Wellington commuters frustrated by increasing number of cancelled buses

Wellington commuters are frustrated with an increasing number of bus cancellations.

More than 200 were cancelled in the last week of February.

The regional council says more drivers are calling in sick because of COVID-19. But the drivers' union blames poor working conditions.

Wellington commuters waiting for buses that may not come. Those Newshub spoke to say their ride to work is often cancelled.

"I often leave home early to catch an early bus in case they're late or cancelled," one person said.

"[They're] pretty late, often pretty full. They often drive past this stop," another said.

The most recent weekly data shows 236 trips were cancelled in the last week of February - almost double the same period in 2020.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council, which operates the bus network, says it's a driver shortage.

"They're following government advice. If they're sick they're not coming into work, and we've got slightly high attrition coming into play for a workforce that's been essential for 12 months," Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher says.

But Tramways Union spokesperson Kevin O'Sullivan blames poor working conditions

"It has nothing to do with COVID because people aren't be attracted into the industry," he says. "Every week there's drivers leaving the industry."

The Council says it is working with its four bus operators to improve conditions for drivers.

The largest operator, NZ Bus, disagrees services are the worst they've ever been. It claims it has the best working conditions in the industry and is discussing pay and conditions with the union.

Commuters Newshub spoke to want a solution, and fast.

"Feels like it should be easy to fix," one person said.

A fix the union and the council are driving towards.