Wellington Scoop

Family businesses win nine contracts for bus services; 228 new buses to be built

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
A fleet of new, modern, more environmentally friendly buses will be hitting the roads in the middle of next year following a competitive tender for bus services in the Wellington region.

Local family-owned Masterton-based Tranzit Group Ltd is the preferred bidder for eight contracts and UZABus which is based in Palmerston North is the preferred partner for the bus contract in Kapiti.

Regional Council chair Chris Laidlaw says the decision is great news for Wellingtonians with significant benefits for ratepayers, taxpayers and bus users.

“We’re excited at the prospect of working with Tranzit Group and UZABus to bring a modern bus service to the region and its people. Both are locally-owned family businesses with over 160 years’ of combined experience in delivering quality services to passengers and drivers,” Cr Laidlaw says.

Cr Laidlaw said Tranzit had given Councillors a commitment to employ as many bus drivers as possible from the region’s existing workforce.

Tranzit Managing Director Paul Snelgrove says the company will hire another 380 drivers, with as many as possible coming from the Metlink system.

Tranzit would also build 228 new buses, “with as many built by the Kiwi Bus Builders team as it can handle.”

UZABus managing director Justin Allan says “the company is delighted to be confirmed as the preferred bidder for the Kapiti Coast area and looks forward to helping the regional council to modernise the bus network.”

Both companies will deliver a new, more environmentally friendly bus fleet that will improve air quality across the region and reduce emissions of harmful pollutants by at least 38 percent in Wellington and 84 percent in the Hutt Valley.

Cr Laidlaw said we are likely to see the introduction of electric buses to Wellington city, further improving environmental benefits.

The outcome of the tender is expected to reduce operating costs by several million dollars a year, paving the way for new public transport initiatives such as fare discounts.

Cr Laidlaw acknowledged that today’s decision would be disappointing for those companies that were unsuccessful but today’s decision would start to provide certainty.

“We’d like to thank everyone who bid and to remind people that we will still be working closely with our other incumbent providers, who will continue to make up over 30 percent of the market.”

The announcement of the preferred partners for these nine contracts is another step in the long-term transformation of the region’s public transportation system.

“Over the next year, we will be announcing new routes, measures to reduce congestion and how we’re making the passenger experience more seamless.”

Timetables remain the same for now, with new buses and routes scheduled to be introduced in

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 4. May 2017, 21:36

    Tranzit Group promises brand new buses, but how soon? All ready for next July? Meanwhile, expect lots of dirty old diesels as trolleys go. [via twitter]

  2. Lindsay, 4. May 2017, 21:44

    Many unanswered questions in tonight’s announcement. But – though the Regional Council avoids the issue – it seems they’ve decided that there’ll be less business and fewer routes for NZ Bus.

  3. Bill, 4. May 2017, 21:54

    Why is integrated ticketing taking so long? Should only be one card like in London/Auckland etc for trains and buses. Finally getting one bus card.

  4. Peter Dunne, 5. May 2017, 9:46

    Regional Council new bus contracts perpetuate mistaken policy of getting rid of trolley buses. [via twitter]

  5. Keith Flinders, 5. May 2017, 10:15

    “Cr Laidlaw said we are likely to see the introduction of electric buses to Wellington city, further improving environmental benefits.”

    Want we want to read, Chris, are positive statements from you, not words such as “likely” which are fudging the issue to make the public think they are getting something they won’t be. 100% battery buses cost $1.5 million each and in their life span of about 12 years will cost the same again in replacement batteries. The very reason why Chinese and other progressive thinking cities are going back to trolley buses. Taking the cheapest tender price indicates that no battery buses are included in the new contracts which run for 9 years from 2018.

    We want to read we WILL BE getting electric buses to replace the trolley buses and these will be 100% electric, not failed hybrid technology of any brand. Wrightspeed is hybrid technology and after 12 months since the first trolley bus conversion started it hasn’t been on trial yet. One might conclude that the GWRC is being misled on the suitability for this technology given Wellington’s terrain, and alas GWRC officers don’t have the engineering knowledge to decide either way.

  6. Frank Nixon, 5. May 2017, 10:21

    Aren’t trolley buses electric? When the buses were operated by WCC were they not locally owned?

  7. Keith Flinders, 5. May 2017, 12:24

    Trolley buses are 100% electric, and apart from brake lining material, 100% pollution free. The trolley bus fleet was purchased by current operator NZ Bus.

    Converted trolley buses, if they are ever to get on the road, will be reliant on polluting fossil fuels, and generate mountains of failed lithium ion batteries that are expensive to recycle.

    Look forward to a much noisier and polluting fleet that will impact the health and well being of Wellingtonians and its visitors.

  8. aidy sanders, 5. May 2017, 13:22

    heartily agree Keith. that is a classic misdirect Press Release where all the interesting questions lurk in between what is said. Whereas it’s good news for the companies that get to build 228 new buses, they are in reality all going to be powered by Diesel, reducing air quality in the inner city for those of us living in Wellington, and doing nothing to move Public transport towards a cleaner future.
    Suggesting that it’s likely there will be new electric buses is typical distraction technique, uttered by politicians with no regard for the public they serve.

  9. Bogbrush Pete, 5. May 2017, 16:38

    “Cr Laidlaw said we are likely to see the introduction of electric buses to Wellington city, further improving environmental benefits.”

    This is code for ‘Please don’t hold me responsible. I know I’m the chairman, and I’ve said something positive. Isn’t that enough? Just let these chaps get on with it; they seem to know what’s what.”

  10. Chris Laidlaw, 5. May 2017, 19:43

    What a parade of unrelenting pessimism. Tranzit’s bid means a guarantee of a very substantial reduction of gross emissions in the short run, even with the withdrawal of the trolleybuses, and a commitment to the introduction of full electric buses beginning next year. That is why they are the preferred tender. It’s as simple as that. [There’s no mention of full electric buses in Tranzit’s announcement. ]

  11. The City is Ours, 6. May 2017, 0:06

    Reduced bus fares is the only way to make public transport more attractive and to get Wellingtonians out of their cars and promote a decline in transport emissions. Nevertheless the problem remains with diesel buses clogging the Golden Mile. The Regional Council takes its measurements for transport emissions from annual petrol sales. We are waiting for it to take measurements of emissions in the narrow densely-populated streets on the transport spine. To date no measurements have been taken in this area and a reduction of emissions by the new tendered buses can’t be proved as a result.
    Every year pollution claims the lives of 50 Wellingtonians and causes 100.000 lost active days in the region’s workforce. Source MFE Proposed National Standards for Air Quality 2.4 Air pollution.

  12. Mike Mellor, 6. May 2017, 11:17

    Chris Laidlaw: in the press release you say that the “introduction” of electric buses (we’ve actually had them for nearly 70 years!) is a likelihood, but your comment above says it’s a commitment. Which statement is true?

    And why not tell us such basic information as what areas the eight Tranzit contracts will cover, and what’s happening in the other areas?

    And what sort of buses will be replacing the trolleys (much more environmentally friendly than any diesels, old or new) between their withdrawal and the arrival of the new buses?

    Perhaps the best cure for “unrelenting pessimism” is to give the public a full and accurate picture.

  13. Keith Flinders, 6. May 2017, 14:35

    Will Tranzit, a family owned and run business, be paying its drivers the living wage ? Currently NZ Bus bus drivers get greater than the statutory minimum wage but less than the calculated living wage. We don’t value enough bus drivers who carry an enormous responsibility, and put up with the minority of difficult passengers.

    I don’t see anywhere in Tranzit’s press release of a commitment to fully electric buses.

  14. Traveller, 6. May 2017, 15:56

    Chris Laidlaw: Where is the Tranzit commitment to electric buses beginning next year? It’s not mentioned in their “rapt” announcement, and it’s not mentioned in the Regional Council announcement. Why would such good news be omitted, twice?

  15. Mike Mellor, 7. May 2017, 12:56

    Chris L: another question. The GWRC press release refers to nine contracts, but according to p38 of http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Transport/Regional-transport/RPTP/Final-RPTP-variation-for-notification.pdf there are 16 contracts available. What’s happening with the other seven, and which areas do they cover?

    Look forward to your responses.