Local woman Viv Buchanan believes she has scored ‘New Zealand’s coolest job’ in an eco-friendly solution for tourists who wish to ride the Dunstan Trail one way.
The innovation, Trail Transfer, is a hassle-free relocation service that has already attracted attention from bike trails throughout New Zealand, interested in using the technology.
Viv is one of a group of local cyclists who are the ‘trailblazers’ supporting a venture partnership by Cromwell locals Duncan Faulkner, of Southern Software, and Oliver Bylett of Remark Imagery.
Duncan says, “A friend’s suggestion caused me to try to set up some innovative IT software, and then we advertised the idea in Cromwell, to see if people were keen to help with the service. We ended up getting about 60 replies, and from that we have 25 registered trailblazers.”
They set up safety management plans, vehicle insurance, a system for vehicle checks and licence checks.
Duncan and Oliver explain that once the request is loaded into the system, a message goes to every trailblazer’s phone, and the first to respond gets the job.
Viv says that usually takes just seconds. They then drive the car to the end of the trail, or to accommodation specific to a request, and then cycle the trail back, normally crossing paths with the visiting cyclists along the way.
Within 45 minutes of the website being live, Trail Transfer had its first booking, and they just keep coming.
Visitors receive a personalised service, looked after by locals who really like cycling. They in turn encourage others to ride the trail.
Viv believes that one of the attractions is that cyclists can ride to their own timeframe, and trailblazers in turn can sign up whenever it suits them. Viv works as an administrator, with flexible hours, so she is very happy to respond immediately to a call.
“I just love the idea of connecting with tourists and sharing our beautiful region. Getting paid to do the trail is a bonus.”
As we talk, Duncan receives a message praising the system, and adding, “Thanks to the trailblazer, the process was seamless and a great ride.”
The partners agree that “It is just cool to get people in the local community involved”.