news | the front line
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.