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GWRC: Bus Update

MEDIA ADVISORY 18 October 2018

An update on the new Wellington bus network and improving the passenger experience. This information is attributable to Greg Campbell, Chief Executive, Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Performance and operator improvements

As the transition continues, our focus is on making sure buses arrive on time and have the capacity to meet demand. I am happy to report that performance of buses leaving point of origin on time on core city routes, has now lifted to 91%. We are aiming to lift this further to 95%.

Cancellations are generally tracking at historic low levels (below 1%), although this week has seen some hiccups due to driver sickness levels.

Another major software upgrade was successfully completed this week to the Real Time Information system. This fixes another of the frustrating glitches which surfaced during transition.

Customer complaints have trended down to less than 80 per day.

To meet fluctuations in customer demand, extra capacity is provided through “banker” buses to supplement existing services on key routes. Extra buses can now be deployed at short notice. This has gone a long way to remove the issue of buses being too full to pick up more passengers, leaving people to wait for the next bus.

Operator performance on matching the right size bus to meet demand has lifted substantially. We recognise significant improvement at NZ Bus.

Listening deeply to customer feedback

Metlink have established a special “Customer Experience” team to analyse all the customer feedback and complaints, to practically experience the network operation through the customer’s eyes and actively recommend adjustments and further improvements to Council. They are riding on the buses every day, talking to customers and drivers.

Route options for 14 Hataitai-Kilbirnie are being discussed with local representatives this week and, following earlier discussions with schools in the region, the Fourth Term began on Monday with timetable adjustments aligning better with this term’s activities, making bus travel easier for teachers, students and parents.

Bus operator/employer and union industrial update

Wellington City routes operated by NZ Bus will be affected by a stop work meeting on Friday. The meeting will allow Tramways Union members employed by NZ Bus to vote on a proposed collective agreement. Some off-peak bus services will be cancelled or affected between 9am and 3pm.

NZ Bus has not been notified of any strike action to date.

Two bus operators, Tranzurban and Uzabus, have received notification of possible strike action on Tuesday, 23 October.

Bus operator Mana is not affected by proposed industrial action.

Metlink is preparing for all possible disruption scenarios to the network and resulting effects on the travelling public, with passenger updates running from today. Up-to-date information will continue to run in both our own direct and social media communication channels and as public information on radio networks and in the Dominion Post.

Key message to our customers: please check before you travel. Use Metlink’s app or website to check for any cancelled services.

Snapper proves popular

Snapper is proving popular with 1,605,000 passenger trips in September (79%) paid electronically, with just 425,500 passengers paying with cash. School students get a 50% discount and tertiary students a 25% discount on standard fares. There were just under 584,000 student trips in September, accounting for nearly 29% of total trips during the month, with another 4,700 free trips by under-5s. Meanwhile holders of the SuperGold card – who travel free during off-peak periods – made just over 187,000 trips during September, accounting for 9% of all journeys on the network.

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