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Busways celebrates a century for founder Dick Rowe

NSW operator Busways has paid tribute to its founding father who helped build the company into what it is today

Australian bus and coach operator Busways is celebrating the life of founder Richard ‘Dick’ Rowe during his 100th birthday today. 

Initially, Rowe started the business in 1942 as an 18-year-old with just one operating service between Rooty Hill Station and Plumpton. 

Since then, the operator has grown under the leadership of Rowe, along with his sons, Stephen and Richard, and his grandson Byron in the present day. 

“My aim, and that of Busways, was always to offer safety, quality, consistency and efficiency,” Rowe says. 

“At 100, I could not have imagined the changes I would see with new, safer and stronger buses along with the use of technology. 

“What makes me most proud is that we are continually evolving to offer the highest levels of service in transport to the community.” 

Dick Rowe with a Busways Volvo B58 in 1985 at the Plumpton Turnoff Depot. Image: Busways

Starting under the name of Rowes Bus Service, Rowe’s first purchase was a five-seater 1931 Chrysler 70, which his father, Cyril, equipped with a device that converted charcoal to fuel. 

“By just saving money and working hard, I then had about four different cars by 1946,” Rowe says.  

“I then had a seven-passenger 1930 LaSalle, they were a cheap Cadillac, a seven passenger 1929 Studebaker, and later on, a seven-passenger 1937 Dodge.” 

Busways says during the 1950s and 1960s, Rowe continued to grow the service through joint ventures, acquisitions and delivering quality services for the public while contributing to the evolution of the bus industry. 

The 1980s then saw Rowe work with the NSW government to introduce Sydney’s first contraflow bus lane in Blacktown. In 1982, Busways became the second NSW private operator to own an articulated bus. 

Dick with one of the Rowes Bus Services vehicle in the ’60s. Image: Busways

Busways says Rowe’s legacy and values of persistence, efficiency and a continued focus on improvement means it has always aimed to exceed expectations, particularly when it comes to scheduling, safety, fleet design and maintenance. 

“I’m pleased that my family have taken up the mantle of providing high-quality services to the communities where we operate,” Rowe says. 

“They are continuing to play a role in shaping the public transport industry, especially as we explore zero-emissions transport and future technologies that enable on-demand passenger services and driverless vehicles.” 

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