Our success stories
Celebrating 12 months of Palmerston North's Electric bus
Tranzit Coachlines Manawatu and Horizons Regional Council are thrilled to acknowledge how successful their electric bus has been since it began operating services in Palmerston North 12 months ago.
Our Palmerston North based Urban Manager Chris Candy-Boland says the electric bus clocked up over 43,000kms earlier in February – saving 14,300 litres of diesel and 40 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
“We were so proud to introduce this electric vehicle into regional New Zealand last year and to see it performing so well and delivering such clear environmental benefits is great news,” he says.
In addition, our drivers and passengers love travelling on the electric bus.
“Since we introduced this bus into the network here in February 2021, I’ve really loved driving it and transporting people around Palmy,” says our driver Karl Gates (pictured below).
“It’s just so lovely to drive – quiet and smooth – and our passengers often comment to me on how pleasurable it is to ride in. They also like the little extras the bus has such as being able to charge their phones as they travel.”
The single deck electric bus, which was built at Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga, is charged at our Palmerston North depot on a 120kW charger. It can either be charged overnight on a slow charge of 30kW or fully charged in one hour using the full 120kW. This means the bus is in service all day transporting passengers without interruption or can travel for approximately 250km.
Whilst Karl doesn’t have a favourite route to drive, he does enjoy the Massey IPU runs particularly in springtime when the cherry blossoms are out. As our primary driver for this electric bus, Karl receives extra support from six other drivers, all of whom have been trained to drive this bus.
Horizons Regional Council, who contract the Palmerston North urban bus network, are excited to be on the journey towards a decarbonised public transport fleet.
“We’re really pleased that there has been a reduction in emissions in our fleet through the use of our electric bus,” says Horizons Passenger Transport Committee chair Sam Ferguson.
“Alongside getting people out of private cars and onto public transport, the electric bus is helping the city and region to reduce its emission footprint. It’s great to hear that people enjoy using it and we hope to introduce more electric buses into our fleet over time. If the community would also like to see this, we’d love to hear it when we seek feedback on our draft Regional Public Transport Plan in April at www.horizons.govt.nz.”
Driver Karl Gates in the Palmerston North EV November 2021
Mobile Health Clinic Handed over to Cook Is Ministry of Health
TRANZIT AND ROTARY MASTERTON SOUTH ‘HAND OVER’ MOBILE HEALTH CLINIC TO
COOK ISLANDS MINISTRY OF HEALTH
A successful four-way partnership involving Tranzit and well-known Wairarapa Rotary Masterton South came to a happy conclusion in Rarotonga in August 2021 with reassurance that the mobile health unit donated to the Cook Islands Ministry of Health in June 2018 is being well used and maintained.
Our Managing Director Paul Snelgrove and former President of Rotary Masterton South, Dr Rob Irwin were part of a small contingent who flew to the Cook Islands prior to New Zealand’s Alert Level 4 lockdown, to check on the condition, usage and future of the mobile medical health unit, three years after they delivered it to the Cook Islands Ministry of Health.
The pair were part of a major project that began in 2016 and saw an old Tranzit bus refitted with specialised medical equipment and repurposed to be used as a mobile health unit servicing communities in Rarotonga. The project received financial support from Rotary Clubs in District 9940 and Charitable Trusts while the Rotary Foundation gave the project the green light. In June 2018 it was handed over to the Cook Islands Ministry of Health in a colourful ceremony.
Since that time, the mobile health unit has served a necessary role in ensuring the health of people living in Rarotonga. It has improved the existing public health service around the island with its improved patient privacy and up to date equipment. Then, during the Rarotonga Covid-19 lockdown, it was located on the tarmac at the International Airport and used to screen and/or treat passengers displaying Covid symptoms on entry into the country. Today, it is still required to meet all international flights from New Zealand.
Secretary of Health for Rarotonga, Bob Williams, confirmed the mobile unit had been working well and they would like the service to continue. “It’s well utilised to support clinics around the Island,” he said. “We are grateful and thankful for a bus like that”.
Following a series of special meetings, the bus was officially signed over to the Ministry of Health who has allocated budget for a full-time driver for the bus.
Paul said he was thrilled to be part of such a special project that will ensure the people of Rarotonga continue to have access to medical support. He was also pleased with the condition of the ex-Tranzit bus and happy to hear that four of the original bus drivers trained by Tranzit, still drive the mobile unit.
“While we were there, we visited the workshop and checked out the bus and found it to be in very good condition. Minor body work is required due to salt air exposure but that will be completed in stages,” said Paul. “We were also told 96% of the population are now Covid-vaccinated putting Rarotonga in a strong position for the future.”
Dr Irwin said it was a pleasing and constructive visit to Rarotonga with the New Zealand visitors reassured that the mobile health unit is serving a necessary role.
Tranzit: Electrifying Public Transport – Part One
Tranzit has been at the forefront of bus electrification in New Zealand since 2014.
“Our company has been around for almost 100-years, and I want to make sure it is around for my grandkids, so choosing a sustainable future for our bus fleet is very important to me,” says Managing Director Paul Snelgrove.
The family-owned and operated transport and tourism company, successfully partnered with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to submit a joint application to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund. This led to the development and build of New Zealand’s first commercially operated 100 per cent battery-powered electric bus in 2017. Called EV1, it now shuttles AUT students between their North-City and South-City Campuses.
Today, Tranzit operates 11 more EV buses – 10 double deck electric buses (EVDD) in Wellington as part of the Metlink public transport network as well as one single deck EV bus in Palmerston North. Tranzit will also incrementally add a further 31 EVDDs to the Wellington network over the next few years.
It’s current fleet of EVDDs operated by Tranzurban, part of The Tranzit Group, in Wellington travel more than 2,000km a day saving about 1,300 litres of diesel and 3.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions daily. They can be charged at the country’s fastest 450kW charger located in Island Bay or at Tranzit’s Rongotai depot which offers a combined capacity of 300kw or at Tranzit’s Grenada depot which has a combined capacity of 1080kw. Soon, they will be able to be charged on another 450kW charger installed at the Wellington Interchange. Amazingly, on the fast charger, buses can be charged from 20 per cent to fully charged in only 12-15 minutes! More importantly, they offer a smooth and quiet journey for passengers and our drivers.
Tranzit also sets itself apart from other bus operators by helping to build New Zealand’s electric bus capability, working with Tauranga’s Kiwi Bus Builders to build the buses using parts sourced from New Zealand as well as from leading global suppliers in China and Europe.
Electrifying buses has both environmental and social benefits, but also helps Regional Councils, Tranzit’s customers, decrease their region’s carbon emissions and align with new Government policy.
In 2020 Tranzurban Wellington was recognised for its commitment to electric bus technology when it won the Green Gold Award at the 2020 Wellington Gold Awards, an annual celebration of the Capital City’s business community. Well done team!
– You can read more about this in our Tranzit: Electrifying Public Transport – Part Two.
Tranzit: Electrifying Public Transport – Part Two
Since Tranzit Coachlines and Horizons Regional Council launched Palmerston North’s first electric bus to the network in February 2021, it has been a great success.
The “third generation”, single deck bus travels 1000km – 1400km weekly when in operation and once fully charged, can travel for approximately 250 km.
Its distinctive navy blue and green leaf artwork makes for an eye-catching sight as it travels Palmerston North’s tree-lined streets servicing urban routes. With the potential to reach over 1 million passengers per year, this EV will bring even greater benefits for the city’s environment and provide the travelling public with a clean, comfortable service while also ensuring passengers get safely from A to B.
Tranzit’s director of operations and transport Keven Snelgrove says partnering with Horizons has enabled the milestone of launching an EV bus into regional NZ to happen. He says it is a continuation of Tranzit’s commitment to having a sustainable bus fleet across the country – not just in high population urban areas.
“This is a third generation EV bus for Tranzit, bringing even greater benefits to our EV fleet. It has improved efficiency and functionality with an up-to-date customer service experience and is operated by the latest batteries. What this means for our driver and for our passengers is a more comfortable and smoother journey,” says Mr Snelgrove.
This EV bus will also bring environmental and social benefits to the region by reducing carbon emissions and making improvements to help with climate change.
Tranzit driver Karl Gates enjoys driving it. Mr Gates had driven diesel buses for Tranzit for the last four years and is now one of three local lead drivers upskilled and trained in driving the EV bus.
“They are very quiet and smooth to drive. I think it is something really exciting to have in Palmy,” says Mr Gates.
Interesting facts about Tranzit’s “Third Generation” EV bus:
- This single deck electric bus was built in Tauranga at Kiwi Bus Builders (KBB) using parts sourced from New Zealand as well as from leading global suppliers in China and Europe. We’ve coined it “third generation” because Tranzit has previously collaborated with KBB on EV1, the first-generation bus now operating in Auckland, and on our double deck electric buses operating in Wellington.
- This bus has wheelchair access and improved access allowing for 38 passengers seated + 30 standees.
- It features batteries from CATL in China which are mounted in the rear and in the roof of the vehicle providing more room for passengers.
- It has improved regenerative braking capabilities.
- Tranzit partnered with Electrix to complete an infrastructure upgrade to its Palmerston North depot and workshop, meaning it can charge the EV bus on site.
- The EV bus is charged by a dedicated 120kW bus charger. Typically, it is charged overnight and can be ‘topped up” during the day if required. Once fully charged, the bus can travel for approximately 250 km.
Hilary Barry from TV1's Seven Sharp visits!
Wings over Wairarapa 2021
Tranzit are logistics experts
Transporting 5000 primary and secondary school students from multiple locations across the Wairarapa to Hood Aerodrome in Masterton and back in one day seems like a daunting task. But for Tranzit Coachlines Wairarapa, exceptional planning and great communication ensured a seamless execution on the day.
In February 2021, Tranzit transported students aged 5 years to 16 years from all around the Wairarapa to attend the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Schools’ Day, which was part of the biennial Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival. Having used learnings from the 2019 air show, Tranzit began planning using their in house logistics experts and provided an onsite control centre that coordinated all 110 bus movements each way as well as oversaw a full team of over 30 drivers.
In addition, the wider Tranzit Group team, including members of the finance, payroll and marketing teams, volunteered their time to help load and unload passengers. Superior internal and external communications helped ensure everyone involved knew what was happening and when, while a special surprise and delight element saw Greytown Primary School’s senior school collected in an electric double deck bus and taken to the aerodrome.
After a busy day on site, made even more exciting with the air display overhead, all passengers were carefully loaded onto the buses which were offsite by 2.57pm – three minutes earlier than the promised final departure time.
The result saw tired, happy and inspired students, teachers and parents all safely delivered home while Tranzit’s Wings Over Wairarapa partners were thrilled with the outcome. Tranzit received much positive feedback on our ability to deliver and on our customer service.
Graham Brown, Deputy Principal of Gladstone Primary School wrote:
Dear Jenna, Trudy and your teams
Just a quick note to say how appreciative we are for all your organisation for the Wings Over Wairarapa this year. The buses organisation was amazing and I would like you to pass on to whoever else needs to hear it as I was, and so were many others, impressed with how smoothly it ran.
Thanks again for a great event, as in the end it's our students that benefit from all the hard work you guys put in to produce a fun day for them.