The decision by the Victorian Department of Transport decision to award Melbourne’s franchise bus fleet to operator Kinetic will see bus builder Volgren, will create 50 new jobs to service the new contract.

Victoria’s minister for transport, Ben Carroll announced Kinetic, which already operates the  SkyBus Melbourne airport service, will take control of Melbourne’s 537-strong fleet of public transport buses.

As part of the deal Kinetic will introduce five Volgren battery electric buses (BEBs) into the city’s network by June next year and by mid-2025 says it will have introduced 36 BEBs, plus more than 100 Volgren-bodied hybrid buses.

Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren, said the Department of Transport’s decision to prioritise green transport would help reduce emissions, and that by promoting local content the Victorian Government were supporting Australian manufacturing and Victorian job creation.

“Every manufacturer strives to plan and structure their business based on long-term demand. The Metropolitan  Bus Franchise helps us to do exactly that. Our expectation is that our direct labour resources will increase by 45 to 50 percent, or by around 50 direct new jobs.”

“Over the past four decades, Volgren has become part of an extensive and thriving south-east Melbourne manufacturing ecosystem. And we plan on building on it by investing in programs to enhance apprentice- and traineeships at our Dandenong facility during the life of the contract.”

“Volgren keeps investing in jobs and in the local supply chain because we want local manufacturing to succeed but we know government backing is essential for that to continue.”

Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the new franchise was a significant development in Victoria’s transition to zero-emissions buses, accelerating the government’s plans for all new public transport buses to be zero emissions from 2025.

“We are jump starting our push for a zero-emissions bus fleet in Victoria to benefit the environment and help build our engineering, design and manufacturing expertise in these emerging technologies.”

Deiro said that when you buy a Volgren Australian-bodied bus, you are buying more than just a bus. Volgren’s buses maximise operator value overtime through quality, after sales, customer relationship and passenger experience.

“Australian manufacturing now offers the highest quality levels I’ve seen in the bus industry. That comes from Volgren’s advanced manufacturing capabilities combined with the exceptional quality of materials and components produced by our local supply chain.

“Buying a locally made bus supports Victorian’s circular economy, but also means operators and governments can be confident that their vehicle will be on the road for 20 years or more.”

Deiro said that Melbourne was home to some of the country’s best public transport operators and the decision to appoint one would not have been any easy task.

“We’re very happy for Kinetic. It’s a great achievement for them and we’re proud that they have selected us as their body supplier for this new era in Melbourne’s public transport system.

“I’d also like acknowledge our partnership with Transdev and the other operators who participated in the tender,” Thiago said.

Volgren has collaborated with Kinetic for almost two decades, delivering more than 30 buses for their SkyBus and Surfside operations.

“The Metropolitan e Bus Franchise represents a huge step for the Kinetic-Volgren partnership and we will make every effort to ensure this remains a successful alliance.

“Volgren really appreciates dealing with operators that know what they are looking for and have deep understanding of the products and the industry as a whole. That’s what we get with Kinetic. They have a great team whose members are very knowledgeable and transparent.”

Deiro said that Volgren was well-prepared for Victoria’s transition to a low- and zero-emission bus fleet.

“All our factories are geared-up to start building BEBs at the scale required to meet the needs Australia’s shift to zero-emission technology.

“The Department of Transport’s decision is a great first step for Victoria. The new franchise arrangement, in addition to the zero-emission bus trials, will allow Kinetic and Volgren to deliver high volumes of BEBs to the streets of Melbourne. They will be tried and tested buses that Melburnians and visitors to the city will love to travel on.”