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Saving bus no. 1301

ARA Heritage Buses is a small band of volunteers devoted to saving examples of ex Auckland Regional Authority buses. They have recently acquired the very first ARA Mercedes Benz 0305, bus no. 1301. This was the first truly modern bus in Auckland. The iconic yellow Mercedes 0305 buses became the standard Auckland bus and the last ones were not withdrawn until 2005, 32 years after they were introduced. 

It was anticipated that bus 1301 would eventually go to MOTAT, but it ended up being sold to Bayes Coachlines, which used the bus for the next 18 years for charters and school runs. Then it was purchased by Mark Bonham of Hikurangi for conversion into a motor home. Mark changed the number plate to H1KA, painted the bus green and later sold it. It ended up in Christchurch, until ARA Heritage Buses managed to acquire it.

Anyone who would like to support ARA Heritage Buses and their work preserving buses like no. 1301 can contact the Society Secretary, James Peter. His email is: See also For a 1-minute historic video, go to

Image: Bus no. 1301 in its life as a motor home, ARA Heritage Buses