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Vintage buses re-take to the streets of Brisbane

The Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society is running Brisbane’s first ever Heritage Loop service

A fleet of vintage Brisbane City Council buses have recently re-entered public service in Brisbane for the first time in several decades.

During the weekend of July 9 and 10, a number of restored Brisbane City Council buses owned by the Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society (QOCS) operated the first ever Heritage Loop service in the Brisbane CBD.

The service operated free to the public on the existing Brisbane City Council ‘City Loop’ routes 40 and 50, which don’t operate on weekends.

All journeys started and ended at King George Square outside City Hall on a 15-minute frequency between the hours of 10.00am and 2.00pm.

QOCS says the inaugural service proved very popular with a total of 651 people carried across 48 trips, an average of 13 people per trip.


Having identified a gap in the city’s transport network on weekends as well the social and economic benefits of a regular vintage bus service, QOCS president Nick Wilson says it has been working closely with Brisbane City Council and TransLink (a division of the Queensland government) since July 2021 to operate the Heritage Loop on a regular basis.

“The concept was born after we operated our buses in the City for Brisbane Open House in October 2019,” Wilson says.

“It was here that we realised there is considerable demand for such a regular service as a lot of our passengers just came along for our buses, without taking part in the event that we were running for.”

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While the concept is unique from a domestic perspective, it is not uncommon to see vintage buses operating to the public overseas. In fact, earlier this year, 60-year-old Routemaster buses operated to the public on various routes in England to generate funds for charity.

As a charitable organisation with limited resources, QOCS is currently in discussions with Brisbane City Council to secure funding for a permanent service operating one weekend a month.


“While we are grateful to draw upon a pool of experienced and dedicated volunteer drivers, there are overheads such as fuel and vehicle upkeep costs that we cannot sustain ourselves on a permanent basis,” Wilson says.

“Everybody we have spoken with in both levels of government has been very supportive of the concept but as you can imagine, there are some challenges to overcome in the current regulatory framework given how unique the service is in Australia.”

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