Former drivers welcome first Tasmanian-built bus

FORMER long-serving Metro drivers have gathered at the company’s Hobart depot to formally welcome bus 801, the first bus to be wholly built in Tasmania as part of plans to replace Metro’s fleet of vehicles.

The new bus was joined by bus 200, Australia’s first low floor, wheelchair accessible bus that was recently restored by the Tasmanian Bus and Coach Society with grant assistance from the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Bus 200 was originally delivered to Tasmania in 1992 and is entirely unique in its construction and is the precursor to the now standard design for urban route buses with its low floor (no step) entry and wheelchair accessibility.

Metro chief executive officer Megan Morse said the arrival of bus 801 in Hobart marked the start of an exciting period for the public transport provider.

“The new bus fleet will allow us to provide passengers with a more comfortable, accessible and environmentally-friendly journey,” she said.

“The fact that the buses are being built in Tasmania is clearly something Metro is pleased with given the boost it will and is delivering to the economy.”

Ms Morse thanked the Tasmanian Bus and Coach Society for providing the bus for the welcome event.

“The society has done a fantastic job replicating the original look of the bus,” she said.

“Bus 200 was cutting edge when it arrived in 1992.

“Its efficient fuel economy and emissions for its time led the way for future vehicle designs.

“Bus 801 is also leading the way today, delivering a Euro 6 engine, excellent fuel efficiency and will be more environmentally friendly, emitting up to 96 per cent less emissions.

“Our passengers also benefit, with more comfortable seating and climate control.

“Bus 801 and 200 show how Metro and the public transport industry have evolved over the years.”

Caption: Trevor Grace, a Metro driver for 38 years, and Don Ripper, a driver for 35 years, were on hand to officially welcome bus 801 to Hobart.