Wellington Scoop

Missing your bus?


These were some of the 22 bus cancellations in Wellington this morning.



But today’s total total doesn’t compare with the 58 cancellations on Sunday. They are reported in the DomPost today by Dave Armstrong. He notes that Wellington’s bustastrophe continues ….

… nearly a year after the new bus contracts and network came into operation, six months after the Regional Council reached its self-imposed deadline to fix the problems, and nearly half a year after chairman Chris Laidlaw said “I can’t think of anything in particular,” when asked if he would do anything differently with the new network.

Dave Armstrong reports that 49 of Sunday’s cancellations were Tranzurban buses …

Yet if you’ve been following comments from various regional councillors and officials, you’d be forgiven for thinking it is NZ Bus, not Tranzurban, who is the devil incarnate.

He asks if Chris Laidlaw will now now publicly berate Tranzurban for its appalling service the same way he did NZ Bus? And he notes that only minor shortages of drivers have been caused in other regions by the new rest breaks legislation …

… But it’s quite difficult to negotiate new rest break rules with workers when, like Tranzurban, you don’t recognise the union. In contrast, NZ Bus seems to have been able to deal with the rule changes relatively simply. Unions can be quite useful to management at times.

And more:

Or was Sunday’s Tranztastrope due partly to … issues such as pay? Is it because, as an NZ Bus driver suggested, earning up to $41 an hour working on a Sunday for NZ Bus is far more lucrative than earning $22 an hour for Tranzit?

And he concludes

…It’s a pity that Tranzurban can’t currently find enough drivers to run its Sunday services. It’s also a pity that, when unions have tried to engage – including approaches from former high-ranking, moderate unionists – Tranzurban has been uninterested. For the regional council to condone, and in some cases vote to support, this anti-union behaviour is disgusting, especially when some of those involved previously used the word “Labour” to get themselves elected as MPs.

Let’s wait for a response from former Labour MP Chris Laidlaw.



  1. Alan, 7. May 2019, 16:41

    Wait for a response from Chris Laidlaw? How much spare time have you got?

  2. James S, 7. May 2019, 17:01

    Wait for forty minutes and then three turn up at once!

  3. Morris Oxford, 8. May 2019, 8:24

    Worth noting that, if three buses turn up at once, the pathetic excuse about a shortage of drivers does not stand scrutiny.

  4. Paul, 8. May 2019, 9:10

    That would have been the case.
    Now – wait 40 minutes and nothing… 2 were planned cancellations and the third was cancelled at just before its scheduled time!

  5. Chris Baxter, 8. May 2019, 19:27

    There have been many opinion pieces written by Dave Armstrong re the Wellington buses. He is now sounding somewhat desperate – even sounds like being pushed by the Tramways Union. What is your problem Dave with the bus companies? You have not come up with any solutions. Getting personal won’t fix anything, be it GWRC, Chris Laidlaw, Tranzurban or NZBus. Stop blaming and come up with how to fix Wellington’s buses.

  6. William Howard, 9. May 2019, 8:52

    Not rocket science Chris – just pay drivers more and give them family friendly hours & work conditions.

  7. Alan, 9. May 2019, 9:51

    Chris:- Laidlaw and his mates are paid shedloads of money for what you ask Dave Armstrong to come up with. Dave is desperate as many of us are. It’s almost a year since the current situation was unleashed on us. And still it’s nowhere near being started to be fixed. Long may he shine a light on the GWRC.

  8. michael, 9. May 2019, 10:30

    Forget asking GWRC to fix the bus problem. Ask them to resign so we can get someone who can.

  9. Tony Jansen, 9. May 2019, 11:26

    I heard Dave on the radio yesterday interviewed by Jessie Mulligan. Very reasonable and calm. No sign of getting personal at all. Quite frankly he was my Wellingtonian of the year for 2018. He didn’t get it so maybe he will this year? It takes a special skill to use humour so effectively as he does to highlight political issues.

  10. Dave Armstrong, 10. May 2019, 8:44

    Interesting bustastrophe meeting at Kilbirnie last night. Good to see Sue Kedgley, Daran Ponter, Ian McKinnon, Paul Eagle, Chris Calvi-Freeman, Sarah Free and some Metlink staff there. Large reduction in number of buses to and from Wellington Hospital with new system big problem. [via twitter]

  11. helen, 10. May 2019, 10:56

    Is anyone organizing a protest to mark the one-year anniversary of the bustastrophe start day?

  12. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 12. May 2019, 9:46

    Wellington had a fit-for-purpose bus service 1991-2018. No reason we can’t have one again but even better, with a fast, frequent, safe, comfortable, reliable, accessible and damn-right beautiful mass-transit route from the station to the airport. [via twitter]

  13. Wellington Commuter, 12. May 2019, 9:48

    “…a fast, frequent, safe, comfortable, reliable, accessible and damn-right beautiful mass-transit route from the station to the airport” would be great but it won’t fix the bus service to Karori or Johnsonville or Northland or Khandallah or Miramar or Newlands or Strathmore Park or … [via twitter]