We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What's so bad about Naked Bus?

Canada
Level Contributor
44 posts
What's so bad about Naked Bus?

I've read other discussion threads about Intercity Bus vs. Naked Bus, and everyone seems to prefer Intercity Bus because it's more reliable and the buses are nicer. Should Naked Bus be avoided at all costs? What's so bad about it -- do buses get cancelled at the last minute, do they always arrive late, are they hideously uncomfortable, etc.? Is it the Ryanair of buses?

Sometimes the price difference is quite stark: I just bought a $1 busride from Wanaka to Franz Josef, while the Intercity Bus sells tickets for the same day for $46 (non-refundable) or $91 (refundable). Since it's my first time in NZ, I'm looking for busrides that not only take me from A to B, but are also scenic and enjoyable. Should I pay extra to take the Intercity instead?

(Speaking of which, do the buses that run from Wanaka - Franz Josef or Franz Josef-Nelson take a scenic route, ie. what's been called "the most scenic drive in the world"?)

Thanks.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
Level Contributor
10,281 posts
226 reviews
1. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

Naked Bus as far as I am advised caters for the 20 somethings and backpackers who are more concerned about cost than comfort and timetables. Intercity is a "Commuter" bus company who cater for the more serious and comfort concious traveller.

2nd tier bus companies are similar in some respects to 2nd tier car rental companies. If you want the cream then be prepared to pay for it. If you want a lower level and quality of service then the 2nd tier operator will meet your needs.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
30,065 posts
93 reviews
2. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

I haven't travelled with either, but just from reputation alone (whether deserved or not) I wouldn't take Naked Bus. I would choose not to spend my time with party goers wanting to sleep off their hangover from the night before.

But no need to worry over which route the buses take. There is only one road going along the West Coast :)

As you can tell from your two responses so far, we haven't taken Naked Bus. it would be immensely helpful if you return to TA after your trip and let us know your thoughts on Naked Bus. That way when the next enquiry is posted, we can all offer more informed advice.

Canada
Level Contributor
44 posts
3. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

Thanks, will do. :) Because of the price difference, I'll probably take Naked Bus from Wanaka to Franz Josef (only $2.00 -- practically free!) and then take the Intercity Bus from Franz Josef to Nelson. I'll definitely report back on the differences of the two services.

The Intercity Bus website offers discount prices to backpackers, but it doesn't define who would constitute a backpacker. I'm planning to travel alone with only one bag -- does this make me eligible for the discount?

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin
Level Contributor
2,796 posts
78 reviews
4. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

I'm not a party goer sleeping off a hangover, far from it, but I have used both Intercity and Nakedbus, and almost every other bus company you would care to name. Nakedbus is just a genuine competitor to Intercity with a different business model - they don't have offices, you have to pay a fee to ring them and, to a large extent, they don't have buses. They have arrangements with other regular operators to resell their seats - I am about to head from Dunedin to Auckland on Nakedbus - from here to Christchurch, they use a local firm (Invercargill Passenger Transport), from Christchurch to Picton it will be Atomic Shuttles, from Wellington to Taupo it will be a nakedbus bus, then the final sector will be a Tauranga based bus company.

On the Christchurch to Invercargill sector, it tends to be old people, as they like the old-fashioned service (they do a door to door service). North of Christchurch, it will be travellers of all ages as it will be on the Nakedbus north from Wellington. I've seen that bus, its a nice looking unit.

The only reason I'd pick Intercity over Nakedbus is that their buses tend to be full size, which means they soak up the bumps better than the slightly shorter buses that other operators use. Its generally the difference between being able to read or getting a headache for me when I try. But when I can travel from Dunedin to Picton for $3, I'll take Nakedbus.

You might find negativity on tripadvisor because the typical punter here seems more aimed at something closer to a 5 star experience than those I hang out with on the Thorntree. Nakedbus is between 3 and 5 star, depending on operator (I had a 5 star experience on a Milford Sound trip from Queenstown, for $1).

To conclude a long post - I don't know who they use from Wanaka to the West Coast - it could well be Atomic. It might be Tracknet - a company I have not travelled with.

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin
Level Contributor
2,796 posts
78 reviews
5. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

Oh, and in relation to your question about who a backpacker is, if you have to ask... :)

There are hostels which sell memberships (YHA, BBH, VIP) - if you have one of those cards, you're a backpacker. I don't actually recall ever being asked to produce my YHA card, but it could happen I suppose. But if you're hostelling for a while, one of these cards (not VIP - too limited in NZ) can give good value.

Greymouth, New...
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
3,911 posts
140 reviews
6. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

There are many facets of nakedBus dot com that I do not like and should not be tolerated in NZ.

!

There mareting stratagy is 'comparituive marketing' by which means they compare their prices to Intercity, attempting to show intecity in a bad light.

2.

They 'sell surplas capacity' of other operators. however the commission that theoperator must pay to Mr hamis Nuttal, is around 30%. in other words the operator carries the costs the run, while Mr Nuttal receives the proffit.

3

operators who are on ther last legs, tend to grasp for straws, and think that the naked Bus dot com will bring them more patronage. trouble is, they are all the same catchment of people, and the operator, unwittingly, does him self out of potential profit, the part of the budget that is requied when it comes to plant replacement etc. Sothern Link went to the wall after a very short time in bed with naked Bus.

4

Pavovich coaches in hamilton own the majority of the North Island, and is a majour share holder in naked bus. All Pavlovich do is provide the buses, hamis does the marketing so the only competiion is Intercity whom they bad mouth in their marketing.

5

Companies who are already doing runs, have already been marketing their runs. 'Surplus capacity ' is a non existant term as numbers tend to fluctuate, there for if the company has offered say 6 seats to NB, then they can not sell for them selves their own seats. why would any company introduce additional copetition n their own run?

Christchurch to Dunedin is currently in crisis due to excessive competion with fare as low as $20.00. that sort of rate is non sustainable. I warn you "watch this space' and see the adverse long term effects of companies effectivly drawing down on their capital value.

For the diserning traveller, no I would never travel naked Bus dot Com, it is bad for our industry

they do not belong to industy organisations either.

the worst case i saw was where a driver was preparing to drive off with a load of passengers, with an eye patch on one eye. Blind in one eye means he should never be driving a passenger bus. that is how bad it can get.

sorry about the long winded explanation bt hopefully you get some idea seeing you asked

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,490 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

I haven't used NakedBus myself but several of our staff memebrs(not young either) have, to and from various locations around New zealand and all have reported being very happy with the buses used and the service. If you want to save money then using them is a good way to do it.

Greymouth, New...
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
3,911 posts
140 reviews
8. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

Now zappers, that can be only regarded as 'hear-say'!!!!!!!!!!

what other bus companies have you sen have to front up on fairgo for shoddy service, or pics in the front page of the press of their bus floating in flood waters after the road was closed, but decided that applied to everyone else except them.

they advertise that there is no 'middle man', yes they are quite right, they keep everything for them selves and the $1.00 seat is funded from the poor old operator. and the dolar seat actualy cost $2.00 because the 'booking fee' which used to be $0.70 has now gone to $1.00.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,490 posts
12 reviews
9. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

And NOW Coaster you work for the opposition and here is not the place to debate the pros and cons of having competition in the industry.

And while it may well be hearsay, because I organize and PAY for our staff trips I would also hear if they had had any problems!!

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
Level Contributor
10,281 posts
226 reviews
10. Re: What's so bad about Naked Bus?

There is a place within the travel industry for cut price operators as long as they are SAFE. Cut price airlines bear testimony to this comment. If competition decreases prices increase and visa versa. It is not up to the paying public to ensure a fat cat eats off the hog at their expense.

Marketing is a subjective exercise and is never black or white.

IF a company can make a profit offering $3 bus fares from Dunedin to PIcton then good on em. If they cant they will go broke.