Scania Bus Driver Competition


Townsville-based Greyhound Australia coach driver Damien Christensen has scooped top prize in the 2016 Scania Bus Driver Competition

Scania Bus Driver Competition
Townsville-based Greyhound Australia coach driver Damien Christensen has scooped top prize, second was Leah Hahn from Mees Bus Lines in Victoria, with Tim Krekt from Sunstate Charters third in the 2016 Scania Bus Driver Competition

 

Second was Leah Hahn from Mees Bus Lines in Victoria, with Tim Krekt from Sunstate Charters third.

This was the third time Australia has hosted a version of Scania’s long-running global challenge to find the country’s best bus/coach driver.

All finalists were challenged to undertake seven manoeuvring activities behind the wheel of a Scania K 310 UB 4x2 bus with a Volgren Optimus body.

Identical vehicles were used for a road drive, while each of the finalists faced a 30-question road rule test and a simulated media interview to gauge their views on the passenger transport industry.

"Scania put 11 talented finalists through a tough series of tests on the road and behind a desk in order to determine who would win the coveted Champion Driver status," Scania Australia brand & communication manager Ron Szulc says.

"This unique competition puts the spotlight on safe, skilful and efficient driving, underscoring the high levels of professionalism among today’s bus and coach drivers.

It is interesting that all three of the top finishers are coach drivers.

"Day-to-day, Australia’s bus and coach drivers are largely unappreciated for the hard work they do against tough timetables, battling congested roads and all manner of other road users,"  Szulc says.

"The competition highlights driving skills that contribute to reducing driver stress and improving the customer experience.

"By putting these finalists to the test we expose their high levels of ability, but also importantly give them a chance to meet with other like-minded, passionate and committed bus and coach drivers who can impact the industry with their professionalism, courtesy and leadership.

Winner Damien Christensen says he was a little nervous at first, but he learnt a lot.

"It is a great way to bring recognition to people of the industry," he says.

The North Queensland driver supervisor of Greyhound Australia based in Townsville, started driving buses and coaches at 24. 

"In 1996 I started as a bus-washer," Christensen says.

"I went into the cooking industry, then decided after a while I had had enough of that, and returned to driving coaches and that’s where I am now. The best thing about my job is there’s something different everyday."

Competitors felt that the toughest test was aiming their test bus through two barrels they had set as close together as possible, as well as the slalom test.

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