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Driver Bus Lines
45-53 Ricketts Rd
Mt Waverley VIC 3149
Australia
Ph   (613) 9538 6677
Fax (613) 9544 6811


Bus

Driver Bus Lines
A Family Company Serving the Community
and Beyond for over 75 Years.

1931 to 1939 1940 to 1969 1970 to 1979 1980 to 1989
1990 to 1999 2000 to 2009 2010 onwards

1931 Pontiac/Grant
Driver #2
1931 Pontiac/Grant

1931 to 1939

March 31 1931 saw the Driver Brothers commence transit operation on the Camberwell-Glen Iris route 81A (now 612) in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

In December 1930, Eric and Reg Driver began to build their first two buses at their father's bodyworks, Grant Brother's. They had previously worked in the family body building business, quite often building bus bodies for other people. They recognised passenger transport to be a lucrative growth area and with their father's assistance built 7 passenger cab bodies on two Pontiac 29-6's.

Their first year was successful, but competition on the Camberwell-Glen Iris route began to increase and eventually 11 cabs were working the route. Driver Brothers bought out one of the other operators along with his GMC, and added a Cleveland cab of their own. They eventually determined the route could not sustain 11 cabs and their financial situation was deteriorating rapidly.

In a make or break effort they approached the licensing authority and endeavoured to have the Camberwell-Glen Iris route gazetted as a bus run providing sole rights to the licensee.

The application was granted and two 12 passenger Bedford buses were immediately put into service and all but one of the 11 cabs moved off, giving Driver Brothers nearly sole operation of the service. The other operators were not aware that they could have applied for licenses and remained on the route! The remaining operator worked the route for a while with Driver Brothers but eventually sold his bus and licence to them.

By late 1935 Driver Brothers were the sole operators on Camberwell-Glen Iris and two additional 12 passenger Federals were purchased to meet demand.

Driver Brothers at the time had a preference for the sturdy American built Federals and further purchases were made, this time seating capacities increased to 19 (One of the 19 passengers Federals, #2 a 1936 model, has been restored and has again resumed the #2 position in the Driver fleet).

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1935 Bedford/Grummet
Driver #2
1935 Bedford/Grummet
Driver Federals circa 1937
Driver Federals circa 1937
1938 Federal - Martin & King
Driver #4
1938 Federal - Martin & King
1938 Federal
Eric & Reg Washing #4
1938 Federal

1950 Bedford OB/CAC
Driver #4
1950 Bedford OB/CAC


1940 to 1969

At the conclusion of the war, General Motors began selling the Bedford with a CAC body as a complete unit and Driver Brothers purchased many of these buses over the next 30 years.

1960 marked further expansion, with the route service extending to Melbourne's first regional shopping Centre, Chadstone. Charter also began to increase and the fleet reflected this with an additional vehicle added each year.

In 1962 Driver Brothers became known as Driver Bus Lines and towards the end of the 60's Eric's sons, Daryl and Gary joined the company.

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Driver Fleet circa 1961
Driver Fleet circa 1961


1970 Comair Bedford VAM
Driver #10
1970 Comair Bedford VAM


1970 to 1979

In 1970 the first charter coach was purchased to provide a more up-market service. Although very basic by today's standards, it did enable Driver Bus Lines to effectively offer quality overnight extended interstate and intrastate tours.

1975 signalled the arrival of the first GM coach, an ex Ansett Pioneer Scenicruiser and with this purchase, Driver Bus Lines became a preferred day tour supplier to Ansett Pioneer. The GMC Scenicruiser set the scene for future vehicle standards and although short lived in the company, GM powered Denning coaches became the standard. Further transit expansion occurred in 1978 with the takeover of the Camberwell-Box Hill service. Reg Driver (Daryl and Gary's uncle) passed away in January 1981. He will be fondly remembered for his role in establishing and guiding the success of Driver Bus Lines. Eric Driver (Daryl and Gary's dad) passed away in July 1982, at the age of 78, after 51 years in buses. Those who knew him, valued and admired him for his kindness, strong character and business ability.

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1965 GMC Scenicruiser
Driver #12
1965 GMC Scenicruiser



1980 GM Denning
Driver #17 1980 GM Denning

1980 to 1989

During the `1980's the State Labor Government embarked on a plan to rationalise private transit operators in Melbourne. In order to protect the original service that Eric and Reg pioneered, Daryl and Gary took up the Government challenge of "Go or Grow" and in 1986 acquired the 29 buses and licences of Shave Bus Service. This gave Driver Bus Lines an efficiently sized transit base for any future Government planned threat. The new company was renamed Waverley Transit. Two years later, after approving the purchase of Waverley Transit, the State Labor Government called for tenders on all Melbourne routes and awarded Waverley Transit's 3 routes and 7 of a neighbouring operator to a new entrant in Melbourne's transit services. The new entrant, artificially created for the purpose of open tendering, had 60 buses and no routes to operate them on.

Waverley Transit, with the support of all Melbourne's bus operators, took the State Labor Government to the Supreme Court and this resulted in a finding that the Government had acted improperly and an order was made quashing the contract with the new entrant.

The State Labor Government appealed and Waverley Transit launched a counter appeal resulting in another victory for Waverley Transit and the private operators. This established that private route operators owned their own licences and routes.

During May 1989 Driver Bus Lines acquired the Melbourne day sightseeing operation of Pioneer Trailways (previously Ansett Pioneer) and began operating sightseeing day tours in Melbourne and around Victoria under the name of Pioneer Tours.

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1986 Volvo B10M/Volgren
Waverley Transit #22
1986 Volvo B10M/Volgren

1985 GM Denning Landseer
Driver #10
1985 GM Denning Landseer
Volvo B10M/Custom
Pioneer Trailways #37
Volvo B10M/Custom

1988 GM Denning Double Deck
Pioneer Gray Line #53
1988 GM Denning Double Deck
1990 to 1999

In February 1991, Pioneer Tours achieved worldwide recognition when it became Gray Line of Melbourne and accordingly changed its name to Pioneer Gray Line.

Pioneer Gray Line then set up a network of operators under the Gray Line banner throughout Australia and New Zealand to enable common recognised branding and joint promotion of sightseeing for the entire network. The Gray Line Australia and New Zealand operators offered the largest range of sightseeing tours in the South Pacific region.

In May 1992, Driver Bus Lines acquired the transit operation of Nuline Bus Service, consisting of six buses and licences. During October 1992, a second day tour brand was launched in Melbourne under the name of Southern Sights, later Great Sights. Southern Sights was the Melbourne link in the Australia/New Zealand network of Great Sights South Pacific day tour operators. Also in October 1992, Driver Bus Lines acquired two coaches and licences from Melbright Coaches when that operation ceased trading.

In May 1993, the "Pioneer" name was dropped and our primary day tour division became Gray Line Melbourne. May 1993 saw Driver Bus Lines biggest undertaking to date - the purchase of a new bus depot in Mt Waverley.

In June 1994, Great Sights South Pacific, a Sydney based day tour operator was acquired marking the Company's first venture outside of Victoria.

To accurately reflect the company's administration activities the name Driver Bus Lines Pty Ltd was changed to Driver Group Pty Ltd on 1 July 1996 incorporating three operating brands: Driver Bus Lines, Gray Line and Great Sights.

In January 1997, Sydney's Clipper Tours and Limousines, a 31 vehicle charter and day tour operator was purchased. The primary purpose of this acquisition was to acquire Gray Line of NSW and enable a strengthening and expansion nationwide of the Gray Line brand with Driver Group involvement.

The Driver family made a strategic decision to work with partners in sightseeing outside of Victoria and in December 1997 Driver Group, Bryan Williams and Sita Australia became minority partners with Wayne Clift in Bellara Forge, a Brisbane/Gold Coast sightseeing operation. Brands acquired included Australian Day Tours and Coach Trans Sightseeing, with Gray Line subsequently being introduced.

In February 1998 the Clipper Charter and Limousine division was sold to the Deane Family, the original operators of Clipper Tours, but the Gray Line Sightseeing was retained.

Bryan Williams, Driver Group CEO then became a minority partner with Driver Group in both Gray Line and Great Sights brands in Sydney while Driver Group supplied the vehicles from its fleet of Sydney based coaches.

In April 1999 Driver Group and Australian Pacific formed a strategic alliance for the operation of sightseeing in Melbourne and Sydney. This entailed code-share and combining of certain administration and depot facilities.

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1983 GM Denning
Southern Sights #4
1983 GM Denning


1995 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #34
1995 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel


1986 Mercedes Benz 0303-3
Great Sights
1986 Mercedes Benz 0303-3

Volvo Double Deck
Clipper Tours
Volvo Double Deck


1995 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Driver #12
1995 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel

1998 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #65
1998 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel



1999 Volvo B10BLE
Driver #11
1999 Volvo B10BLE

2000 to 2009

On 1 November 2000, Driver Group purchased a controlling interest in Gray Line Adelaide from the Gill family, along with partners Bryan Williams (CEO), Wayne Clift (Brisbane/Gold Coast) and Grant Burton (Adelaide Manager). A code share agreement was adopted with Adelaide Sightseeing while Coachlines of Australia initially became the coach supplier before Driver Group.

On 28 March 2001 Driver Group and Bryan Williams established Pacific Sightseeing Services as the holding company that would conduct Sightseeing nationally. The first venture was to establish Gray Line in Tasmania (Tasmanian Sightseeing) on 9 May 2001 with Experience Tasmania as a minority partner and coach supplier.

On February 11 2002, Driver Group acquired the hop on, hop off Melbourne City Explorer service from London Transport with the ultimate goal of offering hop on, hop off service in all Gray Line locations where appropriate. Mid year 2002, Pacific Sightseeing Services received the Gray Line licenses for Western Australia and the Northern Territory to activate over the next 12 to 18 months.

The Gray Line license for Cairns and far North Queensland was purchased from Charles Woodward of Tropic Wings on January 16 2003. Pacific Sightseeing Services would work in conjunction with Tropic Wings in offering a Gray Line program for Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.

In June 2003, Driver Group re-acquired the shareholdings of Bryan Williams, Grand Burton and Wayne Clift and surrendered its shareholding in Bellara Forge, Brisbane/Gold Coast. Driver Group then had full ownership of all mainland Gray Line locations except Brisbane/Gold Coast that remained with the Clift family.

Pacific Sightseeing Services was renamed Driver Group Sightseeing on June 26 2003.

Great Sights was introduced to the Adelaide market during September 2003 to compete in a more price sensitive segment, with Gray Line remaining at the premium level.

The roll out of Driver Groups national sightseeing network was significantly increased with the establishment of Gray Line in Perth during January 2004. No company was acquired and it was the first time Driver Group had started in a city from scratch.

In May 2004 Driver Group launched a full Gray Line Sightseeing program in Alice Springs featuring a daily tour to Uluru (Ayres Rock). Desert Wanderer's Uluru service was acquired from Austour as part of the Alice Springs program.

During February 2005, Driver Group purchased a shareholding in "Best of Australia Travel Centres", operators of "Best of Victoria Federation Square", Melbourne's largest tourism retail outlet.

In April 2005, Driver Group's corporate structure was refocused to reflect Melbourne as the base for its national sightseeing operation with sightseeing, route service, charter and fleet now unified under management reporting directly to Gary Driver.

In November 2005, a full Gray Line sightseeing program was released for Darwin in the Northern Territory, working in conjunction with AAT Kings. Darwin was the final link in offering Australia's only national sightseeing network

Driver Group's Board was now family oriented with Daryl Driver, Gary Driver, Kim Nadalin (nee Driver), Kelly Driver, Mark Driver, Senior Managers and an external adviser.

Driver Group refocused its charter operations and expanded into corporate charter and series charter( nationwide touring programs for wholesalers) using the Gray Line brand.

In October 2008, Driver Group acquired the Gray Line license for Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Southern Queensland from Bellara Forge(Clift family) giving Driver Group 100% ownership of all mainland Gray Line licenses and a controlling interest in Tasmania.

With a new sub licensing provision available from Gray Line Worldwide, Driver Group identified new and existing locations where a sub license would provide significant benefits to the Gray Line Australia network.

The first location where Driver Group sub licensed its Gray Line brand to a third party was Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Fantastic Aussie Tours owned by the Cronshaw family, would now provide Gray Line branded services in the Blue Mountains region under license to Driver Group.

Alice Wanderer from Alice Springs, Northern Territory owned by Craig Cotterill, Pinnacle Tours in Perth, Western Australia owned by TUI Group and Escape /Australian Day Tours in Brisbane/Gold Coast, Queensland owned by JPT also provided Gray Line branded services under license from Driver Group during 2009.

On June 30 2009, Mark Driver became a director of Driver Group as Daryl Driver after 42 years of service, semi-retired. Mark, Kelly and Glen Driver also became shareholders on June 30, 2009.

July 2009 marked the passing of Gary and Daryl's mother, Linda Driver, aged 89 years.

In December 2009, Driver Group acquired a controlling interest in Holiday Special Packages (HSP), a domestic wholesaler packaging accommodation and tours throughout Australia.

The founding Anderson family retained the remainder of the HSP shares with James Anderson appointed as Managing Director. Administration was relocated from Adelaide to Driver Group in Melbourne.

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2001 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Driver #6
2001 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel

2001 Irisbus Cummins
Driver #19
2001 Irisbus Cummins

1997 Austral Pacific
Gray Line #62
1997 Austral Pacific

2001 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #61
2001 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel

2000 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel with 'Desert Storm'
Gray Line #54
2000 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel with 'Desert Storm'

2002 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #15
2002 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel


2003 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel Double Deck
Gray Line #68
2003 Motorcoach Detroit Diesel Double Deck

2004 Autobus Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #75
2004 Autobus Detroit Diesel

2009 Denning CAT/Custom
Driver #10
2009 Denning CAT/Custom


2001 Mercedes Benz/Volgren
Driver #101 (Ex Coolart #5)
2001 Mercedes Benz/Volgren

2010 Onwards

Gray Line worldwide celebrated 100 years of sightseeing in 2010 and introduced an updated blue diamond logo emphasizing a global focus in a more contemporary design.

At the Gray Line Worldwide 100th anniversary conference held in New York during August 2010, Gray Line Australia, along with Gray Line New York and Gray Line Alaska, was honoured with the 100 years of Innovation award. "This award is at the pinnacle of all great honours in our industry. It recognizes the three companies that have most positively impacted Gray Line history. They are considered the best of the best. Considering we've been in business for over a century, this award is unparalleled." said Brad Weber, President and CEO of Gray Line Worldwide.

In September 2010, route 627 Oakleigh-Chadstone-McKinnon was split into two new routes with an extension to Middle Brighton, service upgrades and two additional buses added to provide the service. The new routes were route 625 Chadstone-Elsternwick via Oakleigh and Ormond and route 626 Chadstone-Middle Brighton via Carnegie and McKinnon.

Driver Group made a substantial acquisition in October 2010, with the purchase of four school bus and charter operators on the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne. In an era of industry consolidation, this regional acquisition would give Driver Group a greater footprint, bringing the fleet size to 120.

Companies acquired were Mawson's Coaches from Richard Mawson, Old Tyabb Coaches from Brian and Lynn Dobson, Balnarring Bus Lines from Allan and Anne Marie Alderson, Coolart Bus and Coach from Brad and Kristine Johnston, with a total of 29 buses and 20 school contracts all coming together under the new Driver Coastal brand.

Driver Group has been trading successfully since 1931 and currently operates a fleet of 120 buses and coaches made up of route, charter, sightseeing, extended tour and nine historic vehicles. The preferred bus brand for tour, route, school and charter segments is Denning with Detriot Diesel engines in 3 axle coaches and Cummins diesels in all others.

Driver Group has built up an enviable reputation for service and quality in all aspects of operation. The future plans of Driver Group are to remain family owned and to strengthen operating areas as and when required. The newer generations of the Driver Family are continuing to build on the strong foundations, goals and principles of the founding Driver Brothers.

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2002 Mercedes Benz/Volgren
Driver #95 (Ex Balnarring)
2002 Mercedes Benz/Volgren


Driver #95 (Ex Balnarring)
2002 Mercedes Benz/Volgren

2009 Denning CAT
Driver #88
2009 Denning CAT


2009 Denning CAT
Driver #88
2009 Denning CAT

2004 Autobus Detroit Diesel
Gray Line #75
2004 Autobus Detroit Diesel


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© Driver Bus Lines 1931 - 2013
A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE SINCE 1931