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Custom Bus Closes doors

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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:26 pm

Daniel wrote:Let me put this simply. Less glass means less weight. Less glass means more efficient air conditioning. Both of these mean greater fuel economy. Standard side frames (yes they are produced as one piece and then sent to the factory for assembly) mean a more efficient and more standardised build process.

I appreciate the point about glass and weight but there's also the matter of functionality in relation to passenger amenity. You have to have windows that both the seated and standees can see out of. The other factor in relation to window-line (something I've learned from tram design) is that if the seat is too high in relation to the glazing, a passenger can be propelled through the glass in a side impact. There was a case in Singleton a while back where a schoolboy was killed going through the window in a school bus that was T boned by a truck.

If you look at the photos I posted above, both Volgren and Custom keep their seat bases well below window-line (on the Volgrens the side windows at the back have an internal solid panel - only the outside glass goes down to the waistline). Bustech, in spite of the narrow windows, has its side-impact safety undermined by the continuously rising floor that forces the rear seats to be very high in relation to the window-line.

It was I who suggested here some time ago that somebody should visualise the CDi without a top deck and realise that therein lies the basis of a decent low-floor single-deck bus! Because, from that photo above, I'm not sure that the ZDi electric bus design is heading in the right direction. They need to reverse the priorities of aesthetic flair vs function.

In Europe, of all the manufacturers, Solaris likes most to play around with aesthetic touches but they remain subdued and strictly subordinate to pragmatism:

Image

The SOR bus in my avatar ain't so bad either - aesthetic but also strictly pragmatic. Bustech on the other hand reminds me of those many car manufacturers who style a swish exterior and then, almost as an afterthought, jam an impractical interior into it. Design of a functional transport vehicle should absolutely start on the inside and work outwards.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:32 pm

That Solaris looks like a true modern design for our times. Australian operators would get chills from that oblong windscreen and fancy shapes for the side glazing.
Import them anyway -just to annoy them!!
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:01 am

I'd prefer an Australian manufacturer anytime. There are also so far no chassis formatted as RHD that can offer the range of layouts that the LHD chassis on the market can.

I think one thing that is coming out of this discussion is there are competing priorities between the needs of operators for a vehicle that stacks up well financially and is reliable and on the other hand the functional need for a vehicle that performs the passenger transport task in the most optimised manner. It seems to me that in Australia the latter is overly-sacrificed to the former, resulting in a national urban bus fleet that doesn't perform its actual passenger transport task as optimally as it could.

Volgren is accomplished on the latter but, from comments here, apparently doesn't satisfy as well as it could on the former - yet they dominate the market, which puzzles me if the former is such an issue. Bustech is apparently accomplished on the former but struggles to design a functional bus. Custom fell down on both counts and has paid the price.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:48 am

Bustech and Volgren should merge and combine their strength! Might be like trying to mix oil and water though, when it comes to company culture.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Fleet Lists » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:52 am

The problem with combinations is that usually you get the worst of both and not the best.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Campbelltown busboy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:53 pm

As I said in a previous post the King Long 6125AG bodied Deawoos that Interline have are pretty good quality buses here are some pictures from the inside of m/o 6511
First photo is of the interior of Interline King Long Deawoo m/o 6511 taken by me this morning
Image
Photo 2 is of the step to the centre door of the same bus taken about 5 minutes after the photo above
Image
And to show people what the these buses look like from the outside here's m/o 5509 from August last year
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Linto63 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:23 pm

Did some slicing and dicing of the delivery data for the calendar year just gone from Australasian Bus & Coach and of the 123 deliveries by Customs, the largest purchasers were State Transit (24), Adelaide Metro & Punchbowl (14), Forest & TFM of WA (8), Busways, Metro Tasmania & Priors (7). By way of comparison Bustech made 99 deliveries and Volgren 347. Of the latter, 61 were for Brisbane Transport, 34 for CDC and 115 for Transperth.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:14 pm

That King Long bus has a step at the centre door. Not only that, it's such a shallow well, how much extra design effort would it take to eliminate it altogether? I'd call it a slack design.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:39 pm

Obviously chosen on price. A modern day Hino RG.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby stajourneyman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:25 pm

Linto63 wrote:Did some slicing and dicing of the delivery data for the calendar year just gone from Australasian Bus & Coach and of the 123 deliveries by Customs, the largest purchasers were State Transit (24), Adelaide Metro & Punchbowl (14), Forest & TFM of WA (8), Busways, Metro Tasmania & Priors (7). By way of comparison Bustech made 99 deliveries and Volgren 347. Of the latter, 61 were for Brisbane Transport, 34 for CDC and 115 for Transperth.


Here's another couple of statistics for the collection.

STA deliveries

2013..............159..............Customs .....39
2014................71.............Customs......NIL
2015................99.............Customs......NIL
2016................54.............Customs........1
2017................62.............Customs.......22

TOTALS...........445.............Customs.......62

Therein probably layeth the reason for Customs going under after being in business for over 60 years and apprx 150 blokes losing their jobs.

This current Government should hang it's head in shame.

So what if Customs might have been a bit dearer to purchase.

A State Government should be doing that which is best for the State and it's residents.

This Government seems to have an arrogant attitude of indifference towards the people of NSW.

Don't believe me? ...Just watch the 6.00 news any night of the week.

Transport Minister : 'Oh look this is the 21st century ...interchanging is the new way of commuting' ... oh really !!!

Education Minister : new school at Wentworth Point opens without aircon ...'Oh look ...the kids can just open the windows and enjoy the wonderful breeze off Homebush Bay ...oh really !!!!

My prediction next State election night ....Wha wha what the hell just happened ...we never saw that one coming !!!
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Frosty » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:56 pm

In defence of the NSW government & STA they surely can’t be wholly blamed for demise of Custom Bus if the big 3 route operators in NSW Transdev, CDC & STA. CDC has mostly ordered Volgrens for many years & Transdev in more recent years ordering Bustech VSTs & at least they aren’t doing what Transdev Melbourne are doing and importing buses.

But maybe if Custom was a bit dearer was the product far superior to the competition probably not considering looking at STAs Custom Buses the interior paneling is often dangling off even on newer buses.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:11 pm

The lone vs 2.0 Custom Scania K310UB 2886 will be the latest STA one off, but at least the original batches of K280UBs will blend it in.
I noticed the panel above the centre doors was loose when I was in it last time. Writing was on the wall from that impression.
Who will deal in spare body panels now? Will aftermarket suppliers come up with their own for the buses that will be on the road for the years to come?
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby boronia » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:23 pm

When did the rot start to set in at Custom's?

Might it have had something to do with the Alexander take over? Why did a successful business stop being so? Did the pom's put someone's nose out of joint?
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Fleet Lists » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:24 pm

Frosty wrote:In defence of the NSW government & STA they surely can’t be wholly blamed for demise of Custom Bus if the big 3 route operators in NSW Transdev, CDC & STA. CDC has mostly ordered Volgrens for many years & Transdev in more recent years ordering Bustech VSTs & at least they aren’t doing what Transdev Melbourne are doing and importing buses.

But maybe if Custom was a bit dearer was the product far superior to the competition probably not considering looking at STAs Custom Buses the interior paneling is often dangling off even on newer buses.

Transdev NSW has barely ordered 50 Volgrens - 30 of those in 2010/2011 - most of the Volgrens in the fleet are buses taken over from other operators particularly Transit First - they have been very much Bustech for quite a few years now.
I am not sure what your last sentence is trying to say.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:24 pm

NSW could have also fed enough orders to Volgren to keep Tomago going, but the orders go to Queensland instead. That's in addition to feeding the South Korean economy etc with train orders. Competitive tendering is the correct approach in a strict sense, but it needs to be tempered by other considerations.

Gareth Ward was boasting on his Facebook page the other day about how the NSW government was delivering more jobs. I did a short post asking what they were doing about Wollongong having the highest youth unemployment of any city in Australia and what a benefit building the NIF there would have had, instead of boosting the South Korean economy. Within an hour he had deleted my post! :lol:
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:27 pm

boronia wrote:When did the rot start to set in at Custom's?


I remember someone posted on here that the previous family owners who sold it got out at the right time!
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby stajourneyman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:49 pm

Frosty wrote:In defence of the NSW government & STA they surely can’t be wholly blamed for demise of Custom Bus if the big 3 route operators in NSW Transdev, CDC & STA. CDC has mostly ordered Volgrens for many years & Transdev in more recent years ordering Bustech VSTs & at least they aren’t doing what Transdev Melbourne are doing and importing buses.

But maybe if Custom was a bit dearer was the product far superior to the competition probably not considering looking at STAs Custom Buses the interior paneling is often dangling off even on newer buses.


First point ...Private bus operators will do whatever puts more dollars in their pocket, as is their right. The STA is not a private operator. It is owned by the people of NSW and has a commercial responsibility to spend their money wisely. It also has a moral responsibility to make decisions that do not create a negative impact on the people.

If a little poll was run amongst NSW residents, asking whether it was better to save a few bucks on bus purchases or see a New South Wales business with 160 employees disappear into the ether, I'm pretty sure I know what the overwhelming response would be.

Second point...All this yabber yabber about loose panels on new buses etc, once these occasional loose panels are screwed back tight, how does the bus hold together for the next 25 + years. I don't recall having seen too many Customs buses being retired from service early due to shoddy bodywork.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby stajourneyman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:54 pm

What is the current state of play with Customs at the moment.

I heard it said on the news the other night (for what it's worth) that Customs had closed down.

Is that their dramatic way of saying that they are closing down??

Point being, ...are they finishing all vehicles in build or just walking away?

If so, how many STA units ...(now they start ordering them :roll: :roll: :roll: ) are still to be delivered, and how many might be left behind partially finished??
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby boronia » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:09 pm

stajourneyman wrote:First point ...Private bus operators will do whatever puts more dollars in their pocket, as is their right. The STA is not a private operator. It is owned by the people of NSW and has a commercial responsibility to spend their money wisely. It also has a moral responsibility to make decisions that do not create a negative impact on the people.

Why do you think STA should be different from the rest of the State Government. How many current, or recent past, projects have been a wise use of our money?
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby burrumbus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:10 pm

Swift wrote:Obviously chosen on price. A modern day Hino RG.

Very much so swift.I think the Daewoos were ordered because they were the cheapest low floor on the market,which helped them win the contract.I've heard they are quite reasonable in reliabilty and durabilty,thus far-but they'll need to extract 25 years out of them .Obviously not a true low floor-but none of the full size offering in Australia is.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby burrumbus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:01 pm

I've heard that too swift.TFNSW just funds the purchase price of the bus.The contracted operator gets lumbered with the maintainence cost.With parts availabilty and the cost of those parts the long term maintainence cost of the bus really does increase.You get what you pay for !!!
The Interline Daewoos are the second generation Daewoos in Australia.The first generation ones were on the ordinary side.Some operators have worse to say.I might let Tim make some comments here as he owned them.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby burrumbus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:37 pm

Swift wrote:
boronia wrote:When did the rot start to set in at Custom's?


I remember someone posted on here that the previous family owners who sold it got out at the right time!

The previous family owners-Burgess family-who were relatives of the the founders-They sold it to Alexander Dennis.Alexander Dennis sold it to the investment company-which included some involvement by Mark Burgess.Mark Burgess" company then bought it back.The rot had set in for at least ten years previously in my opinion with a decline in quality.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Linto63 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:49 pm

Frosty wrote:In defence of the NSW government & STA they surely can’t be wholly blamed for demise of Custom Bus if the big 3 route operators in NSW Transdev, CDC & STA. CDC has mostly ordered Volgrens for many years & Transdev in more recent years ordering Bustech VSTs & at least they aren’t doing what Transdev Melbourne are doing and importing buses.
Reality is the STA is legally obliged to accept the best value tender. While there will be various criteria, with each given a pre-determined weighting, cost will be the largest. Considering that 20 years ago, Bustech was still in its infancy and Volgren only had a minimal Sydney presence, when PMC shut up shop in the early 1990s and Ansair, MCA and PMCSA disappeared later in the decade when the Clifford Group collapsed, Customs seemed to have the world at its feet.

tonyp wrote:NSW could have also fed enough orders to Volgren to keep Tomago going, but the orders go to Queensland instead.
The Tomago plant was established in 2010 during the last years of the Labor government who had committed to 1,000 growth buses. But with the change in government, IIRC the program was curtailed and Volgren must have felt it could handle any future orders out of Dandenong. The Tomago closure was announced in July 2012, the first Bustech contract with State Transit not until December 2012, so appears the two are unrelated.

tonyp wrote:I did a short post asking what they were doing about Wollongong having the highest youth unemployment of any city in Australia and what a benefit building the NIF there would have had, instead of boosting the South Korean economy.
Of course it depends on how much of the build would actually occur here. IIRC the Australian content of the Waratahs consisted of nailing fully imported components together at Cardiff and declaring it 'Aussie made'.

stajourneyman wrote:Point being, ...are they finishing all vehicles in build or just walking away?
Each will likely be assessed on a case by case basis. Buses at an advanced stage would likely be completed. If a $500k bus only needs a further $100k spent on it, it will be finished rather than $400k binned. But one at the beginning process will likely have the work done to date scrapped and the chassis returned.

There have been cases in the past of partly completed buses being finished off by other bodybuilders. Some partially completed State Transit Ansair Orana bodied Volvo B10BLEs were completed by Jakab after the Clifford collapse, before it took over the production line to complete the balance under the Phoenix brand. A Premier Motor Service Austral Pacific Scania coach was finished by North Coast.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby TA3001 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:16 pm

boronia wrote:When did the rot start to set in at Custom's?

Might it have had something to do with the Alexander take over? Why did a successful business stop being so? Did the pom's put someone's nose out of joint?


CC bodies got much worse in late 2016 compared to earlier that year after the V2 CB80 was brought in. I am so relieved to (presumably) not have to put up Adelaide being flooded with these dreadly built vehicles with that unpleasantly loud and very weird and annoying next stop alert tone. However, I'm sure 'next stop requested' will lose it's novelty when Adelaide becomes flooded with perfectly built Bustechs with the high window line. There are a few buses that reach their age limit in less than a month, so something will need to be worked out!

There wasn't much wrong with the Volgren CR224L bodies, or the Custom Coaches CB60 Evo 2 in my opinion. I'm not sure why CC decided to invent a vastly inferior and ugly body that in hindsight was their last.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby stajourneyman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:27 pm

Okay ..... so exactly how are the CB80 bodies vastly inferior to the CB60 or anything previous ...apart from a loud, weird and annoying door bell ?
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