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The Wire: Public transport to become council owned and operated

3:00 pm on 16 August 2022

Interview by Emily Talbot

Listen to the full interview

New legislation will see councils directly own and operate public transport services.

The existing, long-running operating model, established in 2003, will be replaced with a Sustainable Public Transport Framework.

Transport Minister Michael Wood claims the new model will alleviate worker shortages. 

"The current model is causing operators to wind back services and timetables because they can't get drivers. Public transport is too important to our environmental, social and economic goals to allow this to continue."

Wood says the new model will also give local authorities more flexibility and control over public transport in their communities

CEO of the Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand, Ben McFadgen, says a centralised model will not fix the driver shortage.

There is a general skills shortage worldwide. Where will the skills and expertise to run the services for a public transport agency come from?" 

"COVID and the closing of NZ's borders has led to the instability we see now. Multiple industries are suffering."

Public interest journalism funded through NZ on Air.