MAY/JUNE, 2008

The Newsletter of the Omnibus Society Inc., PO Box 9801, Wellington, NZ

Editor: Mike Secker – Contact details at the foot of the last page.

*PLEASE NOTE that the Editor’s email address has changed to: 



Subscriptions for 2008 are now due, and are at last year’s rates! Treasurer, Morris Moller, Ph. 477 9467, would welcome hearing from you, and can send you a Subscription Form if needed. Alternatively, Secretary, Henry Brittain, Ph. 476 7278, can send you one. As well, you can download a Form from:  Subs are: $25.00 per year or $12.50 for non-earners.


            DRIVERS… The Society often needs the volunteer services of any member with a “P” licence who can offer to help drive some of the Society’s charters, which are a source of vital revenue to help fund the maintenance and restoration of our vehicles. If you wish to gain a licence, the Society can help you do this. Please phone Henry Brittain, Ph. 476 7278, or Peter Rendall, Ph. 970 1405. 


            FUTURE EVENTS…Movie Night, 6 pm, 5 July, 2008, Time Cinema, Lyall Bay, $30 per person.  Movie – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!” Please reserve your places at this event by the 27 June – ring Morris on (04) 477 9467. This is always a popular occasion – remember we dine there, as well. Note the date in your diary – more details will follow. When these details, and other events, have been firmed up, they will appear in RunningsheeT or in a special Running sheeT Extra

                                                August - Upper Hutt Buses.

                                                September – Kapiti Rover and MCS Depot visit.

                                                October – Omnibus Society AGM.

                                                November – COTMA.

                                                December – Christmas Dinner using an interesting vehicle, possibly the Wally Hammond VAS.


          OUR FLEET… thanks to Morris Moller

                                      4 – MAN – needs a starter motor.

                                                6 – ex-Nimons Morris Commercial – needs electrical work.

                                                20 – the Cub is still with M. Little and needs painting and some damage rectification.

                                                39 – the silver BUT has been moved from Kilbirnie to Karori.

                                                49 – AEC Regal – Jim Austin has completed some impressive woodwork on the rear of this bus and is now looking at the roof.

                                                119 – the BUT needs the dash panel replacing.

                                                397 – Leyland Leopard “breadvan”- is awaiting painting after body repairs including a new lantern windscreen assembly.

The Mack has been moved from GM at Trentham to an area not being developed. It is possible that the Mack may go to Karori and the Bedford MLZ from there to the Wairarapa.

The Crossley chassis has been disposed of.

322 (Reliance), 462 (Leopard), and 3583 (Bedford SB) are the in-service buses, at present. They have been busy with quite a number of charters, so useful income has been earned.

Go Wellington trolleys are once again back in the yard at night.      

In our barn storage area, new pallet racking has been installed, with the Farmer’s trolley being moved to provide access to this.



Gus Weir’s World Tour of the U K

Part Four: Getting There! (Continued)


Gus and Win have left Perth for Singapore

Next morning we decided to try out Singapore Airlines Hop on Hop off (HoHo) sightseeing buses. Leaving our hotel we were accosted by a “gentleman” with a tricycle rickshaw who insisted he could take us quickly to the nearest HoHo stop. We were a little reticent to accept his offer but succumbed for the experience. After a ride of about 15 to 20 minutes we arrived at a HoHo stop and received a demand for $70 Singapore. Rest assured he didn’t get it! We found later there was a HoHo stop right across the road from our hotel. We were conned!

The buses in Singapore vary widely, from gaily and garishly coloured tourist vehicles to the standard liveried local service vehicles. There seemed to be two organisations providing the services, both using double-deck Volvos and unidentifiable single-deck articulated vehicles.

Later we rode the MRT (rail system) to Harbour Park to travel on the cable car to Sentosa Island. The railway platforms I found interesting. They are totally enclosed with doors on the walls at the edge of the platforms spaced at intervals coinciding with the door positions on the train. Passengers gather around the doors which open when the train stops to allow them to board.

The cable car to Sentosa Island is rather scary to someone who dreads heights as it passes high over the harbour, but I just paid attention to videoing the experience. On Sentosa we rode around the Island on a monorail before returning on the cable car to the mainland. After the most expensive nibble and drink I have had to date, we left Singapore on a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, which was cooler but more of this later.

SBS Transit No. 1701E Volvo DD Singapore

Above: SBS Transit No. 1701E Volvo DD Singapore (Photo: Gus Weir)


[Part 5 of  Gus’s  World Tour of the U.K.” will appear in the next RunningsheeT Sorry, Gus,  for chopping you around so much – thanks for your continuing contributions. - Ed.]


Buses in Bangalore

Mike Butler spent two weeks in Bangalore this year and reports on the buses observed on his travels. A weekend trip was made into rural areas 220km southwest of the city.


The main operator in Bangalore City is the state-owned Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). Bangalore is building a metropolitan railway but bus is the only public mass transport. The fleet consists mostly of Ashok Leylands with some Tatas and Eichers. There are some Ashok Leyland bendy buses used on main routes. The majority of the fleet are painted blue and white.  Brown “pushpaks” operate express services with more comfortable seating and higher fares. These are being replaced by a fleet of red painted air-conditioned Volvo B7R buses.  The Volvo buses are one man operated, while the other buses carry 2 or 3 man crews.  The conductors hang out the doors and give signals to traffic around the bus.  The Volvos carry an amusing sign on the rear “A/C Vehicle No Hand Signal”.  BMTC have a fleet of 4829 buses operating out of 30 depots around the city.  Buses carry 3.7 million passengers a year  - in  a city with 5 million people.  All buses other than the Volvos have bodies built by the operator (BMTC).

            Many of the large employers offer free staff transport and this is done by private operators with a variety of vehicles varying from mini buses to Volvo B7 coaches. Private operators also run commuter services to some of the nearby towns – again using Ashok Leylands and Tatas. Some of these routes are 50km long and the buses leave Bangalore very full. Buses travel with the doors open and passengers stand in the step wells.

Bangalore Volvo B7R

Above: Not an Ashok Leyland! A Volvo B7R giving a newer look to Bangalore traffic.(Photo: Mike Butler)


            Intercity and rural services are operated by state-owned Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). As with BMTC, the majority of the fleet are Ashok Leylands with some Tata and Eicher  buses. New Volvo B7R coaches operate some of the intercity services. Some of the rural services were operated by Ashok Leyland buses with wooden bodies and no skirt rear of the back door that reminded me somewhat of the ABC Worldmasters.

            The major bus makers in India all started using  foreign designs:

·         Ashok Leyland - their bus chassis evolved from the Comet. They now use Hino motors.

·         Tata. Started in 1954 using Mercedes Benz technology. Designs still show this heritage.

·         Eicher. Started in 1982 manufacturing the Mitsubishi Canter. Since 1994, Eicher produces its own designs based around…

·         Volvo. Volvo India offer 2 variations of the Volvo B7R, the  8400 urban bus and 9400 coach.

·         Swaraj Mazda produce a local version of the Mazda T3500 bus.

·         Sutlej. Part owned by Daimler Benz and using modern Daimler Benz Designs.

·         Force Motors. Buses up to 32 seats powered by the Mercedes Benz OM616 engine.  Includes versions of the Mercedes Benz L608

·         Mahinda & Mahindra. Produce the FJ-460 minibus based on the Willys Jeep and a Mitsubishi-based minibus.

[Many thanks to you, Mike, for your interesting article and photo. – Ed.]

            OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Michael Boyton, Graeme Inwood, Peter King, Peter Thompson, Stephen Watkins, Alan Wickens


                 AUCKLANDInteresting developments here with Souter Holdings (ie Brian Souter, founder of Stagecoach) acquiring the Howick and Eastern bus company, not so long after acquiring Mana Coach Services, of the Wellington region, last December.


                                    NZ Bus –  New 3-axle Scanias  (2100s) have continued to appear in both Auckland and Wellington advises Peter T. The buses are as follows: (both cities’ vehicles are listed here for spacing reasons) 2101/EFZ605; 2102/EGR132; 2103/EGR136; 2104/EJC610; 2105/EJC613; 2106/EJC614; 2107/EJC616; 2108/EJC618; 2109/EJW443; 2110/EJW448 (preceding buses with North Star); 2111/EFZ603; 2112/EGR121; 2113/EGR133; 2114/EGR138; 2115/EJC609; 2116/EJC612; 2117/EJC611; 2118/EJC615; 2119/EJC617; 2120/EJW444; 2121/EJW446; 2122/EJW445; 2123/EJW447; 2124/EHH664 (preceding buses with Go Wellington); 2125/EJW449; 2126/EJW450; 2127/EJW451; 2128/EKL290; 2129/EKL291; 2130/EKL292; 2131/EKL300; 2132/EKL301; 2133/EKL306; 2134/         ; 2135/EKL315; 2136/EKW405; 2137/EKW413 (preceding buses with Go West). [NB  Peter T. noted that 2134 had not been delivered at the time he wrote, and that, at that time, 2102 might not have been at Orewa.]

                                    Tranzit – Peter T. reported that Tranzit are to begin a new Airport – Manukau City service on 16 June.


             HAWKES  BAY – Nimons -                        

Nimon 9m Mitsubishis 40 and 41

Above: Nimon’s neat 9m Mitsubishis, 40/ECU19 and 41/ECU22, with A/C and two doors, replacing MetroRiders. They have  orange Hanover destinations  in the left windscreen and Peter reports passengers are  delighted with the A/C. No.40 is at Napier for the Tamatea run and 41 at Havelock for Camberley, Mahora and Parkvale. They are two of nearly 30 vehicles acquired by Nimons in 2007. Note the gold centenary livery behind the pair, at rear. (Photo and information: Peter King)


                        Tenders – Peter T. noted that Napier/Hastings tenders had been called recently.





NELSON Area – Wadsworths of Tapawera


Wadsworth coaches

Here is a photograph of the "Southern Branch" of the Omnibus Society, in action, writes member, Mike Boyton.  He adds “Yours truly poses with 2 of the 4 coaches operated by Wadsworths of Tapawera.  I am a casual driver for Wadsworths, and today I was at Rainbow Station, not far from Lake Rotoiti. I am driving the Volvo (In front.) These two coaches are now quite elderly, but both go very well and are also very well maintained. Volvo 1070 IC is Wadsworths fleet no. 1, an ex-NZRRS 1981 BG100 Hino. UO9438 (Behind) is fleet no.12, an ex-Newmans 1976 Volvo B58  (was IA2585, "Indus", according to Mike Butler's research, with body improvements via Mid Canterbury Industries.)” (Photo and caption: Mike Boyton)


            ROTORUA – Peter T. notes that new urban services begin for Rotorua later.


            TARANAKI – NEW PLYMOUTH – in a somewhat controversial move, reports Stephen, the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) have appointed Tranzit Coachlines as the supplier of city bus services for New Plymouth from July 1st 2008, replacing the incumbent Okato Bus Lines. Okato Bus Lines began running an unsubsidised community-based service in New Plymouth following the collapse of Hamilton-based Goldstar Bus Lines in 1992. Fourteen years later in 2006, a subsidised 18-month trial of new services for the city was jointly established by the TRC and Okato Bus Lines. These services were based on a six route system, with the majority serviced at 45 minute intervals during peak periods. The trial proved successful and was subsequently extended to two full years. July 1st 2008 marks the beginning of the new subsidised services based upon the data gathered during the trial. Operators were required to tender for the service, with Tranzit Coachlines announced as the successful applicant. Tranzit have announced increased service levels and hours of operation, utilising vehicles similar to the Ansair-bodied MAN 10.155 HOCL in B28D configuration currently used in other centres serviced by their company. Okato Bus Lines have announced that they will continue to provide school and charter services. More details will be available in the coming months.


            WELLINGTON – NZ Bus –  (Correction, with apologies: MAN 2460 was pictured in the last issue being rescued from its attempt to go swimming on the western side of Lyall Bay, as depicted in Graeme Inwood’s photo of the event, not the eastern side as I wrongly put it.- Ed.)


            New 3-axle trolley, 335/EMB785, is in traffic in the yellow livery. Volvos are thinner on the ground. Oldest still operating is probably 204.





Alan Wickens offers this Wellington view, and his views on it:       


Go Wellington Scania 2111

Is this the livery we will see on Go Wellington buses?  Scania 2111 was spotted parked on Thorndon Quay on 2 May. Sadly, if this is so, it won't be long before many will be plastered with advertising on the sides and rear which seems to me to make the branding thing a pretty pointless exercise. Like the colour or the branding, or not, at least 2111 looks proud of what is has been given. (Caption & photo: Alan Wickens)


            Mana Coach Services  – Interesting item in The Dominion Post  of Tuesday, 10 June, headed “Infratil will keep its stake in Mana Coach” indicating that, although the High Court has ruled out a merger [of MCS] with Go Wellington, Infratil has no plans to sell its minority (26%) stake in MCS. Infratil executive, Paul Ridley-Smith, is mentioned as saying, on the 9 June, that he expected the ownership structure of MCS to continue in its present form as, he commented further, Brian Souter (recent buyer of 74% of MCS) was an experienced bus operator as a founder and major shareholder of Stagecoach.                                           

                                                - Kapiti – Toyota Coaster 44/BLW986 has now, in its turn, been replaced here by similar 21-seat 131/AZS482. No. 44 has returned to Porirua Depot, 131 being ex-Newlands Depot.  1996 Volvo B12, C53F, 55/UO6068, is at present at this depot – excellent machine, new to MCS and originally delivered in the then coach livery of purple. 1995 MAN, C38F, 26/BDU936, is also at Kapiti. Both these coaches have kneeling capability.


            WHANGAREI – Pictured and listed on the Omnibus Society’s Website (in Fleet Notes) are ten Designline-bodied MAN 16.223, SLF, B38D, 2-axle buses, in an attractive two-tone green livery, registered to Wellington City Transport Ltd, for Adams Travelines, Whangarei. They are for new services commencing in July, 2008, which are, as advised by Peter T., contracted to NZ Bus. Incidentally, the 1XXX numbers are an at present unused ex-Auckland series. The buses are: 1001/EMK723; 1002/EMK724; 1003/EMK731; 1004/EMK725; 1005/EMK733; 1006/EMK/732; 1007/EMK748; 1008/EMK750; 1009/EMK749; 1010/EMK751.                   


            WEBSITE…The Society’s website, masterminded by Mike Butler, is incorporated in RUNNING SHEET’s title heading. Pay it a visit – it’s well worth it! Also, if you’ve missed or lost issues of the newsletter, the more recent back numbers are available on the website.


Editor:  Mike Secker, 63 Glen Road, Raumati South, Kapiti  5032.  Ph: (04) 902 1173   Fax: (04) 902 1174 

Mob: 027 426 7901  Email:

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