Hybrids to replace trolley buses; new transport plan aims for 15-20% more patronage

News from Greater Wellington Regional Council
A 10-year plan to greatly improve Wellington region’s public transport and get more people out of their cars and on to buses, trains and harbour ferries was adopted yesterday by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“The plan aims to continually improve public transport, ensuring it goes where people want to go, provides competitive journey times, is safe, comfortable and reliable, easy to understand and use and provides value for money,” says Paul Swain, the Regional Council’s public transport portfolio leader.

“We’re aiming for a 15 – 20% increase in public transport patronage over the next few years.

“A new fares and ticketing system will mean one card for all travel, you won’t pay more for connections between modes and services, off-peak travel will be cheaper and all under-19 year-olds will get half price fares.”

Paul Swain says rail services will continue to improve, with more frequent services between Wellington and Porirua and Waterloo and faster services on long distance lines such as Upper Hutt and Kapiti.

“A major part of the new Public Transport Plan is a new bus network for Wellington City, giving more people access to high frequency bus services, faster travel times through the CBD and a simpler route network.

“Just as the rolling stock was an essential part of the major improvements to Wellington’s rail services, so renewing the bus fleet is a crucial part of improving bus services and bringing in bus rapid transit. The Council today reiterated its commitment to a fully electric bus fleet when the technology has developed sufficiently and is cost-effective. In the interim, our plan is to replace the oldest diesel buses and the trolley bus fleet with hybrids.”

Paul Swain says further consultation will be held with local communities, particularly Khandallah, Churton Park and Victoria University, on specific parts of the new Wellington City network. “We’ve still got plenty of time to ensure specific local routes and timetables meet people’s needs before the new network is in place in 2017.”

Copies of the Regional Public Transport Plan will be available from 24 July.

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