The Bus and Coach Association (NZ) Inc. was first established in 1931 and has operated, under various names, continuously since that time.
The name of the Association reflects its origins and also the two main types of passenger service vehicles. The "Bus" comes from the NZ Motor Omnibus Proprietors Association, which was registered as an Incorporated Society in 1931. As its name implies, its members ran Omnibuses, which are vehicles designed for urban services.
The "Coach" part of the name is an abbreviation for "service coach", the vehicle which is the descendant of the horse-drawn coach, and the service car, which was an elongated motor car. The first organisation in New Zealand of long distance route and tourist service operators was the AARD Motor Services Association of NZ, formed in 1918. Its success, mainly in the North Island, led to the establishment in the South Island of White Star Tourist Services in 1924.
The AARD organisation began to decline in 1928 when many services were purchased by NZ Railways Road Services. In 1934 White Star changed its name to White Star Passenger Services of NZ, and was renamed a year later as the NZ Passenger Services Federation.
The existence of two separate organisations of licensed bus owners caused problems for those members with both urban and long distance route services. Yet it was 1965 before they amalgamated as the Road Passenger Services Association of NZ Inc. That name was changed to the Bus and Coach Association in 1972.
The passenger service licensing system that was introduced in 1931 was a copy of a system introduced in England in 1930. The carriage of school children was exempted from transport licensing there, so it was in New Zealand also. The growth of private contract bus services for school transport led to the formation in 1960 of the NZ School Transport Contractors Association.
This exemption from transport licensing was removed in 1987 when the large Department of Education bus fleet began to be disbanded. Once school bus operators had to have a Passenger Service Licence, there was no need for a separate organisation for them, and so the Associations amalgamated in 1989.
In 2000, the independent NZ Limousine Operators' Society agreed to join the BCA, further strengthening its role in representing operators of PSV's.