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I told you so

by Brent Efford
The ‘revelation’ that the promised Wrightspeed conversion of the dumped trolleybuses is in serious trouble, with no guarantee the vehicles will be rolled out in the capital, will cause plenty of people in the sustainable transport advocates community to say “I told you so.”

The idea that a drive system only ever tried on a US garbage truck, labelled ‘electric’ though it would be mainly powered by fossil fuel, could just be dropped into an existing bus fleet and smoothly take over from the trolleys was always suspect. But regional councillors, wanting to greenwash the abandonment of the electric (trolley) bus fleet as somehow being an environmental step forward, hailed the Wrightspeed conversion by NZ Bus as though it was assured and proven.

A similar example of councillor technical naivety impeded the first steps towards a regional light rail network over 20 years ago.

It began with the Wellington Civic Trust’s promotion of the development of the southern waterfront area (then being abandoned as a port in the face of containerisation) as a public amenity area, in line with similar developments all over the world. In the public competition for design ideas, the concept of a heritage tramway running along the very linear site and linked to the Golden Mile rated highly.

Local transport economics consultant Dr Neil Douglas produced a report in 1993 showing how it could be done, with advice from local tram experts. A key feature of the Douglas proposal was that it would be deliberately constructed to the NZ rail gauge of 1067 mm so that the Waterfront Tramway would be integrated with the regional light rail system then being widely discussed and would share trackage in some places – e.g. in the Golden Mile.

The concept was endorsed by the Wellington City Council, engineering consultants did further design work, and some work on foundations for the track was actually done when Post Office Square was repaved in 1995. Essentially, the Waterfront Tramway would have been the first stage of regional light rail.

But, oops! The City Council was then approached by the agent for a tiny UK company experimenting with a flywheel-powered mini-tram called the Parry People Mover. Despite the unproven nature of the PPM and its incompatibility with either Wellington ‘heritage’ or regional light rail – both essential features of Dr Douglas’ original vision – city councillors fell for the promises of the salesman and the Parry People Mover became the official model for the Waterfront Tramway for a season until disillusionment set in.

This caused sufficient confusion for the City Council to put the waterfront tramway concept on the back burner and the momentum for that introductory phase of light rail was lost. It lingered as a tentative scratchy line on successive Waterfront Development drawings until the early 2000s but is now forgotten about.

Were it not for the salesman from Parry, and councillor gullibility, it is highly likely that regional light rail, at least to Johnsonville, would be established by now.

The huge growth in waterfront development since 1993 – think Te Papa, the Westpac Stadium, the waterfront itself, cruise ships, etc etc – and the continuing pedestrian access constraints between the Golden Mile and the waterfront, has enormously strengthened the case for a tramway the full length of the waterfront – integrated with, and adding capacity and flexibility to, regional light rail with its main route down the Golden Mile, and acting as a city circulator streetcar or ‘pedestrian accelerator’ as is now becoming commonplace in the US.

Which is why an expanded Waterfront Tramway proposal is there as the yellow lines on my Wellington City Rail Link infographic.

Brent Efford is NZ agent for the Light Rail Transit Association, formed in the UK in 1937, which is the world’s leading organisation concerned with the achievement of better public transport through light rail, tramway and metro systems in towns and cities world–wide.

46 comments:

  1. michael, 23. February 2018, 14:11

    If this lot worked for private industry they would have been out on their ears years ago. Not only should they have insisted on proven electric conversions but, before any contract was signed, they should have demanded an out clause if electric buses couldn’t be provided. Rather than that, they only declared that electric buses were “desirable”.
    Nothing like being the laughing stock of New Zealand.

     
  2. Gillybee, 23. February 2018, 17:01

    For those who would like to know more about the true nature of the so-called ‘diesel-gate’ scandal, and why PEMS (Portable Emissions Testing Systems) testing of our 90%+ diesel bus fleet is an imperative, the ‘Hard NOx’ episode in the series ‘Dirty Money’ on Netflix is instructive.

    Until then, claims of a 38% reduction in emissions by the GWRC cannot be verified.

     
  3. Cr Daran Ponter, 23. February 2018, 21:53

    Hi Brent/Michael: The announcement by NZ Bus that they were trialling Wrightspeed came months after the decision to axe the trolley buses. The two issues are unrelated, other than the fact that NZ Bus was going to end up with 59 buses that it needed to do something with. Regional Councillors did express interest in the idea, after all the trial is purely a NZ Bus initiative (ie no rate payer funds invested). So they were free to be enthusiastic. But there was also a degree of scepticism.

    I applaud NZ Bus’ initiative. It matters not a jot to me that the only previous examples of this technology are on rubbish trucks – ultimately it will be for NZ Bus to thouroughly test the technology and determine if it stacks up for them. If it stacks up, then here is a means by which NZ Bus can get new life out of their trolley buses, and also potentially older diesel buses.

    Michael, note that Wrightspeed has nothing to do with the bus tenders as NZ Bus did not tender for bus contracts with buses using the Wrightspeed technology.

    On a related note, Tranzit have two of their new single-decker battery electric buses in town at the moment. Very impressive. Quiet – with occasional noise from a compressor unit. Good pulling power on hills. 400km range with intermediate fast charging. These two units will be positioned in Auckland. The double-decker units coming due for Wellington will be rolling off the Tauranga production line in a few weeks.

     
  4. michael, 24. February 2018, 11:26

    Cr Ponter: Thank you for the clarification but why was it ever acceptable not to have electric buses? I ask councillors to go down to Willis Street after work and stand by the bus stop opposite the supermarket for an hour – the diesel buses are very noisy and are pumping out smelly fumes.

     
  5. Sue Kedgley, 25. February 2018, 17:59

    For the record I have never supported the Wrightspeed buses as it seemed ludicrous to me to support a technology that has not even been road tested. I am all for innovation but there has been no independent testing of these buses and no evidence that they will work. We were assured they would be available over a year ago and there is still no sign of them.

     
  6. Jonny Utzone, 26. February 2018, 14:32

    Its time to get rid of the GWRC and replace it with a transport board.

    Too many politicians and bureaucrats stuffing up our public transport system up and costing us millions both directly (I’ve heard a 25% regional rates increase is on the cards for later this year) and indirectly in public health costs (from diesel emissions and noise as a result of axing our trolley buses and replacing them with old ex Auckland diesels).

     
  7. Morris Oxford, 26. February 2018, 15:46

    The new English-built diesels are arriving in Auckland in four weeks’ time. For better or worse they are very different from the “old ex Auckland diesels.”

     
  8. Conn G, 26. February 2018, 17:10

    These old diesel exhausts are so inferior to the new diesel exhausts, which will soon be gracing Wellington’s streets. Both Wellington Councils have long campaigned that they are far better than the no-exhaust trolleybuses.

     
  9. Jonny Utzone, 26. February 2018, 20:52

    What Wellington will be even more short of soon is bus drivers – we’ll be okay for buses as we will be getting more ex AKL diesels when the new UK built ones arrive in AKL.

    I can’t see NZ Bus or Mana spending money training bus drivers so that the new operators can hire them in July. Takes at least 2 months to hire, train and vet a driver so if sufficient drivers aren’t ready by April, Wellington is in for chaos come July.

    Anoyther result of the insanity of GWRC in their big bang application of PTOM contracting.

     
  10. Keith Flinders, 27. February 2018, 11:25

    Wrightspeed: Unfortunately when NZ Bus announced that they were going to convert the trolley buses, as well as a number of their diesel buses, their inference was that we would see electric buses being the result. Generation Zero were quick to applaud the initiative without referencing basic engineering logic, and most GWRC councilors thought all their prayers had been answered. The old adage that if it looks to be to good to be true, etc., comes to mind.

    The first bus to be converted and actually run on Wellington city routes will be only the second vehicle in the world to operate using Wrightspeed technology. Wrightspeed at best is a very poor substitute for a modern hybrid vehicle, not that Wellington wants either. 100% electric is the only way to go.

    Under the PTOM, NZ Bus will be allowed to continue using their Euro 3 buses for the foreseeable future, as in after July this year, but I hope they don’t.

     
  11. greenwelly, 27. February 2018, 16:15

    It sounds awfully like the capstone turbines in Auckland 15 years ago.

     
  12. Ross McKitterick, 27. February 2018, 21:27

    “people in the sustainable transport advocates community …” Public Transport is unsustainable by definition therefore any solutions need to be tried, tested, reliable and efficient which leaves diesel. To have public money wasted on untried, untested, unreliable and inefficient bleeding-edge technology using public money is a criminal waste, if not completely stupid.

     
  13. Dave B, 28. February 2018, 10:34

    @Ross “Public Transport is unsustainable by definition…?

    I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from with this statement. Generally public transport is considered a whole lot more sustainable than the present, largely single-occupant-car alternative.

     
  14. Keith Flinders, 28. February 2018, 11:04

    Ross: At least the Wrightspeed conversions were being 100% paid for by NZ Bus apparently, not the long-suffering ratepayers. Diesel isn’t the only tried, tested, reliable and “efficient” way to provide public transport. Over 50 years, trolley buses served this city well; they are serving an increasing number of cities overseas well, and should have been retained. Instead for the next 10 years minimum 150 diesel buses per hour at peak will poison all users of the CBD.

     
  15. Neil Douglas, 28. February 2018, 12:14

    Compare and contrast GWRC with Germany.

    (1) GWRC has just scrapped Wellington’s 100% electric trolley buses and replaced them with old ex AKL diesel buses whereas Germany cities are banning diesel cars and vehicles.
    (2) Five German cities are trialing free public transport to cut pollution whereas GWRC is putting up our bus and train fares.
    Based on decisions made, it would seem that German city councillors value their citizens’ health more than GWRC councillors.

     
  16. Concerned Wellingtonian, 28. February 2018, 17:20

    I wanted to find out about Germany’s ban on diesels and thank Neil Douglas for his help on this. It shows that the Regional Council should have stopped the appalling diesels which are having such a bad effect particularly in Lambton Quay. Why aren’t councillors doing something for our environment?

     
  17. Keith Flinders, 1. March 2018, 9:25

    Concerned Wellingtonian: Crs Sue Kedgley and Paul Bruce were members of the 2013 – 2016 GWRC who opposed the trolley bus retirement but they were out voted by the eleven others, including the eight who don’t represent the interests of Wellington City residents. These eight were quite happy to get their $500 million electric Matangi suburban units though.

    Aitken, Laidlaw and Wilde representing Wellington City residents were against trolley bus retention also.

    Take yourself along to a GWRC meeting some time and you will see what the problem is having elected and unqualified people trying to run a multi million dollar operation based on their own ideology.

    One of the key planks of having a 100% diesel fleet, as we now have, was that the buses would from mid 2018 all have the same livery and the drivers would be outfitted with designer uniforms. I kid you not, having attended Paul Swain’s presentation on the subject in August 2016.

    Lambton Quay is a sewer carrying exhaust fumes, and the 10 on trial battery double decker buses due in July are not going to reduce the problem by much. NZ Bus who will continue to run the majority of services through the CBD are able under the PTOM to continue to use Euro 3 engined buses after July. Some cities in Germany are looking to ban all diesel fueled vehicles, even Euro 6 compliant ones, as they consider the health of their citizens to be paramount, but the GWRC obviously doesn’t.

     
  18. Citizen Joe, 1. March 2018, 11:35

    So Germany bans its own invention the diesel engine (courtesy of Rudolf Diesel) to improve the air quality of its cities whereas GWRC, as Brent points out, uses the guise of inappropriate technology (WrightSpeed) to scrap a 100% electric trolley bus system and then has to bring in old diesels as replacements.

     
  19. Gillybee, 1. March 2018, 12:06

    I live on the new Route 2. My correspondence with Metlink has revealed that:

    * electric buses will not be operating on Route 2, due to tunnel restrictions at both ends (Karori and Seatoun)

    * an “interim fleet” will operate NZ Bus routes, likely to be made up of buses from the “current NZ Bus fleet” (including 20+ year old Euro 3 buses)

    * they are unable to confirm a date when electric buses will replace diesels

    * they are “hopeful” re-powered trolleys will be back on the road within the next twelve months

    Given this vague timeline and Infratil’s recently stated desire to sell NZ Bus, perhaps it’s time for some sort of town hall meeting to bring pressure to bear on the eleven GWRC representatives who voted for this mess.

     
  20. Brent Efford, 1. March 2018, 15:47

    Quite right, Gillybee – but the sad reality is political: most GWRC councilors represent the satellite cities and only seem to care about ‘four lanes to the planes’as far as transport is concerned. They are even indifferent to the concept of using light rail to extend the rail system through the CBD – which could benefit their constituents enormously, and, as I indicated, was a live issue in the 1990s.

     
  21. Casey, 1. March 2018, 16:47

    The Seatoun to Karori route is to have only diesel for the foreseeable future, as in 10 years minimum. Even if NZ Bus manage to get the trolley buses converted to Wrightspeed they will use about 75% of the diesel of a normal diesel bus. They are at best complex poor hybrids, not electric buses.

     
  22. Gillybee, 1. March 2018, 18:43

    Thanks Casey. Wow 10 years minimum. Even if we get Euro 6, we’re still getting buses that pollute at the same level as petrol engine cars (that we know of – see PEM’s post above)

    Most people I’ve spoken to are in the dark about this. I’m through complaining to boards like this and intend to contact my local Residents Association.

    @ Brent Efford, my father occupied various engineering positions on councils throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s and often complained that there was “no stomach for the big jobs” that needed doing re public transport and thought the privatisation of public transport was “for the birds”. He designed and worked on projects that are still in heavy use. He didn’t get paid a lot either and didn’t expect to. Good luck, you have my wholehearted support.

     
  23. ross mckitterick, 1. March 2018, 19:41

    Dave B, by unsustainable I mean financially unsustainable. It requires vast amounts of taxpayer and local rate payer subsidies to operate. It is inflexible, runs on fixed routes, runs at inconvenient times, is simply a public good.

    Keith F “poison all users in the CBD’ is your opinion and is not supported by fact. I have lived in Wellington for 35 years and never seen this phenomenon, usually as the wind is blowing north or south at a great rate of knots. Trolley buses have not served Wellington well, they have been high cost, high maintenance, slow, and have disrupted and slowed traffic in Wellington for generations. Well rid, I say.

     
  24. Piglet, 1. March 2018, 22:09

    Ross you miss the point. Lots of people don’t use buses but benefitted from the trolley buses because we didn’t hear them, smell them or inhale them. The replacement old diesel buses from Auckland are disgusting and I despair that my rates money is being paid to support them.

     
  25. Wellington Commuter, 1. March 2018, 22:51

    @Piglet: Trolley buses only made up a small part of the Wellington bus fleet … 61 out of a regional fleet of over 300. The majority of buses along the Golden Mile have always been diesel powered. All the other trucks and many vans in the CBD are also diesel powered. The reality is the 61 trolley buses made little difference to the air quality even along the Golden Mile.

    Also, the (considerable) cost of keeping the trolleys meant Wellington could not afford to regularly update its diesel bus fleet to modern standards. The Euro V standard was established nearly 10 years ago but few of our buses meet this high and (relatively) clean standard … although I understand that most will under the new contracted services that start in July.

     
  26. Luiz Alves, 2. March 2018, 9:27

    @Wellington Commuter: Yes the fleet of trolleybuses were 61 of the total 300 buses, but a good part of these buses don’t run on the Golden Mile. I would say that around 200 buses go through the Golden Mile. Although we had 61 trolleybuses, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t have double the number – until the middle of the 1990s, the number of trolleybuses was around 100 units.

    With the new capabilities of new batteries and the ability to quick charge under the wires, we could have almost 200 hybrid-trolleybuses which would reduce hugely the emissions when we compare it with Euro 6, and low noise too.

     
  27. TrevorH, 2. March 2018, 13:57

    Germany has not opted to ban diesels as some posts here suggest. A German court has allowed certain cities with serious pollution problems to restrict diesel vehicles on certain roads. It is likely that diesels which meet the Euro 6 standard will be exempt. It’s a curious decision because petrol vehicles over the course of their lifetime emit more nitrous oxide than diesels. Petrol combustion also produces a range of toxic gases not found in diesel. Modern particulate filters are increasingly effective for diesels and biodiesel helps here also.

     
  28. Citizen Joe, 2. March 2018, 15:54

    TrevorH: FYI diesel bans have been introduced and upheld in Germany! Germany’s highest administrative court in Leipzig ruled in favour of upholding bans on diesel vehicles that were introduced by lower courts in the cities of Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, two of the most polluted German cities, after appeals were lodged by the states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia.

     
  29. TrevorH, 2. March 2018, 16:08

    From the New Zealand AA website: “To summarize the environmental impact of petrol vs diesel engines; diesel comes out on top with regard to Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Hydrocarbon emissions. Both are around the same when it comes to Nitrous Oxide and diesel is worse for Suspended Particulate Matter.” The AA article notes that modern diesels are fitted with particulate filters while SPM emissions are still high in older diesels (like Wellington’s borrowed buses it seems – my comment). The AA notes hydrocarbon emissions from petrol include benzene which is highly carcinogenic. I would suggest diesel has had an unfair rap by comparison with petrol because of the VW scandal over emissions testing. I would also note there are serious environmental problems around electric batteries too although the impacts of their manufacture and disposal are out of sight, out of mind for most New Zealanders.

     
  30. Dave B, 2. March 2018, 20:36

    Yes indeed Trevor. Batteries when produced on a massively large scale may well not be the environmental panacea that they are being made out to be.

    Should have stuck with – and improved – the trolleybuses. Was in Lausanne a few months ago. A lovely, go-ahead Swiss city about the size of Wellington. And what did I see? Trolleybuses, and new-looking ones at that. Someone from GWRC should go and tell them that they are ill-advisedly persisting with an unsustainable, inefficient and outmoded form of transport ha ha!

     
  31. ross mckiterick, 2. March 2018, 22:10

    This is all just partial analysis, 300 buses versus 300,000 cars, who gives a “sh*t. Who cares about the pollution of 300 buses versus 300,000 cars. it’s insignificant, it does not compute. I want to drive my car, I will always want to drive my car, I want other people to drive their cars, I don’t want a prat with a Rhodes Scholarship and no common sense to tell me what to do! Cars are efficient, cars are simple to use, they are flexible, they are low cost, they get me from A to B when I want to. 98% of all road users use cars.. end of story, end of argument.! We have the second highest per capita car ownership in the world…its not rocket science.

     
  32. TrevorH, 2. March 2018, 22:20

    @ Dave: yes a modern trolley fleet would be great. Unfortunately some geniuses on a past Council sold off Wellington’s electricity system 20 years ago or so and the current Hong Kong owner apparently has no interest in doing the necessary upgrading of substations to support trolleys into the future. We sold off control of our future for a quick buck and ideology. What’s new? In this situation I believe biodiesel buses with Euro 6 anti pollution gear would be the best bet. But others will no doubt disagree.

     
  33. Gillybee, 3. March 2018, 11:07

    Trevor are you in favour of introducing proper emissions testing in NZ using real-world, portable emissions testing systems? It’s well documented that VW wasn’t the only vehicle manufacturer abusing emissions standards including Euro 6.

    Beaides it’s not just the fumes, it’s the noise from the buses that have negatively impacted people in the city and the suburbs as others have mentioned here previously.

    A 95% diesel fleet of buses is NOT what was promised at the last local body election.

     
  34. TrevorH, 3. March 2018, 12:49

    Hi Gillybee: I am not an expert but I understand all vehicles imported into New Zealand have to meet the requirements of Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007. These requirements are continually updated to reflect developments in overseas standards where our vehicles are sourced from. For example I understand new diesels need to meet Euro 5. Vehicles are certified on entry but I’m not aware whether emissions are routinely checked thereafter although a noisy exhaust will get you in a bit of trouble. Perhaps regular emissions testing against the applicable standard for the vehicle should be part of the warrant of fitness process if it isn’t already? Nobody likes getting a lungful of exhaust smoke, it shouldn’t happen.

     
  35. Ross McKitterick, 4. March 2018, 9:55

    Good point Trevor, a 1920s diesel is not the same as a 2018 diesel, just as a Model T in no way reflects the technology in a 2018 Toyota, BMW etc. Technology has changed emissions and increasing standards and human desires (read demand) are demanding improvements. There is a huge amount to be squeezed out yet. Why you would make a decision to risk money on some bizarre untested, untried technology is beyond me. Reeks of gullibility in my mind?

     
  36. michael, 4. March 2018, 10:45

    Wellington is the big loser. Now that we have lost the trolley buses and light rail seems a pipe dream, I doubt we will see any kind of pollution free public transport for years especially if it stays under the control of GWRC.
    What makes it worse is learning on the news about the billions of dollars and the flash stations and transport system going into Auckland, while their old, crappy and extremely noisy second-hand buses dumped on us, pollute our once beautiful city. And there is nothing we can do about it other than move away from the city. Hard to believe we are the capital city!

     
  37. Rossco, 4. March 2018, 13:54

    Michael love your misplaced idealism ! Pollution free transport (public or private) doesn’t exist, in any form.

    All you do is move the point of pollution.

     
  38. TrevorH, 4. March 2018, 15:29

    @ Ross: Yes the improvements in technology are astonishing. Ten years ago I had a new car that consumed 12 litres of fuel per 100kms. Four years ago I turned it over for a vehicle that consumes 6 litres per 100 kms and gives the same performance. It also makes its own electricity from braking energy and the engine switches off when stopped at the lights so reducing any emissions in town. I understand a large Japanese manufacturer is about to unveil a radical new engine involving petrol compression that will halve fuel consumption again. By comparison electric battery development seems to have hit a brick wall, especially when it comes to range. And if by chance we did all own an electric vehicle, wouldn’t we have to dam some more rivers or burn coal? Not to mention the environmental problems involved in battery production and disposal.

     
  39. Rossco, 4. March 2018, 20:40

    @Trevor, good to have factual information on technological development. So many people are well intentioned but basically ignorant. I don’t mind idealism but it has to be backed by a good knowledge of the subject at discussion.
    Clearly missing from the local and regional oligarchy who rule over us.

     
  40. aidy, 5. March 2018, 10:34

    @ Rossco – sorry to break this to you, but cycling or walking are pollution-free modes of transportation that have been around for some time. They’re good for you too.
    The major advantage of electric transport is that it CAN use renewable energy, is quieter, has no localised particle emissions and only uses as much as is necessary to power the vehicle, regenerating kinetic energy whenever possible. Even improvements in ICE technology and hybrid vehicles don’t change the fact that a petrol-driven engine is a hugely inefficient way of powering a large vehicle to move one person about an urban environment.

     
  41. Rossco, 5. March 2018, 19:51

    @ Aidy: Walking as a form of transport in a modern economy? The human as a pack animal was abolished with slavery, plus it’s real inefficient. The horse and camel came next, a definite improvement, and then 10,000 years ago some bright spark invented the wheel. Then came the cart, the steam engine, and the internal combustion engine, probably the greatest invention of mankind!

    As for electric transport, read Trevor’s post, and my comment above – basically that electric vehicle only moves the pollution point (From the exhaust pipe to the battery, or to the requirements for vast increases in electricity.)

     
  42. Dave B, 5. March 2018, 21:04

    Rossco. No-one is suggesting that car-journeys where bulky items are carried should be replaced by human cartage. The main issue Wellington faces is the single-occupant car journeys to work where many drivers carry no more than a briefcase plus a lunch-box, yet this requires a ton of fossil-fuel-powered machinery plus 30 metres of road-space to achieve (30m of road-space at 50Km/hr that is; Even more required at higher speeds).

    These are the journeys that in many cases can be replaced with electric trains (or erstwhile trolley buses) with the only pollution being the raising of a lake level somewhere remote, or the swish of wind-turbines. 15,000 people every weekday demonstrate how do-able this is on the trains (I’m not sure what the figure for buses is), and because of the wise transport choice these people make, the city is saved a whole lot more grief.

    The aim should therefore be to encourage many more to choose public transport, walking or cycling by providing more and better facilities for them, instead of providing mainly for single-occupant cars, as per the last 50-odd years. Steven Joyce used to claim that because 94% of Aucklanders commute by car then 94% of transport resources should go into providing roads for them. Well since the improvement of Auckland’s commuter rail service and the implementation of a significant busway, this figure has changed dramatically. Less than 50% of all commuters to the CBD now come in by car. So Joyce and others with his mindset are wrong to believe that Kiwis are so wedded to their cars that they will never choose anything else.

    But if these other, more socially-benign and less environmentally-damaging modes are not resourced while more roads are, then of course people will default to cars with all the problems they cause. But this can hardly be called a free choice. As Ross McKitterick says somewhere above, “it’s not rocket science”.

     
  43. Rossco, 5. March 2018, 22:23

    Dave B. people have “defaulted” to cars since they were invented. 98% of all journeys in NZ are by car. If you are an office worker in Auckland or Wellington, you work 9 to 5, and coincidentally live near a rail line or bus stop, and the timetable suits, and they don’t break down, then go for it. The rest of us are sticking with the car. Love your swishing blades and your raising remote lake levels though…. demonstrates pollution point transference beautifully.

    In 50 years when fossil fuels might begin to run out, relative pricing will bring forth technology that probably hasn’t been invented yet and the private motor car will continue in a new form.

     
  44. glenn, 6. March 2018, 6:59

    What a load of garbage. “with … the only pollution being the raising of a lake level somewhere remote, or the swish of wind-turbines.” Forgetting for the moment the nimbys/environmentalists who would tie either option in court proceedings for a lifetime. You conveniently overlook (as do most pushing electric) what happens to millions of them once they have expired.

     
  45. TrevorH, 6. March 2018, 9:52

    How many people are going to cycle from the outer suburbs in a 50 knot southerly and torrential rain to get to their jobs in the CBD or to take their kids to school? The emphasis given by this Council to cycling is ideology gone off the rails. It’s indeed a shame Wellington’s public transport system is munted, thanks to failures in governance. And it’s only going to get worse as route changes that nobody wants are imposed upon the system later this year. Looking ahead also to the impending flu pandemic – who will want to be locked in a stuffy train or bus with people sneezing and hoiking everywhere? The neglected roading arteries will not be able to cope. Congestion? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Meanwhile at LGWM it’s time for another cup of tea. Gingernuts anyone?

     
  46. Dave B, 6. March 2018, 17:06

    @ Rossco, you’ve ignored what I said above, about the real changes which are already occurring in travel-patterns, at least in urban commuting which is most of what we are talking about here. Ignore this if you want, but don’t try to make out that you have a cogent argument against it.

    @ Glenn, in case you hadn’t noticed, Wellington already has a large number of wind turbines on the hills to the west, NIMBYs notwithstanding. And as far as I know, these are already helping to power the electric trains. Ditto, hydro lakes in other parts of the country. I agree with you re large-scale battery-disposal, but batteries are not an issue for our electric trains nor were they for our former trolley-buses.

    @ TrevorH, cycling and walking are generally intended to replace shorter journeys and they do this well. The non-car alternative for most longer commutes is public transport. No-one is suggesting that cars be totally replaced by other modes, simply that other modes, which are already proving themselves valuable and increasingly well-used, need a much larger slice of the transport-funding cake (particularly public transport, which has been poorly governed as you state). The big emphasis on cycling is an overdue response to the neglect this mode has suffered for decades. I am sure you understand all this and are not really arguing against it.