15 Sep 2018

Council and transport bosses in parliament over bus shambles

7:05 am on 15 September 2018

Wellington's council and transport bosses are being hauled into Parliament for a "please explain" over the city's bus problems.

Commuters at a bus stop in Newtown

Commuters at a bus stop in Newtown. Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton

Greater Wellington Regional Council chief executive Greg Campbell has already committed to fixing it, and may order an independent review into what went wrong.

But the briefing called for next Thursday (27 September) to the transport and infrastructure select committee will add to that a grilling from MPs.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes asked for the meeting, and said Wellington's public transport network was an "omni-shambles."

"I've had numerous problems, from the Snapper cards, to ghost buses, to buses driving past absolutely full. I think every Wellingtonian has stories like this."

Mr Hughes said they knew it had been a complex process, with multiple councils, three different bus companies and the government through the NZTA all involved in the service delivery.

But he said MPs had lots of questions to ask.

"Was the process designed robust enough? How does the previous government's PTOM [Public Transport Operating Model] legislative changes, how's that impacted? But I think what most people want to know is what's the plan to fix it, and can they trust it?"

Data shows 90 percent of Wellington residents use public transport and Mr Hughes said they deserve buses that turn up on time and can actually accommodate them.

He said the only positive, was that the shambles of a public transport service had brought the community together.

"I've actually offered people lifts in my car as the buses haven't turned up. But really, we need to know that the bus system is going to be working for the region."

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