Date: 28 July 2022
Auckland Council has funded Auckland Transport to give a much-needed boost to bus drivers’ wages.
Mayor Phil Goff says being able to recruit and retain bus drivers was critical to overcoming a shortfall in driver numbers.
“Ensuring that our public transport system is funded to be fully staffed and provide reliable and regular services is critical to encouraging more people to use it,” he says.
“More people on buses means less congestion, less pollution and reduced carbon emissions.
“An immediate average increase of 8 per cent for our bus drivers will take average wages up to $25.62 per hour, with further wage increases in the pipeline.
“It helps recognise the importance of the job and the responsibilities our drivers have.
“We will be working with Waka Kotahi and the government through Auckland Transport to secure funding for further pay increases over the next year,” Phil Goff says.
Auckland Transport Interim Chief Executive Mark Lambert says it was important for AT to increase driver pay as soon as funding became available.
“Bus drivers are the backbone of the transport system in Auckland, carrying tens of thousands of people each day,” Mr Lambert says.
“We’re pleased that their loyalty is being rewarded with this wage increase, but this is just the first step in our plans to improve conditions for all our AT Metro bus drivers, who work so hard to keep our city moving.”
Currently the average rate for drivers working on AT Metro services is $23.71 an hour, with this increase representing an average wage increase of 8 per cent for those drivers, taking the average to $25.62 per hour.
Auckland Transport is continuing to work with Waka Kotahi to release matched funding to this Council funded increase, and the Government on broader investment to implement further wage increases later this year.
Mr Lambert says the figures out last week showing inflation had reached a 32-year high reinforced the importance of AT increasing driver pay as soon as possible.
“The wage increases we’re announcing today will go some way to helping retain our current bus drivers as well as to bring more drivers into the industry,” Mr Lambert says.
“We know further increases will be needed to address the rising cost of living and to help us keep more of our highly skilled and experienced drivers.
“Our bus drivers have been great ambassadors for their employers and for Auckland Transport throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a vital role helping to keep Aucklanders connected.”
“I’m so proud of FIRST Union and Tramways Union bus drivers, who have worked constructively with their employers and Auckland to achieve this significant and meaningful pay increase,” says Louisa Jones, FIRST Union Assistant General Secretary.
“This is a major first step in retaining experienced bus drivers and attracting new people to an industry that is crucial in New Zealand’s recovery from the pandemic and our thriving cities.”
“FIRST Union and Tramways Union bus driver members are committed to continuing to work closely with regional councils and operators to ensure that bus driving remains a great career choice for New Zealanders.”
Auckland Transport remains confident further wage increases will be possible in late 2022.