Skylight Bus Lines

By: Ian Porter

A Victorian operator has designed its own charter bus – another step in its growth

Skylight Bus Lines
Mustafa Kuvanci

It came to him while he was taking a break during a charter drive to Mount Buller, lying on the seats gazing up at the clouds passing by above the bus. Skylight… Skylight Bus Lines.

That’s it. That would be the name of Mustafa Kuvanci’s new bus company. It’s a wonderfully random name for a bus company, but one that seems entirely suitable in Kuvanci’s case.

While it was totally out of character for Kuvanci to be motionless for any period of time, the randomness of the new name seemed entirely in keeping with his working life up to that point.

Since arriving from Turkey in 1976 aged 16, he had worked at GM-Holden as a fitter and turner, driven for Northern Buslines, was a truck owner-driver for Toll, opened a bakery in Brunswick, bought and sold used cars and then, in 2000, went back to driving buses, this time on interstate routes for the Bono brothers at Firefly.

It had been a circuitous route, with no apparent direction until 2002, when he bought two old buses and a couple of school runs from the Bonos and launched Skylight Bus Lines. Now there is a clear direction, and that direction is up.

With the support of his wife Nez, who has her own heavy-rigid licence, and the children, Kuvanci has built up Skylight to the point where it now has 25 vehicles, two depots and 30 full-time and part-time drivers who consider themselves family.

Oh, and the company has also designed its own charter bus, which meets all Australian design rules and is about to go into production in China, under the Skylight brand, of course. One is already in service in Victoria.

What’s more, Kuvanci’s son and joint managing director, Serge, has driven the creation of an all-encompassing operations application that has transferred virtually all management functions from paper to data.

The app acts as a driver scheduler and log book, automatically alerts the in-house workshop – managed by another son, Ozzie, the operations manager - when maintenance is due, sends reminders when licences need renewing and is even used to gain entry to the Melbourne depot after hours.

Daughter Janet runs the human relations function for the company.

"Whatever we do we do it not for today’s basis, we do it for the future, for tomorrow," says Kuvanci.

Read the full operator profile in an upcoming edition of ABC magazine


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