Wellington Scoop

Traffic delays expected to reduce after Petone train services resume

News from NZTA
The resumption of normal rail services is likely to mean a reduction in the peak hour delays that have disrupted Wellington roads since last week’s storm.

“Tranz Metro services carry thousands of commuters every day, and in recent days we’ve seen many of those travellers spill on to the highway network in their cars, causing extensive congestion,” said NZTA central operations manager Mark Owen.

“We expect many travellers to return to using trains, easing pressure on the highways between the Hutt and Wellington.”

Mr Owen says Wellingtonians had responded admirably to calls to plan their journeys in advance to reduce delays on the roads.

“We’ve seen a decrease in those delays over the last couple of days thanks to people spreading out their travel times, working from home and carpooling. It’s a credit to Wellingtonians that they’ve gone out of their way to adapt their travel plans, and that’s helped to reduce travel times and relieve stress on fellow commuters.

“We would like to wholeheartedly thank Wellington travellers for being so patient, flexible and understanding over the last few days.”

Mr Owen has applauded both KiwiRail and Greater Wellington for their outstanding response to setbacks to transport services that are unprecedented in recent years.

“KiwiRail and Greater Wellington have put in a phenomenal effort during a very challenging time, and Wellington travellers will be very relieved to hear that rail services will be back on earlier than initially expected.

“Our hats especially go off to the hard-working and heroic crews who have toiled long hours on the tracks to restore Wellington’s transport network to full capacity.”

Mr Owen reminded motorists that delays were still likely this evening while train services were still disrupted, and the best way to beat the traffic is to travel either side of peak hour by leaving work earlier or later than usual.

News from NZTA – June 25
Wellingtonians have proved an adaptive bunch, and the Transport Agency is thanking the public for making changes to their usual travel plans this morning to help manage congestion levels.

NZTA Central Operations Manager Mark Owen says that commuters between Wellington and the Hutt Valley endured lengthy delays this morning, and continued disruption throughout the week will be unavoidable while KiwiRail worked hard to restore storm-damaged rail services. However, delays were less severe than Monday, and morning queues on the highways had largely dissipated by 10am.

Mr Owen says travel patterns observed today by the Wellington Traffic Operations Centre showed more drivers were heeding advice to leave home early or postpone their travel until late in the morning. Carpooling and working from home where possible was also helping to keep traffic moving.

“On Monday, traffic was at a virtual standstill for long periods, whereas this morning it was continuously moving, albeit pretty slowly. This shows the message has gotten through to many Wellingtonians that avoiding peak hour travel means less time waiting in traffic jams.

“Motorists will continue to face traffic jams throughout the week during peak times, but the good news is that by spreading out their travel times, some of the sting has already been taken out of the delays.

“If people are able to leave work earlier than usual, or stay a little bit later at the office, gym, or out enjoying our sunny waterfront, then they’re likely to avoid the worst of the bottlenecks.”

Mr Owen says it was encouraging to see many employers offering flexible work options where possible, enabling their workers to beat the traffic. He says the NZTA are working closely with KiwiRail, NZ Police, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council to keep Wellingtonians moving and well informed during this challenging time.

“We’re grateful to the public for being so understanding – we know these delays are a headache and travellers have been really patient.”

The NZTA, with partners Wellington City Council, would be monitoring traffic levels from Wellington’s Traffic Operations Centre, and will be updating electronic information signs and issuing traffic alerts and tweets to keep motorists informed in real time.

KiwiRail working to repair Petone rail tracks


  1. NZTA, 25. June 2013, 18:46

    5.40 — SH2 (northbound) has snarled up and traffic is grinding to halt.Think about delaying your journey and attacking that pile of paperwork!

  2. Driver, 25. June 2013, 23:35

    Surely the Transport Agency can do something real to reduce the gridlock. It seems to have no ideas except to look at monitors and write press releases containing cliched messages. (“We know these delays are a headache … Wellingtonians are an adaptive bunch.”) As for messages on its huge electronic signs – these are useless because by the time you see them you’re stuck in the problem. The Agency should be embarrassed by its inactivity.

  3. Alana, 25. June 2013, 23:50

    This traffic snarl shows how many people depend on public transport.
    SO – why is the NZ Transport Agency leading the way to building more motorways – like the elevated motorway at the Basin Reserve flyover – rather than spending more on buses and actually making the better solution, tramways, work for Wellington? Why do they insist on more more more motorways to encourage more more cars?

  4. Tony Randle, 26. June 2013, 13:46

    The public transport service is a major beneficiary of grade separating at the Basin Reserve (be it flyover or tunnel). At the moment priority is being to East/West SH1 traffic to/from the airport. This means the north/south bus services heading through this area get badly stuck in traffic (despite the bus lanes) and the bus service to Newtown is the most used PT route in Wellington.

    When the grade separation is done, the bus service will be much faster and, more importantly, more reliable which will encourage some people out of their cars !

  5. Ellie, 26. June 2013, 18:13

    The gridlock on our roads following the storm serves to demonstrate that more roads are not the answer for our region. People want public transport in whatever form, not mega bucks of our money spent on roads for which the benefits are not shown in recent research. (Unless you are a trucking company)
    Fast efficient public transport will unblock our roads. Take some money from NZTA and give it to KiwiRail and public transport in the Wellington Region to improve the service – they are the poor cousins here

  6. John Clarke, 27. June 2013, 10:41

    Tony – that seems to be wishful thinking, because the transport agency is also building transmission gully and the Kapiti expressway. These roads are specifically designed to make it easier and faster to get more cars into Wellington, which their own figures demonstrate will make congestion worse. After all, those extra cars don’t have anywhere to go but onto the existing roads in the city. So congestion will get worse in the years ahead, not better.

  7. Tony Randle, 27. June 2013, 11:42

    Well, actually, the gridlock on the roads following the storm was caused by the total failure of the passenger rail services to the Hutt and Wairarapa. I am a PT advocate but I am afraid the conclusion of the storm cannot be to increase our reliance on PT services (at least not those that are subject to single points of failure like passenger rail).

    IOWs if even more people used passenger rail from the Hutt, the impact of the rail service failure from the storm would be even worse (if that were possible). There ARE good reasons for increased PT funding but if the storm demonstrates anything, it demonstrates the risk and impact of PT service failure that will come from increases in our reliance on PT services.