While there was plenty happening in 2016, I think most would agree that the progress and advances the industry is making went to a whole new level in 2017, writes
There can be no doubts that operators, suppliers and state transit authorities are starting to recognise the shift in terms of what customers expect from transport providers in the community. There was no shortage of news and some big announcements made within the bus and coach industry in 2017.
We are still at least half a decade away from having driverless vehicles sharing actual street space with traditional vehicles, but there are now autonomous trials already happening all around Australia.
There were countess operator buyouts as the mum-and-dadtype operators relinquish their holdings to the major players in the market. The largest operators are increasingly showing interest in on-demand services and ways they can provide demand-responsive services to fill public transport gaps.
The year started off with some big announcements to shake up the industry. Hundreds of public bus routes in Sydney were privatised, which was not to everyone’s liking. Keolis Downer’s bid to operate Newcastle Transport services was accepted; Marcopolo announced that it had acquired the remaining 25 per cent stake in Volgren; Volvo Bus Australia hosted the official launch of the Volvo B8R and Volvo B8RLE chassis in April-May; the Australasia Bus and Coach Expo on the Gold Coast was a huge event; and there were a lot of other new product launches throughout the year.
The year 2017 saw many highs and lows in the bus industry.
A number of anniversaries were celebrated by operators, awards were received and forums on all aspects of business were held. Check out all the news and events that shaped our industry in 2017 on page 24.
Big things are happening on the product side of things this year, so we thought we’d get started with a new European contender.
The Van Hool EX 16H has landed in the Australian market. Technical Writer Paul Aldridge puts it through its paces ( p38).
While underway in some metro areas already, demand- responsive transport trials are now also coming to the regions ( p44).
“There were countess buyouts as mum-anddad-type operators relinquish their holdings to major players”
Monthly new bus deliveries have remained steady throughout Australia recently. Turn to page 54 to see our exclusive bus delivery data for the month of December at the back of this magazine to check out the latest Australian bus and coach delivery information – and see who is upgrading their fleet as we kick on into what is sure to be a busy new year. Enjoy!