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RUSSELL ISLAND BLUE BUS

20th ANNIVERSARY FOR RUSSELL ISLAND BLUE BUS OPERATIONS AND GEOFF AND SANDRA JACOB

Geoff and Sandra Jacob of Russell Island Bus Service are celebrating an important anniversary this January, 2022.

It is 20 years since they introduced their Blue Bus school bus operations on Russell Island, when they purchased the Russell Island School Bus Service.

And next year (2023) it will be a similar 20th anniversary for the Macleay Island Blue Bus.

The Jacob family began their involvement in the school bus industry on Russell Island in 2002 when they started with a 29 seat Isuzu Minibus carrying around 30 students.

“When we took over, we were told the school bus broke down regularly and was always late. We wanted to make sure it was reliable and on time,” said Geoff.

The Jacob family made their home on Russell Island. Two of their children, Adam and Travis went to school at Russell Island State School and Sandra taught there for a number of years as a supply teaching and working in the library. Geoff did mechanical repairs and maintenance on the island, running out of a workshop at the Russell Island Service Station and kept the buses going; he re-built engines three times.

In 2007 the family had to move to the mainland as their third child, Gary, had complex medical needs and severe disabilities which entailed long days at the children’s hospitals and specialist visits.

Over the years they have had a number of buses working on the islands, each one having to be a bit bigger as the numbers of students increased. Some of the old buses have gone on to be re-designed as motorhomes for island residents. In 2021 there were 79 primary students and 95 high school students on the rolls.

In 2010 they bought the brand new 57 seat buses for the islands in their signature blue colour. This fitted in to their Blue Bus operations which had commenced on the mainland as they expanded the business into charters and, in 2017, luxury tours in Blue Bus Tours.

“We have had some wonderful drivers over the years. Many of the island residents would remember Ian who drove for many years as well as Arthur, Bill, Robert, Greg, Mark and our current drivers Alan and Graham.”

When the Coronavirus arrived on the scene in 2020, coach and tour operators were among the worst affected by the Government-applied restrictions.

“We had to shut down our charter and tour operation,” Sandra Jacob told The Friendly Bay Islander.

Fortunately, whilst severe restrictions were applied to coach touring, they did not apply to school student transport. Sandra Jacob said this element of the Blue Bus operations had literally ‘saved’ them during the lockdown.

“It was school bus transport that started us out in this industry, and saved us when it really mattered,” Sandra added.

Blue Bus Tours have started up again and are now starting to grow steadily as restrictions and vaccination rates improve.

Geoff Jacob said he and Sandra and Blue Bus were ’grateful’ to achieve the 20 year milestone.

“We are proud we started out on Russell Island and have overcome so much,” he said. “We have seen a lot of change over the past 20 years on the island.

“We have had challenges but assisting the students on the island to get safely to and from school is, and has always been, our priority. We would also like to acknowledge all the reliable local drivers over the years who have assisted us with driving the bus.”

The Friendly Bay Islander congratulates Geoff and Sandra on the milestone, and we hope there will be many more.

You may contact Blue Bus Ph: 07 3820 7815; Mob: 0419 712 786; Email: info@bluebus.com.au or www.bluebustours.com.au



  • o Geoff and Sandra printing bus passes



  • o Russell Island School Bus 2003