Better conditions on the way for bus drivers


The Government is supporting the transport sector’s efforts to stabilise the public transport workforce with funding from Budget 2022 to help standardise base wages, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced.

“Our Government is committed to making it more affordable, easier and attractive for Kiwis to use public transport, so it’s crucial we have the drivers in place to get the system moving,” Michael Wood said.

“Improving the conditions of drivers will make it easier to recruit and retain the workforce, allowing frequent and reliable bus services.

“The minimum terms and conditions were developed through discussions between operators, public transport authorities and unions on how best to improve conditions in the industry and stabilise the workforce.”

The $61 million allocated in Budget 22 will support the sector to standardise minimum base wage rates towards a target rate, as agreed by public transport authorities. The intention is work towards base rates of $30 per hour for urban services and $28 per hour for regional services. Public transport authorities and operators will be able to access a share of funding if they contribute to the wage increases, and continue to apply indexation wage rates in the future.

“This will help the industry transition to standard terms and conditions for bus drivers, which currently vary widely throughout the country,” Michael Wood said. 

In recognition of different pay and conditions currently across the system, public transport authorities will also have the option of providing funding to operators, according to market share, to offer a penal rate for work after 9pm of 1.2x, or a $30 split shift allowance. This will deliver a level of equality between operators and regions.

“The improved driver terms and conditions will be supported by the Sustainable Public Transport Framework, announced in August, that prioritises fair and equitable treatment of employees, mode-shift and improved environmental and health outcomes,” Michael Wood said.

“We recognise the vital role that public transport has in our everyday lives and our economic and environmental future.

“We are committed to supporting public transport and I am excited to see the great sector collaboration that has been instrumental in delivering improved terms and conditions across the country. We will continue to work with the sector to on meaningful solutions to support public transport” Michael Wood said.

Waka Kotahi will engage with public transport authorities and bus operators to tailor the implementation of the standard to best suit their operational needs.