Buses in Melbourne - History - 1980s - Go or Grow

Go or Grow

In an attempt to cut costs, the Cain Government wanted to reduce the number of private operators, while increasing the number of cross-city bus routes. At this stage Melbourne's bus network (aside from the MET buses) was run by a large number of small, family operators which ran no more than a handful of routes each. The Cain Government reasoned that it would be more efficient, and cost effective, to have bus services provided by no more than about half a dozen large companies than dozens of small ones: larger operators would bring in economies of scale on bus purchases, repair costs, staffing, and would require fewer depots. The State Government also believed that it would be easier to negotiate contracts with a smaller number of large bus companies than with a large number of small bus companies. Thus the government put pressure on many of the small operators, in 1986, to either "Go or Grow."

In response to the State Government's "Go or Grow" policy, particularly between 1986 and 1988, there was consolidation in the bus industry. 1986 saw Driver Bus Lines amalgamate with Shave Bus Service to form Waverley Transit. The consolidation of small family operators continued into 1987, when Ventura acquired Bentleigh Bus Lines, Rennies Bus Services, Willis Bus Services and Hawthorn Bus Services. As a result of these purchases, Ventura sold its East Burwood depot and replaced it with its larger Knoxfield depot. In August 1987, Kefford Corporation acquired the Bono Bus Services which served Footscray, Highpoint City, and East Keilor. Also in 1987, Cunningham Bus Lines (who operated route 503, Essendon to East Brunswick) was taken over by Moonee Valley Bus Lines.

The consolidations continued when, in January 1988, Kefford Corporation acquired Sitch Bus Services (which served Sunshine, North Sunshine, St Albans, Footscray, Yarraville, Altona, Laverton, and Williamstown), as well as Sinclair Bus Services (which served Monash University, Elwood, and Gardenvale). August 1988 saw Southland Bus Service (which operated the 645 Southland - Mentone - Sandringham, 652 Southland - Beaumaris, 654 Moorabbin - Dingley, 655 Chadstone - Murrumbeena - Southland, 656 Moorabbin - Clayton, and shared the 636 Chadstone - Hughesdale - Southland with Ventura) was taken over by the Grenda Group. Southland bus lines, along with other Grenda Group acquisitions including Blue & Silver Bus Lines, Hampton Red, Hampton Green, and Camden Bus Lines were amalgamated into Moorabbin Transit.

Read more about this topic:  Buses In Melbourne, History, 1980s

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