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


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