After weeks of increasing unrest, a large number of Auckland’s buses will be off the road on Friday as large numbers of drivers from both NZ Bus and Howick & Eastern strike for the day.

Many Auckland bus services won’t run on Friday because of industrial action so people should plan ahead.

Drivers employed by NZ Bus are taking industrial action from 4am on Friday until 4am on Saturday. In a separate dispute some drivers employed by Howick & Eastern will walk off the job from 5.30am on Friday till 5.30am on Saturday.

Services affected are Metrolink, Go West, North Star, Waka Pacific, CityLink, InnerLink, OuterLink, Howick & Eastern and school buses operated by NZBus.

All other bus, train and ferry services will operate as normal. There may be other bus options available in some areas including: Ritchie’s, Birkenhead Transport, Tranzit (Airporter), Bayes, SkyBus, Murphy, Northern Express, Urban Express, Waiheke Bus Company as well as train and ferry services.

Auckland Transport’s Bus Services Manager, Brendon Main, says: “We are sorry but services will be limited on Friday, the roads will be busy and there will be delays. People should consider options such as travelling outside peak times, sharing rides, cycling or walking. People should also talk to their employer about their work situation on Friday.”

Mr Main says AT staff will be on duty at some busy locations to assist customers with information and advice. Updates will be provided on the AT website, Twitter and on radio and TV traffic bulletins on Friday.

Customers are advised to check with the Auckland Transport call centre (09 3666400)

Separately AT have said to me

NZ Bus industrial action will commence 0400 Friday 19 February – concluding 0400 Saturday 20 February

  • No NZB urban or school services will operate during this period
  • NZB operate approximately 240 school services per day (list here)
  • NZB union membership approx. 85%. Remaining employees are unlikely to be able to get vehicles from depots due to picket lines
  • Indications are that work to rule action will continue post Friday with drivers electing not to accept cash fares from customers over the coming weeks :note this will not impact AT as fare revenue, whether from cash or HOP, under existing contracts and commercial services flows to operators

Howick and Eastern industrial action will commence 0530 Friday 19 February – concluding 0530 Saturday 20 February

  • H&E union membership approx 30%.
  • During peak this will result in approximately 50% of scheduled service on Botany and Howick services being cancelled (this is still to be confirmed)
  • All other H&E services including school buses will run as per normal

I’ve already seen some suggestions that without buses on many routes that people should be allowed to drive in bus lanes. AT have confirmed that the bus lanes are still in operation even if the buses aren’t running so if you drive, stay out of them. One of the reasons is that while NZ Bus are the main operator on many of the routes with bus lanes across Auckland, other buses do use them too. However, given those lanes will be much quieter they might for once make for ideal bike lanes.

NEX Double Deckers
The Northern Express and it’s new double deckers will still be running and will likely very busy.

There seems to be a lot of conflicting information on all sides as to the causes of the strikes and both the Union and the bus companies are obviously playing to the media and public to get support. As I said to the Herald, it’s a shame the public are being dragged into this dispute (which is obviously the point). Especially as confidence in public transport has been improving for some time and that has been showing through with the patronage growth. This year we’ve got both Simplified Fares in July and the new bus network for South Auckland rolling out in October and it would be a shame if this knocked the confidence of potential bus users once the changes go live.

One interesting aspect this time is that once the drivers go back to work they’re saying they won’t accept cash.

For 15 days over the coming months, drivers will refuse to accept anything but Hop cards meaning anyone trying to pay cash will get a free ride. The action is to urge Auckland Transport to better inform the public about cashless payments.

“We’ve asked them for pamphlets, so if anyone pays cash, they also get a flyer telling them that the Hop card is cheaper and faster.”

I wonder how many HOP users will just pretend not to have a HOP card on those days.

This seems to be almost a carbon copy of the action taken about four years ago which was the last time a strike was threatened. Back then the strike was averted with some last minute talks and I still hope the same can happen this time to avoid any additional chaos – although it wouldn’t surprise me if so many people changed or cancelled their travel that issues like congestion don’t become such a problem. If the strike does go ahead I’m sure AT and the NZTA will be watching the impacts with great interest. It could become a case study like the Wellington Rail network did following a storm that washed out tracks and shut the rail network for days.

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  1. It’s pretty simple: NZ Bus, like most employers of supposedly low-skilled workers, are out to screw them and drive down the overall cost of labour.

    The only solution is to bring the bus companies back under public ownership, so that bus drivers gain the respect of being public servants like nurses, doctors, soldiers, and cops

    1. Don’t they pay fairly well for fairly low skilled work “taking hourly rates to $20.75 an hour”

      Plenty of degree qualified professionals get paid less when you take into account the overtime hours that they don’t get extra money for being on a salary.

      Anyway, It’s not like NZBus is a monopoly employer of those with bus driver skills. Plenty of other companies which employ those with higher class licences and “P” endorsements… It’s not like a cop where there is only one employer in the country.

      Surely if you are getting paid less than than market value, moving company is a better option than causing massive disruption to the public.

  2. (response to early commuter) nope, not correct! my experience of working for a municipal bus operator in the late 70s early 80s was that I started on a smidge above the average wage and by the time I left, Tramways Union drivers were well behind the average, albeit still above the Driver’s Union staff of the private companies

    ownership does not dictate management style and municipals are just as much under pressure to keep costs down as private, possibly more so because it’s public money they’re spending

    1. I cant understand why a job with so much responsibilty comes with such a low payrate.

      Ive never operated a bus but imagine it takes a fair degree of skill and training plus peoples lives are in the bus drivers hands.

        1. Generally agree with the idea of taking no payment rather than striking. Especially despicable in my opinion to prevent stop school bus services. As soon as you mess around with people’s children, no way the general public will support you. What I would like to know is, rather than spouting out vacuous statements around health and safety as justification, where is the evidence that working conditions are having an issue? How many near misses, loss time injuries, stress enforced leave etc. have been documented as a direct result of working conditions. If you cant even provide this basic level of information you dont have a leg to stand on. Further, I can not comprehend how a 4 hour rest gap, mandated by central government, doesnt give someone enough time to go home have a meal, a lie down etc. thats absolute tripe, even in rush hour average commutes are still fairly short. If you dont like the split shift you shoulnt have become a bus driver.

        2. Well done SDW. So true. You wana tell people that driving at low speeds in the city not even long distance is hectic. At $20 an hour and a shortage of drivers in NZ these unions are exploiting the drivers and community. No work no pay the busses should remain at the depots for a well timed maintaince. These foolish Union is going to cripple the economy then even if they get 20% it will mean nothing. NZ Bus you guys should do an investigation as to what other companies are offering and say to the union that all union drivers salary will be restructured to standard as per NZ Bus competitors. Finish end of story.

  3. (Part 1) If we look at the geopolitics of the situation, there’s an underlying issue here which has been many decades in the making, associated with NZ Bus’s apparent inability to score any of the contracts in the southern New Network. Back in the days of the trams, the ATB’s tram drivers were represented by the Tramways Union, while private bus company drivers were with the former Northern Drivers’ Union. Pay rates for tram drivers were higher than for bus drivers, and that differential has continued to this day with NZ Bus being (more or less) the inheritors of the ATB’s routes and of the Tramways Union staff that have for around 60 years driven buses, rather than trams.

    The issue has come to a head with PTOM, which for the first time gives the ratepayer the upper hand in determining routes, fares and levels of service. NZ Bus was always going to struggle to compete in a bidding war for routes given its staff are paid more than other companies’ staff. Hints of their difficulty emerged some years back when NZ Bus lost out to Ritchies significantly on North Shore contracts. Now that there’s a root-and-branch rejigging of the entire network, NZ Bus must be tipped to lose most of the rest of their current contracts, with the exception of the “commercial” routes where their ongoing role will be grandfathered in for some years at least.

    1. Geopolitics

      (from Greek γῆ ge “earth, land” and πολιτική politikē “politics”) is the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on international politics and international relations.

      1. Its use was a tongue-in-cheek way of referring to the wider machinations of the bus companies and their paymasters. Call it the “meta-dispute” if you will!

        1. NZ Bus drivers are not the highest paid within the industry, Birkenhead drivers are. NZ Bus also fail to mention the penal rates that many other Auckland companies provide for overtime and weekends including NZ Bus Wellington. Add in penal rates and many of their competitors drivers are taking home a superior weekly wage. Don’t believe the hype. The land used for the current NZ Bus South Auckland depot is owned by Infratil who own NZ Bus.

  4. (Part 2) In some of the recent media reports there has been reference to the Tramway Union being down on AT because they have not included in their conditions for PTOM contracts a requirement that drivers should be able to shift companies without loss of wages and conditions – ie neutralising the commercial advantage under PTOM that companies like Ritchies and Go Bus have which made them the preferred candidate for the southern routes, and as a side-effect broadening the potential coverage of the Tramways Union.

    So while this dispute is ostensibly about toilet breaks and the like, it’s part of a wider dynamic which sees NZ Bus looking to find any ways that it possibly can to keep costs down to enable it to have a future under PTOM. Otherwise we may see NZ Bus shrinking significantly at the expense of Ritchies and other operators, with NZ Bus possibly being reduced to a rump of grandfathered, currently commercial services – which are, ironically, pretty much the same routes that were converted from tram operation back in the 1950s. The wheel may be coming full circle for the Tramways Union and NZ Bus as inheritors of the old ATB operations . . .

    1. or NZ bus could just do what so many other companies do and simply set up a new company and sell it’s assets to the new company and offer jobs on new contracts that aren’t on the grandfathered rates.
      That said drivers do deserve to be paid a reasonable wage and have reasonable work conditions. It is pretty hard for these to happy in a private company as they are out to make a profit. Public ownership is not necessarily a good thing either as ratepayers are then a soft target as they typically aren’t as sharp nosed as private companies. This is where owned but run as a private company (a la SOE) is probably the best solution… It means that the council can decide exactly what services it wants and look after the drivers without being overly generous to them and without having profits sucked out of the system by the private companies.

      1. don’t forget the intermediary Bruce, the Councillor; they can be as hard nosed as a private owner, not to mention that some (not speaking about the current bunch because I don’t know many of them) can be irrationally mean

      2. Yes, public ownership has given us ridiculously overpaid cops, nurses, and soldiers, right?

        “Public ownership = soft” and “private ownership = tough” are ridiculous myths

        1. It hasn’t been an issue in New Zealand yet, but overseas example have shown that public ownership of PT operators leads to the council being held to ransom by unreasonable demands, resulting in very frequent strikes and highly overpaid staff. It also means that any dispute immediately becomes a political matter, with politicians grandstanding about it, any sense of negotiation or compromise being lost and the innocent public getting used as pawns to score political points. The London Underground would be the most obvious example.

        2. Those are working for companies as such.
          I was thinking more along the lines of overpaid councillors, council workers, consultants etc etc

          and yes as Tony said. Full Public ownership does tend to lead to more ransom-like demands along the lines of TfL tube drivers

    2. Completely on the wrong track with comments re Tramways Union. This a fully combined union action. First Union and Tramways. First Union covers drivers in NZBus and all other bus companies.

  5. We all come to this blog because we see PT as being very important, but let’s not forget that workers’ rights are important too. The drivers work hard to provide a safe service and while many of the general public will inevitably bleat about the drivers’ $20 wage (which is kinda low in my view) they’re actually on more like $13 once you factor in that atrocious four break between the compulsory split shifts. There’s not enough time for them to meaningfully go home in that space, and if they did they would be whacked with double transport costs, so it’s not fair to say they’re doing 8 hour days.

    1. Yes, however this is where PT needs to be organised and developed further so that there are more services off-peak so that drivers can do a morning or evening shift and get their full 8 hours (or whatever) in. Also has nobody ever heard of part-time? There are plenty of people out there looking for part-time work… why can’t they bus companies hire a greater proportion of part-timers to cover the peaks meaning that full-timers can work a proper un-interrupted shift?

  6. “I wonder how many HOP users will just pretend not to have a HOP card on those days.”

    Given that the NZHerald made a point to publish the cashless days, I would say a lot.

    I’m going to do so on one day; I am under no illusions that pretending to not have a Hop card on these days would be theft. But I’m still smarting from AT sending out their Ambassadors to bus stops to assure passengers that the Outer Link would still be operating every half hour during the union meeting at the beginning of the month, when this didn’t happen at all (honestly, if you’re going to employ someone to stand at main bus stops all day, at least give them a phone or radio so they can give accurate information).

    1. What if your HOP card is left at home or is empty of funds?

      Regardless it would however be interesting to see how much quicker the buses load up at each stop with no need to fiddle with cash for the folks who don’t have a HOP card that day.

      In Holland a co-worker once told me, the bus driver strikes consist of the services running as usual, but the drivers won’t collect fares, rather refusing to run the services.
      That way they keep the public on their side. I know that it probably wouldn’t fly here and sounds a typically Dutch solution to the problem.

      [That is stick it the “man”, not the bus users].

      1. That is a really good idea, and yet another way for drivers to cause financial pain to the company without affecting innocent passengers. I really don’t know why we just accept the notion that passenger disruption is a necessary part of PT strikes, when there’s no justifiable reason for it to be.

        1. Does sound like a really interesting idea if a significant number of bus drivers did this as part of industrial action.

          I get that they would be working without pay (as they would be not performing their duties which including collecting payments), but would be interesting to see the impact of ‘free buses’.

          I suspect given that March is coming up and many services are already very busy, not a lot of spare capacity there to be filled up in any case

        2. Sounds like a good idea, but given NZ companies attitude, it probably result in a lock out by the company.

          Why would you pay diesel, road tax, crash damage etc if you are going to make no revenue.

  7. From PTOM’s perspective bids aren’t purely about the dollars. Under PTOM an operators tender bid is adjusted by a number of factors, for example a good record of reliability and low numbers of complaints and a high quality bus fleet all have the effect of lowering the bid, so the number of dollars each operator bids in the tender round is more of a starting point than their final answer. Virtually all of the people bidding for the South Auckland work would have needed to buy more buses so their bids would have included full AT spec brand new buses, while Wiri depot has accumulated a fleet of, well, not exactly full AT spec brand new buses. It’s also sitting on a plot of prime industrial real estate in Norman Spencer Drive. Draw your own conclusions.

    I had a few goes at writing a bit more but it all turns into angry rants. Let’s just say from our perspective it’s not about the dollars either – hardly anyone becomes a bus driver because they like the pay, we do it because we like the job, we just don’t like NZBus doing whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, and leaving it up to us to pull them up when they ‘forget’ their limits and obligations under our contract. They have pushed us too far, we’ve had enough.

    1. How would reliability and number of complaints be measured for those companies that don’t currently operate in Auckland? AT would have to depend on external data (including quite possibly biased data provided by the companies themselves). While I agree both factors are consideration that AT should take into account I have to assume that AT can not base their tender decision on these factors simply because it’s not possible to do a fair comparison of companies that currently operate under AT’s network (and thus AT have accurate data on reliability and number of complaints) and those that does not. This is an unfortunate side effect of the tendering process—for a tender process to be a fair only objective data can be used but these don’t provide the full picture.

  8. This industrial dispute has very little to do with toilet breaks, that’s a media beat up. And in fact I don’t feel it has much to do with wages. It relates to conditions and the failure of the company to recognise how hard their drivers work to ensure they keep NZ Bus in a strong position for tendering – which means they have a job. NZ Bus drivers are entitled to a fair and balanced work life and some quality time away from the job. Infratil greed driving NZ Bus management determined to receive huge performance bonuses has got us to this point. NZ Bus management are blind to what the job actually involves, and if you consider that many drivers can not afford to lose a days wages while striking it speaks volumes to the poison environment they feel trapped within.

  9. I think you’re understating just how bad this is going to be for PT in Auckland. Peoples’ perceptions of PT have really been improving in recent years, and we’re probably less than a decade away from the point where PT becomes an accepted alternative to a car for the middle class. However, an event like this could completely reverse peoples’ perceptions as it brings back the image of PT being an unreliable and unpleasant form of transport, suited only to those too poor to own a car. If people are supposed to see PT as a viable alternative to owning a car, then it needs to be reliable and events like this can completely crush that notion, including to those who are not even affected by the strike.

    I’m not taking sides on the strike itself but, as I’ve said before, a strike is supposed to be a tool in which to inflict financial suffering on the business, thus forcing them to recognise the importance of the workers. Disrupting innocent passengers should have no place as part of a strike, and AT should have other operators on standby ready to fill in whenever there is a strike, with the original operator footing the bill. This would ensure that the business still feels the financial effect of the strike, but the innocent public aren’t affected. This is an ideal scenario that protects both the workers’ right to strike and the passengers’ right to travel, and the people who have criticised situations where this occurs overseas are just showing that their demands are so unreasonable that they need to use the political pressure gained from disrupting thousands of peoples’ lives in order to get what they want. (note: I’m not saying that’s the case in this strike)

    Unfortunately, it seems that the conflict in this situation is going to be difficult to resolve and could end up being very lengthy, which will only serve to drag PTs reputation even further through the mud. I sincerely hope that somehow the disruption to innocent peoples’ lives is prevented.

    1. For the past six years NZ Bus drivers have fought to avoid any major action as their commitment has always been towards their passengers and they have collectively backed down many times to ensure the wheels kept turning. The last thing they want to do is come off the road and battle management with strike action. If you worked for this company you would understand how inevitable this action was. It has built via feeling bullied in relation to gradually diminishing conditions that leaves drivers stressed and fatigued. It’s dangerous. When it comes to the safety of your family members, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents that travel on a bus there is little to no compromise. Drivers in this position need to be treated fairly, that’s all they ask for. It is not about the almighty dollar for the drivers. It is for management. A slight adjustment in working conditions is all it would take but the company point blank refuse to negotiate a fair settlement for all parties involved.

    2. Tony there’s action taking place already and more planned that the public will never hear about and wouldn’t understand how it works if they did, and no reason why they should, as you say it’s not their fight. This one day strike is the only thing I can see in the action plan that will have a big adverse effect on the public, everything else is either good for the public (e.g. cash free days) or will be invisible to the public (e.g. the only stopwork meetings planned from this point on are depot based and only one depot per day rather than combined, we have those reasonably regularly and nobody ever notices as the other depots pick up the slack, if you notice them this time it won’t be because of anything the unions are doing differently to any other time …)

      I don’t know whether the media have picked up on it but the thing about not starting the last trip on the duty if it would mean signing off late specifically excludes duties that finish after 9pm, duties that finish with school trips, duties that finish with charters, 1st half of broken shifts, and a couple of others I can’t remember, I don’t have a copy of the notice with me. It’s designed specifically so that we don’t drop school trips or charters or trips that can’t be covered because the depot offices are closed.

  10. As I see it, NZ Bus staff are angry about the lack of consultation over rosters and working hours from July last year. The anger and resentment has hardened their attitudes towards NZ Bus. The employment court is taking forever to announce its ruling on this matter. Add to that the loss of South Auckland services. NZ Bus bosses are perceived as out-of-touch and arrogant. On top of that, it’s darned expensive living in Auckland – look at the way rents have risen ! .Then there’s the issue of broken shifts. Essentially, be at work for 12 plus hours and get paid for 8. AT need to take drivers’ wages right out of the PTOM system. There’s no way lower driver pay-rates should give a company any advantage.

    1. There is also a great deal of mistrust George. After the 2011 RWC the company promised the drivers they would be rewarded for their hard work at the next negotiation round. This never came to fruition, instead the same hard nosed attitude was delivered to them. The drivers have delivered on all PTOM requirements and have been kicked in the face far too many times.

    1. I completely agree with the last sentence George. Low wages, crap conditions and living in pricey Auckland, that grows dearer by the day, is always going to come to a head for any organisation.

      NZ Bus equally should not be penalised by AT for paying over the odds but then by losing contacts. No one wins in the end.

  11. Not sure why the HOP card pushing. I’m often in a situation where I can’t find anywhere to top up and have to pay cash. AT needs to sort that out first before anyone starts pushing HOP cards.

    1. You can set up auto top up and link your Hop card to your credit card.
      When Hop balance drops below X, it tops up by Y (both values your choice).
      Works for me, I never have to worry about no balance on my card.

      1. Got to be careful with this – if your credit card details change, you get one email notification and if you don’t sort it out within a few days your card gets irreversibly suspended and your entire balance seized. Have to buy a new one.

  12. If pay is not the major consideration in PTOM tenders, but reliability of service etc how did Go Bus and Murphys get the tenders? Neither have driven public transport services in South Auckland so how can their reliability be measured? And connected to this how come they got the majority of tenders? Why have they not been given a few to prove their ability to cope in an large urban area (with all the constraints they would not have on school trips, charters and smaller city routes)?
    I personally think AT tender documents should also spell out best practise requirements for contracted staff wellbeing and insist that contractors are good employers. Minimum NZTA requirements are routinely being used for daily rosters in all Auckland bus companies now.
    That is – working up to 13 hours a day with two 30 minute meal breaks (14 hours in total), 10 hr breaks between rosters (ie finish @1.00am one shift and starting @ 11am the same day for next day shift), 5.30 hours without a break (7 trips up Mt Eden Rd) and often with no time to get out of the seat, 30 minute meal breaks. Forget the low rate of pay, this is also about health and safety of drivers first, then passengers.
    AT has to take some responsibility that they think is OK and do not stipulate improved NZTA minimums for all tenders.

  13. I would envision on Friday there will be a lot of people trying to drive to train station for park and ride, and found out all the car park near train stations are full.

  14. Auckland Transport says drivers claims are untrue
    17/02/2016 12:33 p.m.
    Auckland Transport says a pamphlet being handed out by Howick & Eastern Bus drivers to passengers is blatantly untrue.

    The drivers, who are represented by First Union, are planning strike action on Friday.

    In the pamphlet it is claimed Auckland Transport is working with Howick & Eastern to reduce weekend and extra hours pay rates.

    Auckland Transport’s Bus Services Manager, Brendon Main, says AT is not involved, in anyway at all, in pay negotiations between Howick & Eastern and its drivers.

    “This dispute is solely between the drivers and their employer, Auckland Transport and the travelling public are caught in the middle” says Mr Main.

    1. Of course AT aren’t involved “directly”, but they sure as hell are indirectly if to win tenders Howick & Eastern cut costs, like wages! Try harder AT, a limp effort at deflecting the blame.

      1. I agree. I understand AT’s point of view however I think they need to acknowledge that their tender process has, even if only indirectly, not been entirely fair on bus drivers. In Wellington the tender process for the train operations contract included a requirement that the new operator employ staff on equivalent or better terms and conditions. Why did AT not impose the same requirements as part of their bus tender process? This is an important question that should be put to AT given how important bus drivers are to bus operations. If bus companies are allowed to put up a low tender based on employing minimum-wage staff then how can AT be confident that the new companies will offer a safe and reliable service? It may end up to be a false economy for AT in the long run.

        1. James,if you had said “minimal” wage staff, I might have agreed with you, however recently when I was driving for a local bus company, I was receiving close to the “liveable” wage (I say close because right now I don’t have access to either figure), but it is several dollars an hour higher than the pitiful “minimum” wage

  15. If NZ Bus cannot provide service on a route, perhaps it should be put back out to tender?
    In my view we should encourage several operators to give alternative employers for drivers, as well as promoting competition, innovation and improved service for the public.

  16. I feel like people are making this more complicated than it needs to be:
    – minimum driver rules are set by nzta in conjunction with stakeholders. I dont think AT should expect higher standards than what nzta recommends.
    – private businesses are not welfare organisations. Drivers should not expect conditions to carry over from one employer to next. One of the advantages of the PTOM contracts is that it creates some competition for drivers: If you dont like your employer you will have the choice of working for another bus company.
    – by extension, if a bus company can get enough drivers by paying less than other companies then thats fine. They may offer better working conditions in other ways.
    – private businesses is not a substitute for government transfers and shouldn’t be treated as such. its the role of government to step in with appropriate transfers for those who need it. A single person may be just fine on $20 per hour whereas someone who has 4 kids might not. Solution? Government transfers to those who have children, e.g. working for families tax credits.
    – Arguing for businesses to provide all this stuff for everyone based on some people’s circumstances simply detracts attention from a more important discussion on the role of government in society. That is, the government is the leveller, not businesses.

  17. As a driver of buses in Auckland the real issue here is Auckland Transport, the bottom line is AT is sourcing the work out to cheaper operators leaving the companies that normally operate these routes without the means to continue to operate in the same capacity. To name one company NZ Bus, it is as far as Iam led to believe closing down its Wiri depot with the loss of up to 200 drivers. How has this come about? because AT which is administered by the Auckland City Council has sourced the work of Aucklands Southern bus routes to a cheaper operator namely Richies. A big company itself which pays its workers alot less than NZ Bus and Howick and Eastern. Another cheap operator moving into the market which is also taking the work is Hamilton based Go Bus.
    When you consider the idiots in the council want to build an underground rail link to take passengers up Queen Street which is going to cost billions, you ask yourself do we really need it? Why doesnt the council spend this money on the allready existing bus services in Auckland and provide decent bus lanes? Iam guessing because they and there mates are sourcing the contracts out for the underground bollocks to their other mates who will no doubt charge quite handsomely for their services to build the white elephant as well as a bit extra for themselves. Its the ratepayers money they are waisting and no one is doing anything. Dont be fooled by the AT logos you see everywhere, they are just trying to make it look like your money is being well spent but in the last five yeas on the congestion around Auckland it has changed nothing but the traffic sure has got worse.

    1. If you’re a bus driver then you’ll surely have noticed that there isn’t all that much space on city streets to run many more buses, even if they all had bus lanes. If we want to significantly grow PT in Auckland then we’ll need more services and there isn’t the space on the streets for the number of buses that would be required which is why they’re building the CRL and looking at light rail. Don’t fear though, this doesn’t mean buses will reduce, those resources will be shifted to serving other areas of Auckland.

    2. If you don’t like your employer who just lost a tender but paid you more you can go and do the same job for less for another. Sounds like fun, yay! As for rules, here was me thinking the Holiday Act made is plainly clear, you work a public holiday, you get it back especially Mondayised holidays. By 2016 it turns out rules and laws are very vague, very elastic, it simply doesn’t happen a lot of the time. And so it is with basic driving standards and NZTA rules. And last time I looked AT is central government!

  18. And in other news… A Stop Work meeting was held by another PT group over safety in the workplace….. Nothing in the media though eh! AT were asked to attend but could not make it…. Shame. The machinations of AT have a lot to answer for.

  19. Stop outsourcing of bus services and employ the drivers directly. This will enable saving on the takings from the middle-man allowing for improved terms and conditions. Will also allow for same standards across city.
    Not so sure that a strike is a good image for unions just before elections as surely there is a less disruptive way to resolve this true root cause of this issue.
    People do respect the intent of the action taken but not the impact that this has on families and businesses that has nothing to do with this internal issue in bus companies. This is not fair to the city and its people.

  20. I was expecting traffic to be worse as many commuters returned to cars. This was one of the best Friday AM runs since Xmas period and reading in the media the majority of motorists also experienced the same this morning.

    I decided to research why this occurred and found some interesting papers on how certain bus stops cause congestion.
    “The reduction in capacity due to a bus stop was found to be in the range of 8 to 13 percent.”

    1. Excellent stuff. Its certainly the case on Remuera Rd (westbound between Ladies Mile and Greenlane). If AT removed this one stop (two others very close) it would ease congestion a huge amount in the mornings.

  21. My votes for the bus drivers. It takes alot of skill and patience to do your job. Obviously if going on strike helps you get your voice heard I think why not.. Go bus drivers. …

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