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Bus operators support government review of public transport

The Bus and Coach Association NZ (BCA) is welcoming the government’s review of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM), saying that it is an opportunity to deliver the partnership model which was envisaged when the system was introduced.

BCA chief executive Barry Kidd said the PTOM was designed to provide a collaborative model involving councils and bus operators but in practice that has not occurred.

“Rather than it being a true partnership between councils and bus operators it is operating more like a contractor and supplier relationship. For example, many of the problems we have seen in Wellington’s bus services in the past year resulted from bus operators being frozen out of the redesign of the system.

“We want to see more actual partnership between councils and operators, both in the design of networks and schedules but also to ensure that councils are aware of the commercial realties of changes they want to bring in.

“We know the government is keen to see wages rise in the sector. A way to achieve that is to ensure that wages are separated out from the tendering process. But, ultimately, more resources will be needed to deliver increased services and ensure the system is delivering the pay to attract the drivers needed to achieve the government’s goals for public transport.

“Another useful change would be for performance measures to better reflect the realities faced by bus companies. These measures are often punitive and in unachievable due to factors beyond the control of bus operators, such as timing penalties caused by congestion and traffic collisions.

“We look forward to having these discussions with the Minister, officials and councils,” Mr Kidd said.

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