Metlink’s Tranzurban on track to recruit 75 new bus drivers

Posted: 17 February 2023 | | No comments yet

With more local interest, new immigration pathways and 40 new drivers expected to drive Metlink’s services in Wellington City, Porirua, and Hutt Valley, Tranzurban is already halfway to its target of hiring 75 drivers by the end of March 2023.

Metlink's Tranzurban on track to recruit 75 new bus drivers

Metlink has announced that one of its largest bus operators, Tranzurban, has set itself an ambitious target to recruit 75 new drivers by 31 March 2023 and due to an increase in local interest, new immigration pathways and two new recruitment campaigns rolling out it is confident that these targets will be achieved, as its already halfway there.

Tranzurban has more than 40 new bus drivers in the pipeline to drive Metlink’s Wellington City, Porirua and Hutt Valley public transport services.

During 2022, Tranzurban Hutt Valley achieved a near full complement of bus drivers, the first time since before the pandemic, while Tranzurban Wellington still needed approximately 40 full-time drivers and had been impacted more heavily by the national driver shortage that’s affecting many towns and cities throughout New Zealand.

“Our recruitment efforts are ongoing, and we’ve started to see a change in the candidates interested in our driving roles,” said Tranzurban Wellington General Manager Samuel Stairmand. “We have more interest from locals and thanks to the borders re-opening, new pathways for international drivers entering New Zealand, as well as significant pay increases for our drivers, we’ve also been able to look at overseas recruitment for the first time, which is yielding great results. While we recognise that more drivers are needed in the short-term to account for annual leave and other leave, we will continue to bring in up to 10 drivers from outside the Wellington region to help cover the expected shortfalls until we have a full driving team.”

Incentivising careers behind the wheel

Tranzurban’s new local recruitment campaign had been launched in mid-February 2023 on multiple channels, including radio, social media, community engagement, bus advertising and at universities targeting students that are coming back into the city. The bus company believes that Wellington will start seeing the results of local recruitment efforts from mid-March 2023 and the positive impacts of overseas recruitment from early to mid-April 2023.

Councillor Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, said: “Ensuring these local and overseas drivers are well looked after and get behind the wheel is the focus now. We know that job offers, visa processing and local training take time, but in the months to come these efforts will go a long way to reducing the 125 drivers Metlink needs to deliver its current timetable, help reduce the significant number of cancellations on the network, ensure more reliability to passengers and, once we are back on track, to start expanding the frequency and reach of our network.”

Greater Wellington Regional Council has partnered with operators, including Tranzurban, to combat workforce shortages by aiding recruitment and retention of urban bus drivers across the Metlink network, ushering in rest and meal breaks, embarking on a programme of rest facility upgrades, re-organising timetables to reduce split-shifts, bringing in the Living Wage, topping up wages to $27 per hour (with Tranzurban increasing further to $28 late in 2022) and committing to $30 per hour in late 2023.

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