ABC Magazine Stories, Australia, Bus Industry News, Technology, Telematics

ABC Issue 440 – Out Now!

Recent news from all parts of the Australasian bus and coach industry highlights that the sector is evolving in front of our very eyes

As Bob Dylan sang; the times, they are a-changin’. The start of 2024 has given way to a variety of bus and coach companies making substantial shifts in the way they operate.

For 100 years, Ventura Bus Lines has been a staple of the Victorian bus industry. As a stalwart operator starting in the state’s eastern suburbs to now covering major regions of the state, the proud family owned business was sold earlier this year to Singapore asset management company Keppel Infrastructure Trust for an enterprise value of $600 million.

It caused a ripple across the local bus industry, as one of its more successful family business pillars decided to look to new owners for the next generation of bus and coach operations.

Earlier this year, another Victorian institution followed suit, with Crown Coaches confirming it’s exploring a sale to a new owner to help bolster its electric ambitions. Both Crown and Ventura are some of the last major family-owned bus operators still continuing in both Victoria and Australia. Their sale intentions are a sign that the dynamic of running buses and coaches in Australia is changing before our very eyes.

In a separate part of the bus and coach market, this same change can be seen in technology.

Our April edition of ABC focuses on telematics and its rapid evolution from a fancy perk to a necessary requirement onboard a modern bus or coach.

This is encapsulated by INIT, represented on our cover for April. The global software company started as a German university student’s side project in the ‘80s. Now, INIT has an impressive global reach, with its array of telematics, ticketing and fleet management solutions also becoming a hit in Australia, as can be seen from page 20.

Webfleet’s telematics solutions have become a popular part of the local market. From page 36, the Webfleet team provides some insight into how its system can be used to uncap several benefits.

Image: Prime Creative Media

In the local telematics market, Consat Technologies has been a constant in recent years. While its Australasian presence is only increasing, this month’s story takes ABC back to Consat headquarters in Sweden, where a chat with CEO Pär Thuresson on page 32 unveils the brand’s history developing intelligent public transport solutions and its evolution with electric buses.

We then go from telematics to passenger information, with Hanover Displays preparing to harness its global expertise with the local release of a new high-definition LED destination display and an enticing online portal on page 38. While Luminator has a different background in the technology game to Hanover, its latest Australasian bus and coach solution, as can be seen on page 40, combines all of its leading features into the one system. To finish the telematics focus, the Perth-based DTI Group is taking its high-quality emphasis to the telematics sphere on page 42.

Outside of telematics, ABC pays tribute to Ventura Bus Lines’ centenary celebrations on page 24. The family day encapsulates the diverse history of the Victorian operator as it heralds in a new era. ABC also attended the opening of Irizar Asia Pacific’s new Pakenham facility and found out how the site will help take the bodybuilder to the next level. Challenger Bus & Coach continues to make more deliveries, with its latest order seeing it travel to the Torres Strait Islands from page 43.

Whether it be operating bus companies or creating telematics devices, the April edition of ABC is a bookmark in time that shows that the local bus and coach industry is undergoing a transformation.

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