In 1976, Queensland husband and wife duo Reg and Yvonne saw the need for a local school bus service and purchased a single bus to supply it. Thirty-five years later, Clarks Logan City Bus Service operates one of Australia’s largest privately-owned fleets, employs more than 170 people, carries in excess of 25,000 passengers everyday and as of this month operates 100 Volvo B12BLE buses – more than any other private bus operator.
While the Clarks had an optimistic vision for the future of their bus company from the very beginning, neither predicted the rapid growth and success they would later experience.
“Reg saw the opportunities – he was the visionary in the early days and I supported him completely. Pretty soon, we both shared a strong vision for our company,” says Yvonne.
“There was – and still is – a huge demand for reliable public transport in this area and the challenge has always been to get ahead of the growth.”
“We always planned to expand our services to include routes to and from the city instead of purely local services. In 1987, when the opportunity arose to purchase another local company, we jumped at the chance as this created the platform to provide city services for EXPO88 and, after that, on an ongoing basis.
“That acquisition not only jump-started the enormous business growth that we are still experiencing today, but also more than doubled our fleet at a single stroke. With this growth, we decided, in 1997 to focus exclusively on urban transport.”
It was this decision that would soon set in motion their long lasting relationship with Volvo and ongoing demand for Volvo route buses.
Urban transport requires a different type of bus – one that can withstand the rigours of urban routes and as many as 60,000 kilometres per year.
“We needed to move to a heavy-duty chassis with low-floor accessibility, urban-style seating and better flow for passenger movements. These new buses would need to be far more durable, as well as powerful and fuel efficient,” said Yvonne.
“The Volvo B12BLE chassis was very appealing and had more capacity than any other bus we had seen, but it was a gamble because it was untried in Australia at the time. We decided to purchase five buses and see how they performed,” added Reg.
“Volvo promised to support us completely during the trials and have continued to do so throughout our relationship. We’ve never looked back.”
In fact, since this first Volvo B12BLE purchase in 2003, Clarks have averaged more than ten new Volvo buses annually and have continued to be impressed by their power, fuel efficiency and reliability. Included in their Volvo fleet is also a couple of two-door articulated models and two three-door ‘super buses’.
Clarks Logan City Bus Service CEO Graham Davis, to whom the Clarks have delegated much of the day-to-day running of the company to, explained how this standardisation of bus make and model across most of their fleet has brought about a number of benefits.
“The standardisation of a bus fleet where possible provides a number of positives from stock control, uniformity in maintenance work practices and consistency in driver vehicle operations,” said Davis.
“With the right supplier it also allows the relationship to grow into a strong partnership with all parties delivering a quality product on the road.”
Volvo Bus Regional Sales Manager Ray Andrich was thrilled to deliver the 100th Volvo Bus to Clarks, who he describes as “always a pleasure to deal with”.
“The Clarks’ large and modern depot with 100 Volvo buses lined up is quite a spectacle when you drive through the gate - it is truly a tribute to their hard work, dedication and very smart business decisions,” said Andrich.
“Reg and Yvonne have always shown tremendous amounts of integrity, honesty and generosity in running their business and I thank them greatly for their ongoing loyalty - they are not only wonderful customers who are a pleasure to deal with but also wonderful friends.”
Congratulations Reg and Yvonne on taking delivery of your 100th Volvo B12BLE bus.