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We’ve gath­ered up all the key, hard-hit­ting Aus­tralasian and in­ter­na­tional bus and coach news to keep you in the loop.

MORE THAN 30 YEARS since it was launched into the Aus­tralian bus mar­ket, the Volvo B10M has proven it­self a vet­eran of nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tor fleets and its ‘DNA’ is in mod­ern Volvo buses rolling off as­sem­bly lines to­day, ac­cord­ing to Volvo Buses Aus­tralia.

The Volvo B10M il­lus­trates cer­tain key qual­i­ties of the brand, it says, which is cel­e­brat­ing ’90 years of in­no­va­tion’ in 2018.

The Volvo B10M is no longer in pro­duc­tion, but mod­ern Volvo buses rolling off its as­sem­bly lines to­day share the same DNA, the com­pany says.

“Many re­main in op­er­a­tion to­day, even af­ter 20 years and mil­lions of kilo­me­tres.”

A GREAT AM­BAS­SADOR

Many Volvo bus mod­els have rolled off the pro­duc­tion line since their in­tro­duc­tion in 1928, each “find­ing their way into the hearts of cus­tomers”, says Volvo Buses, but one model in par­tic­u­lar – the Volvo B10M – found its way into the hearts of many.

The Volvo B10M was launched in Aus­tralia in 1984, de­signed as the suc­ces­sor to the orig­i­nal Volvo B58. The heavy duty chas­sis with its mid-po­si­tioned 10-litre en­gine be­came an in­stant hit in the Aus­tralian mar­ket, says Volvo. Many re­main in op­er­a­tion to­day, even af­ter 20 years and mil­lions of kilo­me­tres, with a num­ber even tak­ing on sec­ond lives and pur­poses; for ex­am­ple, mo­torhomes.

Port Stephens Coaches is one such op­er­a­tor who has been run­ning Volvo B10Ms for more than 30 years. Pur­chas­ing its first Volvo B10M in 1985 for route and char­ter ser­vices, the com­pany still has 12 Volvo B10M buses re­main­ing in its fleet.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Port Stephens Coaches Chris Fogg ex­plains the real con­nec­tion to the Volvo B10M for him and his com­pany is the re­li­a­bil­ity, cost of op­er­a­tion and great driver ac­cep­tance over the years.

Port Stephens Coaches was among the last op­er­a­tors in Aus­tralia to pur­chase a Volvo B10M, plac­ing two spe­cial or­ders in 2001 and 2002 due to the model’s loom­ing end of pro­duc­tion date.

“We started buy­ing Volvo B10Ms in 1984, as well as pur­chas­ing Volvo B6Ms. In 1984, I said to my fa­ther we need to buy the heav­ier duty Volvo B10Ms for the fu­ture and, as it turns out, for the next 17 years the Volvo B10M was the back­bone of our fleet go­ing for­ward,” said Fogg.

DI­VERSE MOD­ERN USE

With 21 Volvo B10Ms re­main­ing in its fleet, Syd­ney’s For­est Coach Lines is also no stranger to the “much-loved” ve­hi­cle. Still op­er­at­ing to­day for route and char­ter ser­vices, its old­est ve­hi­cle in op­er­a­tion is near­ing 30 years old and favoured for the in-frame en­gine, it’s stated.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of For­est Coach Lines David Royle has given one Volvo B10M a new life, con­vert­ing the heavy-duty ve­hi­cle into a per­sonal mo­tor home.

Even af­ter more than 20 years of heavy-duty op­er­a­tion, CDC as­sessed that a num­ber of its B10Ms still had many years of use left. As a re­sult, CDC re­cently do­nated one of them to the Ad­ven­tist De­vel­op­ment and Re­lief Agency (ADRA) to be utilised in a com­mu­nity out­reach pro­gramme launched in Mel­bourne in Septem­ber.

“We will be con­vert­ing the bus at the rear to a mo­bile shower and an area of com­put­ers, where peo­ple in need can ac­cess in­for­ma­tion and sup­port when re­quired,” said Re­becca Auri­ant, di­rec­tor of ADRA.

The bus will also be utilised for a Meals on Wheels pro­gramme, de­liv­er­ing food to more than 200 peo­ple every week.

BUS DRIVER RE­SPECT

With a num­ber of on-go­ing com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive pro­grams, CDC has also con­verted a num­ber of its own Volvo B10M buses into one-of-a-kind pro­mo­tional ve­hi­cles for a range of com­mu­nity pro­grammes, in­clud­ing the Pos­i­tive Bus Be­hav­iour and Rid­er­ship ini­tia­tive. This fo­cuses on en­cour­ag­ing and restor­ing re­spect for bus driv­ers through pos­i­tive en­gage­ment, it’s stated.

“The project started in late 2015 and was orig­i­nally de­vel­oped as a ‘safe space’ for dis­en­gaged and less for­tu­nate youth. Through­out 2016, this unique ve­hi­cle was trans­formed in-house by CDC me­chan­ics into a com­mu­nal space to en­gage and con­nect with dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties – young, old, dis­ad­van­taged, or dis­en­gaged,” said Michelle Ho McKersey, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment man­ager at CDC Vic­to­ria.

Above: Port Stephens Coaches MD Chris Fogg rates the Volvo B10M’s re­li­a­bil­ity, cost of op­er­a­tion and great driver ac­cep­tance over the years.

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