Wellington Scoop

Cost of seven bus hubs goes up – from $3.5million to $14.4m

Report from RNZ
The cost of installing seven bus hubs in the capital has blown out to more than $14 million.

The hubs connect buses from the outer suburbs with the main routes. A hub involves at least one bus shelter, lighting, electronic signage and associated road works.

Last year, the seven hubs were expected to cost $3.5 million to install. However, the agenda for the Greater Wellington Transport Committee meeting on Tuesday shows the cost has risen to $14.4 million. That figure puts the cost of each bus stop at $2 million.

The agenda said the costs of the project were higher than originally anticipated, but it added that because it has already consulted on the project, and further delays would impact on customer levels of service, it does not need to go back to the public.

Council defend the blowout

Announcing the new hubs in June last year, Greater Wellington’s Sustainable Transport Committee chair Councillor Barbara Donaldson said “the existing hubs are poorly located and have to go.”

Now she said that original cost was based on very early estimates, when the council thought it was putting in traditional bus shelters, but after consulting with the Wellington City Council it was decided more complex structures were needed.

Ms Donaldson said the bus hubs were no ordinary bus stops. They’re encased in glass for security so people could see in and out. Each one had a pole, connected to power, the network and CCTV and contained a weather-proof high tech cabinet. They also required much stronger foundations because of the heavy galvanised structure.

Each site also had different underground problems, including cables that weren’t identified, or the placement of sewer pipes.

“They’re wider than bus stops and bus stops don’t have the glass right around them and they don’t have the totem pole with all that connectivity. They may look like bus stops, but they’re very high level bus stops,” she said.

The project hasn’t been without its problems. At the Miramar hub the electronic sign was situated so anyone sitting inside the hub couldn’t see it.

Ms Donaldson said the council was constrained where it could put the sign because of underground services, and city council requirements and standards.

Meanwhile the hub at Kilbirnie had to be modified after the council announced the cycleway route.

“A lot of this is because we have to work with our partners and adjust things according to their requirements. Some things may be not as desirable as they should be,” she said.

At Courtenay Place the number of new hubs has increased from one to three, because the existing ones were found to be substandard, while new super bus shelters were required at Wellington Station which weren’t identified in the original programme.

“All those things have come with extra costs that until we did all the design and discovered all the issues couldn’t possibly have been calculated,” she said.

Ms Donaldson said she expected the hubs to be finished in February.

The service has been plagued with problems since it launched in July and is now the subject of an independent review.


  1. Roy Kutel, 26. November 2018, 16:49

    What a shocking waste of ratepayer funds! And wait there’s more waste as the the $2 million per ludicrously over-engineered bus stop doesn’t include the 8 years of planning costs, resource consents and disruption to residents and businesses. GWRC needs abolishing now!

  2. Poncho, 26. November 2018, 18:31

    This is obscene. You can get a brand new house built for under half a million that includes all the foundations plumbing electrical etc and they’re claiming a bus stop costs 2 million!!

  3. Michael Gibson, 26. November 2018, 20:35

    Do you remember that they blamed WCC for the delay in getting these hubs ready. I told the Transport Committee that such excuses could not be justified by the stuff which I had dug up as official information on the subject and that GW was entirely to blame. Is this properly recorded in their Minutes?
    There was no hint that this ridiculous cost blow-out was pending.

  4. Barbara S, 26. November 2018, 21:21

    This is a disgusting waste of my money. GWRC needs to be abolished now!

  5. Curtis Nixon, 26. November 2018, 21:26

    Lots of rueful barbs and hubbub about the hubs. The hubs in the suburbs could have little gardens where rhubarb could be planted. A bit of bull dust for manure would help – GWRC has plenty!

  6. Daryl Cockburn, 26. November 2018, 21:48

    How long do we have to wait for GWRC to be replaced with a PTA (passenger transport authority)?

  7. Ross Clark, 27. November 2018, 4:45

    How long do we have to wait for GWRC to be replaced with a PTA (passenger transport authority)?

    Um, same difference? I honestly can’t see how having a PTA (which, in 1980, is what the old Wellington Regional Council started as), would make overmuch difference, when it would be the same officers and probably the same politicians.

  8. Roy Kutel, 27. November 2018, 12:15

    Ross because at least we will get 15 years out of the new PTA before it becomes a bloated self-obsessed empire!

  9. Jonny Utzone, 27. November 2018, 12:19

    No Ross you are missing the point. The PTA would either be (1) like the Health Board whereby any political appointees to the board would be elected ideally on the basis of their transport credentials or (2) appointed by the Mayor(s) of the councils concerned or (3) appointed by Government. The aim would be for the PTA to have executives and board members who are passionate, experienced and knowledgeable about public transport. We would NOT want another CEO accountant who knows nothing about public transport!

  10. Graham C Atkinson, 27. November 2018, 12:47

    Ah Jonny so you want another Auckland Transport.

  11. Wellington Commuter, 27. November 2018, 12:54

    The key thing to understand about the reason for the bus debacle is that the GWRC simply does not think buses are important and has focused hundreds of millions of Wellington’s public transport capital investment on the rail service. For example, while the blowout on the bus hubs took the cost from $3.5M to $14.4M, the GWRC announced a month ago the expenditure of “$193 million to improve the infrastructure and capacity on the region’s rail-lines. The funding includes $96 million in track renewals, largely on the Wairarapa Line.”

    I believe the answer is for the Wellington City Council to run and lead the improvements for the Wellington bus service … at least they view Wellington City as something more than just the major revenue source for supporting the region’s rail services. This will also have the additional benefit of forcing the WCC to incorporate bus service improvements into their transport plans instead of ignoring the huge opportunity to do this while they are making their cycleway improvement project around Newtown.

  12. Rumpole, 27. November 2018, 13:27

    Wake-up Chris Laidlaw and admit you’ve been asleep at the wheel, dreaming of what to do with your salary (plus perks). Hilda and I remain most unimpressed in having to wait and change buses at these ridiculous and unnecessary “hubs”.

  13. greenwelly, 27. November 2018, 13:48

    @Wellington Commuter, you forgot the $300 million they want to spend on more new trains. But for the Regional Council it’s simple maths, there are 13 councillors, Only 5 come from Wellington City, the remaining 8 come from The Hutt 4 , Wairarapa 1, Kapiti 1, Porirua 2 (inc Tawa)

  14. Brent Efford, 27. November 2018, 14:06

    The issue of RTI displays not being visible inside shelters is common to many if not most railway stations. Often you have to repeatedly go out on the platform to see how close your train is – not nice on days like today. How much would extra repeater screens cost? And why is there not a bus display inside the Railway Station concourse and a train display on the bus arrival platform? It is ‘one big interchange’ after all (though that – a rail stub terminus on the edge of the CBD – is also a really dumb idea which other cities avoid, but if we are stuck with it we should at least try our best to make it work with proper passenger information.)