Auck Gets New UK “Midi” Buses


New buses are on the way for NZ Bus - made by Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer.
Alexander Dennis Ltd has won a $51.6m tender bid to supply 120 vehicles to NZ Bus. The firm beat out a global tendering process that involved almost 30 manufacturers and 38 options from Australia, China, Brazil and across Europe -as well as local manufacturers. But it will partner with Tauranga-based Kiwi Bus Builders, which has been involved in building the new B Line buses.
Kiwi will build the buses from kits supplied by the UK factories.
The buses seat 24-40 people and include a hybrid option promising 30% reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gasses.

ADL Chief Executive Colin Robertson calls the buses, the firm’s single-deck Enviro200 midi buses, a new era of “environment-friendly, cost-effective buses.”

The first of the new vehicles will be delivered in time for the Rugby World Cup , while the rest will be progressively introduced over the following 12 months.” It’s not clear how many of them Auckland will get.

The UK firm says it has been talking with NZ Bus about how to meet the objectives of its long-term fleet replacement programme in Auckland and Wellington, and expects more business to follow.

NZ Bus CEO Bruce Emson, CEO says it’s the single biggest investment made since NZ Bus was acquired by Infratil in 2005.
“It also forms part of our long-range vision to create an unrivalled bus transport system that can be the envy of the world. Our aim is to grow passenger ridership through quality services that are simply the best. To do that we need modern, technology-leading, low emission vehicles and in every respect ADL’s Enviro200 range meets that criteria.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that we have chosen well, particularly in light of ADL’s innovative approach to becoming part of the market place, rather than being just a provider to it. We look forward to working with them and maximising the opportunities for both the manufacturing sector and the supplier base locally.”

The British firm’s Colin Robertson described the news as a “major breakthrough” for the company as it opens up a new market.
“It’s the start of a significant business relationship that has the potential to see us deliver a further 200 - 300 buses into New Zealand in the next three to four years – and to use the location as a spring-board into other territories, notably Australia. Our aim is not simply to supply buses to New Zealand but to become an active player in the country’s manufacturing sector. Just as we have done in North America and Hong Kong, we intend to form local alliances that will create jobs and stimulate the economy.”
“On this occasion we will partner with Kiwi Bus Builders. They are already working on a new, state-of-the-art facility. Given time, we will progressively source more and more parts locally, which will intensify opportunities for New Zealand’s supplier base.
“All round this is a win-win situation. We consolidate jobs in the UK thanks to the outstanding reputation of our tried and proven product range; we create new business in a virgin territory, with the potential to grow it still further and to contribute significantly to the local economy; and we create the gateway to further incremental markets. In every sense this is a major break-through for ADL.”

The firm also makes double decker versions.

Brochure about the buses here




  1. Kiran says:

    Why is it that most of the pictured buses are NOT air conditioned. Does that mean that the Auckland buses will not be air conditioned as well?

  2. Matt says:

    Replacement of a lot of Auckland’s buses cannot come soon enough. Some of the bendies are over 30 years old, judging by their L-reg plates, with the fumes to match, and plenty of the rigid buses are 20-ish.

  3. Martin says:

    @ Kiran

    These are the standard single story bus in London. They are quite drafty so don’t need aircon (!) but better heaters would be a great improvement.

  4. Andrej says:

    They look cute, positive message, such an improvement of PT in Auckland, apart trains and in other cities, and I’m looking forward to try them later

  5. DanC says:

    I hope they go for the double door one. (with the exit halfway down the bus making loading and offloading faster) Great news though.

  6. Matt says:

    Dan, except for the dinky little 006(?) that does the St Lukes run, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scheduled service bus in Auckland that doesn’t have a rear door.

  7. ingolfson says:

    Out of curiosity, does AT (or previously ARTA) have any ability to control what buses are used on the lines? I.e. I assume there are some minimum quality standards that a provider has to have, beyond complying with the vehicle safety requriements a bus has in NZ in general?

    Or have our “deregulation will fix it” governments of the past forbidden local authorities from stipulating such requirements? I would not put it past them, but maybe I’m just paranoid.

  8. Matt says:

    I don’t see what benefit there would be to enforcing bus design requirements, to be honest.
    This is one situation where the market actually can achieve a good outcome, because using too-large buses leads to lower passenger-kms and using too-small buses leads to under-servicing of routes which should have contractual penalties. The operators are best-placed to determine the style and capacity of buses to service particular routes, and things like rear exit doors are just plain common-sense for buses on high-traffic routes in order to offer the best passenger experience and reduce delays as passengers boarding and alighting conflict at a single door.

    Even if it’s not allowed to be stipulated, and I suspect it’s not, there are good financial reasons for operators to select particular styles.

  9. Kegan says:

    Jon, some more info:

    The Enviro200s for NZ Bus will
    - be two door
    - have air conditioned
    - be 11.3m long
    - carry 55 pax - 37 seated + 18 standing
    - meet Euro 5 emission standard

    (Source: busandcoach. com)

  10. JCNZ says:

    Hmm…very happy that Auckland is getting new environmentally friendly buses. But not happy with how they look, visually. Maybe it’s just me? I thought DesignLine usually builds the frames and interior which they do a great job of.

  11. LucyJH says:

    I might be remembering wrong but aren’t we now requiring light vehicles imported into NZ to meet emissions standard 7? Also, when are the council/government going to do something to force the bus companies in Auckland to clean up their existing fleet?

    AS a cyclist, I experience so much air pollution from buses…it revolts me that they are allowed to get away with it in what is a supposedly developed country.

  12. Matt L says:

    Lucy - Euro 5 is the highest current emissions standard for Europe so these should be decent, Euro 6 is proposed but doesn’t come in for another few years yet

    As for cleaning up their current fleet, my understanding is these buses should replace many of the older ones which is a start. The bus companies were reluctant to do much in the way of upgrading due to uncertainties over the PTMA but there is now an agreement between them, councils and the government on how to proceed. I believe that this means the councils will offer much longer contracts than initially planned, perhaps as much as 12 years long which is about the lifespan of a bus. The reasoning for this would be that by offering longer contracts, the companies have less risk of spending big money upgrading their fleets only to lose the contract 5 years later. As a result it means that there won’t be any changes to the PTMA by the government.

  13. KaneD says:

    Once thing I can’t quite figure out is just ‘why’ are we buying buses from Britain? OK, they are assembled here in NZ, but surely it does highlight a problem with the local bus manufacturing industry.

    It would seem difficult to believe that Britain with it’s high labour rates to manufacture components, plus shipping costs, can work out cheaper than building the buses by a local firm?

    I would have liked to see most components made in NZ by NZ companies such as Designline in Ashburton etc (Admittedly though Designline is now US owned but they do design and build most components in NZ)

  14. ingolfson says:

    “This is one situation where the market actually can achieve a good outcome, because using too-large buses leads to lower passenger-kms and using too-small buses leads to under-servicing of routes which should have contractual penalties”

    Matt, I disgree with you there - under the “market will sort it” logic, a bus provider could use buses with wooden seats (providing they meet the safety standards) and could let the whole bus stink to high heaven, because the cleaning schedule is once every two weeks. No, it would not be all to their benefit, likely, but stranger things have happened as part of cost-cutting!

    What I was asking was whether a local authority, who is after all paying hefty subsidies from rates money, can regulate such things (passenger ride comfort, or boarding-time-related matters) or if they must just hope!

  15. travis says:

    Terrible. They are getting these, but are still going to be rolling around in YBC articulated relics.

  16. Sean Conway says:

    Very nice buses and would look great on the roads in Auckland New Zealand.


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