Ventura acquires Melbourne rival

By: Graham Gardiner


By Michael House Victorian operator Ventura has cemented its place as Victoria’s biggest bus operator with the purchase of east Melbourne

By Michael House

Victorian operator Ventura has cemented its place as Victoria’s biggest bus operator with the purchase of east Melbourne operator US Bus Lines (US).

Although unable to comment on what his company forked out to increase its dominance in the region, Ventura Managing Director Andrew Cornwall says the purchase "compliments" his company greatly.

US Bus Lines has been providing various scheduled services to Melbourne's outer region for more than 75 years and currently operates feeder services from Gembrook/Cockatoo, Belgrave South, Olinda and Upwey to Belgrave and Upper Ferntree Gully railway stations.

It also runs buses from Gembrook and Belgrave to the Dandenong market; and provides services to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre from Belgrave.

"US services compliment our depots and we believe it will benefit our customers in the long term and the security of all employees [at Ventura and US]," he says.

"We approached US because it is a well-run business and it compliments our growth - we are all very excited going forward."

The addition of 70 US buses will take Ventura’s fleet to 600 buses, extend its employee base by 55 to 1,100 and add US’s Monbulk depot to its collection, according to Cornwall.

Founded in 1924, Ventura has grown from a one man, one vehicle operator to the State’s largest bus operator, carrying more than 25 million passengers per year across Melbourne.

Cornwall made it clear it was business as usual for US, which will continue to be led by its CEO Ron Hurley.

Hurley declined to comment on the deal.

"It will be exactly as it is today, we will acquire all the services they do and Ron Hurley will stay on with the company," Cornwall says.

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