Sydney will get its first look at $51 million in new "bendy buses" this month, as the first of 80 new State Transit articulated vehicles roll off the assembly line.
Minister for Transport John Watkins will today visit Custom Coaches at Smithfield where the buses are being built.
In addition, Watkins announced the vehicle factory would embark on a new apprenticeship and employment plan, which would deliver new jobs to Western Sydney.
"The new articulated buses will provide commuters with safer, more comfortable journeys," the Minister says.
"The new high-capacity buses will operate on routes with greatest passenger demand, providing more seats on services such as the L90, which runs between Central and Palm Beach, and the L20 between Parramatta and the City.
"The Government is putting 80 of the best high-capacity buses available on the roads, fitted out with the latest safety and security features.
"They are wheelchair friendly and air conditioned to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for all passengers."
Additional features of the bus - built on the Volvo B12 BLE platform - include:
- Euro3 emissions-compliant 12.1-Litre turbocharged diesel engine;
- Video screens and cameras to provide the driver with view of central door;
- Rear mounted reversing camera;
- Passenger door safety systems and roll away protection;
- Capacity for 64 seated and 20 standing passengers;
- Electronic destination signs on the front, side and rear;
- Front and rear ABS brakes;
- Separation of the air conditioning system between the front and rear; and a design life of 20 years.
Watkins says the delivery was part of the Government's commitment to deliver 124 new high capacity and standard buses, following an allocation of $60.1 million in the record $3 billion transport budget for 2005/06.
"These new bendy buses will service communities across Sydney," he says.
"The buses will be based at the Brookvale, Mona Vale, Ryde and Waverly depots.
"They will bolster State Transit's fleet of almost 2000 buses.
"The first buses will now begin on-road trials before being placed into passenger service in coming months - all 80 are expected to be in service by June 2006," he says.
Watkins said the rollout of the articulated buses builds on the purchase of 100 new standard buses delivered in the last twelve months.
In addition, the STA had recently advertised a tender for 505 new buses to be delivered between 2006 and 2010.
Watkins says the STA contract with Custom Coaches had created around 150 jobs.
"I'd like to congratulate this Western Sydney company, which was created in 1955 on the back of its first ever bus-building contract with the State Government," Watkins says.
"While around 150 workers have been employed to build STA vehicles, the factory provides work for more than 500 staff and contractors in total.
"I'm today pleased to announce Custom Coaches will put on six more apprentices and 25 new production positions as a result of its work with the State Government.
"This brings the apprentice numbers to more than 50 - a huge boom for young trainees in this area.
"Custom Coaches' success has also meant significant gains to other Western Sydney businesses, like Sefton parts supplier Vulcanite, which provides custom made components for bus construction."