Driver so good he should be cloned

East Coast Passenger Services managing director Mike Chittock (right) presents Barry Coombes with...
East Coast Passenger Services managing director Mike Chittock (right) presents Barry Coombes with his 20-year service plaque and gift. PHOTO: BILL CAMPBELL
Karitane's Barry Coombes completed 20 years’ service last year ferrying passengers to and from the OceanaGold mine at Macraes.

The company provides free travel for its employees from Karitane, Waikouaiti, Palmerston, Dunedin and Oamaru to the goldmine and back, every day of the year.

Mr Coombes has worn out various vehicles, including his first Hino bus which completed 1million trouble-free kilometres.

Mr Coombes started with Mike and Hilton Chittock based in the old council building behind the new community centre in Waikouaiti.

He has since watched East Coast Passenger Services grow to operating out of Dunedin’s main base and from Oamaru, servicing the OceanaGold contracts to provide transport for the company’s employees.

Mr Coombes has seen many changes to the roads, mine and staff numbers in his 20 years of driving, East Coast Passenger Services manager Mike Chittock said recently.

Mr Chittock wished he could clone all his drivers to operate and drive as Mr Coombes has.

He has been accident and incident-free in his whole time and even has some mine staff who set their watches by him.


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