Wellington commuter chaos as Tranzit takes over bus routes

Wellington's buses have been taken over by company Tranzit - and it appears as though there are a whole lot of new drivers that are struggling.

Lizzie Simmons is one the people who uses the bus system in Wellington, and her trip on the city's number 1 bus route wasn't right.

"The roads up there aren't meant for a double-decker bus... the bus was tilting pretty far - I was like, 'This isn't right'... It was scraping the trees on the side," she says.

The number 1 route is meant to go along the Ngauranga Gorge from the main bus station to Johnsonville. Instead, it went up the wrong gorge - the Ngaio Gorge - with a completely different route.

You could hear the power lines scraping along the top, Newshub was told.

Where the bus was meant to come was wide, with four lanes and plenty of room for a double-decker. Instead it took a narrow road with residential power lines everywhere.

"I was just really worried they were going to catch," Ms Simmons says.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council, which gave the contract to Tranzit, says the power lines are too high - and it was striking phone lines, which don't electrocute.

When the council awarded the contract to Tranzit, many drivers from previous operators refused to sign up, saying the pay and conditions left them worse off.

That meant there were fewer skilled and experienced drivers.

Now, the bus driver's union has released documents showing how the new company, Tranzit, was working with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to get unemployed people on the road.

They were wanting to recruit  200 bus drivers by the July 1 this year. Tramways union Secretary Kevin O'Sullivan says she was not impressed.

The deal has since collapsed after questions from Government ministers; today Tranzit and MSD said they were working to address the shortage.

The collapsed deal helps explain the chaotic lead-up to the new contract.

The 200 drivers haven't materialised, and the union dispute with Tranzit and the council isn't sorted either, meaning the road chaos continues.

"They should of got the drivers better prepared," says Ms Simmons.