Tranzit Group operations manager Keven Snelgrove, left, and bother and managing director Paul Snelgrove. PHOTO/SUPPLED

Tranzit boss says award-winning company has been unfairly tarnished

 

BECKIE WILSON

beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Masterton-based bus company Tranzit Group has been caught in the middle of a Wellington bus fiasco that “has very little to do with us”, managing director Paul Snelgrove says.

The capital’s entire bus network was revamped in July, with new timetables, altered routes and new buses, in what Snelgrove said was one of the biggest changes to a city’s public bus system undertaken in New Zealand.

But the transition to the upgraded network has been chaotic.

The company was awarded the Trust House Supreme Award at the inaugural Wairarapa Awards on Thursday night but it’s reputation and name that had been “tarnished” by the problems in Wellington, Snelgrove said.

Both Tranzit and NZBus supply buses to the network, which is managed by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

But Tranzit’s Wellington fleet, called Tranzurban, which makes up nearly half of the city’s buses, has borne the brunt of criticism since July.

The family company has been accused of being “anti-union” by the Tramways Union advocate Graeme Clarke, RNZ reported in July.

It’s also been slammed in the media for buses that are too small, timetable delays, and drivers not knowing the correct routes.

“Unfortunately, we have been perceived as a bad employer and anti-union,” Snelgrove said.

“I’m not going to sit here and say we are squeaky clean, but we certainly keep people here a long, long time.

“We never had any issues with the union at all … It’s only come about since the new contract,” he said.

Snelgrove said one of the biggest issues with the network was the number of parties involved: including central government, Wellington City Council and the regional council.

“And we are in the middle, supplying the buses,” he said.

“The issues you hear about will be Karori, Hataitai and Seatoun — we don’t do any of those areas at all,” he said.

Tranzit supplies buses for the Hutt Valley, Wainuiomata, Wairarapa and Porirua networks.

In Wellington city, their buses run from Island Bay to Johnsonville, Miramar to Johnsonville, and Wellington to Brooklyn, he said.

“I would say our Wellington urban operation is going damn well.”

He admitted there were issues when the contract began, with a lack of drivers for the new buses and new bus drivers taking the old route.

That wasn’t helped by bus shelters being left on the previous routes, creating confusion for drivers who were new to town.

Tranzit is one of the country’s largest privately-owned bus companies, with brands including Intercity and Great Sights.