Bus drivers in Auckland are getting a second pay boost in three months after the Super City's transport authority (AT) had additional funding approved by the national body.
Auckland City Mayor Phil Goff said the pay boost, up 3.9 percent on top of the 8 percent increase in July, was critical for retaining and recruiting drivers as the sector continued experiencing staff shortages.
"This, in turn, will help encourage more people to use public transport, which will mean reduced carbon emissions and less traffic congestion on our roads," Goff said in a statement.
Drivers would now earn an average wage of $26.62 per hour. AT said the further wage increase came after additional funding was approved by the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi.
"We're really pleased with this second wage increase in our ongoing commitment to improving conditions for all our AT Metro bus drivers, who work incredibly hard," said Auckland Transport interim chief executive Mark Lambert.
Before July's increase, the average rate for AT Metro drivers was $23.71 per hour.
AT said more wage boosts remained in the pipeline for later this year as it continued working with Waka Kotahi, the Government and other regional councils on further investment.
"We're pleased to help AT recognise the essential skills these drivers bring to work every day for Aucklanders," said Delaney Myers, the public transport manager at Waka Kotahi.
The pay boost comes after New Zealand's annual inflation rose at its fastest pace in three decades in the second quarter this year, with the country's consumer price index increasing 7.3 percent.
FIRST Union, which represents bus drivers, said the latest pay increase was "meaningful and positive".
"This is the next step in bringing into reality the agreed increases that we are working to secure for bus drivers right across Aotearoa," union spokesperson Oliver Christeller said. "Bus drivers deliver essential service to Auckland and we are delighted to be working with the sector to ensure these are good jobs."