Greener pastures

Kangaroo Bus Lines have greener pastures to graze in, evident at its weekend depot opening

Greener pastures
Greener pastures

By David Goeldner | July 9, 2012

Located on Brisbane’s outer fringes there is no denying Kangaroo Buslines’ new depot is among the smartest, most innovative facilities yet seen in Australia.

So smart, in fact, that a recent presentation by Levanta’s chief engineer Joe Bourke was equally smart, giving testimony to a workplace certain to be envied by other operators.

Bourke’s presentation on the depot’s workshop design at BusVic’s Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo in Melbourne, just days before KBL’s Burpengary opening in Queensland last weekend, attracted almost as many delegates as the actual opening attracted guests – which was many.

Bourke says the team effort that went into the overall design and construction of the depot was ‘second to none’, with Kangaroo Bus Lines contracting Melbourne-based DZine as the architect and construction company, and Levanta as the workshop designer.

DZine director Steve Horn says the process involved two years of planning and about a year of construction, replacing crowded leased facilities at nearby Morayfield on Brisbane’s northern outskirts.

"They didn’t have enough room at Morayfield, they were growing and needed a facility like this to operate in," says Horn.

"These are special facilities, and we are not talking about a square box here – we are talking about a functional, procedural building that functions around the way they operate."

Horn explains the depot has been designed in three main parts.

"There’s an office and operations centre that runs the day to day side of the business, then there’s the ‘nuts and bolts’ which is the workshop – and then there’s the face of it, the buses on the road," says Horn.

Within an hour of about 200 well-wishers arriving for last Saturday’s opening, TransLink CEO Neil Scales, Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson, and proud KBL owner-operator Daryl Webster delivered their speeches and unveiled the opening ceremony plaque.

Anyone with any political connection to the region or to Queensland’s public transport attended the opening. Even Australia’s youngest Federal MP, Wyatt Roy, was there as the local representative for the Longman electorate.

Webster thanked his supporters, notably Neil Dyson upon whose depot in Melbourne provided some inspiration for the Burpengary facility. Webster particularly thanked KBL staff for their patience during construction.

Given that KBL occupies ‘territory’ within a growing public transport-dependant corridor north of Brisbane, TransLink CEO Neil Scales provided a few statistics placing the new depot high within its service delivery plans.

"This new $18.6 million depot is helping our local delivery partner Kangaroo Bus Lines to cater for the extensive growth that is expected in the area over the coming years," Scales says.

"The new purpose-built 30,311 square metre depot will help meet the needs of this family-owned company as it continues to grow its fleet."

Scales says his organisation was committed to working with the Webster family over the coming years.

Transport Minister Emerson declared the depot open, consigning July 7, 2012 to history, noting – for the record – that the Burpengary facility is, indeed, ‘world class’.

Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape attended the event and gave an apt summary on how things came to pass.

"It’s been a long time coming, and KBL had to jump a few hurdles, but as Daryl said in his speech there were times when they didn’t think it would happen, and I must admit I thought they might have hit a brick wall," Tape says.

"But they persisted and persevered and it’s excellent to see recognition of the Webster family with the amount of people that has turned up for the opening – people from interstate, neighbouring TransLink operators, and a good mix of suppliers and manufacturers.

"I think it’s a great tribute to the Webster family."

Tape says Daryl and Jan Webster exemplify the nature of Queensland’s bus industry.

"We are a family industry in this state, and this has been a fantastic event for our industry in Queensland."

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