Volgren, the country’s largest bus body builder, has celebrated the roll-out of the 5000th bus built at its manufacturing headquarters in Dandenong.
The milestone vehicle, an Optimus Low-Floor Route Bus, was handed over to operator and long-time Volgren partner Ventura Bus Lines (Ventura) during a ceremony attended by staff from both companies. Also part of the event was the first bus ever manufactured by Volgren, the VG001, which is owned by Ventura.
Volgren Chief Executive Thiago Deiro said this was a great achievement for the company and that seeing the two buses together demonstrated just what an emphasis the company has placed on quality over four decades.
“This is a proud moment in our company’s long history. You don’t produce this many vehicles over this many years without dedicating yourself to manufacturing excellence and to providing operators with buses they can trust.
“This first Volgren bus – with more than 850,000 kilometres on the odometer and still going strong – is symbolic of what we have built our reputation on: reliability, quality, innovation and long-term value for our partners. It was the first aluminium bus ever built in Australia.”
Deiro said it was fitting that Ventura, a business based in Dandenong and connected to Volgren for decades, should receive the bus.
“Our bases in Perth and Brisbane are superb manufacturing facilities, but Dandenong is the engine room of Volgren’s manufacturing operations. In fact, the suburb of Dandenong is one of Victoria’s great manufacturing hubs.
“Ventura is an iconic figure in Victoria’s public transport sector and in 2024 will celebrate their centenary. Every year they carry more than 32 million customers across Melbourne and we’re thrilled that they have our first and now our 5000th bus.”
Volgren’s relationship with Ventura spans 40 years, supplying buses since 1980. In that time, they have built more than 250 vehicles for Ventura and in 2018 announced a four-year contract extension with the Victorian operator.
Accepting the bus from Volgren, Andrew Cornwall Ventura’s Managing Director said the company was delighted to be a part of such a momentous moment.
“This is a huge achievement for Volgren and we’re pleased to be a part of it, but not just for symbolic reasons. The Optimus low-floor bus is widely considered one of the best vehicles of its type in Australia and we’re always enthusiastic to bring another one into our fleet.”
“We’ve developed a strong and collaborative relationship with Volgren, and together we produce better buses for the travelling public, for our drivers and for all Victorians,” Andrew said.
Thiago said the Ventura-Volgren partnership would continue to strengthen thanks to a shared confidence that one party can always expect value from the other.
“The value we provide to Ventura comes from an unrivalled whole-of-life bus cost. We are proud to offer a bus that, with its advanced engineering and unique CO-BOLT design, delivers the lowest cost of life savings to Ventura,” Deiro said.
(L-R) Michael Hourn, Ventura’s general manager for Fleet and Maintenance; Andrew Cornwall, managing director, Ventura; Thiago Deiro, Volgren CEO; Jim Jones, commercial manager Volgren; and Jim Pittas, sales representative Volgren.