Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Seven Weeks In » The Bus Network In Wellington.

No surprise that it is still broken... Buses disappearing from RTI displays, buses late, cancelled etc.

I went around Wellington on Sunday and I think the only bus on time was the number 3 from it's starting point at Tirangi Rd!

After reading an opinion piece from Dave Armstrong on stuff titled:
"Dave Armstrong: My free plan for better Wellington buses"

I went to the comments, as I usually do, to see what people think.

Some were supportive of Dave's idea of not paying for any bus later than 10 minutes, whilst some were not.

Obviously Dave's idea is not to go at the drivers, rather at the council, as i'm pretty sure that all the farebox revenue goes straight to GWRC at the end of the day.

One comment stuck out for me:




I'll put the key info down below and in bold:

"The reality is that certain GWRC Councillors appear to be very anti towards incumbent operators' management - the same thing was seen with TranzMetro. Cr. Swain actually told me that GWRC didn't like TranzMetro's management and that they were never going to win the rail tender - so instead of working with the state owned rail operator to improve things under a new contract, GWRC through the baby out with the bathwater and got an overseas company in.

Now we've seen a similar situation with the bus operators"


That I didn't know. It sounds to me like that the GWRC would rather tell established operators, with the right experience, equipment and treatment of staff to basically 'fuck off' as they would rather bring in a new company that, in the case of Tranzit/Tranzurban, have no actual god-damn experience with running a regional bus service of this size. Yeah, they've done buses in Masterton, but that is nowhere near Wellington.

For comparison, Masterton has a population count of approx 25,000 as of June 2017. In contrast, Lower and Upper Hutt's population COMBINED is approx 148,000!

If my math is correct, Just the Hutt Valley alone has 6 TIMES the pop count of Masterton...

And the GWRC wanted to give Tranzit the contract for an area with 6 times the population of their previous service, with no depots, drivers, trainers, buses etc... Appaently Valley Flyer (who have been operating for around 13 Years in it's current incarnation, after Cityline that is),were told not to bother tendering as even if they did, they wouldn't get it anyways. SOUNDS FAMILIAR, CHECK THE KEY INFO...


Now, onto Wellington, with it's population size of approx 412,500. Which, if my math is correct, approximately 16.5 times the population of Masterton, and again, with no experience with cities of this size. However, the difference starts and ends between the Hutt Valley and Wellington, as Tranzit has one depot (Pre changeover) in Wellington. But that's it. No urban drivers, shite all urban buses, not a big enough maintenance system for the stresses of urban bus operation. Heck, they have barely anything!

Same situation in Porirua area as the Hutt, no depot, buses, drivers, experience etc.

One has to simply look at the Public Transport system in the Wellington region pre-changeover, or even before the tender announcement (so there's some stability in the picture). Wellington buses, whilst not perfect, were a hell of a lot better than what we got now.

Same goes for the buses in the Hutt and further afield. Nothing was perfect, but it worked 98% of the time.

However, the council basically told operators not to bother as they will bring in Mr. Nobody and their shoddy treatment of drivers (Tranzit only just decided to negotiate with the Hutt bus drivers in the past week, as apparently they didn't have any employees up until the 11th hour, meaning that the union coundn't negotiate before the changeover. To add to the frustration of the union and its members, Tranzit claimed that the union was bullying and they wouldn't stand for bullies.

This same company is the one who said that their bus drivers are paid better than Valley Flyer of old and everything will be better in every way.

I've talked to a driver before the changeover and got some important information about pay for drivers at Cityline NZ (t/a Valley Flyer). Note: please take this with a grain of salt, as the information cannot be verified.

I was told that drivers were paid normal wages for the first 8 hours they worked. Any time over 8 hours was paid as time-and-a-half. Saturdays were also time-and-a-half and Sundays were double-time (I assume this is what drivers would be paid if they were called in to work rather than rostered on)

This is already getting WAY too long so I'll leave it here and pick up where I left off in another post sometime soon.