A sneak peek inside Rocky's new eyecatching bus
A SHINY new bus rolled in Rockhampton last month and it's turning a few heads as drivers do a double take.
Family run business, Rothery's Coaches, picked up their double decker bus four weeks ago, bringing it back to their Kawana yard.
With rising passenger numbers, the need for another bus was increasing.
Established in Rockhampton in 1977 by Barry and Ros Rothery, son Kurt and wife Nicky now run the family business.
"We needed a multi-purpose vehicle,” Kurt said.
Rothery's transports a number of school children to Brisbane on excursions and it was getting to the point where they were taking two buses.
"We already have 70 seat school buses here, which is fine for kids but we couldn't use them for adults,” Kurt said.
"If we didn't build that we would have had to buy a coach and a school bus so we combined them into one.”
The double decker bus worked out to be cheaper to build per seat than a coach bus.
"It does cost a bit more to run,” Kurt said.
"It's quite sturdy, it has some big stabiliser bars underneath but it stands up well, I am really happy with it.”
Travelling from Brisbane to Rockhampton and now around town, the bus has quickly caught the attention of passer-bys.
"There were people pulling up at the traffic lights and taking photos,” Kurt said.
"I think it's just something a bit different.”
From a tourism point of view, the bus also has great vantage viewing points from the top deck.
Kurt said most people and kids get excited when they got upstairs.
"With touring you can look out for miles because you are so high,” he said.
Kurt was proud to say the bus has been fully engineered and manufactured in Australia and in Queensland.
The air conditioned, toilet equipped bus has 73 recliner seats, wheelchair access and the ability to take out seats for wheelchair space.
Fourteen months in the works, it was custom built to specification and design preferences from Kurt and his father.
It took 8,000 man hours to build, starting with two bits of Australian steel and it was built up from there.
Rothery's Coaches has 13 buses, including nine used for the Yaamba to Rocky school run.
The school run takes around 500 to 600 school students each day.
"All of our fleet is built in Brisbane, that is one thing we are proud of,” Kurt said.
"We believe it is the best product out there.
"We have never bought an imported vehicle before and we are quite happy to stay with Australian made.”
The buses are pushed to their limits across numerous kilometres of dusty Central Queensland roads.
"They handle all of our roads up into here, they handle our roads going to Shoalwater, up and down the highway with ease,” Kurt said.