New buses reach Wairarapa
New buses hitting Wairarapa’s roads this week have all the bells and whistles, but passengers just want to know they will be warm, safe and on time.
Masterton-based Tranzit has picked up 60 per cent of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s urban bus contracts and has spent more than $100 million on 234 new buses for these routes across the wider region.
Managing director Paul Snelgrove said the Optare buses, which were built in the United Kingdom, were among the most high tech coaches in this country.
‘‘The technology in these new vehicles in way superior to anything we’ve ever had in New Zealand,’’ he said.
The buses produced the lowest-possible emissions, which was part of Greater Wellington’s contract specifications.
They are equipped with seven inside cameras and four outside cameras. If a bus is speeding or takes a corner too fast, this is recorded and the company can take steps to train the driver.
‘‘It’s not about crucifying the driver, it’s about making sure everything is covered and we are doing things properly,’’ Snelgrove said.
One of the first passengers to ride on an Optare bus, which started plying the Masterton West route on Monday, liked the fact they were going to be warm in winter.
The thing she most appreciated about the service was not the buses, but the driver, Hannah Elworthy, who had been driving for Tranzit for 17 years.
‘‘She looks after us oldies and makes sure we all get off at the right stop.’’
Elworthy was also pleased the bus was warm. But there was also plenty of onboard technology that impressed her, including the added security provided by all the cameras.
‘‘They’re easy to drive and there are a lot of new facilities to get used to. It’s got good visibility with no blind spots and it looks like it will be easier to clean,’’ she said.
All the new buses had reversing cameras and safety features such as ABS braking and trac- tion control, as well as a panic button that alerted staff at the communications centre.
Tranzit will soon roll out its new buses in Hutt Valley and in Wellington.
Metlink’s new Optare buses are owned and operated by Tranzit Group New Zealand.
Tranzit Group’s managing director Paul Snelgrove.