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Tranzit launches New Zealand’s first fully electric bus network

Tranzit ordered an additional 42 electric buses and hired 50 extra staff to help run the historic New Zealand electric bus network

New Zealand operator Tranzit has unveiled the nation’s first fully electric bus network in Palmerston North and Ashhurst.

Local residents will now be able to enjoy a faster and more frequent service, courtesy of the new electric bus network delivered by Horizons Regional Council and contracted to Tranzit.

The network’s launch coincides with the introduction of new bus shelters across the city, with the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Transport Choices program funding the council’s bus stop installation.

Horizons Regional Council chair Rachel Keedwell says the council has invited stakeholders to ride one of the new electric buses from Te Marae o Hine – The Square to one of the new shelters near IPU New Zealand, which was blessed by Rangitāne.

“The fully electric bus fleet, new shelters and redesigned bus network will significantly improve the public transport experience in Palmerston North and Ashhurst,” Keedwell says.

“With buses running every 30 minutes from 6.30am until 9pm daily, and as often as every 15 minutes at peak times, people will have vastly improved options for travelling across the city.

“Fares are free all March to make it as easy as possible for people to get on board and try out the new buses and routes.”

Keedwell says people living in provincial cities want and deserve good public transport options and that the success of Te Ngaru The Tide in Whanganui – a fast, frequent, direct and easy-to-understand service which doubled public transport use in that city almost overnight – is an example of this.

“We are excited to give people living in the Horizons Region another quality public transport option,” Keedwell says.

“Horizons has a goal of reducing emissions from land transport by 30 per cent by 2030.  The new network support Horizons and the city to achieve our goals of reducing emissions from transport while also reducing congestion for those who need to drive.”

Palmerston North City Council transport and development group manager Glen O’Connor says launching these new bus routes and shelters is a significant step in making public transport a more attractive transport option in Palmerston North.

“The shelters will be installed gradually over the coming months and they feature designs which are inspired by two historical mapmakers of Manawatū, Haunui-a-Nanaia and John Tiffin Stewart,” O’Connor says.

Tranzit general manager of bus and coach Jenna Snelgrove says the company is proud to continue its long partnership with Horizons Regional Council in delivering public transport services in the Manawatū.

“The launch of the new network culminates months of hard work in recruiting an additional 50 drivers to deliver the expanded bus network, the procurement of 42 brand new electric buses to complement the existing electric bus Tranzit launched in Palmerston North in 2021, and a significant investment and upgrade of our depot to include 10 dual chargers, meaning 20 buses can be charged simultaneously,” Snelgrove says.

“This is hugely significant for our team and we are excited about delivering an improved bus network with a zero-emissions bus fleet. These new buses are also smoother, quieter, fitted with USB chargers and have more space on board for those who use wheelchairs, prams and other mobility devices. They also have a range of more than 300 kilometres, so they can do a full day in service without needing to charge.

“Our driving team is also very excited about the role they will play in delivering improved bus services in Palmerston North and ensuring the community is connected.”

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