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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)


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.