Staffing 'not reason for no-show buses'

Gerard Collings
Gerard Collings

Bus troubles have continued with more no-show services on the city's revised network, but the regional council is saying issues are not due to a staff shortage.

Yesterday an early-morning Balaclava-Logan Park service did not run and there were several missed trips on the Opoho route at the weekend.

When the new routes and timetables became operational one month ago, several buses did not arrive at their destinations. Some of these incidents were attributed to driver illness.

Bus company Ritchies won several more contracts for the new network.

Otago Regional Council support services manager Gerard Collings said yesterday morning's missed service did not run because ''operating procedures were not followed correctly''.

He did not clarify further except to say it was not a staffing issue.

Mr Collings was ''looking into'' the issues with weekend services.

''We accept that this is not at all acceptable, but we do know Ritchies are very apologetic.''

There was also an issue with a bus on the peninsula at the weekend, but this was due to a mechanical fault, he said.

Ritchies was ''putting in place measures'' to ensure this trend did not continue.

The bus company had brought in more staff permanently based in Dunedin, which had resulted in fewer missed services overall since the changes began.

When asked if the council would do anything to stop services being missed in the future, Mr Collings said it would ''discuss these issues with the operator''.

Ritchies Dunedin manager John Ayoub did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.



So what penalties apply under the ORC / Ritchies contract? Surely failure to run a particular service means the impost of a financial penalty.
Is this contract being made public so people can understand what level of control ORC have over service delivery? Or is this just another of the so called "commercially sensitive" secret sweetheart deals forced upon us?