Wellington Scoop

Enough bus drivers?

Have they found the forty missing bus drivers? We’ve heard nothing more from Tranzurban (aka Tranzit) since they told us twelve days ago that there was a shortage of drivers for their new Wellington bus contracts which start next month.

In his statement on the 14th in which he revealed the shortage, Tranzurban managing director Paul Snelgrove was also harsh about drivers “who hog overtime:”

“…we know that some Wellington drivers feel uncertain about exiting their current arrangements with their current employer and joining our team. Most of these drivers can be certain that, at $22.20 an hour, they’ll be $134 better off over 40 hours worked with Tranzurban. Lower Hutt drivers will be on $21.40. They no longer need to worry about chasing overtime rates, or being excluded from those roster opportunities by senior drivers. We’ll be holding another round of our popular information sessions with drivers so they can see for themselves what a career at Tranzurban is like. We’ll also meet with the Tramways Union to discuss a possible collective agreement for their members. We’re very comfortable with working with Tramways, as we offer some of the best hourly rates and terms and conditions in the country, verified independently. A small number of drivers who hog the overtime, won’t be better off and they’re obviously free to choose not to join us.”

On the same day, when the PSA spoke about its concerns to the Regional Council, there was a different picture of the situation affecting drivers and Tranzit:

“…this company has dragged its feet on negotiating a collective agreement and on honouring employment provisions from the old providers. We are frankly putting this vital public service at risk, even though our city is so dependent on public transport, because the new operator is acting in such a murky and aggressive manner towards drivers who are now out of work. Meanwhile, they have put people on individual agreements that are worse than the terms and conditions they held under the last provider – despite the Council Chair publicly reassuring us this would not happen.”

Last month, bus drivers told MPs they would be losing money if they were employed by the new contractor.

And at the same time, RNZ reported that more than 200 Wellington bus drivers would be losing their jobs when the new operator took over many routes.

What’s the situation now? The Regional Council and Tranzit are overdue to tell us how things are going for the drivers, and for the new Wellington contracts (and routes, and timetables) when they’re introduced in three weeks.

Regional Council: “So many changes” on July 15
DomPost: Rocky start for new Hutt bus services


  1. Roy Kutel, 25. June 2018, 14:30

    As Josie B suggested, its time to train up Chris Laidlaw and his team of under-utilised Councillors as bus drivers. In between meetings and that should leave heaps of time, they can learn what public transport is all about. After all apart from bulk water and killing possums what else is there to fill up their day.

  2. luke, 25. June 2018, 17:56

    everything the gwrc has touched with regard to public transport has been a shambles. From Transdev (French for industrial action) on the trains, integrated ticketing a decade too late, bus drivers getting shafted. But their answer to it all is to allow pets on trains.

  3. Traveller, 27. June 2018, 6:27

    It’s now 14 days since we were told of the driver shortage. And neither the bus company nor the Regional Council are saying whether the shortage has been overcome. Such silence is not acceptable.

  4. Roy Kutel, 27. June 2018, 9:27

    Luke – nice point. Yes, public transport is a real dog under GWRC’s control!

  5. greenwelly, 27. June 2018, 10:21

    and now we discover that supergold trips don’t include transfers, and when the second journey begins after 3pm, they will be required to pay… I’m waiting for the Acting PM to weigh in on his baby being devalued…..

    I would have thought the easiest option would have been that people transferring to another service get the driver on the first service to give them a “transfer ticket” (after the passenger asked for it) when they board, so when they board the next service they can show they are transferring.

  6. Jonny Utzone, 27. June 2018, 18:04

    All gold card people should pay something anyway – make it 25% of the standard fare. Why should anybody get transport for free? Should be easy to charge 25% with Snapper.

  7. luke, 28. June 2018, 11:01

    I don’t think supergold card should be free on premium services like the Airport flyer, they should have to pay for that one.

  8. Casey, 29. June 2018, 13:11

    For the hundreds of Gold Card holders who give their time for free in all sorts of places, those who look after grandchildren, surrogate grandchildren, etc., the free travel in off peak is one way of making their generosity available. The pension, despite claims to the contrary, doesn’t stretch far for those who don’t have other sources of income.

    25 years ago when I visited Utah they had a very simple system for those who needed to transfer to a second bus route. Payment was by cash on the first bus, exact money required as no change given, and a request to the driver resulted in a free transfer paper ticket that was valid for the next hour only and presented to the second driver. As Wellington buses will continue to accept cash they could print transfer tickets for the small number of Gold Card users who would need them. Requiring exact change for those who wish to pay that way would speed up the payment process and give drivers more time to concentrate on their primary task.

  9. Jonny Utzone, 29. June 2018, 13:13

    Well said Luke especially when taxpayers have given NZ Bus money for each free trip. I wonder whether there was an incentive for drivers to just hit the gold card button to claim higher numbers use their bus and get money out of the Govt? Auckland stopped it by making goldcard users get a Hop card.

  10. Cr Daran Ponter, 6. July 2018, 16:34

    Hi all, GWRC has met with the preseidents of Wellington Grey Power chapters. GWRC has proposed a solution to Gold Card transfers after 3pm that is based on an honesty system. Details being ironed out