An­zac spirit en­dures

NZ and Aus­tralia over­all have great bus in­dus­tries and idyl­lic lo­ca­tions we can take tourists to. Let’s show the world even more of what we’ve got…

ABC (Australia) - - IGNITION -

YOU could have cut the ten­sion in the of­fice with a knife. And I don’t mean some reg­u­lar old two-dol­lar-shop chop­ping block one, but a proper in­de­struc­tible ‘cut though any­thing’ blade you used to see on loop­ing late-night TV ads at, like, 3.00am or some­thing. The Samu­rai-esk Ginsu 5000, or what­ever. One of those.

‘Do we zoom in? Do we zoom out? In? Or out? Half­way? Right up close? Up the nos­trils? Or let’s just leave it blank…’

I could feel the zeal and pas­sion of the ABC mag­a­zine troops all the way from the in­ter­state of­fice I was in, so ‘ de­bil­i­tat­ingly’ per­plex­ing was this is­sue’s cov­er­shot.

I didn’t think it would be when I first ran­domly spied it on­line while search­ing for some­thing com­pletely un-bus-re­lated, from mem­ory. Most prob­a­bly try­ing to con­firm the cur­rent vari­a­tions of Tim Tams out on the mar­ket, or some­thing naff like that.

Was it about the ve­hi­cle? Well, yes it was. Was it about the lo­ca­tion? In­deed so, just as well. So … which is it? What’s the an­swer, I ’spose? Af­ter much umm-ing and ahh-ing the an­swer cu­ri­ously was another ques­tion in it­self? ‘ Why can’t it be both?’

That is, when I first spied the roofline of that coach – even from its orig­i­nal zoomed out po­si­tion – I’d re­called see­ing such a de­sign many moons ago, but had no idea where (it works on a coach; any­thing shorter and it just looks … chubby, like me). Bur­bling away in the brain for a day or two the prover­bial penny dropped. Eureka!

Dur­ing a stint in Bri­tain circa 2009-2010 I pic­tured catch­ing a coach from Lon­don to Ed­in­burg, Scot­land, for a wee bon­nie look around. Hog­manay, it was! Gale-force winds and ham­mer­ing rain. New Year’s cel­e­bra­tions blown asun­der and ran­domly bail­ing up in some lo­cal pub in­stead with the ex-mis­sus and tipsy lo­cals, where at times those Scot­tish ac­cents were even harder to un­der­stand. ( Think that Spud char­ac­ter in the cult movie Trainspot­ting. But worse.)

It was all com­ing back to me now. I’d seen this cool coach shape at the Na­tional Ex­press (kind of like Jet­star on wheels, I guess) bus ter­mi­nal, I think. It would have been a new­bie back then, as its strik­ing looks seemed new any­way – but un­for­tu­nately it was not the bus I thought we’d be get­ting on for the trip.

No of­fence to what­ever it was that did get us up there and back safely (it’s an eight-hour drive or so, like a Syd­ney to Melbourne hop), and it was way bet­ter than the one a mate and I took just out of high school back from Bris­bane 20 years ear­lier.

That coach it­self was fine, but if we ever find the bloke with the socks- off smelly feet sit­ting be­hind us all the way there’ll be noth­ing but den­tal records of him left, so psy­cho­log­i­cally scared were we. Yep, think worse than manky parme­san cheese and more like 800-year- old Gouda found in the base­ment of some se­rial killer’s house then brought up out by the cops into the sun for an hour. Eeew!

Any­way, it was great to see the pic­tured shape again af­ter all these years, el­e­gantly de­vour­ing the road in the pristinely beau­ti­ful New Zealand alpine coun­try­side. It turns out it’s a UK Plax­ton de­sign, a com­pany bought out and now owned by Alexan­der De­nis Limited. Who knew?

But here’s the thing. Truth be told, it was the scenery that im­me­di­ately caught my eye and the mar­ry­ing of it and the sexy coach shape spoke to me as a pack­age. An in­stan­ta­neous smack in the face of supreme coach travel in all its glory, as it were. And if slap­ping it on the cover in full is what it takes to get that ef­fect out around world for more peo­ple to em­brace coach travel wher­ever, then so be it.

Be­sides, a good English mate of mine ex­plained to me via so­cial me­dia without prompt­ing when she saw both cover op­tions: “I see the scenery first. It re­minds me of a coach trip from Can­berra to Melbourne, and the scenery was so beau­ti­ful that, for once, I never wanted to read my book at all…”


There’s a good chance that, at the time of read­ing this, many of you are at the 2018 Aus­trala­sia Bus Con­fer­ence in Cairns, Aus­tralia, Oc­to­ber 7 – 10. It’s an in­au­gu­ral event hosted jointly by the Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralia and the Bus and Coach As­so­ci­a­tion New Zealand. Themed Mov­ing Peo­ple – Cen­tury 21, it will ex­am­ine Aus­tralasian and global bus and coach is­sues around top­ics like mo­bil­ity, con­nec­tiv­ity and tech­nol­ogy.

What an ex­cit­ing and spe­cial oc­ca­sion it is and will hope­fully be a re­sound­ing suc­cess and ben­e­fi­cial for all in­volved, or­gan­is­ers and del­e­gates alike.

On that note, you’ll sense a bit of a NZ fo­cus this is­sue. It just hap­pened that way, I prom­ise. But that’s just the type of crazy stuff that hap­pens here at planet ABC.

As men­tioned, we check out the stun­ning Plax­ton ADL ‘ Elite New Zealand’ three-axle coach that’s used by a range of lead­ing op­er­a­tors on both is­lands. Plus we overview the lat­est from Aus­tralia’s own Coach De­sign on the eve of its very first 2.55m ‘wide-body’ Alpine atop a di­rectly


im­ported Sca­nia K 450 EB6x2 chas­sis, purely for NZ ex­port pur­poses. It was a first for the CD crew and it was great to get the low­down on what a project like this in­volves.

Also this is­sue, speak­ing of op­er­a­tors, few can match the longevity of Tranzit NZ – a com­pany nearly 95 years young and still go­ing strong, with the some of the lat­est and great­est bus prod­uct in its fleet.

In terms of bus re­views, we have a cracker for you. Paul Aldridge fi­nally gets be­hind the wheel of a ‘non-pro­to­type’ Yu­tong C122 – known glob­ally as the T12 – thanks to of­fi­cial Yu­tong dis­trib­u­tors Bus Stop Sales, in Queens­land.

From all ac­counts he came away suit­ably im­pressed, but en­sure you check our video re­view, too, on www.bus­ for the in- depth run­down. Plus, in­side here you’ll also find our event re­view of the ex­cel­lently de­liv­ered and pre­sented Tas­Bus 2018 show. Ge­off Lewis and the Tassie team there do an awe­some job and the con­fer­ence this year re­flected it.

And, just like the Ginsu knife com­mer­cials, “But wait, there’s more!’ We’ve com­piled our 2018 Pas­sen­ger In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems Guide for you and wrap up all the bus de­liv­ery news that hap­pened this past month. And not to let the fe­line out of the bag too much, but the re­sult’s a blinder.

As for more events, Volvo Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles opened its new AUD$30 mil­lion na­tional HQ in south Bris­bane, re­cently, so we were hon­oured to be in­vited to go check it out (thanks Kaylee Clark at Clark’s Lo­gan City Bus Ser­vice for the pics), while our pic­to­rial this is­sue is a bit of a quirky one.

The Bauer Me­dia Group and much of the col­lec­tive ABC mag­a­zine team de­cided to let out any dead­line stress, or gen­eral so­ci­etal angst and ag­gres­sion (kid­ding), on the lo­cal Oak­leigh lawn bowls field.

A great af­ter­noon of fun had by all ( yeah, we did work too ear­lier, don’t worry), and it’s prob­a­bly the only time us Aussies in the Kiwi-led com­pany were happy to bowl un­der-arm con­tro­versy free.

Yep, I just ‘ went there’. ;)

Any­hoo… That’s pretty much a wrap for this month, aside from a new Aussie PM. We are used that to now. It’s kind of fun.

Oh, and hey! Don’t for­get it’s not too late to en­ter the draw for the chance to win an HSV SportCat 4x4, or sub­scribe to your favourite bus mag­a­zine ABC for even more en­tries into it. Go on, you know you want to.

And so as I say as al­ways, un­til the next thrilling in­stal­ment…

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