The expressions of interest period has closed for operators keen to run a new bus service from Wellington City to the airport.
Wellington had a bus service to the airport for two decades, most recently known as the Airport Flyer, until NZ Bus pulled the pin in November last year.
The writing was on the wall for the service, which was heavily impacted by air travel volumes and passenger numbers due to the Covid-29 pandemic.
Towards the end it was only operating between Wellington Railway Station and the airport on weekdays and during peak times.
Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) has now taken charge of bringing the service back to life and incorporating it into the public transport network. It was previously a commercially run service.
An expression of interest document for the new service, obtained by the Herald, said the council anticipated awarding the contract to a single operator.
The proposed length of the contract is six years with the option for GWRC to extend for up to a further two years, subject to the operator's performance.
The regular express service will operate seven days a week aligned with hours of domestic flight arrivals and departures between 5am and 10pm Monday to Sunday.
The service will run up to every 15 minutes at peak frequency times during the weekday.
It will operate 365 days a year and go from the train station, along the golden mile, to Hataitai, Kilbirnie, and finally to the airport bus terminal.
The services contract will require the operator to pay staff a minimum base rate
at least equivalent to the living wage.
It's intended the bus will be a single decker electric vehicle with additional luggage space provided.
GWRC confirmed it has received several expressions of interest. The deadline to submit them expired last week.
Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher said the submissions were being evaluated and a decision would be made shortly.
"We're very pleased with the range, quality and strength of those that have expressed interest.
"We're moving as fast as we can on this matter so we can reconnect people with the airport."
A contract is due to be awarded by October this year with a service starting no later than 1 July 2022.
"We're asking all applicants if this service could be bought into play sooner than July 1."
GWRC chairman Daran Ponter said they were doing everything they could to get the service running.
"We're pulling all the stops out to get the service in place as soon as possible recognising that we have a number of statutory processes to work through."