Otago Heritage Bus Society: The Suburban Rumbler
The Suburban Rumbler
This Christmas the Otago Heritage Bus Society operated two suburban routes servicing the community along the St. Kilda - Brockville / Halfway Bush and St. Clair - Normanby routes. Usually Dunedin does not have public transport available on some public holidays, making locals reliant on other means of costly alternative transport methods when the commercial bus operators shut their doors on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
This year patronage was down on the Suburban Rumbler compared to previous years, but we suspect that this is due to the cold damp weather that was had, which didn't encourage locals to get out and about, but this didn't dampen our volunteer drivers or assistants spirits as our bus services provide a pivotal role for the community during Christmas.
Proceeds from previous Suburban Rumbler services, private charters and hires along with financial contributions from the Dunedin City Council, Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation and Otago Community Trust helped the Society purchase one of Dunedin's most unique buses from the 1990's, a Citibus Mini Coach (pictured above) which was purchased on Christmas Eve.
Citibus MAN #405 helps us represent and tell a colourful story of Dunedin's public transport past from the days prior to deregulation of bus routes and services. We have vehicles in the heritage bus collection from the 70's and the 80's so it only made sense to help complete the story with a vehicle from the 90's. Citibus MAN #405 will be under repair to fix a few remedial issues before it will be made available for the community. We anticipate the vehicle will be ready for our Suburban Rumbler Dunedin's public holiday transport services in Easter 2014 where it will once again be put to work along its original route, St. Clair - Normanby and wearing its original livery from when it was first built.
We look forward to operating our public holiday bus service again next year during Easter on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, hopefully with our newest addition of our heritage bus collection.
About the OHBS
The Otago Heritage Bus Society was founded by three individuals, Andrew Robinson, Paul Jeffery and Philip Riley in late 2010 when the last iconic DCT urban Leyland Leopard that was built especially for Dunedin was put up for sale. Upon the successful purchase of the vehicle many people came out of the 'wood-work' to support the newly founded organisation and since then it has been a fantastic journey.
March 2011 saw the organisation incorporate and additional funds obtained to restore the classic vehicle Leyland to an operational standard, so the we can service the community. June 2011 saw us obtain our Passenger Service License and to give our Heritage Bus Collection a purpose, they were put to work in Christmas 2011, which saw the Society run the first public bus service for over three-decades on Christmas Day in Dunedin along the St. Clair - Normanby route, the service was fully staffed by volunteers of the organisation. Easter 2012 saw us increase services to include Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter 2013 saw the organisation increase its routes to include the St. Kilda - Brockville / Halfway Bush route after the successful return to service for DCT #170, a Dunedin built Leyland Leopard.
Today the Otago Heritage Bus Society has three operational vehicles within it's collection with a fourth soon to join the fleet, along with Dunedin's first Trolley bus - DCT #1 and a 1939 Leyland Cub which are under restoration or awaiting relocation. We operate on the above public holidays along with a series of excursions and events during the year. The Heritage Bus Collection is available for hire for weddings, conferences and private charters.
Our organisation is 100% volunteer run and 100% not-for-profit. For more details visit our website.