Wellington Scoop

Rostering and safety on the buses

by Gilly Tompsett
The war of words sparked by Trevor Mallard’s non-attendance at the launch of electric buses at Parliament this week has obscured the willingness of Tranzit and the GWRC to risk public safety by cutting transport costs to the bone.

Community group ReVolt Wellington, which is campaigning for a faster transition to electric buses, says the claims by the managing director of Tranzit Paul Snelgrove that some drivers “milked” callback rates and “get paid more than you or I put together for coming back on a day off” distract attention away from the corporate practice of undermanning rosters and disregard the need for people who operate machinery to have days off in order to maintain safe operating standards.

The practice of undermanning rosters is a deliberate policy which reduces costs and helps win contracts. Companies like Tranzit build a flat rate into their contracts so they don’t have to pay their drivers extra to bring them in to work on their days off.

The consequences of undermanned rosters are a work force who are overburdened, fatigued and vulnerable to accidents, which in turn endangers the safety of the travelling public.

ReVolt attributes this situation to the introduction of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) passed in 2013 by the previous government, which through the NZTA forced regional councils to introduce competition onto public transport networks throughout NZ.

By driving down costs without adequately protecting the safety of the public, and disregarding health and environmental considerations in their cost-benefit analyses, bus companies have been incentivised to downgrade drivers’ wages and conditions; and introduced a fleet of noisy, polluting diesel buses on to Wellington’s roads for the next decade.

By 2021 Wellington will have just 32 electric buses and 420 diesel buses, less than half the number of electric buses on our roads in November 2017 when the trolley buses were decommissioned.

ReVolt says that the social and environmental fallout from PTOM in its current form is unacceptable, untenable and not fit for purpose in 2018. Urgent reform of the law is essential without delay.

Read also
. Celebrating lost jobs, says Trevor Mallard


  1. Roy Kutel, 9. July 2018, 12:09

    How much does the GWRC pay itself and lawyers to manage the PTOM process? I’m putting the cost at $35 million for 10 years. That’s $3.5 million a year which equates to $5 an hour for every bus driver. As a ratepayer, would you (a) prefer Chris Laidlaw and his CEO to pull in over half a million bucks or (b) every bus driver to get $5 an hour more?

  2. Cr Daran Ponter, 10. July 2018, 14:11

    Roy – where on earth did you get those figures from?

  3. Roy Kutel, 10. July 2018, 16:29

    Can’t say Daran as I’m using the Big Four Accountancy Company Standard for Business Case Reporting i.e. no calculations, no data tabulated, and only ‘high level’ results given (that the client wants put out to the public).