About Us

Who We Are

BusWA is a member based association committed to serving the interests of the community and its members. It will provide opportunities for members to:

    • Maximise profitability and long-term security.
    • Maintain positive public perceptions of safety, reliability efficiency and ethical conduct.
    • Retain community service values in the delivery of Road passenger operations.

BusWA consists of 3 Divisions

    • School Bus Division
    • Tour and Charter Division
    • Party Bus Division

What We do

BusWA by maximising its membership will consequently enhance the public image of the industry through its activities.

As a not-for-profit industry representative body BusWA will

  • Attend to all members needs
  • Lobbying government on School Bus, Tour and Charter issues
  • Assisting (through APTIA) with industrial relations.
  • Develop positive relationships with other State associations, suppliers, local governments and local communities.
  • Provide regular updates to members on all issues impacting the industry.
  • Provide support to School Bus contractors and participate in reviews with the Public Transport Authority and Department of Transport(PTA).
  • Produce the monthly newsletter “the Communique”.
  • Hold annually our industry Bus and Exhibitors display.

Our People

Ben Doolan

Ben Doolan

Chairman

School Bus Division and Tour and Charter Division
ATG Group

read more

Highly experienced owner and operator of ATG, with overarching responsibility of all aspects of business operation. Ben visualised and steered ATG from its inception, and has guided the business to its current market-leading position. Ben is recognised as an influencer within the transport industry.

 Overall responsibility for the management and direction of the ATG Group. Managing relationships with stakeholders within and outside the group at all levels, including employees, clients, Government, passengers and the general public. Responsible for ensuring the safety of the ATG fleet, systems and innovations, statutory obligations, contract management, and environmental issues. Responsible for all aspects of financial reporting and viability including identification and negotiation of a range of business opportunities.

Emily Lalley

Emily Lalley

Vice Chairman

School Bus Division
Swanhaven

read more

Emily has worked within the School Bus Industry for 15 years and more recently her experience has expanded to tourism, charter and public transport across Australia. She is an active Committee Member of BusWA and BusVic and the current Vice Chairperson on the BusWA Board.

Emily’s experience within the Public Transport Industry commenced in 2006 with the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia specialising in contract and safety management. Emily now holds a role within the private sector still focusing on contract and safety management as well as human resources, business development and financial and operational performance.

John Ditchburn

John Ditchburn

General Manager

read more

After growing up in the small country town of Kukerin, John spent 5 years boarding at Aquinas College before returning to the farm for the next 25 years. The family moved to Mandurah in 1999. entered the surf industry and owned and operated a chain of surf stores for 15 years. John was heavily involved in the Peel Thunder football club firstly as senior coach followed by board member, president 2009-2015 and CEO from 2016- 2020

James Vlahos

James Vlahos

Committee

Party Bus Division and Tour and Charter Division
Diamond Lounge

read more

I have always had a passion for buses from a young age, started my career completing my builders Registration then moved onto becoming a building supervisor for 7 years, during this period I decided I wanted to start a party bus company, 10 years on Go Party Bus and Diamond Lounge is Australia’s largest party bus company with 30 buses in the fleet. Mid 2020 we expanded into the school and charter bus market with the purchase of West Coast Bus Charters, which in nearly two years has grown to 40 buses. Absolutely love the diversity of running bus companies across both markets, whether it be making the trip to school a fun and safe one on a West Coast Bus during the week or having a ball on a tour for a birthday on a Go Party Bus is what I live for.

Mike Pilkington

Mike Pilkington

Committee Accountant

Natalie Gough

Natalie Gough

Committee

School Bus Division
Path Transit

read more

Experience – Natalie has been working within the public transport industry for the past 20 years. She commenced her career in School Bus Services, Public Transport Authority in 2001 as a Transport Liaison Officer. During her 11-year tenure with School Bus Services Natalie held several roles ending her time there as a Team Leader for the Southern region of Western Australia.

Natalie moved into a role as Operations Manager with Australian Transit Group and was soon promoted to the Senior Management Team where Natalie was responsible for 6 regional Western Australian Depots and a further 2 Depots interstate where the operations were town services and/or school bus services.

After a 7-year tenure with Australian Transit Group Natalie moved to Queensland to take up a role as Operations Manager for Belbaker Bus Charter prior to returning to Perth, Western Australia and joining Path Transit as the School Bus Manager initially and then promoted to Business Development Manager.

Natalie has a diverse range of experience from hands on operational management, contract management and human resource manager within the public transport industry with both Government and Industrial organisations.

Skills – Stakeholder engagement, operational management and contract management

Qualifications – Accelerated Leadership Performance, Writing Skills for Modern Government, Certificate IV Contract & Procurement;

Memberships – Committee member of BusWA

Rachel Hart

Rachel Hart

Committee

read more

Rachel commenced as a school bus contractor in 2009, with the purchase of one contract in regional Western Australia.  She has been involved in the active growth of School Bus Logistics P/L and Geraldton Coach Lines since then.  As Director/Secretary she is responsible for managing all aspects of the Company’s activities including financial, contractual compliance, fleet management, human resources, and WHS.

The hands-on experience Rachel has gained over the last fourteen years has enabled her to make a meaningful contribution as a Bus WA committee member.

Debbie Edwards

Debbie Edwards

Committee

read more

Debbie is an owner/operator working across the school bus and charter bus industries based in southern WA. With 10 years in the industry herself, her family has been involved in school buses since 1967. As Managing Director of Southern Bus Charters, Debbie has guided the growth of the business from a single school bus contract to the largest fleet in the Albany area, supporting families, schools, mining, public transport contracts, and general charter customers. She is passionate about providing the best possible service for regional communities. 

Responsibilities and experience include human resource management, safety management systems, administration and compliance, financial reporting, contract management, and business development. Debbie is an active committee member of BusWA, representing the school bus and charter divisions.

James McCabe

James McCabe

Committee

read more

James McCabe developed Regional Transit from a culmination of 45 years business experience in several industries. James is no stranger to School Bus Contract Management having enjoyed 18 years of success in the School Bus Industry purchasing his first Evergreen Contract in 2005. 

Regional Transit operates in several diverse areas of regional Western Australia including the Eastern wheatbelt, Borden and Kalannie and an area around Narrogin, Pingelly and Brookton. The business consistently promotes and maintains strong ties with the local schools, students, parent’s, local business and community groups. These ties develop into relationships that ensure our equipment servicing and personnel expectations are exceeded allowing Regional Transit to maintain an impeccable record of continuity of service.

James works hard to source and support locally owned and operated businesses in the area’s we service including; mechanical maintenance, tyres, and fuel outlets.

Regional Transit staff are selected for their ability to work autonomously in their regional centres, supported with training, inductions, and regular meetings in person, through zoom, or on the phone with our Regional Services Manager. Employing locals who reside in the regional centres assists us immensely with our day-to-day management and helps us build a positive rapport with the community.

Life Members

Dennis Sutton

Dennis Sutton

Life Member

read more

School bus contractor for 18 years

Chairman BusWA
2015 to present

Committee member BusWA
2012 -2014

BIC Australia councillor
2016 to present

Ray Gannaway

Ray Gannaway

Life Member

read more

Ray joined the School Bus Industry in 1997 becoming a member of WARTA. In 1998 he became a “Zone Rep” for the School Bus Division of WARTA. Over the next 23 years he served in various roles as Chairman, Deputy Chairman and board Member continuously until his retirement in 2021. Over those years he oversaw the transition from WARTA to Transport Forum back to WARTA then finally the arrival of BusWA. Seat belts on school buses, the Evergreen Contract Model and the addition of a Charter & Tour Division to BusWA are among his many legacies to BusWA. The Gannaway family started with 2 buses and finished with 30 in 2021.

Wally Gargano

Wally Gargano

Life Member

read more

Wally Gargano came to WARTA as School Bus Division Manager in 2001 and continued in this role until 2021. During this period Wally represented our industry through lobbying with PTA and it’s School Bus Division on behalf of the industry. Wally was involved in many different Contract models over those years. Wally helped develop the Evergreen Contract Model and worked tirelessly to bring BusWA into an independent organisation representing all forms of the Bus & Coach industry as it does today. Wally represented BusWA on a State and Federal industry level for 20 years.

Our History

BusWA began as a division of WARTA (Western Australian Road Transport Association). The division was called the “Passenger Services Division” with no dedicated Manager. The workload of school bus issues was shared amongst the existing truck & freight divisions.

The Vice Chairman of WARTA was Max O’Dea was a School Bus contractor and Deputy Principal of the Eastern Hills High School. He represented the industry in WARTA with the assistance of Zone Representatives who were the eyes and ears in the country. The state was broken up into Zones feeding information back to WARTA and Max O’Dea. Zone Members would meet regularly to discuss industry issues.

It became apparent that the School Bus industry needed more direct representation to PTA & School Bus Services and Government so in the it transitioned into a separate division renamed School Bus Division and a dedicated Manger appointed. WARTA was rebranded “Transport Forum”.

Wally Gargano was the first dedicated Manager of the School Bus Division of WARTA/Transport Forum. After a short period of time the name WARTA was reinstated and “Transport Forum” no longer existed.

The School Bus Division grew into a very strong Lobbying body for industry. It then developed a Tour and Charter division to encompass all forms of private enterprise with bus & coach services.

The opportunity to create BusWA and operate in its own right came with the dissolution of WARTA in 2016.

 

There have been some very dedicated Chairman who have worked to establish a strong lobbying body to meet the needs of all aspects of our industry.

All of the following Chairman have held Vice Chairmans roles as well.

Max O’Dea, Lloyd Shepherdson, Ian Harrower, Ray Gannaway and Dennis Sutton.

Wally Gargano served as Manager for 17 years guiding BusWA through some very challenging times.

With Wally’s retirement John Ditchburn has come on board with a wealth of experience in Commerce & Business Management with a country lifestyle background.

With over 50 years of service to our Industry BusWA keeps all operators interest front of mind as we are the leading “people movers” in WA.

Association Information

BusWA is a member of BIC which has its office in Canberra and day to operation performed by an Executive Director.

BIC represents the interests of the bus and coach industry in Australia. BIC members carry more than1.5 billion urban public transport passengers per year. Buses make up five per cent of the total urban passenger task.

The coach sector of the bus industry, comprising long distance, rural, tour, charter and express bus operators moves more than 1.5 million domestic travellers. Coaches make up eight per cent of the total non-urban passenger task.