Valid from: 05/03/2019 1:00pm

Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair says public transport operators will need more time to prepare for rest and meal break legislation changes if the Government wants to avoid disruptions for customers.

Changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, passed only five months ago, could see drivers stopping mid-service for breaks, essentially disrupting timetables and customer journeys across the Wellington Region.

To cover the rest and meal breaks operators across Wellington could require as many as 80 extra drivers and 20-30 more buses, all by next month.

Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw says Metlink operators have warned the legislation could result in significant cancellations if they try to meet it with current workforce levels.

“Customers don’t want to see any additional cancellations and we’ve already seen operators struggling to recruit drivers, especially here in Wellington with NZ Bus hit particularly hard by a nationwide shortage. There is simply not enough time to resource the challenges that this legislation presents,” said Cr Laidlaw.

We recognise the positive intention behind the legislation change and we expect all of our operators to be good employers but we must plan for a flexible public transport workforce that can still provide essential services to customers”.

“The Council is looking forward to working with the Minister of Transport to facilitate a workable solution between all parties so we can focus on delivery of public transport services for our customers,” added Cr Laidlaw.

Posted on 5 April 2019