Wellington Scoop

Highbury residents fighting to keep “crucial” direct bus service

News from Highbury Residents
Hundreds of inner city hillside residents are fighting the Wellington Regional Council to keep their bus service intact.

More than 400 residents have so-far signed a petition to maintain the direct bus link from their homes in Highbury to the local Kelburn Normal School, doctors, chemist, Victoria University and work places on The Terrace.

The council plans to scrap the Highbury-Kelburn bus route next year. Residents say the new route to the city via Aro Valley shows transport planners are more concerned about dollars than people.

“It’s like the Island Bay cycle way situation all over again. They’re ignoring the needs of residents,” Penny Miles says. “We’ve tried to tell them that we don’t want this change, so we’re going to keep fighting.”

Elderly resident Darea Sherratt is concerned she will not be able to take the bus to her doctor anymore. “Public transport should be designed with the residents in mind but this change ignores our community’s needs. The decision is complete madness”, she says. “We’ve had a bus to Kelburn for over fifty years now, so why are they changing it?”

Fellow resident Rodney Lewington has joined the campaign.

“For residents like me this is a crucial service. There is nothing in Aro Valley other than the video shop and cafes. My local GP, Guy Jenner, is in Kelburn, not down the Valley,” says Rodney Lewington.

Highbury parents will also lose bus access to the local primary school. The bus comes into its own in the winter time to shelter from the weather.

“Walking home from school in the rain is a real pain,” says seven year old John Crump. “I like catching the bus from Kelburn School.” he says.

Residents who work in the CBD are also annoyed their link to the Terrace will go. The new route will make the morning commute much longer if the bus gets caught in the Willis Street log- jam.
Wellington Girls’ College students and Victoria University students have also voiced their concerns.

The petition will be presented to the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Sustainable Transport Committee next week.

“If the committee is true to its name, it will take notice of Highbury, and keep the bus service as it is,” says Penny Miles. “Council has suggested residents make do with the new bus by getting
off the Highbury bus at Raroa Road and walking to either Kelburn or the Karori Tunnel to connect with other buses, to get to Kelburn, the University and The Terrace. This is impractical, particularly in poor weather and for elderly.”

“I’d like to see those planners come and make that walk in a howling southerly” said Darea Sherratt.


  1. Trish, 14. September 2017, 11:17

    GWRC are making a mess of Hataitai too. There will be 50% fewer buses to the CBD, and the route change means our 20 minute commute will be 30 minutes. The kids will have to change buses to get to the secondary schools that they are in zone for, and the elderly will no longer be able to catch a bus direct to kilbirnie to the bank, supermarket, library etc. They will have to change buses and walk an extra 5 minutes!!!

  2. Mary, 14. September 2017, 12:04

    GWRC is messing up the Highbury bus. This is not serving people who use public transport.

  3. Casey, 15. September 2017, 10:13

    I went to a GWRC “sustainable” transport committee meeting once and thought that by mistake I had the address of a terminally bewildered group instead. Bus route changes are being made by people who don’t use buses, are oblivious to the Wellington climate, and are ignoring what is needed for a good public transport service.

    As yet, just months from the implementation of the route changes, we in Karori have yet to see the plans for the transport hub at the tunnel.

    Weekly we see more fume belching 9 year old Euro 3 buses ex Auckland replacing non polluting trolley buses, impacting the health of all. Such doesn’t concern the GWRC councillors though – they have gone blindly ahead with changes without being aware of the impact.

  4. Brent Efford, 15. September 2017, 21:00

    The Highbury fiasco is part and parcel of (a) trying to create reasons to get rid of the trolleybuses (such as my local service in Aro St) and (b) ignoring the role that the Kelburn Cable Car used to (and should) play as part of the public transport network. It is the obvious terminal, or at least stopping point, for Highbury buses.