Back up the bus: these guys rock


OPINION: It’s time to say a big ‘thank you’ to public enemy number one.

You know who I’m talking about.

Log on to Queenstown-related social media these days and you’d be hard-pressed to avoid the abuse hurled at local bus company Connectabus.

It’s been harangued for being late, leaving early and all manner of allegations about near-misses and insulting its customers.

Well, it’s time the (time)tables were turned and Connectabus received a honk of praise.

I’ve only recently moved back to Queenstown and it’s clear the company’s gone out of its way to make me feel welcome.

Connectabus understands it’s hard when you move to a new place. You’ve got to tag on to new friendships and merge like a zip into established social circles.

You have to give people appropriate following distances to size you up – they need to be sure you’re not going to steal their mail or rip off their charity by personally banking an accommodation refund.

In Auckland, that assessment takes about two years. In a transient place like Queenstown it might take longer.

As a former business journo I’ve been consoling myself, late at night, by reading company vision statements.

Dairy giant Fonterra says it wants to share dairy with the world. That’s awesome.

Computing mammoth Apple is long-winded but lyrical: “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and internet offerings.”

Now, I’ll forgive your ignorance – indeed, I was unaware before arriving in Queenstown – but these companies are mere amateurs compared to your very own Connectabus.

For it’s not a bus company – it’s an engine of empowerment.

Its website says: “We seek to understand the values, assumptions and beliefs of those around us in order to empower them to understand and fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

“We promote and applaud the success of others in an egoless way, knowing that their success contributes to our own success.”


And Connectabus appears to channel former US president George W Bush – ‘The Decider’ – by stating its decisions are reached after adding the ideas of others to its “independent thoughts” and applying “sound judgment”.

The website goes on: “Our decisions display a depth of knowledge in our area of expertise and reflect our long term horizons.”

Wow, what insight.

But don’t think it’s a humourless organisation. Oh no.

Sure, it has a “bias for action” on setting and achieving goals but it’s also “flexible enough to take different routes”.

Different routes! Geddit!? Side-splitting stuff.

So thank you, Connectabus. You’ve brought comfort to this old corporate tragic.

Let me return that comfort: Going forward, your stakeholders will realise you’re giving a robust 110 per cent and taking on board (ho ho!) the learnings.

I must add that socialising the talking points on your core competencies will impact a paradigm shift!