Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink

Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink
Transport and Infrastructure
       Select Committee

                6 December 2018

Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional
Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink
Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink
1.        Summary ............................................................................................................................... 1
2.        Responses to questions ......................................................................................................... 5
     a.      Questions for 6 December 2018 ....................................................................................... 5
     b.      Questions from 27 September 2018 ............................................................................... 10
     c.      Subsequent issues raised by bus operators .................................................................... 14
3.        What’s happened since 27 October .................................................................................... 15
     a.      Network performance ..................................................................................................... 15
     b.      Network, timetable and service changes ........................................................................ 21
     c.      Industrial relations .......................................................................................................... 24
     d.      Real Time Information System ........................................................................................ 25
     e.      Online reporting .............................................................................................................. 26
     f.      Bus hubs .......................................................................................................................... 26
     g.      Independent review ........................................................................................................ 28
     h.      Reference group .............................................................................................................. 28
     i.      Bus priority measures...................................................................................................... 29
     j.      Fleet ................................................................................................................................. 29
4.        Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 31
Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink
Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee - 6 December 2018 Briefing on Wellington Buses by Greater Wellington Regional - Metlink
1. Summary
 At the conclusion of our briefing to the Select Committee on Wellington buses on 27
 September 2018, Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Chief Executive undertook:

    To take responsibility to work with operators to resolve operational issues

    To work through all the customer feedback in detail, to assess where design
     improvements can be made and

    To work to a goal to achieve agreed punctuality KPIs and correct bus size
     matching, providing the right capacity for each trip.

 Simply put, the bus arrives when expected and there is space to take passengers on

 Overall network performance has improved in response to committed performance
 management with our operators and a range of specific interventions. Key to this were
 wide ranging adjustments to timetables and schedules. One of the two major
 Wellington City operators implemented changes in November 2018 and the other will
 do so in February 2019. The changes implemented have lifted that operator’s
 performance, particularly in terms of punctuality right through to the final destination.

 The network has stabilised. However, to fully meet KPI goals the second phase of
 schedule changes are needed.

 Greater Wellington Regional Council would like to publicly acknowledge the work that
 all operators have committed to lifting the performance of the Wellington bus network.

 Focus has been on:

    Minimising cancelled trips

    Delivering bus capacity where needed

    On-time departure

    Improving the accuracy of real time information for passengers

    Priority routes for urgent action.

 On cancellations, our target in Wellington City is to achieve 99.5% of services run and
 we are now averaging 98.7%, with a range from 98.4% to 100% since September. We
 have achieved periods of above target performance, above 99.5%, but more recently
 bus driver shortages caused principally by driver absence due to illness, have frustrated

 Overall capacity exceeds demand by 4.3%. More important to customer experience is
 the right bus capacity available on each route. This correct bus allocation has lifted to
 89.8%. Three of the four operators are meeting targets. During this initial period we
 targeted 85% and with planned fleet improvements, would like to see this above 95%
 for all operators
We are formally targeting on-time departure of 90% with a higher aspiration of
achieving 95%.

For the period 19-25 November, 92.8% of trips across the network were on-time at the
first stop.

As mentioned, the first major reschedule was implemented on 11 November on
Tranzurban routes as planned and has delivered improvements to the network
performance. For example, since implementation, Tranzurban routes have lifted to a
range of 90.2% to 97.6% on-time performance.

A reschedule of NZ Bus Wellington City routes will follow in February 2019.

The ability to achieve further performance gains of significance are constrained by this
and the ongoing systemic shortage of drivers. The shortage is affecting both primary
Wellington City providers. Operators have sufficient drivers to run scheduled services
but when there is extra demand or drivers become unavailable due to, for example,
illness, the network can run short. This can lead to operators having to cancel services,
which we do our utmost to avoid.

Driver shortages are a local, national and international issue. It is not unique to public
transport. Greater Wellington Regional Council will work with operators on active
strategies to address this challenge and attract new people to the industry.

It is an issue we ask this Committee to consider for further work.

There have been significant improvements to the Real Time Information System with
tracking levels trending towards 98%. We deployed an international expert for several
weeks to diagnose ongoing reliability issues. This resulted in a work programme
encompassing both software fixes and practical improvements, such as operator
processes and training. We continue to work with the system provider to further
improve and adjust the system.

Work to better understand customers’ experience of the new bus network in Wellington
City - and what still needs to be done to improve this - continues with an expanded
Customer Experience team of six Customer Journey Leads focused on priority bus

This team, resourced internally within the Council, have gained an in-depth
understanding of bus customer experiences in Wellington City by observing and
speaking to customers, drivers, community groups and reviewing complaint and
performance data. This has enabled GWRC to gain an objective measure of customer
sentiment, identify and resolve or prioritise customer pain-points and opportunities.
The objective is simply to develop customer-centred solutions for improving the
network design.

As a result of this work we have focused on some key network issues for urgent
resolution. A new service on Route 18e in Miramar has been implemented. We are
working with representatives of the local community to reintroduce some peak services
to Vogeltown. We are working with the Zoo to improve access to the destination and
are also working on further improving access from the Miramar peninsula.

A key issue for passengers is that transfers work. Customer expectation is that on
leaving one bus, a connecting service will be available on time. The reschedules will
address many performance issues with transfers. The completed Tranzurban
reschedule have lifted performance from 73% to 88% in short order.

We reported previously to the Committee on the difficulty we were encountering
getting the bus hubs completed. Progress is being made, with hubs completed and
opened at Kilbirnie, Miramar and Brooklyn. Newtown should be completed by
Christmas. This part of the programme has been particularly problematic, frustrated by
engineering, construction and weather-related delays. It has also been challenging to
achieve alignment of all stakeholders. For example, the Courtenay Place hub
construction has been delayed again, following the reversal of a decision by Wellington
City Council to allow installation of three new shelters. We are nevertheless working
to a goal of having the Johnsonville and Karori hubs constructed by February 2019.

We have formalised with NZTA a full forecast of hub-related infrastructure required
for Wellington. This includes current, known developments and potential further

Since our last briefing to the committee, Greater Wellington has worked hard to ensure
strong stakeholder and community engagement. Besides the deployment of the
Customer Experience team, we have also provided regular stakeholder briefings and
media advisories. A Public Transport Reference Group has been established and has
met three times to provide guidance and recommendations to Council.

At the last Select Committee briefing, we reported on industrial relations. Council
called consistently for the Union and bus operators to try harder to reach agreement and
offered to facilitate meetings between the parties. Despite this, strike notices were
issued against Tranzurban in Hutt Valley and Wellington. In addition, Tramways
Union members did not ratify a new collective agreement with NZ Bus.

While there were some cancellations of services in the Hutt Valley due to the strike,
overall 98% of services were maintained in Wellington and Porirua and 100% of school
services were maintained. The strike action was called off after three working days.

Greater Wellington and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have jointly
commissioned an independent review of the implementation of the new bus network.
The review will be completed and reported to the Council meeting on 13 December.

The biggest breakthrough for the performance of bus public transport in Wellington is
enabling proper bus priority. We have asked Wellington City Council to implement a
joint management approach to facilitate urgent progress to achieve this. Without this,
operational gains will be only of secondary value.

While acknowledging that not all customer preferences can be economically met,
GWRC remains confident that the new network has been stabilised and will meet the
needs of the region. We are committed to respond to feedback and adjust to demand
wherever possible.

GWRC also again acknowledges the difficulties we have encountered during the
transition and apologises unreservedly to all who have been affected.

2. Responses to questions

    a. Questions for 6 December 2018
    Design of Bus Hubs

    1) What international examples of successful bus hubs did the Council study
       before designing the Wellington models? What lessons did it learn from
       this study?

       Greater Wellington Regional Council hired international transport consultancy
       and experts to ensure that any network changes were assessed in the light of
       international best practice and other, comparable networks. This included a
       range of international case studies on a wide variety of topics related to public
       transportation design, such as fares (Melbourne, Brisbane, North America and
       Europe), vehicle sizing (Vancouver, Australia and Japan) and network
       performance (Melbourne, Madrid, New York, Singapore, Munich).

    2) Why are the Wellington bus hubs lacking in shelter compared with hubs
       in Auckland and internationally, given Wellington's sometimes poor

       Varying levels of shelter are offered across the Auckland network, from
       standard, open-sided shelters to large-scale transfer stations. Some of these
       options offer greater shelter and some less than the shelters deployed at the
       Wellington bus hubs. The decision of what level of shelter to provide is typically
       determined by passenger numbers along with any local geographical or other
       constraints peculiar to the location. Topographical constraints in part dictate
       how much space is available and what can and cannot be built.

       Wellington’s hub shelters have been designed to provide the highest level of
       amenity appropriate to the location and forecast number of users, keeping in
       mind the PTOM requirement to deliver “value for money”. Hub shelters
       generally offer greater shelter and amenity than any other shelters currently on
       the Wellington network, with glass walls enclosing as much of the space as
       possible without unduly impeding the flow of customers to and from the shelter.
       This is important as access ways that are too restrictive run the risk of delaying
       the loading of buses, impacting upon punctuality.

       While we have not performed any direct comparisons we believe that shelters
       deployed at Wellington hubs will offer shelter that is as good as, or better than,
       shelters at stops in Auckland that have a comparable customer throughput.

    3) How many bus hubs require passengers to walk significant distances
       without shelter and / or cross roads in the rain to make transfers?

       Many of our hub stops are in the same locations as previous stops. In some cases
       though, a single stop has been separated into two stops to enhance efficiency of
       bus movements and passenger transfers. So, for instance, at Wellington Hospital

where there used to be one stop at the foot of the hospital entrance steps, now a
   second stop has been created approximately 35 metres to the north. This means
   that many transferring customers will need to walk 35 metres from one stop to
   the adjacent stop to continue their onward journey. The separation of stops is
   designed allow greater number of buses to the kerbside, minimising on road
   congestion and making it easier for service to meet the timetable.

   The most significant change of location is in Kilbirnie. The hub was previously
   located (and creating congestion) in Rongotai Road outside the village shops
   but has been moved north to Evans Bay Parade. This means that customers
   coming from the village will have to walk approximately 80 metres from the
   canopy shelters of the Kilbirnie shops to get to the bus stops on Evans Bay
   Parade. A covered walkway is being installed along Bay Road and into Evans
   Bay Parade to provide shelter for these customers. At the same time, the
   relocation has brought the hub closer to local schools (Evans Bay Intermediate
   and St Patrick’s), so these customers will have less distance to walk and, in
   many cases, fewer roads to cross.

Bus Stop removals

4) What feedback has the Council had concerning bus stop removals
   undertaken as part of the changes?

   To make sure the new Wellington city bus network works for its users and the
   wider community new bus stops were added, the layout of some stops were
   changed, and some stops needed to be removed as they’re not needed by
   Metlink bus services anymore.

   There are over 1100 bus stops in Wellington city. Around 50 new stops have
   been installed, providing more Wellingtonians access to public transport, and
   approximately 10 stops have been removed. The bus stops that were no longer
   required were mainly as a result of changes to local bus routes, such as route 21
   services using Beauchamp Street instead of Donald Street in Karori, and the
   new 7 day a week route 25 services travelling via Raroa Rd instead of Plunket
   St in Highbury/Kelburn. In the case of the removal of the Lambton Quay at
   Stout Street bus stop this was consistent with the Lets Get Welly Moving Project
   and has resulted as a ‘quick-win’ for speeding up buses along the Golden Mile
   as part of the project. The stops in this area had been very close to each other,
   140m in one direction and 280m in the other, so removing them has had minimal
   impact on passengers.

   In all cases, an alternative bus stop is located within a 500m (approx. 5 minute)

5) What process did the Council use to consider which bus stops to remove?

   As stated in the previous answer, bus stops were removed where there were
   changes to local bus routes.

Sequencing of change

6) Why did the Council decide to change both routes and operators on the
   same day, and what advice did it seek around international experience
   and risks of such an approach?

   Consideration was given to whether implementation of the new Wellington city
   bus network should coincide with the commencement of the new bus operating
   contracts for Wellington city units. While coordinating the implementation of
   network changes and new contracts (and potentially new operators) at the same
   time carried risks, this approach was considered the only practical option from
   a range of options considered.

   A table of these considerations can be found on page 9 of our submission to the
   Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee, 27 September 2018.

   Implementing the new network along with new bus operator contracts had been
   signalled as early as the Wellington Regional Public Transport Plan 2014.

7) Why did the Council design new routes before introducing free transfers,
   when evidence from Hamilton and Christchurch suggests free transfers
   have a significant impact on journey patterns?

   The new routes required free transfers and this is why they were introduced at
   the same time as the new routes. These were always planned together.

Electrification of bus services

8) Why did the Council not re-evaluate the removal of the trolley buses after
   the change of government?

   The decision to remove the trolley buses was made for a variety of reasons, but
   principally the substantial cost to make the system safe and reliable when full
   battery electric buses that are unhindered by overhead wires are now a reality
   as evidenced by the 10 electric double decker buses now operating in

   A change in government does not change the costs or other reasons for removing
   the trolleys. However, we are in discussions with Government about the
   potential to advance the introduction of modern battery electric buses. Council
   is committed to moving to a fully electric fleet.

9) A trolley converted to batteries has been successfully trialled in
   Wellington by NZ Bus. What plans does the Council have to make use of
   other converted trolley buses to speed up the shift to a 100% electric fleet?

   Greater Wellington has been in discussions with NZ Bus about the possibility
   of converting all trolley buses to battery electric since the decision to stop the

trolley buses was first made. Initially discussions were around the Wrightspeed
   technology which has now been replaced by NZ Bus with technology from
   Times Electric Group, which is the same technology used by Tranzurban in the
   electric double deckers. However with technology moving so rapidly, other
   options, including more affordable new electric buses, must also be considered
   to ensure that the best long term economic outcome for ratepayers and taxpayers
   is achieved. Discussions with NZ Bus are progressing and positive.

10)Has the Council made any arrangements with New Zealand bus to
   introduce new electric buses? Will these be in addition to the converted
   trolley buses, and if not why not?

   Yes. Discussions with NZ Bus have encompassed both the converted trolley
   buses and future additional new electric buses in their fleets.

   Greater Wellington is also in discussions with other operators about options to
   advance the deployment of further electric buses.

   To this end, Greater Wellington is preparing a long term electric bus strategy
   and is consulting with various government and industry stakeholders to inform
   this strategy.

11)How have the electric double deckers been deployed prior to availability
   of the fast charging station at Island Bay?

   All ten of the initial batch of electric double deckers vehicles are in operation.
   While the Reef Street charger is taking longer to commission than expected,
   Tranzit are achieving up to seven hours of operation per day from the EVDDs
   through overnight and inter-peak charging at the depot.

12)What progress has been made on the issues of 1. The certification of the
   fast charging station and 2. The overweight permits?

   Good progress has been made on satisfying the requirements of WorkSafe and
   Wellington Electricity in relation to the fast charging station – there is no
   certification from these organisations per se, and there are no known technical
   barriers to final satisfaction being achieved. However final satisfaction can only
   be provided once all testing of the connections between the charger and the
   buses has occurred. The incremental nature of the testing has meant that this
   process has taken longer than expected and has been held up recently by delays
   in gaining overheight permits for the two buses being used in the testing process.

   Agreement has been reached between Greater Wellington and Wellington City
   Council (WCC) that WCC will issue overweight permits for any bus that is
   expected to exceed the general access weight limits for the type of vehicle as
   defined in the Vehicle Dimension and Mass Rule.

13)What decisions have been made in relation to the funding the trolleys to
   be retrofitted with batteries?

Refer to comments above. Negotiations are ongoing with NZ Bus to ensure that
   best long term economic outcome for the environment, ratepayers and taxpayers
   is achieved.

Health and Safety

14)There have been numerous reports of buses hitting infrastructure, parked
   cars and near misses with cyclists; cancelled services, and reports of
   overcrowding within buses leaving passengers vulnerable to sudden
   changes of direction or speed.

   How is GWRC fulfilling its governance responsibilities in relation to
   health and safety aspects of passenger bus services in Wellington?

   Health and safety is the primary foundation of the public transport service we

   Section 36 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, 2015 details that Persons
   Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) have a primary duty to ensure
   as far as reasonably practical the health and safety of their workers and others
   they come into contact with. To support the application of this duty Greater
   Wellington and our partner operators consult, cooperate and coordinate on
   health and safety. One aspect of this consultation and cooperation is shown by
   our operators providing Greater Wellington with their Health and Safety
   Management and Risk Management Plans for feedback and input.

   Relating to cooperation and in order to fulfil our responsibilities in partnership
   with our Public Transport operators Greater Wellington undertakes several
   actions and approaches. The primary approach is to discuss health and safety
   at a strategic level with the CEOs of our operators at a regular CEO forum. The
   outcome of this is to ensure that our leadership is aligned and consistent so this
   can be cascaded down to the relevant teams. We agreed at a recent CEO forum
   to establish a joint health and safety working group with representatives from
   each organisation.

   At a more grassroots level health and safety is an agenda item at the monthly
   and weekly operator operational meetings. At these meetings there is discussion
   of both individual health and safety incidents as well as looking at any emerging
   trends. We have an open and trusted relationship with our operators and health
   and safety reporting is actively encouraged within a no-blame environment.

   Greater Wellington and our operators use industry-standard health and safety
   reporting and categorisation methods. If an incident or trend is raised with
   Greater Wellington we require that our operator investigates and takes action.
   Throughout the investigation we are readily available to support and advise
   operators if required. We acknowledge that our operators are the subject matter
   experts in operating their businesses. A report is then furnished to Greater
   Wellington where in partnership we can discuss the report and fulfil our
   governance responsibilities.

b. Questions from 27 September 2018

    1) Given that in many instances people now need to take two buses rather
       than one (due to hubs) wouldn’t we expect the number of ‘boardings’ to
       have increased more since the introduction of the new bus network?

        Yes, as part of the new network design we expected a small increase in the
        number of people requiring transfers to complete their journeys.

        Looking at smart card data since launch, transfers accounted for 7.1% of
        boardings. During a recent 6 week sample period it was found that only 0.3%
        of passengers transferred more than once between services. Most passengers
        are choosing to transfer between services, rather than doing so because direct
        routes have been removed.

    2) What is the breakdown of people making journeys by bus (rather than
       boardings) and does that show a decline in people using the bus?

        Patronage remains steady, with the expected fluctuations during one-off and
        cyclic events.

        Figure 1 shows provisional data from smart card usage, which accounts for
        about 80% of journeys. We have had a total of 4,086,872 bus journeys on our
        network from 1 July to 30 September. There were 4,380,380 boardings made
        during this time.

Figure 1:

    3) Has the Council seen snapper data or any other data that suggests fewer
       people are using the bus for their daily commute - particularly in light of
       reports from Uber and others of increased use of ride-share, taxis and

The Council’s data and congestion data continues to demonstrate bus patronage
   has remained stable, when taking into account events such as school and
   university holidays.

4) Has there been any increase in reported health and safety incidents since
   the introduction of the new bus network)

   Yes, we have been driving greater health and safety reporting.

   The safety of our customers is paramount and we support our operators with
   guidance on what type of incident and investigation reports we require to enable
   meaningful discussion with them.

   Our Operators have health and safety systems and processes which support
   them in providing a safe workplace for their employees, contractors, and

5) What steps if any has the Council taken to manage health and safety risks
   associated with the introduction of the new bus network?

   GWRC has a comprehensive health and safety system in place to monitor bus
   operations and health and safety is a performance indicator for all bus operators.
   As part of the partnering contract, the Council requires bus operators to supply
   us with both their health and safety and risk management plans.

   Specific work in the health and safety area has also included:

      Site visits and audits at bus operator depots to assess risk management of
       physical hazards and driver participation and engagement.

      Identifying, assessing and then referring hazards to respective PCBUs for
       risk mitigation.

      Regular meetings between the Council and Tranzurban Health and Safety

      Discussing health and safety at weekly and monthly meetings between the
       Council and bus operators

   In addition, with the introduction of double decker buses onto Wellington
   streets, the Council worked in partnership with the Wellington City Council
   (WCC) to address hazards which posed a risk to the operation of these buses on
   the network.

6) Have any financial penalties been imposed on any bus operators?

   The financial penalty regime commenced on 1 October with performance
   assessed at the end of each month.

7) What is the estimated cost of additional bus services added to address
   problems since the introduction of the new Gus (sic) network?

We have supplemented capacity with ‘banker’ buses (extra vehicles
    supplementing the bus routes) which cost $108k per month. Extra bus services
    on the 18e route cost $41k per month.

 8) What is the overall cost of the new bus contracts compared to the cost
    prior to the introduction of the new network?

    A direct comparison of costs is complex as there was a transfer of a number of
    responsibilities from the bus operator to Metlink under the new contracts (e.g.
    ticketing, advertising etc.). Our best estimate of a normalised comparison in
    2017/18 dollars:

       Before $89.16m per annum

       After $83.32m per annum

    The 2017/18 figures include the cost of running trolley buses.

    The comparison does not include any service changes implemented since July

10) Are there any plans to include the commuter services from Wainuiomata?

    Currently Metlink provides regular 7 day week bus services to/from
    Wainuiomata not just at commuter times.

    The bus routes also travel on to Queensgate in Hutt City where people can
    transfer onto other buses again providing local access around the wider Hutt
    Valley and into Wellington City. Metlink introduced a number of new fare and
    ticketing initiatives in July which has made transferring between services easier,
    and cheaper for some of our customers.

11) Are there any plans on the future of the Airport Flyer Service to the

    The Airport Flyer service is not a Metlink service and as such the Council is
    unable to comment on any future plans.

12) Is there any plan to review how bus services are being integrated with
    train services?

    GWRC operates an integrated network of services with connections between
    trains and buses. We regularly review the connections between buses and trains
    to ensure that these connections are operating effectively.

13) Are there any plans to review the quality and timeliness of school bus

    Many school services are not operated by GWRC.

School bus services that we do operate are constantly under review as demand
    shifts and school start and finish times change. We also respond to one off
    events and other school requirements.

14) What is the reason for school bus services or school hire of buses
    significantly increasing since the contracts changed over?

    We are aware of changes in commercial services provided by bus operators
    outside of contracts with GWRC. We are unable to speculate or comment on
    commercial services provided by bus operators outside of contracts with

15) How much has been spent on contractors by GWRC to rectify the issues
    regarding buses in the Wellington Region?

    It was always intended that GWRC would need to employ additional specialist
    resources to assist with the transition to the new bus network, the bedding in
    and resolution of issues. The amount spent from July to September on
    contractors for this specific purpose is $338,053.

16) How will you monitor the future performance of bus services in the Hutt

    Lower and Upper Hutt, as part of the wider Metlink bus network, will be
    monitored in the same way as all other services for on time performance,
    reliability and that the correct sized bus is used.

17) What lessons have you learnt from this entire process – what would the
    GWRC have done differently?

    GWRC followed the requirements of PTOM process and have since
    commissioned an independent review in partnership with the NZ Transport
    Agency. The first stage of the review will focus on a clear articulation of what
    happened during implementation. It will review management and operators’
    responses to the various circumstances encountered and identify and
    recommend any further action which could be taken to improve the network
    operation and customer experience.

18) Could GWRC provide statistics on the number of people in the Hutt who
    were using bus services before the contracts changed over and the most
    recent statistics on people using bus services?

    Comparing Metlink services from September 2017 patronage to September
    2018 patronage there was no significant change in the number of people using
    buses in the Hutt Valley before and after the new network was introduced.
    Patronage levels have been at 402,000 and 400,000 customers respectively.

    Please note: September 2018 had one less working day than 2017.

19) The committee requests that GWRC invite the Auditor-General to review
    their procurement process for the bus network design and operation. The

committee has asked that the review be made against the PTOM and
   include assessing other decisions they could have been made under the

   The Auditor-General has investigated whether a review is required and
   concluded it did not intend to inquire further at this time. The Auditor-General
   has decided to monitor developments and review any new issues or information
   that arises to decide whether those warrant further work.

c. Subsequent issues raised by bus operators
In addition to the questions we have answered above, we’d like to address
subsequent issues raised by bus operators who addressed the Select Committee on
Thursday, 25 October 2018.

1) GWRC did not withhold data from bus operators as alleged by NZ Bus

    All operators had access to the same data, including ticketing and real-time
    information, and this included NZ Bus. It would not make sense to withhold
    data from any operator, and it was certainly not “forgotten.” No data was
    denied any operator, ever.

2) A proposed Basin Reserve flyover was not an issue

    The issue of a Basin Reserve flyover was not a factor in developing timetables
    or route design for the new bus network.

3) Bus operators did not ask for a delay to the ‘go live’ date of the new bus

    Operators were given a long lead-in time before the ‘go live’ date for
    Wellington on July 15. Despite a number of meetings and discussions, no bus
    operators warned or requested that the Council delay this ‘go live’ date. The
    Council has checked with staff and gone through noted documentation and this
    is simply not true. Given the nature of the transition, a delay would not have
    been possible anyway.

3. What’s happened since 27 October

    a. Network performance

    i. Patronage
       Figure 1 shows the daily bus patronage as measured by the number of boardings,
       including transfers.

       Figure 1 – Daily boardings on the Wellington bus network from 16 July 2018


       Patronage remains strong but is starting to drop off as we move towards the end
       of the year and university and school student travel reduces.

    ii. On-time performance
       Figure 2 below shows the on-time performance of bus services at the first stop
       on a route, a key lead indicator of performance against schedule. “On-time”
       means that the bus departed within a period of less than 1 minute early to 4
       minutes 59 seconds late compared with the scheduled time.

       Figure 2 – On-time performance of the Wellington bus network from 16 July 2018 at
       the first stop.








       Within Wellington City, 91.2% of trips during the week of 19 – 25 November
       were on-time at the origin stop, with just 3.1% of trips being 10 minutes or more
       late at the origin stop.

On 11 November 2018 Tranzurban introduced a package of changes to deliver:

   On-time performance improvements

   Better timetabled connections

   Planned service enhancements, including longer service spans and increased
    evening frequencies.

While there have only been two weeks of data since the 11 November
reschedule by Tranzurban, there are some promising signs of improvement in
on-time performance. For example, for Route 1 the average destination arrival
time variance has dropped from 5.1 minutes in the week before the reschedule
to 0.6 and 0.9 minutes in the two weeks following. The equivalent figures for
Route 7 are 1.9 minutes in the week before the reschedule and 0.1 and -0.1
minutes in the two weeks following.

Similarly the variance to schedule, which compares the running times against
the times allowed in the timetable, has more than halved for route 1 from an
average of 2.3 minutes before the reschedule to -0.5 and -0.9 minutes in the
following two weeks. Route 7 had better schedule adherence than route 1 and
the figures have remained similar.

The reschedule also appears to have reduced the maximum delays on route 1 as
can be seen in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3 – Daily average trip maximum delay on route 1 showing improvement since
the 11 November reschedule.

The reschedule has also delivered improved connections with analysis showing
that percentage of connections made for services waiting to connect with routes
1 or 7 has risen from an average of 73% prior to 11 November to an average of
88% after 11 November, as shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1. Connections with routes 1 and 7.

       Connecting                                           Average percentage of
         Route                                               connections made

                                                   Prior to 11 Nov                                    Since 11 Nov

                 17                                               72%                                          86%

                 19                                               64%                                          84%

                 23                                               70%                                          88%

                 29                                               73%                                          85%

                 60                                               84%                                          94%

             Total                                                73%                                          88%

    A reschedule of NZ Bus Wellington City routes will follow in February 2019.

iii. Reliability
    Figure 4 below shows the percentage of scheduled bus services delivered.
    These services are ones that are recorded as having operated in either the Real
    Time Information or Snapper systems.

    Figure 4 – Percentage of services delivered on the Wellington bus network from 16
    July 2018






    Overall the delivery of services remains strong but is still not at optimal levels.
    The large dip shown on 19 October coincides with a stopwork meeting that saw
    a large number of off-peak trips cancelled.

    Our target in Wellington City is to achieve 99.5% of services run and we are
    now averaging 98.7%, with a range from 98.4% to 100% since September.

iv. Capacity
   Banker buses deployed on Tranzurban routes were incorporated into the
   timetable as part of the 11 November reschedule. Remaining banker and stand-
   by buses continue to be used to provide capacity at key pressure points across
   the network, and the majority of these will be incorporated into the timetable
   when the NZ Bus reschedule is implemented on 3 February 2019. Some
   additional banker services are planned for February to meet the peak demand
   time of the year when school and university students start to use the network.

   Correct bus matching is a key to providing sufficient capacity on the network
   and for the period 19-25 November the correct bus allocation was 89.8% against
   the target. Cancellations can also contribute significantly to capacity issues and
   are an area of focus for both GWRC and operators.

   While there is sufficient capacity on the network when services operate as
   planned, capacity remains an issue for customers as outlined in section 3.6

v. Customer experience
   Work to better understand customers’ experience of the new bus network in
   Wellington City - and what still needs to be done to improve this - continues
   with an expanded Customer Experience team of six Customer Journey Leads
   focused on priority bus routes.

   Over the last six weeks the Customer Journey Leads have gained an in-depth
   understanding of bus customer experiences in Wellington City by observing and
   speaking to customers, drivers, community groups and reviewing complaint and
   performance data. This has enabled GWRC to gain an objective measure of
   customer sentiment, identify and resolve customer pain-points and
   opportunities and develop customer-centred solutions for improving the
   network design.

   With a total of over 563 interviews to date, the balance of sentiment remains
   positive, with most people continuing to experience improvements since the
   network was launched. In comparison to the network prior to 15 July: 255 say
   it has improved; 125 say it is similar; 183 feel it is worse for them.

   Customers and bus drivers continue to be overwhelmingly positive and
   responsive to being asked to provide feedback. Some customers have
   appreciated the opportunity to provide positive feedback, which they do not
   believe is possible to do on social media or through public meetings.

   Specific improvements noted by customers include:

      Increased frequency on routes – peak and off-peak. Examples include route
       32x, which has improved peak frequency to Island Bay, and route 2, which
       is well patronised through the weekend and evenings, providing a frequent
       connection to and from the central city.

   Many of the local services, such as routes 29, 23, 33, 24 and 25 are providing
       improved access to near-by suburbs and to the central city on evenings and
       weekends that did not previously exist. Tertiary fare discounts and free
       Super Gold Card travel are encouraging these customers to use transfers to
       reach new destinations.

      Tertiary discounts and free transfers are appreciated and encouraging public
       transport use.

      Improved driver service. Customers speak very positively about the patience
       and courtesy shown by most drivers.

   The Customer Experience Team have identified the priority pain-points that will
   deliver the most significant improvements when resolved. These include:

      On-time performance, which also has a large influence on many of the other
       pain-points outlined below. Improving this, through the planned changes to
       timetables and minimising service cancellations, will significantly improve
       the over-all customer experience.

      Fixing capacity, through the planned changes to timetables, minimising
       service cancellations and introducing the new right-sized buses will
       significantly improve comfort levels and perceptions of dependable access.

      Reviewing and improving connections will remove many of the negative
       perceptions about transferring on the network.

      Improving the accuracy of the Real Time Information System. This issue
       should diminish as bus service reliability improves and trust in the network
       increases. There is also an opportunity to promote the vehicle tracking
       facility on the Metlink website and app, which many customers find more
       useful in setting expectations of vehicle arrival.

      Passengers not standing or taking designated seating for people with
       disabilities. The planned implementation of the on-bus information system
       next year will help to manage set expectations of customer behaviour on the
       bus. Prior to this there may be an opportunity for an information campaign.

      Some older and non-English/English as a second language customers are
       having difficulty in interpreting information about the new network.

   The Customer Experience team is now focused on working with the broader
   Metlink team to develop solutions to these pain-points. As well as continued
   monitoring of operational improvements, ongoing collection of customer
   insight will enable further analysis of issues to enable solutions that are more
   effectively targeted and customer-centred.

vi. Transfers
   Significant research has been undertaken to identify and quantify the extent of
   transferring throughout the bus network. Prior to June 2018, approximately 4%

of all boardings were transfers between bus services. Post implementation of
    the new network, this ratio to grown considerably to approximately 7.1% of all
    boardings across the Greater Wellington region.

    The increase in bus to bus transfers is the result of significantly more passengers
    choosing to transfer between services, rather than because customers are being
    forced to do so because direct routes have been removed.

    It appears that less than 1% of passengers are making transfers at the 27
    timetabled connection points.

    We continue the work on reviewing and improving connections between
    services, with an initial focus on improving the timekeeping of connecting
    routes. While it is pleasing to see the improved connections that have resulted
    from the reschedule by Tranzurban as outlined above, further improving
    timetabled connections remains a focus for GWRC.

vii. School services
    There are 120 Metlink school bus routes, with several of these routes running
    multiple trips, and multiple buses due to high demand (a particular service
    feature for some of the larger colleges). This means Metlink provides well over
    200 school trips per day with approximately 8000 boardings per day or about
    9% of all trips.

    Figure 5 below shows the on-time performance of Metlink school bus services
    across the Wellington region at the first stop on the route. School routes
    generally have high on-time performance and continue to have a trend of
    improvement as ongoing timetable and operational delivery improvements are

    Afternoon homeward bound school trips show as having a lower on-time
    performance than trips to school. The afternoon trips tend to depart from the
    schools as soon as all the students have boarded the bus. In some cases this
    means the bus will leave earlier or later than the timetabled departure times. If
    the bus is ready to depart it makes more sense to leave early and start the journey
    home for the students rather than wait around for the timetabled departure time.
    However, this then can have detrimental effects on the afternoon on-time
    performance metrics at the first stop.

Figure 5 - On time performance of Metlink school routes at first stop

viii. Commercial performance
    On 1 October implementation of performance management commenced,
    providing for performance abatements and bonuses to incentivise bus operators
    to improve operational performance.

 b. Network, timetable and service changes
  i. Overview
    The new Wellington network can best be described as connected network. Key
    characteristics of a connected network are a network designed with a reliance
    on a network of key routes meeting at connections points, usually hubs. The
    aim of this design is to maximise the number of trip choices customers can
    make, within the resources available to provide the services needed. This type
    of network typically allows for a simplification of routes by removing the need
    to duplicate services across the network.

    Direct trips are generally provided for where demand is high enough between
    an origin and destination to justify the cost of running a direct service, such as
    on the high-frequency routes and on peak only services.

 ii. Timelines for introducing network changes
    There are a number of factors that determine the timeline for implementing
    service or network changes and the process that must be followed.

       Identification of issues, development of service change, and analysis of
        feasibility of implementation: minimum 4 weeks (needs to be enough time
        for analysis of customer feedback, ticketing (capacity and customer travel
        behaviour), and real-time data (punctuality, reliability, and connections),

potential resource implications such as need for additional drivers and
       buses, and discussions with operator, etc.)

      Potential public and stakeholder consultation (if required): 4 to 8 weeks
       at least, maybe longer depending on scale of consultation (design/planning,
       consultation period 2-4 weeks, analysis and recommendations 2 weeks)

      Operational lead-times for implementation: minimum 8 weeks and up to
       18 weeks from the date of agreement between operator and Metlink and
       confirmation of budget (modelling by operator of resource impacts, for
       example, additional drivers and buses required, if no additional resource
       required then shift and roster development plus drivers have sufficient
       notification period of change. Sufficient time for Metlink to produce
       customer information such as printed timetables, on-street information and
       digital media). Additional time required for acquisition of fleet, driver
       recruitment or delivery of infrastructure, to be advised on a case-by-case

   Therefore, many service or network changes can take between 16 and 30 weeks
   to implement robustly and smoothly with our partner operators.

   Changes that do not affect shifts and rosters, such as refining intermediate travel
   times i.e. bus may be arriving early for part of a trip and late in another part but
   with the overall travel time being correct can generally be brought in much more

iii. Route 18e extension
   From 1 October, buses have been servicing Route 18e from 7 AM to 8 PM,
   giving all-day access to Wellington Hospital and Victoria and Massey
   universities. There are 41 weekday trips and 28 weekend trips in the timetable.

iv. Service enhancement packages
   One of the underlying principles of the Wellington bus network changes was
   that it was undertaken on a no-net-cost basis, i.e. new services were to be funded
   from savings elsewhere in the network, either though efficiencies or through
   removal of services where demand was low.

   Councillors requested options to enhance the network through the addition of
   more services and provided additional funding of $591K in the Long-term Plan
   2018-2028. As the funding was only approved in June 2018, the additional
   services could only be implemented through changes to the new network, and
   initial planning was for the changes to take place in the first quarter of 2019.
   However, as a number of timetables are being reviewed, we have incorporated
   the enhancement packages as part of the changes.

   The enhancement packages adopted were:

      P1 Coverage – Monday to Saturday services between 7 AM – 11 PM

   P3 Coverage – High frequency routes operate until Midnight Monday to

       P6 Commute – Early AM Enhancement – Weekday first trip arrives in city
        before 7 AM

       P7 Commute – AM peak services run until 9AM

       P8 Commute – PM peak services from city run until 6 PM

       P9 Capacity and Convenience – Enhanced early evening services – Monday
        to Saturday until 8 PM (Every 14 minutes for frequent services and every
        30 minutes for standard services)

v. Re-schedules
   In addition to the reschedule by Tranzurban on 11 November, a package of
   changes is scheduled to be introduced on 9 December 2018 by Mana to
       Reliability improvements

       Planned service enhancements for increased evening frequencies on Route
        52 (CBD – Newlands/Woodridge).

    And as noted earlier in the report, a package of changes is scheduled to be
    introduced on 3 February 2019 by NZ Bus to deliver:
       Reliability and capacity improvements

       Double-decker buses on routes 3, 31x, 36, 81 and 85x

       Route 18e hourly services 7am to 8pm seven-days a week

       Route 14 extension from Hataitai to Kilbirnie

       Planned service enhancements including longer service spans and increased
        evening/weekend services.

vi. Possible network changes
    At the time of writing this report a number of possible network changes are
    being assessed. Good progress has been made but further work is required for
    some of the changes to identify solutions that can be implemented in the short,
    medium and long term.

    Wellington Zoo is working collaboratively with GWRC to identify and explore
    options for increasing access to the Zoo and southern Newtown by public
    transport. Managers from both GWRC and Wellington Zoo will share all
    available insights, data, options and ideas in December. This includes the costs
    of extending direct off-peak services, a van-type shuttle service, as well as other
    ideas such as better promoting Metlink Explorer and Snapper discounts, and

improved signage. January will provide an opportunity to evaluate ideas, with a
   view to jointly presenting a number options to the Committee in February 2019
   for consideration.

   This week Council will consider recommendations to work with the operator
   to develop an operationally feasible and costed proposal to extend Route 18 to
   the Kilbirnie Hub together with a reduced off-peak frequency of route 18 from
   10 to 15 minute headway.

   Council will also consider a recommendation to provide some direct peak time
   services into the CBD from Vogeltown.

   Longer term changes to these and other areas of the City will be assessed as
   part of the post-implementation review of the network due to commence in the
   first quarter of 2019.

c. Industrial relations
   There has been significant activity in the industrial relations area since the last
   meeting of the Committee. Tramways Union members and supporters picketed
   the Council meeting on 3 October and addressed the meeting as part of the
   public participation process. Following the meeting Council called for the
   Union and bus operators to try harder to reach agreement and offered to
   facilitate meetings between the parties.

   Strike notices against Tranzurban in the Hutt Valley and Wellington were issued
   on 18 October with an indefinite strike planned from 23 October. Subsequently
   the strike was deferred until 25 October. GWRC worked with other agencies
   through the Regional Transport Response Team to plan for the impacts of the
   strike and to provide information to the public. The key message was to check
   before you travel as the impact of the strike activity was uncertain. Metlink kept
   bus travellers updated on the evolving situation through the website and social
   media channels as well as public information on radio.

   While there were some cancellations in the Hutt Valley, overall 98% of services
   ran as scheduled in Wellington and Porirua. No school services were affected
   and the strike was called off from 2am on 30 October after three working days.

   Bargaining between the union and Tranzurban is set to resume early next month.

   Tramways Union members from NZ Bus met on 19 October to ratify a new
   collective agreement. The members did not ratify the agreement and the parties
   are to return to the bargaining table in late November.

   Bargaining with Uzabus is set to resume in late November.

   Mana has a signed collective agreement and so is not affected by the current
   round of negotiations.

d. Real Time Information System
  The Real Time information (RTI) system has undergone continual improvement
  over the past several months.

  Accuracy of on-street signs has improved. The sample site at Newtown
  demonstrates that the vast majority of buses which are scheduled to arrive, do
  arrive within expected timeframes.
  Figure 6 – RTI Observations at Newtown

  On bus tracking across all operators continues to improve with this number
  trending towards 98%. This percentage has trended up consistently since the
  commencement of the network changes in July 2018, and indicates the efforts
  of the Operators, GWRC staff and third-party vendors to ensure buses are
  tracking in the RTI system.

Figure 7 – Trips tracked in RTI.

e. Online reporting
  The route performance data for the top 10 routes by patronage (as at 14 October
  2018) has been published since 14 November 2018. The information is
  published at

  The information is published each Tuesday, showing the previous week’s daily
  route performance metrics. The metrics reported are:

      Daily patronage levels (boardings) on a rolling two weekly basis

      Reliability of scheduled services run as tracked by RTI and Snapper

      Punctuality of service departing from each route’s origin compared to the
       timetabled schedule.

      Additional routes and metrics will be added over time.

f. Bus hubs
  Significant progress has been made with progressing the completion of the bus
  hubs as shown in Table 2 below.

  Table 2 – Progress with bus hubs.

  Brooklyn                     23 September 2018 Stops A and B operational

                               20 November 2018 Stop C operational

  Miramar                      21 October 2018 hub operational

  Kilbirnie                    18 November hub operational.

Progress had been held up by work on the water
                           supply in the area.

                           Pedestrian canopy will commence February 2018.
Newtown                    Under construction.

                           Scheduled to open prior to Christmas.

Johnsonville               Stop C under construction.

                           Stop A and B to begin in the New Year for
                           completion mid – February.

                           Progress dependent on new library construction.

Courtenay Place            Progress delayed following the reversal of a
                           decision by Wellington City Council to allow
                           installation of three new shelters. WCC want to
                           retain the two existing 20 year old shelters and
                           want the Stop B shelter to reflect the same design.
                           This will delay construction of Stop B until late
                           March after completion of Karori.

Karori                     Work scheduled to commence in the New Year
                           for completion by the end of February 2019.

There has been recent publicity on the revised forecast cost of the hubs after the
New Zealand Transport Agency asked GWRC to produce a business case for
the total project, rather than treating each hub as a separate project in the low
cost/low risk funding category. This required a variation to the Regional Land
Transport Programme which has been approved by the Regional Transport
Committee and will require the approval of Council on 13 December.

A high level scope for the project was agreed between GWRC and Wellington
City Council specifying more ambitious shelter design and evidence of ‘place
making’ than previously deployed on the network. This high level scope
established a budget baseline of $7m in late 2017.

None of the traditional suppliers of bus shelters tendered at this high level design
stage, and the single tenderer was contracted on an Early Contractor
Involvement model which brings the contractor into the detailed design stage.

The shelters were designed for security, durability and connectivity, consisting
of a cantilevered structure, with glass all around for better visibility. This
required a stronger structural pole and stronger foundations because of the
heavier steel structure.

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