New South Wales operator Busways has taken delivery of a dozen new Volgren bodied, low-floor, seatbelted school buses, strengthening its rural and regional school bus fleet. The delivery is part of an order of 24 buses made in late 2018.

Built on a Volvo (B8 Euro 5) chassis, the buses will be used for route and school services operating across Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Yamba on the state’s north coast.

Busways Asset Manager Chris Wolf said the new buses reinforce the company’s commitment to passenger safety and innovation across their fleet.

“The vehicles being delivered are replacing our older buses and although they’re still operating and in good condition, the modern advancement and the new safety systems Volvo offer – including ABS, EBS and onboard warning systems – helps improve the overall standard of buses.”

“Volgren have also modernised their buses with great placement of driver’s mirrors, enhanced line of site for drivers, minimised blind spots and compliance to Australian Design Rules 68 seatbelted vehicles.”

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Wolf said Transport for New South Wales have put in place rigid specifications for buses travelling in rural and regional Contract areas. That meant operators weren’t looking for a product they could customise, but for a vehicle they could rely on.

“We have a strong track record with Volgren and Volvo; that’s based around a shared confidence that one party can always expect value from the other and the fact they support their product over the life of the vehicle.”

“Some buses can achieve up to 2 million kilometres during their life (25 years), so we need a trustworthy supplier. To be successful as an operator in Australia you need quality products that will last the distance, and both Volgren and Volvo can deliver this.”

John Allen, Volgren’s Major Account Manager for New South Wales, said there has been a lot of interest in Volgren’s new seatbelted product, especially since Sapphire Coast Buslines became the first operator to take delivery of the product in May this year.

“The low-floor format really is the best solution out there for rural and regional operations.

“Operators are talking about meeting the increased need for capacity and ease of access – this vehicle delivers on both counts; it’s safe, comfortable and has a spacious feel about it.”

Allen said that as operators start to take vehicles off the road for retrofitting there’s a lot more focus on fleet management and making sure current vehicles are kept running.

“Reducing downtime is vital. Most of the bus operators have had their spare bus ratios cut back so it’s paramount that vehicles are on the road.” Allen said.

The new Australian Design Rules-compliant seatbelted school buses were built at Volgren’s manufacturing facility at Dandenong in Victoria.