26 September 2023

Driverless bus on the road in Coffs Harbour

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Coffs Harbour bus passengers are to be the first in the world to climb aboard a fully automated public shuttle bus to operate without a supervisor or driver, as Transport for NSW extends its trial of the automatic technology.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole said the next phase of the BusBot trial would see the public shuttle service operate at the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden in true driverless mode.

“This is world-leading technology being pioneered in Coffs Harbour,” Mr Toole said.

“Regional NSW is leading the way in exploring how automated vehicle technology can help deliver a more reliable and accessible public transport offering, and implement services in new areas,” he said.

Mr Toole said that when there was no supervisor on board the bus would be monitored remotely.

MP for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh said the vehicle had proven popular since the trial launched in December 2018 in partnership with operator Busways, tech provider EasyMile and Coffs Harbour City Council.

“We first saw the BusBot operate with a supervisor around the Northern Breakwall and the Marian Grove Retirement Village, before starting at the Botanic Garden in 2020,” Mr Singh said.

“So it’s exciting to hit the next milestone by now removing that supervisor,” he said.

Mr Singh said the Coffs Harbour community was “thrilled” to be a part of the history-making trial, with more than 10,000 locals and visitors taking part.

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