Today’s return of suspended bus services is a positive sign for the future of public transport in the capital, says Greater Wellington Transport Committee chair Thomas Nash and Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.
Following yesterday’s agreement with the government on transport improvements for the capital, Wellington’s city and regional councils are focused on enhancements, including:
- More bus lanes and bus priority at intersections,
- An express public transport spine on the waterfront,
- Integrated ticketing for events like concerts and sports fixtures.
Thanks to successful driver recruitment, 59 Metlink weekday bus services suspended in 2022 by the driver shortage are back on the road today.
With the capital’s bus reliability rating above 99% since September and 2.2 million bus passengers boarding every month, Cr Nash says Metlink service is world class.
“Following Covid, our patronage has bounced back faster than Auckland, Sydney and London,” Cr Nash says.
“We know state highway traffic through the city is down since 2019 and bus use is up. Investing in bus lanes from the railway station to the hospital and airport makes total sense and should be accelerated as we develop the package ahead.”
With 90% of Metlink buses travelling through the inner city, Mayor Whanau says the importance of bus priority lanes is clear.
“I am thrilled that Wellington is back to such high reliability for buses, with the highest per capita use of public transport in Australasia outside of Sydney. I’d like to thank every driver who has helped rebuild the city’s public transport network over the past year.
“Wellington City Council will work together with Greater Wellington to continue improving bus services with new bus lanes and express bus routes.”
Air quality in Wellington has improved as Metlink’s electric bus fleet expands, with Greater Wellington looking at developing new depots and charging facilities.
The regional council is also focused on enhancing real time information for passengers and improving bus driver pay and conditions when operator contracts are next agreed, Cr Nash says.
“With bus operators and the government, we lifted driver wages this year, but we know more needs to be done to cement recruitment gains.
“We can’t thank our bus drivers enough for putting in the hard yards and getting Wellingtonians where they need to go.
“It’s been a tough 12 months for drivers on the back of the pandemic so please join me in saying a special ‘thank you, driver’ this Christmas for the vital work of this essential workforce.”
With travel free on Christmas day, and infrastructure improvements coming to Metlink bus and rail networks over the holiday period, passengers are advised to Plan Ahead for Summer – Christmas timetables » Metlink