25 Feb 2019

Wellington's Airport Flyer no longer part of region's bus network

10:58 am on 25 February 2019

The removal of Wellington's only direct airport bus services from the region's bus network may lead to more congestion on roads, a local MP says.

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Rongotai MP Paul Eagle says the decision will reflect poorly on Wellington and may lead to more congestion. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Airport Flyer, a commercial service run by NZ Bus, will still operate but won't show up on information boards or the Metlink website and is no longer taking Snapper.

NZ Bus chief executive Zane Fulljames said that the company wanted to stay with Metlink.

"That wasn't technically possible and in conversations with Greater Wellington Regional Council they were unable to allow us to remain connected to that system given that we were having to move to another ticketing provider."

The decision will reflect poorly on Wellington and may lead to more congestion, Rongotai MP Paul Eagle said.

"I'm surprised as the capital city of New Zealand that we're not going to be promoting our bus service and it isn't going to be linked up or integrated in terms of having a ticketing aspect, and we'll ultimately pay the price where visitors become frustrated, and instead of looking at the buses as an alternative, they'll revert to the all mighty car.

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Photo: Supplied / Wellington Airport

"[It will lead to] more congestion, and just disappointment."

Infratil, the company which has recently announced the sale of NZ Bus, also owns a majority share of Wellington Airport.

Greater Wellington Regional councillor Daran Ponter said what was needed was effectively a law change to require airport companies to accept public transport operations on their premises.

"The driver for that now is light rail in Wellington - if we are going to have a light rail system that goes to the airport, the Wellington Airport company is going to have to be compelled to take light rail onto its premise. Otherwise there is going to be a big gap in the service."

That legislation was "still in its early phase", Mr Eagle said.

A shortage of 20 drivers at NZ Bus has resulted in daily cancellations.

Meanwhile, Johnsonville evening train services will also be replaced by buses from tomorrow, affecting six peak services to and from the city.

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