67 trips on Wellington city bus routes to be temporarily suspended
From Monday 17 October, 67 trips on Metlink’s bus network will be temporarily suspended to improve the reliability of service for bus customers during the national driver shortage.
Morning and afternoon peak trips will be suspended across 14 Wellington city bus routes with the Metlink website and app detailing the trips affected, allowing customers to plan ahead.
Metlink General Manager Samantha Gain said the national driver shortage is affecting customers and operators across Metlink’s entire network, but particularly in Wellington city.
“We want to minimise the uncertainty felt by bus customers and we’ve worked with the operator to introduce temporary suspensions which will remove trips from our higher frequency routes or less patronised services to better allocate available drivers and improve reliability.
“While temporary suspensions aren’t a solution to the driver shortage, they will give customers more certainty and bring at least some relief to some passengers.”
Metlink is further preparing for next Monday’s changes to service by moving larger buses onto routes with suspended trips to compensate for the reduced frequency.
“Despite more and more people working from home, during the morning and afternoon peak on these routes, affected customers may find their bus is more full than usual,” said Ms Gain.
“Operators will also prioritise trips on these routes to avoid consecutive cancellations where possible.
“We are doing everything we can at an operational level to reduce the level and impact of cancellations and provide the best service we can.
“At a national level, there are promising movements around driver recruitment for the industry, including recent lobbying to the government to change immigration settings.
“However, in the short term we are still at an undeniable statistical disadvantage, needing an additional 120 drivers for a full complement.”
As a result, unplanned cancellations will be unavoidable at times said Ms Gain.
Metlink advises customers to continue to check the website and app before they travel and plan their journey.