SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS

As Melbourne's largest and most progressive bus company, National Bus is committed to continual improvement of our service.

Our customers have told us they want a frequent, safe, cost-effective and hassle-free service, which is why we never stop looking for ways to improve what we do. We also understand how vital our service is to many thousands of residents, businesses, school children and community groups in the areas we serve.

Already we've launched new, more comfortable, easy-access buses throughout 2002, with many more to come in 2003 and future years.

We are currently working to offer new, innovative services in Melbourne's Docklands, inner-city and eastern suburbs.

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In August, 2001 we launched the first of 13 new buses as part of a $3.8 million investment program to upgrade the fleet.

Environmental, comfort, safety and accessibility features of the new buses are now being enjoyed by thousands of National Bus customers every day.


Environmental features:

  • In addition to helping remove thousands of cars from Melbourne's roads every day, National Bus will further help the environment by reducing bus emissions;
  • The new buses are capable of running on a low sulphur fuel, which cuts particulate emissions. The buses are also more economical in fuel consumption, which is also good for the environment;
  • In fact, the new fleet will consume about 35 per cent less fuel than the buses they will replace, saving 13 litres for every 100 kilometres they operate.


Improved bus accessibility:

  • The low floor, with no steps at the entrance will improve accessibility for people with disabilities, elderly and people with prams;
  • A kneeling system can be engaged to lower the front of the bus to make it easier for customers to board. This feature will also allow better access for the different curb heights in our city.
  • A manual boarding ramp for wheelchairs can be used at kerb-side stops in addition to the kneeling system;
  • Two designated wheelchair spaces are available on each bus. These are located together in the same part of the bus. When not in use by wheelchair-bound customers, flip-up seats in the area can be utilised for maximum comfort;
  • Buttons to request the bus to stop are located in arm-reach of each seat, removing the need for customers to stand to alert the driver.
  • The introduction of these new buses, brings to 27 per cent the total National Bus fleet which is now wheelchair accessible. This figure is set to consistently rise as more older buses are phased out during NBC's replacement program.


Safety enhancements:

  • A safety edge on the doors prevents them closing on a passenger when boarding or alighting;
  • To enhance the door sensitive system, if the edge detects a fault, the door remains open and the bus cannot move until maintenance personnel arrive;
  • Further, a door-brake system has been installed, so that when the doors are open the rear brakes are engaged to prevent the bus from moving while passengers are entering or exiting the bus. While the doors are open, the accelerator is also de-activated, and warning lights are shown on the dash-board to alert the driver;
  • Closed circuit television cameras have been installed in the new buses for added customer and staff security;
  • An emergency button in the driver's cabin can immediately alert the bus operations centre of any problem, and make a recording of any incident aboard the vehicle.
  • In the unlikely event of an incident requiring people to exit the bus quickly, four large emergency exit windows can be easily removed; and
  • Non-slip flooring is also installed in all of the new buses.


Additional features of the new buses:

  • Each bus seats at least 43 adults, and is licensed to carry 53 people. In other words, that's up to 50 less cars clogging Melbourne's streets with every bus load;
  • Customer comfort is greatly enhanced with more comfortable, ergonomically- designed seats;
  • Panoramic windows give the customer a greater view of Melbourne's surrounds in these stylish buses;
  • A new livery colour and design for National Bus also features; and
  • All buses will have climate-controlled heating and cooling as a standard feature.


Investment highlights:

  • National Bus Company is investing in Melbourne's bus service with $3.8 million committed in 2001 alone on the purchase of 13 new buses;
  • These MAN 12220 model buses are constructed in Australia, which is good news for our local economy. MAN Automotive and Custom Coaches have developed and fitted out the new fleet.