History

From humble beginnings

Victorian Touring Coaches has been providing bus and coach charter services for over 60 years.

Company founder, Bill Armstrong, had his first taste of driving whilst still a teenager during the Great Depression, delivering milk in a horse and cart seven days a week, and often at night. He then moved on to motor vehicles, and drove a utility for Con’s Radiator Service in South Melbourne.

Bill established Armstrong’s Charter Coaches in 1950. Having worked as a delivery driver, Bill started the business with his ‘Picnic Jeep,’ a 1949 converted furniture van. It had a special license so could be used to deliver furniture, then have seating bolted in, to transport workers to their jobs in Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs during the week, and to social events such as the races and picnics on the weekend. Bill’s first coach was a 1951 Federal, previously operated by the Beauty Tourist Co. It seated 31 but in the early days sometimes had up to 60 passengers on-board.

In 1959 the company won its first major contract in the education sector – transporting students from schools, to and from Melbourne’s Dental Hospital. Work with the educational sector – schools, colleges, universities, TAFEs – continues to be a major business focus for Victorian Touring Coaches today. The next decades saw the business and fleet grow. This happened through acquisition of part of Green Bus Lines and a connection with Centralian Tours, heralding a move into extended touring across Australia. Other charter contracts in Melbourne were also secured.

Victorian Touring Coaches is born

The 1990s brought with them some changes. In 1997 and at 72, Bill stepped back from the driving side of the business, after more than 50 years on the road. Bill and his then business partner (Bill had taken on a business partner in the 1970s) recognised the need to update the company’s approach to marketing. In 1998 there was a name change and, Armstrong’s Coaches and the longstanding tagline, Let us Quote was replaced by Victorian Touring Coaches on all vehicles. However, the move to the striking dark blue on white branding that makes Victorian Touring Coaches’ fleet so distinctive today, was more recent.

In 2001, Glenn McIvor, who has a background in sales and running small businesses, started with the company. Initially working a driver, within 18 months he became a third partner. Glenn’s capital was injected into fleet renewal and he focused on operational performance and customer service – the start of a new phase of growth and redevelopment for Victorian Touring Coaches. In 2007, Glenn bought out Bill’s other partner, making Glenn the majority shareholder. Much of this capital was also invested into new coaches – further strengthening Victorian Touring Coaches’ position within the market into the future, as well as the partnership between Bill and Glenn.

Set to provide transport services into the future

Today, Victorian Touring Coaches has a large fleet of modern coaches, ranging from 24-seat minibuses, 49, 53 and 57-seat school buses and 57-seat day charter or 5-star touring coaches. So we can transport any size group, as well as those from a range of sectors – education (schools and universities); corporate; social groups (social sports clubs) and others. And we offer services within Melbourne, around Victoria and across Australia.

 

Request a quote

To find out more, call our Bookings Team on 03 9555 7009
or click here to request a quote online.