The 2023 BusNSW Industry Awards were presented at the BusNSW 2023 Members Conference on 4 October.
Winner: Melissa Marshall – Marshall’s Bus and Coach
Melissa is a third-generation rural bus operator who has been responsible for transforming the family business through the adoption of technology and the expansion of charter operations.
After leaving high school, the recipient worked elsewhere but the pull of the industry was too strong and she returning to the family company as Group and Tour Director. In that role, she has expanded the business, securing new clients, writing her own tourist itineraries, and booking accommodation throughout Australia.
This has seen the company’s focus move beyond school bus travel, to services for the broader community through coach tours and charter work. During this time, she also pursued further studies in both transport management and tourism.
As the industry becomes ever more complex, Melissa has streamlined the family business by thinking “outside the box”. The company, for example, has introduced technology that enables its mechanics to ‘talk’ to computerised buses, thereby improving vehicle maintenance and safety.
Melissa has been an active participant in BusNSW’s “Young Leaders” Seminar and is part of a new breed of dynamic young women introducing a fresh approach to what has been a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Winner: Red Bus Services
Red Bus is a company with safety at the heart of its culture. It has been at the forefront of a range of innovative safety programs that have benefited drivers, mechanics and the travelling public.
For over two decades, Red Bus has delivered a renowned School Safety program to schools on the Central Coast. The program is designed for preschoolers, infants, and Year 6 students about to enter high school, and emphasizes the importance of road safety through the “Stop, Look, and Listen” technique.
Red Bus’s “Know your Bus” campaign cultivates improved communication and collaboration between drivers and mechanics by bringing them together in a social setting. It provides drivers with an insight into the maintenance process and the challenges faced by mechanics in ensuring safe and efficient buses.
To ensure safety on the road, Red Bus’s “Stay Safe” Program teaches drivers to avoid and defuse potentially violent situations. The Program is complemented by two Customer Liaison Officers who work with Transit Police to mitigate anti-social behaviour on buses. Their ‘Back to Base’ CCTV also provides drivers with confidence by displaying a live feed whenever the duress button is pressed. It allows the Operations Controller to have an immediate view of what is occurring and, if needed, to call for back-up, without the driver needing to vocalise or describe the problem to the depot.
To assist public safety, the company has installed “Mobileye” on a number of its buses. This technology alerts drivers when pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists enter the vehicle’s blind spot. It also provides Lane Departure Warnings, Speed Limit Alerts and Forward Collision Warning. Red Bus is now looking to expand Mobileye to the rest of the fleet.