Regional Council says revised capital bus service will improve

3:00 pm on 17 July 2018

Another six months was probably needed in order to successfully introduce radical changes to Wellington's bus network, according to the Regional Council.

A new double decker bus

One of the new double decker buses. Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton

New timetables in the region came on stream on Sunday, but in the first rush hour test yesterday, some buses were late, some were cramped and some did not arrive at all, prompting a large number of passenger complaints.

Daran Ponter, the deputy chair of the Regional Council's sustainable transport committee, said passengers had been vocal about their dissatisfaction.

"There may be design issues in some areas between connecting buses, full buses connecting with full buses etc, and those are often specific to particular suburbs and those travellers have been very strident in making their views known to us."

Mr Ponter said the bus companies did not have enough drivers.

"A number of companies have pulled in drivers from elsewhere. That is not sustainable in the long term but it is symptomatic of a situation facing major cities across Australasia and that is a paucity of drivers."

Mr Ponter described this week's problems as teething issues and said another six months to get operational matters right would have ironed them out.

"Another six months would have meant we had a full complement of drivers, we had absolutely all of our buses on the routes, we had better driver knowledge of those routes etc.

"But seven years, five years, four years, the length of time doesn't matter so much; it's really the execution at this point and there are some learnings."

He said today had been a lot smoother than yesterday and efforts will now be needed to restore confidence in the region's public transport network.