ComfortDelGro Australia (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 ComfortDelGro Cabcharge, a joint venture between Singapore-based ComfortDelGro (51%) and Australian-based Cabcharge (49%). In February 2017, Cabcharge sold its stake to ComfortDelGro.
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 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.
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. 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. This was later acquired by Armchair Passenger Transport who were in turn purchased in 2004 by ComfortDelGro.
Morisset Bus Service, Sugar Valley Coachlines and Toronto Bus Service were purchased in August 2007 and absorbed into Hunter Valley Buses. In June 2008 a bus charter division was established under the Charter Plus name.
Kefford Corporation in Victoria was purchased in November 2008. 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. In August 2014, CDC purchased Blue Mountains Bus Company, which was subsequently renamed Blue Mountains Transit in December 2014.
In December 2016 ComfortDelgro announced it had agreed to purchase Cabcharge's 49% stake. The sale was completed on 16 February 2017 after Foreign Investment Review Board approval was granted.
Bosnjak's purchased a number of bus companies:
All companies began to trade as Westbus in October 1984.
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. Members of the founding Bosnjak family continued to hold the remaining shares.
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. The change of ownership saw the company exchange one politically well-connected shareholder, the Bosnjak family, 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. 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. 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.
Westbus operated services (as of 2013) in the following areas:
Westbus operated these services prior to their rebranding to Hillsbus in December 2004:
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. These Westbus services, however, are still referred to by Westbus as "Hills City Express".
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. 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. According to the Hillsbus timetables, these Hillsbus services were operated by Glenorie, even though neither Westbus nor Glenorie buses were used.
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. 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. On 25 September 2005, after the purchase of Hillsbus by ComfortDelgro Cabcharge, routes 620, 625, 626, 627 and 630 were transferred back to Hillsbus.
Despite the rebranding to Hillsbus, the new Hillsbus website was only launched in January 2006, about a year after the rebranding. 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.
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.
Hillsbus operates the following services:
As at November 2014, Hillsbus operated 549 buses across four depots Seven Hills, Foundry Road (Seven Hills), Dural and Northmead. 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 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.
In December 1993, most of the coach operations were sold to Sid Fogg's in exchange for some route services. 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. In October 2005 Blue Ribbon was purchased by ComfortDelGro Cabcharge and rebranded as Hunter Valley Buses.
As at November 2014, Hunter Valley Buses operated 297 buses and coaches across five depots. 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 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.
As at November 2014, Charterplus operated 37 buses transferred from both the New South Wales and Victorian operations.
In August 2014, CDC purchased Blue Mountains Bus Company with 101 buses. It operates depots in Emu Plains, Leura and Valley Heights. 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.
In November 2008, ComfortDelGro Cabcharge purchased Victorian bus operator Kefford Corporation 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.
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. 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.
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.
As at November 2014, the combined Qcity Transit and Transborder Express fleet consisted of 104 buses.
In 1986, Westbus commenced operating in England with the purchase of ADP Travel Services, Hounslow and Swinards Coaches, Ashford by the Bosnjak family. 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.