ed­i­to­rial | ig­ni­tion

It’s easy to talk about what things in fu­ture would be great, but once a big step is made it of­ten brings an even big­ger “what if?”

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Editor Cot­ter seems quite smit­ten with Se­tra’s new dou­ble deck, even though it prob­a­bly won’t get here. Why the fas­ci­na­tion? It seems it’s more than skin deep.

NOW THIS IS EX­ACTLY what I’m talk­ing about... It’s 3.00AM in the morn­ing, the mag­a­zine’s on dead­line, I’m al­ready sleep de­prived this week to get the is­sue out the door with the team, and this here ed­i­to­rial is the last thing I have to write.

At the time you are read­ing this (as­sum­ing any­one ac­tu­ally reads mag­a­zine editorials these days; I know I don’t) you are prob­a­bly won­der­ing why on Earth the Se­tra Top­Class 500 S 531 DT dou­ble-decker is on the cover of your favourite monthly tome, Aus­tralasian Bus & Coach (ABC) mag­a­zine. That’s us, by the way. Just in case. ;)

A model from a brand that prob­a­bly won’t reach our shores, nor get any­where near mass pub­lic tran­sit use lo­cally even if it did – un­less there’s the highly im­prob­a­ble chance that reg­u­la­tions change.

Well firstly, the pics – which I’m sure you’ll agree are awe­some – were free (Hey, I’m be­ing bru­tally hon­est here with you all. Much love). But se­ri­ously folks, as our covers­tory on pages 24-30 this is­sue goes some way to ex­plain, its land­mark safety ca­pa­bil­i­ties steal the show from its stun­ning looks, com­fort and style. But only just...

Not only does it, or some­thing like it, play a key role in max­imis­ing and ex­pand­ing upon in­creas­ing year- on-year Aus­tralasian tourism sta­tis­tics, but it il­lus­trates the evo­lu­tion of cer­tain po­ten­tially life-sav­ing and in­jury-avoid­ing safety tech­nolo­gies that is hard to ig­nore should be on ev­ery bus or coach, in my hum­ble opin­ion.

Its abil­ity to warn driv­ers of im­pend­ing col­li­sion in front – or to its side – with an­other ve­hi­cle or hap­less hu­man via a se­ries of in­cre­men­tally ur­gent flashes of lights and beeps and whis­tles etc., is un­der­writ­ten by one cru­cial tal­ent: to ul­ti­mately em­ploy the brakes it­self in the event the driver fails to do so.

It is a re­mark­able ca­pa­bil­ity and, en­cour­ag­ingly for the longevity of the role of a bus driver (let’s ad­dress that ele­phant in the room now) – and I mean some­one ac­tu­ally steer­ing a bus and not just sit­ting back on an au­ton­o­mous one who may well just end up spend­ing most of their time play­ing Tic-Tac-Toe or mak­ing cof­fees for pas­sen­gers 30 years from now – it cred­i­bly pro­longs the vi­a­bil­ity of their jobs in the global bus in­dus­try for decades. What’s on this lat­est Se­tra is like hav­ing a sec­ond pair of eyes, a sixth sense, and/or is a wing­man for the driver. A night out on the town with him, he’s got your back!

With the mag vir­tu­ally at the print­ers, I have to ad­mit in my near-cata­tonic state I did start to think maybe my para­noia was get­ting the bet­ter of me and that per­haps the is­sue of pedes­trian-to-bus-re­lated in­ci­dents wasn’t as bad or as com­mon­place as I had thought it was.

That the tragic death I re­ferred to in Syd­ney about six months ago was more an Uber-re­lated is­sue than in­ad­e­qua­cies in the ‘bus sys­tem’.

Hmmm. With bleary eyes I read right now that less than 24 hours ear­lier a Syd­ney bus driver has been charged af­ter run­ning over a pedes­trian. Ac­cord­ing to a NSW Po­lice state­ment, “Po­lice were told the man was at­tempt­ing to cross the road when he was struck.” The NineNews.com.au re­port con­tin­ues that the 25-year-old male pedes­trian was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to hos­pi­tal with se­ri­ous head in­juries and suf­fer­ing from neck pain. He re­mains in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

In in­stances like this it’s of­ten never clear cut who may have been at fault, but if we can’t have buses stop­ping them­selves when needed then we sure as heck need them buzzing and beep­ing and all sort of stuff hap­pen­ing if it means it aids the driver to avert such im­pacts through their cor­rec­tive nanosec­ond ac­tions and de­ci­sions – full stop. Retrofit it, what­ever. It needs to be sorted.

“It il­lus­trates the evo­lu­tion of cer­tain po­ten­tially life-sav­ing and in­jury-avoid­ing safety tech­nolo­gies that is hard to ig­nore should be on ev­ery bus or coach.”

Have no fear! It can hap­pen any­where. In any city or town. At any time. We just need to be ready for such as best pos­si­ble, with what­ever re­li­able and use­ful tech­nol­ogy we have. In­deed, it’s time to start Googling what’s out there.

In this is­sue of ABC mag­a­zine we have some solid news re­ports for you af­fect­ing our in­dus­try lo­cally, in­ter­na­tion­ally and … for all we know, spir­i­tu­ally.

The protest against the Mel­bourne Metro Bus con­tracts got un­der­way on the steps of the Vic­to­rian Par­lia­ment House re­cently, gath­er­ing 200-odd bus­ies keen to voice their con­cern, while VW and Hino have en­tered into a mas­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship – big news! Though my Ger­man is a lit­tle rusty, my sources within them di­rect from over­seas al­lude to very ex­cit­ing times ahead.

Now, Volgren’s do­ing some great things as of late, in­vest­ing back into its Brisbane out­let with more staff to meet lo­cal bus-build­ing de­mand, plus tak­ing out the 2018 NSW Sup­plier of the Year Award at the re­cent BusNSW Mem­bers Con­fer­ence. Nice!

Speak­ing of which, we bring you all the high­lights from that great event held at the Hunter Val­ley, which cov­ered a range of hot top­ics like on-de­mand bus ser­vices, au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles and where we are headed. And, at one point, we were talk­ing about work­place safety and ...Van Halen? True story. It was so in­tense I was ex­pect­ing Eddy Van Halen and David Lee Roth them­selves to pop out from some­where and start rock­ing out on the mini-stage in card­board cut-out bus cos­tumes. Yep, don’t let any­one ever tell ya ‘we’ bus peo­ple aren’t cool. Just say ‘ Van Halen, baby!’ – and walk away.

In terms of driv­ing, Paul Aldridge is in his child­hood el­e­ment test­ing a way-cool, old-school Mercedes-Benz O305 out in the wet while vis­it­ing the lovely folk at the iconic Syd­ney Bus Mu­seum, re­cently.

Plus we sus out the lat­est diesel and driv­e­line hap­pen­ings in our En­gines and Trans­mis­sions Guide – which we leisurely put to­gether over weeks and weeks of free time while sip­ping teas ca­su­ally with our lit­tle pinky fin­gers pitch­forked up and ev­ery­thing. Not!

It was ‘Bat­tle Sta­tions!’ all ‘round, ‘pis­tols at dawn’ and ‘hand­bags at the ready’ as we raced to get this is­sue to you, hot off the press! Yep, that’s how much we love you. :)

Fi­nally, don’t for­get to check out our world-fa­mous Clas­si­fieds sec­tion, and our leg­endary web­site www.bus­news.com.au and, if you are lucky, you might just snag a cheeky peek at your­self on our back­page pic­to­rial this month.

Other than that, trust me, I’m off to bed. Un­til the next thrilling in­stal­ment...

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