Bus driver shortage leaves Tauranga school children stranded

A bus driver shortage is being blamed for leaving school children stranded without a ride in Tauranga. 

A new network with more trips and buses has been introduced and passengers say they're being left behind.  

Students have been left stranded, and passengers claim their complaints are being ignored. 

Resident Katia Lynch says she can't get through to anyone in charge.

"Every time I complain they hang up on me or tell me it's my fault."

The council rolled out a new network six weeks ago, and since, there have been more than 300 complaints. 

Just over half the buses have shown up on time, and this year alone 164 have been cancelled.

Garry Maloey, the transport policy manager, says the new system isn't flawless.

"It's fair to say that we're starting to uncover a few issues, primarily as a result of the contractor not having enough drivers."

The new contractor, NZ Bus, is short 48 drivers, and 18 have been called in to help from Auckland.

While the council is apologetic, Mr Maloey says they can't guarantee students won't be left behind. 

"At the end of the day there are no certainties in life."

A statement that's hardly reassuring for parents heading into the first term of the year.