Canterbury public bus drivers receive wage increase
Environment Canterbury is pleased to announce a wage increase for public bus drivers across Canterbury following discussions with operators and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Earlier this week contract variations were formalised to increase Go Bus Transport and Ritchies Transport driver wages in Greater Christchurch to $28 per hour.
Timaru-based Ritchies drivers will also receive an increased wage to $25 per hour.
The new wages apply from 1 October 2022, and drivers will be provided back payment for previous weeks. The increase is 50% funded by Environment Canterbury through funds set aside by Council in the current Annual Plan, with the remainder supported by Go Bus, Ritchies, and Waka Kotahi.
General Manager of Public Transport Stewart Gibbon said the wage increase recognises the contribution drivers make to our region and helps ensure a reliable service is offered.
“We have worked hard with our operators, and Amalgamated Workers Union NZ (AWUNZ) to achieve this outcome,” he said.
“Council was aware more needed to be done to support our drivers and attract new ones, so funding was allocated in the annual plan to support a wage increase subject to Waka Kotahi matching funding. Funding approval from Waka Kotahi was received in October, and we have been working with operators to apply that to driver wages.
“It is a meaningful wage rise from the previous $24 wage in Greater Christchurch and will help attract more drivers to the profession. Not having enough drivers holds back service improvements, such as increasing the frequency of buses and utilizing new vehicles in our fleet.
“Bus drivers provide a valuable service to the community and deserve appropriate recognition for that service. We also recognise the disruption the driver shortage has had on some of our services, and we thank customers for their patience during this time.
“We anticipate the wage increase will make a material difference to our driver shortage, but the recruitment process will take time,” said Gibbon.
In November 2021, Environment Canterbury announced that all contracted public transport drivers would be earning a base rate equivalent to the 2021 Living Wage, and since early 2022 Greater Christchurch drivers have been paid at least $24 per hour.