Wellington Scoop

Regional Council considering getting a review of its bus problems

Report from RNZ
The Greater Wellington Regional Council is considering an independent review of its new bus routes and timetables, as commuters continue to complain about the changes.

The new system developed by the council was rolled out in July, and immediately ran into trouble.

This week the chief executive of the council, Greg Campbell, sent out an email giving an update on the network’s performance. It said the council was reshaping teams within the council to figure out what the key things that needed to be fixed were.

Mr Campbell has stepped out of his normal role to oversee any necessary changes to the network, and asked Nigel Corry to step into a three month temporary role as deputy chief executive, to take care of things outside of transport.

“Council will consider undertaking an independent review of the situation, to ensure that all available options have been considered,” it read.

Wellington MP Paul Eagle said in order to fix the problem, and win back the faith of Wellingtonians, Mr Campbell would need to get out from behind his desk.

“Senior management need to see what’s on the streets of Wellington at peak times during the day. [From] my office in Newtown – I’ve been strolling down the street talking to people, and one of the things that’s really amazed me is how many people are on the bus stops.”

The council had started performance reviews with the two bus companies in Wellington, NZ Bus and Tranzit, and would do them two to three times a week.

Mr Eagle said it was crucial the council sorted the problem out as soon as possible.


  1. Chris Horne, 13. September 2018, 20:42

    The radical revamping of our generally satisfactory pre-15 July bus network has caused widepread confusion, long delays and lost time, often over-crowded buses, and irritation, even anger, among so may devoted users of our bus services.

    Before 15 July, we prided ourselves in having the highest rider-ship of public transport per capita in NZ. I hate to think how many people have abandoned commuting by bus. What has been the loss in fare revenue/day since 15 July, compared with pre-15 July fare revenue/day? How much have greenhouse-gas emissions increased by since 15 July, because many more people are commuting by car, motor bike or motor scooter?

    How could the regional council, which managed the re-regulation and reform of public transport so well back in 1991/92, make such a dog’s breakfast of our bus network?

  2. Lim Leong, 13. September 2018, 22:25

    I initially was giving the new Programme Manager of the Bus Network the benefit of the doubt. However, from what he said yesterday, it is clear that no meaningful changes are going to be made. In his own words – “The complex programme of work has been managed well.” How could he say that with a straight face? Eight years in the making. The results – A fundamentally flawed network design. A botched operational implementation. Adversarial employee contractors relationships. A commercial contract where all contracting parties (including GWRC itself) are possibly a loser.
    This has proven to me that that PR Spin people are still in charge and there won’t be any meaningful changes. It is self interests over public interests. What is the point of another review when the problems and failures are so obvious from network design to operational implementation to commercial contracts?

  3. Casey, 14. September 2018, 10:31

    Chris: The difference between the early 1990s changes and the chaotic ones this year can be attributed to those involved nearly 30 years ago. Then we had a few Wellington City Transport staff, and others, who knew the city topography wise, knew where bus commuters wanted to get to and at what times. They designed changes largely on paper using pencils and rubbers, not using multi million dollar IT systems and not whilst sitting in air conditioned offices instead of getting out to experience conditions.

    The current changes designed to drive down the cost and reduce the congestion along the Golden Mile have failed. Millions will be needed to get Wellington City back to the level of service we expect, and the Golden Mile congestion is as bad as ever it was because of the slow loading and unloading of double decker buses. Warnings re double decker buses were ignored long before the GWRC went out to tender requiring bidders to include them.