Buslines Group

The Buslines Group is an Australian bus operator in New South Wales and is the third largest private bus operator in New South Wales.

Buslines Group
Dubbo Buslines Bustech bodied Mercedes-Benz OC 500 LE in August 2013
ParentFrank D'Apuzzo
Peter Simpson
Commenced operation1926
Service areaNew South Wales
Service typeBus operator
Fleet401 (October 2019)
OperatorBallina Buslines
Bathurst Buslines
Berrima Buslines
Dubbo Buslines
Forster Buslines
Griffith Buslines
Lithgow Buslines
Northern Rivers Buslines
Orange Buslines
Picton Buslines
Tamworth Buslines
Ulladulla Buslines
Wingham Buslines


John A Gilbert Group

The John A Gilbert group was founded in March 1926 by John A Gilbert as Reo Motors, being renamed in 1951.[1] Initially a motor dealer, in 1941 it diversified into operating bus services. Its first operation was in Parkes followed by Bathurst, Dubbo, Goulburn, Mittagong, Orange and Tamworth. It also operated services in Sydney with suburban companies in Bronte, Ramsgate and Matraville. Most of these were sold over the years, with only Mittagong, Orange and Tamworth remaining by 1980.[2][3][4] From 1954 until 1982 it was listed on the Sydney Stock Exchange.[5]

In November 1988, the Lismore based business of Kirklands Omnibus Services was purchased taking the fleet to 250 vehicles.[6] In October 1992 Sydney operator Shorelink was purchased.[7]

In March 1996, John A Gilbert sold its remaining bus operations to Frank D'Apuzzo and Peter Simpson.[8][9] In March 2000 Picton Omnibus Service was purchased.[4] In September 2001, Shorelink was sold to Transdev.[10][11]

Buslines brand

From 2004 the Buslines brand was rolled out across all operations. In June 2006, Ritchies Bus Service, Griffith was purchased, followed by Perrett's Coach Service, Werris Creek in April 2008 and Selwood Coaches, Orange in December 2009, these latter two being integrated into the Tamworth, Orange and Dubbo operations.[4]

In April 2012, the business of Jones Brothers, Lithgow and Bathurst was purchased, the latter having previously been part of the group until sold in 1977.[4][12]

In October 2015, the Forster Bus Service and Wingham Coaches businesses were purchased with 41 buses.[13]

On 3 December Ulladulla Bus Lines was acquired with the name changing to Ulladula Buslines[14][15]

Current operations

Ballina Buslines / Northern Rivers Buslines

In 1939, Clarrie and Jim Kirkland purchased two bus runs in Evans Head.[16] Trading as Kirkland Bros, further operations would be purchased in the Northern Rivers region. In January 1970, the business of New England Motor Company which operated long distance services from Lismore to Brisbane, Tenterfield and Grafton. By this stage, the fleet stood at 45.[6][17][18]

In November 1974, a service commenced from Ballina to Sydney.[19] It was later extended to Brisbane. In 1986, the business was sold to Waugh & Josephson which in turn was sold to Bond Corporation in 1987. Kirkland Bros was sold to John A Gilbert in 1988. As at August 1989, the fleet comprised 111 buses and coaches.[6]

In June 1996, the Brisbane to Sydney services were sold to Premier Motor Service[20][21] who in April 2008, also purchased the Lismore to Brisbane service.[22] In the 2000s, the Kirklands name was dropped with the business split into Ballina Buslines and Northern Rivers Buslines.

In June 2019 route 650 of Wallers Buslines to Nimbin was taken over and incorporated in Northern River Buslines.[23]

Bathurst Buslines

Having been owned by John A Gilbert until sold to Warren Bremner in June 1977, the Buslines Group purchased the Bathurst business from Jones Bros in April 2012.[24][25]

Berrima Buslines

The Berrima business is the depot with the highest quantity of buses.

Dubbo Buslines

Having earlier sold the business, in July 1985 John A Gilbert purchased the Dubbo business from the Stonestreet family.[26]

Forster Buslines

Forster Bus Service was purchased on 1 October 2015 from the Deane family and rebranded Forster Buslines.[13]

Griffith Buslines

Ritchies Bus Service was founded by Jock Ritchie in Griffith in March 1937, being taken over by son John in 1958.[27] It was sold to Buslines Group on 1 October 2006 and rebranded Griffith Buslines.

Lithgow Buslines

Established in 1922 by Lewis and Maurice Jones, Jones Bros, Lithgow was purchased by the Buslines Group in April 2012.[28]

Orange Buslines

In 1946, the Orange business was purchased from John Foley with eight buses, with Foley's Bus Service purchasing route 32 Kogarah station to Ramsgate in return.[29]

Picton Buslines

The Picton business was purchased on 29 March 2000 from George Lee (Picton Omnibus Service) acquiring 23 vehicles.

Tamworth Buslines

The Tamworth business was acquired in December 1943 from Herbert Smith.[30] Tamworth was the first depot to be operated by John A Gilbert, and the starting ground for bus operations. On 14 April 2008, Perrett's Coach Service of Werris Creek was purchased in April 2008 with 15 vehicles.[31]

Ulladulla Buslines

Ulladulla Bus Lines was established in Ulladulla by John Owens, being sold in 1969 to David Bray with five buses.[32] It was purchased by Buslines Australia on 3 December 2018 with 17 vehicles.[14][15][33]

Wingham Buslines

Wingham Coaches was purchased on 1 October 2015 from the Deane family and rebranded Wingham Buslines.[13]


As at October 2019, the fleet consisted of 401 buses.[4]


Up until the mid-1980s the John A Gilbert fleet were painted white and black. This was then replaced by a white background, and three blue stripes going from dark to light. This was then simplified when Buslines Group took over to a single dark blue stripe on a white background.

Former operations

Sydney bus operations

In 1956 John A Gilbert sold route 81 in Sydney from Fairfield to Cabramatta to Katen & Heath.[34]

In October 1992 Sydney operator Shorelink was purchased.[35] In September 2001 it was sold to Transdev.[10][36]


In 1939 John A Gilbert became a GMC dealer. It relinquished its GMC dealership in 1958. It would later become a distributor of Bedford, Isuzu, International, Isuzu, MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and RFW operating out of Guildford.[37][38] It closed its dealership in 1999.[39]

It previously owned Holden car dealerships in Parramatta and Waitara.[9]


  1. Advertisement Sydney Morning Herald 5 September 1951 page 5
  2. A Vision of Service Truck & Bus Transportation August 1996 pages 82-84
  3. About Us Buslines Group
  4. Buslines Group Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  5. John A Gilbert ends famly ownership Australasian Bus & Coach April 1996 page 7
  6. 50 years of Kirkland Brothers Fleetline issue 175 February 1990 pages 19-24
  7. Shorelink Australian Bus Panorama issue 8/5 February 1993 page 45
  8. Major Bus Fleet Sale Australian Bus Panorama issue 11/9 June 1996 page 28
  9. The Baird's mystery benefactor Sydney Morning Herald 11 May 2009
  10. The Highway Bus Fleetline September 1995 page 147
  11. Last stop for pioneering Jones Brothers Western Advocate 19 March 2012
  12. Buslines Group acquires Deane's Mid-North Coast operations Australian Bus issue 74 March 2016 page 5
  13. Ulladulla Buslines Buslines Group 3 December 2018
  14. World News Buses Worldwide issue 219 July 2019 page 40
  15. In the beginning Kirklands Buses
  16. New England Motor Company Limited Kirkland Buses
  17. Kirkland Buses part 2 Kirklands Buses
  18. Kirkland Buses part 3 Kirklands Buses
  19. Kirklands goes to Nowra Australasian Bus & Coach June 1996 page 15
  20. Nowra Coaches Australian Bus Panorama issue 12/1 August 1996 page 54
  21. Kings Kirklands Takeover Opens Routes Australasian Bus & Coach 6 March 2008
  22. Connecting Nimbin to Lismore Northern River Buslines 1 June 2019
  23. Bus Happenings in Bathurst Fleetline issue 138 January 1987 page 4
  24. Jones Bros sells to Buslines Group Australian Bus issue 51 May 2012 page 5
  25. Country Services Fleetline issue 130 May 1986 page 82
  26. 40 years of school bus operation Truck & Bus Transportation March 1977 pages 30-34
  27. Jones Bros of Lithgow Australian Bus issue 51 May 2012 pages 30/31
  28. "Operators of Renown…Foley's Bus Service, Kogarah" Australian Bus issue 55 January 2013 page 10
  29. Service-Plus in C&W City Truck & Bus Transportation November 1982 page 60
  30. Perrett's Coach Service Sale Australian Bus issue 28 July 2008 page 12
  31. Driving Scania's First 4 Series Australasian Bus & Coach September 1998 page 34
  32. One Step Ahead: Ulladulla Buslines Australasian Bus & Coach 28 October 2019
  33. New Bus Routes, Alterations, Transfers Truck & Bus Transportation August 1956 page 61
  34. Shorelink Australian Bus Panorama issue 8/5 February 1993 page 45
  35. Shorelink sold to Transdev Truck & Bus Transportation September 2001 page 6
  36. Gilberts take MAN Australasian Bus & Coach April 1989 page 9
  37. Mercedes dealership to Gilbert Truck & Bus Transportation July 1993 page 137
  38. Gilberts relinquish Benz Buses Truck & Bus Transportation October 1999 page 78
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