ComfortDelGro Cabcharge

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ComfortDelGro Cabcharge logo.svg
Hillsbus (mo 9834) Volgren 'CR228L' bodied Scania K280UB 14-5m at Castle Hill Interchange.jpg
Hillsbus Volgren bodied Scania K280UB at Castle Hill bus interchange in July 2013
Parent ComfortDelGro (51%)
Cabcharge (49%)
Founded 2005
Service area Hills District
Hunter Region
Blue Mountains
Melbourne
Geelong
Ballarat
Canberra
Queanbeyan
Yass
Service type Bus services
Operator Blue Mountains Transit
CDC Ballarat
CDC Geelong
CDC Melbourne
Charterplus
Hillsbus
Hunter Valley Buses
Qcity Transit
Transborder Express
Westbus UK
Chief executive SK Cheng
Website www.cdcbus.com.au (NSW)
www.cdcvictoria.com.au (Victoria)

ComfortDelGro Cabcharge (CDC) is a major Australian operator of commuter buses. It is the second-largest commuter bus operator in New South Wales, and the third-largest commuter bus operator in Victoria. The company was founded in October 2005 as a joint venture between Singapore-based ComfortDelGro (51%) and Cabcharge (49%). In December 2016 ComfortDelgro announced that subject to regulatory approval, it had agreed to purchase Cabcharge's stake.

CDC operates services as part of the New South Wales metropolitan bus system under the Hillsbus, Hunter Valley Buses and Blue Mountains Transit brands. In regional New South Wales (Queanbeyan and Yass), CDC operates under the Qcity Transit and Transborder Express brands. In Victoria, CDC operates CDC Ballarat, CDC Geelong and CDC Melbourne.

CDC also has operations outside of Australia. In the United Kingdom, CDC owns and operates as CityFleet which operates coach services in London under the Westbus banner and taxi services in a number of cities.

History[edit]

The joint venture was established in October 2005 to purchase loss-making Westbus (Australia & UK), Hillsbus and Hunter Valley Buses from National Express and the Bosnjak family.[1] The company traces its origins to 1955, when the Bosnjak family established a bus company in Edensor Park.

In 1986, Westbus commenced operating in England with the purchase of ADP Travel Services, Hounslow and Swinards Coaches, Ashford.[2][3] This was later acquired by Armchair Passenger Transport who were in turn purchased in 2004 by ComfortDelgro.[4]

In August 2006 the routes of Baxter's Bus Lines were purchased by and absorbed into Westbus operations.[5][6]

Morisset Bus Service, Sugar Valley Coachlines and Toronto Bus Service were purchased in August 2007 and absorbed into Hunter Valley Buses.[7] In June 2008 a bus charter division was established under the Charter Plus name.

Kefford Corporation in Victoria was purchased in November 2008.[8] The group was renamed CDC Victoria, but the names of the bus companies within the group were retained. The CDC brand was rolled out in 2014.

In September 2012 Deane's Transit Group comprising Deane's Buslines (renamed as Qcity Transit) and Transborder Express in southern New South Wales were purchased.[9][10] In August 2014, CDC purchased Blue Mountains Bus Company, which was subsequently renamed Blue Mountains Transit in December 2014.[11]

In December 2016 ComfortDelgro announced that subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, it had agreed to purchase Cabcharge's 49% stake. The sale is expected to be completed in February 2017.[12][13]

Australian operations[edit]

Westbus[edit]

Westbus was established in 1955 by the Bosnjak family. Trading as Bosnjak's Bus Service, it operated a fleet of five buses on a route connecting the Sydney suburbs of Canley Vale and Edensor Park.

Bosnjak's purchased a number of bus companies:[14]

  • 1963: Parramatta Bus Co
  • April 1974: WJ Bale & Sons, Penrith
  • November 1976: Fairlines Bus Service, Fairfield
  • 1981: Cleary Brothers in 1981
  • October 1983: Bowman's Bus Lines, St Marys
  • 1987: Route 715 from Toongabbie Transport
  • December 1987: Macquarie Towns Coach Lines, Windsor[15]
  • December 1988: The rest of Toongabbie Transport[16]
  • June 1989: Calabro's, Bonnyrigg[17]
  • January 1994:Richardson's Bus & Coach Service, Richmond[18]

All companies began to trade as Westbus in October 1984.[19]

In 1985 the coach business of Rowe's was purchased. A fleet of Volvo B10M coaches were purchased and based at Northmead. Following the purchase of Calabro's in June 1989 both fleets moved to Alexandria and later Arncliffe. The operation ceased in the early 2000s.

In May 1999, British coach operator National Express took a 57% shareholding in Westbus as part of its purchase of National Bus Company.[20] Members of the founding Bosnjak family continued to hold the remaining shares.

In December 2004, Westbus' Northmead and Seven Hills operations were merged with those of the newly acquired Glenorie Bus Company under the Hillsbus brand.

With debts of $90 million and National Express unwilling to provide further funding, in January 2005 the company was placed into voluntary administration. Westbus's problems threatened a major disruption to Sydney's transport network: the company ranked second only to government-owned Sydney Buses in the commuter bus industry. The company was acquired by ComfortDelGro Cabcharge in October 2005. The new owners pledged to honour the company's contractual obligations to customers and staff.[21] The change of ownership saw the company exchange one politically well-connected shareholder, the Bosnjak family,[22] for another, Cabcharge's Reg Kermode.

In August 2006 the routes of Baxter's Bus Lines were purchased by and absorbed into Westbus Region 3 operations.[5][6] Also included in the sale were Baxter's Girraween depot and some of its bus fleet.

From 2005 Westbus' services were part of Sydney Bus Regions 1 and 3.[23][24] In 2012, these regions were put out to tender by Transport for New South Wales. Westbus' bids to retain both regions were not successful, with the Region 1 services operating out of St Marys and Windsor passing to Busways, while the Region 3 services operated by Bonnyrigg and Girraween passing to Transit Systems Sydney, both in October 2013.[25][26][27]

Network[edit]

Westbus operated services (as of 2013) in the following areas:

Westbus operated these services prior to their rebranding to Hillsbus in December 2004:

Fleet[edit]

A long time Bedford and Leyland buyer, after briefly manufacturing its own Bosnjak JBJ chassis in the late 1970s, Westbus moved to the Volvo B10M purchasing over 160 as buses and 12 as coaches in the 1980s.[17] It later purchased Mercedes-Benz O405 and Scanias.

As at May 2013 Westbus operated 289 buses across four depots in Bonnyrigg and Girraween for Region 3 and St Marys and Windsor for Region 1.[5] Upon formation in 1983 Westbus adopted a cream and red livery, which was adopted by National Bus Company in 1993. This was simplified in the early 2000s to plain yellow. In 2010 the Transport for New South Wales white and blue livery began to be applied in line with contractual obligations.

Hillsbus[edit]

Hillsbus Custom Coaches bodied Mercedes-Benz O405 Mk II on Clarence Street, Sydney CBD painted in Westbus cream & red in October 2007
Hillsbus Volgren bodied Scania K230UB at Castle Hill bus interchange in July 2013
Bustech CDI double-decker in Transport for New South Wales livery at Castle Hill interchange
Metrobus liveried Hillsbus Volgren CR228L bodied Volvo B7RLE at Castle Hill bus interchange in July 2013

In 1996 Westbus established a separate Hillsbus brand to run express services from the Hills District to the Sydney CBD and North Sydney, initially via the Anzac Bridge and from 1997 via the M2 Hills Motorway.[28] However the Hillsbus brand seemed to have disappeared by the 2000s as these services were classified as Westbus rather than Hillsbus in early versions of the Westbus website.[29] These Westbus services, however, are still referred to by Westbus as "Hills City Express".[30]

On 11 February 2002, Hillsbus was recreated as a joint venture between Westbus and National Express' newly acquired Glenorie Bus Company, and introduced a new bus route 642 under the Hillsbus brand.[31] This service linked Dural and the City via the M2 and was therefore known as a "M2 City" express service. On 8 July the same year, Hillsbus introduced three more M2 City routes 650, 652 and 654.[32][33] According to the Hillsbus timetables, these Hillsbus services were operated by Glenorie,[34] even though neither Westbus nor Glenorie buses were used.[32][35]

In December 2004, all Westbus routes operating out of Northmead and Seven Hills depots, as well as the rest of Glenorie Bus Company, were rebranded Hillsbus.[36] At the same time, Hillsbus took over the operation of Harris Park Transport routes 620 - 630, following the latter ceasing operation. The services were transferred from Hillsbus to Sydney Buses on 28 January 2005.[37] On 25 September 2005, after the purchase of Hillsbus by ComfortDelgro Cabcharge, routes 620, 625, 626, 627 and 630 were transferred back to Hillsbus.[38]

Despite the rebranding to Hillsbus, the new Hillsbus website was only launched in January 2006, about a year after the rebranding.[39] The delay could be related to the debt of Westbus and was only resolved after the sale of Westbus and Hillsbus to CDC. After the launch of the new website, it still did not show any timetables of the former Glenorie-operated timetables until May/June 2006, and during this period, customers were asked to check the Glenorie website instead.[40]

When the Parramatta - Rouse Hill section of the North-West T-way opened on 10 March 2007, routes 730 (renumbered T63) and 735 (renumbered 616, now 616X) were transferred from Busways to Hillsbus with route 718 transferred from Hillsbus to Busways.[41]

Since 2005 Hillsbus' services have formed Sydney Bus Region 4.[42] In August 2013 Hillsbus successfully tendered to operate the Region 4 services for another five years from August 2014.[43][44]

On 30 June 2014, the Opal card was rolled out on all of Hillsbus' NightRide and Region 4 routes (including school services).[45][46]

Network[edit]

Hillsbus operates the following services:

Fleet[edit]

As at November 2014, Hillsbus operated 549 buses across four depots Seven Hills, Foundry Road (Seven Hills), Dural and Northmead.[5] Upon formation Hillsbus adopted Westbus' cream and red livery. This was simplified in the early 2000s to plain yellow. In 2010 the Transport for New South Wales white and blue livery began to be applied.

Hunter Valley Buses[edit]

Hunter Valley Buses provides commuter bus, school bus, coach and charter services in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

The group's origins can be traced back to 1926 when Amos Fogg founded the operation. Having taken control of Hunter Valley Coaches, Maitland and purchased Linsley Brothers, Wallsend along with their Raymond Terrace routes, all were rebranded as Blue Ribbon. In October 1989 Fellowes Bus Service, Swansea was purchased followed by Singleton Bus Service in March 1992.[17][47]

In December 1993, most of the coach operations were sold to Sid Fogg's in exchange for some route services.[48] In 1999 the Maitland, Wallsend and Raymond Terrace depots were consolidated at a new site in Thornton. In February 2000 Blue Ribbon was sold to National Bus Company with 162 buses and coaches.[49] In October 2005 Blue Ribbon was purchased by ComfortDelGro Cabcharge and rebranded as Hunter Valley Buses.

In August 2007, Morisset Bus Service, Sugar Valley Coachlines and Toronto Bus Service were purchased from Robert Hertogs and consolidated into the Hunter Valley Buses operation.[7]

Since 2008, Hunter Valley Buses' services have formed Sydney Outer Metropolitan Bus Regions 2 and 4.[50]

Fleet[edit]

As at November 2014, Hunter Valley Buses operated 297 buses and coaches across five depots.[5] Upon formation Blue Ribbon adopted a livery of two blues for its route service buses and coaches and white and blue for school buses. Upon being rebranded as Hunter Valley Buses the same allover yellow scheme as used by Hillsbus and Westbus was adopted. In 2010 the Transport for New South Wales white and blue livery began to be applied.

Charterplus[edit]

Charterplus is CDC's bus charter division for its Sydney operations. Initially established to centralise the charter operations between the Hillsbus depots, this was expanded to the Westbus depots in 2009. It organises charters for the CDC group, CDC rail bus workings, as well as CDC's special event commitments. Originally based at Bonnyrigg, all Charterplus vehicles are now based at the St Marys depot.

Fleet[edit]

As at November 2014, Charterplus operated 37 buses transferred from both the New South Wales and Victorian operations.[5]

Blue Mountains Transit[edit]

In August 2014, CDC purchased Blue Mountains Bus Company with 101 buses.[11][51] It operates depots in Emu Plains, Leura and Valley Heights.[52] Founded in 1951 as Pearce Omnibus, it operated services in the lower Blue Mountains. In 1999, it expanded with the purchase of Katoomba-Leura Bus Service, followed in 2002 by Blue Mountains Bus Co. On 1 December 2014, CDC formally took over the operations of Blue Mountains Bus Company and rebranded it as Blue Mountains Transit.

CDC Victoria[edit]

Westrans Volgren bodied Volvo B7L at Sunshine station in December 2013

In November 2008, ComfortDelGro Cabcharge purchased Victorian bus operator Kefford Corporation[8] with its fleet of 328 buses and six depots. Kefford was the fourth largest bus operator in Victoria, with a market share of 16%. The fleets retain their individual identities and liveries with small CDC Victoria markings. In July 2013 the route operations of the Driver Group were purchased and integrated into the Eastrans brand.[53][54][55]

On 14 July 2014, CDC Victoria launched a new website for its four Victorian subsidiaries: Westrans, Eastrans, Benders Busways and Davis Bus Lines. Benders Busways was renamed as CDC Geelong and Davis Bus Lines to CDC Ballarat.[56] Soon after, Westrans and Eastrans were rebranded as CDC Melbourne.

CDC's Victorian subsidiaries are:

As at October 2014, CDC Victoria had six depots and operated 446 buses.[57]

QCity and Transborder Express[edit]

In September 2012, CDC purchased Deane's Transit Group which comprised Deane's Buslines which operates local services in Queanbeyan and into Canberra, and Transborder Express which runs services between Yass, Murrumbateman, Hall and Canberra. Both brands also operate school services within their service region. On 8 July 2013, Deane's Buslines was rebranded as Qcity Transit.

Fleet[edit]

As at November 2014, the combined Qcity Transit and Transborder Express fleet consisted of 104 buses.[58]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, CityFleet is the umbrella company for CDC's operations in the United Kingdom.[59][60]

CityFleet operates:

  • Westbus UK
  • Taxi services in a number of UK cities

Westbus UK[edit]

In 1986, Westbus commenced operating in England with the purchase of ADP Travel Services, Hounslow and Swinards Coaches, Ashford by the Bosnjak family.[2][3] However, the Westbus UK company operates independently from the Westbus in Australia, despite bearing the latter's name, old logo and livery. It was sold to Armchair Passenger Transport, being reacquired when the latter was purchased by ComfortDelGro in November 2004 and absorbed into Westbus UK operations in November 2006.[3][61][62]

Taxi Services[edit]

CityFleet operates taxi account, booking and dispatch services in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London, under the names of ComCab or Comfort Executive.[62][63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Westbus owners guarantee jobs, services". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 2005. 
  2. ^ a b Brighton's buses shine on Commercial Motor 2 May 1987 page 19
  3. ^ a b c Westbus UK History, Retrieved 18 April 2015
  4. ^ History Metroline
  5. ^ a b c d e f CDC Group Australian Bus Fleetlists
  6. ^ a b "Changes Galore in Sydney" Buses Worldwide November 2007 page 8
  7. ^ a b Toronto Bus Service Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  8. ^ a b Kefford Group finds a buyer Australian Bus & Coach 20 November 2008
  9. ^ Deane's buses sold for $53 million ABC News 4 August 2012
  10. ^ Deane's sold Australasian Bus & Coach 3 August 2012
  11. ^ a b Cabcharge buys bus company for $26.5 million Blue Mountains Gazette 13 August 2014
  12. ^ Acquisition of Shares in ComfortDelGro Cabcharge Pty Ltd ComfortDelGro 21 December 2016
  13. ^ Cabcharge departs Aust bus market Special Broadcasting Service 21 December 2016
  14. ^ Westbus History Westbus
  15. ^ "Macquarie Towns, South Windsor" Fleetline March 1988 page 66
  16. ^ "Industry Rationalisation - Sydney and Melbourne" Australian Bus Panorama issue 4/5 March 1989 page 13
  17. ^ a b c New South Wales Bus Operators and Fleet Listings. Sydney: Historic Commercial Vehicle Association. 1993. pp. 20, 115. 
  18. ^ "Ownership changes" Fleetline April 1994 page 76
  19. ^ Thirty years young Australian Bus issue 64 July 2014 page 51
  20. ^ Acquisition of Australian urban bus operator National Bus Company[permanent dead link] National Express 10 May 1999
  21. ^ Westbus sale to joint venture completed Sydney Morning Herald 3 October 2005
  22. ^ Bus company hits bump, but it's business as usual Sydney Morning Herald 1 February 2005|
  23. ^ Region 1 Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Transport NSW
  24. ^ Region 3 Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Transport NSW
  25. ^ Cut costs or bus contracts will go to private sector, minister tells drivers Sydney Morning Herald 7 November 2012
  26. ^ Busways wins 300 bus contract in Western Sydney Busways 7 November 2012
  27. ^ Transit Systems awarded Sydney buses contract Archived 25 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Transit Systems 7 November 2012
  28. ^ "Second City Private Service Starts" Australian Bus Panorama issue 11/9 June 1996 page 25
  29. ^ Westbus Weekdays Timetables April 2001, Retrieved 10 July 2014[dead link]
  30. ^ Westbus Website - History September 2002, Retrieved 4 August 2015
  31. ^ M2 City Express Service, Glenorie Bus Company, Published 2002, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  32. ^ a b Hillsbus Home Page August 2002, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  33. ^ M2 Services Doubled With Introduction of West Pennant Hills Valley Services, Hillsbus, Published 2002, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  34. ^ M2 Bus Map July 2004, Glenorie Bus Company,Retrieved 10 July 2014
  35. ^ National Express Annual Report 2001 Page 7, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  36. ^ Hillsbus Home Page September 2007 Hillsbus
  37. ^ Cessation of some Hillsbus services, Published January 2005, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  38. ^ Harris Park Transport Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  39. ^ Hillsbus Home Page January 2006, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  40. ^ Hillsbus Timetables May 2006, Retrieved 10 July 2014
  41. ^ Improved bus services in the Blacktown region Busways 27 February 2007
  42. ^ Region 4 Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Transport NSW
  43. ^ More than 60 new buses and improved customer service with new bus contracts Transport for NSW 29 August 2013
  44. ^ Annual Report 2013 page 4 Archived 5 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Cabcharge
  45. ^ "Opal rolls out to almost 600 buses in Sydney's North West as free trips hit 4 million". Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  46. ^ Opal extends to all CDC Hillsbus routes from 30 June, Transport Info NSW, Retrieved 23 June 2014
  47. ^ Blue Ribbon Coaches Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  48. ^ "Ownership changes" Fleetline March 1994 page 56
  49. ^ "Blue Ribbon Sells to National Express" Australian Bus Panorama issue 15/4 February 2000 page 29
  50. ^ Outer Metropolitan Sydney Bus Contract Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 Archived 22 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine., NSW Government Transport and Infrastructure, Retrieved 8 July 2014
  51. ^ cdc Australia - Sydney, New South Wales CDC Singapore website Retrieved 3 November 2014
  52. ^ Blue Mountains Bus Company Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  53. ^ ComfortDelGro Expands Melbourne Operations Through A$22.0 Million Acquisition Archived 5 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ComfortDelGro 20 May 2013
  54. ^ Acquisition of further Bus Route Service Business in Melbourne Cabcharge 20 May 2013
  55. ^ Updates and News Archived 6 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine. CDC Victoria
  56. ^ CDC A brand new look for CDC Victoria
  57. ^ CDC Group Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  58. ^ Deane's Buslines Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  59. ^ CityFleet Website - About Us, Retrieved 1 August 2015
  60. ^ Companies House extract company no SC221290 Cityfleet Networks Limited
  61. ^ Armchair bough by Metroline Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Bus & Coach Professional 26 November 2004
  62. ^ a b Annual Report year ended 30 June 2014 Cabcharge
  63. ^ CityFleet Website - Companies, Retrieved 19 December 2015

External links[edit]