Page 1

Issue 27 – MAR/APR 2017 – $8.95 incl. GST

www.truckandbus.net.au

JET TRAVEL

HOW NEWCASTLE'S A LEAGUE TEAM GETS AROUND LAUNCHED: IVECO DAILY INTERNATIONAL: VDL D/DECKER

TECH: RUBBER BIO FUELS FUTURE: MONASH UNI LOOKS AHEAD


001 Drivers Seat

PETER BARNWELL THE HEADLESS CHICKEN

G

azing into the crystal ball is fraught with danger because more often than not, you’re wrong. But trying to predict the future is fun and if you guess right from a business perspective, you can profit hugely. Twenty years ago, who would have predicted the arrival of Chinese buses in such volumes, who would have foreseen the demise of some brands, the concentration of the market into fewer players and the big one, the march of technology. Which brings us to the subject of this editorial…. technology and the possible effect it will have on our industry. Economic, safety and environmental influences dictate autonomous buses will increasingly take the ``driver’s seat.’’ Apart from savings in wages, autonomous buses will allow operators to micro manage their fleet for optimum efficiency therefore reducing running costs and boosting profits. Governments worldwide are red hot for autonomous buses and manufacturers are pushing hard for their wider implementation. In effect, an autonomous bus is a lot like driverless trains which are in general use globally. Think about it for a minute, an autonomous bus wouldn’t need any driver controls as all are handled remotely or by on board computers. No steering wheel, no brake

THIS ISN’T A BUS AD – IT’S A PEOPLE AD Without the people who work at Volgren, our company wouldn’t be what it is today. Or where it is. With their skill, their knowledge and their ingenuity, our people build more than brilliant buses. They build relationships with our partners. They make the lives of our clients easier and their businesses better. When you think of Volgren’s reputation, don’t think of a ‘brand’ – think of a group of truly extraordinary people. The same people you’ll work with when you choose Volgren.

BUILDING BETTER BUS PARTNERSHIPS FOR MORE INFO CONTACT VOLGREN ON 03 9791 4255 OR VISIT VOLGREN.COM.AU/ABOUT-VOLGREN

pedal, no accelerator, gear selection system, no wiring to the driver’s console, an extra seat or two, no safety features for a driver, less weight, it goes on and on. Coupled with this is the fact that manufacturers would spend less on styling or design because an autonomous bus could potentially be simply a moving box on wheels and that includes coaches and route buses. It’s all money saved and every bus manufacturer would be right behind that philosophy. Then there are the passengers. Would they care if the bus they were on looked sexy? No, as long as it was comfortable and safe, 99.9 per cent wouldn’t give a toss. The quest for reducing costs extend further than making a bus `autonomous’ as virtually every component is constantly under review to optimise its function and reduce its cost. Even the material they are made from is constantly under review. So are the powertrains… electric, diesel, fuel cell hydrogen, gas, hybrid. Drill down further and you’ll find big improvements in tyre technology, brakes, refinement, ride quality and functionality. There’s no end to the ongoing technical development program for buses. Understandable given the benefits to any manufacturer who has the next `new’ thing.

So, after they figure out the legal ramifications of letting autonomous buses (and cars and trucks) loose on the roads, stand by for a whole bunch moving boxes lpossibly linked platoon style lumbering along in dedicated lanes on roads populated by driverless cars and trucks all talking to each other electronically. If nothing else, this scenario could cut the road toll… and reduce the amount of money coming into government coffers from traffic fines. Just one point I’d like to make here and that is I hope they never introduce autonomous planes. That is a bridge too far for me… Interesting stuff? At this point I’d like to introduce myself. I am the new editor of Coach & Bus, taking over from Fabian Cotter who has filled this chair for the past six years and 26 issues. I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to fill this role and look forward to exploring every corner of the bus industry. I have been a motoring writer for the past 35 years and worked with cars and trucks so buses and coaches are a really interesting new area I am keen to explore and report on, full of technology, innovation and really interesting things. In this issue we explore Iveco’s newly revised Iveco Daily mini bus, a valuable addition to the burgeoning mini-bus sector, we take a look at Hino’s interesting and different Poncho midi-bus, we head to Newcastle and long established coach operator Sidd Foggs and its association with A League team the Jets, we investigate an innovative PhD research program that has the potential to reshape future public transport thinking and we look at a new technology capable of turning told tyres into diesel fuel, all that and a whole lot more, so hope you enjoy the read as much as I did putting it all together.

001 www.truckandbus.net.au


Issue 028

CONTENTS FEATURES

CONTACT DETAILS PO Box 7046 Warringah Mall NSW 2100

18

www.truckandbus.net.au admin@truckandbus.net.au Enquiries 02 9938 6408

Publisher Jon Thomson admin@truckandbus.net.au

Hino’s new Poncho is something completely different in the small bus market. Surprising as it may seem, there are no direct competitors for this 22+1 seat small bus. New editor Peter Barnwell had the chance for a test drive and came away impressed.

Advertising Sales Zara Kilfeather Mob: 0404 883 249 zara@motozedmedia.com.au Contributing Writers Tom Worsley, Allan Whiting, Barry Flanagan, Sven Erik Lindsrand

When a major sporting organisation gets a new coach it is normally back page news in our daily papers but when the Newcastle Jets announced it was getting a new coach recently it had nothing to do with a new ‘Gaffer’ as players often refer to the manager as, instead it was all about a new team bus to deliver the A league team to its games. C&B takes a look at the new Scania team transporter for the Jets.

38 FUTURE TENSE

An innovative multi-faculty PhD public transport research program has been pioneered by Monash University with the aim of uncovering better ways to transport human beings around our crowded cities. C&B went back to uni to meet some of the candidates and the academic driving the program that aims to discover better public transport outcomes.

48 DOUBLE DUTCH

Dutch Bus maker VDL has been redefining the double-decker concept in Europe particularly with its funky looking and ultra practical Citea Low Floor double-decker. C&B takes a look at the latest Euro thinking in downtown bus transport.

54 TYRED OF FUELLING AROUND

Dutch Bus maker VDL has been redefining the double-decker concept in Europe particularly with its funky looking and ultra practical Citea Low Floor double-decker. C&B takes a look at the latest Euro thinking in downtown bus transport.

.

Contributing Photographers Mark Bean, Cristian Brunelli, Jan Glovac

18

Editorial contributions are welcome for consideration. Contact the Editor or Publisher for guidelines, fees and level of interest. All unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by a stamp, addressed envelope for their return. We will not be held responsible for material supplied electronically.

18

48

REGULARS

01

DRIVER’S SEAT

Editor Peter Barnwell mulls over change in the industry, whether it’s driverless bus tech or changes even closer to come.

04 UP FRONT We wrap up the key local and international bus and coach news that affects us as a global industry and where we are heading.

Proudly printed in Australia

Single copy price $8.95 incl. GST

48

38 54

Coach & Bus Magazine is published under licence by Transport Publishing Australia. and is distributed to road transport professionals, fleets, business professionals and the industry throughout Australia. All material contained herein including text, photography, design elements and format are copyright and cannot be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Grayhaze Pty.Ltd. is a member of the Copyright Agency Limited (1800 066 844).

32

32 NEW GAFFER FOR THE JETS

Editor in Chief Peter Barnwell peter@truckandbus.net.au Art Director Fiona Meadows kududesign.com.au

Van-based minibuses are becoming the essential first link in the passenger transport chain and while the glamour end of the market may be the big coaches or double decker route buses there is a growing and constant demand for mini buses like the new Iveco Daily. Editor Peter Barnwell went along to the launch to get the mail on the latest Daily people mover.

24 PONCHO

Follow us on Twitter #truckandbusnews Follow us on Facebook at Truck and Bus Australia

DAILY MAIL

“WE HAVE TWO PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL TEAMS IN THE CITY AND WE SUPPORT BOTH OF THEM, WE’RE PROUD TO HAVE HAD A KNIGHTS COACH FOR MANY YEARS AND NOW WE HAVE A JETS COACH”

64 MONEY


TERRITORY HOT TO DROP THE DRIVER NOT WHAT YOU MAY consider to be `early adopters’ the Northern Territory Government is aiming to be first cab off the rank implementing an autonomous passenger vehicle network, announcing last week it will begin trailing driverless vehicles. A six-month trial of the EasyMile EZ10 ‘driverless’ vehicle will take place from the Darwin waterfront to Stokes Hill from early next year. This will make the NT the second state to trial autonomous solutions, with a three-month trial of a bus recently winding up in Western Australia. According to NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, the trial will align

Darwin with modern cities around the world. “Autonomous transport technology is no longer science fiction – it’s here and we are leading the way,” Gunner said. “With this project, the NT Government and Darwin join an exclusive list of jurisdictions worldwide actively developing autonomous transport including Singapore, Dubai/UAE, France, Netherlands, California and Japan. “This project is something I have been interested in for a while now as we need to look towards these technologies as an alternative and niche way of efficiently and safely moving people around precincts

and the CBD – and ultimately, the potential of linking the harbours between Stokes Hill and Cullen Bay. “This trial will see the vehicle transport people between Stokes Hill Wharf and the Darwin Waterfront, and from there we can look towards future options in the Top End.” The fully autonomous vehicle provides zero emissions when operating, is fully air-conditioned and capable of carrying up to 12 passengers at one time. The vehicle can provide up to 12 hours of operation per charge. Presumably it will be recharged from a solar array making it a genuaine emissions free vehicle.

The first stage of the trial will cost the NT Government approximately $150,000. Autonomous buses have become the flavour of the month for cities around the world, with Gunner confirming there are several other organisations in the country looking at the technology. “The EZ10 vehicle attracted international and domestic notoriety during the Intelligent Transport System World Congress and there are now a dozen International and Australian clients actively seeking vehicles from EasyMile including universities, airports, precincts and shopping centres,” he said.

1 1 The EZ10 units are compact and don’t take up much room on the road. 2 Four wheel steering makes the EZ10 highly manoeuverable.

2 3

3 The EZ10 is the product of forner French Formula One constructror Ligier.

“ AUTONOMOUS TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGY IS NO LONGER SCIENCE FICTION – IT’S HERE AND WE ARE LEADING THE WAY”

004 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 005


HOW SWEDE IT IS POINTING DEFINITIVELY to the future, Scania is moving quickly towards battery powered city route buses with three Citywide LFs set to start daily operations by the end of the year in Sweden. Three more will report for duty by early 2019. Their use will be facilitated by two new fast charging stations to be built in the city of Östersund. The fast recharge stations will be erected at each end of a 14-kilometre major bus line on which the battery powered buses will run. With 10-minute charging, buses will run every 15 minutes for a total of 100 journeys each day. Taking a leaf out Tesla boss, Elon Musk’s book, Scania Bus and Coach project manager Anne Sörensson says electric bus technology is the way of the future. “The introduction of battery electric buses here is really exciting as they will contribute to our aim of achieving fossil-free

006 www.truckandbus.net.au

transport by 2030,” she says. Scania Bus and Coach head Anna Carmo e Silva says the manufacturer currently offers a wide range of buses and coaches that run on alternative fuels, including biogas, bioethanol, biodiesel and hybrid electric buses. “By adding battery electric buses, we will further strengthen our focus on sustainable transport and complement this broad range with buses particularly for innercity operations,” she says. The trials will be carried out in collaboration with the City of Östersund and Region Jämtland Härjedalen’s Public Transport Authority, and the publically owned energy supplier Jämtkraft. The buses will be operated by Nettbuss, a subsidiary of the Norwegian State Railways, which is the second largest bus operator in all Nordic countries.

“ BY ADDING BATTERY ELECTRIC BUSES, WE WILL FURTHER STRENGTHEN OUR FOCUS ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT AND COMPLEMENT THIS BROAD RANGE WITH BUSES PARTICULARLY FOR INNER-CITY OPERATIONS”


BANGKOK DOUBLES UP DUE TO POLLUTION AND SAFETY issues, Thailand’s capital city is taking measures to address both with a plan for more electric buses and a phase-out of van based people movers into dedicated and safer minibus vehicles that also carry more passengers. With a likely investment of 3.3 billion baht (12.4 million AUD) expected in the next month from the Thai Transport Ministry, the

aim is to have up to 200 new electric buses servicing the capital by the end of the year. The move towards electric power gained momentum after results from a five-month trial of a Hino hybrid bus showed a 50 per cent reduction over diesel equivalents over 42,300km. Bangkok Mass Transport is considering replacing nearly 500 problematic natural gas powered

vehicles with the recently tested hybrid model. The BMTA is also tightening requirements for public van operators, requiring them to install a GPS system by the end of March, and plans to replace them with minibuses. According to Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akrathit, the vans have an accident rate five times higher than minibuses,

and there would be incentives for operators to move to larger more efficient vehicles that would also reduce traffic volumes in the traffic choked capital.

we’ll keep you going year after year after year after year after year. fuso. all day.

YEAR

warranty

5

fuso.com.au

Fuso offers a 5 year warranty as standard on every new truck and Rosa bus. So you can be confident your business will stay on the move, all day. And unlike some others, ours is a genuine manufacturer’s warranty, which means you’re guaranteed genuine Fuso parts and service from an authorised Fuso dealer. Contact your Fuso dealer or visit fuso.com.au

008 www.truckandbus.net.au

Warranty terms and conditions apply. See an authorised Fuso dealer or our warranty policy at www.fuso.com.au/service for full details.


JOST Alloy Wheels

VOLGREN’S MILESTONE 1 0 0th AU DACE HIT S AUSSIE ROAD S FIRST BROUGHT TO AUSTRALIA in December 2013, Volgren’s Audace is imported from parent company Marcopolo as a 12.3m school and charter bus for regional and rural markets. It’s been a good steady seller for the company ever since with Volgren recently delivering its 100th Marcopolo Audace to Nowra based Kennedy’s Bus and Coach. Volgren’s CEO, Peter Dale, believes safety, style and comfort

are the main drivers of the Audace’s increasing popularity. “The Marcopolo Audace is a great example of a quality import, built on a top-class European chassis, backed by Volgren’s aftersale service and support,” he said. “For experienced operators like Kennedy’s who have been in the business for more than 80 years, the Audace really delivers the flexibility to conduct a range of services and it’s been test-proofed

in a range of conditions.” Kennedy’s Bus and Coach has serviced the Nowra and greater Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands and Illawarra since 1935. According to John Kennedy, price and reliability drove his family business to the Audace initially. The new model is the second Marcopolo purchase in two years. “We’re in the process of replacing some of our older buses and the Audace made sense from

a price perspective and it’s proven to be the perfect bus servicing our school and special charter market,” Kennedy said. “We use our fleet for a range of purposes; trips to the snow, school charter and excursions, tours and special charter to Sydney for sporting events, so to have a quality bus that looks great, performs well and is highly versatile is critical to our business,” he added.

Nowra bus operator John Kennedy (left) takes delivery of Volgren’s 100th Marco Polo Audace from Volgren CEO Peter Dale.

JOST Forged Alloy Wheels JOST Premium Forged Alloy Wheels are manufactured to exacting standards to suit Australian conditions. • Bus Half the & Coach weightcompatible of steel rims* • Half Reduced the weight tyre wear of steel rims* • Reduced Stong andtyre durable wear • Increased fuel economy • Reduced brake maintenance

• 5 year unlimited km warranty • Available in Machined, Polished and Superchrome™ finishes • Available for steel wheel conversions including sleeve nuts

* average weight statement compared to a quality 22.5 x 8.25 Steel disc wheel equivalent. 010 www.truckandbus.net.au

Call Toll Free: 1800 811 487 www.jostaustralia.com.au


CHINESE TAKE AWAY DIESELS AT SYDNEY AIRPORT

CHINESE BUS MANUFACTURER BYD has kicked a goal with Carbridge, the operators of inter airport transport at Sydney Airport expanding their electric bus fleet by 40 vehicles. BYD Toros will replace diesel powered buses at Australia’s busiest airport hub moving passengers from aircraft to terminals and between domestic and international terminals. The first of six buses was put into service in September and since then interest has been sparked in more units.

According to BYD’s Asia Pacific auto sales division general manager Liu Xueliang, the order is vindication for the Chinese brand. “We are the first Chinese company to crack Australia’s electric bus market, having come a long way since the trial of our electric buses at the country’s busiest airport in Sydney in late 2014,” he said. “This additional order from a large transport provider like Carbridge is testimony to our quality service and state of the art technology.”

The Toro, which Sydney Airport operates in under Electric Blu branding, has a range of 400km. BYD, arguably one of the world’s leading battery manufacturers, is also making inroads across the Tasman with NZ Bus beginning a trail of the BYD buses in Auckland and Wellington. According to NZ Bus CEO Zane Fulljames, the electric bus has proven successful in other markets, but New Zealand presents topographical challenges. The government bus operator is

also in the process of retrofitting its fleet with electric powertrains. “As a business we are committed to leading the industry towards an electric-powered bus fleet, as was reflected in our announcement last year to invest NZ$43m in Wrightspeed electric powertrain technology to be retrofitted to buses in our existing fleet,” Fulljames said. “Trialling BYD eBus technology is about looking at options for the future in terms of our ongoing fleet replacement program,” he added.

WE HAVE WHAT YOU NEED. Iveco has a range of chassis and bodies to meet all your requirements. From the locally designed and manufactured Metro/Delta chassis to the imported Euromidi School Bus chassis. The vehicles are equipped to meet your metropolitan and regional requirements, with seating available from 45 to 61 capacity and larger on request. Iveco also offers front engine solutions and 4x4 vehicles for Australia’s extreme road/climate conditions.

Front Engine – Express/ Custom Bus

Custom Bus

Marcopolo

Express

Call us today and lock in a deal on a specification that suits you. FREECALL 1800 602 287 ivecobusenquiries@cnhind.com

012 www.truckandbus.net.au

IVECO BUS PROUDLY SUPPORTING BIC

W W W. I V E C O. C O M . A U


AND WHAT ABOUT A CHINESE ENTRÉE 1 4 S E ATS FOR UND ER $50 GRAND ? L D V S AYS Y E S TH E Y C A N! WHEN HYUNDAI STARTED out in Australia the brand was disparaged and dealers were fairly reluctant to commit. Look at Hyundai now… Something similar applies here with Chinese brands but one, LDV, is good property particularly as its products are impressive by Chinese standards and SAIC, the company that owns LDV, is the biggest automaker in China. The local LDV line up is currently limited to a few versions of two vans with an SUV and a one tonne ute following later this year. LDV is now offering 11 seat and

14 seat V80 mini buses in short and long wheelbase retailing for $40,490 and $47,490 respectively. That price is drive away and includes a VM Motori 2.5-litre turbo diesel four cylinder engine and a six speed auto transmission built with the co-operation of Japanese specialist Aisin. The engine is good for 100kW at 3800rpm and 330Nm of torque between 1800-2600rpm. Fuel consumption in both V80 minibus configurations is 9.4 litres/100km with the tank holding a useful 80 litres. Far from being a basic bus, the V80 comes with suspension and

steering tuned by UK engineering outfit MIRA. The front rides on a Macpherson strut system while the rear is leaf springs. Wheels are 16-inch alloys wearing 215/75 x 16 rubber. Brakes are discs all round with twin piston calipers on the front. The braking system is modulated by ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. Occupants travel in comfort with dual air conditioning, an electric passenger step, power windows, decent audio while the driver benefits from cruise control, eight way adjustable seat and a fold

down arm rest. Access to the cabin is through two front doors, a left side slider and twin barn doors at the rear. Safety equipment includes the braking modulations as already mentioned, driver and passenger air bags, reverse parking sensors but no reverse camera. The payload is 910kg for the shortie while the Longie is 1020kg. Both versions have some luggage space. Seating configurations are 3-2-33 for the SWB with the LWB running a 3-2-3-3-3 layout. Warranty cover is for three years/100,000km.

VOLVO UNVEILS B8 VOLVO BUS has unveiled its new B8 bus chassis and revealed it will offer both a Euro 5 and a Euro 6 version of the new bus which is set to replace the marque’s current B7 as the year rolls on. The B8 both in Euro 5 and Euro 6 versions is powered by Volvo’s own family eight-litre turbo diesel replacing the seven-litre Deutz sourced powerplant in the B7 and Volvo claims a three to five per cent fuel efficiency improvement over the older bus, depending on application and environment. The B8 can be specced in a range of engine outputs with the choice of either 250 hp or 330hp in the Euro 5 version or 280hp, 320hp and 350hp in the Euro 6 version. Volvo will take orders for the older B7 up until the end of June with production set to finish for that

014 www.truckandbus.net.au

model in Sweden by the middle of November this year . The B8 shares a common architecture with the B7 forward of the rear axle. The Euro 5 B8 gets a new exhaust, new AdBlue tank and compressed air injection dosing system, different engine venting and body build beams fabricated into the chassis structure at the factory. The Euro 6 version has entirely different rear frame structure with a new cooling system, exhaust AdBlue system, Air Conditioning along with updated engine bay insulation, battery system and fuse panel along with a new electric over hydraulic power steering that delivers better steering feel and less weight and complication. The Euro 6 also uses a combination of DPF. SCR and

EGR to meet the more stringent exhaust emission standards and a raft of strategies to meet noise protocols such as more insulation, a thermally controlled hydraulic fan. Euro 6 B8s can be specified with a choice of Voith, ZF or Volvo’s IShift while Euro 5 can be specced with either Voith or ZF. Service intervals have been extended considerably and can be tailored to the individual vehicle’s operating environment with some operators already reporting intervals of as much as 60,000km for major service. Boss of Volvo Bus in Australia Sean Copeland told C&B that the new Euro 5 B8 will be offered at the same price as the B7 while the Euro 6 versions will carry a $12000 to $14,000 premium. “The new B8 has some fantastic

technology and when you consider the Volvo 8 litre family engine produces similar horsepower to a bigger Volvo 10 litre did a decade ago but with drastically improved fuel economy, service intervals and emissions,” said Sean Copeland. Copeland says that he is confident the new B8s will be on the NSW Transport procurement panel list by 1st July and he is pressing ahead with six Euro 5 and six Euro being pre ordered for delivery in July and another 20 B8R Marco Polo coaches set for arrival before the end of this year. Volvo has also announced a new range of Telematics and Service agreement options to coincide with the introduction of the B8 and we will have a full rundown and details in Issue 28 of C&B in coming months. www.truckandbus.net.au 015


BI-ARTICULATED BUSES FOR BRIZZY ELECTRIC-POWERED BUSES almost 30 metres long could move Brisbane commuters in the new “metro” service announced by Brisbane City Council recently. While the council calls it a “metro” service, it is newgeneration buses that would shift the people. They are called “bi-articulated”

buses and are common throughout Europe and South America, the council says. The plans are to have a bus available every three minutes on two new routes which are paarticularly created for these buses. The local Council is looking at two concepts as it finalises a business case by May 2017 for the two new routes.

“ THE PLANS ARE TO HAVE A BUS AVAILABLE EVERY THREE MINUTES ON TWO NEW ROUTES WHICH ARE PARTICULARLY CREATED FOR THESE BUSES”

016 www.truckandbus.net.au

Work could start in 2018 and be finished by 2022. The buses for this new service are not yet selected and ordered, though there are two possibilities: the Van Hool Exquicity 24 from Belgium and the Hess Autotram from Switzerland. They would look like modern “bi-articulated buses” with three passenger

THRELKELD TAKING OVER AT BUSNSW

sections and two rubber-lined joints, with the driver sitting in the front section. The council is still reluctant to call them buses, arguing that while they would have rubber tyres, they would operate more like trams. A similar idea has been mooted for Sydney’s Parramatta Road once WestConnex is complete. LONG TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BUS NSW DARRYL MELLISH has announced that he will retire from the role on 31 July handing over to current BusNSW Industry Development manager, Matt Threlkeld. Mellish has been the head of BusNSW for the past 18 years but will be staying on as a non-executive director and advisor to the industry on a part time basis once he retires from the top job. Matt Threlkeld has been with BusNSW since 2007 and prior to that was the manager of Sydney bus operator, Transit First which has since been taken over by Transdev. Mellish told Coach & Bus that time was right to hand over the baton and that Threlkeld was the right man for the job with the right blend of experience, knowledge and expertise. “Matt has great ideas and is respected by the industry and key stakeholders, as well as that we are in a period of relative stability from a contract and regulatory standpoint and it’s a good time to change,” said Darryl Mellish. “Matt will have some challenges and opportunities ahead and I want to rebalance the family and work environment and have some fun,” he added. “I have been very fortunate and I’ve had a great 18 years in the industry. “The bus industry is involved in all aspects of community and business and I’ve had the pleasure of working with great people and great businesses.” During his reign at the top of BusNSW Darryl Mellish has seen seven transport ministers and six BusNSW Presidents and a huge amount of significant reform in the industry. From Matt Threlkeld’s perspective he believes it is a huge honour to have been offered the role and he will grasp it with both hands. “BusNSW is made up of a large membership of dedicated operators and suppliers and it is our jpb to represent them and deal with the stakeholders and that means a huge responsibility. “I have benefitted from Darryl’s huge corporate experience while at BusNSW, and I am really glad Darryl will be still around and available for consultation for some time to come,” he added. “Our outgoing president Frank D’Apuzzo, and Darryl have ensured we are well placed to meet future challenges and I am looking forward to building on that with our new president John King and the Bus NSW board.

DAIMLER GROUP ON THE MONEY IN 2016, THE BUS DIVISION of the Daimler Group achieved the best return on sales in the industry of 6.2 percent (adjusted for special items), which is also slightly above its own target. Despite the continuation of very disparate markets, Daimler Buses increased its earnings by 28 per cent to €258 million . The division’s earnings were therefore substantially higher than in the previous year. The strong business with complete buses in Western Europe made a significant contribution to this success. The main driver of the success of Daimler Buses in 2016 was the core market of Europe, where the strong business with complete buses paid off. Daimler Buses increased unit sales in Europe by about three percent to 8,800 vehicles (2015: 8,600). With a market share of approximately 30 per cent, the division continues to be the number one in the European bus business by a clear margin.

GET THIS INDIA REPORTED IN `The Hindu’ newspaper is a sensor to warn bus drivers of an impending accident. It activates the brake on sensing an obstacle and sounds siren to alert the driver. Bus accidents, which are major problem for India, can be drastically reduced by the use of this system including rear enders. The device senses an obstacle ahead and automatically applies the brakes to reduce the speed of the vehicle. Like a `dead man’ throttle in a train, it activates a siren to alert the driver when he dozes off behind the wheel and also allows the driver to activate a danger signal to warn other vehicles coming behind of impending danger.

www.truckandbus.net.au 017


New Model

DAILY

MAIL Van-based minibuses are ubiquitous on our roads. They are an essential first link in the passenger transport chain and while the glamour end of the market may be the big coaches or double decker route buses the fact is there is a growing and constant demand for this type of mini buses like the new Iveco Daily. Editor Peter Barnwell went along to the launch to get the mail on the latest Daily people mover.

018 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 019


The Iveco Daily mini bus has appeal for various users including aged care transport, medical patient transport, community groups and hotels.

T

“For the environmentally conscious this range is equipped with one of the cleanest conventional diesel engines available”

oyota has had the van based mini bus market by the short and curleys for years with its ageing HiAce and some of the Euro manufacturers are having a good old crack at the Japanese but now a new, highly experience player is here to stir things up in minibus-land providing more choice to operators. Iveco will boldly launch a three model Daily minibus range later this year in two wheelbase lengths and two roof heights, H2 and H3, depending on the model. It’s available only with a ZF eight speed auto and a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine mounted longitudinally in the front engine bay. Iveco waited until a new van platform was introduced along with a Euro 6 emissions compliant engine before launching here. It was worth the wait as the Daily minibus ticks plenty of boxes in terms of safety, passenger capacity and comfort, running costs and performance. And they took the opportunity to tweak its frontal styling to a less polarising look with new lights, grille and bumper. The vehicles arrive here completely built up but are fitted out locally.

020 www.truckandbus.net.au

As might be expected from a new Euro-van-based bus, they offer car-like ergonomics and increased levels of active and passive safety. The line-up starts with Shuttle 12 riding on a 3520mm wheelbase with the lower 1820mm roof height. As the name suggests it has a passenger capacity of 12 passengers including the driver and a GVM of 4.5 tonnes meaning it is car licence compliant. Step up to the Shuttle 16 and you get the 4100mm wheelbase with the H2 roof and a passenger capacity of 16 including the driver. GVM for this model is 6.1 tonnes. Topping out the range is the Executive 16 on the 4100mm wheelbase but with a higher 2010mm roof height. It’s the `party bus’’ in the Daily minibus range and has a GVM of 6.5 tonnes. Depending on owner/operator requirements, the Executive 16 can be specified with luxury kit like leather seats and an upgraded interior. All three models ride on air suspension with differing wheel sizes depending on the model. Wide opening rear `barn doors’’ facilitate loading into the generous luggage

compartment behind the rear seat row that may reduce the need for a trailer. Commenting at the national Daily minibus launch, Iveco Bus National Manager, Steve Heanes said, ``Many of these vehicles will operate in metropolitan and urban environments so the large luggage area, spacious passenger compartment and easy access make for a much better all-round package for various users including aged care transport, medical patient transport, community groups and hotels.’’ ``It will be a better vehicle for the driver thanks to the eight speed auto, new driver’s seat and many new features previously restricted to passenger cars.’’ ``For the environmentally conscious operator, the Daily minibus range is equipped with one of the cleanest conventional diesel engines available which meets stringent Euro 6 emissions standards even though these measures won’t be mandated in Australia for several years,’’ Mr Heanes said. A high measure of safety is provided in all models of the Daily minibus through lane departure warning, electronic brake force distribution, stability control, anti-slip

1

1 Spacious passenger compartment and easy access make for a much better all-round package.

2

2 A very big black Limo. 3 The trade press sampling the new Iveco Daily range.

3

www.truckandbus.net.au 021


regulator drag torque control and hill hold assist. Daily minibus also gains trailer sway mitigation, adaptive lane control, roll-over mitigation and other features linked to its electronics. Further aiding safety is a driver’s airbag, daytime running lights, multi-function steering wheel and air suspension. Lane departure warning is operated through a windscreen mounted camera which recognises road markings and sounds and alarm if the vehicle changes lanes without the driver first signalling. Power comes from an Iveco 3.0-litre F1C turbodiesel engine mounted up front driving the rear axle through a ZF eight speed auto. It’s good for 125kW (170hp) and features a flat torque curve with a maximum 400Nm delivered from 1350rpm up to 3000rpm. A DPF system aids in achieving the Euro 6 standard. On the road feel is surprisingly car-like though the pre-production test vehicles were on steel springs and not air suspension. It will bring another level of comfort and control when the production models arrive later this year. The powerful and torquey 3.0-litre engine operates in relative quiet and makes no discernible vibrations in the cabin. But the real treat is how well it teams up with the ZF eight speed which seems to

almost have a predictive function, flicking up or down a cog almost in expectation of driving conditions. The brakes are strong and the steering is light and responsive though the wheel is a little flat mounted. A cockpit style instrument panel makes driving Daily minibus that much easier and the seat feels pretty comfy though we were only in it for about 30 minutes at a time. It’s a wieldy bus to throw around city streets and though high, feels well planted when you take it through a sequence of corners. Access is easy and the thing looks pretty good on the outside, fairly standard ``Aussie bus’’ on the inside. We like the climate control and decent audio system and hopefully all models will come with easy to use satnav when they arrive. Obviously, there’s no word on price this far ahead but Iveco executives were looking pretty chuffed with the new bus at launch. They want to pinch sales from Toyota which shouldn’t be difficult given that vehicle’s age, size and price and the relative size, spec’ and performance of the new Daily minibus. In a classic understatement, Steve Heanes said, `` The Daily minibus has been developed to suit a number of applications where its specifications will compare favourably to others in the market.’’ That would be a yes.

Just The Ticket Interline Enjoys More Efficient Bus Operations

“The Daily minibus has been developed to suit a number of applications where its specifications will compare favourably to others in the market”

Since switching to Allison transmissions, leading Sydney bus operator, Interline has enjoyed significant efficiency and performance improvements. It’s seen a 9.5 percent improvement in fuel consumption from its new Daewoo buses equipped with Allison transmissions while also being more responsive and exhibiting smoother shifting. Interline’s CEO Joe Oliveri says “We are very focused on fuel economy and reducing operating costs and Allison has been able to improve the economy of our Daewoos by re-programming the shift patterns, and applying dynamic shift sensing.” Allison Transmission is the world leader in commercial duty fully automatic transmissions and as Interline has found-is the ideal solution for Australian buses. Unique torque converter technology coupled with Allison’s industry-leading programmable Dynamic Shift Sensing and Acceleration Rate Management can allow significant fuel efficiency gains, particularly with widely varying passenger loads. With lower maintenance and operating costs, Allison keeps buses on the road.

022 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 023 © 2017 Allison Transmission Inc. All Rights Reserved.


New Model

NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT 024 www.truckandbus.net.au

Hino’s new Poncho is something completely different in the small bus market. Surprising as it may seem, there are no direct competitors for Hino’s new Poncho 18 - 22+1 seat small bus. By direct competitors we mean genuine engineered and not van- based buses. New editor Peter Barnwell had the chance for a test drive and came away impressed. www.truckandbus.net.au 025


P

1 2

ossible competition may come from Toyota’s recently updated Coaster and the Mitsubishi Rosa but they’re slightly larger, have ladder chassis and completely different powertrain layouts. They’re also old as the hills. Renault, Benz, Iveco and other players may claim to be competitors but they `aint.’ Australia is the first country outside Japan to get Poncho which is essentially built on a monocoque with pressed metal floor pan and integrated upper chassis adding supplementary sub frames for various heavy components, This gives it the advantage of a low floor level for a huge leg up, so to speak, in passing the Disability Discrimination Act that specifies provisions for equal public access to services and facilities including public transport. A kerb kneeling function is complemented by a wheelchair ramp and large wheelchair space towards the front of the passenger compartment. Hino Australia’s Daniel Petrovski said the DDA compliant status of this bus would be a valuable future-proof feature for owners. ``The Poncho is already Australian DDA compliant meaning customers will have the assurance of a product that is already ahead of the Act being mandated in 2022’’, he said. ``Wheelchair boarding can take less than a minute with Poncho including time to both deploy and store the on board ramp. Traditional small bus wheelchair access can take up to 20 minutes,’’ he added. Poncho is a fully built up, Japanese manufactured vehicle by J-Bus, a joint venture between Hino and Isuzu. Only the seating is locally fitted.

3 4

1 Poncho uses a a fives-speed Aisin A500 automatic and has a rake and reach adjust steering wheel and three way adjustable driver’s seat.

2 A kerb kneeling function is complemented by a wheelchair ramp and large wheelchair space towards the front of the passenger compartment.

3 The Poncho is already Australian DDA compliant giving.

buyers the assurance of a bus that’s already ahead of the Act being mandated in 2022.

4 The rear engine bay is easily accesible and feartures

a five-litre 132kW (180hp) engine with 530Nm of torque and meets Euro 5 with EGR and DPF

026 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 027


028 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 029


Each partner contributed aspects of Poncho that is built specifically as a route bus for short suburban and city routes as well as community transport uses and as a so called ``feeder’’ bus. Underlining this point is Poncho’s 80kmh speed restrictor when it goes on sale here. It’s a snip under seven metres long and has a wheel at each corner meaning short front and rear overhangs for agile inner city applications. Further aiding this is a tight turning circle of less than eight metres. But other factors make the smiley faced Poncho a strong prospect for Australia including its Hino truck powertrain. The engine is a J05E – TS four cylinder out of Hino 300 Series trucks. Power from the 5.0-litre engine rates at 132kW (180hp) with 530Nm of torque. The engine meets Euro 5 emissions regulations and runs an EGR and diesel particle filter. In this case, it’s mounted east west at the back of the bus in a compact compartment with the engine on a removable sub frame for ease of maintenance.

030 www.truckandbus.net.au

Drive is put to the rear axle through a five speed Aisin A500 full automatic transmission. It’s a two pedal drive that also benefits from light power steering, rake and reach adjust steering wheel and three way adjustable driver’s seat. A high level of ride comfort is guaranteed by the Poncho’s air suspension. Safety equipment includes ABS, three emergency exits a comprehensive field of vision and powerful air over hydraulic drum brakes. For added safety the 850mm sliding door has a sensitive touch function preventing it from closing on a passenger. C&B took Poncho for a spin recently and couldn’t help but like the bus. The styling has immediate appeal from all angles with that happy face and multi light rear treatment. And it rides low with large expanses of side glass adding to the effect. From the driver’s seat, Poncho has good performance off the mark and runs smoothly and quietly. Gear changes from the fluid auto are imperceptible, almost predictive.

The brakes are super strong. It floats over bumps thanks to the air suspension and is easy to manoeuvre in tight city driving. Parking comes easy thanks to the reverse camera. The driver’s `office’’ is pretty standard fare , reasonably attractive to look at and functional with large easy to use switches and gauges. Plenty of elbow room too made all the better with the adjustable wheel and seat. Unlike some of the van based buses, Poncho has a real bus feel to how it drives and behaves – a feeling of solidity and security. Passengers enjoy plenty of room in the locally made and fitted seats with a row of high mounted ``theatre’ seats up the back. Access is a breeze with the low floor and wide door. Hino is confident Poncho will do well here pointing out it’s half the size, half the price, half the running costs and half the fuel of larger buses that are often pressed into duties perfectly suited to Poncho. No word on price but Poncho is a good thing by any measure.

www.truckandbus.net.au 031


Cover Story

NEW GAFFER FOR THE JETS

When a major sporting organisation gets a new coach it is normally back page news in our daily papers but when the Newcastle Jets announced it was getting a new coach recently it had nothing to do with a new ‘Gaffer’ as players often refer to the manager as, instead it was all about a new team bus to deliver the A league team to its games. C&B takes a look at the new team transporter for the Jets.

032 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 033


1 Jets players Jason Hoffman and Andrew Nabbout get comfortable in the team coach. 2 Scania’s NSW Account manager Warren Young hands over the keys to the latest Scania bus to Kathy Habgood while Graham Habgood and Laurie McKinna look on.

3 (Lto R): Jets players Andrew Nabbout and Jason Hoffman, with Foggs’ owners Graham

Habgood and Kathy Habgood, Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna and jewts player Nigel Boogaard.

G

etting to the game ready for action and in the right frame of mind is paramount to success in the cut and thrust of 2017 Hyundai A-League championship. That’s why 2017 hopefuls, the Newcastle Jets players and management travel to local games in a new, luxury Scania IRIZAR coach operated by high profile NSW operator Sid Fogg. The Newcastle Jets’ new coach (sorry about the pun) is one of three Scania-powered IRIZAR i6s to be delivered to Sid Fogg’s in the first few months of 2017. The legendary Newcastle bus company already has a K 310 school, charter and corporate 13.5 m coach, while a unique 14.5 m steerable tag axle 64-seater will follow in April. The striking Jets’ coach is built on a Scania K 400 IB 6x2*4 chassis meaning it has a steerable tag axle, shod with super single

“We have two professional football teams in the city and we support both of them, we’re proud to have had a Knights coach for many years, and now we have a Jets coach. 034 www.truckandbus.net.au

tyres, allowing greater manoeuvrability in tight city streets, and also provides exceptional tyre wear for the rear-most axle. The Euro 5 13-litre six-cylinder engine drives through a Scania Opticruise automated gearchange and performance can be reined in using the Scania Retarder, which provides efficient braking while preserving the service brakes. In addition, the coach has operator specified electronically controlled disc brakes all round. The IRIZAR i6 body offers 54 belted and reclining seats and there is a bathroom at the rear of the saloon along with a hot water service and an on board refrigerator. A rear camera aids safe reversing. The new Jets coach is the first of its kind servicing the Hyundai A-League, although identical coaches are used by the top soccer teams in Europe and South America. The Scania powertrain was built in Sweden and sent to Brazil where the Scania factory installed it into their locally assembled chassis. The rolling chassis was then delivered to IRIZAR for the i6 body to be fitted. The completed vehicle was shipped to Australia and underwent pre-delivery inspection at Scania in Newcastle, before having its Jets and Sid Fogg’s livery applied by the Trick Group. Sid Fogg’s Coaches has been providing transport services to the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and the Central Coast, for more

than 60 years and half of its coach fleet are heavy-duty long-distance luxury Scania touring coaches. Graham Habgood, who has owned Sid Fogg’s Coaches in partnership with his wife Kathy for almost 30 years, said his organisation was proud to support the region’s flagship football franchises. “We have two professional football teams in the city and we support both of them,” he said. “We’re proud to have had a Knights coach for many years, and now we have a Jets coach.” “When Wayne Bennett was coaching the Knights we took the Knights’ coach to Melbourne for a semi-final game so that when the players transferred from their Melbourne city hotel to the ground they were able to travel on their own vehicle with their branding on it. And they won the game! “This made a big statement in Melbourne; everyone knew the Newcastle Knights were in town. “Now when the Jets head from Newcastle to Sydney venues we transfer them there, as well as to corporate and community engagements,” Graham said. “We feel that this new coach for the Jets will also be a symbol of pride for the people of the city, that the Jets are a force to be reckoned with. “We know the Jets are over the moon with the new coach. They have wanted a suitable

1

2

3 www.truckandbus.net.au 035


“We have long supported the area’s sporting and community groups, and we believe that Newcastle people shouldn’t be shy about their presence” 036 www.truckandbus.net.au

flagship transport for some while and now that’s what they have. “We have long supported the area’s sporting and community groups, and we believe that Newcastle people shouldn’t be shy about their presence,” Graham said. Commenting on the Scania ownership experience, Graham Habgood said “Scania Assist has also been remarkable on the small number of occasions we have had to call the help number. It doesn’t matter where in Australia you are you get to speak to some one who can help straight away and they call up the nearest service agent. We had a small issue on one vehicle and it was fixed very quickly. It’s a great comfort for a driver especially the long distance drivers who may be out in the middle of nowhere. They know they have someone looking out for them 24 hours a day.” Newcastle Jets Chief Executive Officer

Lawrie McKinna said “This is a truly fantastic show of support for the Jets from a highly regarded local company. Since the Jets coach arrived it has been pressed into service every day, including transporting visiting football teams from China for coaching and training. “We will be utilising this coach for as many trips as possible, however the first team to ride in it will be Liaoning Whowin FC from the Chinese Super League who (are visiting) as part of their pre-season tour in the region,” Lawrie said. According to Warren Young, New South Wales Account Manager for Scania Bus and Coach, the new addition to the Sid Fogg’s fleet continues a theme of providing stateof-the-art transport to the Newcastle region. Meanwhile, Graham and Kathy are waiting on the delivery of their three new Scania, the 14.5 metre K 400 EB 6x2*4 IRIZAR with

64 seats, and running a super-single tyre on the steerable tag that will be used for school, charter, tour groups and corporate work in the Newcastle region. This will have independent front suspension and a 3700 mm tall body. “We run a lot of trips to Sydney for theatre, concert and sporting events,” Graham said, “so the 64-seater capacity will be very useful. We’re only two-and-ahalf hours from Sydney and our passengers don’t have to worry about fighting the traffic. “With the super single we gain 1.9-tonnes of extra payload for a maximum of 21.9-tonnes gross, and the steerable tag axle makes a huge difference to tyre life. “The steerable tag makes negotiating tight turns absolutely effortless and we benefit from a tighter turning circle too,” Graham says.

www.truckandbus.net.au 037


Future Trends

FUTURE TENSE An innovative multi-faculty PhD research program has been pioneered by Monash University researching public transport with the aim of uncovering better ways to transport human beings around our ever more crowded and grid locked cities. C&B went back to uni to meet some of the candidates and the academic driving the program that aims to discover better public transport outcomes.

038 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 039


“Our aim is to break down barriers between disciplines and to further understand and generate innovative solutions in the field of public transport” 2

1

W

ith the massive pressures that are being heaped on our cities, particularly Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with rapidly growing populations and the need to house and move millions of people the question arises how exactly will we do it. Most will tell you that the art of planning seems to have slipped by the wayside in Australia. Where once there were holistic plans for our cities, future thinking is now isolated, lacking integration. On the transport front new railways are planned and built without integrating with other parts of the network, new bus routes are planned but don’t join up with other networks, buses are too big for narrow suburban streets. We all know the scenarios and they seem almost endemic these days. Which is why Coach & Bus was so delighted and enthusiastic about visiting Monash University recently to meet PhD candidates involved in a very far sighted and innovative research program that straddles faculties and disciplines and involves 18 students, across six faculties, utilising 15 supervisors and six industry partners, making

040 www.truckandbus.net.au

3 it the largest collation of PhD students working on public transport research anywhere in the world. While cities play an increasingly important economic and social role, growth has generated significant transport challenges including traffic congestion and associated liveability, health, environmental and social impacts. Improving and developing new public transport systems has been widely acknowledged as a progressive solution but significant challenges remain for these systems. Achieving growth in ridership and encouraging mode shift remain key concerns for both research and practice while issues such as personal safety, an ageing population, workforce gender diversity and the changing behaviours of millennials are also important issues to consider. Effective use of older infrastructure, achieving better reliability and coordination and funding new and existing systems are major barriers to progress internationally. New technologies and new concepts for designing public transport including ride sharing will challenge conventions of how public transport is run

in the future. Advanced research is needed in all these and related fields to sustainably and effectively address the urban transport problem using public transport into the future. SEPT-GRIP aims to create a next generation of industry leaders in the field of public transport with a deep understanding of the practical difficulties faced by industry whilst also sharing a vision for a pro-active approach to dealing with these challenges using a cross disciplinary and inclusive approach to academic research. A major aim of the SEPT-GRIP is to break down barriers between disciplines to develop inclusive understanding and generate innovative solutions. SEPT-GRIP will undertake groundbreaking research in the field of public transport to address both the opportunities and challenges faced by industry and the community in Victoria and internationally. It is called Sustainable and Effective Public Transport – Graduate Research Industry Partnership or SEPT-GRIP to give it an academic acronym, and it is overseen by well-known and renowned transport

researcher/ demographer, Professor Graham Currie. Prof. Currie has been involved in transport planning and research all of his working life working in both industry and academia, starting out with London Buses at the Battersea depot in London. As well as being involved in transport planning across the globe Currie has been involved in transport planning for every Olympics since Atlanta in 1996 including the huge public transport success enjoyed by Sydney 2000. Currie says SEPT GRIP aims to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and the development of transferable skills, leading to cutting edge outcomes for both research and industry leaders “Our aim is to break down barriers between disciplines and to further understand and generate innovative solutions in the field of public transport,” said Prof Currie. The cohort of 18 PhD students on the face of it might seem quite disparate and disconnected but when you analyse the diagrams that explain the program you can see just how interconnected and linked the topics are.

1 Professor Graham Currie with three of the 18 PhD candidates from left to right, Victoria

Radnell, Jianrong Qiu and Sara Roberts, in the SEPT GRIP office on the Monash Campus.

2 Sara Roberts considering what might be and what might be revealed in her research program. 3 There is a very collegiate and collaborative atmosphere in the SEPT GRIP faculty.

www.truckandbus.net.au 041


2

3 1 Sara Roberts and Prof. Currie consider a ‘mind’ map of how the various academic diciplines could be linked to produce better transport.

2 & 3 All sorts of future concepts. could be looked at in the SEPT GRIP program.

1

“It is a long-term relationship and one that certainly helped create the SEPT GRIP program and drive research on the theme of Sustainable and Effective Public Transport” ‘These are quite diverse disciplines but they are in fact closely allied or are linked when you look at things in a holistic way,” says Prof Currie. He explains that the roots of the program lay in the relationship Monash has with Public Transport Victoria with the university having overseen safety management and training for all of Victoria for some time. “It is a long-term relationship and one that certainly helped create the SEPT GRIP program and drive research on the theme of Sustainable and Effective Public Transport,” he said. The faculties involved include Engineering, Science, IT, Arts, MADA (Art Design and Architecture) Health and the Monash Accident Research Centre. From the Engineering faculty there is Transit Oriented Development and Transit, Shared Mobility, Big Data and Visualisation, Reliability Engineering Approaches, Bus and Tram Priority Implementation, Placemaking and Street Redesign and Transit Network Design. From the Arts Faculty there is Tourism and Public Transport. Under Art Design and Architecture there are research programs on Future Train and Future Bus Design, IT is overseeing a research program on Network Synchronisation, Science has Simulating Bus and Tram Priority under its aegis while the Monash Uni Accident Research Centre is overseeing Road Safety

042 www.truckandbus.net.au

Impacts of Bus Safety Inspections and finally the faculty of Nursing and Health Services brings Improving Gender Diversity in the PT workforce to the program. It is a wide spread range of research subjects but the overlaps are clear with Bus and tram design over lapping from Design into Engineering and like wise those two subjects overlapping with Accident Research. Similarly Tourism and PT overlaps from its Arts home to Engineering and Design while Science and IT’s subjects overlap with engineering and Bus and Tram Priority Implementation overlaps with IT. Industry has been intrinsically involved in the program from the start with support coming through industry scholarships and mentoring. Public Transport Victoria is sponsoring eight PhDs, Metro Trains, Yarra Trams, VicRoads, Transdev and BusVic are all backing two candidates each. The program was first advertised in August 2015 and Monash received 180 applications, which were whittled down to the 18 PhD students who started the program in April 2016 The program is particularly looking at key areas that straddle several theme subclusters including Personal safety, Transit Priority, an Ageing Population, New Markets and Behaviour Change and Placemaking. “There are many links between themes

and links between faculties that will hopefully deliver solutions to our future transport challenges,” Graham Currie said. It is a large undertaking and Currie jokes that it can be a major challenge when all the candidates get together at once. “When most PhD programs get together for a meeting they can do it in a lecture theatre but with SEPT-GRIP we just about need the MCG,” quips Prof Currie. When we visited Monash to investigate SEPT GRIP three of the PhD candidates were there to discuss their roles in the program and their particular doctorate subjects. Sara Roberts is being sponsored by Transdev for her particular area of research, which is Future Bus Design. She is being mentored by Transdev’s Henry Wijers while Dr. Robbie Napper who has worked with Volgren and designed its Optimus as part of his PhD is her supervisor. Ultimately the goal is for the bus industry to work with manufacturers on the design of a vehicle that is more focused on the end user and is more flexible than current buses. Sara Roberts’ PhD started a year ago in April 2016 and should be completed in 2019 and is researching how bus design might be revised to make it more conducive to attracting new users. The Future Bus research will explore what urban local bus transport might look like in suburban Melbourne of the future.

Congratulations to Pavlovich Coachlines on the delivery of the first of 35 BONLUCK CITYSTARS

OFFICIAL BONLUCK SUPPLIERS

www.bcsa.net.au

Email: sales@bcsa.net.au • Phone: 041 733861034 www.truckandbus.net.au 043


Various concepts such as these will be scrutinised by SEPT GRIP PhD candidates in the quest to deliver better public transport for ourfuture cities.

“New technology and design concepts are reinventing the potential for the design of buses and this should allow us to move away from the slow, boxy, impersonal shell that is the conventional view of a bus now to something that is more attractive, efficient and modern in the future,” said Sara. “In this first year of the PhD it has been a matter of understanding and identifying the data and also talking to end users to find information that isn’t clear in the data,” Sara added.

044 www.truckandbus.net.au

“It has been interesting gaining an understanding from a design perspective what might be done to encourage more people to use buses,” she said. Autonomous vehicles, growing use of car sharing and services like Uber will mean the role of the bus will change quickly in the future. The buses of the future will need to provide for a wider spectrum of transport needs for Millenials as well as the ageing population. “There will always be a need and a demand for fixed route mass transit systems there will

be a growing demand for what are known as the first kilometre last kilometre services that are more flexible and could be potentially demand-responsive penetrating more confined streets, suburbs or hilly areas,” she continued. “Smaller buses could be better utilised in outer suburbs and are more suitable for hilly terrain and narrower or tighter streets and they are cheaper to buy and run, so there is huge potential.” Sara admits it is interesting to see how

students from different faculties approach the issues facing public transport providers and manufacturers.. Roberts current industry supervisor/Mentor outgoing Transdev Melbourne managing director Harry Wijers says Sara’s findings has the potential to drastically change the look of public transport in the future. “It’s good to have someone like Sarah from outside the industry, bringing a fresh approach and understanding of design to look at how bus design can

be improved,” said Wijers. Sarah’s supervisor in the program is Dr. Robbie Napper who has worked closely with Volgren in the past leading the design of its Optimus bus and earning his own PhD. Napper believes the SEPT GRIP program and Sarah’s research in particular will inform the bus industry and help direct stakeholder investment in more efficient bus design. “My theory is that the bus is a tool and transport planners will just want to pick it up and use it’ – like a tool.

“As industrial designers our job is to change the design of the tool to make it better suit the task better,” said Dr. Napper. Prof Currie believes that only with advanced research born out of collaboration such as the SEPT GRIP program spanning across university faculties linking with the bus, rail and tram industry will we be able to address the urban transport problem. “Urban growth has generated the transport challenges such as traffic congestion as well as other factors such as health, environment

www.truckandbus.net.au 045


TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

“If we are going to improve safety practices and performance as an industry it has to be underpinned by sound knowledge and these research projects will deliver this knowledge” and social impacts and the associated liveability issues,” said Currie. Although Volgren is not directly involved in SEPT GRIP it has enjoyed a decade long relationship with Monash producing two PhDs thanks to its sponsorship and collaboration with the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture. Dr. Ilya Fridman, gained his PhD in November last year through research into the design of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) for the Australian environment while Dr. Napper earned his doctorate through his design work with Volgren in 2013. Another PhD candidate we had the chance to speak with is Jianrong Qiu who is undertaking research on the road safety impacts of bus safety inspections and is being sponsored by BusVic. Jianrong is under the faculty of the Monash University Accident Research Centre under the supervision of Dr. David Logan. Her research is in its early stages but is looking closely at how inspections can be more efficient and possibly more targeted to the environments particular buses operate in without affecting safety outcomes. “The aim is to find better safety outcomes for buses and bus operators while looking at how inspection regimes can be streamilined and made more efficient,” said Jianrong

046 www.truckandbus.net.au

The bus industry has to achieve safety requirements under regulations that mandate safety inspections under varying regimes both annual independent inspections and more frequent documented self-inspections. Jianrong’s project aims to better understand the road safety impacts of bus inspection regimes looking at annual inspection results to identify vulnerable vehicle groups and components to better understand which parts of safety inspections are having the most impact on road safety. executive director Dr. Chris Lowe says he is excited about the Monash University partnership with BusVic on the project. “Monash invited us to take part in this multi-disciplinary study and we are pleased to take part in in the SEPT GRIP program. “If we are going to improve safety practices and performance as an industry it has to be underpinned by sound knowledge and these research projects will deliver this knowledge,” said Chris Lowe Victoria Radnell is researching Tourism and Public Transport for her PhD under the Arts faculty sponsored by Public Transport Victoria and under the supervision of Professor Vicki Peel. Victoria’s project will look at how to better utilise public transport networks to

facilitate use by tourists researching what tourists want, where they want to go, at the times they want to travel and what their expectations are. “We have a huge resource in our public transport networks which are generally aimed at and planned for commuters but which can also fulfill a huge role in servicing the needs of tourists,” said Victoria. “Its really about better understanding the data and the relationship of users to our public transport system,” she added. Graham Currie believes that there will be a huge number of benefits to come out of the SEPT GRIP program. “We have 18 extremely talented candidates so another outcome could include new patents and information that will move public transport forward with practically focused research and outcomes,” he said. Australia’s advantage as a nation is our educated population, intelligence and knowledge. The SEPT GRIP program is an initiative that utilises our IP to make our transport systems more effective and efficient and it will be fascinating to see exactly what comes out of the program in three years time when the work of 18 new PhD’s comes to fruition and is published, it may deliver us some advanced thinking and a better overall public transport system.

CAB-HVA-1216-SD

KING LONG 6130 VOLVO LONG-DISTANCE TOURER King Long 6130CY is the perfect fit for the Volvo B11R chassis, creating its own class of long haul tourer, with an outstanding array of standard features and optional configurations. The King Long 6130CY will surely impress you with a wide range of seating configurations including a rear toilet. The Volvo D11C In-line 6 cylinder diesel engine, coupled with the 12 speed I-Shift transmission ensures fuel and maintenance economy and enough torque to take on the longest haul. King Long – Built On A Proud Tradition.

King Long Australia Pty. Ltd. 130-132 Freight Drive, Somerton VIC Australia 3062 t. (03) 9305 2299 | f. (03) 8339 0265 | e. info@hvagroup.com.au

LMCT No: 10735

Please visit

kinglong.com.au for more information


International Trends

DOUBLE DUTCH Dutch Bus maker VDL has been redefining the double-decker concept in Europe particularly with its funky looking and ultra practical Citea Low Floor double-decker. C&B takes a look at the latest Euro thinking in downtown bus transport.

048 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 049


“This is the very first Citea double-decker in the world and it is going to BVG for use in their practical testing”

1 The latest VDL Citea DLF is a striking looking double decker with a capacity of 97 passengers.

2 The new VDL double decker on the streets of Berlin. 3 Dr. Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, CEO of BVG (centre left) takes delivery

of the first of the Berlin Transport authority’s VDL Citea DLFs from General Manager VDL Bus & Coach Deutschland Silke Tödte (right).

T

he Dutch bus maker has also won a test order with the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe) which has decided to trial the VDL double decker to test its ideas on efficient loading and unloading for a double storey route bus. Three million people travel on buses, trams and metros in Berlin each day and that is nearly equivalent to the city’s entire population, underlining just how big a role public transport plays in the German capital. The Berlin Transport Authority carried no fewer than 978 million passengers in 2016. Germany’s largest municipal transport company operates a total of 10 metro lines, 22 tram lines and 151 bus lines, in

050 www.truckandbus.net.au

1 addition to five ferry connections. 173 metro stations, 808 tram stops and around 6,500 bus stops form the backbone for mobility in the neighbourhoods and districts. BVG and S-Bahn Berlin GmbH provide the city’s residents with transportation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is fair to say that with those credentials BVG knows what it is doing when it comes to selecting vehicles for its transport operations throughout the city. This is the first double decker produced by VDL and is 11.40-metre-long on a two-axle vehicle VDL. The Citea DLF-114 to give it its proper nomenclature, features two staircases to the upper deck and can accommodate up to 97 passengers.

2 3

The DLF-114 fulfills both the economic and environmental requirements of modern day city traffic, with a maximum number of seats and passengers for a 2-axled unit. This highly efficient alternative for the city meets all aspects of the requirements VDL sets in connection with its brand value “Profit of Ownership”. Already the first of the Citea DLF-114s has been deployed on the bus lines in the Spandau borough of Berlin since October 2016. To ensure that they continue to have the right transport resources to meet the widely ranging requirements of a growing city BVG conducts extensive tests on new buses particularly with the flow of passengers,

www.truckandbus.net.au 051


GET ALL THE LATEST TRUCK AND BUS INDUSTRY NEWS AS IT HAPPENS AT THE TRANSPORT INDUSTRY’S BEST NEWS WEBSITE

www.truckandbusnews.net.au Brought to you from the resources of Transport & Trucking Australia as well as Coach & Bus magazine

Bus e-News

especially between the lower and upper deck and in combination with the waiting time at the stops and the occupancy of the lower and upper deck. In addition to testing, interviews are conducted to survey passengers’ subjective impressions as well as with BVG drivers involved in the testing. “We are pleased to be the first large passenger transport company to have the opportunity to extensively test this new vehicle,” said Dr. Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, CEO of BVG. “We are also curious to see whether the VDL double-decker meets our stringent requirements with regard to comfort, quality and efficiency during the testing phase, and whether this bus could be a useful addition to the existing BVG fleet.” “This is the very first Citea double-decker in the world and it is going to BVG for use in their practical testing, and we are very pleased that BVG has once again placed confidence in us,” said Silke Tödter, General Manager VDL Bus & Coach Deutschland. In developing the new VDL Citea DLF (Double deck Low Floor), optimum use was

made of the module system around which the Citea range is designed. Thanks to the clever combination of vehicle superstructure and a lightweight low floor construction, the Citea DLF also has a low net weight, which results in excellent fuel economy and minimal emissions. Add to that the long service life and the result is maximum ‘Profit of Ownership’. For the passengers, the VDL Citea DLF114 offers some extras and innovations compared to the buses in BVG’s current fleet. The rows of seats on the upper deck are equipped with USB connections. A display on the lower deck passengers can see how many seats are still free on the upper deck. The boarding area has heated floors (clearly important in a cold European winter) and the Citea DLF features a new, innovative interior concept. The floor covering at the boarding area, on the stairs and in the upper deck area is made in a lighter colour and the seat fabric has a completely new colour. Led lamps on the staircases and each tread provide better visibility. Kerb lighting and ribbed hand grips at the second door offer visually impaired passengers better

orientation when boarding and alighting. VDL Bus & Coach’s core activities include the development, and manufacturing of a wide range of buses, coaches and chassis modules. Its manufacturing base is in the Netherlands and Belgium and it places high value on quality, safety, durability, the environment, low fuel consumption, comfort and low maintenance costs. Sales of VDL Bus & Coach products are sold through a global network of corporate-owned sales offices, importers and agents in 30 countries making VDL Bus & Coach is one of the largest bus producers in Europe. VDL Bus & Coach is part of VDL Groep. VDL Groep, with its head office in Eindhoven is an international industrial company focused on the development, production and sales of semi-finished products, buses & coaches and other finished products as well as the assembly of cars. It’s a family owned company and was founded in 1953 and since then has grown to include 86 operating companies, spread over 19 countries with more than 10,300 employees.

We also bring you all of the latest news in an easy to consume email bulletin, Bus e-News giving you all the detail on the biggest stories and industry news allowing you to click through to the website.

SIGN UP NOW FOR FREE

“We are pleased to be the first large passenger transport company to have the opportunity to extensively test this new vehicle” 052 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 053


Innovation

TYRED OF FUELLING It seems like one of those things that could be too good to be true but in the case of Green Distillation Technologies it appears that the unlikely scenario of turning old disused tyres into a useful oil is not only true but actually a reality.

AROUND

G

reen Distillation Technologies (GDT) is a green start-up technology company, which has surprised scientists by producing a biofuel from discarded rubber tyres that can run turbo-charged diesel engines while reducing emissions by 30 per cent. GDT claims it can produce 3,000 litres of bio-oil from one seven-tonne mining truck tyre and while production is minimal at the moment, the company says it will be in a position to increase production to more than eight millions litres annually by mid-2017. GDT director Trevor Bayley said the company uses a technique known as destructive distillation to convert old wasted rubber into renewable energy. He says the idea was driven by a desire to reduce massive stockpiles around the world, which are growing at a rate of over a billion tyres a year. “We are able to convert this wasted resource and an environmental hazard into high demand valuable raw materials,” Bailey says. “The process is emission-free and some of the recycled oil is used as the heat source for the production process”.

054 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 055


GDT’s initial pilot production facility at Warren in Western NSW

“We are able to convert this wasted resource and an environmental hazard into high demand valuable raw materials”

It begins by loading end-of-life tyres into a process chamber, which is evacuated of air and sealed. Heat is then applied which acts as a catalyst for a chemical reaction, this sees the tyre de constructed into different compounds, one of which is condensed into manufactured oil. GDT claims to have zero waste from the tyre. The oil has undergone rigorous testing at the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Biofuel Engine Research facility, although scientists there admitted they were a little sceptical at first. GDT collaborated with QUT mechanical engineer Professor Richard Brown and PhD student Bangladeshi-born Farhad Hossain

to test the oil for emissions and performance at the QUT Biofuel Engine Research Facility. The QUT team tested the oil that, when blended with diesel in small percentages, gives a fuel that reduces emissions and with no loss of engine performance. The percentage of fossil fuel was varied during the tests and will continue to be in subsequent testing. “So we think maybe it will be bad, but we got very good results,” researcher Farhad Hossain says. QUT mechanical engineers tested the oil that, when blended with diesel in small percentages, gives a fuel that reduces emissions and with no loss of engine

performance. The percentage of fossil fuel was varied during the tests and will continue to be in subsequent testing. The QUT team tested the tyre-oil blends in a six-cylinder diesel engine and found exhaust emissions from the oil had 30 per cent less nitrogen oxide, which of course contributes to photochemical smog, while the rubber derived oil also had a lower particle mass than oil from fossil sources, but almost the same performance, according to the QUT research. GDT has operated a pilot plant in Warren in Western New South Wales since 2009 and the upgrade plans to a full production plant will see it capable of processing 19,000

tonnes, or a mix of 658,000 car and truck tyres per year. “We have been studying the logistics of how to handle those extra-large ‘off the road’ tyres (OTRs) that are used by heavy duty mining dump trucks, large agricultural tractors and road making equipment,” says Trevor Bailey. “The 2013-14 Hider Report estimated that each year there are 155,000 tonnes of these OTR end-of-life tyres of various sizes generated in Australia alone, of which 79.4 per cent are left on site as there are no means of recycling them,” he added. GDT attended the international mining industry expo in Las Vegas in September

and found enormous interest in the process from other countries with the same oversize tyre disposal problem, such as Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and the other South American countries where mining is a major industry. “GDT plans to have the first fully operational commercial plant delivering eight million litres of oil from recycled tyres per year commencing mid way through this year, followed by the first in the world mining tyre processing plant in either QLD or WA,” Mr. Bayley said. GDT developed the new tyre recycling technology in Australia and became Australia’s first ever nominee in the

International Edison Awards in the USA last year, winning a bronze medal in what is the world’s top award for innovation. “There are 1.5 billion tonnes of tyres discarded globally each year and Australia alone generates around 55 million disused tyres a per annum, while the USA generated more than 200 million,” says QUT researcher Hossain. “Getting rid of old tyres in an environmentally-friendly way is a universal nightmare for authorities. Stockpiles of used tyres around the world are a health hazard, as demonstrated by the huge tyre stockpile fire in Broadmeadows on the Northern outskirts of Melbourne last year. The fire proved

Tyres being loaded into the process chamber at the GDT pilot production plant in Warren

056 www.truckandbus.net.au

www.truckandbus.net.au 057


1 2

“We believe that after the first operating plant has been built in Perth, there will be a need for other OTR plants in Australia, as well as the United States and South America” 3

058 www.truckandbus.net.au

difficult to put out and generated huge amounts of toxic smoke.” Farhad said QUT engineers performed rigorous tests on the GDT tyre oil produced from recycled tyres in both 10 and 20 per cent diesel added blends. “We tested the tyre oil blends in a turbocharged, common rail, direct injection, six-cylinder engine at the Biofuel Engine Research Facility at QUT. The engine is typical of engine types used in the transport industry. “Our experiments were performed with a constant speed and four different engine loads of 25, 50, 75 and 100 per cent of full load. “We found a 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide which contributes to photochemical smog, and lower particle mass which means fewer problems for emission treatment systems. “We also found the performance of the oil blends were consistent through all of the blends and will continue this testing in subsequent research,” Mr. Hossain said. GDT boss Trevor Bayley says that up to this stage they had believed the oil from the recycled tyres could be used without refinement as a heating fuel or further refined into automotive or aviation jet fuel, but the QUT research could change this. “We are delighted at the findings of the QUT research as it will help us promote the sustainable use for end-of-life tyres, as it has already been found by refinery Southern Oil that our oil from recycled tyres has been overlooked as a potential biofuel source, yet they say it is the most reliable and easiest to refine of all. “They have said that the future potential of this source of feedstock is immense, in fact preferable to other bio-oils from plants or algae, plus it will reduce Australia’s dependence on imported fuel and it is an excellent example of converting an environmental waste problem into a valuable raw material. “A recycled 10kg car tyre will yield 4kg of carbon, 1.5kg of steel and 4 litres of oil while the 70kg truck tyre provides 28 kg of carbon, 11 kg of steel and 28 litres of oil. The development of Australian world first technology to recycle end of life car and truck tyres has been a story in itself, but that is nothing compared with working out the logistics of how to handle those extra-large ‘off the road’ tyres (OTRs) used by heavy duty mining dump trucks, large agricultural tractors and road making equipment. As an incentive, the recycling rewards are tantalising because using the GDT technique a tyre that weighs 3.5 tonnes will yield 1500 litres of oil, 1.5 tonnes of carbon, as well as the steel reinforcing which will go back to the tyre manufacturer for reuse. The Hider Report in 2013-14 estimated that there are 155,000 tonnes of OTR end-of-life tyres of various sizes generated in Australia each year of which 79.4 per cent are left on site and there are no means of recycling them. GDT’s Craig Dunn said that the tyre recycling technology was proven, but the handling of the oversize tyres was not. “These are tyres that are defined as having rim sizes ranging from 25 to 63 inches. “We have signed an agreement with Perth-based Tytec Logistics which provides logistics, storage and remanufacturing for OTR tyres as currently there are no means of recycling these very large tyres and the usual means of disposal is burial in a dump on the mine site, or in an EPA nominated dump. The longitude and latitude of the dump together with the serial number of each tyre is provided to the EPA. “Our first concepts have entailed placing our processing chamber horizontal to the ground, rather than the vertical position used for recycling car and truck tyres and using a fork lift and tractor to feed the OTR tyres into the chamber and that approach appears to work quite well, but we need to make it more mechanised. “We believe that after the first operating plant has been built in Perth, there will be a need for other OTR plants in Australia, as well as the United States and South America,” Craig Dunn said. It all sounds like a perfect way to recycle used and unwanted tyres, so often an environmental headache, and turn them into a dream source of bio fuel. Only time will tell if the claims and expectations can be lived up to.

4

6

5

7

8

“They have said that the future potential of this source of feedstock is immense, in fact preferable to other bio-oils from plants or algae, plus it will reduce Australia’s dependence on imported fuel” 1 Checking the ’numbers’ in the lab 2 The GDT Head office team 3 GDT Chairman, John Fletcher 4 Adjusting a valve at the GDT plant in Warren 5 In the early stages of production checking data is a vital element of the process 6 The GDT plant will be turning out thousands of litres of usable diesel fuel in coming months 7 The inventor of the GDT system, technical director, Denis Randall 8 Senior Engineer and assistant to the technical director, Zachary Cox 9 One large earthmoving tyre alone can produce many litres of diesel fuel.

9

www.truckandbus.net.au 059


Small Bus

MOVING PEOPLE IN STYLE The updated Mercedes Benz Vito has spawned a luxury people mover Valente that Jon Thomson road tested recently.

060 www.truckandbus.net.au

T

he task was simple, transport seven people in luxury on a weekend away with their luggage and with the least amount of pain. Often C&B finds itself behind the wheel of big buses and just occasionally we have to move more modest human cargo, which was why getting the Mercedes Benz Valente on a road test, came at an opportune time. Now that this writer’s children have well and truly grown up having anything bigger than a small hatch for the task of getting around is no longer a priority. Many bus fleets are now looking for small ‘limo’ style people movers such as the MB Valente to give more flexibility and to cater for smaller premium groups. With the MB Valente, we had the perfect vehicle for the task with eight seats, a Benz badge on the front and a whole lot of creature comfort and luxury surrounding us. While the Valente is a people-carrying version of the Vito commercial van it has a

lot of creature comforts and adds up to a great value package starting as it does from $56,380 plus on-roads. Everyone who rode in it during our time with the Valente asked how much it was, most expecting a price much higher than the one we quoted. That is the power of that 3-pointed star on the front and rear of the Valente; it gives even a glamoured up goods van some extra cache. Benz is muscling in on the territory that has been occupied for a long time by VW, the ultimate pioneer of the cargo van turned mini bus and latterly by Hyundai with its iMax, the bus version of the iLoad. While you won’t get the same level of refinement as a people mover and because of the size you won’t get the maneuverability, you do get a tremendous amount of space and in this case a terrific luxury appeal, which is why the Valente is increasingly popular with Limo and luxury transfer operators.

The Valente we get here is made in Spain and is big, stretching the tape measure to 5140mm in length, with a 3200mm wheelbase, which is large by any stretch of the imagination. The trade off is that the big box on wheels delivers extra interior space with three rows of seating in a 2-2-3 design. In our instance the seats were covered in leather adding to the luxury feel. It is also available in a less luxury oriented, more family friendly version, with two three seat rows behind the cockpit, delivering a full eight seat configuration. Middle- and rear-row occupants get roof-mounted air vents, grab handles, map lights and a button to open/close the electric sliding side doors. You can, if you desire turn the middle row of captains seats around, but it isn’t an easy task and can be awkward on your own, but it is doable adding to the flexibility of the Valente.

www.truckandbus.net.au 061


MISSED AN ISSUE?

The Benz Valente presents a stylish and contemporary look despite its commercial origins 1 A 5.8-inch infotainment screen is front and centre of the dash with phone and audio control buttons along with the climate control and electric sliding side doors buttons below that. 2 Valente’s seating options are both flexible and spacious 3 Roof console feartures reading lights and other controls

1

2

3

“The Valente is a refined and quite upmarket people mover despite its van origins” It’s not as user-friendly as the simple one-touch tilt-and-tumble systems we’ve seen elsewhere. The standard six airbags include full-length curtains for all three rows making the Valente a safe environment for those riding down the back as well as up the front. There are heaps of storage pockets in the front doors with three levels of stowage, but only two cup-holders on top of the dash. The Valente’s infotainment system comprises a 5.8-inch screen operated by dials but not a touch screen. Either side of the screen are phone and audio control buttons while the climate controls and controls for the electric sliding side doors are below that. Our test Valente was fitted with a reverseview camera and sat-nav as well as parking sensors and active parking assist system. It also featured active collision prevention system, lane assist, blind-spot monitors, intelligent LED headlights, and all of the other latest Benz ESP and accident avoidance software. Luxury touches included a leather steering wheel, black window tint, larger 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails. However C&B did find the low profile tyres and big alloys a problem with a mere touch of curb bringing

062 www.truckandbus.net.au

an expensive and annoying puncture and the need to use the low speed space saver spare. We don’t believe the low profile tyres offer enough of a performance advantage to be needed in a van like this and our tangle with the concrete proved this. That damage was added to when some nitwit in a shopping centre car park lost control of a shopping trolley and put a decent sized ding in the right rear sliding door. It is a big target and our inconsiderate fellow shopper clearly didn’t miss. The Valente’s van origins show with the masses of hard-wearing plastics across most contact points while the foot-operated parking brake and the ignition mounted on the left side of the wheel are ergonomic foibles. The Valente offers a terrific driving position with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment while the driving experience is very refined. Wind and tyre noise at speed are close to that of a normal car or people-carrier. As you would expect from a Benz it feels stable and planted at cruising speeds while the damping is excellent and irons out bumps and ruts with a smooth and luxury ride even on Sydney’s give and take roads and with those low profile tyres on board. The electric-assisted steering makes the

Valente a joy to drive with just the right amount of feel and assistance while it has an amazingly nimble and tight 11.8-metre turning circle, making parking a doddle. The Valente’s 2.1-litre turbo-diesel engine called the 116BlueTec, delivers 120kW of power at 3800rpm and 380Nm from about 1400rpm so there’s plenty of low-down pulling power delivered smoothly and evenly. The engine is mated to a seven-speed auto that delivers incredibly smooth and almost imperceptible changes and adds to the refinement of the Valente ride and drive experience. We recorded fuel economy of around 7.9 litres per 100 over the week we spent with it, more than the quoted 6.3 litres per 100, but we did have a full contingent on board for much of the time and did not spare the welly. Benz gives a three-year/100,000km warranty with 12 month or 25000km service intervals. The Valente is a refined and quite upmarket people mover despite its van origins and despite a few foibles, it does the job very well at a reasonable price. It will be interesting to sample VW’s new Multivan in the next few months to see how the two German mini buses measure up against each other.

Surf to www.truckandbus.net.au to register for a FREE back-issue today! For all advertising queries contact: coachandbus@adexec.com – 0404 883 249


064 Money Matters

PAUL CLITHEROE

Renault MASTER BUS

WORK ON YOUR DEBT AND PLANN AHEAD

F

ew things are harder than admitting you’re struggling with debt, but help is at hand. I recently attended the launch of the National Debt Helpline, a service funded by federal and state governments, which has the potential to turn around the fortunes of Australians weighed down by runaway debt. We are collectively carrying more debt than ever before – at a time when wages growth is the slowest in decades. It’s not a great combination. On top of this, interest rates are at historic lows but it’s unlikely they’ll stay that way forever. If rates start to climb, it’s a fair bet a growing number of households will feel the financial pinch. To be fair, our home loans represent a significant chunk of household debt. If you can manage your loan repayments, this type of debt is not a problem as a welllocated home will rise in value over time, and at some stage you’ll own the place debt-free. The type of debt that tends to land people in financial hot water is ‘have it now’ debt. I’m talking about credit cards, store debt and payday loans that let us buy more stuff we often don’t need, and which certainly doesn’t rise in value. Australians owe a total of $35 billion on their credit cards. And while we are using debit cards a lot more these days, the purchases made on credit cards tend to be big ticket items. The average credit card purchase is $120 compared to just $50 for debit card buys. So, it only takes a handful of big purchases to rack up a four-figure card balance. Now, you could say that compared to the balance of our home loans, the average card debt of $3,100 isn’t worth worrying about. The trouble is, surprisingly few people have just one credit card. It turns out close to one in five cardholders have three or more cards. That could

mean facing a debt of $10,000 or more at interest of around 18 per cent (by the way, the highest card rate on the market is a whopping 24.5 per cent). Looked at in this light it’s easy to see how disastrous this sort of debt can be. If you feel debt is getting the better of you, it’s worth giving the National Debt Hotline a call on 1800 007 007 (James Bond fans will have no trouble remembering the number!). Not only is this a free service, you won’t be sold additional loans as a way of paying off your current debts, or be steered towards complex debt arrangements that can seriously tarnish your credit record. Admitting you’re sinking in debt is never easy but it’s better to take positive action today than allow it to overwhelm you. Researchers in Britain have found people could manage their money better if they planned ahead for both the good – and bad – events in life. It turns out the Brits often plan for the good things - like buying a home or starting a family. But far fewer people plan for difficult events because they don’t believe, or don’t like to believe that those setbacks could happen to them. It’s a fair bet many Australians take the same approach. Understandably, no one likes to think about negative events impacting our life, but many of us share common money worries based on ‘what ifs’. A survey by Finder for instance, found 58 per cent of us worry about being able to afford a surprise expense such as a medical emergency. That’s equivalent to 10.5 million adults who believe they may not cope financially with an unforeseen event. Two out of five people also worry about losing their job. The thing is, it is possible to enjoy life’s milestones while also navigating any millstones. The key is to have a pool of

Safety. Comfort. Low running costs. That’s what we value too.

emergency funds. Regular saving is the best way to build up a buffer against life’s curve balls. Everyone’s situation and ability to save is different, so it’s important to find an approach that’s right for you and your household. If you earn enough to set a little aside each month that’s great. Think about asking the boss to deposit a portion of your salary directly into a nominated savings account instead of your everyday account. Or set up your own electronic transfer to coincide with pay days. Unless your finances are very tight, chances are, after a few months you won’t miss it, but this sort of regular savings can grow to a decent balance, even if you start small and increase the amount with time. I understand that for low income earners, saving presents a particular challenge. If household finances are already stretched to make ends meet then saving is difficult. But in my experience, we can almost always find areas where spending can be trimmed. Take a close look at where your money is going to see where you could cut back. The internet makes it easy to shop around on fixed costs like power bills, phone and internet plans to see if you could get a better deal and enjoy savings this way. Be sure to check too that your personal insurance cover – including income protection insurance, is sufficient to protect you and your family if the unexpected occurred. This is an area where many workers tend to be underinsured, based on the assumption ‘it won’t happen to me’ but unfortunately it can – and sometimes does. So it pays to be prepared.

Master Bus is easy to get into. It has an exceptional headroom space, a wider than average aisle and an electric sliding door and step.* There’s also class leading 3.5 cubic metres of luggage space in the back which stops the cabin getting clogged up with bags. It’s easy to get into financially as well. With a 3 year or 200,000km warranty and roadside assist†, 3 year capped price serving^ combined with Renault’s reliability and low running costs – we challenge you to find a better value mini-bus. The bus you’ve been waiting for is here. Visit your Renault dealer today.

064 www.truckandbus.net.au

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money magazine. Visit www.paulsmoney.com.au for more information.

*Electric sliding door and step is optional on Master Bus. †Three (3) year/200,000km warranty offer and 3 year/200,000km Roadside Assistance both apply to all new or demonstrator Master Bus models. Warranty and Roadside Assistance valid for 3 years or 200,000km (whichever comes first) from new. Demonstrator vehicles receive balance of new vehicle warranty and Roadside Assistance. Roadside Assistance terms and conditions apply. Call our Customer Service Team on 1800 009 008 or view the Terms and Conditions statement at www.renault.com.au/ drivingpeaceofmind for details. ^First 3 scheduled maintenance services capped at $349 per service on new and demonstrator MASTER models, based on standard scheduled servicing from new and on normal operating conditions. Scheduled maintenance services required every twelve (12) months or up to 30,000km (whichever occurs first). However, Master is subject to adaptive servicing requirements, as determined by the Oil Condition Sensor, and may require servicing prior to the standard twelve (12) months or 30,000km service interval. If vehicle is not presented within three (3) months of when the scheduled service is required, right to that capped-price service under the program is forfeited.

renault.com.au


EXPECTED SAVING OF MORE THAN

$60,000 7.3%

OR OVER THE LIFE OF THE BUS COMPARED TO OUR COMPETITORS*

A LIFETIME OF SAVINGS – GUARANTEED When you buy a Volgren, you’ll purchase a vehicle with the lowest lifetime cost of any bus in Australia. That’s a guarantee backed by world-class university research. In a recent study by Monash University, researchers investigated life cycle cost differences between buses with Volgren bodies* and others in the Australian market. After examining categories such as fuel savings, repair and refit costs, and purchase price, Monash found that an operator could expect a saving of more than $60,000 over the life of a Volgren bus compared to competitors. That equates to a saving of 7.3% compared to other bus bodies. * The 2016 study looked at the Volgren Optimus range in particular.

BUILDING BETTER BUS PARTNERSHIPS FOR MORE INFO CONTACT VOLGREN ON 03 9791 4255 OR VISIT VOLGREN.COM.AU/GUARANTEE

Coach & Bus Issue 27  

The first edition under the stewardship of our new editor Peter Barnwell. Peter has been a motoring writer for the past 35 years and worked...