NEW Norfolk-based bus service O’Driscoll Coaches has been bought by a major transport company that operates throughout Australia and New Zealand. O’Driscoll Coaches managing director Peter O’Driscoll said he was proud of what his family had achieved since establishing the business in 2006 but it was time for someone else to take the company to the next level.
Mr O’Driscoll said Victorian company Kinetic, which operates a third of Melbourne’s bus network and more than 40 per cent of all bus operations in Queensland, is perfectly placed to do just that. Kinetic also provides urban, school and tourism services throughout New Zealand, and has 7300 employees who move about 100 million passengers throughout Australia and New Zealand every year.
Mr O’Driscoll said he was delighted Kinetic would be serving the Derwent Valley community and he was pleased his current workforce would continue working for the company. “We ran the service as a mum-and-dad business for 17 years but we reached a point where we couldn’t really take it any further,” he said. “It really is terrific that a company like Kinetic will be able to take things to another level and provide an even stronger future for the staff and an even greater relationship with the community.”
Kinetic’s acquisition adds to an already impressive statewide portfolio. It has a Tasmanian fleet of 252 buses and its 272 employees keep the wheels turning on the Hobart Airport SkyBus service, Redline Coaches, Merseylink, Saintys and East Tamar Bus Lines.
Mr O’Driscoll said he and his wife Erica had owned and operated businesses since 2000 but it was time to step back a bit. “That’s a lot of days when you are permanently on call responding to requests at all hours of the day and night,” he said. “It will be nice to have the phone sitting idle for a while.”
Mr O’Driscoll said while there would be some sadness on the last day the business operated as O’Driscoll Coaches, he was proud his family’s legacy would continue. “It won’t be easy to walk away from the 40-odd employees who have worked for us because we will miss their comradery and their friendships,” he said. “But my daughter and her husband will keep working with the company and my son-in-law will be taking the reins on the ground at New Norfolk with some additional support from Kinetic.”
Mr O’Driscoll said he had made many improvements to bus services in the region since he took over the Derwent Valley run. “There were only about six return services a day to New Norfolk, limited services on Saturdays and none on Sundays,” he said. “Now there are about 16 return services a day from 5.30am to 9pm, which is unparalleled in any other regional town in Tasmania and the minimum departure and arrival frequency nowadays is hourly, which is very different to the way it was when we first started out.”