Monday, October 12, 2009

About time

The Auckland Regional Council, which funds Auckland's bus services, has stepped into the Auckland bus lockout telling NZBus that if they will not supply the services they are contracted for, it will find someone else who can:

“The Auckland travelling public have run out of any patience or sympathy for this on-going nonsense,” said Mr Lee.

“NZ Bus operates public transport services under contract to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). NZ Bus is currently in breach of those contracts – it is not delivering the services. Like any commercial contract, NZ Bus contracts can be terminated for non-performance.

‘If this dispute is not settled, I will be calling on ARTA to start the process of terminating the existing contracts and finding someone else who will deliver the services that Auckland expects and pays for.

Hopefully this will sharpen the minds of NZBus and Infratil and force them to settle the dispute. And if they won't, then Aucklanders will get a new, and hopefully better behaved, bus company.

Meanwhile, this lock out is showing once again that public services such as public transport cannot be effectively delivered by contracting out. Instead, its time to shift back to councils owning and running their own bus services. That way, at least, they'll have enough direct control to stop these sorts of disruptions.