Tauranga's mayor is annoyed by a series of advertisements apologising for the city's bus issues.

"We are sorry," says the headline of the ad placed in the Bay of Plenty Times this week by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

"We realise the current bus driver shortage is affecting your travel on Tauranga's Bayhopper buses," it read on Friday.

The advertisements encourage bus users to check the Baybus website for cancellations.


At the bottom they list the Baybus 0800 number and the logos of the regional council, NZ Transport Agency and network operator NZ Bus.

Above that is a boxed section under the heading "For more information on other services" directing inquiries about Ministry of Education contracted school buses to the Ministry and those about bus infrastructure to the Tauranga City Council.

"If you have questions about bus stops, bus lanes or other bus infrastructure please contact Tauranga City Council."

One of the ads that irked Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless. Photo / Samantha Motion
One of the ads that irked Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless. Photo / Samantha Motion

That's the bit - particularly the "big bold phone number" - that has Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless feeling his council has been thrown under the proverbial bus.

He said the main issues with buses in Tauranga were the timetables, routes and late or non-running buses - all areas of responsibility for the regional council, not the city council.

"We already receive phone calls and emails every day from people who think this council has responsibility for that. We don't."

"This looks like buck-passing."

He said he would have preferred an ad "simply dealing with the issues at the moment" and not mixing in other aspects.


Brownless said he did not blame people who were confused about which council was responsible for what, saying that in his view it was a "silly system" to have one entity in charge of the infrastructure and another governing the network operation.

Asked to respond to Brownless' concerns, as well as who paid for the ads and if the Tauranga City Council reviewed or signed them off, a regional council spokesman said: "The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has paid for and co-ordinated the ads, and liaised with the various partners over these."

He said it was important to reach as many people as possible with the timetable change information and with the council's acknowledgement of the "challenges people have experienced in recent times".

"We also felt it was important to ensure people were aware of the appropriate organisation to contact regarding the different components of our public transport system."

He said the regional council had been clear over the past week that it was ultimately responsible for the public transport network, including buses and timetables.

"As we have indicated, the performance of this network this year has not met the expectations of our communities, or the Bay of Plenty Regional Council."

The council was working on those issues with NZ Bus, as well as with other partners, including the city council, on other aspects such as bus shelters.