Wellington Scoop

Don’t scrap Wellington’s trolley buses – Greens launch new campaign

News from Green Party
The Green party is launching a campaign to keep Wellington’s trolley buses, and
to convert them into a more efficient, reliable and flexible bus service, using the latest electric technology, including batteries that can be recharged from overhead wires.

The Wellington Regional Council Public Transport plan, which is being released today, includes a proposal to scrap Wellington’s fleet of 60 trolley buses, even though no decision has been made as to what to replace them with.

“We want the Council to halt its plans to scrap our trolley buses, and conduct a trial to see how trolley buses perform with rechargeable batteries and high efficiency motors installed into them,” Paul Bruce, Wellington Regional Councillor said today.

“Our trolley buses are quiet, and have no emissions,’ Sue Kedgley, Wellington Regional Councillor said today. “It doesn’t make sense to scrap these iconic, zero-
emitting, climate-friendly trolley buses and replace them with noisy, polluting diesel buses, when international research is highlighting the health risks of diesel fumes, and some cities are moving to prohibit diesel buses entirely from inner cities.”

“Trolley buses run on renewable energy, and insulate us against potential future oil shocks,” Green MP and Energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today. “It would be extremely short sighted to get rid of our electric trolley buses and replace then with oil-based diesel buses, at the very time that the world is running out of easy-to-get oil.”

“Electric battery technology is evolving rapidly, and modern batteries and charging
systems could transform our trolley bus fleet, and enable it to travel substantial
distances without overhead wires,” Paul Bruce said.

“With modern motors and rechargeable batteries in them, we believe trolley buses would be as reliable and flexible as diesel buses, but without their noise or pollution,” Ms Kedgley said.

“It would be foolish to scrap the trolley bus fleet when New Zealand Bus has recently spent $40 million dollars upgrading them, and they have a further 10 -15 years of life in them,’ Gareth Hughes said. “And why scrap the overhead wires when they’ve been recently upgraded, and are used to support our internet network in Wellington.”

Public meeting

Don’t scrap our trolley buses: Public Meeting on 16th April 5.30pm at the Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane

Submission Guide

Make a submission to http://www.gw.govt.nz/draft-regional-public-transport-plan-2014/ requesting:

That the Greater Wellington Regional Council defer making any decision about the future of Wellington’s trolley buses until it has conducted a trial to upgrade several existing trolley buses with modern high efficiency motors and batteries that can be charged either from overhead wires or by being plugged in at a depot.

That Wellington keeps its overhead wire network, to ensure that Wellington remains resilient, and retains the option of electric powered public transport.

That no decision is made about replacing Wellington’s fleet of trolley buses until a zero-emitting alternative option has been selected. Say you do not want our non-polluting trolley bus fleet replaced with oil-based, polluting trolley buses.

Public meetings

“Three advertised public “information” meetings will be held in Wellington city. Stakeholder meetings are also being held, but they are just for community and public interest groups that have been consulted previously on the Wellington city Bus review.

Councillors Paul Bruce and Sue Kedgley believe that the stakeholder meetings should be extended to anybody that has a direct interest in the Bus Routes and the public transport vehicles that run on them.

The bus route plan included in this Public Transport Plan leave only one complete route with trolley bus wiring. This would mean that the present trolley fleet won’t be able to continue to run after contracts end in 2017, if the bus routes as outlined in this Plan are improved by Council.

Trolley buses could be used on other routes if they were modernised to become duo-trolleys with modern lithium ion battery packs utilising the overhead wire network, and rapid charging pads and depot charging where needed.

If you believe that it is important that we are not left with diesel noisy polluting buses, please submit on the Plan indicating your preference for modernised duo-trolley electric buses to be part of our fleet.

You can choose to attend the Green Party Public meeting on 16th April, or one of three “information” meetings advertised below. If you believe that you are a stakeholder, request to attend a stakeholder meeting through nichola.powell.gw.govt.nz.”

Information meetings

9 April, 7.00pm
Mezzanine Meeting Room, Wellington City Library

10 April, 12.15pm
Mezzanine Meeting Room, Wellington City Library

29 April, 12.15pm
Pipitea Room, National Library of New Zealand