Bus drivers have families too!

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A bus driver can be asked to work anything up to 14 hours a day. And by the current law, this driver can be expected back at work with only a 10 hour break in between. As some live an hour's drive away, this doesn't leave much time for anything - family, food, or sleep.

During shifts, which range from 4.00am through to 1.30 - 2.00 the next day, they can work 5.5 hours without a break. Some shifts, called broken or split shifts, have a period of 4 hours unpaid (see further down for how this affects their pay), so some drivers can be away from home for 15 hours a day.

There are often no toilets at the end of a trip. Bladder and kidney problems are endemic, as well as back problems due to poorly designed seats. As well, Auckland Transport designed uniforms which are cold in winter and hot in summer, with inadequate wet weather coverage. A sudden downpour while a driver checks their bus prior to departure from the depot can result in sodden clothing at the start of a long shift. Colds and flu are common - but drivers have only 5 days per year sick pay, so often work despite still being ill.

And the starting rate of pay for a trained bus driver?  $17.72 gross per hour. Senior drivers get the princely sum of $22.07 per hour, which for a broken shift, works out at less than the minimum wage.

Bus drivers are expected to be polite, knowledgeable, calm and safe while negotiating heavy traffic conditions in all weathers, all the while with a living cargo of precious human beings - your parents, your children, you! They deserve better pay and better conditions!!

We need the law changed so that bus drivers are not lumped in with truck drivers, as they are now. There's a huge difference between the two transport types. A tired truck driver can pull off the road and rest. A tired bus driver can't. They're a danger to their passengers, to other road users, and to themselves.

I am a bus driver. I've been doing it since 2013. I love my work - I enjoy the interaction with passengers - I care about my colleagues. I want those colleagues to stay working with me, earning enough for their needs and having time to spend with their loved ones. Please sign my petition!