In anticipation of the withdrawal of Melbourne’s last government buses, the Bus and Coach Society of Victoria arranged a M.A.N. SL200 Mk2 Farewell Tour on Saturday June 27 2015, with 62 members & guests attending, from as far away as Wellington, New Zealand!
100 M.A.N. SL200 Mk2s with Ansair bodies were purchased as a successor to 160 Mk1s. They were Melbourne’s first route buses to feature air-conditioning and front step kneeling, with several originally powered on natural gas. They were delivered between 1988 & 1990. Two buses from Doncaster depot were selected for the day, #280 & #283, expertly driven by our president Michael Kane & David Embury.
After a late morning pick-up at Box Hill, the buses retraced the 302 freeway service into the City, briefly pausing at Harp Junction in East Kew. A second pick-up was made at Southern Cross, before the buses headed out to the western suburbs to acknowledge the Mk2 era at Footscray depot under The Met, Met Bus & Melbourne Bus Link.
Photo stops were made at Paisley St Footscray, Footscray Depot, Yarraville and Altona North Park+Ride before lunch at the various fast food outlets along Millers Rd.
Next we crossed the West Gate Bridge and then proceeded to the termini at Fishermans Bend and Garden City.
From here were followed the former 250 cross-city route to LaTrobe Uni via the City, a route where these buses were always a regular sight.
With the tour now somewhat behind time, we enjoyed a non-stop trip through the hilly suburbs of Greensborough, Templestowe, Doncaster and Donvale before reaching Mitcham for an eventual photo stop and to collect a final passenger.
On return to Box Hill several participants elected to depart the buses, with #280 also returning home from here. David continued back into the City with #283, including our final photostop at Doncaster Park+Ride in front of bemused security.
Traffic on the Eastern Fwy was heavier than expected, but participants reached the City around 18:30, with time for little more than dinner and a nap before another big day of riding around the following day on our separate Volvo B10M Extravaganza.
A fantastic send-off for these timeless workhorses, thanks to Transdev management for allowing us to say goodbye.