This MAN minibus, pictured in the 1990s, is being
safeguarded as part of the city's bus heritage. Photo
The Otago Heritage Bus Society has bought the last of 10
former Dunedin public transport minibuses after 18 months of
The MAN minibuses were introduced on the Normanby-St Clair
route in 1990, running every 10 minutes during the day and
marking a ''turning point'' in the fortunes of the city's
''It sparked renewed interest in public transport in
Dunedin,'' former Citibus general manager Gary Williams said
And it showed that the Dunedin City Council, through Citibus,
which was then its own company, had been prepared to invest
$1.7 million in the buses to try to encourage people to leave
their cars and try a modern transport system.
The 10 new buses, mostly 21-seaters, ran from 1990 until the
The smaller buses later became partly the victim of their own
success, lacking the capacity to keep up with the growing
public demand, he said.
Society operations manager Andrew Robinson said many Dunedin
buses had previously been ''showing their age or poorly
The minibuses were ''more agile in traffic'' and featured
modern seating and a ''unique colour scheme''.
And the initiative, with its emphasis on good timekeeping,
immediately became popular with passengers, he said.
The bus was bought recently for an undisclosed sum. Seller
Passenger Transport Citibus provided a ''significant
discount'' and Dunedin City Council Community Grants, Bendigo
Valley Sport and Charity Foundation, and Otago Community
Trust also provided support, society officials said.
The last bus will be repainted in its original colours and it
is hoped to have it back in operation by next Easter as one
of the society's vehicles offering the Suburban Rambler
public-holiday bus service on Good Friday and Easter Sunday,
on two major routes.