Changes are in the wind for the local bus service, which has some drivers concerned.
Recently Auckland Transport announced that its preferred tender for the Hibiscus Coast contract comes from Go Bus Transport – currently the service is run by NZ Bus.
Auckland Transport metro development group manager, Colin Homan, says that final negotiations with the preferred tenderer are taking place before the contract is let.
NZ Bus also says it is still in negotiations with Auckland Transport (AT), however local NZ Bus drivers spoken to by Hibiscus Matters say they were told on August 2 that the contract has been lost to Hamilton-based Go Bus.
Go Bus’s Auckland regional general manager, Stephen Mckeefry, says Go Bus is delighted to be named the preferred tenderer for the Hibiscus Coast public transport contract. “The team is very much looking forward to providing quality services to the area from September 2018,” he says.
Mr Mckeefry says Go Bus has a strong track record of providing passenger transport in urban areas that lead to improved choices and help ease congestion by providing a reliable, efficient and modern public transport service.
He says although as yet no details have been confirmed, over the coming weeks Go Bus will be working alongside Auckland Transport to finalise the proposed contract.
NZ Bus drivers say that they will be offered the opportunity to work at other depots, or for Go Bus, and some may retire.
As well as the loss of the contract, and local knowledge about the service on the Coast, the NZ Bus drivers are concerned about what may happen to the depot at 188 Centreway Road in Orewa. A bus depot has been on that site for around 50 years. Infratil, which owns NZ Bus, currently owns the depot and the company has been based there since 2006.
AT called for tenders for its northern bus services under what it calls the Public Transport Operating Model.
Mr Homan says this is a new approach to planning and contracting public transport services to enable less reliance on public subsidy and to ensure services are procured effectively.
The new contracts come into effect from September 2018.