All may not be lost for
Wanaka-based coach operator Connexions, following
confirmation this week a deal is being negotiated to sell its
assets to another Wanaka company, enabling the shuttle
services to continue to operate.
However, new owners will face increased competition after
Queenstown public transport company Connectabus announced
yesterday it would be expanding its services into Wanaka next
Invercargill Passenger Transport Ltd (IPT) told its staff, in
a redundancy letter last week, it planned to close Connexions
at the end of this month because it was losing money. IPT
took over Connexions when it bought parent company Citibus
Ltd from the Dunedin City Council in April.
IPT director Kayne Baas said since news of the closure had
become public, IPT had held discussions with about four
different groups, mostly from Central Otago, which were
interested in taking over the business. He confirmed
yesterday a deal was now in the pipeline with one of them.
"We're talking to someone who's looking to take it over and
we're negotiating with them at the moment."
He expected a formal announcement to be made in the next
couple of days, once a contract was signed which would
confirm the continuance of Connexions, but he could not
comment on what form the operation would take in the future.
"I believe that the services will continue, but what services
I don't know. That would be up to the new owners."
Queenstown bus company Connectabus announced yesterday it
would be launching a Queenstown-Wanaka link, particularly
targeting people travelling to and from Queenstown Airport,
on July 11.
Connectabus marketing manager, Morgan McCammon, said in a
press release there was increasing demand from people wanting
to travel easily between the resort towns.
The service will start with four trips a day with a driver
based in Wanaka. A sightseeing service that will allow people
to spend a full day in either town will be added later.
Atomic Shuttles and Intercity already run return services
once a day between Queenstown and Wanaka, but neither include
pick-ups or drop-offs at Queenstown Airport.