Metlink bus and train services boosted as school term begins

Service Changes Staff & Operators
  • Weekday timetables resume for Wellington and Porirua buses.
  • Suspended rail services reinstated.
  • Cancellations still possible due to national driver shortage.

Regular weekday timetables for Metlink buses resume on Monday 30 January after the network operated on enhanced Saturday schedules for most of the month to alleviate the impact of the national driver shortage. 

Rail services suspended in December are also being restored, although an ongoing rail staff shortage could cause some trains to be cancelled.

The return of regular weekday timetables will increase bus services by about 20 percent, notably at peak times, however, the planned suspension of some buses continues, and cancellations are still likely.

Metlink is short 125 drivers from the 650 required to run the bus network at full capacity.

Greater Wellington Transport Committee Chair Thomas Nash said suspended buses would eventually be reinstated as overseas drivers gradually enter the country.

“We’ve asked our operators to step up recruitment but until enough drivers complete their training, the bus network remains vulnerable to cancellations,” Cr Nash said.

“To make bus driving an attractive career option for local and international recruits, we are continuing to work with the Government, operators and unions to improve pay and conditions.”

Greater Wellington increased driver wages to $27 per hour in 2021, and successfully lobbied the government to ease overseas recruitment by changing immigration settings(external link) last December.

The government also committed $61 million(external link) last October, which is expected to lift driver pay rates to $28 per hour in the regions and $30 per hour in cities.

“In recent years, we’ve exerted greater influence over the operation of the region’s bus network. We've intervened to increase wages, to reduce split shifts and to improve facilities. We’ll continue to intervene to make sure our public transport system delivers for passengers, drivers and everyone in the region,” Cr Nash said.

“We’re grateful for the patience and understanding of our passengers as we work to resolve the driver shortage and restore reliability to the network.”

Before travelling, passengers should check online timetables at the Metlink app or website, as printed timetables in bus stops don’t show which services are cancelled or suspended.

Passengers can also create a MyMetlink account to receive service notifications concerning selected bus routes and train lines.