It was the call the entire heavy vehicle industry in Australia was waiting for.
Recently, the federal government, through assistant transport minister Carol Brown, announced a sweeping safer freight vehicles package. Headlining it was the news that truck width rules will change in Australia to allow the maximum width of trucks here to reach 2.55 metres instead of 2.5 metres if they come fitted with a range of safety features.
This decision means a whole new range of heavy vehicles can enter Australian shores and be legally able to run on our roads. However, there has been no indication that this same sentiment will be extended to buses and coaches, with the changed rules not even covering trailers.
Instead, the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) estimates this change is still years away for the bus industry, with the peak body adding vehicle width to a bulging list of topics to push to government that includes retention and recruitment, local content definitions, the zero-emissions transition and supply chain difficulties.
All of this is covered in our exclusive chat with BIC’s national technical manager Dean Moule, who was gracious enough to leave no topic off limits in our chat from page 54.
Despite these challenges, there are still many great stories of supplier and operator partnerships becoming a heart-warming win-win throughout Australia. One of these comes courtesy of Fuso and Adelaide’s Kanga Coachlines on page 18, with the latter discussing its historical links to the Rosa.
From page 22 we investigate another pressing bus industry issue in the impact of port problems that is slowing up the supply chain. There are a few solutions that can prevent OEMs from suffering from major delivery delays, but the fix is easier said than done.
Now onto the main topic of October, which is the diverse and intriguing HVAC sector for Australian buses and coaches. This feature has made for a very busy magazine this month, with the likes of AC giants Queensland Thermo King discussing its interval revamp on page 42, while rising suppliers like Hispacold (page 26) and Coachair (29) give us some insight on their recent growth.
With well-known market players like Valeo (page 39) and Denso (35) also joining in on the AC focus, these stories highlight the innovation and deep thinking that many HVAC companies are putting into their latest product lines and service capabilities.
We also heard from the air filtration and purification side courtesy of United Safety who, from page 32, have plenty in the works designed to boost patronage numbers onboard bus and coach services. Piave Refrigeration gives us a look into its unique standpoint in the HVAC sector from page 44, while Webasto’s latest AC technology is worth noting.
Outside of our HVAC feature, VDI / Yutong has yet another model it’s preparing for the Australian market from page 50, while Volvo continues its electric evolution and Scania has developed its NSW service game.
Alongside yet another impressive month of deliveries and another eye-catching Best Bus photo winner, this jam-packed edition of ABC is a highlight for 2023. We hope you enjoy reading it.