Wellington Scoop

First of Tranzit’s 114 British buses welcomed to Wellington

Left to right: Helen Smith (Deputy High Commissioner), Tua Turara (driver), Graham Belgum (President Optare).

News from Optare
Optare, one of the UK’s leading bus manufacturers and subsidiary of Indian-based Ashok Leyland, marked the delivery of the first batch of 114 Metrocity buses to New Zealand at a ceremony today at the British High Commission in Wellington.

Acting British High Commissioner Helen Smith cut the ribbon on the first bus of Optare’s biggest-ever New Zealand export order, worth NZ$40m (£21m).

The innovative and environmentally efficient Metrocity buses are being supplied to Tranzit Group, one of New Zealand’s largest public transport operators. The first 12 of the buses, all manufactured in the UK, will begin operation around Greater Wellington Regional Council routes in Wellington and the surrounding region in the next few weeks.


The Metrocity buses for Tranzit feature Euro 6 compliant engines, an innovative monocoque design, have a passenger capacity of up to 55 and will be the lightest with this capacity to operate in New Zealand.

Graham Belgum, President of Optare, said: “This is a significant step for Optare in our international export strategy and signals the start of the exciting growth opportunities available to us in New Zealand. Furthermore, it recognises our continued innovation in lightweight design, delivering significant annual savings in fuel consumption and operating costs.”

Paul Snelgrove, Managing Director of Tranzit Group, said: “The Metrocity buses were purpose-built to meet the demands of the Wellington region’s commuter network.

“They’re top-of-the-line and exactly what we need to give the region’s commuters the very best service possible. As well as being Euro 6 certified, which is the highest possible and newest global emissions standard, the Metrociity buses weigh 900kg less than comparable vehicles, use much less fuel and can carry more passengers.

“We’ve ordered a combination of 10.1m and 10.8m Metrocity buses, which means we’ll have the right buses available to best service the mix of the city, suburban and semi-rural routes we’ll be operating. The shorter buses are much easier to manoeuvre and are ideal for tight, twisty routes,” said Snelgrove.

Chris Laidlaw, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council said: “At Greater Wellington we’re on our way to a more integrated public transport network so we can take more people to more places, more often. An important part of our strategy is reducing the emissions from our fleet. Metlink is doing that through a major renewal programme that will mean 80% of the buses on the region’s roads are new vehicles, providing a 68% reduction in harmful emissions.”

Jason Pecotic, General Manager of Bus Corp Oceania, who are Optare’s dealer and partners in New Zealand, said: “We are delighted to be providing warranty and full aftermarket support for the vehicles and are working closely with Optare to expand the product reach to operators in New Zealand and Australia.

Bus Corp Oceania is a strong and well-resourced distributor and is focused on ensuring that the Optare message is heard across the region. This is the message of an advanced monocoque design which delivers integrity and strength but minimises weight resulting in better fuel consumption and lower emissions. We are already seeing people sit up and take notice of Optare and this new fleet of Optare buses for Tranzit is just the beginning of resurgence of the brand down under.”


  1. Sean, 20. April 2018, 9:53

    There is nothing special about the emissions performance of these new diesel buses. Just like every previous Wellington diesel bus purchase, they meet the standards that applied when they were bought (and their emissions performance will not last long in the absence of a mandatory emissions testing and matching maintenance regime). They still emit large quantities of health and environmental pollutants locally.

    However, a fair chunk of this new diesel bus fleet is going to be absorbed in replacing sixty 100% electric powered trolley buses. GW has still not explained how a greater reduction in emissions is delivered by using these new diesel buses to replace electric buses instead of solely being used to displace older diesel buses.

    Any emission reduction claims should be tested against the reduction that would have resulted from retaining electric trolleybuses alongside the new diesel buses.

  2. Roy Kutel, 20. April 2018, 21:43

    The new buses are smaller than the trolley buses so more diesels will be needed to provide the same seat peak capacity. Result? More diesel emissions and noise! Well done Chris Laidlaw and team.

  3. Casey, 20. April 2018, 23:29

    In Wellington City the new buses will run on the Tranzit north – south routes, not the east – west routes retained by NZ Bus. Eastern and western suburbs will be served by a fleet of old diesel buses repainted in the dreadful new livery. These buses are mainly of the Euro 3 specification and will be allowed to operate into the foreseeable future. Until the end of this year NZ Bus will be allowed to run their Euro 1 and 2 buses also.

    The GWRC has misled the public into thinking the entire region would get a new bus fleet to make up for the trolley bus fleet withdrawal, but Wellington isn’t for the majority of the commuters. Just wait for all the excuses come July 15 when the new routes fail to provide the level of service the city needs.

  4. Boaz, 14. May 2018, 15:06

    Chris Laidlaw deserves the BS Artist of the year award for having misled the whole of Wellington. How do you reduce diesel emissions when you are junking a 100 per cent electric trolley bus system and replacing it with diesels? The answer is, it’s called spin. But some of us are not so fooled.

  5. Robert M, 15. May 2018, 9:52

    Do they have any figures on patronage levels on the particular bus routes since the trolley bus services were axed? Have they halved as they did with the stopping of the Christchurch trams in 1954 or Dunedin Hil trolley buses?
    Also could we have details of the changes in pay rates for the drivers and the loss of highly paid technical jobs in Wellington following the end of electrification.

  6. Casey, 15. May 2018, 14:41

    Robert: Looking at the buses at peak hours going to/from my suburb, the passenger numbers don’t appear to be any less in number. For most there isn’t any option but to go by bus. Some bus routes are short of drivers and some services are cancelled, resulting in would be passengers being unable to get to where they want to on time.

    $22.75 per hour is the latest figure I heard for driver’s pay from new operator Tranzit. A flat rate that applies any time of the day, weekends, public holidays. No extra allowance for those required to work split shifts. Several drivers are retiring in July, others are heading for Australia.

    The crrent fare for my 4.7km trip is $5 and standing all the way. The train fare Wellington to Petone is less than $5 yet the distance is 10.9 kms.

    We dread the changes to Wellington bus routes come 15 July, but hope that the expected chaos doesn’t arise. Some bus trips as short as 20 minutes done now in a single bus will require a change en route from July 15th. Changes made without cover in Wellington’s often difficult climate, and in dangerous situations in the CBD late at night for those returning home from shift work.