Wellington Scoop

Shortage of bus drivers: some Friday services cancelled

MetLink announced this morning that it was cancelling some bus services because of what it called a “temporary unavailability of drivers.”

The news came in a twitter, responding to a bus traveller who asked why her bus had failed to arrive.

The cancellation advice brought the following response from another traveller:


  1. Angry bus passenger, 3. August 2018, 9:45

    Hopefully GWRC will make some savings when they clear out all the deadwood after October 2019 ….the date of the next GWRC elections. Voter turnout could be record breaking!

  2. Trevor Mallard, 3. August 2018, 11:03

    The Regional Council cuts $5.4 million from drivers’ wages – surprise surprise there is a shortage of staff. Buses cancelled. People miss connections and are late for kids and work. Still waiting for Chris Laidlaw and Paul Swain to apologise. [via twitter]

  3. dafed, 3. August 2018, 11:09

    It’s a disgrace Trevor. Some very big health and safety issues on upper hutt to lower hutt school buses – buses are smaller so more students have to stand up!!! Central Govt needs to take this fiasco over! [via twitter]

  4. Suburban commuter, 3. August 2018, 12:46

    The “teething issues/efficiences/new timetable” excuses are wearing very very thin! It is NOT a teething issue for commuters in Wellington suburbs who have had their direct services removed! Laidlaw, Ponter and gang must be getting very concerned with only 14 months until the GWRC elections. Not many issues in the last decade have upset more Wellingtonians than this farce.

  5. Jonny Utzone, 3. August 2018, 14:39

    Trevor – have you considered standing for the Regional Council? It’s a good little earner $60k for 12 meetings a year – you could fit in with your speaker role? Beats being a bus driver anyway.

  6. City Dweller, 3. August 2018, 14:44

    Surburban Commuter – I’m miffed by all the old ex diesel buses from AKL coming up Tinakori Rd! We never used to get many buses (we don’t have any bus stops) but I pay for them threefold – once in my ever increasing rate bill, once in my lungs and once in my ears.

  7. Casey, 3. August 2018, 16:00

    The issue is that those who do vote generally go for candidates whose names they recognise, no matter how well or poorly that candidate may have performed. If you are an ex NZ representative sports player, or other known name, you are bound to get elected and re-elected. Ex MPs ought to be barred from local body politics.

    The reality is that multi-million dollar operations such as the GWRC and other councils will always perform badly with unskilled people making decisions on matters they do not understand.

    We want democracy, we are getting demockery.

  8. Keith Flinders, 3. August 2018, 16:08

    And, Trevor, add in the saving of $5.4 million a year that the GWRC no longer pays to Wellington Cable Car Ltd to maintain the trolley infrastructure, with nearly half of it going to the WCC as a dividend. Or, so WCCL annual reports appear to indicate.

  9. Gillybee, 5. August 2018, 12:32

    “Central Govt needs to take this fiasco over!”
    ReVolt Wellington’s petition is asking the government to appoint an independent commissioner to intervene and get the PT network stabilised and functioning again properly as it did pre-July 15. And also to fast-track the electric buses we were promised instead of the polluting, noisy Auckland rejects on our roads.

  10. H. Dumpty, 5. August 2018, 14:23

    GillyBee – I’m afraid, all the King’s men won’t be to able put our transport system back together again given GWRC has scrapped our 100% electric trolley bus system.

  11. Andy Foster, 6. August 2018, 11:22

    Hi Keith – You’ve made that comment before about ‘nearly half the $5.4million’ ‘GWRC paid’ for the trolley bus network to Wellington Cable Car – and nearly half of that going to WCC as a dividend.

    I am struggling to understand where you got those numbers from. According to Wgtn Cable Car Company’s accounts, in 2015/16 – GWRC paid the Cable Car Company $3.72million, and in 2016/17 it was $3.62million. WCCL used to pay a dividend each year of about $300,000 which was derived from the cable car part of the business rather than the overhead wires part. GWRC is not that generous! We are not expecting WCCL to pay a dividend for the next few years as the company needs to retain earnings for the required upgrade of the cable cars themselves.

  12. Roy Kutel, 6. August 2018, 16:39

    Andy – I’m surprised you don’t just scrap the cable car like you let GWRC scrap our trolley bus infrastructure. We’d save some dollars on our rates. And GWRC could replace it with a 20 year old diesel bus.

  13. Andy Foster, 6. August 2018, 22:59

    Roy – The City Council said several times we wanted to retain a partially electric based bus system, I suggested to GWRC on several occasions that they tender for the routes that could work with trolleys under the then proposed new network on the basis that the tenderers included the maintenance costs of the trolleys and infrastructure over time and compared that with diesels – maybe with a reasonable environmental premium considered. However it was made very clear that under no circumstances were the trolleys going to be retained. Could we do anything about that – ultimately ‘no’.
    The Cable Car itself is a completely different proposition and the City Council is committed to its long term future as a Wellington icon, and no over the long term closing … it wouldn’t save ratepayers money at all. It has generally paid a small dividend, but will need to retain money as I said above over the next few years. I hope that is clear.

  14. Roy Kutel, 7. August 2018, 0:43

    Pity WCC couldn’t have marketed the trolley buses as a Wellington icon too.

    I would have continued to pay some rates (like I do and will continue to do for the cable car) to keep our trolleys. I don’t use buses or trains but I do pay for them so what I want is less noise and less pollution for my dollars.

  15. Barbara S, 7. August 2018, 9:36

    I think they need to sort out the routes and timetables. I heard on the National Radio this morning about people’s trips either cancelled or having to catch several buses to get to their destination and that doesn’t sound good when buses don’t turn up in isolated areas.

    Ps. I’m sitting in the sun in Lambton quay and the buses are so noisy.

  16. Jonny Utzone, 7. August 2018, 10:06

    Yes Barbara S, Wellington is going backwards in a cloud of diesel fumes emitted noisy old buses – thanks GWRC!

  17. Keith Flinders, 7. August 2018, 10:16

    Andy: The figure I cited came from the GWRC in 2015. Is it as reliable as the comments you made about the trolley buses at the 2016 election campaign meeting in Northland ? You said that the trolley buses were falling apart and hence the need to shut down that service. These same buses are in storage now, pending, hopefully, conversion to battery operation, so are far from being unfit for purpose.

    The reality was that the trolley buses, most more recent than 75% of the old diesel ones polluting Wellington, were fit enough to obtain Certificates of Fitness right up until they were withdrawn. The concern now is that when converted the trolley buses will go to other centres, as the GWRC has not given a commitment to owners NZ Bus to retain them here.

    Pollution levels are up since the introduction of the new bus timetable chaos in mid July, compared to the same period 12 months earlier. This in spite of fewer buses operating. Check the Willis Street Air Quality graphs at the GW web site.