The family behind Kangaroo Bus Lines
Kangaroo Bus Lines is a family run business, with our four generations of Websters, history and passion.
It all started in 1978, when Stan Webster moved to Queensland and bought Kangaroo Line, a modest fledgling operation with a mere six buses in the then-wide open region of Caboolture.
His son, Daryl, helped run and build Kangaroo Line; offering the community new and improved transport services in the area. Daryl and his wife, Jan, started the touring side of the business and later had two children. Today, their daughter, Tania Hamilton (Chief Financial Officer), and son, Darren Webster (Chief Executive Officer), are helping to build Kangaroo Bus Lines into the efficient, streamlined operation it has become.
Darren’s wife Tish, and their daughter, Shari, work in accounts with Tania, Darren’s previously mentioned sister.
Dale Webster, Darren’s son, started his journey with Kangaroo Bus Lines as a school-based apprentice mechanic. Today, he runs the KBL workshop, servicing the company’s large fleet in excess of 140 vehicles.
Kangaroo Bus Lines truly is a family-run business, which is rare in today’s society. While the Webster’s deeply love and respect each other, working together makes for some unusual pressures on the family.
In recent years, Kangaroo Bus Lines has won the Tours and Transfers category of the Sunshine Coast Business Awards three years in a row. The wins are testament to the high calibre and holistic business model Daryl created and Darren built on.
The growth in recent years has been massive. In 2000, KBL had 28 buses. Seven years ago, when the business moved from Morayfield to its more spacious property at Burpengary, the fleet was 88-strong.
There are now over 120 vehicles at the Burpengary depot and 15 buses at the Sunshine Coast.
While Daryl made it a success, it is Darren who took it to a whole other level. Daryl feels no tension in that, just pride and admiration.
“It is about letting go of how things were done and investing in and becoming excellent at the new ways,” Daryl says. “Business is always about taking opportunities. It is never going to do well if you stand still and I never stood still. Darren is the same”.
“I am still involved. Darren asks my opinion and I have input, but he is in charge and I am very happy about that and how he runs things.”
Since the company’s inception, as a family, Kangaroo Bus Lines have always been motivated about the same things – wanting the business to grow – and had the same focus, which was to maintain high standards and stay focused on the people.
Darren took over the business fully at age 41 and says the CEO role is light years from the time of his parents.
“Business today is vastly different and my era and my parents’ can barely be compared. The contract we have with government is more complicated, the time we spend on compliance is immeasurable,” he says.
The business does school runs for thousands of pupils. It shuttles uni students. It undertook enormous contracts for the G20 and Commonwealth Games and through fastidious organisation, pulled them off without a hitch.
Darren says he aims to continue to grow KBL.
“I believe the days of the small, family business surviving are over,” he says. “I don’t believe you can compete if you stay small. The economies of scale make it impossible. But we have managed to keep the values of when we were small – our motto being ‘People. Pride. Passion.” – and just apply it to a bigger operation. Quality on every level is important.”
Darren says the business’s heart is firmly in Moreton Bay.
“It will always be our home,” Darren says.
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