Tassie emotion wells over

With guests from around Australia, Tassielink’s June 27 depot opening was marked with emotion

Tassie emotion wells over
Tassie emotion wells over

By David Goeldner | June 28, 2012

Leading Tasmanian urban fringe operator Tassielink Transit now has a home to call its own – a sparkling new $3.2 million depot at Derwent Park, a short hop from Hobart’s CBD.

And with any new home meant to be shown off amongst friends, Tassielink owner John Usher and the company’s General Manager Shane ‘Bubbles’ Dewsbery threw an open house celebration this week that attracted guests from across Australia.

Present among the VIPs was bus industry identity Steve Jackson, briefly vacating the ever-busy Custom Coaches head office in Sydney, and making the trip south to be part of the celebration in Tasmania with Usher, Dewsbery and a host of government, supplier and community representatives. All up about 70 people attended the opening.

Jackson says he was impressed with the depot’s design.

"It’s a modern, environmentally sound depot where they are using natural light in the workshop, recycled water in bus washes, and a whole range of positives," he says.

Jackson presented Usher and his family with a plaque at the depot opening, acknowledging the partnership and the friendship between Tassielink and Custom.

"The interesting thing that John (Usher) said in his speech about the partnerships and friendships is that this is what has driven his business," Jackson says.

"He talked about relationships with his staff and government and he was very specific about his relationships with suppliers – it was an underlying theme about the event."

Jackson says a key note from the opening was how tough Tasmania’s bus market can be to attract government funding.

"It’s a tough environment to attract high levels of patronage," he says.

"John’s a bit of a crusader, and he has worked with TasBus to shore up government investment in the industry."

Jackson remarked on the ‘passion’ shown by the Usher and Dewsbery for the operation and their supporters.

"They both made emotional speeches on the day about the respect they have for each other," Jackson says.

"John welled up during his speech when he talked about the relationship he has with the industry."

It was come one come all at Derwent Park, as Tasmania’s leading politicians gathered at the opening.

The state’s Transport Minister Nick McKim opened the depot before a gathering which included members of the opposition, and suppliers from far afield, notably representing Scania, MAN, Styleride, QTK, Heritage Finance and the Commonwealth Bank.

Several Tassielink staff attended the event, many coming together under one roof for the first time.

The depot realises a plan hatched in early 2010 to consolidate Tassielink’s personnel which were scattered at other parts of Hobart, running the operation in isolation of each other.

"We had a separate workshop at Montrose and administration in the city centre – we were dispersed."

Usher and Dewsbery started overseeing the building of the new depot in October last year, although planning started in April 2010.

The $3.2 million investment includes the purchase of the 5200sqm block, fully owned by Tassielink without government subsidy.

With a new home, and an upgraded communications fit-out, Dewsbery is confident Tassielink’s current and prospective patrons would be the prime beneficiaries.

"We operate under top-up contracts, where the more people we carry the better it is for the operator," Dewsbery says.

"So we do what we can to encourage patronage, like providing efficiencies at the depot with new communication and phone systems, which will generate better information for our passengers.

"And in Tassie we try to build good relationships with our suppliers, fellow operators and government – I really do push that down here."

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