Many concerns voiced about changes to Wellington’s bus services

by Daran Ponter
Cr Paul Bruce and I are now about half way through a series of community presentations on the Wellington Bus Service Review. A broad range of issues have been raised at the meetings, including:

1. Questioning about the rationale for the bus review and a reaction to the notion of hubbing.

2. Particular concern about three core routes:

i. C route – especially removal of North Miramar running of current Route 11, the Terrace route proposal, and the fact that this would not be a trolley service;

ii. H route – the fact that this route is proposed to act as the collector for all off-peak bus services in the Northern suburbs – some good alternative proposals have been forthcoming; and

iii. D1 route – concern that the timetable in the peak is significantly less than at present.

3. Particular concerns over a number of secondary routes (so far in our presentation sessions), especially:

i. the loss of the 22/23 (at the Mairangi/Wilton and Southgate/Houghton Bay ends in particular);

ii. the loss of the No 18 service, linking across the city and to Victoria University

iii. the loss of the Te Aro No 9 service and the proposed No 19 service (Aro Valley, Highbury);

iv. the diversion of the 210/211 up Westchester Drive (diverting it from the current direct route past Glenside); and

v. the significant reduction in peak hour services to/from Wilton/Mairangi (which I can only presume is a mistake …. but which we need to address).

4. The proposed two-way No 29 service in the Brooklyn – Happy Valley – Island Bay – Southgate – Newtown area has come in for good comment, with some suggestions for improvement.

5. The peak services are coming in for less comment generally because they tend to replicate more closely existing peak services and because, by and large, they run through the CBD. The main focus of peak service users is frequency of service and the peak-non-peak route split proposed in the CBD. There’s been significant reaction to, and alternative proposals for, the movement of peak services on to the waterfront.

6. Angst over the proposals for bus to bus transfers (a common concern around the city, but one that is perhaps more keenly felt in the northern suburbs). There are others who can see the logic in the hubbing proposal and are more concerned to be assured about connection times, facilities etc.

7. Concern over whether the Council has sufficient funding for the interchange facilities and whether these facilities will be adequate for the task (i.e. all weather shelters, real time information, close bus connections, integrated ticketing).

8. A clear concern by some that the trolley buses are being targeted for gradual removal.

9. A concern about the safety and practicality of some routes.

10. Suggestions that the Spine Study be received before the bus review progresses further, and that full scale integrated ticketing be implemented before any changes are put in place.

11. A significant concern by people to be engaged again in the process of route design and timetabling in particular. People are fearful that this will be their last opportunity.

As we move about the city we will undoubtedly be confronted with new issues, especially around routes and schedules.

Many of these issues will require further consideration by the Council. Some will be relatively easily dealt with, others are going to require deeper consideration, especially where alternative proposals are forthcoming from the submission process. Other issues will be addressed as we get to the design phase.

We would like to thank all of those groups who have hosted us and we look forward to meeting with those still to come.

If you have time, I recommend that you read the responses which Jarrett Walker, the principle architect of many of the proposals in the bus review, has posted on:

http://www.humantransit.org/wellington/

This is a well considered response to many of the issues that have been raised over the past three weeks.

Daran Ponter is a councillor on the Greater Wellington Regional Council

 

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