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Tranzit on the road to expansion

Tranzit is expanding its operations across New Zealand, with the Masterton-based transport company adding hundreds more buses to its fleet.

The expansion will see the bus and coach company move into Bay of Plenty and the South Island, taking on 190 extra vehicles and bringing its total fleet to 2200.

It will also employ a similar number of people.

The announcement signals a positive step for the company after a “devastating” blow last year.

At the end of 2021, Tranzit learned it had lost its Wairarapa school bus routes contract to Go Bus.

From Term 1, 2022, Go Bus – owned by Australian parent company Kinetic Group – took over school bus routes from Pahiatua to Pirinoa.

At the time, Tranzit Group sales and marketing director Jenna Snelgrove said the loss of the Wairarapa routes was “devastating”.

The company had provided its first Ministry of Education school run in 1948, and since then, had strengthened its hold on Wairarapa’s school bus services, winning successive contracts to deliver MoE school runs in the northern, central, and southern parts of the region.

Group managing director Paul Snelgrove said he was looking forward to the company spreading its wings and transitioning the new teams into Tranzit.

“We’re excited to be working with our new partners in Canterbury as well as the Bay of Plenty.

“We’re also looking forward to continuing to deliver school bus, cruise, and charter services for all Bethlehem and Torlesse’s existing clients and serving both these communities.”

The expansion comes after Tranzit bought Bethlehem Coachlines in Bay of Plenty and Torlesse Travel in Canterbury.

The purchases included 56 charter, urban, and school buses from Bethlehem Coachlines and leasing two depots in Tauranga and Te Kuiti.

In the South Island, Tranzit is buying 80 charter and school buses, two leopard coaches, and will lease three depot sites at Rangiora, Oxford and Darfield.

The buses will gradually be rebranded to Tranzit Coachlines Southern Ltd and Tranzit Coachlines Bay of Plenty Ltd.

The changes will start to appear in early 2023.

A Tranzit spokesperson said they were working to retain staff during the takeover. The move would also bring new jobs to Tranzit’s head office in Masterton.

“Tranzit has spent several weeks working with the existing Torlesse and Bethlehem teams through a positive transition period and recently, began the interview process to bring across as many of these teams to ensure minimal disruption and continuity of services for their existing customers.

“This includes taking on over a combined 100 drivers, mechanics and operations team members.”

In addition to enlarging its fleet, Tranzit Group is also preparing for a bumper tourist season and the logistics of increasing covid-19 cases.

The Tourism Export Council said it was expecting more than 2 million overseas visitors this summer.

Factoring in Kiwis heading overseas, the influx could temporarily boost New Zealand’s total population by several hundred thousand.

Speaking to Stuff recently, Tranzit​ Group operations director Keven​​ Snelgrove​ said that in the past two months, 40 of 3000 overseas bus tour passengers had to isolate, but to his knowledge, none needed hospital care.

“You’d think one in a bus would run through the whole bus, but it doesn’t. You might have two or three get covid, but you don’t get the whole bus going down with it.”

He said the logistics of finding accommodation for passengers to isolate for seven days and replacing sick drivers and guides was a headache, but expected crunchtime during the peak season in February and March.

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George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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