Wellington Scoop

Regional Council says it won’t buy any more buses powered by fossil fuel

News from Greater Wellington Regional Council
The Regional Council strongly supports the Government’s increased focus and faster pace on climate change, and welcomes its pledge of $50 million towards decarbonisation of public transport.

“It feels like we’re really beginning to up the ante on our climate response, with key decisions that show a clear direction on achieving significant reductions in emissions from the national transport fleet and more to come,” says transport committee chair Cr Roger Blakeley.

For Wellington, emissions are a key issue because while total emissions over the past two decades fell by around 5 per cent, our transport emissions grew by 14 per cent.

“Greater Wellington has actively pursued a policy of transitioning from petrol and diesel buses to electric power. We are committed to adding a further 98 electric buses which will boost our e-buses to 21 per cent of the Metlink fleet.

“But with support we can move faster, and we hope to quickly engage with the Government on how its new fund can speed the pace of transition.

“We’re past the point of buying buses powered by fossil fuel, and we are mightily pleased to see that the Government shares our view.”

The Government’s timeline for bus decarbonisation follows the Regional Council’s work under its comprehensive climate change strategy, which was developed last year following its declaration of a climate emergency. The strategy set a target with the objective of taking the council’s operation to carbon positivity by 2035, based on two ten-point action plans that supplement its earlier 2015 Climate Change Strategy.

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  1. Kara, 28. January 2021, 18:24

    Is there a specific date for getting rid of the polluting diesel buses? All EuroV buses must go now. They could be renovated into small houses.

  2. Dave B, 28. January 2021, 22:44

    Great that the Regional Council is adopting a policy of buying no more fossil-powered buses.

    Unfortunately the same approach is not being taken by wider New Zealand. It seems like every few days another shipload of imported cars arrives at Port of Wellington destined to flood onto our roads. And these are not clean green electrics. They are mostly fossil-powered, carbon-belching SUVs (Societally Unsustainable Vehicles). I wish we could be as serious about the climate emergency as we are about the Covid-19 emergency.

  3. michael, 29. January 2021, 0:09

    This is so ironic it is laughable. This is the council who got rid of our quiet eco-friendly electric trolley buses and replaced them with appalling second-hand carcinogenic and noise polluting diesel buses. And now they pat themselves on the backs saying “It feels like we’re really beginning to up the ante on our climate response, with key decisions that show a clear direction on achieving significant reductions in emissions from the national transport fleet and more to come,” Really!!!

  4. Brian Dawson, 29. January 2021, 8:53

    The Regional Council doesn’t actually buy any buses, the companies they contract with do. What they mean is they will only award contracts to companies who purchase only non-diesel vehicles in future. Of course the last contract required all new buses too …

  5. Graham Atkinson, 29. January 2021, 13:30

    Brian, the last contract round did NOT require all new buses. Only new entrants were required to meet that standard (which was in line with other regions including Auckland and Christchurch). Incumbents were required to retain 50% of their PVR (Peak Vehicle Requirement) fleet thus only having to finance the purchase of 50% of the PVR – a significant cost saving!

    Mana/Newlands met that condition, however NZ Bus delayed the application by their concept of repowering the decrepit trolley fleet (presumably there was an interior refurbishment too) and treating these as “brand new”.

  6. Keith Flinders, 30. January 2021, 12:08

    This is the third time since early 2020 that we have had this announcement. Now how about telling us, the public suffering the pollution from dozens of old Euro 3 buses:

    1. Who are the suppliers who have been invited to bid?
    2. When is the order going to be placed?

    It has been three and a half years since the last of the trolleys were withdrawn, more than enough time to replace those buses with other electric ones. The $50 million offered by the Government to replace public transport fleets with electric buses nation wide isn’t going to go far.

  7. Benjamin Swale, 30. January 2021, 16:24

    Great that the Regional Council won’t allow any more diesel buses to be purchased. Meanwhile the Wellington City Council it seems is looking to expand Wellington Airport: One step forward, ten steps back. By the way, there’s a link on the webpage to make a submission expressing your displeasure if you feel strongly about this as I do.

  8. Cr Daran Ponter, 31. January 2021, 0:14

    @ Keith Flinders. Orders for 98 Electric buses were placed by NZ Bus and Tranzit in 2020.

    The Tranzit buses (all double deckers) are being assembled in Tauranga as the Mark II version of the current double decker EVs.

    The 98 new EVs will take us to 108 electric buses – approx 22% of the fleet. The new EVs will eventually take 61 diesel buses off the roads, leading to a 17 per cent drop in carbon emissions.

    The NZ Bus buses are triple axle omnibuses being built in China. We should start seeing the first of these buses on our roads in mid 2021. We will then start seeing the older diesels in the fleet being progressively retired.

    New charging facilities will be going in at the Lambton Interchange shortly.

  9. IanS, 31. January 2021, 11:12

    Great news. The climate change commission report, to be released later today, will clearly hammer NZ’s poor performance on changing transport options – although the Labour-Green Government has started moving vehicle standards to shift the fossil fuel transport directions.

    For the Regional Council, 2021 must also be the year for ordering the start of design & construction of the light rail system from the station to Miramar and the airport. LGWM must release their proposed Wellington transport implementation report as a response to the climate change commission report. Many extra cars are going to thunder down on the city when Transmission Gully is commissioned. We must get this sorted before the next local government election.