Wellington Scoop

Island Bay residents told about next year’s double-decker electric buses

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Plans for infrastructure to help power the country’s first fleet of electric buses were shown to Island Bay residents tonight.

The Regional Council is proposing to install two charging poles in Reef Street, where buses currently terminate, to provide fast top-ups for 10 electric double-deckers that will operate between Island Bay and Johnsonville from next July.

At a meeting of the Island Bay Residents’ Association, regional council staff provided details of the new technology, along with artist impressions of how the street will look with the poles in place.

Bus operator Tranzit lodged a resource consent application last month with the Wellington City Council to install the charging poles. Greater Wellington will lodge an application this month seeking formal recognition of the bus stops next to the poles.

Greater Wellington’s Sustainable Transport Committee Chair, Cr Barbara Donaldson, says the Island Bay infrastructure will help it towards its ultimate goal of an all-electric fleet.

“Electric buses will only grow as a proportion of the overall regional fleet, providing a reliable, emission-free form of public transport.

“In effect, they will become the trolley buses we are about to retire – but with a far wider area of operation and without the limitations and high maintenance of overhead wires.”

Over the next three years, another 22 electric buses will come into service. In 2020, another 10 will be added to the Island Bay-Johnsonville route, and in 2021, 12 will begin operating on the Brooklyn-CBD route. The eventual goal is an all-electric fleet.

The stop beside one of the poles will be formally gazetted as a layby, where buses can take as long as they need to recharge – probably about 10 minutes – while the other will be a regular stop. Buses there will be able to recharge in the time available before their scheduled departure.

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  1. Michael, 3. October 2017, 9:45

    Lucky Island Bay – If the silver and purple/blue diesel buses appearing around the city now are the ex-Auckland buses or anything like them, the city is going to be so noisy and polluted it will not be worth living in. I was standing in Willis Street when one went past and not only could I smell the fumes but also the noise from the engine was shocking. So much so that I noticed others looking around to see what it was.

  2. Marion Leader, 3. October 2017, 10:25

    Michael, I was pleased to see that someone in London has invented a special breathing-protection-device to be attached to babies’ push-chairs so as to protect them from the two-feet high-belching of filthy diesel buses.

  3. Trish, 3. October 2017, 11:22

    How do the double decker buses perform in storm force winds?

  4. Richard, 3. October 2017, 16:48

    Question: Are double decker buses required to wait at the bus stop till passengers are seated? Or are people having to go up and down the stairs while the bus is accelerating and braking?

    If the first, wouldn’t that slow down getting on and off the bus (and therefore the travel time) drastically?
    If the second… brace yourself, and good we have ACC!

  5. Stop Trexit, 3. October 2017, 17:03

    What about the WrightSpeed buses Barbara? You know – the ones you promised us would be replacing the trolley buses, courtesy of NZBus?

  6. Daryl Cockburn, 3. October 2017, 17:52

    The trouble is that the people who made this bad decision will be dead before the failure of the battery buses compared to the trolleys becomes apparent. Like Noel Manthel after he led the removal of the trams

  7. Cr Daran Ponter, 3. October 2017, 19:13

    Stop Trexit – to be fair neither Barbara or GWRC have promised that wrightspeed buses would replace the trolleys. Indeed, when the decision was taken in late 2015 to not continue a contract for the trolleys, wrightspped was not on the radar – at least not for GWRC.

    Having said this I strongly doubt that we will see wrightspeed come to fruition. Haven’t heard a peep from NZ Bus in about three months.

  8. Stop Trexit, 3. October 2017, 22:02

    Three questions for GWRC
    1) I’m wondering who is directly paying for the battery recharge stations at Island Bay? Tranzit, regional ratepayers or Wellington city ratepayers?
    2) Were these costs included in the bus contracts that Tranzit won?
    3) Where else in the world have recharge stations been successfully used for double deckers?

  9. Cr Daran Ponter, 4. October 2017, 14:24

    Hi Stop Trexit: In response to your three questions, see below for a response from GWRC staff;

    1) Who is directly paying for the battery recharge stations at Island Bay? Tranzit, regional ratepayers or Wellington city ratepayers?

    Tranzit is directly paying for the recharge stations at Island Bay. Ultimately this is paid for by GWRC over the life of the operating contract in the operational fee that we pay Tranzit to operate the bus services. The cost of the operational fee is shared about 50:50 between GWRC and the NZ Transport Agency.

    2) Were these costs included in the bus contracts that Tranzit won?

    Yes these costs are included in the contracts awarded to Tranzit.

    3) Where else in the world have recharge stations been successfully used for double-deckers?

    The battery recharging technology planned for Island Bay is used in over 300 similar applications around the world, including Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Malaysia, Norway. The type and make of batteries is in over 1600 buses around the world including UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, USA, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Turkey. This includes in London’s electric double-deckers.

    We are not aware that recharging of this type has been specifically used for double-deckers elsewhere, but that is simply a difference in height of the vehicle and the charging mast. The batteries, electric motors and recharging technology is proven technology in similar applications around the world, including in cities with hilly terrain.

  10. Stop Trexit, 4. October 2017, 16:32

    So the recharge stations have never been successfully used by double deckers anywhere in the world.

    Double deckers are heavier than single deckers and will be susceptible to high winds in Wellington operation.

    Good luck – hopefully Tranzit guessed right.