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Below are some articles from The Coffs Coast Advocate covering our 60th Anniversary celebrations:

Ryans keep it in the family
The Coffs Coast Advocate, June 28th 2003

After 4 generations, the Ryan family is celebrating the 60th anniversary of their business, Ryans Bus Service.

Jenny Tooth, owner & general manager of Ryans Bus Service, is the granddaughter of Vic Ryan who founded the company in 1943. Her father, Reg Ryan, also managed Ryans Bus Service with his brother Snow, before handing it to Jenny upon his death in 1988.

Today, Jenny’s husband Sam is the Manager of the Coffs Harbour Depot in Hurley Drive while daughter Naomi Geurts works there in administration. Son Nigel Tooth is the manager of the Woolgoolga depot based in Hawke drive, and is also licensed to drive buses.

Mrs Tooth said she had alot of pride in what had been achieved in 60 years and was very happy her children had chosen to be involved with the company. “Its been my whole life, buses. ‘Breathing the fumes’, you could say” she said. “Its lovely working closely with your family, and we all have a good sense of humour so its lots of fun”

Mrs Tooth started with Ryans Bus Service in 1966 at the age of 17, working in the office before joining the mail service delivering to post offices in Korora, Moonee & Woolgoolga. Another role was conducting daily tours, where visitors were taken for motels to popular tourist spots, and at 21 Mrs Tooth was told by her father to “Go out and get a bus licence’ which led her to drive school buses for 4 years.

Mrs Tooth said while much had changed over the past 60 years, Ryans impeccable safety record had been maintained thro8ughout.

From humble beginnings of a company with 1 1939 21 seater Rheo bus, today Ryans Bus Service has 32 buses in its fleet and runs both a school and passenger service from Coffs Harbour to Grafton. 3000 school children are driven to and from 27 schools everyday by 28 bus drivers based in Coffs, Woolgoolga and Grafton.

Mrs Tooth said significant moments in the history of Ryans Bus Service included serving the Queen during her visit to Coffs Harbour in the 1970’s and sending 6 buses to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

In 1999, Ryans Bus Service bought out another Bus company called Watson’s, and virtually doubled their fleet overnight from 13 buses to 28.


Driver Honoured for long service
The Coffs Coast Advocate, June 28th 2003

ACCORDING to the owners and general manager of Ryans Bus Service, Jenny Tooth, the 28 drivers who operate the fleet of 32 buses are as much a part of the Ryan family as the 2 generations who work within the company now.

“Our employees are an extension of our family,” Mrs Tooth said. “ We’ve gotten to know them well and they are an important part of who we are.”

At a recent 60th birthday celebration at the Coffs Harbour Catholic Club, one employee, Bobby Dummer, was recognised for 40 years of service. Mr Dummer, who joined Ryans Bus Service in 1962, received a Certificate of Appreciation for his loyalty and dedication to the company.

Mrs Tooth said Mr Dummer and four other drivers, Leo Channells, Peter Heelis, Noel Green and Donnie Milne, had together contributed more than 100 years of service. “Bobby is very respected amongst our staff and not only taught me to drive a bus but my son Nigel too,” Mrs Tooth said.

For some employees, Ryans Bus Service is a part of their childhood memories. Driver ‘Digger’ Rowsell was one of the children who were transported from Korora into Coffs Harbour for school on Ryans Bus Service during the 1950’s on one of the 1946 model Bedford Diesel Rheos.

Mr Rowsell said while the mechanical side of the buses was very different today he fondly remembered the comfortable interior of the Rheo. But, he said with narrow roads along the school route it was fairly slow-going on the old bus.

Mr Rowsell has been driving buses for Ryans over the past four years and said he absolutely loved his job and the way children were part of one big family, which he missed during school holidays. “After six weeks off it’s always good to see their happy little faces again,” Mr Rowsell said.

Fifteen drivers are based at Ryans’ Coffs Harbour Depot in Hurley Drive while 15 are based in Woolgoolga and 2 in Grafton.


School service gets the bus company rolling

The Coffs Coast Advocate, June 28th 2003

RYANS Bus Service has operated many types of vehicles for their school, mail and passenger services over that past 60 years.

The first vehicle used was a 1935 21 seater Rheo which originally carried 20 children from Woolgoolga to schools in Korora and Coffs Harbour. The Rheo ran in conjunction with a 1939 International parlour coach which was mainly used for mail runs in the district.

Mrs Tooth’s uncle, Ron Goodenough, travelled in the parlour coach in the 1940’s, and when it was full passengers stood on the sideboards.

Ryans conducted the mail runs for 21 years, and both vehicles were used during World War II and immediately after. Two more new-model Rheo coaches were purchased in 1946, and these were used until 1964 and 1971 respectively.

In 1964, Ryans purchased three custom built 48 seater luxury class coaches, which were all dubbed the ‘Bananalander’. These 330cc Bedford Diesel vehicles were used until the 1980’s before being replaced by the Mercedes brand.

By the time the Bedford’s were updated, Ryans Bus Service had seven ‘Bananalanders’ in its fleet. Today, the Hino range is the bus of choice for Ryans, and has been for 15 years.