More services, regular timetable and more drivers on the way for Metlink

Service Changes Staff & Operators

Metlink is adding more services to its temporary January timetable ahead of the reintroduction of its full timetable on 28 January.

Tim Shackleton, acting General Manager for Metlink, says the introduction of supplementary buses from today will help provide more services as more people head back to work.

“January is traditionally a low patronage period across the region, so we reduced the services to enable holiday leave for many of our hard working front line staff as well as providing additional time for vital recruitment and training to happen.

Looking at the increasing travel demand across the region, we are putting in additional services from today, with a number of these being charter buses. We will be actively reviewing all services to ensure we make the most of the capacity we have as we come toward the end of the holiday period. We are doing everything we can to make sure operators are allocating larger vehicles to the hardest hit routes to ease any overcrowding,” says Tim Shackleton.  

Metlink have targeted the extra available bus services to tonight’s Football Ferns game in the first instance, along with extra carriages on its trains to cope with the expected crowd.

While the regular timetable will be back in action after 27 January, with the continued planned suspended services implemented late 2022, passengers are likely to experience some disruption from the ongoing national driver shortage.

Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, says that there are positive signs that the industry may be turning a corner thanks to recent immigration changes.

“NZ Bus, one of our largest operators, have agreed employment offers with 100 overseas drivers. Eight of these new drivers are already in the country with approved visas, undergoing training and the necessary licence requirements. Without delay from Waka Kotahi’s licence processing, they should be on the road in the next 6-8 weeks.

A further 29 overseas drivers are awaiting visa approval and if successful will arrive in Wellington over the coming weeks to start their induction programme. NZ Bus hopes to have two cohort of overseas drivers in training every month for the next three months. This is subject to satisfactory and timely visa application preparation, processing, and approvals.

Both NZ Bus and Tranzurban, the two largest operators in Wellington, are in the process of increasing international and domestic recruitment activities for the region.