Until the end of 2023, ACT Bus will be revealing the Top 15 buses of all time in the Canberra / ACTION Bus fleet (determined by number in the fleet).

At number 5, is the AEC Swift with 101 vehicles.

First in service: Bus 121, 1967
Last withdrawn: Bus 331, 1983
Years in service: 16

In 1967, four AEC Swifts with Athol Hedges body and manual transmission were ordered for evaluation against mid-engined AEC Reliances with the same body and AH505 engine. A further 10 joined the fleet in 1969. The driving position and gear linkage location were not well received by drivers, but these would be the last manual Swifts to be purchased.

In 1970, more AEC Swifts joined the fleet – these would be equipped with the Wilson semi-automatic four-speed transmission and were built on a Comeng Vehicles Industries (CVI) bus body which was exclusive to the Canberra Bus Service. A further 57 buses with bodies built by Freighter and Smithfield would arrive up to 1975.

DeliveredBodyFleet numbersTotalWithdrawn
1967-69Athol Hedges121-123, 125, 145-154141977-78 [1]
1970-71CVI156-185301979-80 [2]
1971-73Freighter186-198, 200-206, 209-225371979-82
1974-75Smithfield229, 232-235, 252-255, 326-336201982

[1] – 179 was withdrawn in 1972
[2] – 195 was withdrawn in 1975

The AEC Swifts were short lived with none of the buses surviving beyond 10 years in service. The last Swift to be withdrawn was 331 after 8 years in service – having been replaced by a Mercedes-Benz O.305.


Further reading:

More images on ACT Bus Gallery

This page was last updated on 20 January 2024