SKYBUS-KINETIC ACQUIRES NZ GO BUS

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Go Bus NZ


NEW ZEALAND bus operator Go Bus is now essentially in the new ownership hands of Skybus-rebrand Kinectic, making the leading and fastest growing mass transit operator the, “…largest bus mass transit operator by owned fleet in Australasia,” it’s been announced, recently.

SKYBUS-KINETIC ACQUIRES NZ GO BUS
Kinetic Co-CEOs Adam Begg and Michael Sewards say they were excited to welcome Go Bus to the group and that the acquisition was a milestone announcement for the company.

With 29 depots and more than 1700 vehicles operating from Auckland to Invercargill, Go Bus is New Zealand’s largest and most diverse operator of passenger service vehicles, Kinetic explains.

Go Bus provides urban and school services under long-term contracts to more regional authorities in New Zealand than any other operator, together with regional school bus and special needs transport for the Ministry of Education, and charter services under the Go Bus and Johnston’s brands, it says.

The company joins Kinetic’s growing mass transit platform that includes Queensland bus operators Surfside Buslines and Sunbus, Sydney’s largest bus and coach charter company Telford’s, and airport transit business Skybus (Australia and New Zealand).

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Following the acquisition, Kinetic’s collective brands will move in excess of 50 million people throughout Australasia every year and will be the ‘largest mass transit bus operator in the region with 2800 buses, 49 depots and more than 4000 people’, the company states, yet given recent global covid-19 coronavirus developments it is hopeful such numbers will still be realised.

Majority owned by Optrust, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, Kinetic has firmly established its transport credentials with extensive experience and capabilities to deliver major projects for government, airports and private clients, it states.

The company’s success is underpinned by a ‘customer-first culture’ led by its people, assets and ongoing investment in customer innovation to, "… move more people, more often, through providing awesome experiences," it explains.

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WARM WELCOME

Kinetic Co-CEOs Adam Begg and Michael Sewards say they were excited to welcome Go Bus to the group and that the acquisition was a milestone announcement for the company.

"Buses are a vital form of public transport connecting urban communities across New Zealand and through excellent management and customer service over many years Go Bus has rightfully established itself as the premium provider," Begg said.

"What Calum Haslop has achieved as Go Bus CEO is testament to his talented and experienced team and the company’s customer focus, and from very early on we identified clear alignment with our own vision and values."

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"It is an exciting announcement for the group with Kinetic now holding a significant footprint across Australasia, offering fully integrated services across airport transport, government route services and charter services.

"Our group now has more than 40 years of experience and capabilities, which combine to enhance the way we give customers awesome experiences," Sewards said.

"Continuous improvement and innovation are key to keeping mass transit relevant and reliable and we are passionate about moving more people and enhancing our communities with effective, integrated transport networks and developing sustainable mobility solutions including electric vehicles, fuel cell technology and demand-responsive transport."

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FANTASTIC TEAM

Go Bus CEO Calum Haslop said: "we are delighted to welcome Kinetic on board and are really looking forward to becoming part of such a fast-moving and innovative Australasian mass transit team."

"We have grown significantly in New Zealand over the last 10 years by focussing on the needs of our customers, continuous improvement and innovation, and the well-being of our fantastic team of Go Bus people.

"We see Kinetic as a natural fit for this next stage and are really excited by the joint opportunities ahead," Haslop said.

The transaction is subject to customary consents and regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in mid-2020.

Kinetic was advised by Cameron Partners (financial), Buddle Findlay (legal), Deloitte (accounting and tax) and Pattle Delamore Partners (environmental), the company confirms.

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ABOUT GO BUS

Go Bus can trace its roots back to the 1930s when the first of a handful of small Waikato-based businesses was formed, it states. In the early 1990s these businesses came together to provide local school and urban transport under the Go Bus brand, it explains.

Today Go Bus is New Zealand’s largest operator of passenger service vehicles, delivering high-quality school, charter and urban services throughout the country, it says. In addition, its coach division, Johnston’s Coachlines, provides high-quality tour and charter services and enjoys a proud history as New Zealand’s pre-eminent coach operator, it adds.

With a fleet of more than 1,700 vehicles, Go Bus has come a long way from its historic routes as a local family bus company, the company says. However, the core values of the business remain the same, it adds.

"We are proud to maintain a strong focus on family culture and continue a local bus company approach. Our desire to expand and lead the industry is finely balanced by our commitment to maintaining the strong traditional small business values and culture that we believe is vital to success," it states.

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