For the first time in 10 years, Horizons Regional Council has changed the Massey and Palmerston North urban bus timetables.
The new timetables change on December 6.
Horizons senior transport planner Kelly Curry says the changes have been made to meet the new requirements of the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 (ERAA).
"A number of employment law changes were made which changed the way we schedule our driver rest and meal breaks.
"These changes only affected the Palmerston North/Massey contract as our other services operate to a different timetable structure where the new break requirements could be easily accommodated," Curry says.
Because the changes were made to meet legislative requirements, they were not publicly consulted.
Horizons Passenger Transport Committee and the Palmerston North Bus Review Advisory Governance Group, made up of political representatives from Horizons and Palmerston North City Council, workshopped the options before making a recommendation to council.
"The starting position was to adopt the requirements with no changes to the timetable," said Curry.
"Unfortunately, this was not possible without significant additional investment and actually created worse outcomes for our drivers through splitting the existing paid work hours over more staff and introducing split shifts.
"The new timetable keeps the same number of urban services every day for customers, and accommodates the driver break requirements without needing extra buses and drivers."
New bus timetables are available from your bus driver, online at www.horizons.govt.nz, or at Horizons' office at 11 Victoria Ave.
A significant review of the Palmerston North bus network is under way in preparation for retendering the contract.
Public feedback on the future network is scheduled for early to mid 2021.