ABC ISSUE 372 – Out Now!

By: Fabian Cotter


Good ol’ Willie Nelson was right. “I just can’t wait to get on the road again”. Surely that grey ponytailed legend was talking about great coach travel.

ABC ISSUE 372 – Out Now!
ABC issue 372 – Check out the 1,000th Coach Design-bodied, 500hp+ MAN chassis special for Cooma Coaches!

It's kind of like being in a big man cave – or woman cave – but it’s just that it is on wheels. Kick back, and take in all the action on the big screen up ahead. Well, the big windscreen up ahead – and just enjoy life without a care in the world and bask in the relaxing glory of nothingness.

Yep, coach travel is underrated, I say. And the more people that get into it and experience the wonders of Australasian highway travel – with someone else taking care of the driving and whatnot – is, in its purest terms, blissful therapy.

Okay, I’m talking in general here, but with the right coach company, the right vehicle and the right trip mapped out, travelling in a luxury coach really is a great thing to do and there should be loads more people doing it.

Now, I’m talking such inspired gobbledegook after hitching a ride from Acacia Ridge in Queensland to Coffs Harbour airport in Northern NSW, to catch a flight back to Sydney – though time permitting I would have loved to have continued my journey on the stunning new MAN-powered, Coach Design-bodied three-axle luxury coach all the way to its new home in Cooma, NSW, about 100 clicks south of Canberra.

This new coach is a bit special: the 1,000th Coach Design body and its 10th for Cooma Coaches, featured on the most powerful chassis in the country – a 500hp+ Euro 6c three-axle beauty from MAN.

It was an effortless cruise as we headed south; effortless because as a passenger you don’t have to worry about a range of stuff and you can actually take in your surroundings and the journey’s sights better. And in Australia and New Zealand there are some pretty amazing roads to travel and cool places to visit.

As the BIC noted recently at the Coach Connections Summit in Canberra last month, the ‘Long Distance, Tour and Charter policy’ document that includes a 10-year plan to 2028 with the aim to double the number of trips taken by coach is spot-on.

It’s the kind of thing that if you get people on that one great coach ride you’d have a high chance of converting them into regular passengers, for sure. But again, it also comes down to the right coach company and its staff and the attitudes and aptitudes of them to deliver an amazing travel experience. I say amazing because if that is not the desired outcome or aim then you’ll probably be doing more harm than good to the cause. And collectively, that’s not great for any of us.

There are some quality bus and coach companies out there, ones who’ve been doing great things for many, many years and those who’ve equally produced such high standards of quality over shorter periods. These levels of service often, unfortunately, go unheralded.

We try our best here at planet ABC magazine and our website www.busnews.com.au to discover and honour as many of them as we can, but alas it is a difficult thing to highlight them all. That said, if you think your – or someone else’s – company is of note and merit, please feel free to drop us a line and say G’day.

Ultimately, a big thanks to Trevor Heise and family of Cooma Coaches fame for getting me to where I had to go safely. And those dried apricot/mango thingamjiggies were awesome! Cheers, Catherine...

LOTS ON

So, it’s been a bit of a hectic month this one and I can’t believe we are in August already.

I mean, yes, we say this kind of stuff every year, but if you don’t say it then it just feels plain weird.

Anyway, we’ve seen the guy who killed a Brisbane bus driver by setting a backpack on fire declared unfit to stand trial due to mental health. We’ve seen the CSIRO successfully refuel two fuel cell vehicles with ‘membrane technology’ (there’s a bad Cypress Hill gag in there somewhere), with massive potential for a new hydrogen production and export industry. Nice.

Latrobe Valley debuted the first full service Volvo-chassis, Volgren-bodied hybrid low-floor bus, plus the latter’s also snared a key Skybus order in collaboration with MAN.

And finally, Brisbane City Council has started its global search for a partner to design, deliver and commission an innovative, world-class public transport fleet of 60 high-capacity Metro vehicles as part of its Brisbane Metro project. The registration link is now live, you can find it somewhere on www.brisbane.qld.gov.au

It’s a bumper issue this month, especially in the lead-up to the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, Germany, this September. Every manufacturer and his dog should be there with a display of their latest bus products, no doubt. No prizes for guessing electromobility and the latest ebuses will be the big-ticket items at this show. I’m sure we’ll see some great stuff come out of it. Can’t wait.

Within these pages we check out the abovementioned Coach Design/MAN luxury coach; we sus out the new Mercedes-Benz eCitaro and MAN City Lion’s E city bus with its stonking battery performance; we test drive the new Wrightbus Streetdeck 10.6m doubler-decker while paying a visit to the new premises of Custom Bus in Sydney’s west and briefly overview the BusVic 2018 Maintenance Conference.

We swish back a sangria or three at the recent official Irizar i6S launch in Melbourne and gracefully rub our erect nipples or sweat our backsides off through the varying temperature ranges as we examine some of the latest and greatest bus and coach air-conditioning products in our product guide this issue. And that’s pretty much it this month.

Until the next thrilling instalment…

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