Ventura Bus Lines

Ventura Bus Lines

Infobox Company
name = Ventura Bus Lines

type = Private Bus Operator
genre = Public Transport - Bus
foundation = 1924
founder = Harry Cornwall
location_city = Melbourne
location_country = Australia
location =
origins =
key_people = Andrew Cornwall
area_served = North-East, East and South Eastern Melbourne
industry =
products =
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
parent = Ventura Motors
divisions =
subsid =
owner =
slogan = "Providing dependable, friendly bus services whilst actively improving air quality".
homepage = http://www.venturabus.com.au/
dissolved =
footnotes =

Ventura is a privately owned bus and coach operator in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Today the largest private Melbourne bus company,cite web
url=http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/09/05/1094322641907.html
title=New driving force behind Melbourne's buses - News - www.theage.com.au
publisher=www.theage.com.au
accessdate=2008-03-26
] and operates a number of bus routes under contract from the Victorian State Government. The company purchased National Bus Company (the Melbourne bus operation of the National Express Group) for A$45 million, and the Mount Dandy Bus for A$6 million.cite web
url=http://www.busaustralia.com/fleetlists/ventura.htm
title=Ventura Melbourne fleet list
publisher=www.busaustralia.com
accessdate=2008-03-26
] It also operates EastCoast, a business which services Scania buses and trucks and ZF transmissions.

Routes operated by Ventura are predominantly located in Melbourne's eastern and northern suburbs. Ventura buses feature a distinct light-blue livery, with a navy-blue stripe running horizontally across the sides of the bus, and Ventura's logo in yellow. New National buses also use this livery.

History

Early history

Ventura was founded in 1924 by a war veteran named Harry Cornwall. Cornwall had been an employee of Track & Kintrack, an operator based in St Kilda, but decided to form his own bus company when his employer refused to let him run a bus service along dirt roads through what was then Melbourne's outer east. Cornwall began operating a bus route between Box Hill and the city, and later running buses along dirt tracks between Box Hill and Mentone, which roughly equates to the modern 700 bus route. Its first depot was the petrol station on the corner of Station Street and Canterbury Road, in Box Hill South.

Expansion

Between 1952 and 1969, Ventura purchased Clarinda Transport, High Street Road Bus Service and Knibbs Bus Service. It also added a service between Blackburn and Clayton (roughly equivalent to the current 703 service), added Waverley and East Burwood services, and (in 1957) opened its Oakleigh South depot at the corner of Centre and Warrigal Roads. Also during this time-frame, Ventura closed its Box Hill South depot and replaced it with a new depot at Mahoney's Road, East Burwood.

In 1966 purchased several bus routes around Mitcham from C Young. In 1970 Boronia Bus Lines was acquired; the two purchases added 12 route services to the company. In 1987, Ventura acquired Bentleigh Bus Lines, Rennies Bus Services, Willis Bus Services and Hawthorn Bus Services. As a result of these purchases, it sold its East Burwood depot and replaced it with its Knoxfield depot.

Quinces

In 1988, the then Metropolitan Transit Authority called for tenders on all of Melbourne's bus routes. Prior to the completion of tenders, Met employees reportedly told the Driver Group (then operating under the Waverley Transit brand) 'not to bother' entering tenders for some of their existing routes. At the completion of the tender process, 7 bus routes previously operated by Ventura, and 3 previously operated by Waverley Transit were tendered out to a company called Quince's, which had 60 buses used mostly for charter and school services.

In the case Waverley Transit V Metropolitan Transit Authority, Waverley Transit launched a Supreme Court challenge to the results of the tendering process. The verdict deemed that the State Government had acted inappropriately during the tendering process, and as the contract between the State Government and Quince's was illegal, thus restored the bus routes to Ventura and Waverley Transit. In the wake of this verdict, the Met launched an appeal, with Waverley Transit launching a counter-appeal; the cases lasted into the early 1990s. The final verdict of these cases pointed out that the licenses to operate bus routes, as well as the bus routes themselves, were legally the property of the respective bus companies and not the State Government.

In spite of this, Quince received the rights to operate a number of new cross-suburban bus routes cutting across a number of bus operator territories, including a route from Brighton to Lilydale.

In 1998, Quince's lost their bus routes. Ironically, Quince's long cross-suburban bus routes were broken up, with sections divided between Ventura and Driver (for instance, the Monash University - Brighton leg of one Quince's route became part of Ventura route 703, the Glen Waverley - Mitcham section became part of Ventura route 736).

Further growth

In 1999, the Minister for Transport, Peter Batchelor, released a Press Release congratulating Ventura on having provided 75 years of service. At the time of the press release, Ventura was already Victoria's 3rd largest bus company. [cite web
url=http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/MediaRelArc02.nsf/9194429fae4d89d54a2568250022a5c2/1774176833e3b63b4a256832002550ff!OpenDocument&Click=
title=MINISTER CONGRATULATES VENTURA BUSES FOR 75 YEARS OF SERVICE
work = Media Release from the Minister for Transport
date=November 23, 1999
publisher=www.legislation.vic.gov.au
accessdate=2008-03-26
] In 2000, the company introduced the first Australian buses to run on ethanol fuel, [cite web
url=http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/09/03/1093939139187.html?from=storylhs
title=National Express sells buses - National - www.theage.com.au
publisher=www.theage.com.au
accessdate=2008-03-26
] with the first ethanol powered city buses delivered in 2002. [cite web
url=http://www.scania.com.au/about_scania/press_releases/20yearsbus.asp
title=20 years of Scania bus
publisher=www.scania.com.au
accessdate=2008-03-26
]

In 2000, Ventura purchased Mount Dandy Bus. In 2004, it purchased the National Bus Company from the National Express Group for A$45 million, becoming the largest private bus operator in Melbourne with the acquisition of their 268 buses, 44 public bus routes and 70 school bus routes. While the company has announced that it will continue to use the National Bus Company brand until bus contracts come under re-tender in 2009, new National Buses are painted in the Ventura livery. Through National Express, Ventura purchased what remains of the old government fleet, which is often of particular interest to bus spotters, though this section of the fleet will be phased out over the coming years.

On the 5th of August 2002, the Victorian State Government introduced the first SmartBus service (as a trial project) run by Ventura that replaced the old timetable of the 703 Middle Brighton Railway Station - Blackburn Railway Station with a new, high frequency SmartBus service on route 703 that offers:

* More services
* Better daytime frequency (Every 15 minutes during the daytime, every 30 minutes before and after the daytime period)
* Longer operating hours (Services to operate beyond midnight on weeknights)
* Real-time passenger information displays
* Better reliability

The other route which was introduced on the same day were the combined 888/889 route service operated by Grenda Bus Services on Springvale Road from Nunawading Railway Station to Chelsea Railway Station.

Due to the success of the initial SmartBus trial (patronage increased by up to 25%), the Victorian State Government have introduced another SmartBus service that Ventura operates, the route 700 service from Box Hill Railway Station to Mordialloc Railway Station along Warrigal Road. This was implemented on 14th of June 2005, in which this service improvement was delivered after a delay of a few months.

Bus Fleet

Ventura bought many Leyland buses between the 1950s and the 1980s. These were Leyland Leopards and Royal Tiger Cubs, then later on the company purchased many Leyland Tigers. There are now just a handful of Tigers still in active service, mainly on school runs. Ventura also purchased a substantial number of ex-Adelaide Leyland Worldmasters.

The purchases of Bentleigh Bus Lines/Hawthorn Bus Service saw the fleet expand further. Many non-Leyland buses joined the fleet including Mercedes-Benz, PMC Elwoods, Volvo B10M's, Leyland Leopards, Isuzu ECR and Bedfords. Most of these buses were sold off by the early 1990s but the Elwoods survived in the fleet until 2001 (although a small number were sold off in 1993) and the B10M's remain in the fleet to this day.

Ventura purchased a batch of 10 Mercedes-Benz O305's from the STA in Sydney in 1991. These were withdrawn between 1999 and 2001.

When Ventura needed some new buses in 1992. Leyland had stopped producing chassis, so they had to find another supplier, they purchased two Scania L113's and a Volvo B10M with Volgren bodies for evaluation. They decided to purchase more Scanias after the evaluation period. Scania has since been the main chassis used in the Ventura fleet. [cite web
url=http://www.scania.com.au/about_scania/press_releases/ventura.asp
title=Ventura becomes scania's biggest customer
publisher=www.scania.com.au
accessdate=2008-03-26
] L113 chassis were bought in high and low floor format with both Volgren (delivered from 1992-98) and North Coast bodies (1998-99) and L94UBs with North Coast and Custom Coaches bodies entered the fleet between 1999 and 2006.

Ventura purchased a pair of Mercedes-Benz O500 chassis with North Coast bodies in 2003 for evaluation.

There is also a batch of Designline MAN's delivered to South Oakleigh depot by end of December 2006, and have been in service since 2 January 2007. 4 of them are in blue Ventura livery and the rest wear a Smartbus livery, similar to that adorning the Grendas and Eastrans Smartbuses used on Route 900.

A further 11 Designline MAN buses were delivered in December 2007 and spread around the depots. Also at the same time a batch of new Scania K230UB's were delivered and allocated to the Doncaster (Nationalbus) depot. These are the first K230UB's for the Ventura group. These new deliveries effectively spell the end of the Leyland Tigers on route services. 2008 sees another batch of Designline MANS. now based on the 16.240 chassis. This new batch has a very distinctive body design, similar to the trolley buses operating in New Zealand, where these Designline buses are built, there will be a large batch of these, plus another batch of Scania K230UB's with Custom Coaches bodies.

Routes

Current suburban routes include:

*Routes 700 and 703 are part of the SmartBus network.

Livery

*Light Blue and Navy Blue (Ventura)
*Silver (Ventura Smart Bus)
*Red and Yellow (National)
*Yellow (National)

Depots

Former Depots:
*Box Hill South
*East Burwood

Current Depots:
*Knoxfield
*Oakleigh South
*Croydon
*Doncaster East (National brand)
*North Fitzroy (National brand)

Acquired Companies

*Bentleigh Bus Lines
*Boronia Bus Lines
*Clarinda Transport
*C Young
*Hawthorn Bus Services
*High Street Road Bus Service
*Knibbs Bus Service
*Mount Dandy Bus
*National Bus Company
*Rennies Bus Services
*Willis Bus Services

Brands

Brands operated by Ventura Motors include:
*National Bus Company - http://www.nationalbus.com.au/ (now defunct)
*Ventura Bus Lines - http://www.venturabus.com.au/

ee also

*List of Victorian Bus Companies
*List of Melbourne bus routes
*Buses in Melbourne

References

* [http://www.venturabus.com.au/resources/Ventura%20Story.pdf Ventura Bus Lines: The Ventura Story]

External links

* [http://www.venturabus.com.au Ventura's website]


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