Mona Vale Depot celebrates 50 proud years

Mona Vale Depot celebrated its 50th Birthday by stepping back in time on the Australia Day long weekend with free rides on historic buses for the local community.

A lot has happened at the depot in the 50 years since opening, and it’s a history that almost never began. The Department of Government Transport had plans to develop a site for a bus depot that they owned between Park and Waratah Streets in the late 1960s – that was until they ran into angry locals.

People power won out and an alternative four-acre site in Darley Road was found to build a depot with the existing Brookvale bus depot struggling to house the Northern Beaches fleet. A last minute transfer of buses was arranged for Australia Day in 1970 in a rush to open the depot before the resumption of the new school year.

A mix of Leyland double deckers worked out of the depot that operated initially as a satellite depot to Brookvale, while the maintenance area was completed.

On opening, 44 trips were rostered, all starting and finishing north of Narrabeen. Fast forward to today and Mona Vale provides 930 trips on a normal weekday, and all the way from Palm Beach to the CBD.

The depot was built to accommodation 60 buses and now its home to more than 120 buses, including 38 B-Line buses. In just over two years of service the B-Line buses have made more than 13 million customer journeys, with customer satisfaction for this service at 98 per cent. These double deckers couldn’t belong to a more appropriate State Transit depot. On Friday 8 May, 1970, 66 members of Parliament, including Premier Robert Askin, rode on – the then new – Leyland double deckers to officially open Mona Vale Depot.

A fleet of the Leylands at Mona Vale and Brookvale depots serviced the Northern Beaches community who have always relied on our buses to get them from A to B.

State Transit CEO Tony Eid said: “This is a history that should be celebrated by all staff that has played a part in Mona Vale Depot’s 50 years of service to the local community.

“We know in this area of Sydney, when it comes to public transport, locals only have one option – that’s our buses,” Mr Eid said.

“To give back to the community, we took locals on a trip down memory lane on the public holiday Monday by running rides on the heritage double decker buses that ran from the depot when it opened in 1970. The community absolutely loved it.

“A big thanks to State Transit staff and those from the Bus Museum who gave up their time to give the community, young and old, a chance to celebrate this historic milestone with us.”

The free heritage bus rides had staff dressed in original bus uniforms who took over $450 in donations for State Transit’s bushfire appeal.