Wellington's regional council was "breathtakingly arrogant" and unprepared for the revamping of the bus network, an operator says.
NZ Bus' Scott Thorne told a Parliamentary select committee this morning the timeframes for the bus network transition were too tight and "unrealistic", and were exacerbated by issues with the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Chief executive Zane Fulljames said NZ Bus asked for an extended timeframe, but the council refused.
At an earlier select committee, one councillor said he would not have done much differently in implementing the new bus network.
Fulljames said today that such an attitude was "breathtakingly arrogant."
He said there was evidence after the implementation of the new network that the council was more confident about the shift than it should have been.
Part of the issue was the lack of provision and access to operational data held by the council.
MP Chris Bishop asked why the council would not have provided that information to ensure a smooth transition. Fulljames said he would have to ask the council that.
However, he said, other operators in the region were provided with the data while NZ Bus was not.
"Somebody forgot to turn on access for the incumbent," he said.
Greater Wellington chief executive Greg Campbell said the council did not have the ability to make changes to the implementation of the new network, but that nobody asked for extended timeframes.
"All operators had access to the same data, including ticketing and real-time information, including NZ Bus. It would not make sense to withhold data from any operator, and it was certainly not 'forgotten'."
Tranzit managing director Paul Snelgrove said they signed a contract for 60 per cent of the region's routes.
"I suppose what went wrong in Wellington was probably too big, too quick," he said.
"It would have been great if the Hutt Valley was set up this year and Wellington later."
There were issues around not allowing enough time on the routes, particularly with larger buses needing longer loading times, but they did not raise that with the council.
Director Kevin Snelgrove said there was "only so much you can raise".
"Maybe we should have put more effort into stating the obvious," he said.
Asked about today's potentially indefinite strike, director Renee Snelgrove said they were engaged with the union and had met it three times, but were at "polar ends" when it came to making an agreement.
"We do believe this strike is premature. It's unfortunate mostly for our drivers who are confused about why they're expected to strike."
She said drivers were happy.
Bus drivers voted last month to walk off the job indefinitely until a settlement could be reached.
So far the strike has caused "minimal impact" in the capital, with 98 per cent of services still running, Metlink said in a statement earlier today.
A Tranzurban spokesperson said they'd had 14 drivers take strike action so far, causing nine services to be cancelled in the Hutt Valley and four in Wellington.
Tramways Union secretary Kevin O'Sullivan told the select committee the union was opposed to the transport operating model.
"It represents 19th century values and brings about 19th century results," he said.
School services haven't been affected.
Some union members are picketing at the bus depot but have been well behaved and are being fed with a barbecue.
Metlink said it regretted the impact and uncertainty the industrial action by some members of the Tramways Union was having on customers, and would keep people informed as the situation developed.
The advice continues to be "check before you travel".
Travellers can check the Metlink website or the Metlink Commuter app for the latest information or call the Metlink team on 0800 801 700.