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1930s & 1940s |  1950s & 1960s |  1970s |  1980s |  1990s | 2000s

1930's & 1940's

The Croydon Bus Service first began May 24, 1936, when Bill Wilson drove his 1927 Chevrolet bus from North Croydon to Croydon.


The service developed over the war years, and by 1947 there were routes in operation to Bayswater, Bickleigh Vale, Croydon Golf Links and Croydon North. Clem and Emily (Tine) Usher bought the service in 1947, at which time there was a five vehicle fleet consisting of one Federal, three Fords and one ex-army Dodge. We are proud to still have the ex army Dodge, as well as one of the original Ford's, both fully restored, in our fleet.

1950's & 1960's

The company expanded in the 1950s and 1960s to incorporate the Ringwood Bus Service, and with the rapid growth of the Ringwood, Croydon, Mooroolbark and Bayswater areas came a growth in the fleet, up to a total of 12 buses by 1960.
The buses were not just used for passengers. During the 1950s and 1960s, the morning school bus around the Bickleigh Vale and Belfast Road areas of Mooroolbark would load bread, papers, and ice in Summer. The items were delivered to houses along the route, on return picking up children for school in Mooroolbark and Croydon. Mail and papers were also delivered along Lyons and Brushy Park Roads, North Croydon, and also to Warranwood and Brysons Road in North Ringwood.
During the 1950s rail strikes, the service was extended into Melbourne. It was common around this time to hear the screech of the rear tyres rubbing on the wheel arches as the overloaded bus turned corners!


The Usher family worked hard to keep the service going, operating the buses 365 days a year and working late into the night to ensure the buses were ready for the next day. At the time of Clem Usher's death in 1968, the fleet numbered 22 vehicles including the Dodge, a few Fords, Bedford buses and Ford-powered "Fleetlines". The mid 1960s represented the beginning of a new era for the company, as the mantle of responsibility was passed from the first generation of Ushers to the second. John Usher joined the company in 1964 after a period in the teaching profession. He became Managing Director in 1967, and since that time has been responsible for Invicta's growth and diversity.


With the introduction of the more economical diesel-engined Bedford buses to its fleet, Invicta were able to expand their service, particularly to meet the demands of school travel from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Later bus models were larger still, carrying over 100 passengers from the old MacRobertsons' factory in Canterbury Road to Ringwood Station. A tally of 600 passengers for one day was not unusual. With increased patronage, larger and heavier buses were needed, and the first of the Leylands came into the fleet in 1970.

In 1974, the Government denied private bus lines a fare increase to meet increased costs, but instead introduced a subsidy for the first time. While this provided a short-term fix, cost increases and the decline of patronage due to increased car ownership saw the service suffer, particularly the night and weekend services.
A year later, John Usher conducted an extensive overseas study to discover how bus operators in other countries were dealing with similar industry issues. On returning, he produced a detailed report of the global market which has since gained international recognition. The study also gave John great insight into the industry, which has since been applied.


The introduction of a Travelcard was an indication of a move towards integration with Melbourne's public transport system. This Travelcard allowed passengers to move between different types of public transport. With the election of a new Victorian government in 1984 came firm contracts between the Government and private bus services, resulting in the reorganisation and integration of train, tram and both private and public bus services. The industry was now in a position to invest in vehicles again.

With a growing fleet, Invicta was able to extend services and introduce a charter and tour business. This growth put pressure on the most recently acquired 50-bus depot in Boronia, so in 1985 additional land was purchased and developed at Lilydale for buses servicing the northern part of the operation. Throughout this time, John Usher participated in all aspects of suburban bus operation and, in association with various governmental authorities, he has also been involved with service planning and terminal design for regional shopping centres. This dedication to the industry reflects the success of Invicta, and his experience has been invaluable in our growth as an innovative bus operation.
Invicta's innovations include TeleBus and InvictaCab. TeleBus is a scheduled/demand responsive bus operation that has been in service for over 22 years; while InvictaCab was an experiment that used taxis under contract as feeders to route buses.


More recently, in 1994 Invicta, in conjunction with the Department of Infrastructure, purchased and placed into service a number of Midi busses under the livery of LoRider. These vehicles, with their bright open interiors and easy one step entry were used to form the basis of a much improved service on route 664 between Croydon and Lilydale , and later on route 670, Lilydale to Ringwood. The LoRiders were an important step towards providing the kind of bus service that encourages more people to use public transport more often, ease of use for the elderly and mums with prams, bright new buses and improved frequency. The trial was a success and these buses continue to provide a unique style of service today.

These buses, with their low step, easy entry, were the forerunners of the most recent vehicles the Invicta has put into service over the pas few years. Since 1996 all our new buses are Ultra Low Floor and boast a step free entry and wheel chair access.

Since 1999 all new buses introduced into our fleet also have the following features:-full saloon air conditioning and de-misting for improved passenger comfort and safety, low floor design for ease of access, "Invicta" cloth and cantilever seats as a standard 7 Scania Large Buses were introduced as replacements


In the Year 2000 New "Image" decals have been applied, Euro III Environmentally Friendly Engines introduced, Surveillance camera's fitted, 5 Scania Large Buses were introduced as replacements

In 2001 John Usher made the decision to sell Croydon Bus Service and its associated Companies. In keeping with the spirit of Invicta the Management Team of Pam Usher, Frank Mercuri and Kumar Vasantha made the momentous decision to buy the Company. The sale was completed in September 2001.

The support of the staff of Invicta for the Buy-Out was extremely positive and the three Directors are working hard to ensure a safe, challenging, happy and secure future for all.


In 2002, 5 Scania Artic Buses are in build to replace our "Volvo Fuji" Artic's , also 6 Dennis Dart Midi buses, 4 of these to replace 4 of our existing Telebus Fleet and 2 for a new service in the Lysterfield area.
The Dennis Dart Low Floor Midi Buses are the first buses of this size introduced into Australia to meet the specific "Telebus" needs

All new vehicles have been designed and built with the latest technology available to us at the time of build.
Invicta takes pride in designing and having vehicles built ahead of legislative requirements.

The new Directors have also modified the existing Invicta horse logo to reflect the ongoing commitment of the three of them to the Company.