Find­ing our roots

Some peo­ple are born into the bus in­dus­try while oth­ers just stum­ble upon it al­most by ac­ci­dent, writes Ran­dal­lJohn­ston

ABC (Australia) - - AT THE HELM -

It’s al­ways quite in­ter­est­ing talk­ing to Aus­tralian op­er­a­tors about how they came to be op­er­a­tors in the first place. Some are from fam­i­lies that have been in the in­dus­try for three or even four gen­er­a­tions, oth­ers were sim­ply of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to buy a bus busi­ness without re­ally know­ing what they were get­ting them­selves into.

In the case of Dar­ren Calow of Calow’s Coaches, it’s the lat­ter. He had no ex­po­sure to the in­dus­try what­so­ever un­til his new neigh­bour of­fered to sell him his bus ser­vice in north- east Tas­ma­nia – more or less out of the blue. Fast for­ward 15 years and he now has 30 ve­hi­cles, two de­pots, al­most 30 driv­ers and a small team of ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

He had pre­vi­ously worked in a wide range of in­dus­tries and says the ca­ma­raderie and friendly na­ture of most other op­er­a­tors he has met since is be­yond be­lief.

Cal­low loves be­ing a part of the Tas­ma­nian bus in­dus­try and says the co- op­er­a­tion be­tween ‘ri­val’ bus com­pa­nies is “un­real” – he even won Achiever of the Year Award in recog­ni­tion of his con­tri­bu­tion to the in­dus­try cour­tesy of TasBus a few years back.

“We all work well to­gether and give each other work and that’s some­thing that you don’t see of­ten in a lot of other in­dus­tries,” he says.

He took over Bicheno Coaches a few years back and is in the process of ex­pand­ing his fleet in 2017.

You can read more about Dar­ren and his well- pa­tro­n­ised patch of par­adise in Tassie on page 34.

There’s plenty more go­ing on in Novem­ber. The South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it will in­vest $ 300 mil­lion over the next 10 years for 400 new buses to ser­vice the Ade­laide Metro net­work ( p17).

SkyBus has launched a new di­rect ser­vice con­nect­ing pas­sen­gers in Southbank and Dock­lands to Mel­bourne Air­port, adding to its ever-grow­ing list of ser­vices ( p16).

We bring you con­tin­ued cov­er­age from the 2017 Aus­trala­sia Bus and Coach Expo, as Tech­ni­cal Writer Paul Aldridge ex­plores the prod­ucts that got his at­ten­tion at the event ( p20).

ABC also got the scoop on what Aus­tralian bus and coach body builders are up to in Novem­ber 2017 and what they are work­ing to­wards de­liv­er­ing next year ( p24).

Mean­while, Bund­aberg Coaches di­rec­tor Ja­son Beres­ford has taken de­liv­ery of a new Den­ning

“It’s been a while since we re­viewed a Den­ning so we thought we would take one for a spin”

high- deck coach. It’s been a while since we re­viewed a Den­ning so we thought we would take it for a spin and we came away im­pressed ( p38).

Don’t for­get to flick to the back of this mag to check out the lat­est Aus­tralian bus and coach de­liv­ery in­for­ma­tion and see who’s buy­ing what as we ap­proach the end of a huge 2017.

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