Report reveals raft of failings from Wellington's new bus network

A report into Wellington's roll-out of a new bus service has found multiple failings were made during its implementation.

The new hub and spoke network was rolled out in July and immediately ran into problems with commuters left out in the cold as buses arrived late or not at all.

LEK Consulting Australia carried out the review by speaking to council staff, contractors, bus operators and the Wellington and Hutt City Councils, Radio New Zealand reports.

Investigators also looked into council documents and data.

The report found several errors were made before the network started up, which led to problems further down the road.

The report found:

  • A warning in August 2016 that changing fleets, operators, network and ticketing was high risk was ignored, and the network rolled out as planned to save costs and minimise disruption
  • The team charged with getting the programme running did not have the capability to see the changes through
  • Councillors were not given enough information, and what they did receive failed to mention smaller milestones at a local level
  • Bus companies were relied upon to be transparent about how ready they were, meaning serious problems weren't found until too late
  • The proposed new routes were not tested because the council did not believe it would give an accurate picture of how they would work
  • Not enough time was allowed for consultation with council or utility providers
  • The process to get bus hubs built before the network rolled out did not start early enough
  • Commercial negotiations did not leave enough time for one bus company to get a new fleet, meaning around 10 percent of its fleet was undersized when the network launched

Greater Wellington Regional Council chair Chris Laidlaw told Radio New Zealand progress on fixing the problems identified by the report was well underway.

"Since July we have been listening and working closely with community groups and operators to increase services, adjust timetables, ensure the right size bus turns up, provide better data and information to the public, and put things right."

The report pointed out performance metrics had improved since the network was launched. Punctuality is up to 93 percent, reliability 99 percent and correct bus size 80 percent.


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