Valid from: 20/04/2020 12:00am

Essential worker JackieJackie Whittington has been driving the Masterton town bus service during the Alert Level 4 Lockdown. 

Wairarapa bus drivers are thanking members of the community who have been making them feel appreciated during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 Lockdown.

Bus operator Tranzit, who runs services on behalf of Metlink, has been continuing to deliver essential public transport services during the lockdown, and the company’s drivers are noticing a real ground swell of positivity from within the community.

Tranzit’s Operations Supervisor and driver trainer Vaea Peterson has recently been driving urban train replacement buses from Masterton to Platform 9 at Wellington Railway Station via Upper and Lower Hutt. He says he’s been “blown away” by the public’s positive reaction to him.

“I was driving through Upper Hutt with a small number of passengers on board and sitting outside this house was a family in their bubble waving out and clapping as I drove past.

“The same thing happened again when I drove past a house in Greytown – out of the window I could see a family clapping at me and waving out with big smiles on their faces.

“I was a bit blown away really, it’s been really cool to see everyone and to feel so appreciated,” Vaea says.

Vaea’s thoughts were echoed by his colleague Jackie Whittington who has been driving the Masterton town service during the Lockdown.

“It is quiet out there at the moment with passenger numbers down, but so neat to see people wave out as I drive past – it doesn’t feel lonely at all,” she says.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Committee Chair Roger Blakeley says it is fantastic to see the community are letting essential workers know their service is appreciated.

“Being in Alert Level 4 has been challenging for many people, especially for people like Vaea and Jackie who are out each day continuing to help keep our regional public transport system running.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone from the community who has helped put a smile on the face of our bus drivers during this time,” Cr Blakeley says.

Posted on 20 April 2020