Today, the sale of nakedbus.com to manabus.com will be completed.
On October 6, 2006, on our first day of operation, Naked Bus carried 3 passengers. Each one paid a dollar. My goal, to bring cheap travel to Kiwis and tourists alike, had got off to a shaky start. But such was the pricing (we got emails in the early days from people accusing us of lying - we couldn't possibly offer bus travel for a dollar!), the dedication and skill of the team working here over the years, not to mention the loyalty of you, our customers, that we grew beyond all my expectations. We served 680,000 customers last year, each paying an average fare of around $20, a far cry from 2006, when most passengers paid $68 to travel between, for example, Auckland and Rotorua.
I've made mistakes, and if we didn't serve you as well as you might have expected. I am sorry. All I can say is, we did our best. We have had many challenges and we've had to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off many a time.
But I have no regrets. I'd like to share one story among many: a lady from Hastings, wrote to us that before Naked Bus, she could not afford to visit her grandson in Palmerston North. Shortly after Naked Bus launched she made that trip, and only paid $2.70 return.
It's been an amazing journey, and it's been my privilege to have you on board, whether it has been many times or just once. But the world doesn't stand still, and now is the time to give Naked an opportunity to spread its wings as part of a larger group. As part of http://buff.ly/1L3x4N2, we will keep challenging the notion that you need to pay high prices to travel. The vision is alive and well.
I'd like to thank everyone who has believed in me and the "Naked" vision over the last 8 1/2 years.
I've worked with many amazing people. We have taken many graduates straight out of university and given them a ridiculous amount of responsibility and watched them knock down walls and generally achieve the impossible. Many have gone on to exciting positions in other companies. We talk about the "Naked Family" and I don't think it's "work" for most of us. I would like to thank everyone who has helped make Naked Bus a Kiwi icon.
We have also had many great drivers, employed either by us or one of our partners. Thank you for all your hard work - I know you can make the trip for our customers. And our bus partners deserve a mention. You took a risk on a new business with a new idea.
My friends and family have been a great support. I would like to thank my wife Zee, and my son Te Manu, in particular, for believing in and supporting me. Without you I couldn't have done it.
But above all, I would like to thank you, our customers, without whom Naked Bus would never have existed. Whether you were one of our early adopters, who took a risk on the new kid on the block, or you found us more recently, thank you.
And finally, Suzie, who just looked over this draft, said it wasn't salesy enough, so, please, umm, buy a ticket... Thanks Suzie.
Founder & Chief Coach
About the Author
One of the Naked Bus Team. Bringing you news, deals and travel inspiration.More Content by William Clouston