Foreign firm to pay $53m for Qbn buses

Foreign firm to pay $53m for Qbn buses

Deane's Buslines will be bought out by a foreign transport giant, in a deal not expected to drastically change the Queanbeyan-based bus service.

ComfortDelGro Cabcharge, a joint venture between Singapore multinational ComfortDelGro and locally-listed Cabcharge Australia, said yesterday they would acquire Deane's Transit Group, including Transborder Express, for $53 million.

The deal has not raised any short-term fears over job losses, or the erosion of conditions or wages for local workers.

The current bus routes, most of which are government-contracted, are also expected to remain the same.

The 25-year-old Deane's Transit Group runs a fleet of 97 buses from two depots, with services spanning across Queanbeyan, Canberra, Yass, Bungendore and other areas of south-eastern NSW.

Transport Workers Union ACT sub branch secretary Klaus Pinkas said the proposed buyout was not unexpected.


He said the union welcomed commitments made on wages and conditions, but said it would wait to see how the acquisition would affect the bus company in the longer term.

In a statement from its Singapore headquarters, ComfortDelGro made note of the huge population growth in Queanbeyan, with increases of 70 per cent in 15 years and projections of 50 per cent growth in the next decade.

''About 70 per cent of Queanbeyan's adult population works in Canberra, translating into strong travel demand for bus services,'' the statement read.

The acquisition still needs to be ticked off by Australian regulators.

The company has been buying up local transport across Australia since 2005, and now owns services in NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia.

It now claims to be the largest private bus operator in Australia, owning more than 1500 buses, and has hinted at further expansion.

''Australia's strong economy and continued population growth has translated into ever-growing demand for transport services,'' ComfortDelGro managing director Kua Hong Pak said.


''We remain excited about prospects - not just in the cities we are in but in new regions as well,'' he said.

ComfortDelGro also has interests in China, Britain, Ireland, Vietnam and Malaysia.