EXCLUSIVE: Stonestreets expands on back of acquisitions

By: Graham Gardiner

The family-owned Stonestreets Coaches is in expansion mode on the back of several acquisitions, including Aries Tours Travel Club on

The family-owned Stonestreets Coaches is in expansion mode on the back of several acquisitions, including Aries Tours Travel Club on the Gold Coast and Toowoomba Transit Coaches.

On January 15, Stonestreets took over the Toowoomba operator, formerly run by Hamish Withington.

The company operates a regular route service shuttling passengers between Brisbane and Toowoomba everyday.

"Hamish had been running the service for four years," says Director Phillip Stonestreet.

"He was having a bit of trouble with his local supplier of buses here. On New Year’s Eve he rang up, so we decided to give him a bit of a hand with buses, and on January 15, we took over.

"Now we’re looking at putting in better coaches and changing the timetables slightly."

Stonestreets Director Bev Mules says the addition of the service is a new path for the company.

For the first time, Stonestreets will offer a web-enabled booking system. Toowoomba Transit Coaches allows passengers to book and pay for their tickets over the internet.

Stonestreets Tour Coordinator Rob Brown says the company will assess the technology as an option for the broader Stonestreets business.

"We haven’t done that before, it’s all been done by telephone, cheque/money order or coming to the office to pay," Brown says.

"We’ll probably bring the online booking, online payment system across into the tour side of things. It’s a good way to feel how it’s all going to go."

An expansion of the express service to Brisbane is also on the cards.

Stonestreet says he’s planning to revive a hospital connection service.

"If anyone wanted specialist treatment or radiation, chemo or to go down to see a specialist, they could catch that," he says.

"We’re trying to incorporate that back in to the service, and keep up the express services to Brisbane."

Stonestreets also recently acquired Aries Tours Travel Club at the Gold Coast.

The deal adds around 5,000 names to its already popular travel club database, securing it a footprint in the region’s tourism market.

"Aries are still there doing what they do," Stonestreet says. "They do their conference work and their charters and we took over their travel club. We’ve taken the Aries Tours Travel Club and turned it into the Stonestreets Travel Club."

After buying a new 61-seater Denning for the Gold Coast business, Stonestreets is in the process of moving into a new depot.

"They’ve got the smaller MAN bus that they had that came with the business, and a couple of smaller buses," Stonestreet says.

"If there’s demand, we can feed them a couple more vehicles [from Toowoomba] or we can get them a coach from Ipswich, if they need one for extra work.

"We’re still growing. People are still getting to know us down there – and in Ipswich – so we try and feed [the vehicles] around as much as we can."

In Ipswich, Stonestreets is moving into a new depot to house the vehicles the company uses to run its nine contracted services with the Ipswich Girls Grammar and Boys Grammar schools.

"We’ve had to move into a new depot, so hopefully we’ve found something a bit long term," Stonestreet says.

The move to new depots on the Gold Coast and in Ipswich follows the recent addition of a second depot in Toowoomba.

Stonestreet says the company has "well and truly" outgrown its home facilities; the company’s Warwick Street depot is at capacity, as is its second Toowoomba depot.

"We bought the other depot, which is about an acre and a quarter, and we put up a shed and another wash-bay," says Stonestreet.

"We filled it over Christmas – we had the Ipswich vehicles up while we found another depot."

For the full story on Stonestreets Coaches see the February edition of ABC magazine, out soon. To subscribe click here.

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