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Following Asia Bus Response's successful first shipment to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, a second load of buses was donated by the UK bus and coach industry for transportation to Colombo. Sadly, the specifications outlined for the vehicles by the Government of Sri Lanka precluded their dispatch.
The entire voluntary Asia Bus Response initiative closed down after 11 months in November 2005. The project's success was measured by its first and only shipment of donated buses, although the industry would have liked to send more vehicles to benefit those who remained in so much need following the tsunami disaster.

The Asia Bus Response Story
On 8 June 2005, 100 buses representing bus and coach services from across the UK were handed over to charity, Islamic Relief, at Marwell Zoological Park, near Winchester. Donated by the UK bus and coach industry to the Asia Bus Response appeal, the vehicles were distributed to the areas worst-affected by the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
The mid-life buses, from double-deckers to minibuses, are used exclusively by children: around Galle in Sri Lanka they enable education by transporting children to school from remote areas; in the area around Bande Aceh in Indonesia the buses have become mobile classrooms, replacing schools swept away in the disaster.
Buses were shipped from Southampton on 18 June.

The first Asia Bus Response shipment was a partnership initiative between the UK bus and coach industry, overseas aid charity, Islamic Relief, shipping the vehicles at a cost of some £5m and training drivers in the receiving countries, and the governments of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, committing similar figures in waived import taxes, cargo and storage.
A second shipment, ABR2, was planned to depart for Sri Lanka in December 2005. Asia Bus Response reluctantly had to withdraw ABR2 when the Government of Sri Lanka specified vehicle modifications and requested that 3 years-worth of major spare parts should also be provided free of charge across the complete range of buses. This was seen as impractical at best and ABR felt it timely to withdraw from the project.
Asia Bus Response thanks all those who supported the appeal from around the world, especially the bus donors and sponsors from the UK and Eire whose generosity enabled the people of Indonesia and Sri Lanka to benefit through the gift of ABR vehicles. It is hoped ABR's donated buses will give long and satisfactory service to their new owners and assist the process of post-tsunami reconstruction.

© Picture Partnership