Ratepayer money has been funding Uber rides for stranded passengers amongst Wellington's bus chaos.

Changes to the bus network, which came in more than a month ago, left many passengers facing heavy delays due to the "massive change".

At a recent meeting between Wellington business leaders and council staff, Greater Wellington Regional councillor Ian McKinnon said the change, which was the first one in several decades, was necessary to reflect the changing population of the region.

"It didn't land exactly how we wanted it . . . we are responsible for correcting the concerns."


One of those corrections has now been revealed as ratepayer-funded Uber trips for a small number of passengers facing long delays.

Councillor Daran Ponter said in the first few weeks of the change when the network was "a bit chaotic", council paid for the free Uber rides.

"I don't know how many we got or how much we spent on it, but it wasn't many and it was a gesture to commuters that we were dedicated and are dedicated to getting them from A to B on time," he said.

Judgment calls were made when council became aware of a problem, or if people were particularly stressed or had missed a number of buses.

They would try to get as many people as possible into one Uber, so there was no waste.

He said the practice was not happening now, though it could happen again in the future.

"The network has largely calmed down - it's not perfect by any means.

"On the odd occasion if the network fails, we may use this provision again."


Ponter said ratepayers "may not be happy" with the use of their money for private citizens to take Ubers, "but at the end of the day we still want to move people from A to B".

"Using Uber on the odd occasion was a very effective way of doing that."