Competition plan for airport bus
A new bus service from the Hutt Valley to Wellington Airport could create some competition for the capital’s existing bus services.
SkyBus has expressed an interest in opening such a service.
If successful, the route would be in competition with the Hutt Valley Airport Flyer operated by NZ Bus, which looked at ending the service earlier this year.
SkyBus chief executive Michael Sewards said initial work on the service had included the airport connection to Lower Hutt.
‘‘SkyBus has a strong level of interest in pursuing the development of a service for this important and growing city and airport.’’
The company already has buses in Auckland, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Initial views were that the new service would include a ‘‘significant investment’’ in a new fleet, he said.
That would include wifi, digital ticketing solutions and com- petitive pricing, including their ‘‘kids travel free’’ policy, he said.
‘‘Our initial work on this new market opportunity has included the airport connection to the Lower Hutt area.
‘‘We hope to have further updates as to the progress of our enquiries in due course.’’
SkyBus has operated airport connections in Australia and New Zealand for 40 years. The Auckland and Melbourne services are 24/7 in frequency.
In July, SkyBus plans to launch an Airport Express service to Auckland’s North Shore.
NZ Bus chief commercial officer Scott Thorne said he was not willing to discuss how a SkyBus alternative would affect the service.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said a the new service would bring competition to the city.
‘‘Hopefully it will lead to more frequent service, competitive pricing, and increased consumer choice.’’
Hutt City Councillor Campbell Barry, who campaigned to save the Airport Flyer, said it was positive SkyBus had expressed their interest.
It would provide a solution for a Hutt Valley to the airport connection if the Airport Flyer was to close, he said.
‘‘There’s quite a lot of uncertainty there. We’re certainly working with them [NZ Bus] to make sure that service stays.’’