Company owner, Kevin Cook, said the venture had come a long way since the days when it was first set up.
“I arrived to the Cook Islands in 1968. I set up the first part of the town landmark ‘Cooks’ Corner,’ also known as Cooks’ Corner Café in 1977 and the second part in 1988.
“In 1989 I set up the bus company known then as Cooks’ Corner Buses, using a 15-seater van. At the time I had just finished redeveloping Cook’s Corner and decided I needed to have foot traffic through the Cook’s Corner complex as it was considered too far out of the way.”
Kevin says it was becoming increasingly obvious that there was a need for a good public transport system on Rarotonga and with the help of Steve Anderson, he bought another vehicle, a 14-seater Mazda van.
“I also enjoyed great moral support from the then Prime Minister, the late Sir Geoffrey Henry, who made a lot of things possible,” he said.
Twenty-seven years down the line, the company’s yellow buses are a familiar sight on the island’s main road and the business is thriving.
One of the reasons for that is the amount of time and sheer hard work that has gone into growing and developing the business.
“The business is our life and where we have put our investment in and something that we have built from scratch and nurtured like a baby till adulthood, and the knowledge and feeling that Kevin Cook has been recognised for what he has done is beyond recognition. It’s just awesome.”
Looking to the future, Kevin says that with improved modern technologies, Cook’s Island Bus Passenger Transport will need to look at protecting the island environment.
“We are open to the idea of going “green” sometime in the future. The company is looking into the possibility of adding electrical or hybrid electrical buses to our fleet.
“However, due to the high cost of these high tech vehicles it is not something bus users should expect to see in the immediate future.
“Possibly with the help of our Government and Tourism Corporation we will eventually be able to reach that goal as public transport is important to tourism, our economy and our local community.
The fleet currently has 12 buses, four of which are dedicated to the public transport system while the others are used for school runs and charter work.
The company employs 11 full-time and five part-time staff, all of them locals.