25 Oct 2018

Few passengers miss the bus as Wellington bus drivers strike

8:24 pm on 25 October 2018

Bus driver strikes led to 59 bus trips being cancelled in the Hutt Valley and five in Wellington today.

One of the new buses being rolled out in Wellington.

One of the new buses being rolled out in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Tranzurban managing director Paul Snelgrove said the bus company delivered 96.7 per cent of commuter services and 100 per cent of schools services in Wellington and Hutt Valley.

About 25 Tranzurban drivers opted to strike throughout the day.

Mr Snelgrove said people who use the bus should check Metlink's services updates on its website heading into tomorrow.

The drivers are striking because of a dispute over pay and conditions.

About a dozen people from other bus companies turned up to the bus depot in Rongotai to support their striking colleagues.

Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O'Sullivan said about 40 Tranzurban employed drivers in Wellington, and about 90 drivers in the Hutt Valley, were unionised.

But Tranzurban, which is one of four bus service providers in the region, said relatively few of its drivers were union members.

One commuter who was showing support at a Tranzit depot this morning, Alistair, said bus drivers deserved better.

"They've been treated abysmally by their employers - they make this city run - and they deserve the best," he said.

Another commuter travelling on a full Brooklyn bus said her driver was giving free rides to send a message to the bus company.

A Tranzurban spokesperson said it had about 300 people working across Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

He said only 29 employees went to the union stop work meeting where the strike was ratified late last month.

Rather than cancelling routes, the company ran fewer buses on each route.

"We will move heaven and earth to get people where they need to be," the spokesperson said.

Mr O'Sullivan said there was talk of a potential date for mediation between the two parties, but that would not stop the strike.

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