The Manager of ACTION, Canberra's bus service, Mr Bob Down, today released a preliminary report on the company's new buses introduced two weeks ago. The introduction of the new buses was highly controversial and the report on their operation was eagerly waited for by the public. Bus users were divided on their opinions of the new buses before their introduction and Mr Down said that the report would settle people's doubts.
The buses are a radical departure from conventional designs in that they have no windows. The interior of the bus is completely sealed off from the outside environment to protect passengers from Canberra's summer heat and winter cold. They are air-conditioned for passengers' comfort.
Mr Down admitted that there had been one or two small problems with bringing the new buses into service, but added that these had been satisfactorily dealt with. He said that the drivers reported no problems in adapting to the new buses as they had received special pre-introduction training. He added that there were no complaints from the drivers and that they soon felt comfortable and confident with the new buses. Nor had there been any adverse feedback from passengers, he claimed.
Mr Down said that in the two weeks that the buses had been operating there had been no incidents on the roads nor reports of stress or injury to drivers or passengers. The safety report was evidence of the excellent design and function of the new buses, he added, and should provide passengers with the confidence to enjoy using them.
One of the drivers of the new buses, who wished to remain unnamed, agreed that the two weeks had gone well. "We drivers like them very much." he said. "We find that using them is much less stressful and tiring than the old ones." he added.
Comments from passengers were not available.
Mr Down emphasised that this was a preliminary report and that more had to be done to integrate the new buses into ACTIONS' bus fleet, but, at this stage, it was planned to replace all the old buses in the fleet with the new models within the next two years.
When asked by this reporter for more information on the minor problems that occurred, Mr Down was reluctant to provide an answer, saying that he thought it might adversely influence people's opinion of the new buses. When pressed, however, he agreed to a brief account of the situation.
It appears that the excellent road and passenger safety record of the new buses is due to the fact that none of them actually got onto the road and so never carried any passengers. Mr Down explained that none of the buses left the depot because the drivers couldn't see to find their way to the gate out of the depot.
At this point Mr Down closed the press conference, refusing to answer any more questions, and quickly left the room.