NZ bus contract reshuffle

North Island company Tranzit has been named as the preferred bidder for a contract to operate a large chunk of Wellington route services

NZ bus contract reshuffle
Tranzit has been named as the preferred company to operate a large number of Wellington route-services

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) received 86 bids from nine tenderers — including one from i
ncumbent contact-holder Infratil — as well as several international operators.

The preferred bidders have given a commitment to employ as many bus drivers as possible from the region’s existing workforce, which means working with other incumbent operators who did not win the tender process.

More than 300 current drivers held a stop work meeting to discuss pay and conditions, with Wellington route bus services grinding to a halt on from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Friday, May 26.

Wellington bus drivers who are part of the union have voted unanimously not to sign any agreement with new employer Tranzit that does not keep their pay and conditions the same.

Tranzit managing director Paul Snelgrove says the company will hire another 380 drivers, with as many as possible coming from the Metlink system.

Tranzit would also build 228 new buses, "with as many built by the Kiwi Bus Builders team as it can handle."

Meanwhile, UZABus won the contact to provide services in the Kapati area, which is about 50 kilometres north of Wellington.

"We are delighted to be confirmed as the preferred bidder for the Kapiti Coast area and looks forward to helping the regional council to modernise the bus network," UZABus managing director Justin Allan says.

Both companies will deliver a new, more environmentally friendly bus fleet that will improve air quality across the region and reduce emissions of harmful pollutants by at least 38 pe cent in Wellington and 84 per cent in the Hutt Valley.

GWRC chairperson Chris Laidlaw says the decision is great news for Wellingtonians with significant benefits for ratepayers, taxpayers and bus users.

"We’re excited at the prospect of working with Tranzit Group and UZABus to bring a modern bus service to the region and its people," he says.

"Both are locally-owned family businesses with over 160 years’ of combined experience.

"We’d like to thank everyone who bid and to remind people that we will still be working closely with our other incumbent providers, who will continue to make up over 30 percent of the market."

The announcement of the preferred partners for these nine contracts is another step in the long-term transformation of the region’s public transportation system.

"Over the next year, we will be announcing new routes, measures to reduce congestion and how we’re making the passenger experience more seamless," Laidlaw says.

Tranzit Group was founded in 1924 and is a fourth-generation transport and tourism company operating over 1000 vehicles and employing a team of over 1000 nationwide.

Timetables remain the same for now, with new buses and routes scheduled to be introduced mid-next year.



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