New Zealand has a nationwide shortage of bus drivers and, as a result, Nelson’s bus service has recently come under a bit of pressure.

So far, we have largely managed to maintain our full bus service, thanks to the efforts of local operator SBL Nelson Coachlines and their dedicated team of drivers. Last week, however, we were not able to run the overload bus on Route 1 at 3:30pm (Nelson to Richmond) and 8am (Richmond to Nelson).

Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis says Nelson City Council are working with SBL Nelson Coachlines, Tasman District Council and Waka Kotahi to attract more staff.

“Our local team of drivers have had a testing couple of years as they were at the forefront of some of the measures we had to put in place due to COVID-19. We absolutely recognise how important they are to our community and made sure they all had a pay rise to the Living Wage ($22.63/hr) during 2022.

“But given the need to attract more people into the job, and the efforts drivers have put in to maintain our services, we have moved quickly in conjunction with operators and Tasman District Council to raise the
wage to $28 an hour.”

The wage increase became effective as of 25 October, but it would still take time to find new drivers.

“With a new extended fleet of electric buses coming online mid-2023, SBL are now looking to fill those gaps, so there’s a real opportunity for people who think they are suited to the work.”

While new drivers are hired, we recommend downloading the Antenno app as we will send out alerts on Antenno if any cancellations occur.

If you have the app installed, you will receive these alerts directly to your phone. You can find out more about Antenno here or search 'Antenno' in the App Store.

Cancellations will also be publicised on Facebook and our website at