Wellington Scoop

Helene Ritchie calls for action on mass rapid transit

Media release from Helene Ritchie
Former City Councillor Helene Ritchie told an Island bay meeting last night: “It is time for action on mass rapid transit for Wellington. In fact long overdue.”

She went on:

“My research shows in NZTA documents that it’s nearly 25 years since the Government did a light rail feasibility study in 1995, and reported that they found the system ‘economically, environmentally and transport appropriate.’

“All Let’s Get Wellington Moving has produced is more paralysis, pretty pictures and PR spin, squabbling politicians and an LGWM Cabinet paper that did not have Treasury approval.

“I want action, and I want it now. Nobody else seems prepared to make a stand. I am proposing a game changer to shift the current deadlock and simply to at last get on with it.

“The local government politicians seem to want everything all at once, but don’t know what they want. Public transport and mass rapid transit, is pivotal to personal , economic, social cultural and environmental wellbeing of the Capital city of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

“I realize that some people want more and more roads but we cannot have or afford everything all at once, and we have limited space in our City for more and more cars. The irony is that mass rapid transport would relieve congested road space for cars and cyclists.

“We have to prioritise and, in my opinion, that priority must be to start the mass rapid transport project.

“To get it underway I am proposing as the first step, that Expressions of Interest (EOI) be sought world wide for proposals for viable solutions for mass rapid transit for Wellington, to Newtown, (possibly Island Bay), and to the Airport, and to meet the aim of LGWM, “to move more people with fewer vehicles”.

“I am proposing that the outcome of the analysis of all expressions of interest be known by May 2020, with a Request for Proposals then being sought, to further define a definitive rapid mass transit solution for Wellington by the end of 2020.

“I want action, a decision, funding from all sources approved, a main contract let, and construction dates finalised by the end of the next triennium, by June of 2022. I recognize there’s a lot of work there, but unless we make a stand now, nothing will happen, talk fests, squabbling and transport paralysis will go on, congestion and frustration will prevail. Let’s just get on with it now.”

Helene Ritchie is a former deputy mayor, former chair of the civic centre project, and is a candidate for the Regional Council.


  1. Keith Flinders, 5. September 2019, 17:26

    Focusing on mass transit to Miramar/Airport via Kilbirnie gives a better illustration of the requirement. Airport passenger numbers in relation to the rest of the eastern suburbs catchment are small. Add on the potential increase in numbers from a redeveloped Shelly Bay to further reinforce the case.

    A light rail terminus near Broadway/Hobart Street with an overhead travelator to the airport terminal buildings is an option too.

  2. Ranu Das, 6. September 2019, 15:26

    Ms. Ritchie, Just read about your views on Wellington’s transit problems. Please check our website – http://www.ultraprt.co.uk. I believe we are the solution. We have a project pipeline of over 200 cities globally, and have already signed up with 4 cities. The system has been in public service, in London, for the last 8 years, without incident. And Wellington would be a wonderful addition.

  3. Guy M, 7. September 2019, 7:35

    Hey Ranu – no thanks. No pods. Not suitable for Wellington – totally inappropriate technology for this situation.