Yearly Archives: 2009


Custom Coaches launches “the new generation CB80” at the Australian Bus & Coach Show

The arrival of the new generation CB80 was unveiled to an excited audience at the Australian Bus & Coach Show 2009. The Hon David Campbell MP, NSW Minister for Transport addressed the bus industry along with Mark Burgess, CEO Custom Coaches, to introduce Custom Coaches new flagship.

In the address, Minister Campbell commented that the new generation “CB80” represents a major capital investment for the industry leader and has been developed to replace the current CB60 that has been in successful operation with government and private fleets for nearly 10 years.

Years in the making, the CB80 is forged from Custom Coaches 55 years of experience combined with active input from today’s bus operators. The result is a new standard in operational efficiency, engineered through cutting edge design technology and the very latest in automotive materials.

Custom Coaches new low floor city bus is a lighter, stronger, safer, better quality and better value vehicle designed for local conditions. A world class product built by a world class manufacturer, right here in Australia.

Key features of the new CB80

Increased Capacity

  • Standard one door design features 53 seated passengers with extra leg room (in excess of legal openings). No other body builder can achieve this balance between high capacity and passenger comfort.
  • The new CB80 features a lighter frame design with lighter floors, lighter doors and lightweight panelling – maximising overall capacity without compromising on the strength or life of the vehicle.

Reduced Tare Weight

  • External panels utilise the latest ‘pultraded’ fibreglass technology, providing extreme impact resistance with weight saving properties.
  • Internal panelling has been developed using 3D modelling, providing strength in design using less materials.
  • The new CB80 frame has undergone extreme Finite Element Analysis to achieve maximum strength with less material. Smarter use of stainless steel or galvanised steel frames reduce weight while enhancing product life.
  • Modesties are now lighter and safer, floor hatches now use composite material, making them lighter, stronger with increased acoustic qualities.
  • The inclusion of new door systems using composite materials save 30% of the door weight.

Latest Materials

  • External skirt panels are high resistant ‘ pultraded’ fibreglass which allow high impact without fracture, distortion or drooping. Skirt panels are specially shaped to provide quick installation or replacement. They can be made to company colours, with the same colour being throughout the thickness of the material, saving operating time and money
  • New ducting material, with ‘hinge-less’ design, provides access to the ducting area using a new pivoting system. The ducting, lights and stanchions are a fully integrated feature saving on weight and components.
  • Fibreglass roof and front rear headers have been modelled with 3D technology, providing higher strength with lighter weight.
  • New plastics are now available for use in the bus industry, and the CB80 is the first to utilise them and provide cost savings to Australian operators. The latest high impact plastics are available for front and rear corners in the high impact zones.
  • These parts are similar to fibreglass parts, but take three times the impact without fracturing.

Latest Design Technology

  • The CB80 includes the latest 3D frame modelling allowing a more accurate integrated body and chassis design. Reduced weight and fibre tolerance allows Custom Coaches to use less steel but achieve the same strength.
  • Parts are no longer manually produced. The new CB80 parts are computer designed and formed on a five axis router. The frame components are all shaped using a laser cutter to achieve a high quality result. So it doesn’t matter if the part you are buy now or in 20 years time, it will still fit, it will be the same & it will look perfect.
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is the best technology to achieve optimum balance between low tare weight and a 25 year design life. Builders not using FEA are only guessing if their body/chassis combination can sustain a 25 year design life. There is no substitute for technology and expertise, both of which Custom Coaches are proud to offer Australian operators.

Custom Coaches participating in environmental first

In conjunction with MAN and Scania, Custom Coaches has embarked on building 100 buses for ACTION. Chief Minister and Minister for Transport, Jon Stanhope unveiled the first bus 15th September2009, with Custom Coaches, CEO Mark Burgess and Contract Manager Phil Gilham in attendance.

In an environmental first, each bus will be a low-emission bus switching to clean diesel technology over natural gas. Producing fewer emissions than the previous natural gas-powered buses and cheaper to run. Read more »

Custom Coaches 1000th STA Bus Delivery

Custom Coaches and State Transit celebrated the delivery of the 1000th bus to State Transit. Special guests Penny Sharpe, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Peter Rowley, CEO State Transit, Ninos Khoshaba, Member for Smithfield joined Sydney’s private operators, AMWU, Volvo bus staff, Sydney Bus Museum, National Bank Australia, TAFE NSW, key suppliers, State Transit and Custom Coaches staff to commemorate this unique milestone.

“It’s not every day an Australian bus body builder delivers 1000 buses to one customer and it is a unique milestone worth celebrating,” according to Mark Burgess, CEO Custom Coaches. Custom Coaches and State Transit have been working together on bus contracts over the past 50 years. The first bus delivered to State Transit was the Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster in 1958 forming part of 125 bus order for Department of Transport NSW.

Since then Custom Coaches has provided State Transit with 300 CNG Mercedes buses and 250 Volvo B12 diesel buses (rigid and articulated) prior to the start of the “505” contract. The “505” contract included 250 diesel Volvo buses and 255 CNG Mercedes buses. It was the 163rd Volvo B12BLE that became the 1000th Custom Coaches bus manufactured for State Transit.

“It’s not just a matter of designing and building buses for operators such as State Transit, you have to form a partnership for the life of the bus,” advised Mark Burgess. “Each Custom Coaches bus is designed to operate for 25 years, and we need to partner our customers throughout the life of the bus. We will supply parts, technical assistance and perform a mid life refurbishment and any other assistance as part of our commitment as a bus builder in Australia”.

Of the 1000 buses delivered to State Transit by Custom Coaches there are 875 currently operating today, only the first 125 Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster have been decommissioned. As part of the celebration, the bus museum at Tempe provided one of the original Royal Tigers for the day for everyone to compare the 1958 model to the 2009 model.

The 1000th bus has a special livery and badging on the outside to commemorate this unique milestone. Passengers will also notice the difference inside with special celebratory fabric on all the seats supplied by Holdsworth Australia.
“It’s a commitment from all our staff also. We are very lucky to have great employees, with extensive experience. One of our staff members has just celebrated his 50th year at Custom Coaches and we have got many who have been with us for over 35 years,” said Mark Burgess

New sales team – Custom Coaches, Building on Strength

Custom Coaches have announced a new sales structure to support the growth in bus sales and strength of the bus market in Australia.

Over the last three years the Australian bus market has grown by 60%. During the same period Custom Coaches has increased production by the same amount.

“The new sales structure will enable greater focus on our customers. It is important to spend time with bus operators to understand their needs” says Stephen Jackson, Sales and Marketing Director of Custom Coaches.

The newest member of the Custom Coaches sales team is Phil Gilham, the Adelaide and Canberra Contracts Manager. He joins the well known team of Geoff Ross (Vic, SA, WA and Tas Sales Manager), Norm Stott (NSW Sales Manager), Chris Jones (Qld Sales Manager) and Nigel Wilson (NSW Contracts Manager and NSW Sales Manager).

Phil Gilham: The newest member of the Custom Coaches sales team, joining as the Adelaide and Canberra Contract Manager.

As part of the re-structure Nigel Wilson will share responsibility with Norm Stott for Sales in NSW. Nigel has spent the last few years managing the State Transit and Adelaide bus contracts and will provide NSW operators with a wealth of experience. Nigel also has a technical background in bus door systems, providing customers with great confidence in his bus knowledge.

“The sales team has over 135 years experience in bus design, manufacturing and bus sales. This extensive experience will benefit our customers, and our goal in 2009 and 2010 with this bigger sales team is to spend more time with our customers and provide the sales support and after market care they deserve” says Mr Jackson.

Custom Coaches has been building buses in Australia since 1955 and is the oldest and most successful bus body builder in Australia. Custom Coaches business has continued to expand over the past 50 years and have plants operating in Sydney, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.

“98% of Passengers are Satisfied” Parramatta City Council Loop Bus Service

In a recent survey of passengers using the Parramatta City Council Loop Bus, over 98% stated they were more than satisfied with the service.

The Parramatta City Council Loop Bus is a free service that ‘loops’ around the Parramatta CBD. The service began in August 2008 and its patronage has grown from zero to 68,000 passengers per month in 7 months, with 74% of passengers using the service daily or weekly.

The original need for the bus service was identified when the Epping to Parramatta rail link was cancelled. The council wanted to provide commuters with an integrated transport system that promoted convenient public transport and reduced congestion in Parramatta CBD. The Loop Bus allows commuters to park on the outskirts of the CBD and then connect to other train, bus and ferry services. Read more »