Transport Minister, Michael Wood, says a new public transport framework for New Zealand will prioritise fair and equitable treatment of employees, mode-shift and improved environment and health outcomes.
Minister Wood said workers and public transport users were at the heart of the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework.
“For too long, the public transport model has encouraged operators to squeeze worker conditions, pay and opportunities, preventing public transport from living up to its full potential,” said Mr Wood.
“The current model that was meant to lead to better public transport 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.”
He said the framework will help to create a public transport system that is reliable, an attractive career opportunity and a credible alternative to using cars to get around.
“Improving the conditions of employees will make it easier to recruit and retain the workforce, allowing frequent and reliable services. This will also provide job security by allowing drivers the opportunity to maintain employment if there is a change in operator,” said Mr Wood.
The new model will also give local authorities more flexibility and control over how public transport is planned and delivered, so they can have a solution that works for their communities, he said.
“Public transport authorities will have the option to own assets and operate services, if they feel that’s a better solution for their community than outsourcing to an outside provider. This will make it easier to plan networks and services, to set fairs and policies, and encourage innovation in how services are delivered.”
“Our Government recognises that public transport is a lifeline that connects people to work, to school, to recreation and to their friends and family. These changes will mean that we have an effective, reliable and sustainable public transport system well into the future,” said Minister Wood.