Greater Wellington helps avert local and nationwide bus cancellations

Projects & Partnerships

Greater Wellington Regional Council has helped usher in changes to upcoming employment legislation to give bus drivers the rest and meal breaks they are entitled to and avoid the unintended consequence of thousands of bus services being cancelled across Wellington and the rest of the country. 

Greg Campbell, Chief Executive of Greater Wellington represented regional and unitary councils and Auckland Transport in talks with the Minister of Transport, unions, and bus operators to agree a new land transport rule that gives flexibility on when breaks can be taken for the next twelve months.

“Drivers are the backbone of the public transport industry in New Zealand and councils fully support these changes. The challenge for operators was how to implement rest and meal breaks at such short notice without cancelling thousands of services – this agreement achieves that by providing flexibility on when breaks can happen,” said Mr Campbell.

“Metlink operators are now applying this flexibility and are working hard to ensure there will be no cancellations across the region as they build towards maximum compliance with the legislation,” said Mr Campbell.   

The rule change incorporates a transition period, to give councils, unions and bus operators time to work collaboratively on adjustments to scheduling, rostering and timetables to work out when breaks can be taken to minimise service disruption. During the transition period, the NZ Transport Agency will monitor the scheduling of rest and meals breaks.

“This is an important step forward, showing what can be achieved when we all work together,” added Mr Campbell.

In the negotiations a memorandum of understanding was struck between operators, unions, councils and the government, with the Minister of Transport undertaking to investigate systemic issues in the industry that need addressing to grow and strengthen the industry.