Walking to work

It was fairly impressive this morning to see swathes of people people enjoying the Wellington spring sunshine as they walked  to work along the waterfront.  Sadly this massive increase in pedestrians was all due to entirely the wrong reasons.  No matter what you may think of Go Wellington’s industrial dispute with its bus drivers, a lock out is a nasty way to resolve an employment dispute.  Locking out 300 lowly paid drivers indefinitely in response to a one hour strike is a severe escalation that will result in hardship for workers and their families.

Go Wellington has worked hard to build up its good will and credibility with the Wellingon public since taking over the buses from Stagecoach.   It would be a shame to lose that all just as more and more people are starting to ask for real practical alternatives to conjestion and cars.

Anyway, it’s a nice morning to be walking, cycling, jogging or skateboarding.  I saw a rollerblader too.  I hope commuters enjoyed their trip to town however they got there.

UPDATE – Sue Kedgley’s media release here:

Wellington’s bus drivers are valued members of our community and deserve decent wages to support themselves and their families. I am shocked by the company’s decision to make their financial situation even worse by locking them out.

The drivers’ low wages are symptomatic of the general underinvestment in our public transport system. Buses are overcrowded at peak hours, there are not enough new trolley buses to replace the older ones and we need to be doing more to financially incentivise people to use buses in order to reduce congestion our roads and carbon emissions

33 thoughts on “Walking to work

  1. Another reason why public transport will never catch on in the way the Greens hope.

    Unless of course they plan to legislate against the private motor car.

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  2. Not only was the sight of processions of walkers fantastic, but us cyclists had a whole bus lane to ourselves. It felt safe to cycle for once. Not because buses are the menace per se, but because there was space on the roads. Oh for the day when almost all commuters are in buses, the buses are on the road, and the bus lane is a nice wide cycle lane!

    Luckily Wellington has turned on a stunner day for active modes…

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  3. frog,

    How much should the “lowly paid” bus drivers be paid?

    Lets set a figure of $70,000 per annum.

    My challenge to you is to budget how you would pay those wages, from where the cash will come. Out of revenue?, profits?, capital investment for growth?, higher fares?, etc, etc.

    In subsidised public transport it can only come from the tax payer. So sure give the bus drivers any wage hike you like, but please be so kind as to explain where the money will come from.

    Remember that $1 off peak fares are Green party policy.

    That $2 billion dollars in the Greens public transport inititative is disappearing fast!

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  4. Gerrit,

    Read again :

    “Locking out 300 lowly paid drivers indefinitely in response to a one hour strike is a severe escalation that will result in hardship for workers and their families.”

    What is the main message of this sentence ?
    That the driver has a low salary ? There will be always low salary. It happens that people with lower salary are usually in more trouble when they are not paid for a while.

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  5. “The drivers’ low wages are symptomatic of the general underinvestment in our public transport system. Buses are overcrowded at peak hours, there are not enough new trolley buses to replace the older ones and we need to be doing more to financially incentivise people to use buses in order to reduce congestion our roads and carbon emissions”

    Eh?

    How is raising wages going to help that? We’re not short of bus drivers.

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  6. If anything, this is, once again, a reminder of the downside of public sector provision.

    Union strikes.

    Best we not put all our transport eggs in such a risky basket.

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  7. If anything, this is, once again, a reminder of the downside of public sector provision.

    Union strikes.

    I think I miss your point – there aren’t union strikes in the private sector?

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  8. What if oil workers go on strike?

    Anyway it was a nice day today and lot’s of people enjoyed the walk to work – I saw a seal in the harbour this morning!

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  9. >>What if oil workers go on strike?

    Who cares? A couple of days strike would make no difference, unless my car was running on empty.

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  10. “If anything, this is, once again, a reminder of the downside of public sector provision.” Infratil’s private sector :lol:

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  11. It’s the BluePeter Animal Farm reaction Kevyn. Private good, public bad. So when something is badly run he just assumes it’s public.

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  12. Whatever. Big group of union members holding the city to ransom.

    No union members in my car :)

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  13. BluePeter Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    > Whatever. Big group of union members holding the city to ransom.

    Big group of union members held city to ransom for ONE HOUR yesterday. Their bosses holding city to ransom all day today.

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  14. >>No union members in my car

    Take me for a ride in your car car? (As Mary Travers asked: – I’m going back a bit!)

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  15. >>Their bosses holding city to ransom all day today

    What % pay increase are they demanding? What % pay increase has everyone else got?

    Doesn’t bother me, I work from home. And I dislike buses, so it’s nice not to have them polluting the roadway. Bring back the trams, I say. Trams are cool.

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  16. “What % pay increase are they demanding? What % pay increase has everyone else got?”

    7%, to partially make up for the 19% cuts caused by changes to their shifts.

    Does anyone know if they’re on insidious split shifts, where they work the rush hours and are without work in the centre of the day? I know they were being used in Auckland not so long ago…

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  17. These drivers are not happy with a 7% pay rise?

    Most employees would be over the moon with a 7% pay rise, meanwhile the union bosses are holding the city to ransom.

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  18. “Bring back the trams, I say. Trams are cool.”

    Best thing you’ve said all day – yay for trams!

    “What % pay increase are they demanding? What % pay increase has everyone else got?”

    Eight percent of $12.72 per hour doesn’t go a long way if you have to live in Wellington. Falafels have gone up 17 percent here.

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  19. Striking for one hour does not equate to holding a city to ransom. The company bosses locking out workers does, as far as I can see.

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  20. Sam

    If they are not happy earning $12.72 an hour then perhaps they should look for another job where their “skills” will be better rewarded.

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  21. I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t free to change jobs. I wouldn’t be happy if i had no way of accessing opportunities to access better skills or a higher position – I think that’s the other way of looking at this. Would that be better than legislating the minimum wage?

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  22. # Sam Buchanan Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    > Eight percent of $12.72 per hour doesn’t go a long way if you have to live in Wellington. Falafels have gone up 17 percent here.

    Yeah, but walnuts have gone down.

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  23. StephenR Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    > Striking for one hour does not equate to holding a city to ransom.

    true, but I had to use the phrase ‘holding the city to ransom for one hour’ to make the contrast with today.

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  24. “I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t free to change jobs. I wouldn’t be happy if i had no way of accessing opportunities to access better skills or a higher position – I think that’s the other way of looking at this. Would that be better than legislating the minimum wage?”

    I don’t see why it has to be either/or, StephenR. And at any rate, we’ll always need bus drivers and other similar roles. I have no problem that not everyone gets paid the same, but a living wage is a matter of basic dignity.

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  25. “So when something is badly run he just assumes it’s public.”

    Toad, that is generally true though. The suburban railways of Auckland only started being properly run when it was under Tranz Rail, for instance.

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  26. “Toad, that is generally true though. The suburban railways of Auckland only started being properly run when it was under Tranz Rail, for instance.”

    Commuter trains in London are private – and the service is bloody awful. Only place I’ve ever known a train to take a wrong turn and miss my station (and about 150 other peoples’).

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