Wellington Scoop

Greens want better pay for bus drivers, plus express bus to airport


News from Green Party
Green candidates for Wellington City’s local elections are set to release their transport policies, with proposals to address the driver shortage with better pay and conditions for drivers and a public express bus from the railway station to the Eastern suburbs and airport.

The transport policy will be set out in detail later this month with a series of immediate, practical measures to fix Wellington’s bus problems, to boost active transport and to reduce congestion. Ahead of the policy release, the Greens are calling for an express bus service between Wellington Railway Station and the airport and Eastern suburbs.

“We’ll push for a $6 express bus service from the Railway Station to the airport via Courtenay Place and back to the city via Miramar. It should be integrated with Snapper on a faster, more direct route as part of Wellington’s public transport system,” says Thomas Nash, Green Candidate for the Regional Council.

“To get to our city airport, we shouldn’t have to rely on an expensive, private service that doesn’t even work with your Snapper card. It’s a major gap in our city’s core public infrastructure and we need to rectify it urgently.”

“The Eastern Suburbs have been one of the worst hit areas for both bus delays and congestion after the network changes,” says Sarah Free, sitting city councillor and candidate for the Eastern Ward. “As part of the range of measures to fix the bus network, we definitely need this express bus serving commuters from the eastern suburbs and airport workers and travellers heading to the airport.”

“It’s simple – a public bus taking people from the railway station and the central city direct to the airport and Eastern suburbs for $6,” says Thomas Nash. “Having an attractive public transport option for travellers, airport workers, and residents out east will also reduce congestion for people in Strathmore, Miramar and Seatoun who need to drive.”

The service would take a bus priority route along the Golden Mile and Kent Terrace, through the Hataitai bus tunnel and then non-stop onto the airport, returning via Miramar shops. It would run every 10 minutes at peak time (every 15 minutes off peak) and take 25 minutes to the airport and 30 minutes back to the city via Miramar. In the morning peak there would be direct services from the airport to the city.

“We’ll coordinate between Greater Wellington and Wellington City Council to guarantee this service with dedicated bus priority. This will provide a quality, reliable service to the Eastern Suburbs as well as dropping people right at the door of the airport,” says Thomas Nash.

The express service would cost $6 and operate as part of the city’s public transport network. In time the service could work out to be profitable for the city’s transport system. The Airport Flyer contract is up for review next year. Now is the time for the Regional Council to be negotiating with the airport and working with central government to move away from the existing private contract and replace it with a public service with direct access to the airport.


  1. Max Rashbrooke, 19. August 2019, 18:29

    Given my recent Airport Flyer experience(s), I’d say this is a damn good idea, and useful not just for flyers. [via twitter]

  2. Alan, 19. August 2019, 19:09

    And worked by another fleet of diesels?

  3. Dave B, 19. August 2019, 22:44

    Please don’t run it via Lambton Quay. If it is to be an express it needs to go via the waterfront. Ideally from Platform 9 at the railway station to make connections with trains easier. First stop Frank Kitts Park, next stop Courtenay Place.
    The middle of Lambton Quay is about a 6 minute walk from the Railway Station and a 6 minute walk from Frank Kitts Park. This bus connection must cater primarily towards regional travelers coming in on trains, not those who want to go to a particular shop on Lambton Quay.
    Insisting that all buses go via the “Slowdown Mile” is one of the things that stuffs up public-transport’s ability to provide rapid transit across town and beyond. At peak times you can walk across town faster.

  4. Casey, 20. August 2019, 3:13

    If Phil Goff retains the post of Mayor of Auckland, then their entire fleets of old diesel buses can be used for the Wellington airport route.
    The five Wellington ward GWRC councillors 2016 – 2019 have failed to provide electric buses on the east – west routes to replace the trolley buses still sitting in storage. In the interim they and the rest of the GWRC councillors want to spend $415 million on dual mode trains for the Masterton and Palmerston North routes. The latter city not contributing to GWRC rates.
    But wait there is more, in the form of hundreds of millions the GWRC want to spend relocating the ferry terminals to cater for nine return crossings a day.
    Strange priorities when Wellington has declared a climate emergency.

  5. Harry Welsford, 20. August 2019, 7:28

    “Green candidates want Express Bus to airport”. Such a very small detail wrapped up as an election promise to people in the eastern suburbs. Shows how bad the Council is when a tiny promise for public transport that should’ve already been in place is used an election carrot .

  6. Steve, 20. August 2019, 9:28

    No offense but so many of you need to research what is EURO 5. Many of NZ buses/Coaches now adhere to this standard. It’s not perfect and yes, still diesel but it’s better than 100 cars… Stop hating and do some homework.

  7. Keith Flinders, 20. August 2019, 9:44

    Steve: 68 of the NZ buses currently in service are Euro 3, another 16 are Euro 4. They wouldn’t be allowed on the road in most European countries, nor should they be here.

    See http://vault.revoltwellington.co.nz/Busfleet.pdf

  8. Mike Mellor, 20. August 2019, 10:33

    KF: according to a report from GWRC (p32): in the Wellington bus fleet 83 buses are Euro 3 (81 NZ Bus, 3 Tranzurban), 22 Euro 4 (14 NZ Bus, 3 Tranzurban, 5 Mana), 92 Euro 5, 252 Euro 6, 10 e.

    DB: “This bus connection must cater primarily towards regional travelers coming in on trains, not those who want to go to a particular shop on Lambton Quay.” For a bus that serves the airport and the eastern suburbs, why should that be? At peak times you may be able to walk across town faster – but just try crossing the quays to get to your bus on the other side. Vehicle time via the quays may be faster, but passenger time, allowing for getting to and from the stop, may well be slower.

    Casey: the five Wellington councillors are in a minority on GWRC, so they alone cannot be blamed for failing to keep electric buses on the east-west spine. In August 2018 NZ Bus were awarded a grant of $763,668 for charging facilities for a fleet of over 50 pure electric buses – whatever happened to that?

  9. greenwelly, 20. August 2019, 11:17

    @Keith, It’s actually worse than that. As of August 2019 there are 83 Euro 3 buses and 22 Euro 4 – totalling 105 out of a fleet of 460 or over 20%, (and they will be mainly on Wellington city routes, making the ratio even worse there). See: 4.6.4 Fleet – total by emissions rating.

  10. dangerkid, 20. August 2019, 22:21

    I think it would be good if SuperGold card users paid the same fare as other users so that an Airport Express bus actually functions as an express service rather then a convenient way for SuperGold card holders to travel a couple of stops (for free)….

  11. Keith Flinders, 21. August 2019, 1:16

    Mike, Greenwelly: So what the 7 August report is telling us is that buses marked as having been withdrawn on the ReVolt list are still in service.

    2002 built Euro 3 buses were to be replaced with the 2003 ones. The introduction of the NZ Bus double deck buses was to see an overall reduction in Euro 3 and Euro 4 buses. I will ask Greg Pollock to confirm what the NZ Bus comprises currently.

  12. Casey, 21. August 2019, 1:21

    Super Gold Card holders do pay the same as other users before 09:00, and 15:00 – 18:30 week days.

  13. Dave B, 21. August 2019, 5:39

    @ Mike Mellor, Avoiding the Golden Mile, “Why should that be?”
    It is my understanding that this proposed bus service would be in addition to the existing buses that serve the Eastern Suburbs. The slow old buses running via Lambton Quay would still be there. This one would be a replacement for the so-called Flyer but could also offer much more to connect up the rest of the region by interfacing directly with trains and not running via the slow route.

    And getting to Lambton Quay from a stop near Frank Kitts Park would not be difficult. A stop should be located near the City-to-Sea bridge so access across the traffic-route would not be a problem. The southern end of Lambton Quay is a 400m walk from there. Willis Street is only 300m. These are walks of only a few minutes and would likely give you a quicker overall journey to a destination on the Golden Mile than a slow bus that actually runs that way. (It is not unusual for a bus via the G-M to take 25 minutes from Courtenay Place to the railway station!).

  14. greenwelly, 21. August 2019, 9:31

    @dangerkid, The Flyer is able to get ~750K per year from the MoT for Supergold passengers. I think this is a key consideration in its pricing decision.