Wellington Scoop

Safety checks and accidents blamed for “more weeks” of bus disruptions

Media release from Greater Wellington Regional Council
Disruptions to GO Wellington and Valley Flyer bus services are likely to continue for a few more weeks but the numbers of daily disruptions are expected to reduce progressively, NZ Bus and Greater Wellington said today.

“We apologise to customers affected by service disruptions,” says Rachel Drew, NZ Bus Southern Chief Operations Officer.

She said eight buses are currently out of service, following recent checks by the Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) and several more were out of service due to accidents and vandalism.

The CVIU carries out random checks to ensure taxi and bus operators are complying with operational and safety regulations.

“We need to address some issues identified in the recent checks, such as the correct dimensions for safety signs, throughout our whole fleet and we are doing this progressively. NZ Bus has an agreed plan with the CVIU and the NZ Transport Agency to address issues. We are fully committed to the health and safety of our customers and employees.”

When the CVIU removes buses from service, for whatever reason, they must then go through a complete Certificate of Fitness process, similar to a Warrant of Fitness test for a car. “This all takes time and we have put extra resources into this and our depot staff are working through the night and weekends but unfortunately we expect services to be affected for a few more weeks. As time goes on we expect the number of service disruptions to reduce steadily.

“I know any disruption to services, if it affects you, is frustrating but the vast majority of services are still running. GO Wellington runs 1875 services each day and Valley Flyer runs 1,010. The current disruptions are affecting around three percent of services each day.”

Wayne Hastie, Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Public Transport General Manager, says the work must be done as buses need to comply with all the legal requirements. “Over the next few weeks we’ll continue to give customers information about the disruptions as soon as we can so they can plan their morning or evening commute. We’re aiming to have information about morning service disruptions on the Metlink website the evening before. Information about evening services will be on the Metlink website by mid-afternoon. People without access to a computer or mobile device can call the Metlink Service Centre on 0800 801 700.”

He says the Council’s contracts with public transport operators require companies to meet general operational, safety and accessibility standards. “And we monitor this regularly at a reasonably high level. But our role, and level of authority, is not to drill down to the level that the CVIU does in terms of all the regulations and legal requirements that commercial vehicle operators must comply with. Our expectation when we enter into contracts with operators is that, as a matter of course, they comply with all the relevant operational and safety regulations.”

The MetLink website isn’t carrying any daily reports about bus delays. It deletes the information as soon as the relevant times have passed. However its original (and only) press release, published on 8 May, is specified as being effective until 31/05/2013 at 5:00pm.

That’s a very long period of uncertainty for Wellingtonians who depend on the buses.

Wellington.Scoop – May 9
More peak time bus services have been cancelled in Wellington this morning. Today’s details were published by MetLink, which yesterday apologised for disruptions which it said were likely to continue mainly because of police checks which are finding faults on city buses and then issuing pink stickers.

Cancelled services as at: 07:52 09/05/2013
Route Start Time Origin Destination
1 8:12 Island Bay Wellington Rail
2 7:57 Kilbirnie Shops Wellington Rail
3 7:40 Karori Park Lyall Bay
3 8:00 Lyall Bay Karori Park
4 7:45 Island Bay Molesworth St
5 7:55 Hataitai School Wellington Rail
5 8:10 Hataitai School Wellington Rail
6 7:25 Lyall Bay Molesworth St
6 7:45 Lyall Bay Molesworth St
7 7:52 Kingston Wellington Rail
11 7:20 Seatoun Park Wellington Rail
11 8:10 Seatoun Park Wellington Rail
11 8:15 Wellington Rail Kilbirnie Shops
14 6:48 Hataitai Village Wilton
14 7:35 Wilton Courtenay Place
14 7:52 Wadestown Shops Courtenay Place
14 8:15 Hataitai Village Molesworth St
31 7:40 Miramar Park Rd Wellington Rail

RadioNZ reports that twenty buses have been taken off the road for failing to comply with safety regulations.

Yesterday’s apology and explanation

Thanks to Mark Robinson for the photo


  1. ScottJ, 9. May 2013, 10:16

    Its the THIRD day of disruption, not the second. The first day with problems was Tuesday 7th, and I’m aware of 9 services cancelled on one route between 7.50 and 8.30. At one point there were 60 people waiting at my bus stop and no-one knew anything about any problems. The electronic signs were totally useless. They simply listed everything as “SCHED” which is supposed to mean ‘the bus is coming but we don’t know where it is”.

    I’ve seen “CAN” on the signs just once in the last three mornings. Useless. [The Regional Council didn’t admit there were any problems till yesterday, which it claimed was the first day.]

  2. Mark, 9. May 2013, 13:59

    I can confirm that it’s the third day of disruption. The photograph was taken at 12:04pm on Tuesday 7th.