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Commuters confused by cancellations

Staff shortages have spread to the trains, with commuters warned all trains on the Wairarapa line yesterday would be replaced by buses.

The issue came from a shortage of TXOs at Wellington Station. TXOs are responsible for moving the trains around, otherwise known as shunting.

However, despite the warnings, only the early morning trains were affected as the operator managed to find last-minute staff.

A Metlink spokesperson said the shortage was due to unexpected illnesses among staff.

“Like most people at this time of year, a large portion of our train staff are taking well-deserved breaks.

“This does mean that there are fewer staff rostered, so unexpected absences through sickness have a higher impact.”

The spokesperson said Metlkink was always looking for new staff to keep trains running.

“Transdev, our rail operator, are always actively recruiting train engineers and onboard staff in a highly competitive market and against New Zealand’s very low unemployment rates.”

However, despite rail replacement buses in place, bus services were also struggling due to a shortage of drivers.

Greater Wellington advised commuters earlier this week that most Metlink buses across Wellington would be operating to a Saturday schedule.

“Metlink has reduced bus timetables in this way to give customers certainty,” a Greater Wellington spokesperson said.

“Because of the national bus driver shortage, and at a time when many of us, including drivers, are taking leave, the reduced schedules will help operators meet demand and minimise unplanned cancellations.”

The changed timetable was expected to be in place until January 27.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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