A fresh start for 2017
There’s nothing like a fresh start to the year to make you wonder what might be achieved in 2017, writes Randall Johnston
Bus manufacturers are looking at new and cheaper ways to transport people and that is going to be vital moving forward into a future where public transport becomes seamless.
Autonomous vehicles will be transporting people both in a private capacity and in large groups one day, with driverless bus trials in the Northern Territory announced at the dawn of 2017.
But don’t pop the champers just yet, because we have a whole new year of BIC events to keep best practice and good old-fashioned communication alive when we need it most in our industry.
We’ve got specialist bus reviewer Steve Skinner taking the Volgren Endura for a run around the cliffs of Gippsland. She rides fair and smoothly as it turns out, and regional Victorian operator Rob Wise let us in on a few design secrets that he managed to throw into the mix.
You’ve got to be happy with your new bus, right? There can’t be many nicer places to live in Australia than the rural town of Wonthaggi, on the Bass Coast south- east of Melbourne.
Ross Wise has a lovely new house on a couple of acres on the edge of town, which doubles as the depot for his new school/ charter Scania/Volgren Endura bus. Wise is a Volgren man and says he prides himself on buying an Australian-built product ( p40).
It takes guts, determination and a whole lot of brains to steer your business in the right direction at the right time.
What puts food on the table one minute could be all but a distant memory the next, so you need to exible and not cling to the ‘ glory days’.
This is precisely what one regional Victorian operator had to do when V/Line Holidays disappeared after V/line itself was privatised. What once provided a steady stream of tour passengers into Victoria’s regional areas was no longer in place, and tour operators had to adjust accordingly.
“We started running V/Line holiday tours in the 1980s and we ran those successfully until 2000,” founder Lawrie Thomspn tells ABC.
V/Line was privatised around 2000 and, to the disappointment of a number of regional Victorian coach tour operators, the V/line holiday’s initiative was laid to rest, with the last brochure being distributed to tourism providers in 2001.
These tours proved to be highly successful and the venture beneted from the state marketing dollars being used to promote the wider Victoria region domestically and internationally; by having dedicated train services to link up with regional coach operations ( p34).
Last year went just and fast as it came and, with a change in Prime Minister, a couple of state transport ministers and even a few infrastructure fails thrown in for good measure, we kept ourselves well entertained. The year 2016 saw many highs and lows in the bus industry. As expected, a number of anniversaries were celebrated by operators, awards were received, and forums on all aspects of business were held.
The year started off with a bang with Higer Bus and Coach in Australia becoming a part of automotive and logistics company Automotive Holdings Group.
Sit back, relax and enjoy our Year in Review feature ( p26) covering all the events that changed the industry for better or worse in 2016.