Birkenhead Transport Is 75


NZ’s public transport bus history is full of stories of family-run businesses but with big company mergers and other amalgamations amid years of local government changes, not many have survived.

Happy birthday Birkenhead Transport. That family-run north Shore-based business is 75 - and still with a fleet of 50 buses, serving Birkenhead, Glenfield, Hillcrest and Northcote, going to Albany, the CBD and Takapuna. The company’s owners, the Inwards and Jakich families, deserve thanks for their well run popular business.

When plans were hatched for Birkenhead’s new library, then North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams asked if the company would consider putting on free buses for the opening.

The company’s Managing Director Robert Inwards went one step further and offered to commission a piece of art for the opening - a wall-hanging by Alison Francis called Kauri Park to Soldiers Bay. 

Made of sustainable bamboo fibre and metal framing, the work has been placed in the foyer.

A nice gesture. The sort of community spirit you get when buses are run in their local area by a business that cares.

Related Posts

  1. Birkenhead’s New Terminal
  2. RWC 2011 Transport Plans
  3. Bike Is “Fastest” Transport (Updated)
  4. Nth Shore Carpoolers Get Priority
  5. Big Bus Changes Sunday




  1. Matt L says:

    By the look of some of their buses, they were around when the company started :o

  2. Jacky says:

    Yes, this bus on the picture is still exist on the Birkenhead fleet. but it is on the short route only

    well, they still have couple of “monster” buses mainly it is using on the school route or charter services hehe…

    Now I am just wondering, since it is 75 years old for Birkenhead Transport, when are they joining the HOP. Probably they are old fashion that they won’t be joining until the end of 2012??


  3. Jon C says:

    I took the bus picture at the wharf the other day.

  4. Kon says:

    I believe Manageing Director Robert Inwards father (Charlie) was one of the first to impliment a discount concession pass for pensioners in New Zealand?.

  5. Kon says:

    Birkenhead Transport has had a wonderful and colourful history from it’s formation by Roberts Inwards grandfather between the two wars. The expansion and increased patronage after the opening of the Harbour Bridge and the suburban sprawl on the North Shore, to surviving the big ARA swallowup of late 1960′s and 70′s. It plays a intrical part to North Shore’s public transport today.

  6. richard Horner says:

    Matt I don’t know where you get the idea Birkenhead’s buses are old. Two routes pass my door and they appear to be mostly near new models. There is the odd older bus from the early 90′s but they are cleaner and better maintained than many others on our streets from other companies. Don’t forget London’s Routemasters ran for 40odd years and there are still a few on a couple of tourist routes.

    Birkenhead’s cream and black livery isn’t the best combination out but these were the colours of Birkenhead so I suspect a natural choice for a company based in Birkenhead. Also, they are not garish billboards like the NZ Bus vehicles.

    Until HOP allows transfer trips for one fare frankly I can’t see the point . The ARA at one stage had fare boxes to drop coins in and no change given and that was faster than issuing tickets.

  7. Matt L says:

    Richard - it was a joke, I have however seen a few older buses running around town that would have to be from at least the 80′s

  8. Matt L says:

    Richard - it was a joke, I have however seen a few older buses running around town that would have to be from at least the 80′s.

  9. KarlHansen says:

    I agree with earlier commenters on other threads that the “problem” with Birkenhead seems to be that their livery has such an outdated look that one assumes the buses underneath are old as well. But then again, NOT going with the times can have its charms as well.

  10. walkablecity says:

    Their buses are great! When the 966 and 962 turn up simultaneously on Ponsonby Rd I choose the 966. Even though it costs more than with my HOP card, and it requires cash, the bus is so much more comfortable. It may look older, but it runs smoother and the seats are nice to sit in. Overall, they’re bit like older appliances that run for 40 years perfectly, as opposed to new ones made to fall apart within 5 years.

  11. richard says:

    Personally I think the best livery on buses in Auckland is that on the Northern Express buses

  12. joust says:

    who cares if the buses weren’t bought yesterday or what colour they are for that matter. Its a great local company that’s been providing great service for a long time. I can’t imagine any of the other operators bus/train/ferry even considering that kind of community involvement.

    Cheers Birkenhead.

  13. Kon says:

    For the history buffs; Birkenhead’s livery used today is still the original colours allowing for shade & tone adjustments since it’s exception
    circa 1920′s?
    This current livery format was first time used on their very first luxury coach (Bedford) Number 38 of the mid 1960′s

  14. richard says:

    And why not maintain a livery as Kon suggests. London Transport livery was always red for urban and green for country and now Transport for London insist with privatisation operators still operate with a principally red livery.

    As I mentioned before black and cream or yellow, the same as Birkenhead Transport, is or was, the livery for Birkenhead. The old Birkenhead Cycling Club for example before amalgamation with North Shore Club had a black jersey with a yellow band.

    I suggest therefore that Birkenhead Transport are patriotic to the area of operation. I must add that they had cream and Black livery when the bridge opened in 1959. With the ferries going off the service they bought extra vehicles from round the country to cope with the extra demand.


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