After 17 years of service, the iconic Whanganui Mobile Library bus retired last week as two new youthful Mercedes Sprinter vans took over.
After entering service in 2003, the bus has driven hundreds of thousands of kilometres around the Whanganui District, visiting schools, rest homes and spots well off the beaten track.
Wigs Arathoon, who had been a driver of the bus for the previous 11 years, said the vehicle was iconic in the Whanganui community.
"She's gone everywhere. Every driver that has ever driven it I think is very fond of the old girl."
Arathoon said manning the bus was a job she had always wanted to do, and she'd enjoyed every day on board.
"I've been doing it the last 11 and a half years. It's a wonderful job, it was always my dream job.
"Every person you meet becomes a friend. All the oldies at the rest home and the little kids at the kindergartens. It's just lovely."
Arathoon said there were some more exciting days on the bus. One day a young bus-goer questioned how many people could fit inside, which sparked a curiosity-fuelled challenge.
"We managed to fit the entire Kaitoke School on, which was 97 kids that day."
Despite the fun times, it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
"There was the terrible time there was an electrical fault on the town bridge and I ended up with no steering, blocking two lanes of traffic.
"People yelled abuse at me and asked why I was parked in the middle of the road."
Another driver, Graham Howes, was at the helm when the bus broke down going up the Aberfeldy Hill, with a tow truck being called in to pull it to the top.
"The bus was pretty new in those days, but the diesel tank was playing up."
Despite its colourful and often testing history, Howes says the bus is incredibly valuable to the community, and being a driver on it is one of the most rewarding jobs he has had.
"We've had a pretty good time on the bus the last 18 years and met some awesome people.
"You've got to be a driver, librarian, a psychologist, a social worker and a listening post."
For all of the drivers, Howes says, the job is simple.
"Make sure everyone walks off the bus with a smile on their face and a good book in their hand."