Hop aboard the big red bus

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - LOOKING BACK - ANAN ZAKI

‘‘I've driven through town twice and you see lit­tle kids or you see peo­ple and it just in­stantly puts a mas­sive smile on their face.’’

It has taken two years to get back into a road­wor­thy con­di­tion, but a 1952 dou­ble decker bus is ready to hit the roads of Marl­bor­ough.

And for Gary Wright, who owns Road­trips Marl­bor­ough, it’s a huge source of pride.

Wright has worked on the bus, which has not been on the road since 1979, with his father Roy, and close friends have also pitched in to help.

He said it had been an all­con­sum­ing project.

‘‘It’s been a bloody mas­sive project, ev­ery­thing from the whole thing be­ing stripped back, all the win­dows be­ing taken out, all the skins have been taken off it, all the wooden fram­ing has been re­placed, new skins put on the out­side, new win­dow frames. So it’s been a real team ef­fort by a lot of peo­ple,’’ Wright said.

The bus would be used by Road­trips Marl­bor­ough and was avail­able for pri­vate hire, but not as a party bus.

Restor­ing he London bus had cost Wright a small for­tune.

‘‘Oh mate, I spent a lot. I haven’t ac­tu­ally been count­ing it up and I haven’t wanted to keep count.

‘‘It’s one of those things that if I knew how much I spent on it I would prob­a­bly cringe, but I’ve spent an aw­ful lot of money on it but you’ve got to spend your money on some­thing! In­clud­ing the shed I built for the bus it would prob­a­bly end up around six fig­ures,’’ Wright said.

The bus was ready for op­er­a­tion but Wright said he was fi­nal­is­ing a few things be­fore mak­ing it avail­able for char­ter.

He said it was strictly not a party bus due to the amount of work he had put into it.

‘‘It’s technically as le­gal as ev­ery other bus I’ve got so technically I could use it this af­ter­noon if I wanted to. I’m just putting a few things to­gether on rules and that sort of stuff be­cause I’ve spent a lot of time and money on this so I don’t want it wrecked.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be more of a ‘en­joy the old school times’ bus I guess, sim­i­lar to the steam train,’’ Wright said, re­fer­ring to new tourist at­trac­tion The Marl­bor­ough Flyer.

Wright said the re­ac­tions of peo­ple on the street had put a smile on his face.

‘‘I’ve driven through town twice and you see lit­tle kids or you see peo­ple and it just in­stantly puts a mas­sive smile on their face. Peo­ple are point­ing and tak­ing pho­tos of it and I guess it’s al­most like a pat on the back of a good achieve­ment of re­build­ing it.’’

RICKY WIL­SON/STUFF

Gary Wright says the re­stored bus will soon be ready for ser­vice, al­though not as a ‘party bus’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.