Fare strike suggested as Wellington commuters vent about new bus network

by Emma Hatton / 13 August, 2018

Residents at the Newtown Community Centre meeting protesting the new bus service. Photo  / Emma Hatton

Fed up Wellington bus passengers should consider not paying their fares in protest at the capital's revamped public transport network, a community organiser says.

It's been four weeks since Wellington's public transport system was overhauled, with new routes, new drivers, new fares and a whole raft of new problems.

Initially, the regional council said there were just some teething problems, but since then a host of meetings have been scheduled and a promise by the council that things might change.

More than 100 people packed out the Newtown Community Centre last night at a meeting for commuters to come together and vent.

Mother of three and Newtown resident, Kayte Fairfax, said she had not taken the bus since the changes came into effect on 15 July.

"I've got a three-year-old and 18-month twins. You say, 'maybe two changes are okay but three's a bit much' - no way can I take three kids and stand in a bus stop or a hub with a shelter or no shelter, keeping three young children safe while we do a little change-over.

"I would challenge the regional council to think about this in terms of equity and who isn't able to come to public meetings and who can't catch the buses anymore."

Post it notes outlining problems commuters have with the buses. Photo / Emma Hatton

Four councillors attended the meeting, to listen.

Go Wellington bus driver Trish Fenaughty said her first week driving under the changes was the most stressed she had ever been.

"I felt like, I need to get [commuters] on, because I know there's a limit on how many buses come through here so everybody was getting on and then I had a 24-year-old faint ... maybe a panic attack. So I'm sorry to those of you who get crammed on."

She said she had to take the afternoon off, during that first week, due to stress.

Meeting organiser Kara Lipski. Photo / Emma Hatton

Event organiser Kara Lipski said she set up the meeting so people could come and share stories and to feel like they were not alone.

She said with the support of bus drivers the public might hold a fare strike.

"The reason why I have suggested the fare strike action is to actually just put [the regional council] on notice that we're not going to go away.

"If we don't see a return to the bus service that we had, then there will be action taken."

The next meeting, hosted by MP Paul Eagle, will be held on 26 August.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne Carter's rise to the top
107207 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Music

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne…

by Mike White

Shayne Carter’s career has been wild and acclaimed. But his just-released memoir reveals the drama and trauma going on behind the scenes.

Read more
Rare photos of the Straitjacket Fits by Brian Murphy
The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypothermia
107150 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Television

The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypot…

by Diana Wichtel

Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale packs a punch, despite some implausible scenes, writes Diana Wichtel.

Read more
Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not guilty to all charges
107204 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not gu…

by Anneke Smith

The man accused of the Christchurch terror attacks has pleaded not guilty to all the charges laid against him.

Read more
One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidable in NZ Parliament
107183 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Politics

One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidab…

by Bevan Rapson

Despite overdue efforts to improve Parliament's culture, political biffo will always be with us.

Read more
The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on the skids – it's a good thing
107144 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on…

by The Listener

Transport officials’ enthusiasm for a sweeping lowering of speed limits looks set to go the way of the once-proposed ban on cats in dairies.

Read more
Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching the right people?
107185 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching t…

by Phil Pennington

New Zealanders who feel they've done nothing wrong have found themselves under surveillance by the state and say they've been left nervous.

Read more
Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life in WWII-era Germany
107122 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Movies

Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life i…

by James Robins

Epic drama captures an artist navigating the upheavals of Nazi and post-war Germany.

Read more