5 Jul 2018

Wellington bus services disrupted ahead of new contract

11:04 am on 5 July 2018

Bus services in Wellington are being disrupted as a new company prepares to take over services.

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NZ Bus said drivers had called in sick, but the bus workers' union said the main cause of disruption were drivers being used to train new staff and buses out of action for repainting. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Thirty-four bus services were cancelled in the capital this morning due to drivers calling in sick.

NZ Bus chief executive Zane Fulljames said illness - cold and flu - was the reason for a lack of drivers.

He said a number of services had been disrupted recently in the lead up to a new contract on 15 July.

"We've had about 15 to 20 missed trips a day, which isn't too bad," he said.

"We've had to make 106 people redundant and we're a week out from a major transition."

The redundancies have been made since Tranzit won the contract to take over 60 percent of Wellington's bus routes from NZ Bus in May last year.

The bus workers' union said absenteeism was no higher than usual.

New Zealand Tramways and Public Transport Union spokesperson Kevin O'Sullivan said the main causes of disruption were drivers being taken off duty to train new staff and buses taken out of service to be painted.

"They've got to train people on the new routes so they're taking out about 10 drivers each day."

Greater Wellington Regional Council spokesperson Peter Thornbury said it was sorry for disruption to commuters which was higher than council had expected.

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