Press Release from two Regional Councillors
The problem with the Wellington bus fleet are the hundreds of old, dirty, polluting diesel buses, not the clean trolley buses, Wellington Regional Councillors Sue Kedgley and Paul Bruce said today.
“Wellington has more than 200 old-style diesel buses, which are dirty, noisy and polluting,” Sue Kedgley said today. “These old diesel buses pose a health risk to Wellingtonians and contribute to climate change. The Council should get rid of these dirty diesel buses, not the climate-friendly, zero emitting trolley buses,” Sue Kedgley said today.
“If the Wellington Regional Council wants to purchase hybrid buses, it should use the hybrids to replace the old polluting diesel buses, not the trolley buses,” Paul Bruce said today.
Sue Kedgley said the International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared diesel exhaust fumes to be class one carcinogens, in the same category as asbestos and arsenic, and a cause of lung cancer. “The tiny particulets in diesel can lodge deep inside the lungs, enter the bloodstream and spread into the organs of the body, and contribute to asthma, bronchitis and heart disease. Wellingtonians are being exposed to these cancer-causing particulates every day in Wellington, from our dirty old diesel fleet. The priority must be to get rid of them,” Ms Kedgley said.
Mr Bruce pointed out that diesel buses emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere even with the higher Euro6 standards, whereas trolley buses have no greenhouse emissions themselves. “That’s why trolley buses are enjoying a renaissance around the world. Many environmentally friendly cities such as Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco are expanding and upgrading their trolley bus fleets because they recognize that they are a sustainable, non polluting form of public transport.”
Forty million dollars has been spent recently modernizing the trolley bus fleet, which is only 6 years old and has a further 15-20 years of life left. “And yet this Council is proposing to send 60 modern trolley buses to the scrapheap —it is lunacy, Ms Kedgley said.
“We don’t accept Council figures about how much it would cost to upgrade the electricity sub-stations,” Mr Bruce said. “We believe they could be upgraded for substantially less than the Council claims. And it would still be an excellent investment to upgrade the substations, as it would enable a modernised trolley bus fleet to survive a further fifty years.”