12 Oct 2009

Bus dispute mediation resumes

12:17 pm on 12 October 2009

Talks have resumed in a pay dispute involving bus drivers in Auckland, while disgruntled passengers, students and parents urge the parties to make progress.

Mediation is being held between the NZ Bus company and the Auckland Combined Unions.

Seven hundred buses are off the road with an estimated 80,000 passengers having to find alternative transport arrangements on Monday.

Commuter services affected are those run by Metrolink, North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific, LINK and City Circuit.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority says patronage on train services was up by half on Monday morning.

Monday is the first day of the school term and 128 school bus services are not running - caused frustration for many parents who had to drive their children.

NZ Bus last week locked out all drivers in a dispute with the Combined Auckland Unions.

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee says Auckland will not be held to ransom.

Mr Lee says if NZBus cannot deliver the services Aucklanders rely on then the regional council will look to another operator.

If the dispute is not settled, he says he will ask the Auckland Regional Transport Authority to start the process of terminating existing contracts and find someone else who will deliver the services.

There were few major traffic problems last week, but the Auckland Regional Transport Authority advises motorists to be patient this week.