During the 1980s Chadstone was about half the size it is now. Some buses still stopped on the original drag on the western side of the entrance, with others at a relatively new entrance at the rear (which gradually became the main bus area until 2015), where layover facilities were also provided.
Chadstone was still a very colourful place in terms of buses in those days, but with several buyouts and various route changes, by the end of 1991, there were only three players left – Driver/Waverley Transit, Grenda and Ventura.
Camden had operated Route 627 (formerly 94A) from Elsternwick to Chadstone since 1953, extending the route from Oakleigh to the centre upon its opening in October 1960. On 1/1/1981 they took over Casey Coaches, operator of Route 620 between McKinnon, Gardiner, Caulfield and Chastone. The following year on 28/8/1982 they combined both services as Route 627 Elsternwick – Chadstone – McKinnon.
Camden was taken over by the newly formed Moorabbin Transit (Grenda) on 1/7/1988. Route 627 would then go to Nuline (Coop) on 30/9/1991 before they sold to Driver Bus Lines on 1/5/1992.
Driver & Waverley Transit:
With the opening of Chadstone in 1960, Driver Bus Lines extended their Glen Iris – Camberwell route (Route 81A later known as 612) to service the centre, later through-routing to Box Hill via Canterbury and Mont Albert North on 29 May 1978 shortly after the takeover of Cullen’s Route 610.
In September 1986 they would become a prominent operator of Chadstone services, taking over Shave’s Routes 622 (Chadstone – Holmesglen – Oakleigh – Chadstone – Caulfield), 623 (Glen Waverley – Chadstone – St Kilda) and 625 (Chadstone – Caufleld – Kew). Due to the poor condition of the fleet, it was decided to operate these routes under a separate entity called Waverley Transit.
The operation would soon become the subject of a landmark court case, after the Labor State Government threatened to hand over the service to Qunice’s as part of open tendering. Waverley Transit won, effectively providing that they owned the routes rather than the state government who subsided them. The Waverley Transit name would be retained for the next decade.