ONE News understands a crisis meeting is to be held today with the key players in a dispute threatening Auckland's public transport system.
Auckland Council has called in lawyers to look at claims the city's biggest bus operator will fail to meet a deadline for a new $98 million integrated public transport ticketing system.
NZBus is allegedly running way behind schedule on plans to make it easier for Auckland commuters to use public transport.
It had until November to ensure its smart card system currently in use on the city's buses was compatible with that of French company Thales, which won the contract for a universal card system in 2009.
Auckland Transport sent a strongly worded legal letter to Snapper Services, the company responsible for the NZBus card system, last week.
It says Snapper has confirmed it will miss the deadline and goes on to claim Snapper has breached its agreement and will have the pay for cost overruns of $4 million.
"There is a problem and we are addressing that. We have taken steps to get our lawyers involved to and ensure the parties are aware of their legal responsibilities," Mayor Len Brown said.
The Government, which contributed $42 million to the project, is also furious about the delays.
It has signalled it is prepared to see NZBus's fleet of 600 busses taken off the road if the deadline is not met.
However, Campaign for Better Transport spokesperson Cameron Pitches told TV ONE's Breakfast it was not feasible to take Auckland's biggest bus operator off the road.
"Now the lawyers are being called in, I'm just hoping everyone can come together and come to some solution," said Pitches.
"It isn't really feasible for NZBus to be taken off the road when they run two-thirds of buses in Auckland and they've recently invested a lot in their bus system."
He hopes today's meeting will encourage the company to meet the November deadline.