With high focus on environmental care and the wellbeing of the community, Latrobe Valley Buslines (LVBL) decided to purchase three new Volvo B7R buses to include in its existing fleet. After finding positive results from research on emission levels and lifetime cost factors of competing vehicles, the choice of Volvo was easy. The last of the three buses was delivered this June.
“Our company has a high commitment to the environment. Public transportation plays an extremely important role in cutting emissions. We did some low emissions research as well as long-term economics of running the vehicles and found that the Volvo B7R suits our needs”, says Rhoda Renwick, operations manager of Latrobe Valley Buslines.
The history of LVBL dates back to the 1950s, when smaller bus operators merged to service the community of Latrobe Valley. Electricity and paper mill companies wanted to provide public transport for their employees.
Originally a psychologist and educator, and now sole owner and manager of Latrobe Valley Buslines, Rhonda Renwick first became involved with the business when her then husband, Peter, joined the company as a trainee manager.
Until the 1980s the company was an unlisted public entity, but after a wave of privatisation Latrobe Valley Buslines became a target of corporate raiders. With concern for the wellbeing of the community, Rhonda and Peter along with a number of investors formed a syndicate to outbid the raiders and the company was made private.
Over the next 20 years, investors moved on and Rhonda had the opportunity to buy out her fellow investors. In 2005, Rhonda became sole owner and manager of the company; a rarity in the male dominated bus and coach industry.
Defying the odds, Rhonda is driven by her passion to service the Latrobe community. “Public transportation is so much more than moving masses of people. It’s the connective tissue of a healthy community,” says Rhonda. “We need to have safe, low-emission vehicles on the road”, she continues.
This ties in well with the long term focus of Volvo Buses in safety, quality and environmental care.
As a manager, Rhonda is concerned about creating a diverse environment for her workers. She encourages female drivers to apply for positions within the company. Rhonda was recently recognised for her efforts and was awarded the annual Diversity Award.
“My staff is my priority. I want to provide them with adequate support and have them feel valued. The B7R provides good ergonomics for the drivers and CMV Truck and Bus have been really good with customer service and driver training,” says Rhonda.
Rhonda looks brightly in the future of Latrobe Valley Buslines. The population of the valley is growing and Rhonda wants to increase services and make sure the infrastructure is adaptable to meet the needs of new demand. Along with plans for increasing services on board, as well as improving real-time communications, Latrobe Valley Buslines continues to cater to the needs of its community.