Archive, Industry News


A tumultuous month it’s been, but one that is easily put into perspective. Let’s keep those chins up. If possible.

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Miffed, I was. Quite peeved, in fact, at this chap at school who accused me of talking nonsense all the time, saying it very fast and I was twisting stuff around really quickly in the moment. I recall the expression used was something like ‘covering my ass’.

Playground expletives in response would not be needed, however, as he said: ‘Mate, you should do debating!’

And so I did for the last two years of my higher education – and as it meant my team and I would get to mingle with rival private school girls I figured, you know, what the hey?

A justifiable strategy, no doubt, being a chubby kid meant the sports girls were just not up for conversations with a decent computer geek like me.

However, there was a brilliant epiphany for me because instead of foolishly wasting energy for virtually no social gain, why not take a punt at the excruciatingly brilliant and perhaps equally nerdy girls who could at least proffer far more positive insults?

Anyway … the whole ‘talking loud but saying nothing’ shtick wasn’t going too badly, taking us to the final against a team we had beaten earlier in the year, but to which our karma chicken would come home to roost, like an escapee battery hen angry upon finding out about true ‘free range’.

We should have had it. The topic was simple. The logic? Even more so, but somehow – we lost. However, despite the loss, I firmly believe that MAN IS MASTER OF HIS FATE.

There is much that has happened to us all on this planet over the past year or so, which may well make us feel that we are not ‘masters of our fate’. Day-to-day changes in restrictions, upheaval and changing work practices means it’s easy to just feel like a puppet on a string. Yet, that ability to see, think and believe – let alone actioning it – that you can change your stars, that you are master of your fate, is where one of the most powerful, invaluable, ‘unquashable’ things on this beloved Earth resides: hope!

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In theory, it was only last month I was writing an editorial like this calling for peace and ‘serenity now’, Frank Costanza style, wishing everyone the best as we headed into the Christmas break. Perhaps wishing no ill will or bad times for anyone until AFTER New Year’s Day was too ambitious and highly presumptuous, but alas – it seems it was.

The mid-December cluster of Covid cases threw things into disarray not only for those in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, but everybody else as well. Then cases popped up in other states, hard borders went up again, toilet paper panic set in and families were seemingly stranded while interstate on much needed holidays.

The impact of such was a stark reminder of the way we live right now and, indeed, has an impact on our coach sector, which in part was relying on a drama-free end-of-year break to keep their businesses ticking over.

As one operator explained to me, ‘if these knee-jerk reactions keep happening then it will be even harder for us to accept travel bookings and honour them’. Things seem out of our control.

Add in x-amount of people saying the vaccines are good, plus those now talking about the deaths from them (kind of defeats the purpose, right? But who knows?) and it’s completely understandable to feel down and stressed.

Don’t be. You are not alone. Reach out to others and talk about it. Be it family or friends or a call to professional help. Remember, there’s always someone who needs to talk and always someone that’d be great at listening to them – and vice versa. And that’s all of us.

Embrace it.

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It was with heavy heart we received and disseminated news of the recent passing of bus and truck industry stalwart Michael Apps, after a long battle with cancer. Aside from Michael being a valued columnist of ABC magazine, in his role as executive director of the BIC he did amazing work for the bus industry as a whole, in tasks often not fully known about. Our deepest sympathies to his partner Madonna and all those who knew him. Godspeed.

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Now, it may look like there was a conscious effort to have a certain theme running throughout this issue’s mix, but alas the guilt from pretending that were the case would be an unbearable burden for a wretch such as I, so I must confess – there was none.

It’s hard to believe hybrid buses were all the rage in Europe for a bit about 10 years ago, and still have applications running, but in the past few years they seem to be possibly finding a really good space in the Australian bus market for those operators cautiously monitoring the whole e-bus/e-mobility game.

On our cover this month are some Scania hybrids that recently went to Ventura in Victoria and also the first two of seven heading into South Oz with runs on the famed Adelaide O-Bahn on the cards – post trial (p.36).

Scania, like Volvo, which has just introduced new ‘zone management’ on its hybrid buses for CDC Victoria (p.22), seems to be doing a good job of championing the hybrid cause – especially in light of the overwhelming fully electric push. And after what 2020 has been like and looking into 2021, a short-term cautious option for some operators might just be on the money. We’ll see.

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Also inside we check out a cool ‘refurbed’ ex-Australia Zoo double-decker run now by Glenorie Coaches in Sydney, which has used some pandemic downtime to let Coachcare give it a good spit and polish (on p.42).

Following this, we test drive a 1984 Volvo B10M that was the 50th of its kind purchased by Westbus, and which now resides at the Sydney Bus Museum (p.48), while also kicking off Volvo Bus Australia’s 50th anniversary here, too ( p.28).

Plus some good-ish news in deliveries for December, 2020 – we’re up! Not masses, but in the grand scheme of things – it’s masses. But seriously folks, it’s definitely a positive sign and let’s just leave it at that. Because the last time I asked for something to stay positive on this page, well … not good. 😉

Until the next thrilling instalment…

Photography: Paul Aldridge, Simon Whittaker + courtesy Scania, Volvo

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