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BusVic prepares for major anniversary and ZEB event

July 27 is set to be a massive day for BusVic as it hosts its ZEB summit and celebrates its 80th anniversary

For 80 years, the Bus Association of Victoria (BusVic) has represented the state’s bus and coach operators. BusVic’s origins start in 1944 when it was created as the result of a merger of the Master Carriers’ Association of Victoria and the Commercial Motor Users’ Association.

At the time, the Victorian Road Transport Association included three passenger transport operator sectors that catered to long distance, metropolitan and charter and tour companies.

Throughout the decades the body took on a range of names – in 1969 it became the Bus Proprietors’ Association of Victoria – before finally settling on the Bus Association Victoria Inc., or BusVic, in 1996.

Since 1944, one feature has remained steadfast for BusVic – its ability to change government attitudes, improve industrial conditions and manage varying environments for the state’s bus and coach operators.

All of this is set to be celebrated this year as the association celebrates its 80th anniversary. In true working fashion, the festivities kick off with serious business as BusVic holds its Zero-Emissions Bus Summit during the day of July 27.

“The Victorian government is in the process of finalising policies around the timing of transitioning all contracted vehicles to zero-emissions models,” BusVic executive director Chris Lowe told ABC.

“The government has indicated that it should release its discussion paper on the topic mid-year, so we’ve convened the summit to go through the details and try and get some answers to questions that both OEMs and operators have regarding how the transition to ZEB should occur.”

The summit kicks off at 10AM and runs until 3PM on July 27. As well as investigating the specifics of Victoria’s zero-emissions bus and coach transition timeline, the summit also allows members and attendees to consider other issues surrounding a sustainable future, such as the choice of hydrogen fuel-cell over battery electric vehicles. Following this, Lowe expects discussions to be had on how to better safeguard against zero-emissions bus battery fires, ways to optimise zero-emissions bus network scheduling and the changing of route networks to incorporate the new bus technology.

“We’ll also be hearing from the Department of Transport on how the current Victorian zero-emissions bus trials are going,” Lowe says.

“Representatives from the Department will be there to provide updates on the trials.”

After the in-depth zero-emissions bus summit comes to a close, all eyes turn to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the 80th anniversary dinner. From 6PM, guests will be part of a celebratory dinner function that will celebrate the life of BusVic.

“There’ll be small exhibitions of bus memorabilia set up from over the years, with a range of new and old photos included of buses and people,” Lowe says.

“The night will have a historical component to it, with members of the BusVic board speaking about various eras for the association.”

Entertainment will include what Lowe describes as a “big and very Michael Bublé-esque band” that will perform numbers to suit the eras covered on the night. Lowe says that already interest is coming from former members of BusVic who are now out of the industry. It all comes together for what Lowe is expecting to be a milestone day in the history of BusVic.

“It will be a very special night as the industry will get to celebrate the milestone,” he says.

“The word is spreading fast and we want all people, including both current and former BusVic members, to register to attend.”

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