Wellington Scoop

Against the flyover, since 2008


by Lindsay Shelton
One of the most successful campaigns supported by Wellington.Scoop has been the opposition to plans for a flyover at the Basin Reserve. One of our first reports after this website was created described one of the first meetings called to oppose the flyover.

by Lindsay Shelton – November 27, 2008
On television earlier in the evening, Wellington city councillor John Morrison, speaking as chairman of the Basin Reserve Trust, referred to them obscurely as “Johnny come latelys.” An hour later, a hundred of them stood and looked out towards the Basin Reserve through the floor to ceiling windows of the new St Joseph’s Church in Brougham Street. We were told that if a new concrete flyover was built across the northern edge of the Basin, then traffic would be raised to a height of ten metres – the same level as the heads of the tallest members of the audience.

Councillor Morrison seemed to support the flyover. But by the end of a tightly-run 90 minute meeting, a campaign had been launched to oppose it. Seventy chairs weren’t enough, and 30 people stood or sat on the floor. The audience included four city councillors and three regional councillors. Regional councillor Judith Aitken helped serve tea and coffee. City councillor Iona Pannett – one of the leaders of the campaign which opposed the city’s bypass – was the first speaker. She referred sadly to the fact that public consultation showing 79 per cent opposition to the flyover had been ignored by the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Wellington Regional Council in giving approval for the big structure.

Green MP Sue Kedgley spoke ominously about the prospect of the flyover being the first step in a stealthy and fast-tracked process to create a four-lane motorway from the bypass to the airport, with destructive results for the quiet streets of Mt Victoria.

She said both the city council and the regional council had voted to support the flyover before it had been designed, with no plans available to show what they were getting or how much it would cost. Her opinion of creating a flyover to carry four lanes of traffic into the two-lane Mt Victoria Tunnel: absurd. And a second tunnel? Unfundable.

Councillor Celia Wade-Brown spoke of the joys of walking and cycling, and how the Basin Reserve was an oasis for pedestrians and cyclists heading into the city. An oasis which would be destroyed if the flyover was built.

Organiser Kent Duston said the flyover would lift traffic up above the fenceline into full view of Basin Reserve crowds, with traffic noise and pollution being blown across the cricket ground. It wouldn’t solve traffic congestion, but would succeed only in moving it to a new position 300 metres away. Drivers might save an average 55 seconds in travel time – but he didn’t believe this was worth the destruction of the character of the Basin Reserve and its neighbourhood.

He showed photos of other Wellington flyovers – ugly structures with degrading concrete and graffiti which would inevitably become a feature of any Basin Reserve flyover.

He felt that congestion problems could readily be resolved by travel demand management (encouraging more than one person to use every car, and staggering the start of shifts and school days) and by re-phasing traffic lights. (This is a big subject. I’ll be writing more about it soon).

Among the audience was Pauline Swann from Waterfront Watch. Her organization has long campaigned – without success – for restoration of the iconic viewshaft which once ran along Kent and Cambridge Terraces from the harbour to the Basin Reserve, but which is now blocked by the New World Supermarket.

She didn’t speak. But she must have been thinking with dismay that the flyover would ensure that the viewshaft could never be restored. Not only a supermarket, but also four lanes of traffic 10 metres above the ground. How can any city allow stunning views to be destroyed so despicably? What’s happened to civic pride?

All of which contributes to a substantial list of reasons why the flyover deserves to be stopped. But, as with other major town planning issues, decision-makers don’t seem willing to respond to anything they don’t agree with. An ability to hear opposing arguments and to take them seriously doesn’t seem to be possible till debate is moved to the Environment Court.

The last word came from Kent Duston. He said traffic surveys were showing a decrease in traffic throughout Wellington. The flyover, he said, could become the Overseas Passenger Terminal of the 21st Century. If it was built, it would be a structure which wasn’t needed or wanted. Time would have passed it by.

The Mayor wants quick progress on the flyover. Read her comments in this WCC Press Release

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. Build it now!, 7. January 2020, 9:06

    It’s thanks to actions like this that Wellington is in the predicament it is now.

  2. Tim Jones, 7. January 2020, 13:51

    It’s good to see this report again – thanks, Lindsay!

    The Basin Reserve flyover proposal went before the Board of Inquiry appointed by the then-National Government in 2014 – and lost on grounds of fact, because the Board concluded that the disadvantages of the plan outweighed the benefits. The New Zealand Transport Agency then appealed that decision to the High Court in 2015 – and lost again, this time on grounds of law.

    That defeat opened up the possibility of creating a transport system that works for Wellington’s future – and for the climate emergency we all face. 2020 will be vital in ensuring that we create a transport system that gives people the option to walk, cycle and use efficient, reliable public transport and mass transit, while freeing up existing road capacity for those who do need to use cars, vans and trucks.

    Well done Wellington Scoop for your excellent coverage of this issue!

  3. Alana, 7. January 2020, 14:39

    The campaign was a success when the Board of Inquiry ruled that the flyover wouldn’t do what NZTA said it would do. And the rejection of that 1950s idea places Wellington now in a position to advance a light rail network to move more people more effectively with fewer cars. Promises of benefits from a second tunnel are just as unrealistic as the proposed flyover. It was excellent coverage like this that alerted people to the potential disaster NZTA had planned.

  4. Pseudopanax, 7. January 2020, 16:36

    Prepare to resist the weaponising of the second tunnel, four lanes etc in 2020 by the National Party, who have figured there are votes in the region for more roading ASAP over local resistance in Mt Vic and Hataitai, the climate emergency, or support for light rail. The locals vote Labour or Green in the main so not many votes to mine there.

  5. Russell Tregonning, 7. January 2020, 20:35

    Well done, Lindsay.
    This transport relook has major current relevance. The roading lobby is proposing more of the same roading solutions with a new Mt Victoria road tunnel and ‘four lanes to the planes’ eastwards. This is 20th century thinking. More roads will fail to relieve congestion beyond the short-term and our climate emergency is real. All-electric mass public transport is now urgently needed: light rail is the well-proven solution to help both. Let’s hope LGWM lives up to it’s name in 2020. I look forward to more enlightened comment from Wellington.Scoop

  6. Ross Clark, 7. January 2020, 23:32

    What sort of traffic congestion problems does Wellington have outside the main peaks? The point for asking is that in terms of off-peak traffic flows, they are much more dispersed than peak ones, in terms of origins & destinations. Would welcome informed comment on this.

  7. Neil Douglas, 8. January 2020, 7:26

    Compare and contrast with the campaign to save the trolley buses. I suppose the trolley wires were regarded as visual pollution by some but now we have air and noise pollution from clapped out ex-Auckland diesel buses that have taken so much of the shine from our golden mile its now more a ‘Dirty Diesel Mile’. What a crying shame our City Councillors proved to be so pusillanimous!

  8. Sarah Morgan-Brown, 8. January 2020, 8:52

    It is interesting to note that in the school holidays there is little congestion around the Basin. Perhaps build a school in Karori to house 3rd and 4th formers from Wellington College (yes I am old) – but no, that opportunity has gone, what a waste. Change the road markings with a bit of white paint which would improve flow. But that isn’t what traffic engineers like. They prefer bollards, concrete and kerbs. Paint is cheaper.
    Have a brilliant bus system that is well priced to compete with cars and increasing parking fees. Oh yes, tried that and it hasn’t worked. The ‘new improved’ bus service just sent people back to using their cars.
    Try an eBike and then try it again. The second time is simpler and you will get the hang of it. There are bikes that can take adults and kids. Try the bus too. Everything gets easier if you practice. Challenge yourself to get out of your car once a week … Then twice a week, etc etc.
    Remember, you are not in traffic – you ARE traffic.

  9. Mike Mellor, 8. January 2020, 12:00

    Neil D: the flyover had to go through a formal legal process specific to the project, which was examined in detail with opportunities for public input and challenge, and thrown out by an independent Board of Enquiry.

    By contrast, removing the trolleybuses was just one part of GWRC’s project to restructure the bus network. There was no specific consultation about their removal (nor in fact about the network, planned from 2014, that was introduced in 2018). If during those four years it had been clear that the consequence would be years of much dirtier diesels, I expect that people would have been up in arms – but it wasn’t, and anyway from 2014 the process was essentially unstoppable.

    Comparing and contrasting the two projects does show up significant differences between them, but they had one thing in common. In neither case were the decisions under the city council’s control, so accusing those councillors of timidity (I can’t spell the longer word Neil uses!) is misplaced. Re the trolleybuses, it’s GWRC as it was in 2014 that has full responsibility for the process that ended up with their removal.

  10. Helen, 9. January 2020, 11:53

    Neil D is right on the ball! We needed Andy Foster, Chris Calvi Freeman etc to stand up to the Regional Council instead of being weak (pusillanimous). The trolley bus wires were our city’s asset, not GWRC’s. Surely the WCC could have asked for the wires to have been kept up (like Shanghai) until the Wrightspeed conversion proved itself, which it has failed so miserably to do.

  11. Mike Mellor, 9. January 2020, 20:57

    Helen, WCC could certainly have kept the wires up (it wouldn’t have needed to ask anyone about keeping its own asset), but they were useless without the necessary power supply and vehicles, neither of which WCC had any control over. WCC would also have foregone GW’s paying for dismantling the wires and would have had to pay for their ongoing maintenance – a double whammy.

    It seems to me to be very odd to be pointing the finger at WCC councillors for something that was the responsibility of GWRC – and I recall Andy Foster (if not Chris C-F) arguing that the trolleys could be kept on the East-West Spine (now route 2), nearly all under wires in very good condition, but that cut no ice with GW.

    That said, when WCC privatised the trolley operation in the 1990s, splitting it three ways (vehicles to Stagecoach and power supply ultimately to Wellington Electricity, while retaining the wires), the resulting complexity arguably set the scene for their ultimate demise – but that’s pretty ancient history now.

  12. Leviathan, 10. January 2020, 8:18

    Helen – its a little unfair to bring Chris Calvi Freeman into this and expect him to box with the Regional Council. He didn’t get re-elected and so is once more a free agent – just like you and me. Instead, the rebellious Eastern Ward voters elected, in their wisdom (or lack of), one Sean Rush, who is overwhelmingly pro-car and pro-4lanes2theplanes. Indeed, the Miramarvians have openly declared to the world that climate change progress be damned – they just want to be able to drive their cars under Mt Vic and out the other side without getting caught in traffic. That’s the same attitude as the Huttites and Poriruavians who equally just want to drive their cars through the city without stopping, and if that means Flyover to them, well, so be it.

    Which leaves us, the true Wellingtonians, stuck in the middle between State Highway southbound and State Highway northbound, to say: “No thanks. No flyover. No motorway through our ‘hood.” And so we did.

  13. TrevorH, 10. January 2020, 20:10

    The flyover was a cheap and nasty proposal. But the problem it was intended to address remains and has worsened.

  14. Ross Clark, 11. January 2020, 0:20

    To control traffic, we need a lot more than higher-end public transport solutions like light rail. We need to be serious about reducing road demand, which means tackling previously sacred cows like commuter and other parking availability, and petrol taxes.

    Local politicians might argue that we cannot clamp down on car demand without having higher-end alternatives in place, but I suspect that even with those alternatives in place, they would not be willing, at all, to advocate reducing car use. This is because they work from the quite sensible premise that people like their cars and like using them.

  15. Dan Tosfery, 11. January 2020, 9:51

    All I recall any WCC Councillors ‘doing’ was saying “they could do nothing to save the trolley bus infrastructure because it was GWRC’s responsibility”. So probably more Pontius Pilate than pusillanimous. But the result was the same, GWRC axed Wellington’s 100% electric and environmentally friendly trolley bus system and in its place we’ve got old dirty diesels from Auckland.

  16. D.W., 11. January 2020, 9:57

    TrevorH – the flyover was definitely ‘nasty’ and at $90 million might have been ‘cheap’ too. But the costs would have probably blown probably out to 3 or 4 times the amount by the time it was built. So it would have been uneconomic as well and remember, it would only saved driving time for people coming from the airport, not driving to it (when people are more in a hurry). A dumb NZTA scheme indeed.

  17. Glen Smith, 11. January 2020, 10:39

    The campaign opposing the Basin Flyover was a great victory for common sense over entrenched pro road ideology. However we were lucky that the Board of Inquiry proved to be neutral professionals of integrity who undertook their job in a thorough and objective manner, (in stark contrast to the NZTA, GWRC, WCC and you might recall our current Mayor) and, as Tim Jones says, declined the proposal on the basis of the facts. We might not be so lucky again if National wins the next election.
    The flyover design was a disaster not only for the Basin as a venue, for the local environment, for pedestrians and cyclists, for public transport but also demonstrably not the best option for road transport. It achieved grade separation of only 2 of the 6 conflicting traffic flows, failed to move West to East flow away from Vivian St (until the inevitable second flyover) and failed to achieve direct flow off for traffic from the East onto Cambridge Tce.
    However that doesn’t mean that changes don’t need to occur. The current design is also a disaster for the Basin as venue (see the flaws listed in my Basin article of Jan 3rd 2019), for cyclists and pedestrians (no dedicated corridors), for PT (the glaring deficiency being lack of a dedicated high quality PT corridor to the East) and also for road users. Just because the current design is the status quo doesn’t mean it is the best. We can do better- a lot better. Fortunately the LGWM team seem, from the glimpses we get of their secret planning, to be exploring more options although the design proposals I have seen to date still seem to leave a lot to be desired. We will wait and see what they come up with.

  18. Hopeful, 12. January 2020, 14:14

    Regarding the removal of the trolleybuses back in 2017, could a partial system be resurrected? Using the scrapped copper wires? The buses are currently mothballed and yes, new substations would also be needed, but I do not know whether the copper wires are still stored, or have already been scrapped?

  19. Karori Pete, 13. January 2020, 6:09

    Hopeful – I think the copper wires will have been sold and melted down as it’s valuable stuff. I support your idea as we could have a quiet, light and electric public transport system for our city. Only the central city would need to have overhead wires – with decent storage batteries on buses, they could run off-grid for the rest of their trips. It would be much cheaper than Light Rail and be a system rather than one corridor serving Karori, Brooklyn, Aro Street – you name it trolley buses could go there!

  20. GrahamCA, 13. January 2020, 8:16

    Hopeful – not without considerable expense and probably having to go through a resource consent process. The ancient rectifiers (a couple dating back to the 1930s I believe) have all been decommissioned and I suspect that the old underground cable network has also been sealed off.

    I also believe that NZ Bus are either completing negotiations or have finalised the sale of the mothballed trolleys; and these of course incorporated the Volvo trolley chassis and running gear from the 1980s so are well past their best-use state.

    Wellington Cable Car had decommissioned the street feeder cabinets so these would need to be replaced plus the old network had too few feeder points to meet current safety rules (it had survived by bridging sections when a feeder failed but this had reduced the reliability of the safety features such as automatic de-energisation when the circuit was broken).

  21. D.W., 13. January 2020, 9:45

    GrahamCA – 1930s rectifiers! just sums up the lack of investment in Wellington’s trolley bus system. Just imagine if the amount spent on Wellington commuter rail had been spent on Wellington’s trolley bus system (and trolley bus drivers had been paid the same as train drivers (or guards) and had the the same ‘working’ conditions)!

  22. Keith Flinders, 13. January 2020, 9:51

    Hopeful: Unfortunately all that remains of the trolley bus infrastructure now are most of the poles that supported the overhead wiring catenaries. These poles also carried general power and communications cable too.

    Much has been written about the trolley bus infrastructure, some written and factually incorrect, to reinforce the argument to dismantle it. If you go here you will find a detailed report from 2015 written by an experienced electrical traction engineer which had options for extending the life of part of the trolley bus system. This report was delivered to the GWRC and dismissed out of hand by those who had decided that no matter what the trolley bus system had to go. No environmental impact study was undertaken and hence the serious pollution level in the CBD was made even worse.

    The Wellington City Council who owned the trolley bus infrastructure were complicit in not maintaining the asset in a condition to ensure reliability. A program of equipment replacement should have been instituted in the early 1990s as most of the system was over 40 years old, but wasn’t. Failure to maintain assets leads to their demise. We have an aging sewer system with issues and just look at what happened to it in December.

    The notion that all the trolley buses were old and falling apart isn’t a true reflection of the fleet in 2017. One bus was built complete with a new chassis in 2009, and there were others similar only a few years older, although they had the running gear and onboard electrics from an earlier buses installed.

  23. Mike Mellor, 13. January 2020, 9:58

    Hopeful, as others have pointed out the wires are just one part of the mix (and perhaps the easiest to replace), and getting all the necessary players on board would be a major job.

    Re the trolleys themselves, their chassis and bodies are only just over 10 years old, and would be expected to have an operational life of quite a few more years. Clearly neither NZ Bus nor GWRC thought that they were well past their best-use date just a couple of years ago, since they were seriously considering investing serious money in repowering them – they would still be running of Wrightspeed had worked (and of course a repowered example is still running on the Airport Flyer).

    But I understand that NZ Bus has sold the trolleys, so it’s all academic – with no infrastructure and no vehicles, the possibility of trolley operation returning to Wellington is roughly zero.

  24. Keith Flinders, 13. January 2020, 10:24

    Karori Pete: I agree with your concept, but disagree as to where the overhead wiring should have been retained. The CBD could have seen all the overhead wiring removed and about half on the rest, mainly up hills, left in situ. At the 2016 The Future is Electric symposium Professor Malcolm McCulloch warned that Wellington would regret pulling down the trolley overhead infrastructure, as a sensible and lower cost option would be to move In Motion Charging buses. More reading here. When it comes to light rail versus buses, the latter are considerably cheaper especially going to an 98% diesel fleet as we have now, which is imperiling the health of thousands. However, how many more buses, of whatever motive power they incorporate, can be run through the Golden Mile which is where the bulk of users want them to operate ? Mass transit is going to be required through the CBD and out to the eastern suburbs not only due to a growing population, but also a younger generation who are more focused on public transport than private car ownership. There are some advocating for CBD public transport to be moved to the “quays”, contrary to what most users will want. A topic for another time.

  25. Mike M, 13. January 2020, 11:23

    Keith F: “The Wellington City Council who owned the trolley bus infrastructure were complicit in not maintaining the asset in a condition to ensure reliability” – that’s not my understanding. The infrastructure that WCC owned was the overhead wiring, much of which had been replaced in recent years, and which was described by GWRC’s consultants as being in the best condition it had been in for 30 years.

    I suspect that you are referring to the substations and associated cabling: WCC sold these in the early 1990s, now owned by Wellington Electricity.

  26. Karori Pete, 13. January 2020, 11:34

    I defer to your far greater engineering expertise Keith regarding the logic of CBD v suburban trolley wires. ‘On the go’ recharging in the CBD seemed sensible to me as most buses pass through the section partly thanks to GWRC’s idea that buses go East – West, North – South via the CBD rather than terminating at the railway station and C.Place and getting people to walk a bit which would be good for their health and for businesses and residents (particularly now with the old ex Auckland diesel buses instead of our quiet and peaceful Trolleys). However as Mike Mellor points out – it’s too late now as far too many of us took an ostrich viewpoint and let GWRC and WCC kill off our trolleys.

  27. Dave B, 13. January 2020, 14:17

    @ Graham CA. To correct your invalid statement, “and these of course incorporated the Volvo trolley chassis and running gear from the 1980s so are well past their best-use state.”. The withdrawn trolleybuses were built by Designline in Ashburton, and this included new chassis. The only Volvo components re-used were the front and back axle assemblies, the traction motors, and the line filters. I am pretty sure that everything else was new, and what was re-used was in good order (except possibly for certain steering components). The equipment was not “well past its best-use state”. However the decision to purchase a Brazilian electronic control system for the new trolleys was a mistake. Although this was new, it was an outdated design and was inferior to what a local Wellington company was offering.

  28. Keith Flinders, 13. January 2020, 14:22

    Mike: All rather academic now, but as far as I know Wellington Cable Car Ltd owned the overhead wiring and the DC underground cabling to it. Lack of maintenance for about 20 years up until 2014 was the reason the trolley bus system had so many de-polling incidents. It was only after the announcement in 2014 that the system would be scrapped that WCCL started an intensive maintenance program on the overhead wires and its support structure. The work restored the system to almost as good as when installed.

    The substations were sold with the MED but I understand that the rectifiers and circuit breakers in them serving the trolley bus system remained the property of WCCL. The earth leakage protection added to the system by WCCL was reclaimed by them after the trolleys stopped operating and sold.

    Karori Pete: I take it that you are a relatively fit male able to walk considerable distances to catch public transport, and whilst I agree that walking is to be encouraged it’s not practical for everyone. Those with physical disabilities, those in wheelchairs, those with worn out knees/hips/ankles and heart issues, parents with young children in tow, and parents with push chairs. This group would be disadvantaged if the Golden Mile had public transport through it reduced.

  29. Gillybee, 13. January 2020, 22:23

    “…rebellious Eastern Ward voters elected, in their wisdom (or lack of), one Sean Rush, who is overwhelmingly pro-car and pro-4lanes 2theplanes”

    Leviathan, as I posted at the time of the local body elections, Sean Rush’s equivocal election statement promoting himself as an environmentally-minded man of the people, misled many Eastern Ward voters (including my son) who thought that he was completing a masters degree in climate science. When the truth came to light that his so-called “masters” was a one year policy paper, it was too late – Mr Rush had been elected. Point being, don’t give up on the Eastern Ward just yet.

  30. Dave B, 13. January 2020, 23:09

    But Keith, unless there is a bus stop outside the actual building you want to access (and assuming that is the only place you want to go), then as a PT passenger you will be faced with a walk of some sort. The distance between potential stops along the waterfront route and the Golden Mile rarely exceeds 250m. Even if you go by car you could not guarantee to find a park within this distance.

    Consider that every passenger arriving by rail (and there are many of them, not all of them particularly fit) that wishes to access facilities on the Golden Mile must walk much further from the train station than any bus stop along the Waterfront route would be. Either that or they must transfer to a bus, but unless they are right at the front of the train, the walk from their carriage to the bus station is also likely to be about 250m.

    I honestly think you are raising a red herring here. People who would have trouble walking or wheeling themselves this sort of distance would probably struggle to use most normal public transport. This is getting into the realm of disability that is beyond what most public transport can provide for. Perhaps a special electric minibus service for those with reduced-mobility could operate down an otherwise-pedestrianized Golden Mile? It would be a lot easier for people of all abilities to walk along it if these were the only vehicles allowed.

  31. Guy M, 13. January 2020, 23:42

    I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: sitting and whingeing about the death of the trolley buses is a waste of time and achieves nothing. However, what WOULD achieve something, would be to take the former chair of the GWRC to court for incompetent management of a public asset – and arguably also negligence of the responsibilities to run a decent public transport network. It makes me livid to think that NZ’s best and greenest PT system was destroyed, leaving Wellington with a bunch of second-hand diesels in return. It’s inexcusable, appalling, and someone should be loosing every cent they were paid over this debacle.

  32. GrahamCA, 14. January 2020, 8:08

    My understanding Keith was that WCCL owned everything from the street cabinets up the poles (and most of the poles) and in the air; Vector owned and was “responsible for maintaining” everything from the Haywards substation to the street cabinet. WCCL certainly never organised any underground work during my time liaising with them.

    WE* inherited a very run down system and certainly spent every penny they received from GWRC in keeping the system alive.

  33. Roy Kutel, 14. January 2020, 9:41

    GrahamCA – WE* inherited a very run down system? How much did WE* pay for it and did WE* do anything to improve it once WE* inherited it? If not why not? I’m interested because the old diesel replacement buses are ruining my health.

  34. Brendan, 14. January 2020, 9:52

    Hear hear Dave B! We need fewer diesel buses choking the CBD! Office commuters need to walk a bit -just like rail commuters do. It would be good for them and good for the rest of us.

  35. GrahamCA, 14. January 2020, 10:51

    Yes Roy, WE* did spend money on the supply network including, from memory, upgrading two of the substations (Duncan Terrace was definitely upgraded). And of course they put a brand new supply underground from Victoria Street to Manners Street. But the bulk of the underground and sub stations remained, principally because there was only one DC user in Wellington.

    How much the Hong Kong owners of WE* paid for the DC supply network or whether it was even identified separately in the sale is something only Vector or WE* would know. Considering the age of much of the infrastructure, I’d imagine it had been depreciated to a very small token sum.

  36. Russel C., 14. January 2020, 15:35

    Look at Brisbane’s new electric buses! Why can’t we have some?

  37. D.W., 15. January 2020, 9:28

    They’ll be a lot of standing on those elongated buses Russel C. Might be better just to walk!

  38. Greenwelly, 15. January 2020, 12:25

    The interiors look horrible. They say “low floor” but that appears to basically be the door entry and aisles, with many of the seats up and over the wheel arches,

  39. Casey, 15. January 2020, 13:52

    Those Brisbane buses look like trackless trams, a technology that is still evolving. Would they be suitable for Wellington’s narrow streets and sharp turns? Bendi-buses for Wellington were looked at in the past and not considered suitable.

  40. Greenwelly, 15. January 2020, 15:51

    Nope, they are buses, long and double articulated, but buses none the less. While the Brisbane ones may have a pretty shell and wheel covers, underneath they look just like a bus; here’s the same model from Lausanne as a trolley bus.

  41. Mike Mellor, 15. January 2020, 15:56

    Casey, as I understand it they’re basically conventional unguided buses (albeit electric, double articulated and designed to look like trams), but they’ll be operating exclusively on dedicated busways – so no ordinary streets (narrow or otherwise) or sharp turns.

  42. Gerald K., 16. January 2020, 8:06

    Conventional Mike? Wouldn’t a conventional bus be a 10 year old 50 seater diesel as frequently seen chugging along Wellington’s roads? To me, Brisbane Metro buses look quite ‘unconventional’ and something therefore that Wellingtonians are unlikely to see in the foreseeable future with the planners we have in charge.