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Wellington bus contracts shaken up

NZN 4/05/2017 Tina Morrison

Infratil, the publicly listed infrastructure investor, has lost most of its bus contract with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to Masterton-based Tranzit Group, which the council says can offer the service cheaper.

The council named Tranzit, run by the Snelgrove family, as the preferred bidder for eight of its bus contracts, and Palmerston North-based UZAbus for a contract to deliver bus services on the Kapiti Coast.

It received 86 bids from nine tenderers. Tranzit's share of services will jump to 60 per cent from 1 per cent, while UZAbus will edge up to 6 per cent from 1 per cent.

Infratil's NZ Bus service, which runs the distinctive yellow Go Wellington bus service throughout Wellington city and Hutt Valley bus services, is the biggest loser in the change, seeing its share of services fall to 28 per cent from 73 per cent.

Mana Coach Services, which runs services between Johnsonville and Wellington, will see its share drop to 6 per cent from 25 per cent.

The council's bus changes are scheduled to take effect by mid-2018.

"The outcome of the tender is expected to reduce operating costs by several million dollars a year, paving the way for new public transport initiatives such as fare discounts," the council said in a statement.

Tranzit said it will build 228 new buses and hire 380 additional drivers, with as many as possible coming from Wellington public transport Metlink system. The company currently provides urban and regional bus services, InterCity bus services, school bus runs and specialist vehicle hire across the North Island and throughout Christchurch.

The council said the new fleet will be "more environmentally friendly", improving air quality across the region and reducing emissions of harmful pollutants by at least 38 per cent in Wellington and by 84 per cent in the Hutt Valley.

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