15 Jun 2021

Acute driver shortage affects Wellington bus schedule

3:38 pm on 15 June 2021

The Greater Wellington Regional Council is warning residents should expect further bus cancellations due to a driver shortage.

Largely empty buses on Wellington's Lambton Quay on the first day of level 3, 28 April

Photo: RNZ / Phil Pennington

The council said at least two of its operators were experiencing acute driver shortages due to the effects of Covid-19.

Transport manager Scott Geller said high-frequency bus routes in the region were being adjusted to accommodate lower frequency routes which may be more crucial.

"We're 18 months into a global pandemic and what we're seeing is an acute driver shortage for at least two of our operators, much like the other industries like hospitality, horticulture and forestry," he said.

According to Geller, the driver shortage was being partly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with operators unable to hire foreign workers due to border closures.

He said more drivers were taking days off too, with Covid-19 protocols encouraging high-contact workers like bus drivers to stay home when unwell.

"We want to be able to guarantee all of our timetables to our communities, that's very important and unfortunately for two of our operators at the moment ... [they] simply do not have enough drivers to be able to deliver that timetable," Geller said.

Geller said the region's bus timetable would be reviewed and a new one would be in place by late July.

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