Renault has begun sales of its fully imported 12-seater Master Bus to schools in Australia, with the School for Student Leadership’s Snowy River Campus in Gippsland, Victoria, taking delivery of two identical specification vehicles.
The buses will be used at the outdoor adventure school where Year 9 students spend up to 10 weeks at a time exploring pursuits such as surfing, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking, while learning self-reliance and leadership skills.
The school uses the buses to transport students to and from adventure locations within a 1-hour drive of the beachside location near Marlo, at the mouth of the Snowy River.
Principal Mark Reeves says the Renault Master Bus met all the School’s requirements from functional, economical and operational perspectives.
“We were in the market to replace some older vehicles. The Renault Master Bus seemed to be exactly the right size. It is very spacious inside and it can be driven on a regular car license by all of my staff,” he says.
“Pricing was critical for us and the Master Bus comes fully equipped for our needs, at about $60,000. Annual servicing, teamed with service intervals of up to 30,000km are key benefits for us, as we only cover around 12,000km per year, so we should only need one annual visit to the dealership. Some other buses need a service every 10,000km or six months.
“Fuel economy looks to be good and the (six-speed) automated transmission suits the engine really well. The Master Bus is simple to drive, and as we have about 20 staff at each campus, and any of them could be called on to drive it, this is important. The staff like the fact that all the control buttons for the ventilation and sliding door are grouped logically on the dash, and they are easy to learn.
“The Master Bus does well on tarmac or dirt. We do a fair bit on dirt and the Bus is very stable. It has good road holding and steering. It feels safe and secure, and has excellent ABS. It leaves the old bus for dead.
“Prior to making a purchase decision we reviewed the market and I discussed the purchase with my staff. We saw the Renault as a quality European vehicle that would give us the flexibility we needed,” he says.
“There are some very handy features. Our bus came with an electric sliding side door and the students really love the USB chargers for their iPods and iPhones. Because we have patchy coverage for free-to-air radio, the kids bring their own music along.
“One of the biggest surprises was the aircraft-style cabin heater which runs down the length of the cabin. It’s a real winner,” Mark says.
“The students surf all year round, and so can get back into the bus quite cold. The heater warms them up quickly. The air conditioning is very effective, too,” he says.
The Master Bus has a twin air conditioning system, fitted within the cabin to prevent the damage that can afflict external roof-mounted systems. The AC is very effective and designed for Australian summer conditions.
“The seats are really comfy, there’s plenty of room inside, and with the front-wheel drive and low flat floor in the luggage area, and we can store all of the students’ 100-litre adventure packs. We also tow a trailer for the kayaks,” Mark says.
“The flat floor is also easy to sweep or mop out, given the students bring in mud and sand on their feet.
“When the students aren’t complaining about something it is a sign they are content, and so far the Master has passed muster with them,” Mark says.
“The experience the School for Student Leadership Snowy River campus is having with their new Master Buses is exactly what we planned for,” says Renault LCV Model Line Manager, Lyndon Healey, who led the programme to bring this high specification people-moving version of the Master range to Australia.
“We spent about 2 years consulting with a wide range of bus users, and determined that the combination of 12 seats, a large luggage area and strong heating and air conditioning systems would appeal to the market, and in particular with school users.
“The Master Bus is an exceptional value proposition as it comes very well specified as standard, and with a large selection of options, which may be individually specified or taken as an option pack.
“With our price, powerful and economical drivetrain, long service interval, Capped Price Servicing for the first 3 scheduled services of just $349, and our 3-year/200,000km factory warranty, the Master Bus provides an exceptional package for school bus buyers and plenty of peace-of-mind.
“Renault LCV has been the biggest selling light commercial brand in Europe for the past 18 years in a row, which underlines the faith buyers on the Continent have in our practicality, durability and aftersales service. And with a growing national network, currently comprising more than 50 dealers in Australia, we are closer to more Australians than ever before,” Lyndon says.
“If your educational facility is considering trading up to a newer, safer, more comfortable and better appointed vehicle, contact your nearest Renault dealer to find out more about the Master Bus.”
Full detail of the Renault Master Bus are also available on the Renault website.
About the School for Student Leadership
The School for Student Leadership is a Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) initiative offering a unique residential education experience for Year 9 students. The curriculum focuses on personal development and team learning projects sourced from students’ home regions. There are three campuses in iconic locations across Victoria. The Alpine School Campus is located at Dinner Plain in the Victorian Alps. Snowy River Campus is near the mouth of the Snowy River at Marlo in east Gippsland. The third site is adjacent to Mount Noorat near Camperdown in Victoria’s Western District, and is called Gnurad-Gundidj.