Greater Wellington Regional Council's chief executive has stepped in to focus exclusively on the city's bus fiasco.

The move is effective from today and will last for four to eight weeks.

A 2IC will be appointed to look after things while Greg Campbell turns his attention to Wellington city's troubled new bus network.

It follows weeks of problems with overcrowding, ghost buses and route changes


Sustainable Transport Committee deputy chair Daran Ponter said his colleagues agreed the significance of the bus issues warranted the chief executive making public transport his number one and only priority.

"We want to make sure effectively that we've got our top person focused on fixing those issues in the coming weeks."

Ponter was yesterday reported as describing how he had travelled on buses with up to eight seats removed.

He said it was ridiculous and potentially unsafe.

"It's uncivilised in terms of the way that Wellingtonians are used to taking the buses."

He said then that he was looking to take a motion to the regional council at the next Sustainable Transport Committee meeting to have seats put back.

This image was posted on Facebook showing a bus with the seats removed. Photo / Simon Hathaway
This image was posted on Facebook showing a bus with the seats removed. Photo / Simon Hathaway

Yesterday morning a photo was posted on social media of a bus from Karori with several of its seats missing, sparking outrage.

Last month, commuter Callum Taylor emailed Sustainable Transport Committee chair Barbara Donaldson voicing his concerns about seats being removed.

He questioned whether standing on buses was "now the norm".

Donaldson replied and explained that passengers standing was part of the new design.

"We intend that standing on buses will become more normal and does not necessarily mean that more passengers cannot board.

"This is part of the 'new normal' to provide capacity without the cost of having to provide more and more buses."

She said she was confident improvements in services would continue as each issue was addressed and apologised for the inconvenience in the meantime.

Commuter Carol Bracegirdle said yesterday that she was worried about seats being removed especially considering the range of people who used the bus like the elderly, expectant mothers or those with children.

She said she had lots of safety concerns and questioned where the common sense was in signing off on the move.

"It's a very poor idea I think it's treating people like sheep and cattle to an abattoir."

Another commuter Claire Teal said it was easy to fly forward on buses and the removed seats presented an absolute safety concern.

"It's stressful enough for people having to deal with a lot of the changes that have happened with the buses recently without worrying if they're going to make it to their destination in one piece."

A Metlink spokesman had responded that some buses were configured to have more standing room for greater capacity.

"Passengers standing has long been a feature of bus travel in Wellington, and there are practices, equipment and standards in place to ensure this is done safely, as has always been the case."