm belief that it is the right path forward for the company, our employees and our clients.”

The exploration of a sale comes at a time when Crown Coaches has identified the need for additional resources to continue its indus-

try-leading initiatives, especially when it comes to pushing towards electrification and sustainable transport solutions.

The long-standing family business was founded by Victor and Julie Haoust in 1967 and has been operating for almost 60 years throughout south-east Melbourne.

Haoust says the company believes that a new owner could provide the necessary capital and strategic support to elevate the company’s growth and ensure its continued success.

Crown Coaches has been a leader in sustainability, introducing one of Victoria’s first 100 per cent electric buses in 2009 and investing heavily in electric fleet infrastructure through a partnership with Hitachi.

The operator still plans to have the capacity to charge 40 electric buses by 2026.

While Crown Coaches is at the beginning of this exploratory process, it remains committed to transparency with its employees, clients and partners.

Crown Coaches has a fleet of 157 buses, including providing critical

transport services for students with disabilities under the Victorian Department of Education’s ‘Students with Disabilities Transport Program’.

Operating out of three depots in south-eastern suburbs like Nunawading and Dandenong South, 80 per cent of the operator’s revenue is under contract, with the business expecting to achieve $29 million in revenue and $4.3 million in EBITDA in 2024.

Another Crown Coaches director, Jerome Haoust, says the company reassures that it remains business as usual, with no immediate changes to its operations, services or commitments to stakeholders slated.

“We understand the significance of this decision and are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition that respects the interests of all parties involved,” he told ABC.

“We will keep our stakeholders informed and engaged as we move forward with this process.”

The Haoust family and the Crown Coaches management team say they’re optimistic about the opportunities the process will unveil for the company, its employees and its clients.

Above: Crown Coaches is exploring a potential sale. Image: Crown Coaches.
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Ebusco farewells Australia

International bus and coach

manufacturer Ebusco has announced that it’s “reducing commercial activities outside of Europe” and officially closing operations in Australia.

The decision was made as part of its full year results for the 2023 financial year, with the electric bus brand recording an Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) loss of 95.7 million euros last year.

This resulted in a net loss for the year of 120.1 million euros, or $200 million.

In its full year result report released to shareholders in late March, Ebusco

“As part of an adapted assembly strategy, we have already reduced our workforce,” the company says.

“The decision was also made to reduce our commercial activities outside of Europe.

“The results of these actions should start to become visible in the operational results as of the second quarter.”

This financial loss comes as Ebusco’s order book continues to grow from 1,474 to 1,719 at the end of last year.

To combat this, Ebusco has also announced it has switched to a new business model when it comes to manufacturing, with the latest Ebusco 3.0 model now being built in China.

“Key leadership decisions to improve the predictability and operational

Ventura has appointed Nigel Wilson of NPW Services as the brand’s in-house service and support partner for Australia and New Zealand, further allowing Ventura to expand its market presence and customer satisfaction capabilities.

“We have been working with Nigel and his team for many years now and it was time to further strengthen our relationship,” Ventura Systems general manager Wolter Meijerhof told ABC

Ventura Systems announces appointment

Door systems supplier Ventura Systems Australia has announced an appointment and the expansion of its parts department as it seeks to strengthen its presence in the local market.

“Nigel will be the main contact person for OEMs and operators within Ventura for service, training and installation of our door systems. We are very pleased to be able to strengthen our service and support capabilities on a permanent basis with Nigel’s knowledge and experience.’

Meijerhof says Wilson is well known in the local market, having started his business in 2013 in certifying and repairing all types of door systems for New South Wales bus operators.

Over the past decade, Wilson has grown NPW Services into a professional organisation with three employees providing a wide range of services to its growing customer base.

Having worked with Ventura

performance of Ebusco resulted in an adapted assembly strategy to scale up our production with the support of third-party assembly partners,” Ebusco says.

“Our partners have a long track record in bus assembly, providing them good access to skilled labour and allowing Ebusco to leverage on their existing supply chain and suppliers.”

Alongside these changes, Ebusco has also introduced a new leadership team to navigate the coming years.

Jurjen Jongma as chief financial officer, interim-co CEO Frank Meurs and chief operating officer Roald Dogge have all formed a core for Ebusco into the future.

The focus will be on its premier model and rebuilding globally.

“Despite the challenges we faced in 2023, the main highlight remains the operational performance of the Ebusco 3.0,” Ebusco says.

“We have to do better, we can do better and we have taken the necessary management actions. We owe this to our employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders and I am grateful for their continued trust and patience over the past year.”

Systems over the years, Meijerhof says Wilson and his colleagues have a wealth of knowledge and experience of Ventura’s door systems throughout Australia and New Zealand.

On top of this, Ventura Systems Australia is also announcing the expansion of its parts department, with Josh Meijerhof welcomed to the company as its new parts and logistics coordinator.

Meijerhof will be responsible for streamlining the delivery of parts to OEMs and operators in the region, with this strategic initiative underscoring Ventura Systems’ relentless pursuit of operational excellence in parts supply.

Wolter Meijerhof says the appointment of NPW Services and Josh Meijerhof in strengthening the parts department demonstrates Ventura Systems’ commitment to customer support and quality service throughout Australia and New Zealand.

“We cordially invite you to join us at the upcoming BIC National Bus & Coach Show in September, where both parties will be in attendance to engage with you personally and to showcase our latest innovations and solutions,” he says.

ABC • 10
Left: Ebusco has pulled out of Australia. Image: Ebusco. Above: Ventura Systems has appointed a service and support partner. Image: Ventura Systems Australia.

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GoZero wins big in NSW

Under the GoZero Group, Nexport has been named as a preferred bus supplier on Panel 4 in NSW

Australian zero-emissions commercial transport company GoZero has confirmed that its fully owned subsidiary Nexport has been appointed as a preferred supplier of buses for Transport for NSW (TfNSW).

Under the terms of the new Bus Panel 4, which is the new bus procurement panel introduced for NSW on March 1, operators of public bus routes can now procure new buses from suppliers like Nexport that are on the panel.

GoZero Group executive chairman Stephen Cartwright says the company applauds the NSW government’s commitment to supporting local manufacturers throughout the bus building process and its zero-emissions bus program.

“We are delighted to be working with TfNSW as a preferred supplier to Bus Panel 4 to deliver zero-emissions buses (ZEBs) for the NSW public transport network and the people of NSW,” Cartwright told ABC

“For every one bus we build in Australia, five Australian jobs are retained. Having a strong pipeline of bus sales is key to the sustainability of local bus manufacturing and the renewal of the public transport fleet that carries over 40 per cent of public transport passengers. It’s also critical to our ability to continue to invest in the development of GoZero’s existing local manufacturing footprint as well as in new manufacturing sites providing valuable employment and growing critical skills capability in this country.

“We look forward to tendering for the next round of ZEBs with GoZero being very well-placed to deliver the latest technology and proven manufacturing and assembly technology from within New South Wales.”

Under these NSW programs, the state government is looking to progressively introduce a 50 per cent local content target for new

Above: Nexport has been named as part of Panel 4. Image: GoZero Group.

electric buses, with around 1,700 ZEBs planned to be on Greater Sydney roads by 2028.

Cartwright says Nexport was chosen by TfNSW based on the historic performance of its fleet of more than 60 ZEBs currently operating in Central and Western Sydney as well its ongoing commitment to deliver safe and reliable ZEBs from its facility in Glendenning, Western Sydney.

GoZero is currently assessing sites across NSW to scale up its manufacturing and assembly capacity to match the expected growing demand as the transition from diesel buses to ZEBs quickens.

The NSW government has forecast that ZEBs can save up to $2 billion in environmental and health costs compared to operating diesel buses for the next 30 years. Cartwright says GoZero Group intends to be instrumental in supporting the government to deliver these savings and benefits.


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Kinetic driver takes on world

In Melbourne, Kinetic bus driver Megan Veitch never thought she’d be in the seat that she’s in. Now, she’s also travelling around the world to conquer marathons.

The Kinetic Women Up Front graduate has taken on the challenge of bus driving as she also looks to complete six major world marathons.

After joining the operator a year ago following more than two decades spent working in the retail sector, Veitch is settled in her role as a driver while also looking to complete marathons around the world.

Veitch was motivated to become a bus driver after learning about Kinetic’s commitment to employ more women.

“I like driving and I thought I’d give it a go, so that’s what I did. Since day one everyone has been really helpful and friendly. Even on the road passengers are happy to see a woman behind the wheel,” Veitch says.

“It’s all been quite encouraging. Twelve months on and I am loving every minute.”

The Women Up Front trainee bus driver program is part of Kinetic’s commitment to encourage more women to pursue careers in the transport industry.

It includes a mix of classroom and on-road training ensuring candidates have the skills, capability and confidence to become a professional bus driver.

Kinetic says the program has been successful in attracting more women into driving roles. Since Kinetic took over the operation of the Metropolitan Bus Franchise in January 2022, the number of women in driving roles has doubled.

Last year, more than 270 women joined Kinetic in driving roles around

Australia, with more than 80 women already getting behind the wheel since January 2024.

Veitch says that during her first year on the job, she has noticed a number of similarities between her new career and her passion for long distance running, saying both pastimes require mental resilience and focus, training and preparation and come with a sense of achievement and personal growth.

“Trying something new is always a challenge. I’ve found the same type of support and inspiration from my colleagues in the depot as I found in my running group,” Veitch says.

“Having the right crew around you and just going for it can make any intimidating experience a lot easier to take on.”

Veitch first began running 18 years ago when her sister invited her along for a seemingly easy run around Albert Park Lake. After 100 metres, she quickly figured out it wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought, but she wasn’t discouraged. She later joined her local running group and now has a strong support network that allows her to travel the world running.

Veitch’s goal is to run all six Abbott World Marathon Majors by 2027 before her 50th birthday. She is already well on the way, completing the New York Marathon last year and already pounding the pavement in preparation for the Berlin Marathon in September this year.

Running has also proven to be a great de-stressor after a long day behind the wheel.

“I go for a run and it makes my world better,” she says.

“It’s great to see what you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it.”



In London, a wandering sheep has been given a lift back to its owner. Brighton & Hove Buses driver Martine Patey was driving on her first day to Eastbourne for a rail replacement bus job when she spotted a sheep wandering on a highway. Patey quickly pulled over, with passengers helping her capture the animal and gave it a short drive back to its farm. Patey, despite the debacle, was only one minute late for her service.


As part of the ‘Funny Bus’ service in Charlotte, America, a comedian has helped teach the community sign language. Comedian and tour guide Thomas Heynen has revealed he has been teaching a free sign language class in Charlotte, called Wine ‘n’ Sign. Teaching the workshop with the help of the deaf community, Heynen is ensuring the Funny Bus has some education involved too.


In Australia, the recently launched library van/mini-bus has rolled into small towns and is already making an impact. The bus was introduced by Kempsey Shire council last year and has now debuted at Hat Head and Crescent Head. The community vehicle allows people to have a mobile library brought to them so they can read the latest books.

ABC • 14
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Image: Kinetic


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Electric history in Auckland

The historic double-decker bus model is set to be put to the test across routes for both

Kinetic and Auckland Transport

New Zealand operator Auckland Transport (AT) has welcomed the first double-decker electric bus into its Auckland fleet.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, AT CEO Dean Kimpton and Kinetic New Zealand managing director Calum Haslop attended the test drive of the new bus at Kinetic’s Mangere depot.

The addition of the first electric double-decker bus to AT’s operations brings Auckland’s zero-emissions bus fleet to 138, making it the largest number for a New Zealand fleet and in the top two for Australasia.

AT infrastructure and fleet specification manager Edward Wright says it’s exciting to witness

the launch of its first electric double-decker bus.

“We’re sure our customers will love the experience of travelling on the quieter and smoother bus,” Wright says.

“It will primarily service Mt Eden Road, Great North Road and Dominion Road routes. This will be a great opportunity for Kinetic to test how an electric double-decker performs in Auckland conditions.” AT says with an average double-decker diesel bus in its fleet consuming 79,020kgs of carbon emissions per year, the electric bus will reduce a single vehicle’s emissions by an average of 79 tonnes per year.


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Above: Auckland Transport has launched its first double-decker electric bus. Image: Auckland Transport

An Auckland Transport greenhouse gas inventory report for the 2021-2022 financial year found that AT’s bus fleet is responsible for 79 per cent of the organisation’s emissions.

Haslop says Kinetic has brought the double-decker electric bus to Auckland to test its abilities across the multiple routes that it operates.

“The bus has already undergone extensive off-road testing where its safety systems were checked under load and speed, but now it’s time to test the bus where it really counts, which is on the city’s busy bus routes,” Haslop says.

“Of special importance is that the drivers who will be assigned to operating it have also undergone specialised training, which encompasses not only the size of the vehicle, but also its operation as an electric bus.”

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17 • ABC
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Risks, regulation and recruitment

The key element that binds bus and coach is people. Whether it’s assuring their daily safety and wellbeing or future-proofing a resilient workforce, the BIC is working together to continually reinforce the industry through the fastest succession of change it’s seen

Two of our key advocacy messages are national harmonisation and avoid duplication. They are often mutually compatible, but sometimes they aren’t if they result in the industry becoming less efficient and safe.

Over the past year or so, BIC and the state bus associations have engaged with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) on the Risk Based Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme (RBHVIS) Standards and Assurance Framework. During the consultation, we jointly supported the existing periodic state-based heavy vehicle inspection schemes, highlighting alignment with the bus industry’s safety-focused and highly regulated operating environment.

The NHVR has subsequently advised that it will adopt existing state-based inspection requirements as the new

standard applicable to buses under the RBHVIS. The inspection regimes will follow the requirements of the registration jurisdiction, such as the NSW Bus Operator Accreditation Scheme (BOAS).

Also in the pipeline…

Over the next 12 months, we’re working to reduce the need for the regulatory approval of roads before travelling (currently under the NHVR-controlled access bus notices). These affect certain roads that operators of controlled access vehicles (typically longer than 12.5 metres) can travel on. BIC is working with regulators on new, dynamic ways to assess these longer vehicles (existing and new) for suitability to travel on more/all roads.

In collaboration with Ausmasa and Industry Skills Australia, we’re working to ensure that industry needs are met


The NHVR has subsequently advised that it will adopt existing statebased inspection requirements as the new standard applicable to buses. Image: Taras Vyshnya/stock.

as we transition to zero-emissions technology. The strategy includes worker upskilling (focusing on diesel mechanics, technicians and drivers), national alignment and recognition of qualifications and improving industry perceptions for recruitment (for example, school careers advisers). We’re also examining other roles critical to the successful functioning of a depot and operators.

Our recruitment and retention project is reaching its finality, after which an official launch and national industrial relations seminar will take place on July 4 at the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra.

19 BIC

Evolving force

With more than 40 years of experience, INIT is bringing its global expertise to Australasia to help solve key operator challenges

While at university, many students are focused on getting by and completing degrees.

Dr Gottfried Greschner’s aim was different when he studied for his doctorate at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He always wanted to become an entrepreneur and saw the opportunity in his research project about ondemand transport to expand.

In 1983, he founded INIT as an extension of his research project alongside a handful of employees. Today, INIT is serving more than 1,100 global transport providers and bringing in 200 million euros, or roughly $330 million, in revenue.

“INIT was originally a university project that turned into a business idea and soon became a much-needed part of the German market,” INIT Australia sales manager Shane Bedford told ABC

“Since these early days, INIT has always been one or two steps ahead of technology requirements for the transport industry – there’s been a real need beyond Germany for INIT’s solutions.”

Transport software provider INIT has foundations in Karlsruhe, but now it has more than 1,200 employees, over 30 global locations and is a worldwide leading supplier of integrated planning, telematics, dispatching and ticketing systems. One of the numerous markets that INIT now serves is Australia and New Zealand. Around 15 years ago, INIT Australia was formed via a Brisbane office, with INIT wanting to expand into the local market and bring its various solutions to operators and public transport authorities in the region. Since then, INIT has continued evolving as a trusted supplier of ticketing, electromobility and fleet management software in the bus and

Above: INIT’s global expertise is helping it grow in Australasia

coach sector.

INIT Australia’s move into the region was solidified shortly after its foundations with the successful tender to supply an account-based ticketing solution for Metro Tasmania. Shortly after, 10 of New Zealand’s 14 councils chose to go with INIT for its ticketing and bus technology software.

For an emerging business, these wins would be monumental. For INIT, the initial take-up of its ticketing capabilities followed a similar blueprint to other major global areas.

“Part of INIT’s success story is our modular system concept. It helps us to expand into regions, delivering solutions for the most pressing challenges in a market so we can showcase our expertise in other areas,” Bedford says.

“This was seen in North America when we started with fleet management and our Iris Automated Passenger Counting solutions, and

ABC • 20

meanwhile became a market leader with our ticketing solutions as well.

“It’s important to understand that customers benefit from our unique understanding of an operator’s processes, even if it’s just one feature of our portfolio. As we are delivering solutions for all tasks of public transport, we know by heart what lays ahead and follows in the process chain, so we can perfectly adapt our solutions and ensure functioning interfaces to third-party solutions.”

Whether it be ticketing software or fleet management solutions, INIT’s focus is to remain ahead of the curve. When winning ticketing contracts, which are generally long-term, INIT has aimed to provide a solution that is up to five years ahead of what the state of ticketing technology is currently like. This is due to INIT’s focus on being prepared for the future so that its technology remains as modern as possible, with INIT’s

has become a market leader in the state-of-the-art ticketing solution sector in North America. This process is still ongoing, with Atlanta being the latest public transport authority to turn to INIT’s ticketing solution so

go with a two-pronged approach to grow in the region.

“We’ve started asking about and investigating the challenges that operators face so we can provide solutions to help them with the transition to zero-emissions buses and fleet management issues,” Bedford says.

INIT’s presence in Australia has increased significantly in recent times, with Bedford appointed just over six months ago to lead the charge in the Australasian area. For years, INIT has been a background figure in the local bus and coach industry, attending events and spreading its ticketing system across certain jurisdictions. Now, Bedford’s arrival has helped INIT take an assertive position in spreading its brand and its capabilities to local operators.

INIT’s broad product portfolio covers all operational tasks of public transport providers. Three main areas

21 • ABC

including in Portland, America, Birmingham in the UK and Turku in Finland. INIT’s solutions for electro mobility are also deployed across many cities and regions spanning across Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa.

“We have cutting-edge options to help operators with their electromo bility and fleet management needs,” Bedford says.

A major focus of INIT’s electromobil ity portfolio is to run the new wave of electric buses in Australia as cost-ef fectively as possible. Key features include charge management, range forecasting and monitoring.

“Our systems can range from checking whether the remaining battery charge is enough to finish a route to making complex decisions on the run that go well beyond forecasting,” Bedford says.

“Our solutions can step in to ensure all buses are loaded highly efficiently, with our intelligent charge management feature allowing vehicles to connect to depot management systems and ensure there’s sufficient charging for bus fleets without tapping into expensive high-peak periods.”

Through charging prioritisation, INIT’s electromobility solution ensures buses are charged in an order and timeframe that is most cost effective and efficient for operators, all without the fleet manager having to lift a finger. INIT can supply this detailed autonomous solution after running simulations for zero-emissions bus fleets. From there, the technology takes over and helps make the right strategic decisions to run a daily fleet with as little risk as possible.

“The best charging strategy is critical for operators wanting to run electric bus fleets,” Bedford says.

“The system also introduces specific parameters, such as route typography and varying outdoor temperatures, to determine the impact on battery charge and usage, providing operational planning that is ahead of the game.”

On the fleet management side, INIT’s solutions vary from operational planning to dispatching and incident management. A comprehensive suite of INIT’s capabilities can even include real-time passenger information systems and encapsulating a solution that covers all bases.

This range of offerings has quickly excited Bedford about what the future holds for INIT in Australasia. With previous experience in cloud consultancy, he brings knowledge

in software solutions to the German-based global force. With the zero-emissions transition beginning to gain traction in the region, Bedford wants INIT to be a trusted partner for local operators looking to embrace electromobility.

“INIT’s presence in Europe and North America has helped both areas get ahead in establishing zero-emissions bus networks with public transport authorities and operators,” Bedford says.

“I think Australia is behind this in terms of the zero-emissions push, so there’s a really good fit for INIT to offer its electromobility solutions to authorities and operators throughout Australia.”

To meet this growing demand, INIT is expanding around Australia and New Zealand. With a presence already established in Brisbane and Dunedin, INIT will soon open a Sydney office and appoint additional sales employees for the Australian and New Zealand region.

For operators, INIT’s presence in Australia may have started with its ticketing service being introduced on certain buses. Now, INIT will be more involved in the market, presenting potential solutions to key operational challenges throughout the country.

“We’re already bringing more systems to the market and have had local operator interest in regions like Queensland,” Bedford says.

“Our latest mobile ticketing model has attracted interest due to it being both app and cloud-based and requiring no hardware, including validators.

“It’s perfect for mid-sized operators wanting to connect with passengers through a modern app-based ticketing system that can also include bespoke advertising and designs.”

Bedford says INIT will be targeted in its approach to the Australasian market, approaching certain operators or authorities to ask about specific issues being faced. INIT Australia’s method will be to talk to operators and present ways they can overcome challenges. From there, Bedford is hopeful INIT can become a trusted partner for a range of operators both big and small around Australia.

“The key to our success is our deep understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by bus operators,” Bedford says.

“What sets INIT apart is our ability to leverage our enterprise-level expertise and technology to deliver tailored solutions for bus operators of all sizes.

“Whether it’s enhancing operational efficiency, providing a better passenger experience or improving safety, INIT has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that can address these critical areas.”

Above: INIT’s capabilities range from ticketing solutions to electromobility systems
UNVEILING THE NEW ASIA PACIFIC HEADQUARTERS New Australian office now open! With over 17 years in Australia, Irizar is proud to announce the opening of the new purpose built Australian headquarters. Contact our new Australian office to discover how Irizar can help you prepare for multi-technology and a sustainable future. Australian Office Phone: +61 (0) 3 97086688 Address: 49 Greenhills Road, Pakenham, VIC 3810

IA fortunate Venture-a

It’s been more than 100 years since the Cornwall family first founded Ventura Bus Lines. Through acquisitions and change, the Victorian bus company recently celebrated a special century


t’s an overcast Sunday afternoon at the beginning of autumn in Melbourne when Andrew Cornwall begins to speak at Mornington Racecourse. In front of a throng of attendees and families, co-workers and long-time friends, the Ventura Bus Lines managing director reflects on a century of evolution for the bus and coach company.

“This celebration today is in honour of the Ventura workforce,” he says.

“This includes our great drivers, professional mechanics, fleet support, operations and our corporate team.”

In a day of celebration, Cornwall and his team paid tribute to everyone in the past century who had helped shape Ventura’s journey as one of Victoria’s leading family-run bus and coach operators. This ride started all the way back in 1920 when

Henry ‘Harry’ Cornwall, Andrew’s grandfather, finished serving in the First World War as part of the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Mechanical Transport Company.

Following his five years of service, Harry found himself in the city of Ventura, California, situated north-west of Los Angeles. The coastal community, due to its links to the Italian Saint Bonaventure, quickly became known as the ‘city of good fortune’. This fortune was transferred to the other side of the world in 1924 when, upon returning to Melbourne and working as a bus driver for St Kilda’s Track & Kintrack, Harry decided to begin his own venture. It all started on December 24 when Harry purchased a 14-seat Reo for roughly 810 pounds and began running it between Box Hill and the

Above: Ventura board members (from L to R): Jacinta Caithness, Stephen Stanley, Andrew Cornwall and Greg Cornwall

Below: Ventura celebrated its century with a family day

Melbourne CBD. By 1930, the success of this route led to grander plans. With expansion in his mind, Harry applied to operate his buses on the Box Hill and Mentone service, traversing a dirt track that would soon become the popular suburban thoroughfare of Warrigal Road.

Harry’s good fortune that came with the Ventura name wasn’t limited to starting a growing bus company – these early routes allowed him to meet Myra Lucy Hammond. As a passenger that took Ventura’s bus to work at Melbourne’s Benevolent Asylum on Warrigal Road, Cheltenham, a site that is now known as the Kingston Centre, Myra and Harry began chatting. By 1932, the pair married, with five kids to follow. Hard work soon brought more joy and success in the Cornwall’s lives


also had a small depot on Mentone’s Beach Road throughout the 1940s. Soon after came the purchase of more land, this time at the corner of Centre Road and Warrigal Road in Oakleigh. This space was developed into a modern depot by 1957, providing future infrastructure for the bus company.

Sadly, Harry didn’t last to see the completion of the Oakleigh depot. In 1952, he tragically passed, leaving Myra with a tricky decision to make with the Ventura business. She decided to keep the business within the Cornwall family, appointing general managers to run the operation while the family remained involved.

In 1969, the next Cornwall generation was ready to take the lead at Ventura, with Harry and Myra’s son Ken becoming general manager of the operator. For 28 years, Ken led Ventura into a prosperous period of growth and diversification, hallmarked by various acquisitions and the addition of exciting bus technology.

Starting in the aftermath of a period where Ventura buses were fuelled by charcoal gas due to reduced bus services and fuel restrictions, the new era of Ventura once again found fortune. At the heart of this growth was the company’s focus on the passenger experience, with fleet standardisation programs including the introduction of one of Victoria’s first low-floor vehicle fleets. Alongside innovative ideas including bus route reviews and employee training, Ventura became a family-owned force in the Victorian bus scene.

The investment in Boronia Bus Lines

expansion areas, with Ventura buses running routes around the opening of Knox City shopping centre.

When it came to further evolution, Ken began buying second-hand vehicles and refurbishing them to increase Ventura’s fleet at the most efficient cost. In the face of government changes in the ‘80s, Ken standardised the Ventura fleet further with the addition of Leyland buses to manage expansion in the east and south-eastern suburbs.

By 1988, Ventura had solidified its presence with the acquisitions of Bentleigh Bus Lines, Rennies Bus Services, Willis Bus Services and Hawthorn Bus Services. This allowed Ventura to run services out of its Oakleigh and Knoxfield depots.

grew the Ventura name to incredible heights. Unfortunately, his passing

and grandfather, prioritising business growth, passenger comfort and fleet standardisation.

Ever since, the fourth-generation Australian family company has flourished as Victoria’s largest bus and charter coach operator, employing more than 1,800 people and owning a fleet of more than 900 buses, including a new fleet of zero-emissions vehicles.

Carrying more than 42 million customers per year across 12 depots in Victoria, the company changed yet again in the months before its centenary celebrations in March.

In February this year, Ventura Bus Lines reached an agreement to be

25 • ABC

Despite changing hands, Andrew Cornwall still remains as managing director, retaining a minority stake in the business.

we’re happy to join KIT, which shares our customer-centric and service-first values,” Cornwall says.

provide our executives, staff and stakeholders with confidence in aspiring to a new level of sustainability in our growing community. I’m delighted to continue my leadership role with the support of our new investors.”

of its evolving life off the back of this acquisition and century milestone. In typical Ventura fashion, the operator celebrated its 100 years as a business with a family day, bringing together a range of stakeholders and fans.

who first sold a LB113 route bus to Ventura in 1994 before delivering several hundred buses and coaches to the operator.

and mutually beneficial relationship with the Cornwall family and the team at Ventura over the past three decades,” Scania Australia bus and power solutions director of sales Julian Gurney told

collaborative and boundary-pushing. We have worked together to deliver innovative solutions for Ventura, and we have supported each other at various times to ensure advances were made and targets achieved.

a consistent and loyal customer not only of our advanced chassis

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Growth plans

In March, Irizar Asia Pacific officially unveiled its new Melbourne home. Now, the bodybuilder is looking to continue its upward trajectory


When Steve Heanes stood in front of a packed crowd in Irizar Asia Pacific’s new Australian facility, it was a moment 17 years in the making. Back in 2007, the global bodybuilder brought more than a century of experience to Australia. Now, Irizar has a new home

Once this was decided, Heanes began looking to find the best location near Irizar’s existing site in Hallam. The search landed on Pakenham. While Irizar Asia Pacific’s leaders thought it was the ideal spot to move to, they had to ensure their workforce liked the idea of shifting locations.

The unveiling of Irizar Asia Pacific’s

Australia and the constraints that our

“The flow of vehicles in and out and the lack of access to spare parts meant the old facility wasn’t conducive to the

“We went through a process with our staff to see if they’d be happy with moving, and fortunately all of our staff voted in favour of Pakenham,” Heanes says.

“Some of our staff then made the

and other supply chain issues, Heanes braced himself for challenges with building the site. Within Irizar’s own four walls, the delayed impact to shipping disrupted its capacity to fulfil full order books. However, when it came to the construction of the Pakenham facility, Irizar’s forward planning meant it didn’t face the same supply troubles.

Once local council approvals came through and the first sods were turned, Irizar could focus on planning for a future move.

“Once it started, it was quite a quick


event to celebrate the opening of the facility, with a range of industry partners, suppliers and customers heading to Pakenham to check out the new site.

“It’s been a relief now that it’s done,” Heanes says. “Moving is always difficult, especially when you move over the Christmas period, so now it’s done, we’re looking forward to the business efficiencies that we’ll get from a larger location.”

While Irizar’s new space includes a yard large enough to house the construction of bodies on various chassis, Heanes is most excited about the building. With Irizar’s order book remaining full, he’s looking for ways Irizar can improve its customer offerings.

The new site will play an integral role in this enhancement of Irizar’s capabilities, allowing Heanes and his team to grow the brand’s air-conditioning, servicing and bodywork segments. With 2024 already set to be a massive year for Irizar, Heanes is setting his sights on seeing what other services the bodybuilder can offer customers from its new site.

“We’ll also look to bolster our partnerships with suppliers, as now we’re in the immediate area of most of our suppliers,” Heanes says.

“We’ll also find ways to fasten the process of transporting vehicles to our OEM chassis partners who are a little further away. Moving vehicles around

vehicles and be more efficient.”

While Irizar has plenty on its plate moving forward, the opening event of the Pakenham site allowed the local team to stop and smell the roses for a night. Held in Irizar’s new factory, the evening was attended by a variety of industry partners, suppliers and members, including global Irizar CEO Imanol Rego and Hispacold managing director Roberto Recuerda Hernandez.

On the night, Heanes said the new site was the most significant moment in the bodybuilder’s Australian history since changing from a distributor agreement in 2013 to become Irizar Asia Pacific.

“From that day forward, we’ve strived to do the very best that we can in products, technology, safety and aftersales service,” he said.

“The learning curve was steep and we’ve accomplished great things so far. In 2022 we needed to grow the business and we delivered 121 units to finish number four in the bodybuilder market.

“While 2023 was a tough year for the company and a lot of people, we overcame the hurdles in front of us to deliver 171 vehicles and receive a 25.2 per cent market share.”

Heanes says a key indicator of Irizar’s growth in recent years is its market share increase. With the market remaining relatively stable, Irizar has been able to grow the


“If you grow the business and the market increases, it’s not the same as taking market share when the market remains the same,” Heanes says.

“It’s important for us to deliver back to Irizar’s shareholders and give them the confidence to invest money. Irizar has been around globally for over 100 years, so to hear positive comments from Irizar colleagues around the world has been very rewarding.”

Alongside the new Pakenham site, Irizar is also beginning to tease product announcements. Following this year’s National Bus & Coach Show, Heanes says Irizar hopes to make some exciting announcements about products for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

With stable infrastructure in place courtesy of the Pakenham facility, Heanes has lofty goals for the future of Irizar in Australia and New Zealand.

“2024 has started off with a bang and we expect this year to be one of the strongest years we’ve had yet,” Heanes says.

“I’m very proud of our team and, as we expand, we’ll have exciting new projects on the way that I think our customer base will be excited by –we’re looking at potentially bringing an overseas product to Australia.

“We’ve been in Australia for 17 years so far, and it’s testament to the brand that we’re continuing to grow. We want the industry to know that Irizar is here to stay.”




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Our latest range of Thin Film Transistor (TFT) displays provides crystal clear information to the travelling passengers ensuring the smooth running of transport networks for all.

Our advanced TFT displays are capable of showing customised graphics, static and scrolling images, as well as full-screen dynamic video content, providing an enhanced passenger experience.

In addition to next stop, timetable and transfer information, the system can also be easily set up to show location-based advertising and real-time web and video feeds ensuring your passengers always have all the latest news.

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Electromobility emphasis

Consat Telematics has rich history as a trusted intelligent PT solutions partner. Now, it’s turning its focus to the global electric bus transition


Just under two years ago, Pär Thuresson was announced as the new CEO of Consat Telematics. Following the history of telematics systems that started back in 1986, Consat has quickly found ways to accelerate the transition to become a leading intelligent public transport solutions company.

“We were founded in Sweden and the Nordics and have been working on solutions for public transport businesses since, including in the Asia Pacific and Australia,” Thuresson told ABC

“We’ve digitalised public transport data since the mid-1980s, back when nobody knew about digitalisation in the sector.”

Since these early years, Consat Telematics has provided a core system that mines and provides digital intelligence for public transport operators, starting with a transit body in its home town of Gothenburg, Sweden – the Gothenburg Public

Transport Administration.

It was back in 2010 that Consat Telematics first got involved in electromobility, with both Sweden and Norway among the early adopters of electric bus technology around the world. With almost all new bus deliveries in both countries now being zero-emissions, Consat Telematics has had plenty of scope to work together with global leading bus OEMs to drive innovation and data capabilities in the electric bus space.

“We’ve worked together with major bus companies like Volvo, BYD and more to improve telematics technology in the bus industry,” Thuresson says.

“With electric buses being an integrated part of operations in both Sweden and Norway for more than a decade, our experience with this technology gives us a lasting legacy as a leader in the public transport electromobility transition.”

Following the development of electromobility technology in

Above: Consat’s global experience is helping in Australia’s zero-emissions transition

Right: Consat APAC managing dir Lachlan Mackay

Sweden, the acceleration of the zero-emissions transition in Norway means Consat Telematics has gained vital experience in both countries providing intelligent public transport solutions and passenger information systems.

Since the start, Consat has worked closely with public transport operators and authorities to support


the electrification of public transport.

“What we’ve learnt with our customers is that we have a strong solution for them, which we’ve seen go into other markets like Australia, Canada and Brazil,” Thuresson says.

“Australia is one of our largest markets outside of Scandinavia, and our experience in the Nordics has helped us bring innovative electromobility solutions to Australian operators.”

“Consat is on more electric bus OEMs in Australia than anyone else,” Consat APAC managing director Lachlan Mackay told ABC

Consat’s presence in Australia began in 2017, with the solutions provider now having a customer base that includes Ventura Bus Lines, Transport for NSW and Transport for Brisbane. Offering a turnkey solution for intelligent public transport that is designed and produced in Sweden, local teams such as in Australia distribute systems that help more than 28,000 global vehicles, over 2000 of which are electric, with traffic and fleet management, passenger information and driver assistance.

While there has been much made about the unique challenges facing zero-emissions transport in Australia, Thuresson says climate and geographical barriers also impact other countries and their bus industries. While Australia’s arid climate may be different from Scandivania’s Arctic temperatures, Consat Telematics has adapted its systems to thrive in both the warmest and coolest of environments.

This experience has also led Consat to focus on driver behaviour and the

role that safe and efficient driving |can have on the effective operations of zero-emissions buses and coaches.

On top of concentrating on its own systems and how they can streamline energy usage, Consat Telematics has also taken strides in the driver coaching space to help the driver and the operator reduce energy consumption.

“The next area we’ve gone into is the planning stage of electro mobility, as running an electric bus is completely different in terms of planning to a diesel bus,” Thuresson says.

“When running a diesel bus, the main problem you have is changing drivers, as the bus could travel all day on a single tank. But with electric buses, you need to ensure the bus can be charged optimally to run the route it’s planned for. This may mean that you have to plan for charging during the day.

“We first took our products and capabilities to Australia via Sydney through the B-Line buses,” Thuresson says.

“Through the experience we’ve built in dealing with integrated systems, we’ve become an expert in managing a vast amount of data for the public transport system and assuring that operators receive the required data for their operations.”

This intricate knowledge of electromobility has allowed Consat Telematics to determine the best ways to optimise charging within a bus’ integrated system. While Consat already has plenty of devices and systems available for operators, its next step is in becoming a leader in the electromobility space, ranging from charging scheduling to designing the most effective routes

“We’ve really built on that from there, including through a large project where our system was implemented on rural Transport for NSW buses. We’ve also continually had discussions with operators and transit authorities in Melbourne and Brisbane, including the introduction of our passenger information systems on Brisbane’s CityGliders.

“We’ve created a very good and solid base in Australia and we’ve gained confidence from our customers. Now, we’re trying to evolve our support for them.”

A key lesson Thuresson wants to impart on the Australian market is the importance of integrating the buses and chargers in the one network. Consat Telematics has become a global leader in this integration, remaining agnostic across manufacturers to provide flexibility for the nation’s bus and coach operators.

This harmony across assets means Consat has plenty of learnings to hand down to operators. One of these tips is to secure good climate control of the bus through effective pre-heating or pre-cooling so that the battery isn’t used for excessive climate control when on the road.

Another evolution of Consat’s solution is its driver coaching, where the driver gets support in efficient and sustainable driving. Consat Telematics is encouraging the use of gamification and positive reinforcement to motivate drivers to become better staff at the helm of electric buses.

“We collect a lot of data and statistics and have found the slight

33 • ABC
global CEO Thuresson Below: Consat first introduced its systems on Sydney’s B-Line buses

on the running of electric buses,” Thuresson says.

“There are many useful insights that we’ve learned from the early implementations. This includes providing automated charging monitoring so that depot workers don’t have charging at night.

“By remotely monitoring this, we are helping businesses overcome challenges and provide full monitoring of electric bus fleets.”

While Consat Telematics’ systems mainly focus on the buses themselves,


the brand is also expanding to gain vital information on electric bus depots. Its information is helping inform operators on the best ways to balance loads and reduce costly charging peaks.

As well as predictive maintenance and other cost savings, Consat Telematics is set on becoming a global leader in intelligent public transport, with solutions that seamlessly integrate with electric bus operations and charging station management. With the transition underway in Australia, Consat’s plans include helping local operators establish innovative and effective electric bus operations.

“As a global market, we’re only at the starting point of the electromobility journey, so we’re going to drive innovation in the space,” Thuresson says.

“We want to continue using our system’s data to make public transport more efficient from both a driver and passenger perspective.

“We see a lot of opportunity to help local operators establish a more efficient operation in their electromobility journey.”

Consat’s systems helping train safe and effective drivers

Hidden efficiency

Telematics solutions like Bridgestone’s Webfleet have proven to be a core business tool for many bus and coach operators, yet operators are continually finding new ways to use telematics to further improve operations

Telematics devices have evolved substantially over the years. Going beyond simple vehicle tracking or navigation assistance, the features and data within telematics devices has grown to provide insights on a wide variety of things, including utilisation, fuel efficiency, maintenance scheduling, vehicle inspections, safety checks and much more. It’s in this wealth of data that smart operators are finding the most value in telematics technology.

“The magic of telematics is that it’s always been a business improvement tool,” Webfleet Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Scott Elkington told ABC.

“At the start, just the surety of tracking your assets changed the mindset of how fleets operated. Now, with so much data available, we’re constantly uncovering new ways for fleets to improve operations.

“You can’t measure what you don’t track, and if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

It’s this mindset that is motivating operators to use Webfleet in new ways to further improve operations. From paperwork digitisation to


driver empowerment or encouraging better driving behaviour, these new capabilities are proving telematics as one of the best ROI tools available.

“We’ve all worked with pen and paper records, but we know that those methods aren’t perfect. It’s more paperwork, and numbers can get fudged, it’s easy to enter something wrong,” Elkington says.

“A paper record can also be a time-intensive and slow process – if there are multiple people involved, such as payroll, then they must wait for the paper logbook to be completed and handed over before they can do their work and then have to rush to get people paid on time.

“What we’re starting to see is a shift in how data is used. Telematics can collect and report on this low-level busy work; hours worked, hours driven and vehicle odometer readings can all be automatically done. Telematics is going beyond the centralised, top-down, day-after reporting of business operations –we’re able to make improvements and manage in real time.”

Elkington says this real-time feedback and data of bus and coach

Above: There are many different ways in which Webfleet is helping operators manage bus fleets

drivers continues into the training space.

“We’re starting to see the positive effects of giving drivers visibility and ownership of their driving data, empowering them to take self-corrective actions. Alerting drivers to speeding events the day after doesn’t help prevent speeding there and then, but an immediate alert results in immediate action,” Elkington says.

“We’ve also seen some operators gamify their data to further improve safety scores, offering rewards for the highest-performing drivers. Recognition is a huge motivator for continuous improvement—people like knowing they’re doing a good job, and improving their safety score easily demonstrates that.

“By recognising good driver behaviour and validating it, people are encouraged to continue doing the right thing. The carrot is better than the stick.”

While telematics data is helping drivers improve their safety scores, Elkington has also seen how new telematics data can play a vital role in training new skills.

“Electric vehicles require new ways

ABC • 36

to think about how we drive. Many vehicles have regenerative braking, which allows them to charge while being driven,” he says.

“Webfleet can measure which drivers gain the most energy through regenerative braking, further recognising efficient driving.”

Outside of improving driving behaviours, Webfleet has also found that its telematics solution can provide further benefits in the driver fatigue management space. Nowadays, telematics data is so precise that operators know which driver is operating a vehicle at any time, meaning they can review driven and rest periods live.

“Telematics has such massive and unrecognised benefits on the fatigue management side of fleet operations,” Elkington says.

“Professional drivers are on the road for almost the entirety of their working day, so it’s imperative drivers have adequate rest times throughout their day to decrease fatigue risk and incidents. Knowing their hours of

Above: Detailed data is helping gamify safe bus driving practices

Below: Webfleet’s system provides a list of drivers and manages their driving hours

operation and when they need to take their breaks is necessary and helps ensure everyone is staying safe.”

With real-time oversight, in the event of a crisis, such as a breakdown or replacement vehicle, Webfleet operators can scroll through their list of drivers to determine who has had adequate rest and redirect them to pick up that emergency shift.

Improved maintenance scheduling is also a hidden benefit coming from modern telematics. Previously, paper logbooks were the only way for fleet owners to track the distance travelled by assets and determine when certain vehicles or parts needed servicing. These logbooks might’ve only returned to the depot once a week or be reviewed monthly. Now, telematics can automatically report this information, providing operators with alerts ahead of time so they can easily schedule in maintenance without disturbing timetables.

“If you know that a certain bus part has a 100,000km lifespan, then you can track how many kilometres it’s

travelled, and know precisely when it’ll be due for replacement – giving you much more flexibility around servicing and preventing unplanned disruptions,” Elkington says.

“Time is the biggest benefit of telematics. It’s crazy how much time is lost chasing up the little things – no one enjoys following up things like timesheets, or calling multiple drivers to find out where they are. It’s such a nightmare when all these headaches can be easily removed and done with a couple of clicks.”

The streamlining and digitisation of multiple paper-based systems is one of the biggest and first advantages that Webfleet brings to many operators within the industry. Whether its logbooks, utilisation, fuel usage or odometer readings, Bridgestone’s Webfleet quickly becomes a one-stop shop for operators to handle the finer details of businesses.

“What we’re finding is that there are many different data points within Webfleet that operators use to improve their fleet – Webfleet can track a lot of things, which gives them the ability to target, measure and improve,” Elkington says.

While Elkington acknowledges that operators are often initially hesitant to spend money for the extras of telematics, Elkington says many operators quickly find substantial savings and the data to improve their operations.

“Webfleet has a huge backend system that many don’t think about, but it can have far-reaching benefits for operators,” he says.

“The hard facts within telematics data can help operators in so many ways to see the whole picture of their fleet’s operation.”

37 • ABC

New sensations

International destination displays and passenger information systems powerhouse Hanover Displays has unveiled new products for the bus and coach market


For just under 40 years, Hanover Displays has been a global leader in the on-board LED destination display and passenger information systems sectors of the public transport industry.

Since 1985, the UK-based brand has been designing and manufacturing a variety of passenger information systems and products for public transport operators, with subsidiary offices in Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and further representatives all over the world.

Alongside a second production facility in Chicago, Illinois, Hanover Displays has expanded to become a trusted supplier across more than 80 countries that serves more than 10,000 customers across the globe. All of this success has allowed Hanover to build a reputation as a supplier of reliable and high-quality passenger information systems. Now, the latest innovations coming

from Hanover Displays headquarters are set to launch into the Australian bus and coach industry.

The recent release of the new high-resolution LED destination display is exciting the team at Hanover Displays, but it’s not the only innovation to join the company’s offering. The high-resolution LED destination displays will be joined by Hanover Cloud – Hanover’s new online portal through which customers can manage and program their Hanover passenger information systems.

Above: The Hanover Cloud is set to descend on the loc al market

Below: Hanover has also released a new LED destination display

Coming very soon, the Hanover Cloud online platform is keenly awaited. When released, it’ll give customers the ability to program and manage their entire fleet of passenger information systems anywhere and anytime, as well as being able to transfer any form of update at any time remotely or wirelessly.

“Hanover Displays is committed to innovation and customer satisfaction,” Hanover Displays Australia Director Fiona Watson told ABC

“The release of Hanover Cloud is very exciting. With all that it has to


offer our clients, it’s much more than just a programming tool.”

The cloud-based application supports the management of operators’ fleets while also providing status updates, transfers and the ability to create destination lists for all Hanover display screens.

Hanover Cloud streamlines the entire process of delivering passenger information and offers a cloud-based online system that is cost-effective, fast and secure for public transport operators.

By accessing the Hanover Cloud online portal, users can easily update all relevant data for Hanover systems, making the updating process efficient for operators. Customers using the new Hanover Cloud will be given 24/7 access to their Hanover equipment and can easily manage, deploy, update and maintain the systems.

Watson says that Hanover Cloud has been developed with security in mind, as Hanover Displays has ensured that all Hanover Cloud data is encrypted, backed up and hosted by Microsoft Azure to keep information safe.

“The Hanover Cloud is an exciting development for us, as the new online portal allows customers to manage and program their Hanover passenger information systems,” Watson says.

“The Hanover Cloud uses the power of the Cloud to offer a one-stop online portal that accesses all Hanover applications, information and services.

“Our team is constantly working on new product solutions for the public transport sector.”

From high-resolution LED destination displays to advanced controllers and multimedia TFT passenger information screens, Hanover Displays already has a rich history in supplying cutting edge technology for bus and coach companies.

Alongside the Hanover Cloud, the new high-resolution displays will allow transport companies to enhance the presentation of their preferred font styles and individual brands on their destination display system. Watson says the display’s sign clarity is “nothing short of amazing”.

“The development of Hanover’s high-resolution LED destination displays is possibly one of the biggest steps forward since the on-bus information systems technology moved from flip-dot to LED technology two decades ago,” Watson says.

“Offering up to 20 times the resolution of an existing standard LED display, the Hanover high-resolution destination signs have exceptional clarity and contrast in all weather conditions.

“Our customers can now display a wealth of information on the high-resolution signs, including news feeds, updates and advertising.”

Both innovations have been researched, designed and developed at Hanover Displays’ state-of-the-art


Hanover Displays has rich history providing passenger information systems in the UK bus market

manufacturing facilities in the UK. The headquarters, along with the secondary production site at Illinois for the US market, allows Hanover to manage the entire process from the development to the manufacturing of products.

This close focus allows Hanover to maintain strict standards of quality control, ensuring durability and efficiency over product lifespan.

Each year, Hanover manufactures and ships over 70,000 products to its global customers. These products are installed in roughly 25,000 vehicles each year.

Hanover Australia Managing Director Grant Watson says that the new LED destination display screens and Hanover Cloud are both a sign of what’s to come for the evolving Hanover brand in the future.

“Hanover Displays has a reputation for innovation in passenger information systems within the public transport industry, and we’re excited to have the Hanover Cloud online platform launched,” Grant told ABC

“We’re already working on adding more features to the Hanover Cloud to give our customers even more solutions.

“Our research and development team is constantly striving to develop new product solutions and, in addition to the development of the Hanover Cloud, they’re working on other new innovations that we’ll be launching in the future.”

39 • ABC

Suite approach

Luminator Technology Group is once again improving its capabilities in Australia with the release of a new technology suite for local operators


It’s been a bit over 18 months since the Australian arm of Luminator Technology Group began rolling out the brand’s globally sound passenger information next-stop solution to the local Australasian market.

In late 2022, Luminator also took the chance to release its new rear vision camera mirror systems, offering improved driver safety for local customers.

It’s kept Luminator Australia senior manager of operations Anthony Goodman busy in the months since. Now, a combination of this technology is set to introduce Luminator’s next stage of growth in Australia.

“The Luminator brand has been associated with high-quality products in both the destination and passenger information equipment space,” Goodman told ABC

“We have an extensive range of destination signs and passenger information screens that are lighter and have very low power consumption, making it perfectly suited to assist OEMs to meet the zero-emissions transition.”

The Australian arm of Luminator is now taking its next step down under, introducing a new suite that is set to combine various functionalities into

the one system. Globally, Luminator has brought the system to market, with Australia now the next region to see Luminator’s new dashboard web-based solution in action.

“The suite operates with each of the functions as a one-system web based solution,” Goodman says.

“With our new combined solution ready to go, we’re interested in expanding further into other states and territories.”

The concept of a combined suite system emerged when Luminator globally wanted to provide a one-stop shop for all of its leading capabilities. The idea was for the suite to combine the main functions that Luminator provides into one clear dashboard for the customer.

Prior to the suite system, Luminator offered all of its range as individual solutions for operators, with separate systems pertaining to content management, presentation creation and fleet management.

“Over the past two years, the Luminator development team has combined these features together to have them all present and communicate with each other on the one platform,” Goodman says.

“This provides essential control for the operator, with all functions being handled through a browser to control

Above: Luminator’s new technology suite combines a raft of features

Right: Mirrors and cameras c an supplement driver information

all information via a web-based application.

“It combines system administration, operation, maintenance, content management and our presentation creator into the one system.”

Goodman says the benefits of


this centrally controlled browser are endless. To start, it makes operating Luminator’s systems convenient, reliable and verifiable. By monitoring all related Luminator equipment on-board a bus or coach, customers don’t have to worry about their technology when the suite is running.

Through the single web-based platform, customers can look at the proof of play for ads or programming content played on Luminator displays, while remote access means control centres at operator depots don’t have to physically chase a bus to deploy certain media.

“It can all be deployed through a remote access, meaning presentations, advertising and videos can be sent directly to certain vehicles without them needing to return to the depot,” Goodman says.

“The headquarters then have access to all of these devices and their functionality through a single, easy to use application.”

Goodman says a key part of the system is its reliability, as it meets all necessary security standards for data protection. With two-factor authentication (2FA) also part of the server, the system surpasses cyber security requirements.

The system can also be multitenanted. Currently, Luminator customers have the brand’s equipment attached to a single computer at a depot. Now, the updated suite allows multiple people at the depot to have access to the system and make changes when required.

Although it’s an exciting new update to Luminator’s Australian equipment catalogue, the system has been tried and tested globally.

“It is something new for the Australian market and we’re excited to have conversations with operators on their requirements to ensure our solution suits them,” Goodman says.

“Now that we’ve got this system in Australia, it can be built on as it’s very modular. Operators will be able to choose the modules they want, so we’ll keep it flexible for them.”

The combined new Luminator suite is fully supported through the brand’s global technical development centre, which provides training or support for any customers in need of help.

Goodman says this dedicated team provides the product development support required to ensure the system is always updated to the best possible version for bus and coach customers.

“To see Luminator globally moving forward with its product range and

keeping up to date with customer requirements is exciting to see from an Australian perspective,” Goodman says.

“From a customer point of view, a lot of them will have Luminator products on their buses that will be compatible with this system. It’s now up to the integration and upgrading of bus technology to bring them online onto our combined suite.”

This Luminator suite isn’t the only new update to be extending to the Australasian region. Goodman says the brand’s new camera mirror system has been introduced locally to provide an updated piece of driver safety technology.

“From a driver safety perspective, the camera mirror system has really hit the market and become very attractive for operators, particularly in Queensland,” Goodman says.

For drivers, Goodman says this latest version of the mirror system provides yet another boost to safety. It’s this basis of safety and flexibility that is allowing Luminator to expand its capabilities for Australian operators.

“For the driver, it eliminates blind spots for drivers compared to standard mirrors,” Goodman says.

“It also has automatic brightness control that is certified against critical standards to produce a very clear image at all times.

“With its own self-diagnosis fitted in case a fault occurs, the system also features enriched contrast and colours to ensure there’s no glare from the sun or headlights.

“This modern technology is very relevant and timely. We hope it’ll be a popular product for operators wanting to take their safety and technology capabilities to the next level.”

Above: The camera mirror system incorporates many driver safety solutions Right: The system allows operators to manage their fleets

Local heroes

DTI Group is combining decades of CCTV and passenger information experience with its latest sleek telematics solution for Australian bus and coach operators


As the digitalisation of the Australian bus and coach industry continues to accelerate, a range of telematics solutions and providers are emerging in the local market. While telematics re-sellers expand into the Australasian bus and coach sector, a local company is combining nearly

30 years of expertise into its latest solution.

Since 1995, DTI Group has been producing CCTV surveillance and passenger information systems for the Australian bus, coach, truck and mass transit markets. Now, its latest telematics offering combines all of the benefits of its previous devices into

Above: DTI’s devices can track a range of local buses and coaches


The DTI solution is engineered and designed from its Perth headquarters

one simple package for operators.

“Over the years we’ve offered a range of telematics solutions, but now we’re expanding it,” DTI CEO Matthew Strack told ABC

“All of our onboard servers are designed in-house and we have both hardware and software engineers working for us to design our systems at our Perth headquarters.”

While DTI originated as a CCTV systems provider, it quickly branched into the passenger information sector. Now, it’s found another home in the telematics space. Despite having a myriad of systems, the beauty of DTI’s latest telematics device is that it combines all of DTI’s previous capabilities into the one onboard server.

In a modern transport landscape looking towards low and zero-emissions vehicles, the single device wielding plenty of power becomes a major operational benefit. Strack says DTI’s latest telematics solution means operators


can continue reducing power consumption and extend the range of their fleet by having a telematics device that combines all critical functions into one server.

“Instead of requiring three controllers for various devices, our solution delivers all services with the one machine,” Strack says.

“This system is ideal for bus and coach operators, but it is also being applied across rail, light rail and truck products. We’re very experienced with the requirements of vehicles running in harsh Australian environments.”

Engineering its devices in-house means DTI has been able to ensure the quality of its systems. Strack says DTI’s latest onboard telematics equipment meets the highest standards, with its servers meeting MIL shock testing requirements and its cameras all having high IP ratings to protect against water or solids.

While core elements of the combined telematics device have been an integral part of DTI’s offerings over recent decades, the difference in its modern technology is the ability to connect to vehicles in a whole new way. Through the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, DTI’s device connects to a vehicle’s central system, allowing for fast and efficient communication.

“We also have the in-house capability to interpret signals and make sense of them, while our servers also feature an accelerometer to detect hard braking, harsh acceleration or sharp turning,” Strack says.

“A core part of our products over time has been our internal GPS receivers, which allows us to accurately determine the location of a vehicle and its speed at any point in time. This means we don’t just notice when there’s a harsh braking event – we can also tell the GPS location of where it occurred and the speed the vehicle was travelling at beforehand.”

Outside of this detail, DTI has continued pulling from its previous products to provide a comprehensive telematics package in the singular device. Using DTI’s surveillance solution, both internal and external video footage can give operators’ context on a certain incident.

Strack says this detail has been crucial when it comes to incident investigation. In a recent court case, DTI was asked to give evidence for a case where a driver was accused of harsh braking, causing a passenger to fall off their seat. Using DTI’s data

and footage, Strack says it showed that the driver didn’t “do anything abnormal” during the incident.

“From a safety assurance and risk mitigation point of view, this feature gives operators another mechanism to protect themselves and their drivers,” Strack says.

Another major benefit of DTI’s homegrown solution is its capability to integrate seamlessly with third party systems, including child safety devices. Currently, these products in the market require drivers to walk to the back of a bus at the end of a shift and press a button, with an alert confirming it’s been done. When it isn’t completed, DTI’s telematics solution will send an automatic alert to the fleet manager, ensuring that all buses are checked by the time they’re back at the depot.

Other third party information that DTI’s systems can ascertain include tyre pressures, with DTI also communicating with weight monitors in the trucking sector to provide up-to-date weight data.

“With our data, we can send it back to the customer in real time if they have a 4G SIM card in their server, while we can also offload the vehicle data in real time or do so in a batch at the end of the day depending on requirements,” Strack says.

“We’re capable of waiting until a vehicle comes back to the depot to download the data over wi-fi. After that’s done, we help develop customised reports for customers from our Perth office.”

While the vehicle is out on the road, DTI has also established real-time information alerts for drivers and operators. If needed, fleet managers at control centres can look into a bus through live camera


DTI’s homegrown technology can save route history information

footage, using DTI’s various systems to ensure all vehicles are safe.

Just one of these benefits is enough to satisfy operators. By combining all of them together, Strack is confident that DTI’s versatile solution is a game-changer.

“The simplicity of having one controller, one server and one set of wiring is a massive boost for operators,” he says.

“Our system can be hosted either in the cloud or on their premises, making it a versatile option for flexible companies.”

For 20 years, DTI’s accelerometer, GPS data and speed information have been core functions of its offerings. Now, these systems, combined with third party integration onto a single server, is helping DTI launch into the future.

It’s also available to all operators, large or small. Once the system is first installed, operators can add functionality as they need. This means DTI is working with private schools operating a few mini-buses as well as the likes of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia and Brisbane City Council, as well as the public transport authority in San Francisco.

It’s this mix of experiences that Strack is excited to continue using to enhance DTI’s latest convenient telematics solution.

“We’ve got a global customer base, but Australia is our backyard,” Strack says.

“The system’s points of difference are their ability to be tailored to any size operation and their efficiency of being combined into the one device. With our local team working with customer out of Perth, we’re looking to continue integrating with bus and coach operators around the nation.”

43 • ABC

Maiden voyage


“The interior fit out is good, while Challenger has also installed a Thermo King air-conditioning system to keep our passengers cool,” Einerson says.

“The coach also has a Cummins engine, which we use on our boats, so we know how reliable those engines are and the good quality of them.”

With the seal of approval quickly given by Rebel Tours and an order placed for the Challenger model, Henderson started moving the vehicle from Brisbane in mid-March.

The bus was then put into quarantine three days later, before eventually being moved onto a barge in the latter stages of the month.

From there, the coach required a final stage to get across to the Torres Strait Islands. Rebel Tours turned to northern Australian shipping operator Sea Swift to deliver the Challenger bus by barge. While it wasn’t an easy process to get the Challenger vehicle onto Torres Strait Island roads, Einerson says it was an easy decision to go above and beyond to transport the coach by barge due to Rebel Tours’ strong relationship with Sea Swift.

“The bus came directly from Cairns and onto Horn Island, where they used a crane to lift it off,” Einerson says.

“The route that Sea Swift used was one that they have much experience on, so we didn’t have to worry about it too much.”

Although Einerson has plenty of trust and confidence in Sea Swift and its ability to transport heavy vehicles

via barge, she was still relieved to see the Challenger vehicle arrive. Present throughout the delivery, Henderson was another excited member to see Horn Island residents’ faces light up when they saw the shiny new coach on Torres Strait Island shores.

Following the arrival of the Challenger coach, Henderson got to work on the aftersales side of the delivery, conducting an induction session with members of Rebel Tours to show them how the Challenger model works. The session included a detailed focus on how drivers use the onboard airlift system.

“With the airlift system, operators and workshop staff can now lift a tyre and put a trolley jack underneath it, or even stand beneath it, while they’re changing the tyre without having to use other equipment,” Einerson says.

“This has always been a challenge for us because our remote location means we have no workshops suitable for these vehicles, so it’s a relief to now have access to this capability.”

As a Challenger trademark, the OEM has also supplied Rebel Tours with other parts for the bus, including

spare hydraulic hoses, fan belts and a rattle gun. Einerson says Henderson’s forethought will enable Rebel Tours to change tyres immediately without having to wait for a new tyre to be transported to the Torres Strait Islands. Previously, Einerson and her team have had to wait for days to have tyre parts delivered. Now, Challenger will keep them stocked ahead of time to avoid any downtime.

Einerson says she’s grateful for the in-depth support that Henderson and the Challenger team have provided Rebel Tours with throughout the order and delivery process. She’s now hopeful that this maiden delivery to the Torres Strait Islands for Challenger is a sign of a fruitful partnership between the operator and OEM.

“Challenger also uses Cummins engines in its buses and coaches, so we’re hopeful that they can help us service our boats in the future,” Einerson says.

“We also operate a couple of small buses, so if we need to change those over, we will definitely look towards Challenger. We hope this is only the start of a productive partnership.”

Above: The Challenger coach was transported to Horn Island via a barge
INDUSTRIALS SECTOR Celebrate the women who work tirelessly to advance the mining, engineering, road transport, logistics, rail, bulk handling, infrastructure and waste management industries. Thurs 20 June, 2024

Day and night

July 27 is set to be a massive day for BusVic as it hosts its ZEB summit and celebrates its 80th anniversary

For 80 years, the Bus Association of Victoria (BusVic) has represented the state’s bus and coach operators.

BusVic’s origins start in 1944 when it was created as the result of a merger of the Master Carriers’ Association of Victoria and the Commercial Motor Users’ Association.

At the time, the Victorian Road Transport Association included three passenger transport operator sectors that catered to long distance, metropolitan and charter and tour companies.

Throughout the decades the body took on a range of names – in 1969 it became the Bus Proprietors’ Association of Victoria – before finally settling on the Bus Association Victoria Inc., or BusVic, in 1996.

Since 1944, one feature has remained steadfast for BusVic – its ability to change government attitudes, improve industrial conditions and manage var ying environments for the state’s bus and coach operators.

All of this is set to be celebrated this year as the association celebrates its 80th anniversary. In true working fashion, the festivities kick off with serious business as BusVic holds its Zero-Emissions Bus Summit during the day of July 27.

“The Victorian government is in the process of finalising policies around the timing of transitioning all contracted vehicles to zero-emissions

models,” BusVic executive director Chris Lowe told ABC

“The government has indicated that it should release its discussion paper on the topic mid-year, so we’ve convened the summit to go through the details and try and get some answers to questions that both OEMs and operators have regarding how the transition to ZEB should occur.”

The summit kicks off at 10AM and runs until 3PM on July 27. As well as investigating the specifics of Victoria’s zero-emissions bus and coach transition timeline, the summit also allows members and attendees to consider other issues surrounding a sustainable future, such as the choice of hydrogen fuel-cell over battery electric vehicles. Following this, Lowe expects discussions to be had on how to better safeguard against zero-emissions bus battery fires, ways to optimise zero-emissions bus network scheduling and the changing of route networks to incorporate the new bus technology.

“We’ll also be hearing from the Department of Transport on how the current Victorian zero-emissions bus trials are going,” Lowe says.

“Representatives from the Department will be there to provide updates on the trials.”

After the in-depth zero-emissions bus summit comes to a close, all eyes turn to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the 80th anniversary dinner. From 6PM,

guests will be part of a celebratory dinner function that will celebrate the life of BusVic.

“There’ll be small exhibitions of bus memorabilia set up from over the years, with a range of new and old photos included of buses and people,” Lowe says.

“The night will have a historical component to it, with members of the BusVic board speaking about various eras for the association.”

Entertainment will include what Lowe describes as a “big and very Michael Bublé-esque band” that will perform numbers to suit the eras covered on the night. Lowe says that already interest is coming from former members of BusVic who are now out of the industry. It all comes together for what Lowe is expecting to be a milestone day in the history of BusVic.

“It will be a very special night as the industry will get to celebrate the milestone,” he says.

“The word is spreading fast and we want all people, including both current and former BusVic members, to register to attend.”

Above: The 80-year history of BusVic will be celebrated on July 27. Image: BusVic

Kelsian keeps moving

Kelsian Group has announced Jeff Ellison’s successor at the head of its board while also unveiling its financial results for the second half of the 2023 financial year

Kelsian Group has released its half year financial results while also announcing a new key appointment.

Kelsian Group announced that Fiona Hele will join the multi-modal operator as an independent non-executive director and as chair of the board from July 1 this year.

Hele originally joined the Kelsian board in September 2016 and was appointed deputy chair in August 2022, with Hele since serving as the chair of the company’s audit, risk and sustainability committee, as well as being a member of the people, culture and remuneration committee.

Hele’s appointment follows the announcement in September 2023 that Kelsian’s existing chair of the board, Jeff Ellison, will retire during him current term on completion. Hele will be the successor to his role when he steps down on July 1.

“I’m delighted that Fiona is taking over as chair of Kelsian and I’m confident that she has the relevant skills and experience, as well as the corporate knowledge, to be an excellent chair,” Ellison says.

30 years ago, I’m very proud of the significant growth that we have achieved, and I take this opportunity to thank my fellow directors as well as the executive team for their support and guidance.”

Kelsian has also unveiled its financial year 2024 half year results for the six months ending December 31 last year.

For Kelsian, its revenue grew by 44.9 per cent during this time to $982.7 million, reflecting the

acquisition of bus assets for Sydney contracts.

These changes meant Kelsian’s fully franked interim dividend increased from 7.5 cents per share in the first half of the 2023 financial year to eight cents per share in the second half of the financial year.

Bus industry calendar of events 2024


MAY 13


MAY 15-17







JUNE 20-27



JULY 11-12





















































49 • ABC
Be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to attend these fantastic in-person events
Sponsored by BEST
in your best bus or coach photos to feature in next month’s magazine. SCAN QR CODE TO PARTICIPATE


Big bird

The winner of April’s ABC Best Bus winner, brought to you by VDI, is of a bright Terranova Tours Scania bus with a twist

finalists could match Taylder’s special

On weekends while driving for Terranova, Taylder says he would make the return trip from Gosford to Roma Street, Brisbane, picking up passengers along the way and driving them to the company owned motel. During the week, Taylder would run day trips to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley for about 48 weeks in a year.

These trips became much more interesting when Terranova Tours purchased one of the first Scania coaches with tag steering.

“It had a 12-speed Opticruise gearbox with a clutch and came with 48 seats and a toilet onboard – it was a pleasure to drive with cruise control,” Taylder told ABC

“It became known as Big Bird due to its yellow paint job.

“The photo shows the stop I would make at the Macadamia Castle in

Knockrow, northern NSW on our final stop prior to arriving in Brisbane on a Saturday afternoon. The first stop would be for coffee and raisin toast on the return trip to Gosford.

“Sadly, we no longer visit the Macadamia Castle due to the old road being bypassed with a dual carriage motorway, but the bus still lives on.”

It’s a remarkable story to match a wonderful photo. For his win, Taylder has received a free 12-month subscription to ABC Magazine, while the winning photo is live as ABC ’s Facebook page cover photo for all of April.

If you want to be like Taylder and have your best photo shown off courtesy of Best Bus, brought to you by VDI Australia, then don’t forget to send through your photos for May and the rest of 2024 via our website or by keeping an eye on our Facebook page for more details.

51 • ABC
The winning photo, by Paul Taylder

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Above: Another Firefly beauty courtesy of Brad Collins

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53 • ABC
Right: Craig Fletcher’s Shire Bus Service special Below: Kobe Vigona’s fast-moving Ventura capture

TRemaining impressive

The high volume start to 2024 is continuing further into the year as March welcomed another strong number of bus and coach deliveries

he new standard for bus and coach delivery numbers in Australia is now into triple figures as another stellar month of deliveries saw the industry push out more orders.

Following February’s 135 deliveries and January’s 137, March continued a strong start to 2024 with 135 units delivered for the month.

A rampant start to 2024 continued for Volvo in the chassis market as it backed up 47 deliveries for February with a further 43 in March. A massive March sees Volvo clearly atop the market, more than double ahead of the next best Scania with 20 deliveries. Yutong was once again strong with 16, while I-Bus shot up in the rankings in March with 15 deliveries and BYD recorded 10 deliveries. King Long remained steady with seven deliveries, while Custom Denning and BCI both recorded six. Mercedes-Benz and BLK’s consistency continued with four units delivered apiece, while MAN and Challenger shared the final deliveries with two deliveries each.

The top of the bodybuilder market once again belonged to Volgren, remaining consistent with 35 March deliveries. It sat comfortably ahead of Yutong (16) and I-Bus (15), while Irizar celebrated the opening of its

The king of the seating market once again claimed its throne, with McConnell reaching the half-century mark for March deliveries.

new Pakenham site with 12 deliveries. BCI continued to excel with nine deliveries, while King Long, Custom Denning and Scania Higer all had seven deliveries, with Nexport one behind and BLK two behind with the five deliveries. Express Coaches (four) shot away from the peloton, with five brands sharing the final nine deliveries.

The king of the seating market once again claimed its throne, with McConnell reaching the half-century mark for March deliveries. Its 50 units was far and away ahead of the second-placed Sege with 26, with Yutong rounding out the podium with 16 deliveries. APM (15) and StyleRide (14) both had strong months, while King Long was next up with seven deliveries. To round out the seating market, Marcopolo (three) finished narrowly ahead of both Fainsa and newcomer Leadcom, who both had two deliveries.

Above: Volgren once again dominated the bodybuilder market.

Image: Volgren

Turn overleaf for comprehensive bus and coach delivery information for March. Please note all data is as supplied from manufacturers, at their discretion.

The month of March belonged to Thermo King in the air-conditioning game, as the HVAC brand romped home with 41 deliveries. Coachair was left in its wake in second place with 20 deliveries, finishing ahead of Cling-Yutong on 16. Behind the front three was another close group, with Valeo (13), Hispacold (12) and Songz (11) all very tight. King Long and Konvekta couldn’t be split with seven deliveries apiece, while MCC (four) stayed ahead of Denso (two), Spheros (one) and StyleRide (one) at the end.

The state-based battle once again belonged to Victoria, with the southern state beating out some fierce competition from the north to claim March bragging honours with 44 deliveries. Its busy month was closely followed by Queensland (32), with NSW in third with 27 units delivered. WA wasn’t far behind on 25, with South Australia (five) and the ACT (two) claiming the final deliveries.

ABC • 54

Seat delivery units

The king of the seating market once again claimed its throne, with McConnell reaching the half-century mark for March deliveries. Its 50 units was far and away ahead of the second-placed Sege with 26, with Yutong rounding out the podium with 16 deliveries. APM (15) and StyleRide (14) both had strong months, while King Long was next up with seven deliveries. To round out the seating market, Marcopolo finished ahead of both Fainsa and Leadcom.

Sales by region

Sales by body

The top of the bodybuilder market once again belonged to Volgren, remaining consistent with 35 March deliveries. It sat comfortably ahead of Yutong (16) and I-Bus (15), while Irizar celebrated the opening of its new Pakenham site with 12 deliveries. BCI continued to excel with nine deliveries, while King Long, Custom Denning and Scania Higer all had seven deliveries, with Nexport one behind and BLK two behind with the five deliveries.

Sales by Air-Conditioner

The month of March belonged to Thermo King in the air-conditioning game, as the HVAC brand romped home with 41 deliveries. Coachair was left in its wake in second place with 20 deliveries, finishing ahead of Cling-Yutong on 16. Behind the front three was another close group, with Valeo (13), Hispacold (12) and Songz (11) all very tight. King Long and Konvekta couldn’t be split with seven deliveries apiece, while MCC (four) stayed ahead of Denso (two), Spheros and StyleRide (one).

Sales by chassis

A rampant start to 2024 continued for Volvo in the chassis market as it backed up 47 deliveries for February with a further 43 in March. A massive March sees Volvo clearly atop the market, more than double ahead of the next best Scania with 20 deliveries. Yutong was once again strong with 16, while I-Bus shot up in the rankings in March with 15 deliveries and BYD recorded 10 deliveries. King Long remained steady with seven deliveries, while Custom Denning and BCI both recorded six.



ABC • 56
MANUFACTURER, OPERATOR & LOCATION UNITS CHASSIS (Model) BODY BUILDER ENGINES HP* Rear / Front Emissions standard BCI Murrays Coaches QLD 1 BCI Explorer BCI 470 R Euro 6 BCI Robertsons Bus & Coach QLD 1 BCI Fleetmaster BCI 320 R Euro 6 BCI Mee's Bus Lines VIC 1 BCI Proma Low Floor BCI 210 R Euro 6 BCI Hamilton Island Enterprises QLD 2 BCI Proma Low Floor BCI 220 R Euro 5 BCI Horizons West WA 1 BCI Proma Low Floor BCI 220 R Euro 6 BLK N/A QLD 2 BLK President 2 BLK 360 R Euro 5 BLK N/A NSW1 BLK President 2 BLK 360 R Euro 5 BLK N/A SA 1 BLK President 2 BLK 360 R Euro 5 BYD Kinetic Melbourne VIC 1 BYD D9RA Volgren 348 kW R Zero BYD NSBC NSW6 BYD Nexport 348kWh R Zero Challenger Bus and Coach Castlemaine Bus Lines VIC 1 CHALLENGER V12 Challenger 360 R Euro 6 Challenger Bus and Coach Rebel Tours QLD 1 CHALLENGER V12 Challenger 360 R Euro 6 Custom Denning N/A NSW6 Custom Denning Element 2 EV Custom Denning 400 L:R Zero I Bus N/A VIC 3 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A NSW1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A QLD 1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A QLD 1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A NSW1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A ACT 1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A VIC 4 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A NSW1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A VIC 1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 I Bus N/A QLD 1 Isuzu I Bus Australasia 190 F Euro 5 King Long N/A VIC 1 King Long King Long 250 R Euro 5 King Long N/A QLD 1 King Long King Long 285 R Euro 5 King Long N/A QLD 1 King Long King Long 360 R Euro 5 King Long N/A QLD 1 King Long King Long 360 R Euro 5 King Long N/A VIC 1 King Long King Long 360 R Euro 5 King Long N/A QLD 1 King Long King Long 360 R Euro 5 King Long N/A QLD 1 King Long King Long 285 R Euro 5 MAN Surfside Buslines QLD 1 MAN LE.19.330.RC2 BusTech Group 330 R Euro 6 MAN School Bus Logistics WA 1 MAN IC.19.320.RR8 BLK Auto 320 R Euro 5 Mercedes Benz N/A VIC 1 Mercedes Benz O500RS Coach Design 360 R Euro 5 Mercedes Benz N/A VIC 1 Mercedes Benz O500RS Irizar 360 R Euro 5 Mercedes Benz N/A QLD 1 Mercedes Benz O500RS Irizar 360 R Euro 5 Mercedes Benz N/A VIC 1 Mercedes Benz O500RF 1936 BCI 360 R Euro 5 Scania B & J Barrett Lennard Holdings WA 1 Scania K 370C B4x2NB Scania Higer 370 R Euro 6 Scania Coach Leasing Australia QLD 1 Scania K 410C B6x2*4NI Irizar 410 R Euro 6 Scania Foxbus/Sydney Buses & Coaches NSW1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania Gold Coast Coachlines QLD 1 Scania K 320C B4x2NB BCI 320 R Euro 6 Scania Gold Coast Coachlines QLD 1 Scania K 320C B4x2NB BCI 320 R Euro 6 Scania L C Dyson's Bus Services VIC 1 Scania K 310 UB4x2LB Volgren 310 R Euro 5 Scania L C Dyson's Bus Services VIC 1 Scania K 310 UB4x2LB Volgren 310 R Euro 5 Scania L C Dyson's Bus Services VIC 1 Scania K 310 UB4x2LB Volgren 310 R Euro 5 Scania L C Dyson's Bus Services VIC 1 Scania K 310 UB4x2LB Volgren 310 R Euro 5 Scania Mees Bus Lines VIC 1 Scania K 320C B4x2NB Coach Concepts 320 R Euro 6 Scania Read & rack VIC 1 Scania K 320C B4x2NB Custom Denning 320 R Euro 6 Scania Ventura Bus Lines VIC 1 Scania K 360C A6x2/2MB Volgren 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C A6x2/2MB Volgren 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 320 UB4x2LB Express Coaches 320 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania WBL VIC 1 Scania K 360C B4x2NB Scania Higer 360 R Euro 6 Scania Transport Canberra ACT 1 Scania K320UB4X2 BusTech Group (SA) 320 R Euro 6 Volvo Kangaroo Bus Lines QLD 2 Volvo B8RLE Volgren 320 R Euro 6 Volvo N/A QLD 1 Volvo B8R Marcopolo 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Thompson Bus Services QLD 1 Volvo B8RLE Volgren 320 R Euro 6 Volvo Australian Pinnacle Tours WA 2 Volvo B11R Irizar 450 R Euro 5 Volvo Warren Hogden NSW1 Volvo B8R Express Coaches 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Keolis Downer Newcastle NSW1 Volvo B8RLE Express Coaches 320 R Euro 6 Volvo CDC Victoria VIC 6 Volvo B8RLE Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo CDC South East Queensland QLD 2 Volvo B8R Irizar 350 R Euro 6 Volvo Bilpin Coaches NSW1 Volvo B13R Irizar 500 R Euro 6 Volvo Macquarie Educational Tours NSW1 Volvo B11R Irizar 450 R Euro 5 Volvo Sid Fogg and Sons NSW1 Volvo B11R Irizar 460 R Euro 6 Volvo Shepherdson Transport WA 1 Volvo B8R Irizar 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Loves Bus Service WA 1 Volvo B8R Express Coaches 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Broadmeadows VIC 2 Volvo B8RLE Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Ventura VIC 2 Volvo B8R Marcopolo 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Kanga Coach lines SA 1 Volvo B8R Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Willunga Charter SA 2 Volvo B8R Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Flagstaff Bus Lines SA 1 Volvo B8R Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Kastoria VIC 1 Volvo B8R Volgren 330 R Euro 5 Volvo Alston Coaches VIC 1 Volvo B8R Irizar 350 R Euro 5 Volvo Public Transport Authority WA WA 11 Volvo B8RLE Volgren 320 R Euro 6 Volvo Public Transport Authority WA WA 1 Volvo B8RLEA Volgren 350 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong D9 Yutong 250 R Euro 5 Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong C12E Yutong 350 N/A Zero Yutong N/A QLD 1 Yutong D7E Yutong 190 N/A Zero Yutong N/A VIC 1 Yutong D7 Yutong 190 F Euro 6 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong C12 Yutong 340 R Euro 6 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong D7 Yutong 190 F Euro 6 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong D7 Yutong 190 F Euro 6 Yutong N/A VIC 1 Yutong D7 Yutong 190 F Euro 6 Yutong N/A NSW1 Yutong D9 Yutong 250 R Euro 5 Yutong N/A WA 1 Yutong D7 Yutong 190 F Euro 6 Yutong N/A NSW1 Yutong E12 Yutong 350 N/A Zero TOTAL DELIVERIES 135
57 • ABC TRANSMISSION A: Automatic M: Manual AS: Auto-Shift O: Opticruise TRANS MAKE AXLES BODY LENGTH (metres) AIR-CON (Brand) NUMBER OF SEATS APPLICATION SEATING DOOR MFR/ SUPPLIER SEAT BELTS WHEEL CHAIR LIFT ACCESS Fixed Coach ReclinersMetro Long Distance Charter City or Route School On Demand A Allison 3 14.5 MCC 58 • Sege BCI   A ZF 2 12.3 Thermo King 57 • McConnell BCI  x A ZF 2 8.8 StyleRide 35 • StyleRide BCI   A ZF 2 8.9 MCC 28 • Leadcom BCI   A ZF 2 8.9 MCC 29 • Sege BCI   A Allison 2 12.5 Valeo 57 • Sege BLK  N/A A Allison 2 12.5 Valeo 53 • Sege BLK  N/A A Allison 2 12.5 Valeo 48 • • Sege BLK   A BYD 2 12.1 Thermo King 37 • McConnellSMC x  N/AN/A 2 12.5 Thermo King 42 • McConnellSMC x  A Allison 2 12.3 Thermo King 50 • Fainsa Challenger  N/A A Allison 2 12.3 Thermo King 57 • Fainsa Challenger  N/A N/AN/A 2 12 Valeo 41 • McConnell Ventura x  AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Coachair 28 • APM SAS Doors   AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x AS Isuzu 2 8.3 Songz 32 • APM SAS Doors  x A ZF 29 King Long 40 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 10 King Long 46 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 13 King Long 62 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 13 King Long 62 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 12 King Long 62 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 13 King Long 62 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 10 King Long 46 • King LongKing Long  x A ZF 2 12.5 Thermo King 47 • StyleRide SMC x x A ZF 2 12.3 Valeo 57 • McConnell BLK Auto   A ZF 2 12.5 Thermo King 57 • McConnell Coach Design  x A ZF 2 12.5 Hispacold 57 • Sege Irizar  x A ZF 2 12.5 Hispacold 57 • Sege Irizar  x A ZF 2 12.5 Thermo King 57 • Sege BCI  x Opticruise Scania 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • McConnell N/A  x Opticruise Scania 3 13.5 Hispacold 57 • Sege N/A  x Opticruise Scania 2 12.3 Konvekta 54 • McConnell N/A  x A ZF 2 12.3 Coachair 57 • Sege N/A  x Opticruise Scania 2 12.3 Thermo King 57 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.5 Coachair 41 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 2 12.5 Coachair 41 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 2 12.5 Coachair 47 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 2 12.5 Coachair 47 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 2 12.3 Denso 57 • StyleRide N/A  x A ZF 2 12.3 Denso 57 • StyleRide N/A  x A ZF 3 18 Coachair 61 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 3 18 Coachair 61 • StyleRide N/A x x A ZF 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.5 Thermo King 45 • McConnell N/A x x A ZF 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.3 Konvekta 58 • Sege N/A  x A ZF 2 12.5 Thermo King 46 • StyleRide SMC x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Coachair 43 • McConnellSMC x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Spheros 57 • MarcopoloMarcopolo  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Coachair 43 • StyleRide SMC x  AS Volvo3 13 14.9 Hispacold 52 • Sege Irizar  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King 57 • McConnellSMC  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King 45 • StyleRide Ventura x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Coachair 41 • McConnellSMC x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Hispacold 48 • Sege Irizar  x AS Volvo3 13 14.9 Hispacold 56 • Sege Irizar   AS Volvo3 13 14.9 Hispacold 62 • Sege Irizar  x AS Volvo3 13 14.9 Hispacold 61 • Sege Irizar   A ZF 2 10 12.9 Hispacold 57 • Sege Irizar  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King 57 • McConnell Ventura  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King N/A • McConnellSMC x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Valeo N/A • MarcopoloMarcopolo  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King N/A • StyleRide SMC  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King N/A • StyleRide SMC  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King N/A • McConnellSMC  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King N/A • McConnellSMC x  A ZF 2 10 12.9 Hispacold N/A • Sege Irizar   A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King 41 • McConnellSMC  x A ZF 2 10 12.9 Thermo King 57 • McConnellSMC  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 53 • YutongYutong  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 53 • YutongYutong  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 57 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 2 10 Cling Yutong 39 • YutongYutong  x N/AN/A 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 53 • YutongYutong  x N/AN/A 28 Cling Yutong 28 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 28 Cling Yutong 27 • YutongYutong  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 57 • YutongYutong  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 57 • YutongYutong  x A Auto 2 12.4 Cling Yutong 57 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 28 Cling Yutong 28 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 28 Cling Yutong 28 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 28 Cling Yutong 28 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 2 10 Cling Yutong 39 • YutongYutong  x A Allison 28 Cling Yutong 24 • YutongYutong  x N/AN/A 2 12.5 Cling Yutong 44 StyleRide N/A x 

Small town, big dreams

In the Victorian towns of Sandy Point and Venus Bay, an exciting electric mini-bus trial is set to pave the way for sustainable small-town transport

There are many idyllic Australian towns that lie on the edge of the country, hugging the coastline and creating the perfect beach community. In some of these towns in Gippsland, Victoria, their only downside is that there’s only one road in and out, making transport limited.

“There’s no transport in communities like Sandy Point and Venus Bay,” Venus Bay Community Centre General Manager Alyson Skinner told ABC

“There’s no V/Line trains and the occasional very expensive taxi to get to the nearest town, so people are geographically and socially isolated.”

To combat this logistical challenge, the Venus Bay Community Centre looked into a new community driven approach to local transport. The end result is an innovative community-run electric bus trial that is setting the standard for sustainable small-town transport.

For two years, two electric mini-buses will run in both Sandy Point and Venus Bay to provide a much-needed transport option. The project is part of a collaboration between the two communities, the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre, the Victorian government and La Trobe University.

In Venus Bay, Skinner says the electric bus trial is the culmination of a wider community energy project to make the Gippsland town more sustainable.

“We’ve done a fair bit of work here to make this town a centre of resilience with significant solar panels and battery back-up generators,” Skinner says.

“There was a chance a few years


ago to look at how Gippsland communities could integrate energy projects with transport, and that’s how the electric bus trial came to be.”

The Gippsland approach saw the likes of Mallacoota, Phillip Island, Heyfield, Venus Bay and Sandy Point all look into how low or zero-emissions vehicles could improve local sustainable transport. Its partnership network quickly began researching how electric buses may address key transport gaps in Venus Bay and Sandy Point.

Over half a year, the proposal was developed, with the Victorian Department of Transport supporting the project by funding the two electric mini-buses, which both come with wheelchair hoists.

“It’s a two-year pilot project for the two communities, with volunteers in both towns helping run the initial trials as part of the wider two-year project,” Skinner says.

The two electric mini-buses, named Sandy and Sunny, were officially launched at the Community Energy Congress Regional Hub in Leongatha, with services to be initially free and run by the Venus Bay Community Centre and the Sandy Point Bus Management Committee. Throughout the trial, La Trobe University and the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre will combine to capture data and lessons.

While Skinner is expecting teething issues that will be ironed out, she’s proud of her community for being a pioneer in small-town electric transport. The end goal is for Sandy and Sunny to be the landmark trial that motivates other Australian small towns to turn to electric buses for a sustainable transport future.

Above: Venus Bay and S andy Point will soon be enjoying electric bus transport

Below: Sandy and Sunny will give the two towns a sustainable transport option for the next two years

“We want to drive a behaviour change from jumping in the car to instead waiting for a more environmentally friendly vehicle, like a bus,” Skinner says.

“This looks at how we can combine resources as a community – the end goal is to provide local employment.

“We hope this is going to be a roadmap for other communities. Hopefully other towns can learn from the challenges and lessons we face throughout the process and can find out how electric buses can help regional communities.”

ABC • 58
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