When the brothers took over on 1 March 1930, their takings on that first day amounted to more than £12 from Route 56 and exactly £6 from Route 201. By the end of the week the brothers had grossed almost £112.
The two routes operated six days a week. The brothers drove full-time and were assisted by three other drivers. Initially, they conducted their business under the trading name of Royle Brothers, but eventually formed Royle Bros Pty Ltd in 1938.
By the 1960s, the business was operating in one of what was Sydney’s fastest growing residential areas at the time. The business was growing rapidly and in 1960 the fleet had doubled to 12 buses.
In February 1964 the original controlling company, Royle Bros Pty Ltd, gave way to a new entity, Forest Coach Lines Pty Ltd. Along with this name change came a smarter livery of white with green lining.
The Forest Coach Lines Story
A new business known as Forest Trailways was established and incorporated in July 1965, to tap into the burgeoning charter and tours market.
In 1992, Forest Coach Lines became the first private operator for 40 years to receive government approval to operate bus services into Sydney’s central business district.
Operations remained in Sydney’s CBD until the business expanded into the Mid North Coast and Western Slopes regions in New South Wales. Ryans Bus Service, with depots offering services in the Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Grafton areas was purchased in 2016. Acquisition of Sawtell Coaches and Wolters Bus and Coach Services, which operated in the Narrabri and Wee Waa areas, followed the year after.
The Sydney Olympics
Held over three weeks in September, the 2000 Olympic Games created the biggest demand for passenger transport that Sydney ever experienced.
Several temporary depots were set up across Sydney to handle the influx of buses and coaches needed to handle the massive task of transporting athletes, officials, and spectators to and from venues and accommodation.
Forest Coach Lines was selected to establish and operate a depot at Cromer on the northern side of the city.
Woopi Connect On Demand
Following a three-year joint trial between Transport for NSW and Forest Coach Lines, the Woopi Connect On Demand service was made permanent on 1 July 2022, providing local communities with more transport options.
Being an ‘on demand’ service, Woopi Connect does not operate to fixed routes or a timetable; instead, it takes people within the service area where they need to go, when they need to.
The service allows people from communities like Woolgoolga, Safety Beach, Mullaway, Arrawarra, Arrawarra Headland and Corindi Beach, to live more independent and fulfilling lives by allowing them access to personalised and cost-effective public transport.
The Company Today
In 2018, ComfortDelGro Australia Pty Ltd acquired the company. David Royle, the last connection to the business’ beginnings, stepped down as managing director, ending an 88-year history with the Royle family.
Currently one of the nation’s largest privately owned bus operators, CDC operates buses in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and the Northern Territory, predominantly under contract to governments for route and school services.
Today, routes are operating in Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Sawtell, Woolgoolga, Narrabri and Wee Waa.