30 Nov 2009

NZ Bus cans free Christmas bus rides

10:52 pm on 30 November 2009

Christmas Day commuters in Auckland and Wellington will not be getting free bus travel in their stockings this year.

NZ Bus says it will tell the public normal fares will apply.

The company says putting on the free service for Christmas Day was a significant cost to the business because it has to pay drivers extra to work on a public holiday.

General manager of operations Zane Fulljames says the company has offered free public transport in the past despite not having to do so.

Tramways and Public Transport Union national secretary Gary Froggatt says the company did not consult it about the change and it should have.

'We have a consultation process in our agreement, however the company wasn't following that process. They have agreed to do that in the new year, but we'll wait and see whether that happens.'

But NZ Bus says it was a business decision and it did not need to consult the union.

Mr Frogatt says NZ Bus has also decided not to give drivers a Christmas gift hamper this year.

Until last week, NZ Bus was involved in a pay dispute with its Auckland drivers and on Monday morning services were disrupted in Wellington while some drivers attended a stop-work meeting.