New buses reach Wairarapa

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHO­TOS: PIERS FULLER/STUFF

Metlink’s new Optare buses are owned and op­er­ated by Tranzit Group New Zealand.

Tranzit Group’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Snel­grove.

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