Wellington Scoop

Bus issues: timeliness, capacity, transfers … and route changes

by Daran Ponter
To say that 2018 was a difficult year for Wellington public transport would be an understatement. The new bus network did not roll out smoothly, with frustrating issues for all concerned: timeliness, capacity issues, transferring etc.

Timeliness has however improved significantly on most routes and should improve further with new timetabling and additional services for NZ Bus routes in early February.

Capacity issues have largely been addressed and will be further improved by a second fleet of double-deckers arriving in February (Eastbourne routes and routes 3 and 36 in particular). Double-deckers are now running on the No 1 route in weekends to improve weekend capacity. Our biggest test of the network will be “Mad March” which is when we traditionally have the highest use – so the next batch of double-deckers can’t come soon enough.

Transferring bus to bus is an issue which still requires further work. My focus has been on revising routes so that transfers are reduced, but there will always be a need for some people to transfer, so we need more focus on a smooth transition for users.

Hubs at Miramar, Kilbirnie and Hospital are now operational. The Hospital stops are a big improvement on what was there previously and they make access to the main entrance easy again.

Along with the NZ Bus route timetable and additional services in early February, there are some additional changes in the wind:

1. No 14 is being extended from Hataitai to Kilbirnie – public consultation currently under way on some other route changes for this service
2. Morning and evening peak direct services between Kingston – Vogeltown – Wellington Railway Station have been agreed and are being timetabled.
3. Direct Wellington Zoo services being worked on.

In addition, work is underway to look at services on the Miramar Peninsula and I have asked for work to be undertaken on reinstating the No 22 service through the city – the trick here is to find a suitable route to pair the No 22 to (both in terms of frequency, no double deckers, and the same operator).

One thing that appears to have been well received is the new fares package – off peak discounts, students’ discounts and free fare transfers. I will be pushing for NO fare increases in 2019.

In addition, the transition for Mana Card users went smoothly (for most) and these users are now benefiting from the ability to use one card across the bus network, including free fare transfers.

On the electric bus front, the current 10 double-decker trial buses will soon start operating all day, with the assistance of the charging station at Reef Street. I am pushing for the next order of Transit’s electric double-decker buses to be brought forward (22 more – all fabricated in Tauranga).

The pending sale of NZ Bus to Next Capital means a decision on the trolleys is now likely to be pushed out until the sale is confirmed and the new owners have their feet under the desk.

Later in the year comes the review of the new network – this is where the routes will be evaluated and further changes potentially made.

Good to hear your thoughts on this.

Daran Ponter is a Wellington regional councillor.


  1. Trish, 9. January 2019, 9:20

    Double deckers will not be used on the 36 as it goes through the bus tunnel.

    Capacity is solved as many people have given up using the bus. I for one have reduced from 10 to 4 trips per week due to the route destruction.

    Fares absolutely should not increase because bus fares are 33% higher than train fares as train users can buy monthly passes.

  2. greenwelly, 9. January 2019, 10:53

    The pending sale of NZ Bus to Next Capital means a decision on the trolleys is now likely to be pushed out until the sale is confirmed and the new owners have their feet under the desk.

    But Infratil have said that completion of this deal was not expected until June… Does that mean the Regional council will give NZ Bus a free pass to continue running at least 60 old diesels with colour schemes from everywhere until the trolley bus “battery-fication” decision is sorted out?

  3. Kerry, 9. January 2019, 11:10

    Daran, great to see progress on this: best of luck with it all.

    One need for making the hubs work is better-coordinated timetables. Weekday interpeak buses on route 1 run every 12 minutes, but my bus runs every 30 minutes and cannot consistently make a connection. If route 1 ran every 15 minutes it would be just a matter of adjusting departure times, but it is hard to make clock-face timetables meet a 12 minute service. (Clock-face is necessary for repeating every hour and allowing the same connections, as well as being easy to remember) The trick is to standardise headways, such as:
    60, 30, 15, 7.5, 3.75 minutes
    60, 20, 10, 5, 2.5 minutes

    Another difficult one will be timekeeping accuracy, which will take time because it will need road works and traffic signal improvements, coordinated with WCC. Zurich took 20 years to solve the one: hope you can start soon.

  4. Victor Davie, 9. January 2019, 11:21

    Decision on the trolleys? You and your colleagues have torn down the overhead cables. Please advise when you received the authority to do this act of wilful damage to public property. I look forward to your reply.

  5. Curtis Nixon, 9. January 2019, 11:26

    So Daran you and GWRC are happy that Newtown, one of the suburbs with most vulnerable and low income residents, is now virtually a bus dead zone? There’s no longer any direct bus traffic to the zoo, an incomprehensible decision since the zoo is one of Wellington’s long time premier visitor locations. What about all the hospital workers who live out east who now must take multiple trips to get to and from work? When some of the buses don’t turn up, who is going to staff ICU?

    Wellington’s geography rules out a spoke-and-hub system. Trip distances are mostly too short for transfers to be desirable. The CBD congestion means timetable delays interfere with transfer efficiency.

    And, as a beneficiary who had the half price concession removed, I am super annoyed. Trish is right, the capacity problem has been “solved” by dis-incentivising enough users and driving them to use cars or ride bikes. Shame. I support the dissolution of GWRC, with its functions and powers to be added to the existing territorial authorities. Then we might get some representatives who care about the citizens.

  6. greenwelly, 9. January 2019, 11:34

    @Trish, the Hataitai Tunnel is pretty tall and I’ve seen intercity DDers go through it…. It’s bigger than the Seatoun and Karori ones that are not passable for DDers.

  7. Graham C Atkinson, 9. January 2019, 12:53

    @ Trish: yes the Hataitai Bus Tunnel accommodates Double Decker buses with well over a metre to spare at the centre of the tunnel (half a metre at the kerb line each side) so perfectly safe. Has been tested with over height vehicles too.

    @ Curtis Nixon: the beneficiary discount was provided by the Wellington City Council (only applied on the old WCT routes) – equivalent does not apply anywhere else in NZ.

    Finally @ Kerry: the interpeak frequency on Route 1 is 10 minutes (12 was the old GO Wellington timetable) weekdays and Saturday and 15 minutes on Sundays and reliability is increasing every week. As the old route 23 was only hourly, even hubbing provides an enhanced service to these suburbs.

  8. Mike Mellor, 9. January 2019, 14:41

    Daran: thanks for all the work you’ve done to try and get the system to work. We’re still a long way from that: according to GWRC figures, many of the busiest routes continue to perform badly. From the six weeks’ worth of figures given, every week the 7 and the 24 have failed to meet the 99.5% reliability target, and the 1, 3 and 22 have failed five weeks out of six.

    For the punctuality target (where the criterion is just that 90% of buses start within their journey within five minutes of time – nothing about making connections or arriving on time), the 3 and the 83 have failed every week, the 2 five weeks out of six. (Let’s hope the February timetable change fixes these!)

    Two other essential improvements are needed:
    a) open and honest communications from GWRC: for instance, Metlink says that you shouldn’t have to wait more than five minutes for timetabled connections, but many connections are timetabled for longer than that; the data above is hard to find and hard to interpret; and no data has been released about how timetabled connections are working or whether bus performance along the Golden Mile has improved (both of these are serious and inexplicable omissions).
    b) GWRC and WCC working together, avoiding the blame game over the long delays in hub construction and such clangers as the unilateral replacement of the inbound bus shelter at Massey University with a worse one. In the Waikato, public transport is governed by a joint committee between the regional, city and district councils – why can’t we do the same sensible thing here? And we need to take a leaf out of Auckland’s book, too – Auckland Transport’s Integrated Corridor Priority Programme looks at road corridors from the perspective of all users, looking at bus priority, safety, walking and cycling as a package. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    Kerry: route 1 runs every 10 minutes during the week, 15 minutes at the weekends and 30 minutes in the evenings, so in theory your 30-minute bus should connect OK. But who knows whether that actually happens?

    Trish: I share Greenwelly’s understanding that DDs will fit through the bus tunnel (though I wouldn’t want to be the first one to try!). Confirmation that DDs are planned to operate here are the red-and-yellow chevrons appearing on posts/poles on the kerb edge at some bus stops on that route – my understanding is that they are to remind DD drivers of the risk of the top deck hitting the pole. It’s a shame that these buses will not be able to pull into the kerb at these stops, thus reducing accessibility and lengthening dwell times.

  9. Roy Kutel, 9. January 2019, 16:34

    Clearly eight years planning was not enough with the bus hubs unfinished, diesel emissions up and passengers and rate-payers discontented. Alternatively, let’s get some professionals in who know about transport to make the decisions rather than councillors who clearly do not. Get rid of the GWRC and replace it with a PTA.

  10. Trevor H, 9. January 2019, 21:17

    @ Roy Kutel: absolutely right. The GWRC has amply demonstrated it is not fit for purpose.

  11. Kerry, 9. January 2019, 21:19

    Mike. Thanks for the correction. I was right, but using the wrong timetable…

  12. Harry M, 10. January 2019, 10:02

    The regional council made the ratepayers fund millions for stupid electronic timetables for ghost buses as a non-solution to the late buses. No problems have been solved. I think the council wasted an awful lot of money (a small fortune) and yet we still have a poopy bus system. [Abridged.]

  13. Keith Flinders, 10. January 2019, 11:57

    The naivety of the GWRC councilors and GWRC senior officers as well as Metlink gave us bustrophe. As early as September 2016 I was alarmed when I attended the presentation at Karori given by Cr Swain and Metlink staff about the impending bus changes. The thrust of that presentation was about a common livery, and designer uniforms for drivers. No mention was made of the practicalities for the introduction of planned changes, nor any consideration of the adverse impact on users. Changes such as we will build the hubs after the introduction of the new routes/timetables, and users can stand in the rain and freezing cold until we do.

    “She’ll be right on the night” was the implication I came away with, and it turned out to be even worse than contemplated.

    Apart from the reintroduction of the 18 route all day, the peak Karori bus services remain overloaded. I guess users in other areas will report similar. Some areas do indeed have improved bus services, at the expense of other areas.

    This fiasco has cost the Wellington economy tens of millions of dollars in lost productivity, and the ratepayers will be forking out for the cost in millions of consultants imported to fix some of the issues that should never have arisen had adequate planning been implemented. Meanwhile those who created this mess are still on the GWRC payroll, but they ought to have resigned in July 2018.

    At the Sustainable Transport Committee meeting I attended in August the Chair said that the seats taken out of buses to make more room in cattle class would be re-instated forthwith. The last time I was on a No. 2 bus its removed seats had not been refitted.

    The GWRC in its present form needs to be replaced with a body more in tune with the dictates of the 21st century, one that recognizes engineering principles too, not just academic feel good ideas. We in this region had a lucky escape with the rejection of the Super City scheme to be run by the same people gave us bustrophe. The October elections loom, thankfully.

  14. Michael barnett, 11. January 2019, 9:26

    Keith Flinders. I agree with you. GWRC, its officers and most others involved in planning for transport in Wellington and the region, have shown an inability to understand all the issues and bring Wellington Transport into the 21st century. Time for a unitary authority to be created to replace the various committees and get on with the job.

  15. Michael Gibson, 11. January 2019, 10:41

    I wonder who is on GW’s much-vaunted “public transport user group”?
    All that I have found out is that it is chaired by someone from Porirua (for heaven’s sake!!) and that nobody who uses the #22 bus has even been invited to express an opinion.
    However, the good news is that there is an “investigation into the #22 service” and that “it is on the customer experience radar” (per email from GW dated yesterday).
    P.S. I have reminded GW that the records of their “consultation” three or four years ago re the proposed #22 showed 100% disapproval of their proposals and were totally ignored.

  16. Tony Jansen, 11. January 2019, 10:43

    Well said Keith, although I must point out the most alarming thing for me was the senior figures involved on the GWRC refusing to take any responsibility, liability, culpability for their actions. And this included the late comer to the fiasco – the CEO – who should in all honesty have been sacked for his non performance. A cornerstone of management is the buck stops with the Boss – or so we are led to believe. The CEO took no interest until the proverbial well and truly hit the fan. Then he assured us he would give the issue his full attention, because he wasn’t paying attention before. All he did was turn up for the Parliamentary Q & A and take no responsibility for anything. not bad for 400 thousand per annum is it?
    It is not so much a lack of knowledge – although even a teenager could have project managed this better – but the arrogance and lack of accountability to the public.
    Hence replacing the GWRC is not the answer. The answer is replacing the culture and also the senior incumbents right from the CEO down. They are there to serve the people and the region, not themselves nor their political parties.

  17. steve doole, 11. January 2019, 13:24

    Maybe things are improving, but maybe not.
    Data collected by council is limited use for assessment, as it does not reflect what actually occurs.
    When a timetabled bus is not started within 10 minutes of departure time, timetable information is used to progress the ‘service’. On the displays at major stops, this is indicated by the letters ‘sched’. No bus may actually be moving for a ‘sched’ service. The common name for this situation is ‘ghost bus’. 10 minutes after scheduled departure from each stop, usually with the service being shown near the top of a sign, the service is no longer displayed.
    Tracking is initiated by the Snapper ticket machine on the bus sending a signal to bus tracking equipment at the start of a bus service trip. If a driver is unable to select the correct timetabled trip on the bus ticket machine for any reason – there are several – data will not be accurate. For example, if the driver selects a trip that is timed later, the bus will be tracked ok but the intended service will show on signs as Sched as well as the later timed service. Of course, if the driver sets off as soon as able, the later trip will then be recorded as running early!
    If a driver cannot select any valid trip, the bus is not tracked but may run. Such buses will not show on signs at bus stops, but collect passengers, possibly without the Snapper smartcard system functioning (so revenue is uncollected).
    On July 26th outside Farmers store on Lambton Quay I recorded 16 buses not showing on signs in one hour from 8am. Many were well behind their planned timings. Hopefully things have improved now, although GW management wasn’t interested at the time.
    My point is that Wellington bus data has not been reliable enough to be used for comparisons with itself, so mention of improvement should be substantiated by actual surveys.

  18. Benny, 11. January 2019, 23:23

    At a time when clock is acaringly ticking and begging for bold actions, and when everyone on earth needs to take part in moving our economies away from fossil fuel, the fact we have now LESS electric buses roaming the streets of Wellington than in 2017, is not only a shame, when all other cities around the world go the other way around, it is also a crime for which GWRC has full collective responsibility. Despite conscience healing diatribes, CO2 emissions have gone up in Wellington, and one can hardly breath at peak hours on the “brown mile”, or dream of having a conversation. A full transition to electric, absolutely vital to address health issues, noise problems, and climate change, is still not fully laid out, clearly articulated, tangible. The current team at GWRC are only showing their inability to take the bold steps required for such an important issue. The other sad truth is that this view is coming from someone sharing political colours with Daran, but who has now lost hope in the elected members at GWRC.

  19. Kara Lipski, 12. January 2019, 9:42

    As we progress into 2019 it is hopeful that the bus services (in those areas that have been grossly depleted) will actually improve. Cr Ponter has worked hard on behalf of bus users but in his article there is no mention of extending the No.12 through to the Regional Hospital in Newtown. As I told the GWRC in December – this is an urgent matter. I suspect that despite Cr Ponter’s hard work, the culture within GWRC/MetLink is the sticking point.

  20. Polly, 12. January 2019, 11:11

    Thank you Daran for news on the No 14 and 22 routes to be extended and improved but how long do we have to wait…..

  21. Daran Ponter, 13. January 2019, 11:20

    Reminder: Route 14 submissions close on 29 January. I presume that everyone wants the bus to be extended to Kilbirnie – but should it go via Hataitai Road? [via twitter]

  22. Cr Daran Ponter, 13. January 2019, 18:57

    Since this article was published I am happy to confirm that from 3 February the following two services will commence on a six month trial basis:

    1. The No 23z (between Railway station and Zoo) – will run hourly in both directions during Zoo opening hours (running via Adelaide Road and Courtenay Place); and
    2. The No 27 (between Kingston – Mornington – Vogeltown and Railway Station…..no need to change at Hutchinson Rd), twice in the morning and twice in the evening peaks.

    These are trial services so please use them. Future scheduling will depend on how well they are used.

    Good to work with Paul Eagle MP, the Zoo, the Newtown Community Association, Mornington/Vogeltown residents and Kara Lipski on the return of these two services. Thanks to my fellow Regional Councillors for their unanimous support.

  23. Roy Kutel, 14. January 2019, 11:23

    Clapping the return of services that should never have been taken away in the first place!

    Oh and lest we forget – our trolley buses and the promised return (in their place) of some weird technology called ‘Wright Speed’ which unsurprisingly (to everyone but GWRC) didn’t work followed by the promise of something else that’s not diesel but in the end what do we get? Clapped out ex-Auckland diesel buses! Let’s clap that too!

  24. Joanne Perkins, 14. January 2019, 15:16

    If the GWRC was not, for some unknown reason, so set against NZ Bus as a provider we would now be seeing up to 50 electric buses on the road in the guise of repowered trolley buses. Bus 361 which is the only repowered trolley on the road has travelled well in excess of 100,000 km,s with no problems and provides a quiet, efficient and extremely comfortable ride on the 91 route from the rail to the airport. The GWRC is apparently insisting on new buses despite the trolleys having 10 years of life left in them. If they could get over their unreasonable dislike of a company that has provided a pretty good (though not perfect) bus service in the capital for many years this could be remedied in short order. The public need to put pressure on GWRC to approve the trolley conversion and our emissions would drop accordingly.

  25. Cr Daran Ponter, 14. January 2019, 18:54

    @ Roy Kutel: I feel like we are covering old ground here Roy. Wrightspeed was a 100% NZ Bus initiative. Yes, GWRC were hopeful, perhaps even optimistic. But no ratepayers funds were invested into the trial. For the fact that it failed, I still congratulate NZ Bus for having a crack at new technology.

    @ Joanne: GWRC is not against NZ Bus – not sure where you got that idea from. It’s a negotiation Joanne. The conversions will cost $millions of dollars. Both parties (NZ Bus and GWRC) need to make sure they are making the right decisions. New electric buses are an alternative, as are new diesel buses. Negotiations are continuing.

  26. Farmer Bill, 14. January 2019, 19:27

    Well said Joanne – I think it is more like NZ Bus has given up on GWRC. Why would you invest in Wellington buses and be awarded with…. fewer contracts to use the buses?

  27. Joanne Perkins, 15. January 2019, 7:46

    @ Daran: I think I get my idea about GWRC’s attitude toward NZ Bus from the following –
    You announced TU as being the preferred provider over a year before the contracts came into force, giving them more than adequate time to obtain both buses and drivers, neither of which they completed successfully, and yet you signed the contract with NZ Bus a mere few months before said break in of contracts, giving them no time at all to obtain new buses, knowing that some drivers would lose their jobs and assuming they would all simply go over to the ‘preferred provider’, which of course didn’t happen. On top of that, I am under the impression from news releases regarding the Wrightspeed conversion that didn’t work, that NZ Bus had put aside a considerable amount to pay for that conversion and I would assume they would transfer that money to the new conversion which has worked, so I fail to understand why this negotiation is so convoluted and apparently unsuccessful so far. Given that the whole conversion was initially the idea of NZ Bus, I doubt the hold up is on their side?

  28. Kevin Wilson, 15. January 2019, 13:13

    Thanks Daran. What exactly is your thinking re: the #22. At the moment if I want to get a bus to Kelburn from somewhere in the city between Taranaki St and the bus station, I have to transfer at the bus station – which is absurdly time consuming, especially at the weekend, and useless in comparison to how it used to work. The current policy forces me to either use UBER or try and use the cable car – which is twice as expensive and often crowded with cruise ship passengers. When can we expect to see improvements?

  29. helen, 15. January 2019, 16:08

    Yes, can we PLEASE have the cable car re-integrated into the public transport system. Which means trips using it costing as much as a trip by bus for the same distance, and the transfers working between it and the bus network. It was built as public transport and it’s stupid that it has been turned into a tourist attraction when it is desperately needed to transport Wellingtonians.

    It is frequent, direct and reliable – why is it not included in the integrated fares?

  30. Cr Daran Ponter, 15. January 2019, 16:35

    @ Joanne – It’s good to hear that NZ Bus have money to pay for the trolley conversions – in which case they can proceed without any recourse to the Regional Council. They do after all own the buses and it is their decision on whether or not to convert. But it was my understanding that NZ Bus want a “top-up” from ratepayers – fair enough if it can be justified – and that’s what the two parties are now doing – negotiating to justify ratepayer expenditure.

    With respect to the contract agreement – as you are aware NZ Bus was allocated PTOM Units – that means they did not tender for the Units they received – the PTOM model recognised them as an incumbent operator (experienced, sunk investments etc). GWRC was ready to negotiate the terms of the contracts immediately that the overall tender process was concluded – in fact we were desperate for this to occur. However, NZ Bus showed no urgency to negotiate and GWRC could not force them to the table, hence the delay. Nothing to do with Transit or any other operator.

    @ Kevin Wilson – I am a daily 22 user (to/from Kelburn to Lambton Quay), other than when I catch a 37 or transfer in the City via the 21 or 18e. I am pushing for the 22 to be put back on the Golden Mile. The trick is to find another service that we can pair the 22 to – this would avoid the duplication of services on the Golden Mile, which is a primary reason that the 22 and other services were truncated under the new Network. For example, you could pair the 22 to the 3 – but you then run into the problem that many 3 services will soon be double deckers and you can’t run those through the Karori tunnel. You can’t pair a NZ Bus service to a Tranzit service – so can’t pair 23 to 22, or 29 to 23. I have asked officers to work on this.

    With respect to the Cable Car, which I also use, I agree it is quite a lot more expensive than the 1 zone fare from the City ($3.60 for Cable Car vs $1.71 on bus, both using Snapper), but you can get 25 trips loaded onto your Snapper card for $58 – still more expensive though.

  31. Ms Green, 15. January 2019, 20:05

    I am puzzled by all of this. Good on Daran for pitching in. But isn’t his job governance…making sure with his colleagues that the policy direction is agreed for contracts and the resources allocated? Where are the CEO and officers in all of this? Shouldn’t they be doing the operational “stuff” that Daran appears to be trying. Anyone held accountable?

    Just asking….

  32. New World, 15. January 2019, 21:49

    Is it true that there are two sets of timetables for each bus route? One with a longer trip time for the public, and one with a shorter trip time for Metlink.

  33. Peter Grant, 15. January 2019, 21:54

    Thank you for bringing that obvious point up Ms Green, it seems to have been missed by most !!..Just noticing ….

  34. Ross Clark, 16. January 2019, 1:31

    Reading about the problems with transfers does raise a question for our light rail planning, which would also be heavily dependent on transfers. Why would they work for LRT where they haven’t worked for buses?

  35. Jonny Utzone, 16. January 2019, 9:09

    Ross – People don’t mind transfers from LRT to rail whereas they do dislike transferring between bus to bus. Its partly the difficulty of getting on and off buses, partly the lesser facilities of bus stops and partly the inherent traffic related unreliability of bus travel.

    So transferring between rail and LRT at Wellington Rail station should be pretty good – being able to sit on the trains/trams since both will be terminal stations.

    Whereas in Kilbirnie etc bus to LRT transfers will be a disincentive but less so than bus to bus transfers.

  36. Cr Daran Ponter, 16. January 2019, 20:16

    @Ms Green Ha,ha, good spotting. Yes, indeed I would prefer to contain myself to the governance aspects of the job, but the reality seems to be that if you want action on things that the public are calling for, you have to roll up your sleeves. I don’t mind it, but as you have observed it’s probably outside the job description.

  37. Glen Smith, 16. January 2019, 21:21

    Ross. Transfers are only a problem for across town rail if our planners 1. Fail to properly investigate the option of ‘track sharing’ of ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ units and so unnecessarily condemn all across town commuters to a transfer penalty at the Station forever 2. Fail to add rail as a second across town corridor and instead stick with their current plan of displacing bus capacity along the Golden Mile and so unnecessarily impose transfer penalties on an even larger number of bus users (yes that is possible!). And 3. fail to follow the logical design of running uninterrupted across town ‘lines’ of the same mode (whether bus for low volume routes or rail for high volume routes) from one peripheral location, across the CBD and on to another peripheral location but instead follow the flawed design of aggregating significant number of commuters from bus to rail and so unnecessarily impose transfer penalties on a large number of commuters. Sadly one or more if these basic design flaws are recommended by a significant number of our ‘light rail’ advocates.

  38. Ms Green, 16. January 2019, 21:41

    So Daran if you are doing the operational stuff, who is doing the governance? And if you are doing the operational stuff, what are the CEO and staff doing?

  39. Benny, 17. January 2019, 0:20

    @Daran: New diesel buses? Honestly? Is that another initiative to lower CO2 emissions? Or to reduce noise in lieu of trolley buses? Or to reduce impact on climate change?? And don’t tell us this is to replace the old diesel buses that were supposed to replace “temporarily” the trolley buses.

    In terms of Daran’s involvement at this level of detail, I am not too shocked: as members elected by the public, councillors should ensure that public feedback is included in the bus operations. As we know, public feedback has been very much ignored in the design of the new network. I find it therefore healthy to have members representing us, finally embedding our collective aspiration in what works for us. I think it’s democracy as it should work. If the “chain of command” had worked from the public to the councillors down to the CEOs and GWRC staff, we wouldn’t have the network we’ve ended up with.

    While I’m at it: GWRC seems to be quite satisfied the stats are improving on bus timeliness, and other figures. Good. But one should be aware these figures are measured against the initial metlink design, which we know hasn’t been well received. So good on GWRC for being satisfied delivering what was designed …. that wasn’t what Wellingtonians wanted.

  40. Graham C Atkinson, 17. January 2019, 10:42

    Mrs Green – in all the years I’ve been involved and observing politics (back to the Nash Government and Kitts Council days) politicians have always been involved in announcing good news, and in advocating for their constituents. That part of the job description has never changed.

  41. aom, 17. January 2019, 12:07

    Mr. Atkinson, it is unclear what your point is in response to Ms. Green’s comments. She, like others, has the impression that Cr Ponter has gone far further than exercising governance and advocacy roles and is now involved with operational matters in the absence of the CEO discharging his duties. Didn’t the CEO say he would drop everything and sort the transport mess out? It is also obvious that Mr. Ponter has taken over from the Councillor who has responsibility for providing ‘good news’ with regard to transport matters. More signs of a dysfunctional Council?

  42. John Rankin, 17. January 2019, 15:38

    @JonnyUtzone says: “Whereas in Kilbirnie etc bus to LRT transfers will be a disincentive but less so than bus to bus transfers.”

    Having just returned from nearly 3 weeks in Vancouver, I can comment on how they design bus-SkyTrain transfers. @GlenSmith is onto it when he refers to “running uninterrupted across town ‘lines’ of the same mode”. Where I was living, I could catch an east-west bus which crosses a north-south SkyTrain. It is just a regular intersection, which happens to have bus stops and a SkyTrain station. Many people may choose to transfer between modes; most people don’t. Most people are on the SkyTrain because it runs on a high density corridor with stops at major destinations. Some people are on it because their nearest bus line crosses the SkyTrain line, and they take advantage of the connection.

    That is, Vancouver generally doesn’t design feeder bus services which force people to transfer to the SkyTrain. Rather, it designs lines which are useful in and of themselves, while also offering people the opportunity to connect to other services. So you can use a bus as a feeder, if that meets your travel needs.

    Vancouver’s bus fleet is actually pretty ratty, but the impression I came away with is that the planners there have thought carefully about every last detail of how the system works and optimized the hell out of it.

  43. Cr Daran Ponter, 17. January 2019, 16:58

    @ Ms Green. To answer your question, I am representing my constituents. That means identifying the fixes we need to the public transport system, many of which are identified at the community level, finding and negotiating solutions to those issues and then championing their implementation.

    This involves interaction with community and transport groups and advocates, working with officers to confirm solutions and with Councillors to gain consensus on a way forward.

    You can choose whether that sounds like governance or operational stuff? To me it’s just about getting stuff done!

  44. Cr Daran Ponter, 17. January 2019, 17:10

    @ Benny. Just presenting the facts Benny. The reality is that while many of us would like to see the trolley buses converted, the cost will be stacked up against alternative options, those being (1) brand new all-electric triple axle buses; or (2) brand new diesel triple axle buses. As a part funder, NZTA will not allow us to get away with a deal for the trolley buses without knowing the full costs, and the alternative costs. I suggest that ratepayers want this assurance as well.

    GWRC is willing to pay extra for electric buses, as we did for the double-decker electric buses. But we need to know what that additional cost is and that ratepayer funds can be justified for a top-up.

  45. Jonny Utzone, 17. January 2019, 18:51

    JR – Hasn’t Vancouver retained its trolley buses? I give them top marks for that environmental and economically sensible decision.

  46. Glen Smith, 17. January 2019, 19:05

    Daran. You say that ‘..the costs will be stacked up against alternative options..’ and ‘..NZTA will not allow us to get away with a deal…without knowing the full costs and alternative costs’, implying that the GWRC and NZTA are thorough, neutral and objective arbiters. The real world evidence is that this is false.
    When the decision to destroy our fully electric trolley network was made, no business case for retaining the trolleys was undertaken (despite good international research indicating the long term costs would likely be cheaper than diesels), no ‘external’ societal costs were assessed, no examination of the option of ‘off wire’ trolleys was undertaken (despite the expert advice indicating this was a viable option), and no examination of the marginal costs of adding across-town electrical supply for trolleys to the inevitable across-town electrical supply for rail was undertaken (despite this cost being the excuse under which the trolleys were dumped). In short, the performance of the GWRC and the NZTA was almost the exact opposite of thorough and objective.
    Sadly the same looks likely to occur for rail. There is no evidence the GWRC or other planners have properly examined the option of ‘track sharing’, no evidence they have properly examined the option of adding a rail corridor separate to the Golden Mile (the Quay being the best option), and all the evidence being that the upcoming design will impose even larger levels of aggregation and resulting transfers (mainly bus to rail- one of the highest ‘pure’ transfer penalties at around 17 minutes). In short it looks likely a design will be imposed with ALL of the flaws I mentioned in my previous post, a design that will impose even more transfers and deter even more PT users. I can only conclude that the soon to be imposed secret ‘fait accompli’ for rail in Wellington looks likely to be another debacle.

  47. Ms Green, 17. January 2019, 20:16

    Daran good on you for getting stuff done but it seems to me from reading the range of community experts (and drivers) here that they want “stuff” undone!
    I.e. a comprehensive u turn … and a process of public engagement where all in the community who want can properly feed into all of the Regional Council decisionmaking. These are matters that affect our daily lives, rates, the environment and the city’s economy, our children’s ability to get to school and to move around our city independently etc….and should not be left to one elected person.

  48. John Rankin, 17. January 2019, 20:31

    @JonnyUtzone: not only has Vancouver retained its trolley buses, it runs articulated, express trolley buses on the 99 route. These are 3 door, entry and exit at all doors, stopping at about one bus stop in 3. These work a treat and run every 3 (!!) minutes.

  49. Jonny Utzone, 17. January 2019, 21:07

    Thanks for that JR. Oh for an enlightened transport planning authority!

  50. Wellington.Scoop, 18. January 2019, 8:47

    Comments on this subject are now closed, as we’ve reached the capacity that our system will accept. This means we’ve been unable to publish all the comments that have been received.