New bus provider for trav­ellers

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - By TATE SPI­TERI

Anew vil­lage bus ser­vice will pro­vide a much im­proved ex­pe­ri­ence and greater safety for on-moun­tain staff and guests at Mt Hotham and Din­ner Plain this win­ter.

Alpine Spirit Coaches will bring the re­sort’s buses in line with modern metropolitan stan­dards af­ter tak­ing on the ser­vice from the Mt Hotham Re­sort Man­age­ment Board.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of a modern, spa­cious and wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble fleet, Mt Hotham will be the only re­sort to of­fer a ser­vice ca­pa­ble of cater­ing for wheel­chairs.

Alpine Spirit Coaches owner Chris Bonacci said his com­pany will op­er­ate six low floor buses in the Hotham vil­lage and two high class coaches from Din­ner Plain.

In a ma­jor boost for tourists the Hotham buses will op­er­ate with an Uber-style op­er­a­tive sys­tem thanks to GPS tech­nol­ogy.

Guests will be able to track the buses from their de­vices al­low­ing them to wait in the com­fort of their lodg­ings or a restau­rant un­til the bus ar­rives.

“Peo­ple can regis­ter as a bus user and that also al­lows them to hail a bus through our web­page,” Mr Bonacci said.

“They can or­der a bus af­ter hours so in the low peak times dur­ing the day or in the late times at say 8pm to 1.45am.

“It’s de­mand re­spon­sive trans­port, if there’s a group of peo­ple at Hotham Tourist Lounge they can book a bus and

Dwe can pick them up within a 15 minute pe­riod, if not less.” inner Plain trans­port will also go up a notch with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a smart card travel sys­tem, sim­i­lar to that of Myki.

The new fleet will be man­aged by a Moun­tain Trans­port Op­er­a­tions Man­ager based at Mt Hotham, al­low­ing the ser­vice to dy­nam­i­cally re­spond to de­mand.

For guests, not only will all busses be eas­ier to board, ad­di­tional heat­ing will also en­sure a much more com­fort­able jour­ney. Guest ser­vices man­ager Kevin Ray­mond said the Mt Hotham Alpine Re­sort Man­age­ment Board was com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing an amaz­ing alpine ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We strongly be­lieve the pro­vi­sion of a vil­lage bus ser­vice in win­ter is cen­tral to the guest ex­pe­ri­ence of the re­sort,” he said.

“Mt Hotham re­mains unique in of­fer­ing this ser­vice to guests at no ex­tra cost above re­sort en­try fees.”

In tak­ing on the on-moun­tain ser­vice Alpine Spirit have in­te­grat­ing their Snow­ball Ex­press ser­vice to form an or­gan­ised bus route all the way from Mel­bourne to Din­ner Plain and ev­ery­where in-be­tween.

“We can ac­tu­ally link all our ser­vices to­gether so any­one trav­el­ling can do it all with us and we can man­age their deal­ings pretty smoothly,” Mr Bonacci said.

The ad­di­tional ser­vice is also set to in­crease Alpine Spirit’s staff from 21 to 36 by the time win­ter is in full swing.

PHOTO: Tate Spi­teri

ALL ABOARD: Alpine Spirit Coaches owner Chris Bonacci was joined by Mt Hotham Re­sort Man­age­ment Board guest ser­vices man­ager Kevin Ray­mond to check out the new buses for the up­com­ing win­ter.

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