The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)
N.Z.R. Road Motor Services — Fifty-Three Buses in Operation. — 2,384,670 Passengers Carried Last Year. — Development of the Service
N.Z.R. Road Motor Services
Fifty-Three Buses in Operation.
2,384,670 Passengers Carried Last Year.
Development of the Service.
The New Zealand Railways Road Motor Services, as they stand to-day, are an important unit of the railways, operating not in competition but in conjunction with the rail, in supplying the transport wants of a discriminating public.
It is thought fitting that some indication of the development of the Department's services should be given through the medium of this magazine to all who are interested in this phase of transportation.
During the period 1926–1929 a total of 58 privately owned buses were purchased by the Department. The first purchase made in 1926 was in respect of buses operating between Napier and Hastings. For some considerable time prior to this the opposition offered by these buses had proved such a serious drain on the traffic previously conveyed by rail that the Department was faced with three issues, either to discontinue rail passenger services altogether, to enter into a “fare” competition with the bus proprietors, or to purchase the buses outright from the several owners. The latter course was finally adopted as this, it was considered, would result in the regaining of the lost traffic to the Department, whilst at the same time obviating the running of non-paying rail services. The service totalling 13 buses when purchased, was placed under the control of the District Traffic Manager for the district, who was invested with the double responsibility of operating both bus and rail services. Further purchases followed in quick succession. In December, 1926, a bus operating between Oamaru and Tokarahi was taken over, and between Nov. 1927, and Feb. 1928, 41 privately owned buses plying between Wellington and Lower Hutt were purchased. In addition, three buses operating between Christchurch, Whitecliffs and Coalgate were acquired, and a bus service between Dunedin and Port Chalmers was inaugurated by the Department in January 1930. As in the case of the Napier service, all other buses purchased were placed under the control of the District Traffic Manager within whose district they were respectively operating. Thus, by 1930 the Department had definitely undertaken control of those bus services offering the Department the more serious competition.
Control and Organisation.
In order to centralise the control a Bus Manager was appointed and invested with the responsibility of the control of all fleets.
The Department is at present operating fifty-three buses throughout the Dominion of a capital value of £59,000. For the year ended 31st March, 1932, the route miles travelled totalled 1,301,389, and for the same period the buses conveyed 2,384,670 passengers safely to their respective destinations. These figures will give some indication of the magnitude of the undertaking, which is without question the largest of its kind in the Dominion. It must not be inferred, however, that the Department has attained this measure of success without having first surmounted many obstacles, the greatest of which perhaps was the keen taxi competition encountered on the Napier-Hastings and Wellington-Hutt routes.page break
(1) and (2) exterior and interior views of the New Leyland Cub Bus (23-seater) recently put into service; (3) Mr. R. G. Gow, Senior Clerk; (4) Mr. S. C. Doyle, Manager, Road Motor Services; (5) Mr. C. S. Mardon, Clerk, and Miss N. Brown, Typiste; (6) new buses in course of construction at Hutt Valley Workshops; (7) General Office (left to right), Mr. P. J. O'Neill, Officer-in-Charge, Mr. R. Wilcox and Mr. D. O'Keiff, Road Foremen; (8) Mr. H. Benge, Garage Foreman, Mr. W. Mullins, Clerk, and Mr. A. W. Parton, Equipment Officer; (9) Garage Workshop.page 27
Rigorous steps have been taken by the management to ensure that the services are run with a high degree of efficiency, and no factor is overlooked which will reduce the operating costs. The maintenance of the buses is naturally a big drain on the revenue, and every care is taken to ensure that this charge is kept at the lowest possible figure compatible, of course, with the high standard of efficiency of the buses for which the services are noted. The Department has its own garage maintenance and repair shops, adequately equipped and staffed with capable and efficient mechanics. As a consequence all repairs and maintenance work can be carried out at a minimum of cost with little or no waste time to the Department.
Romance at Bay.
“As a matter of fact, one reason why railway traffic is safer than motoring,” said Mr. R. Day (Traffic Inspector at New Plymouth), “is that the enginedriver does not go along with one arm round the fireman,” reports the Eltham Argus, which proceeds to paint a moral, something like this:—
When the westward sinking sungod
With his wheel the ocean skimmeth,
The evening train sets off with speed
From Eltham to New Plymouth.
When the lark, the evening choirman,
Sounds the curfew of the day,
Does the driver kiss the fireman
While the sleepers slide away?
Do they pause to pass endearments
And indulge in senseless kissing?
Do they interchange their spearmints
And forget the tablet's missing?
Do they linger by the wayside
Like the motorists at play?
Do they mix work with the gay side?
“Not at all!” says Mister Day.