New Zealand works towards zero-carbon buses, protecting drivers' conditions

2021-05-05 04:35:46 GMT2021-05-05 12:35:46(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WELLINGTON, May 5 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Transport Minister Michael Wood is seeking feedback on options for the next phase of the Public Transport Operating Model review to better protect bus drivers' pay conditions, and also achieving the government's target of fully decarbonizing the public transport bus fleet by 2035.

Investing in people and providing critical infrastructure is part of the government's COVID-19 economic recovery plan, Wood said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Bus drivers play a key role in keeping our cities moving, getting commuters to work and giving Kiwis travel choices," Wood said, adding ensuring bus driver wages and conditions are protected is important.

The minister said he has been working with employers and unions on establishing a Living Wage floor for drivers, saying more change is needed to tackle chronic driver shortages and service disruptions.

"We can accelerate our COVID recovery while providing cleaner public transport infrastructure to tackle climate change," he said, adding the government will prevent up to 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions with councils only purchasing zero emissions public transport buses from 2025 and decarbonizing the entire bus fleet by 2035.

The government has committed 50 million NZ dollars (35.9 million U.S. dollars) to help councils make the switch, Wood said, adding public consultation is open for six weeks until June 18. Enditem