Kinetic Group is pleased to confirm that its NZ operating units Go Bus Transport and NZ Bus are projecting a return to full driver staffing levels in all main centres over the coming weeks.
The two companies, who have delivered urban transport routes across six of New Zealand major cities for nearly three decades, had many of their services impacted by the nationwide post-Covid driver shortage. They have spent the last six months conducting an intense recruitment campaign aimed at both overseas and local drivers.
“Through the enormous efforts of our recruitment teams across New Zealand, we have recruited enough drivers to enable a return to full services over the coming weeks,” says Head of Kinetic in New Zealand, Calum Haslop.
“We are currently on-boarding new recruits as fast as we can. We’ve made a large investment to bring in drivers quickly from the Philippines, India and Fiji to supplement our local recruitment endeavours. For those travelling from overseas locations, we are fully involved in ensuring their accommodation, banking, tax and transport needs are met until they have a chance to make their own arrangements.
“Training of course is super important, and getting all licences and permits sorted can take some time. Fortunately, all the authorities we work with, such as Waka Kotahi and VTNZ, are mindful of the need to get bus drivers on the road and all have been very helpful.”
Kinetic has recruited approximately 559 drivers since November – 327 for Auckland, 82 for Wellington, 57 for Tauranga, 31 for Hamilton, 50 for Christchurch, and 12 for Dunedin.
“We are now in discussions with all the regional councils we serve on dates for the return of full timetables,” Haslop says.
Over the past month, NZ Bus and Go Bus in Wellington and Auckland have also commenced staff shuttle services to their respective central city depots, making it easier and cheaper for staff to get to and from work.
The Auckland staff shuttle operates from key locations on the North Shore and runs over the Harbour Bridge to the Downtown CBD Depot.
The Wellington staff shuttle spans a route of almost 40 kms, operating between Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, stopping at the Kaiwharawhara depot before continuing onto the main depot in Kilbirnie.
“The costs and time of commuting to work are not insignificant, especially for drivers who work in larger cities like Auckland and Wellington which both have a wide geographical spread,” Haslop says.
“The shuttle bus initiative is free and reduces the amount of time our drivers are spending at the wheel. It also removes unnecessary cars off the road and offers a reliable way to get to work.
“This is just one of the many benefits we’ve begun to introduce to address driver staffing requirements and provide some respite against cost-of-living pressures.
“If we’re going to attract and retain people who are passionate about a long-term career in the transport industry, we need to be thinking about benefits like this that make working with us an attractive and sustainable option.
“This is another great example of how we are doing buses differently.”
Kinetic is the largest bus operator in Australasia, operating NZ Bus, Go Bus, Johnston’s and SkyBus in New Zealand.