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Custom Bus Closes and its future

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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Linto63 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:07 pm

The dropping of tarriffs, or at least reduction in their levels, was implemented by the Hawke government back in the 1980s as part of the Button plan. The quality of both design and workmanship of Australian cars at the time was appalling, the Button plans at least gave the industry the necessary kick in the tail to survive for another 30 years. But unfortunately with the declines in manufacturing and the lessening of the skill base, our ability to be self sufficient in a time of need is disappearing rapidly.

While the off lose panel or rattle here and there is not desirable, at least over a 30 year life the local produced products have stayed together. I can't see some of the cheap as chips plastic that comes out of Asia going the distance.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby system improver » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:18 pm

Swift wrote:...Don't our politicians realise that auto workers spend money too?...

Yes, but they also join trade unions, which the LNP hate and are dedicated to get rid of - even if it means destroying Australia's manufacturing capability. The $500 million pa subsidy to the car industry was nothing compared to subsidies offered to their car industries by almost every other country. Places like Germany, the US, Japan and Sweden all have greater government support of one sort or another. In Japan, there are no Chinese buses, or large buses from any other country, except one. Ironically there some artics made in Australia, but I guess that won't last long. From 1948 to 2000 there were significant barriers to imported buses by way of tariffs. A decision of the Howard government stopped this (the Button plan related to cars not buses). Not that it has made buses much cheaper here. These days, the chassis is the most expensive component of a bus - the exact reverse of 60 years ago when the body was the most expensive bit. We are being price gouged by the major chassis makers because they really don't care if they sell chassis here or not. The same city bus chassis costs almost $200,000 less in Europe than it does here. It doesn't cost $200,000 to ship a chassis from Europe to Australia.

In the past, state governments, even LNP ones, stipulated own state content for government owned buses. Some states still do, like WA, SA, Queensland and Tassie. However, the ideological wreckers in NSW seem to have ditched any commitment to even 1% of Australian content (as with trains and trams). Hence the problems with Custom Coaches. I think Gladys Berejiklian will pay the ultimate price, although that probably depends on whether Turnbull goes to a poll before NSW (March 2019).
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:05 pm

system improver wrote:
Swift wrote:...Don't our politicians realise that auto workers spend money too?...

Yes, but they also join trade unions, which the LNP hate and are dedicated to get rid of - even if it means destroying Australia's manufacturing capability. The $500 million pa subsidy to the car industry was nothing compared to subsidies offered to their car industries by almost every other country.

We have this captain's call man to thank, and barely anyone kicked up a stink in this apathetic nation of ours when he destroyed a 90 year tradition.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Frosty » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:14 pm

Many people believe protectionist policies particularly in the car manufacturing industry were a good thing. Well the government realised it wasn’t worth subsidising car prouduction. Considering the cost of production is 4x times higher than Asia & 2x of Europe. The lack of scale, high costs of importing key components & higher labour costs. That money could be used in other areas or used to reduce the deficit. Also remember the greater choice & lower prices consumers have as result of less protectionism.

Well if those imported buses were so good I don’t see floods of imported buses on route services. Maybe the idea that route buses last 25 years probably move away and buses are replaced every 10 years particularly with the slow move to electric vehicles. Bustech did find an alternative to the European chassis somewhat by having their intergral buses XDIs & CDIs. Once route buses from Asia start to really increase their market share the Europeans will have to lower their prices. Though the coach market is different.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:48 pm

Frosty wrote:Many people believe protectionist policies particularly in the car manufacturing industry were a good thing. Well the government realised it wasn’t worth subsidising car prouduction. Considering the cost of production is 4x times higher than Asia & 2x of Europe. The lack of scale, high costs of importing key components & higher labour costs. That money could be used in other areas or used to reduce the deficit. Also remember the greater choice & lower prices consumers have as result of less protectionism.

Well if those imported buses were so good I don’t see floods of imported buses on route services. Maybe the idea that route buses last 25 years probably move away and buses are replaced every 10 years particularly with the slow move to electric vehicles. Bustech did find an alternative to the European chassis somewhat by having their intergral buses XDIs & CDIs. Once route buses from Asia start to really increase their market share the Europeans will have to lower their prices. Though the coach market is different.

On your first point, used where? To protect adulterous potato farmer deputy prime ministers chasing tail? Yeah, look at all the infrastructure popping up everywhere since that draining car industry that supports jobs and technical know how, and some national pride got thrown away over night. What are we going to be known for, rehashing Crocodile Dundee films??? You plainly have no idea what this will lead to. We can't even make petrol for our car addicted population. What next? This nation is a joke, especially with your rife defeatist attitude.
Why don't we see more of these innovative CDis and XDis on our roads instead of the mediocre products that bus pumper outer churns out? Oh no, we have to put the welfare of the bland ultra conservative money grubber bus operators first, before the 30 or so people that actually have to use the things.
We barely pass as a western nation as it is. How will we be looking in the 20s and 30s?
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby PoweredByCNG » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:49 pm

Australian Design Rules in relation to buses and coaches is still "protectionist" as it excludes the majority of high-quality products from Europe. Said products are built to a total width of 2.55 metres, 5 cm in excess of the maximum allowed in Australia.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:01 pm

State transport agencies could influence the market and protect the locals somewhat by enforcing minimum design standards that will filter out the lower-standard Asians with their slacker designs (like that bus with the shallow stairwell illustrated earlier).

There is quite a bit of this in the European tram market where there is now obligatory open competitive tendering, with price typically rating the most points in the assessment. On the other hand there are a heap of fleet engineers who don't want any old junk and many of these ensure that the tender is worded towards their requirements in such specific detail that they manage to get the tram model they want!

PTA WA's minimum standards that effectively exclude the single deck Bustechs (though that wasn't the original intention!) are a mild example of this.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:13 pm

tonyp wrote:
PTA WA's minimum standards that effectively exclude the single deck Bustechs (though that wasn't the original intention!) are a mild example of this.

At least one end of this continent has the right idea. they are protected from the Eastern seabord attitudes.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Frosty » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:22 am

The ADR 2.55m rule is in a way similar to the bio security rules in relation to agricultural products. The 2.5m wide buses barely fit particularly in Sydney when lanes are incerdibly narrow including bus lanes.
Another form of protection is also emissions standards particularly in Europe with Euro 6. Another reason keeping the asian imports out.

I was reading in China with electric buses they typically simply replace the whole bus when the buses batteries need replacing which is around 10 Years. That’s where I see the bus market going similar to consumer goods shorter lifespan but cheaper.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby system improver » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:37 am

Frosty wrote:... The 2.5m wide buses barely fit particularly in Sydney when lanes are incredibly narrow including bus lanes...

That's true. I was reminded of that on my recent trip to Sydney to ride the B1. Those drivers earn every cent they are paid - they really need to be "centimetre perfect".
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby burrumbus » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:49 am

system improver wrote:
Frosty wrote:... The 2.5m wide buses barely fit particularly in Sydney when lanes are incredibly narrow including bus lanes...

That's true. I was reminded of that on my recent trip to Sydney to ride the B1. Those drivers earn every cent they are paid - they really need to be "centimetre perfect".

What was your impression of the B1 ,System Improver ??
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby gld59 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:09 am

Frosty wrote:The 2.5m wide buses barely fit particularly in Sydney when lanes are incerdibly narrow including bus lanes.

Barely? There are places where they don't fit at all. I've seen a bus in the narrow bit of Oxford St (near Victoria Barracks) with the left hand tyres in the gutter and the right hand side beyond the lane line.

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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Tim Williams » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:32 am

Yes, Sydney's road lane width is narrow in places but the normal 2.55mtr width should make little difference.

The south of Hong Kong Island routes from Central to Stanley and from there to the North East of the Island, would contain some of the most challenging roads that could be experienced (excluding some of that South American extreme stuff). The HK roads are busy, narrow (one lane in each direction), hilly and very winding, often with a sheer rock face on one side and a amazing drop on the other - the buses are mostly AD Enviro 400's which are only 10.5mtrs in length (due to the roads) but their widths vary from 2.51 to 2.53 mtrs. The buses pass on some of the most amazing tight corners and evidence of scrapes seem non-existent!

Believe me, Sydney drivers have it easy, compared to this.

I will try and dig up a couple of photos later.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Tim Williams » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:44 am

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The photos show the width of the lanes and how little space there is for passing. Buses of NWFB on route 14, which crosses the dam wall, cannot pass on that section - too narrow!
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby boronia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Frosty wrote:I was reading in China with electric buses they typically simply replace the whole bus when the buses batteries need replacing which is around 10 Years. That’s where I see the bus market going similar to consumer goods shorter lifespan but cheaper.

Diesel buses probably have the same age limit. I doubt they are engineered to last longer.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:35 pm

I do agree the NSW transport agencies are being anal about an extra inch each side. It's not like they are going to start introducing 2.6m wide buses and beyond.
Surely they could grant exemptions for vehicles that provide a demonstrated advantage over 2.5m wide buses.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby boronia » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:44 pm

What is the advantage? Apart from the ability to get more foreign buses into the country?
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Swift » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:54 pm

boronia wrote:What is the advantage? Apart from the ability to get more foreign buses into the country?

More choice of models and configurations, not available in 2.5m widths we can't get now because of Australia's fetish for lots and lots of rules.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby Campbelltown busboy » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:42 pm

Swift wrote:
boronia wrote:What is the advantage? Apart from the ability to get more foreign buses into the country?

More choice of models and configurations, not available in 2.5m widths we can't get now because of Australia's fetish for lots and lots of rules.
The main reason why we have too many rules here when it comes to things like roads is because of the transport and roads agencies of every state have their own rules on lane widths and tare weight limits on buses and trucks if the roads and transport were all run by the feds instead of the states then there wouldn't be so many rules on what buses can run on our roads
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:30 am

Campbelltown busboy wrote:The main reason why we have too many rules here when it comes to things like roads is because of the transport and roads agencies of every state have their own rules on lane widths and tare weight limits on buses and trucks if the roads and transport were all run by the feds instead of the states then there wouldn't be so many rules on what buses can run on our roads

Is this an initiative to create a common national standard?

https://www.nhvr.gov.au/
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby boronia » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:26 am

The NHVR is another level of meddling bureaucracy to extract money from road users. While there is some move towards national standards, some states are still doing some things "their way".

To get permission to use an over-dimension vehicle on historic conditional rego in NSW , I have to pay the NHVR for a permit so I can go the RMS to get a permit, and then go to every local council whose roads I want to drive on to get their permits.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby OLYMPIAN » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:38 pm

PoweredByCNG wrote:Australian Design Rules in relation to buses and coaches is still "protectionist" as it excludes the majority of high-quality products from Europe. Said products are built to a total width of 2.55 metres, 5 cm in excess of the maximum allowed in Australia.


And the axle weight on three axle buses!
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby TA3001 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:18 pm

Just curious, what do folks here think of the CC version 2 CB80? Personally, I think they are appalling, but I'm interested to know if it's any different compared to the V1 CB80 from a driver's perspective.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby PoweredByCNG » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:44 pm

TA3001 wrote:Just curious, what do folks here think of the CC version 2 CB80? Personally, I think they are appalling, but I'm interested to know if it's any different compared to the V1 CB80 from a driver's perpective.


I rode some brand new CB80 IIs in Sydney last October. They were spot on, even on Sydney's notoriously poor quality roads. No rattles, squeaks, creaks or anything that would detract from the overall passenger experience. No builder is perfect, but IMO, Custom Coaches had the best mix of aesthetics and practicality of the local products.
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Re: Custom Bus Closes doors

Postby tonyp » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:06 am

PoweredByCNG wrote:
TA3001 wrote:Just curious, what do folks here think of the CC version 2 CB80? Personally, I think they are appalling, but I'm interested to know if it's any different compared to the V1 CB80 from a driver's perpective.


I rode some brand new CB80 IIs in Sydney last October. They were spot on, even on Sydney's notoriously poor quality roads. No rattles, squeaks, creaks or anything that would detract from the overall passenger experience. No builder is perfect, but IMO, Custom Coaches had the best mix of aesthetics and practicality of the local products.

Stairs to the high floor too high, poor seat pitch. There always seems to be a disconnect between how an operator sees their buses and how the passengers see them. We need to close that gap.

You get this feeling of the disconnect when you read bus reviews in ABC. It all focusses around the driving experience and the mechanicals. There might be a momentary eyeballing of the passenger space with a "it has seats doesn't it, what's the problem?" attitude. To the operator they're cattle and not too much attention needs to be paid to how they're accomodated and how they flow - in other words, the general efficient functionality of the bus as a mass transit vehicle. These issues affect efficient operation too, not to mention customer satisfaction.

Volgren might have quality and driver ergonomics issues (I base that only on comments on this forum, not personal knowledge), but as fit-for-purpose public transport vehicle designs performing their actual task, they run multiple rings around any other bodybuilder on the local market. Perhaps the fact that they dominate the market is an optimistic reflection that many agencies/operators actually see these issues and place value in them. Custom sits somewhere in the middle, but every time I see somebody buying Bustechs (or agencies listing them as suitable-for-purpose) I see somebody who doesn't understand the issues and shouldn't be in the game if they don't.
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