By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: Fabian Cotter

VOLVO BUS AUSTRALIA has been named Supplier of the Year and won the equally prestigious Environmental & Innovation Award at the 2018 Queensland Bus Industry Council’s (QBIC) Annual Conference, held at the Sebel Pelican Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast, May 5-7.

Volvo Bus Australia’s national service manager Michael Blundell joins general manager Lauren Downs to receive the prestigious Environmental & Innovation Award. Volvo Bus Australia was also crowned 2018 QLD Supplier of the Year.

The accolades capped off a night of celebration for Volvo, which also had a few of its leading customers in the State recognised with top honours in other categories.

"We weren’t expecting it and we are extremely humbled by it," said Volvo Bus Australia’s general manager Lauren Downs.

"It’s just been really exciting as a lot of it [Environmental & Innovation Award] was for our hybrid and our telematics.

"Volvo would really like to thanks its customers for their ongoing loyalty and support, and thank them for the trust they place in our people and our products on a daily basis. It’s something that we really don’t take for granted," she said.

"Customer success is one of our five values, so we know that without their success then we are not successful - so that award’s for that.

"Another of our values is change and I think that the work we did with telematics and … with hybrids proves that we want to be at the forefront of innovation – which fits in very nicely with our ’90 Years of Innovation’ this year".

According to QBIC executive director and association secretary David Tape, Volvo’s Supplier of the Year award was for a range of factors, including: being a long-term force in the Queensland bus industry; its widespread introduction of telematics technologies, as well as the introduction of its hybrid product line on the streets of Brisbane; an outstanding level of service through the State’s largest bus and coach dealer network with continued investment in training and development staff, new facilities and customer training, among many other key aspects.

Its Environmental & Innovation Award – against nominees Carbridge Pty Ltd and Turlough O’Flynn Sunbus, Transit Group Australia – was for its ongoing environmental projects with Brisbane City Council; significant fuel savings and associated benefits in driver development, safety and passenger comfort in addition to some of the earlier mentioned attributes.


Other key awards and their winners presented during a gala dinner night celebration were:

  • The inaugural TransLink People’s Choice Award – Ella Reid (Clarks Logan City Bus Service);
  • The Manmeet Sharma Perpetual Professional Driver Award – Graeme McCulloch (Mt Gravatt Coach and Travel);
  • Outstanding Employer Award – Clarks Logan City Bus Service;
  • Apprentice of the Year – Taz Logan;
  • SURA Achiever of the Year Award – Darren Evans (Sunbus, Transit Australia Group);
  • Outstanding Contribution Award – Graham Davis, Clarks Logan City Bus Service;
  • Executive Directors Choice Award – Sarah Muirhead (Member Services Office, QBIC).

Other notable awards for long-service were:

  • 70 Years of Service – Stewart & Sons, Tigell Family Trust;
  • 40 Years of Service – Kangaroo Bus Lines, Emerson Bus Company, Red and White Coaches Australia;
  • 30 Years of Service – Caboolture Bus Lines, Coast and Country Buses, Greg Goddard Motor Pty Ltd,  Bus Queensland, G.J & R.E. Geisel; Thompson/L.M & H.G; Nowra Coaches T/A Premier Motor Service;
  • 20 Years of Service – South Bundy Buses; Whitsunday Transit; Steven G Kamerling.

With the People’s Choice Award also an inaugural title, insiders say of the 3000 votes received from across the State for the five nominees, Reid – who used to drive trucks occasionally and has been a bus driver for just over three years - scored 1000 of them.

Speaking exclusively to Australasian Bus & Coach (ABC) magazine after her win, when asked what the award means to her, she said: "It’s about recognising the bus drivers as a whole for what we do out there for everybody – the recognition of the hard work and the good things that we do do mostly. Just those little things that people don’t see, that you personally give to people sometimes and the appreciation that comes back to you as an individual."

"I love the company [Clarks]. I love the people I work with," she said.

The 2018 QBIC Annual Conference had its timing changed for this year, so as not to clash with the Commonwealth Games and the delivery of associated passenger transport services.

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