From The Canberra Times, Saturday 25 April 1987 –
By PHILIP HOBBS, City Reporter
ACTION unveiled yesterday the first of its new generation of passenger buses that it hopes will win more custom and provide for Canberra’s growing public transport needs during the next decade.
The bus, which embodies the latest motor transport technology, is called simply the PR-100, although its chassis, engine and running gear are a marriage of Renault and Mack parts. It can claim to be called a people’s bus, ACTION having taken into account community, driver and union comment, incorporating it in final design.
PR-100s will roll off the assembly line at Ansair’s coach division, in Melbourne, at the rate of one a week until 45 of them have been built. ACTION would like another 45 to help replace its aging fleet, but that depends on its ability to convince the Department of Finance to part with more funds — each PR-100 costs $192,000 and the 17 articulated models ordered each have a price tag of $300,000.
Apart from the full-width laminated windscreen, the new buses can be distinguished by their new paint jobs and stylised ACTION logos. Inside, the buses carry a number of refinements. Prominent among them is improved seating, easier access and more grab rails for disabled passengers.
Drivers have been well catered for — they have air-conditioned cabs and two-way radios with attack alarm systems, and adjustable steering columns.
The general manager of ACTION, Mr Glen Gaskill, said the new buses were a step ahead for Canberra. “We’ve tried to produce a bus that reflects community needs,” he said. “In many ways it has been custom-built for Canberra and has new levels of passenger comfort and safety.”
Mr David Lamont, secretary of the ACT branch of the Transport Workers’ Union, said the bus had new levels of driver comfort, cabin configuration and seat design that would be beneficial to the public.
“This bus is user-friendly,” he said. “It makes a necessary journey comfortable.”
But the last word was left to the driver, Mr Charles Thuma, who made yesterday’s test run.
“I’m a bit of a Volvo man myself,” he said. “There’s not much between [the PR-100] and the Mercedes, except this has more power. In general, the driver comfort is superior.”
And as for paying passengers — they will be able to make their own assessment when the PR-100 goes into service next week.