Macksville company Express Coach Builders delivers first of ten Volvo buses

Senior management from Express Coach Builders, Volvo and Buslines Group were joined by Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Nambucca Valley Mayor Rhonda Hoban for the official handover of the first two buses.

MACKSVILLE company Express Coach Builders last week handed over the first two of ten new buses under a contract for the build and supply of Volvo buses for Buslines Group, in partnership with Volvo Bus Australia.

It’s great news for the Nambucca Valley and a timely boost for regional NSW generally.

For the official handover, senior management from Express Coach Builders and both Volvo and Buslines Group were joined by Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Nambucca Valley Mayor Rhonda Hoban, both of whom had been supportive of the company’s bid.

The first two buses are bound for Bathurst with later vehicles destined for Dubbo, Orange and Forster – built in regional New South Wales for service in regional areas of the State, as Mayor Hoban pointed out.

Express Coach Builders General Manager Dale Hancock explained that the team had spent two years focused on achieving the standard required by the contract.

“Times have been tough in the regions the past few years and this substantial contract with Buslines is a boost for business that will ripple down the line,” he said.

Express Coach Builders started in 1995 as a small family business with six employees building 20 buses a year, and it now employs 57 people with fourteen apprentices across painting, electrical and manufacturing trades, turning out 75 buses each year.

“We’re a small family business that builds to the highest quality,” Mr Hancock said, “and the reason we can do that is thanks to the support of the staff.”

The company can work on fourteen buses at the same time in different bays, and currently 70 percent of the production line is devoted to Volvo.

The chassis for each bus is supplied by Volvo and all the work is completed on site at Express Coach Builders’ Macksville facility, with all parts handmade by the team and nothing imported.

“Our expertise is in building the buses, and we can build a world-class product,” Mr Hancock explains.

“Volvo has a reputation to uphold, obviously they want top quality, and Express Coach Builders has the expertise to satisfy this.”

After-sales service is also an important aspect of the terms of the contract and staff training has covered this too.

“We’ve had exceptional support from Volvo,” says Mr Hancock.

“This contract is a major success story for Express, allowing us to not only expand our operation and staffing numbers, but also to focus attention on a superior product built right here in the Nambucca Valley.”

Hands-on training for current staff has been undertaken by local partners such as Volvo Bus Australia; however, to support its expanding bus body-building operations, the company is investing heavily in apprenticeships and upskilling to provide workers with the required skills.

The company doesn’t just supply employment, it provides training across a number of areas and offers a career path.
Makayla is just one of the young people benefitting from more employment opportunities locally.

Having recently left Macksville High, she previously travelled by bus to Coffs Harbour for work but is now a new employee at Express Coach Builders, working in administration and learning on the job close to home.

There’s every reason to be optimistic that Express Coach Builders’ exciting local success story will provide a trickle-down effect that will ultimately support more local jobs, training and manufacturing.


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