Highlights Innovative Transport Solution at 2019 Bus Expo

Hino Bus Expo
Headlining the Hino Australia stand at next week’s 2019 BusVic Bus Expo and Maintenance Conference is its small-sized Poncho bus.

Headlining the Hino Australia stand at next week’s 2019 BusVic Bus Expo and Maintenance Conference is its small-sized Poncho bus, which is part of a unique and quickly emerging on-demand bus service currently operating in Sydney. 

Using Bridj powered by Transit System Australia, Sydney commuters in Region 6 can book a dedicated seat on an on-demand bus service with the Hino Poncho delivering a new way to use public transport.

This innovative contract is the first in Sydney to blend both mass and on demand transit, making catching public transport easier than ever before. 

The smaller capacity of the Hino Poncho helps drivers respond to commuter travel requirements in real time.

Dynamic services have been trialled across New South Wales since December 2017, and have been successful in better connecting customers with existing mass transit services. 

A small-sized bus ahead of its time, the Hino Poncho is fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act, two and a half years ahead of its full implementation in 2022. 

With an ultra-low floor design and kerb kneeling function, a wheelchair ramp and a dedicated wheelchair space inside, the Hino Poncho is proving a popular choice for community groups and bus operators alike.

- Hino Product Strategy Manager, Daniel Petrovski

"Wheelchair boarding can take less than a minute - compare this to a traditional small bus in which wheelchair access can take up to 20 minutes and you can see why the Hino Poncho is proving to be a superior solution to what is already available,” he continued. 

The Hino Poncho measures under 7 metres in length and features a tight turning radius, making it a highly manoeuvrable and innovative community transport solution for aged care providers, schools and universities.  

Key safety features include three emergency exit points, air-over-hydraulic brakes with ABS, a comprehensive field of vision which includes an infrared night-vision enabled reverse camera as standard. 

For added safety, the large 850mm sliding door features sensitive touch technology and sensors near the entrance which stop the door from closing if there is an obstruction. 

Another safety feature is that the door is prevented from opening until the bus is in neutral, and has come to a complete stop – drive and reverse can only be selected again once the door is fully closed. 

“Specifications such as these are part of why Poncho continues to be chosen by safety conscious bus companies for on-demand services,” said Mr Petrovski. 

Rear-mounted for easy servicing access, the J05E-TS 4-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel engine produces 180Hp (132kW) of power and 530Nm of torque and meets Australian emission standards with a DPR emissions control system. 

In addition to power steering, telescopic and tilt-adjustable steering column and three-way adjustable seat, the driver benefits from a true two-pedal solution courtesy of a five-speed Aisin A500 automatic transmission with torque converter. 

On-road comfort is a priority and is ensured via an air bag suspension with shock absorber and stabilisers. 

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 option for organisations like aged care providers, schools and universities,” said Mr Petrovski. 

“There really isn’t another bus like it in the Australian market.”

“To demonstrate these key features and the Bridj System, the Hino Poncho will be in operation around the exhibition precinct.”

“We will also have one of the larger buses from our range on display at the show, which is owned by Merv Hennock & Sons,” said Mr Petrovski. 

“The Hino RN8J chassis is fitted with a 53-seat body built by P&D Coachworks,” said Mr Petrovski.

The J08EVD engine delivers 206Kw of power and 824Nm of torque and is matched to a ZF 6 speed automatic transmission.

It also features cruise control, ABS and airbag suspension.

The 65th Bus Expo and Maintenance Conference runs from 1st to 2nd October 2019 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. 

Learn more about the Hino Poncho here.