BREAKING: THE OWNERSHIP of Tullamarine Bus Lines Pty Ltd (TBL) is under final negotiation, with ComfortDelGro subsidiary CDC Victoria placing a deposit on the 48-year-old family-run and owned business yesterday.

CDC Victoria is in a share sale agreement with Tullamarine Bus Lines and a deposit was paid yesterday (picture courtesy of CDC Victoria).

Founded on 10 May, 1970, by Nicholas Sikavitsas, Tullamarine Bus Lines continued to grow and to "provide the best possible service to passengers in the North West of Melbourne," the company states.

Sikavitsas migrated to Australia in 1956 and entered the bus industry as a driver, later entering into a partnership known as Kastoria Bus Lines. In 1970 the partnership dissolved and Tullamarine Bus Lines was formed, it’s stated.

According to a CDC Victoria spokesperson, CDC Victoria is in a share sale agreement with Tullamarine Bus Lines and a deposit was paid on 12 April, 2018.

"We’ve entered into a share sale agreement and completion of the sale will occur after regulatory approval," the spokesperson said.

Singapore-headquartered ComfortDelGro is one of the largest land transport companies in the world and this move will, "further strengthen its presence in Victoria," the company states.

TBL, which operates seven bus routes under contract with Public Transport Victoria (PTV), is located close to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport in the north-west of Metropolitan Melbourne. Significantly, it is just 9km away from CDC Victoria’s Sunshine Depot. Besides the route buses, TBL operates contracted school services and a small taxi management business called Cabways.

Chairman of CDC Victoria, Yang Ban Seng, said: "The acquisition of Tullamarine Bus Lines is a strategic move to consolidate our operations in north-west Melbourne. The area has good population growth with many new developments in the pipeline. The continued growth of the Tullamarine Airport has also strengthened demand for public transport services in the area."

CDC Victoria CEO, Nicholas Yap, said: "The acquisition is yet another opportunity for CDC Victoria to deliver better bus services in the communities that we serve."

CDC Victoria currently operates 74 route bus services across the western and eastern suburbs of Melbourne, as well as in Ballarat and Geelong. Once the acquisition is complete, CDC Victoria says it will run 81 route bus services and have a fleet close to 500 buses.

The Start

ComfortDelGro entered the Australian market in 2005 when, as part of a joint venture with Cabcharge, it acquired the businesses and assets of Westbus Group, the largest bus operator in New South Wales. ComfortDelGro expanded into Victoria in February 2009 through the acquisition of the Kefford Corporation’s group of Victoria bus companies. This officially established CDC Victoria, which currently includes operating brands such as CDC Melbourne, CDC Ballarat and CDC Geelong.

Earlier this month, CDC Victoria officially opened its new AUD$15million bus depot in the fast-growing City of Wyndham. Through its parent company ComfortDelGro Corporation, an announcement was made recently on its expansion into the non-emergency patient transportation business through an AUD$30 million acquisition of National Patient Transport Pty Ltd (NPT) - one of the largest private providers of such services in Australia, it’s claimed.

About TBL

Beginning with just seven buses and six employees operating the 477,478 and 479 routes, Tullamarine Bus Lines now employs 60 people and operates six routes. Its offices are currently located at 9 Louis Street, Airport West. The day-to-day operations were passed on to Sikavitsas’s sons.

According to TBL it is currently contracted to the Victorian Government and it operates five Metropolitan bus routes and a demand-responsive service in Gowanbrae together with school services. It uses a fleet of Mercedes-Benz buses that have been its chosen vehicles since 1984 when it purchased five new Model 1316 buses.

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