NEW VICTORIAN ‘REPLACEMENT BUSES’ NOW IN SERVICE

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Volgren + Transdev


THE FIRST 18 buses - part of a $16 million order for 100 units touted as “the single biggest order of replacement buses in Victoria for more than 25 years” – are now transporting Melbourne commuters, the Victorian State Government confirms.

NEW VICTORIAN ‘REPLACEMENT BUSES’ NOW IN SERVICE
The new buses will be low floor and fully accessible for all passengers, feature USB charging facilities, improved CCTV capability, as well as a bigger priority seating area, the Government states.

Said to be providing a more reliable, comfortable and safer experience for passengers travelling on metropolitan routes, the 15 Volgren-bodied and three Gemilang-bodied city buses on Scania chassis are initially operating out of Transdev’s North Fitzroy depot on routes around the inner north and eastern suburbs, including Carlton, Kew, Port Melbourne and Altona North.

Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne visited Volgren’s factory in Dandenong this week – where 50 of the overall order are being made, providing "further job security for the workforce" - to inspect some of the new buses, which are replacing the ageing Melbourne fleet. 

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"These new buses will give passengers a more reliable, comfortable and safer journey when travelling around Melbourne," Minister Horne said.

"We’re modernising, expanding and upgrading Melbourne’s bus fleet, with the single biggest order of replacement buses in Victoria for more than two decades."

Transdev’s Ian Craig, chief officer bus, added: "These new buses will transform our fleet, allowing us to deliver a significantly improved service to the people of Melbourne."

"We commend the government for their continued, significant investment in public transport, which will keep Melbourne moving into the future."

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VOLGREN VISIT

Thiago Deiro, the new CEO of Volgren, says the company was proud of the fact all 50 of its buses for Transdev Melbourne and Public Transport Victoria will be designed, engineered and fully assembled in Dandenong using locally sourced components.

"Over the past four decades, Volgren has become part of an extensive and thriving south-east Melbourne manufacturing ecosystem. Directly, Volgren employs more than 200 people in Victoria alone and, indirectly, over 500 people across 50 local suppliers who have become a key extension of our business."

"The Victorian Government’s decision to modernise, expand and upgrade Melbourne’s bus network secures those local jobs and supports the growing supply chain of local businesses."

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"Volgren is now responsible for close to two in every three route buses sold in Australia. This latest delivery for Transdev is another endorsement of our high-quality vehicles, as well as our ability to handle large-scale orders," Deiro said.

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Jim Jones, Volgren’s commercial manager, says from day one of this order being announced (late 2018) the company has collaborated closely with Transdev and chassis partner Scania to help design the best possible low-floor city bus for Victorian bus passengers.

"The partnership between the companies is strengthened further by the confidence Transdev has in knowing Volgren’s support extends beyond the delivery of the buses themselves," he said.

"Transdev can always expect value from our company. The after-sales support we provide, for example, helps to keep their buses on the road and increase the whole-of-life value of our product."

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WHAT THEY HAVE

The new buses will be low floor and fully accessible for all passengers, feature USB charging facilities, improved CCTV capability, as well as a bigger priority seating area, the Government states.

All 100 buses will be built in line with the Government’s Local Jobs First policy, ensuring each vehicle is made with 60 per cent local content, it says.

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The remaining 50 in the order are being built in Ballarat, Victoria, by automotive manufacturer OzPress Industries – which joined with Gemilang Australia to build buses for the Australian market - creating 20 local jobs. These jobs include body builders, panel beaters, aftersales staff, auto electricians and painters.

All 100 new buses are set to be delivered and taking passengers by July 2020.

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NEW SERVICES

According to the State Labor Government, this bus order is on top of the record investment in rolling stock, including $2.3 billion for bigger better metropolitan trains, $848.5 million for new regional trains and 100 bigger, modern and accessible E-Class trams, it adds - while the Victorian Budget 2019/20 also includes $205.1 million to increase train and bus services.

New bus routes and more services will be rolled out in growth areas in the north and south-east, connecting people to jobs, reducing travel times and improving public transport options in the suburbs and regions, it concludes.

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