Public transport providers filled lower Queen Street in Auckland today, throwing an old-fashioned job fair in hopes of attracting new staff.

“We’re looking for about 150 people,” said Natasha Bodington of bus company Ritchies.

It wasn’t easy to find staff to work on the water either.

“It would be an easy 100 [staff needed], just in the public transport side of things,” said Adam Tallentire of Belaire Ferries.

Fullers 360 were also 15 crews – or around 50 people – short.

The staff shortages are currently causing an onslaught of cancellations across the country. In the Super City, Auckland Transport (AT) took 931 services off its bus timetables earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in the capital, Metlink announced yesterday that 114 trips in Wellington and Porirua would be temporarily stopped – on top of 67 that are already suspended.

AT’s Catherine Jones said it was currently a “pretty tough” market for employers.

“We’ve given a couple of pay rises to our drivers this year, and we are hoping for more to come,” she said.

A file photo of a double-decker bus passing by a Northern Busway station in Auckland.

Most businesses 1News spoke to blamed the staff exodus on Covid-19 and better pay opportunities elsewhere. There are currently about 800 vacancies nationwide, with 500 of those in Auckland.

Last month, the Government announced a $61 million investment towards improving working conditions for bus drivers.

“We’re hoping by the middle of next year we’ll be in a much better position, and we can bring back some of the trips we’ve been cancelling but in the meantime, we’ll do the best with what we’ve got,” Jones said.

Some providers were now looking offshore and travelling abroad to recruit staff.

“We’ve been going to the Philippines, the Pacific Islands – anywhere where we can get people.”

Read More: Bus companies look overseas to fill hundreds of vacancies

2022-11-19 05:29:22

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