By: Fabian Cotter

Pandemic movies already, US politics, state borders, Covid hotspots and worse – packed fast-food ‘drive-thrus’. Someone, please help!

In Issue 399, November, 2020 of ABC magazine we exclusively check out the very retro-cool Hino-Custom Adventurer, visit bus operator Near or Far in NSW, and much more...

Friday night behind a 10-car long take-way food drive-thru queue. "Get off my planet! Now!" So frustrating... If 2020 were an avalanche then right about now many of us would calling out for help and hoping the nearest rescue St Bernard was on its way ASAP – with that little neck barrel in tow. Nice one, Fido!

Interestingly, the internet points out – so take it with a grain of salt; question everything, I say – the ‘most famous’ St Bernard was called Barry and he saved between 40 and 100 ‘hooman’ lives during his Italian-Swiss Alps rescuing stint. Go Barry! What a legend. In fact, apparently many of these dogs back in the day weren’t trained and dogs just learned from other dogs, each generation, how to rescue people. How good is that?!

I tell you, if any of these dogs went into politics they’d kill it! Talk about ‘doggy bagging’ the popular vote come election time for intelligence and common-sense.

Speaking of which, it’s been pretty hard not to get into the all-permeating recent US election – even for those of us hard pressed to watch TV these days at the best of times.

‘Are we there yet?’ Apparently not – either way. Allegations of vote rigging and/or bad ballots or such continue and it looks like there’s more of this to come. It seems recounts have happened before in US history (who knew?) and I saw something about how the US Constitution was actually set up to deal with such scenarios to maintain integrity – and so it should - and this involves court cases and either party’s leaders not conceding etc., so that things take its course. Hmm... Fascinating stuff.

Thankfully, there’s some new light-hearted movies coming out to distract us from the news for a bit – though one called Songbird set a few years from now seems to be about another virus and people getting ripped out of their homes and stuck into what looks like concentration camps or such. Umm… No thanks! Making a buck off current times’ vibes doesn’t sound right to me, so skipping that one for sure. Borat’s next one, though, looks worth a look.

E13 digital mockup.PNG


At the time of print, and according to the NSW state government website, it will "…re-open the border to Victoria at 12:01am on Monday 23 November." Great news! Ja?

Though everyone is obsessed with ‘cases’, and with recent days of low to no cases in Victoria and NSW as well, this sounds on track, one would think and hope. And as border closures massively affect the tour/charter side of the bus business, well … we watch and wait with baited breath. ‘Hey, Barry! How’s that brandy coming along?’ ;)

I get press releases from various governments either lifting classifications of ‘hotspots’ or enforcing, so hoping geographic areas don’t endure needless ‘demonising’, meaning discrimination of people and affecting property prices in the long run maybe.



Not Pandora’s make-up or Medusa’s curlers fortunately, but something all the more pertinent to buses and coaches and public transport overall in this, Issue 399, of ABC magazine.

Firstly, kicking things off exclusively on the front cover this month is the very retro-cool Hino-Custom Adventurer school bus – which is now part of Turnbull’s Bus Service in rural Victoria.

This is the first time the new Adventurer is on a Hino RN8J chassis and it certainly got attention from members of the bus-loving public as it made its way south to its new home. A combination that’s usable for school bus, mining spec, or for a charter/coach feel, there may well be more of this mix to come. Read more starting page 42.

In news developments, an evolving situation (was going to say ‘case’, but that’s now triggering all sorts of ‘Pavlov’s dog’ fear responses these days) sees CDC’s Buslink NT needing to invest AUD$660K+ into bus safety after a 2017 tragedy. Again, massive condolences to the family, so hoping the safety learnings from this may well save other drivers in future, from a national perspective via the campaign. We’ll definitely be following up on this for all.

BYD ADL Enviro200EV for Waiheke Island (4) (resized).jpg

Also, ADL has delivered some e-buses to Auckland Transport east of the city on Waiheke Island and it’s also renewed its partnership with Kiwi Bus Builders.

Brisbane City Council has announced it will phase out its use of natural-gas buses, which is interesting given the technology has been advancing elsewhere around the world, so maybe that’s something we can look at more in future.


As for operators, given the current feel of things, we visited Near or Far Bus and Coach in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Many of you have now heard of owner Rod Williams and his company’s pandemic plight, along with loads of others, who orchestrated ‘demonstration rallies’ both in NSW and then in Canberra to highlight the impact of the pandemic on so many family and independent bus companies. To get to know the man and his people a bit more and how they got to this stage, read on from page 48.


Also in the mix we focus on Dion’s Bus Service and its acquisition of the first TfNSW ‘Panel 3’-compliant bus – and the latest fire-mitigation measures it needed. Plus we check out Transdev’s fully solar-powered depot and e-bus charging plan in South-East Queensland, and much more.

October deliveries? Yep, a slight dip again, but with any good gut-churning, vomit-inducing roller-coaster ride, what goes up must come down, as they say – and back again, right? Right??? Check it out from page 60.

And with that, here we are. This time next month we will – God willing – be about to celebrate Christmas 2020, so hopefully whatever other nightmare that might be coming is polite enough to just back off for a bit until the new year kicks in. Not like right at midnight, ok, but say … well, a week or two later would be nice. Or not at all. ;)

Until the next thrilling instalment… 

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