Fourth-gen­er­a­tion owner Trevor Heise con­tin­ues to drive NSW school and char­ter op­er­a­tion Cooma Coaches to­wards growth

Fourth-gen­er­a­tion owner Trevor Heise con­tin­ues to drive re­gional New South Wales school and char­ter op­er­a­tion Cooma Coaches to­wards growth


Cooma Coaches owner Trevor Heise and his driv­ers are get­ting around in a ash new 14.5m-long 3-axle MAN-Coach de­sign lux­ury coach. This ve­hi­cle is ad­vanced and has an au­to­matic break­ing safety sys­tem us­ing sen­sors that de­tect if you are close to hav­ing a crash and bring the ve­hi­cle to a halt. The 480hp en­gine boasts plenty of power.

“I spent three years with MAN in ask­ing them to get the three-axle back in the coun­try,” Heise says.

The new coach was reg­is­tered about this time last year and Heise says it’s been in­cred­i­bly re­li­able and a plea­sure to drive.

It’s a Euro 5 with EEV and Tip­matic trans­mis­sion. The same chas­sis can be a dou­ble-decker and it was the rst of this model to be de­liv­ered in Aus­tralia around this time last year.

“I needed a high-ca­pac­ity ve­hi­cle. I love the MAN prod­uct and the people be­hind it in Aus­tralia – Johnny Der­naj is my man. Be­cause of him, I have 20 MANs in my eet and 28 ve­hi­cles in to­tal.

Heise em­ploys one full-time me­chanic and has a full on­site work­shop, with most re­pairs and main­te­nance done in-house in the Cooma de­pot, which is about 100 kilo­me­tres south of Can­berra.

“I have a few Sca­nias and Rosas as well,” he says.

Heise em­ploys about 30 staff, in­clud­ing ca­su­als at the mo­ment. The bulk of the work he does is school runs, of which he has 17. He also does plenty of char­ter work.

“I’m a fourth-gen­er­a­tion bus

op­er­a­tor. My great grand­fa­ther was a bus op­er­a­tor, as well as my grand­mother and my fa­ther, Arthur Heise. My mother, Merle, was also a big part of the busi­ness orig­i­nally.

“My par­ents worked at Pic­ton Coaches un­til 1978. My mother and fa­ther bought Cooma Coaches and moved away from the busi­ness at Pic­ton in New South Wales.”

“I re­call in 1978 my fa­ther bought four school buses and then in 1980 he bought two coaches that were part of Rub and Beryl Ar­mitage of Cooma Coaches’ eet. He bought the school buses rst be­cause we were mostly do­ing school work at the time.

“In 1984 I ar­rived in the busi­ness. The coaches were owned by my mother and fa­ther at that time. My fa­ther passed away in 1993 so I took over when I was 28.”

Prior to that, Heise was driv­ing, clean­ing buses and learn­ing the ropes of the busi­ness.

“Back then it was a sim­i­lar setup: school runs – mostly – and char­ter work,” he says.

“There were 11 ve­hi­cles when I took over and now we have 28, so I have man­aged to grow the busi­ness quite a lot.

“Any­one in the bus busi­ness will tell you it’s not easy, you just have to do your best and hire the right staff and sup­port them the best you can.”

There have been many high­lights in terms of char­ter work over the years. Cooma Coaches con­trib­uted its ser­vices to the 2000 Syd­ney Olympics and pro­vided trans­port for some ma­jor events, in­clud­ing the In­ter­na­tional Lions Club Con­ven­tion in Bris­bane and on the Gold Coast in 1990.

Other high­lights Heise re­calls in­cluded the Bris­bane Expo in 1988. Ac­cord­ing to Heise, his abil­ity to grow the busi­ness comes back to the staff he has around him.

“I have a lot of long-term staff who have been with me for a long time,” he says.

Tony John­ston is one of the longest­serv­ing driv­ers for Cooma, and Heise wants to make spe­cial men­tion of him.

“He used to work for Ansett Pi­o­neer. For 42 years he’s been driv­ing buses and coaches – and it shows. Tony came to work for me around about 2000, but I’ve known Tony for a lot longer than that.”

At the mo­ment, and in the fu­ture, Heise says he will fo­cus on strength­en­ing the long-term re­la­tion­ships his busi­ness has with a num­ber of lo­cal schools in the area.

Clock­wise from top left: A rich his­tory; The MAN in­te­rior; The MAN looks sharp from the out­side; Trevor Heise with vet­eran driver Tony John­ston

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