Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Redbus, Ritchies amongst firms competing for Dunedin bus routes
A report in the Otago Daily Times yesterday lists several firms not based in Dunedin competing for local bus route tenders. Despite the fairly modest size of the Dunedin system and small number of routes involved the keen competition may reflect an increasingly competitive bus industry. A potential shrinking or at least (to coin a phrase!) "shakey" market in tourism and reduction in what appear to be high bus-user ESOL students numbers, and reduced patronage in Christchurch in general (by virtue of population reduction and mass job losses likely, reducing key repeat user daily commuters) tough times may be ahead. Add to this the fairly aggressive spread of Waikato's GoBus into the South Island and all firms may be looking to widen and strengthen their footing. With Dunedin's eight year long tender Ritchie's gain a small but solid little foothold in Dunedin (helped by the Intercity long distance coach services they also operate through Dunedin) but will no doubt be looking for more routes long term to get greater economies of scale. Ritchies pulled out of suburban timetable bus services in Christchurch many years ago but have regained operation of local services in Timaru, the original hometown of the Ritchie family. They retain extensive school bus runs in many other areas.