Nearly four years after it was first unveiled at the 2013 Bus and Coach Show, the first Hino Poncho has hit the streets of Holmview, a suburb of Logan City in Queensland.

Australia is the first market outside of Japan to get the mini Hino bus making the joint venture between Clark’s Buses and the Queensland Government’s public transport arm, TransLink, the only international customer to daye.

“Australia is the first overseas market for the Hino Poncho bus, meaning Holmview locals will be the first in the world outside Japan to realise its benefits including the remarkably quick wheelchair boarding, which takes less than a minute,” said Bill Gillespie, general manager of brand and franchise development at Hino Australia.

According to Gillespie, the Poncho’s future is bright as more transport operators will have to step up to comply with more stringent disability legislation over the coming years.

“Hino is pleased to work with TransLink and Clark’s Buses on this community transport solution for Holmview, and we congratulate them on their foresight in selecting a bus that is already compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), which will come into full effect in 2022,” Gillespie said.

“Measuring under seven metres in length and featuring a tight turning radius, the Hino Poncho bus is the perfect solution for community transport, like the narrow streets of the Holmview estate,” he said.

Deputy director general at Translink, Matt Longland says the Poncho is a perfect addition to the network.

“TransLink is proud to be leading the way by introducing smart solutions onto the public transport network. The Poncho’s innovative design, with its wheelchair friendly access and smaller size, is perfect for the Holmview route and we are really excited to see it in action,” Longland said.

“The new Holmview route served by the Poncho opens up more opportunities for locals to access jobs or health and education services as well as making it easier to take a trip to the shops.”

Graham Davis, CEO of Clark’s Buses said Poncho’s specifications were perfect for the Holmview route and he was impressed with its design and eye-catching appeal.

“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Hino Australia, a partnership that now spans 38 years,” Davis said.

The Hino Poncho bus is a long-term solution for community transport in Australia:

“We have been working with Hino Japan for several years to identify and introduce the right bus for the community transport market – in addition to its public transport potential, it provides an affordable, flexible option for organisations like aged care providers, schools and universities,” said Gillespie.

“There really isn’t another bus like it in the Australian market – this particular bus has a DDA-compliant 18-seat saloon layout including wheelchair provision plus standees.

“With high levels of safety and a Hino/JBus designed and built driveline, the Hino Poncho also delivers on our QDR (Quality, Durability and Reliability) promise.”