Canberra’s first rear-engined buses – and among the first rear engined buses in Australia – were placed in service on 22 February 1968. ZIB 121 & 122, both Athol Hedges bodied AEC Swift MP3Rs were unusual in being manual gearbox Swifts, most other such AEC buses in the world were semi-automatic or fully automatic.
A third bus ZIB 123, soon followed and they often appeared on the new bus service to Aranda and Macquarie. This was Belconnen’s first suburban bus route and had only been extended to the corner of Bennelong Crescent and Lachlan Street in Macquarie on 30 January 1968.
The third Hedges bodied, rear-engined AEC Swift MP3R, ZIB 123, was registered on 6th March.
ZIB 013 and 014, both Comeng bodied AEC Reliance MU3RAEs, delivered in August and September 1957 respectively, were sold in March, the only buses sold in any month in 1968.
The previously un-numbered Belconnen bus service, operating as far as the intersection of Lachlan Street and Bennelong Crescent in Macquarie, became Route 40 on 18 March.
On 25 March 1968 a new system of routes in the Woden Valley was introduced, with all five routes focused on the new, but temporary, Woden Interchange on Melrose Drive near the intersection of Theodore Street. Route 9 from Torrens and Pearce was through-routed with Route 15 via Garran and Hughes to the City while Route 10 from Farrer and Mawson was through-routed with the express route 16 to the City. Route 17 operated from Pearce through Chifley, Lyons and Curtin to the City.
ZIB 016 and 017, both Comeng bodied AEC Reliance HMU3RAs, delivered in June 1958, and were sold in April.
No buses were delivered in April 1968.
No variations to routes or services were recorded for this month.
Two buses were delivered in July 1968 – both entirely different vehicles from AEC.
ZIB 124 was a Reliance, the first of a batch of 18 buses with an Athol Hedges body which was of a slightly different design from the earlier Hedges bodied units (ZIB 111-120). ZIB 125 was a Swift MP3R, also with a Hedges body, the fourth and final bus in the 1968 batch of Swifts.
In other news from July 1968 we noted that Adelaide-based transport consultants, Pak Poy, were engaged to develop a new bus route structure and a new timetable, including plans for the future. There will be more news on that activity in the next few months in our review of the news for 1968.
Content author: Ian Cooper (content has been reformatted by ACT Bus)
Updated 1 January 2021