Our history

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We have proudly served Christchurch and Canterbury since 1902. Firstly, as the Christchurch Transport Board, and from 1991 as a commercial CCTO structure.

Canterbury’s public transport pioneers.

Our company was founded here; a grass roots kiwi beginning, which has informed our ethos of quality customer service and having a professional code of conduct.

Economic, environmental, societal, and technological forces continue to disrupt and change the transport sector at an unprecedented rate. Staying abreast of, and responding and reacting to these trends is critical to the creation of an effective public transport system.

Red Bus has a long history of successful innovation in public transport for Canterbury.

Beginning in 1918 – 1922 the Walker electric trolley bus provided services on Christchurch routes.

More recently, we have, together with our partners, introduced a number of initiatives which have improved operational efficiency and our quality of service.

Three examples are:

1. Telematics

The use of the Telematics system has resulted in significant improvements to the passenger ride experience, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs. It displays information on the dash to provide real time feedback for the driver in a way that helps improve driver performance. The performance of each of our drivers is reported daily, which provides us with objective data on their driving skills, and ensures their continued focus on safety, economy, and ride comfort.

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2. Mercedes Sprinter mid-size buses

Red Bus successfully introduced mid-size buses on a number of connector routes, replacing large 52-seater buses with more environmentally-friendly vehicles. The buses have been well received, improving the ride experience, and reducing our carbon footprint.

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3. Hybrid electric shuttles

From December 1998 Red Bus operated 4 hybrid electric shuttles on a 4.5km route circling the central business district. This was very new technology based on 54 solid gel, water cooled batteries that were charged via regenerative braking. They were a feature in Central Christchurch until the earthquakes of 2011 changed the city landscape forever.

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4. Electric buses

Our innovation continues today with the introduction of 3 ADL/BYD electric buses on the City to Airport (29) route starting on 1 July 2019.

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