Fea­tur­ing more than 100 ex­hibitors, the 2017 Aus­trala­sia Bus and Coach Expo was a great event for the in­dus­try and an op­por­tu­nity to get an up-close look at new prod­ucts

Fea­tur­ing more than 100 ex­hibitors, the 2017 Aus­trala­sia Bus and Coach Expo was a great event for the in­dus­try and an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to get an up-close look at what’s new to the mar­ket

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS & PHO­TOS PAUL ALDRIDGE

Held at the Gold Coast Con­ven­tion Cen­tre over two days on Septem­ber 25 and 26, the Aus­trala­sia Bus and Coach Expo pro­vided a great chance to talk di­rectly to the man­u­fac­tur­ers, own­ers and sales­men – the horses’ mouths!

The expo was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to catch up with some fa­mil­iar faces and meet some new ones all too happy to show­case their lat­est of­fer­ings.

Two days may seem like am­ple time but, as with th­ese types of events, I prob­a­bly needed a bit longer to get around and talk more in depth. I did, how­ever, get to meet some pas­sion­ate bus peo­ple, saw some new ve­hi­cles for our ever-chang­ing mar­ket, and saw prod­ucts that I had no idea even ex­isted. There were some guest speak­ers I had hoped to watch but time just didn’t per­mit it – maybe I was hav­ing too good of a time chat­ting about what was there!

Some high­lights of my rounds of the expo in­cluded meet­ing Craig Mar­shall from I-Bus Aus­tralia, which had the I-Bus 500 Se­ries on show. Sur­pris­ingly, th­ese buses are built on an Isuzu 500 truck chas­sis that was shipped over­seas and re­turned as a bus. The model on dis­play was a 34-seater, au­to­matic with air bag sus­pen­sion.

“This bus is ide­ally suited to school bus and coun­try runs. Hav­ing the Isuzu chas­sis means they are very easy to main­tain,” he says. “With over 50 deal­ers around the coun­try, spare parts and ser­vic­ing is easy.”

I imag­ine with an Isuzu chas­sis the I-Bus would be a tough work­horse, which I’m hop­ing to test drive in an up­com­ing re­view.

I met with Mark Gamer from Coach Con­cepts and went on board the brand’s lat­est 2017 lux­ury coach de­signed for the cor­po­rate mar­ket. This model in­cluded a slick new front and rear de­sign with full LED con­cept.

“Coach Con­cepts have re­ally con­cen­trated on the Euro­pean-style de­sign of this coach. It’s what the Aus­tralian mar­ket is look­ing for,” he says. “This model in­cludes a rear bar for the cor­po­rate cus­tomer.”

I was im­pressed that a bar is even in­cluded, and this coach’s dash re­sem­bles a plane cock­pit – cer­tainly both the driver and

pas­sen­gers would be happy to be on board this lux­ury ve­hi­cle.

Luke Jolly from Cus­tom Bus Aus­tralia was a fa­mil­iar face, with the com­pany’s CB80 Se­ries II on dis­play. The SB50 was also at the expo but I was fa­mil­iar with that model. It’s al­ways good to see new of­fer­ings or learn about prod­ucts you haven’t seen be­fore.

“The CB80 has plug-and-play tech­nol­ogy through­out the en­tire ve­hi­cle. A full mul­ti­plex sys­tem makes this bus very elec­tron­i­cally ad­vanced,” Jolly says. “Re­gard­less of the chas­sis cho­sen by the op­er­a­tor, the full lay­out de­sign and step height re­mains ex­actly the same. This gives op­er­a­tors the ex­i­bil­ity of choos­ing vari­a­tions to suit their needs.”

Bruce Mose­ley from BCI had some of the new eet – which serves the chang­ing trans­port needs of city and busy ur­ban ar­eas – on show.

“The Proma is a low-oor 21-seater plus driver, where our nor­mal bus is a 28-seater,” he says. “This op­er­a­tor wanted a bus that was wider and more fuel friendly. BCI has achieved this by go­ing sin­gle one side and dou­ble down the other.

1: MAN’s line-up look­ing the goods 2: Neil Wang from Yu­tong un­veil­ing the lat­est coach T12 3: Cus­tom Bus CB80 Se­ries 2’s stain­less steel frame 4: The dig­i­tal dis­play on Yu­tong’s T12 coach 5: Craig Mar­shall show­ing off the I-Bus 500 Se­ries 6: Sca­nia’s 13-litre Euro 6 K450. Ev­ery­thing is at your fin­ger­tips – not to men­tion lux­ury for the driver 6

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