Better bus driver pay, more reliable services under new public transport framework

Transport

Legislation replacing the outdated public transport model with a fairer system that supports paying bus drivers a decent wage, thereby retaining drivers and improving service reliability, passed its third reading last night.

The new Sustainable Public Transport Framework under the Regulation of Public Transport Bill supports the Government’s commitment to better public transport, Transport Minister David Parker said.

“National’s Public Transport Operating Model put profits before people. It cut transport subsidies and forced services to be contracted out, rewarding operators that paid lower wages to drivers. The result was drivers abandoning their jobs, creating chronic driver shortages and reduced service levels.

“This Government had to intervene to fix the driver shortages by paying for better wages and conditions over and above those locked in under National, along with allowing for some recruitment of migrant drivers.”

The new framework provides for long-term sustainability of public transport by ensuring fair and equitable treatment of workers throughout the system, through planning and service provision, David Parker said.

“Regional councils will be able to own assets and operate services if that is the best option for their communities. Collaboration will be encouraged between councils to plan inter-regional services and better-connect public transport infrastructure and services.

“A fairer and more sustainable public transport system will help improve pay and conditions for the workforce and make more liveable cities. These changes will create a more reliable system for the future,” David Parker said.