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Inaugural Busfest to show off a wide range of old and new buses

Busfest will be held for the first time this weekend in Sydney, with old and new buses set to be on display from a wide array of operators

The Sydney Bus Museum will hold its inaugural Busfest this Sunday. More than 40 buses will be on display, ranging from brand new electric buses to restored vintage classics.

Sydney Bus Museum manager Bob Gioia says Busfest came to fruition after people in the industry showed an interest in an event that displayed older and newer buses following a previous event by the museum that had shown just vintage buses.

“We decided we wanted to do something very similar to an event they do in the UK, which is called SHOWBUS, where around 300-400 buses appear at that,” Gioia told ABC.

“This is our first attempt at doing this at Busfest and we’re keen to engage with the industry and with the operators.”

The event will see people initially start at the Sydney Bus Museum before travelling 10 minutes via shuttle bus to the White Bay Cruise Terminal, where all buses will be on display.

Busways is set to be the featured operator, with majority of this year’s Busfest operators coming from New South Wales.

“As well as Busways’ electric bus, we’re going to have five of its retired and preserved buses that will be on show,” Gioia says.

“Other big operators include Transit Systems, CDC New South Wales, Glenorie Coaches, Kingsgrove Bus & Coach, Warrigal Charters, Kinetic, North Sydney Bus Charters and Buslines Group.”

Gioia says that the event is a fantastic opportunity for these operators to promote themselves as well as gain recognition for the work they’ve put in.

Along with those bus operators, there’s also a variety of buses between 1970 and 2000 that will be on display.

This includes a 1986 Hino BG300, a 1994 MCA Coach and a 2000 MAN 18.24. Buses and coaches built by Leopard, Volvo, MIN & Mercedes between the 1970s and 1990s will also be on display.

The future buses on display include fresh buses from operators Custom Bus and North Sydney Bus Charters.

“We’ve got a brand-new Custom Denning Element Two. That’s a bus that’s just gone through the commission phase and is about to be delivered to its first customer,” Gioia says.

“The North Sydney Bus Charters’ Go Zero group has got a brand-new prototype coach, which is imported from China.

“It’s the first of 30, they’ve got 30 of those arriving next year. That first one will be available for display and it’s also going to give a few rides in the afternoon.”

Buses from Brisbane and Melbourne will also be at the location. Gioia says that Busfest isn’t just for bus operators to display their buses, it’s also for people to show buses they’ve kept restored.

“There’s a lot of buses that people have brought, preserved and restored, and they’re showing them,” Gioia says.

“It’s a little bit like a car show in a sense, but for buses.”

Along with the bus display, visitors will be treated to a sausage sizzle by the Kids with Cancer Charity, while a coffee van will be located at the site.

Planning has already begun for the next edition of Busfest. Gioia says that Westbus will be the main operator in 2024 with it being the 40 year anniversary since Westbus’ commencement.

“We’ve got a couple of preserved Westbus vehicles and some of our members have others,” Gioia says.

“The plan next year is for it to be bigger and better with Westbus as the featured operator and CDC NSW, which is what is currently Westbus, so we hope to have them onboard that as well.”

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