New bus provider for travellers
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.
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.