COME A LONG WAY: Port Stephens Coaches traces its birth back to 1957 when Hunter Valley bus legend Sidd Fogg and two other partners purchased Port Stephens Buses.Port Stephens Coaches celebrates 60 years of operation this year and in keeping with the focus of a bus company, things keep moving forward.
For brother and sister ChrisFogg(managing director) and Alison Schneeberger (financial controller) its been a great family journey.
The siblings are proud descendants of Hunter Valley transport icon SidFoggwho founded Port Stephens Buses in 1957.
“Grandad SidFoggalong with two partners purchased Port Stephens Buses in 1957,” Chris explained.
“Before that,Grandad had been involved with his brothers Owen, Roy and Amosrunning Foggs Motor Service operating Cessnock Buses (Rover Motors), Kurri Kurri Bus Service, Toronto Bus Service, Toronto Taxis, Hunter Valley Coaches, Allens Tours and Stockton Bus Service, which originated in thecoalfields out of Cessnock.
“Sid became the sole owner of PSBin 1963 when he purchased the shares off the other two partners.
“In 1963, at the age of 22, Sid’s eldest son, TerryFogg, our dad, and his new wife Kay, mum, moved to Nelson Bayto act as manager of the company. In 1972grandad sold Port Stephens Buses toDad andMum.”
At age 16 in 1983 Chris left schoolto take up an apprenticeship with the company, eventually rising to general manager in 2009.
In 2013 Alison, an accountant, returned to Nelson Bay to help Chris manage the business.
The journey of Port Stephens Coaches has reflected that of the community.
“Business in the early years ran direct to BHP Steelworks for the workers with the early services starting at 5am and the late night services leaving Newcastle at 11pm,” Chris said.
“A one-way run took about 1.5 hours and took in the Stockton punt. The good thing for commuters was that buses had priority at the punt and didn’t have to queue up.
“Direct services were also operated to Courtalls Factory at Tomago which was a Textiles Factory. Tomago Aluminium operates near to the old factory these days.”
The demand for public transport changed through time from the early days of one-car families and heavy dependence on public transport to an era of high car ownership and minimal dependence on public transport.
“For a while there mum and dad really struggled, but the opening of Stockton Bridge in the early 70s was a game changer, opening up the penninsula to a new demographic of families and retirees who needed public transport.”
Similarly changes in government policy have affected the business, including things like free school bus travel eligibility, freedom of choice of school, seatbelts and bus safety.
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