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 7, is the Mercedes-Benz O.305 with 81 vehicles.

First in service: Bus 585, Nov 1981
Last withdrawn: Bus 670, Nov 1999
Years in service: 18

In late 1980, the Department of the Capital Territory awarded a three-year contract to Mercedes-Benz to supply rigid and articulated buses – replacing the previous supply agreement with MAN. These buses would be built on an Ansair VöV-standard body (with a Mercedes O.307 front) in Melbourne – the first Mercedes-Benz buses in Australia built to the German standard.

The initial order was for 29 rigid buses and 5 articulated buses. The chassis for the 29th bus (which was intended to be Bus 613) was instead delivered to Adelaide to become the prototype O-Bahn bus, making only 28 buses delivered by 1982. A further 53 buses would be delivered between 1983 and 1985, when Bus 670 was delivered.

Bus 636, delivered in 1983, was the first bus to be fitted with a driver’s cabin air conditioning unit as original equipment. Air conditioning was later retro-fitted to those buses which didn’t have this originally.

In the early 1990s, all vehicles in this class were given a full body refurbishment – the only entire class of bus to be given an upgrade. This work included replacing body panels, re-laying the floors and new seat fabric.

Withdrawal of these buses commenced in late 1995, when Bus 585 was only 15 years old. The last of these buses were removed from service by November 1999.

One ACT Government Mercedes-Benz O.305 which survived beyond 1999 was 202-165: although it was built by Ansair, this was not an ACTION Bus, it was a Mobile Library bus which operated from 1994 until 2004.


Further reading:

More images on ACT Bus Gallery

This page was last updated on 17 February 2024