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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  1. Gareth Hughes, 26. June 2014, 17:14

    Trolley buses an unfortunate victim of lack of joined-up transport thinking in Wgtn. A sad day for clean energy-powered public transport. Scrapping the trolley buses is incredibly shortsighted & once they are gone they will be lost forever [via Twitter]

  2. Mark W, 27. June 2014, 7:03

    I expected nothing less from Fran Wilde and her cronies. Hybrid buses do not work and nor do these electric buses that Ms Wilde is pushing. When cities like Vancouver, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai & Beijing push out new trolley buses to stem pollution, Ms Wilde and co want to do the exact opposite.

  3. Trish Enright, 27. June 2014, 10:20

    Getting rid of the trolley buses is short sighted stupidity. And their plan actually reduces service to Hataitai, to less than is required for the current patronage – so their 15-20% increase is nonsense.

  4. Michael, 27. June 2014, 13:42

    The Council’s commitment to fully electric buses? 15% – 20% more users? Utter spin.

    Fran Wilde said today on Morning Report that the accompanying “simplification” of the bus service would lead to people having to make more changes as part of their bus journeys. It’s OK though. Buses will be more frequent.


    I don’t know how anyone could claim this is a service improvement. Ground zero: if a person has to change buses, they won’t take the bus.

  5. Mike Mellor, 27. June 2014, 18:37

    And in many cases, despite what GWRC’s consultation said, services will be less frequent and/or finish earlier in the evening. A case in point is the Miramar peninsula: despite GWRC saying that frequency is increased, every all-day route, with the exception of the Miramar Heights service (added evening and weekend runs – good), is reduced in frequency, or is truncated at Miramar or Kilbirnie, or has shorter operating hours. Strathmore Park suffers the triple whammy of all three! The peninsula loses all its through buses to the Hospital, and to get there from northern Miramar will require changes at both Miramar shops and Kilbirnie.

    And it’s interesting to note the different responses by WCC and GWRC to Miramar’s new status as a place for an evening out. WCC increases the number of carparks; GWRC cuts the number of direct through buses by 50%, describing this as an unchanged level of service.

  6. Michael, 28. June 2014, 14:39

    The best solution: restructure the Regional Council out of existence.

    Do it now, Wellingtonians.

  7. Wellington Commuter, 28. June 2014, 19:58

    While I agree with the decision to scrap the trolley buses, I also agree with Mike and others who point out the Wellington bus service will not necessarily get any better. This is because the bus review is being done on the basis of no extra funding.

    Unlike the trains that are to get another $45M in capital (inc $30M to double track between Lower and Upper Hutt), the amount the Regional Council will invest in the Wellington bus service that carries over half of all PT users is . . . nothing !

    The Regional Council thinks trains = good and buses = a burden. I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually find out that they decided to scrap the trolley buses because the extra costs for keeping them would compromise the planned expansion of the Greater Wellington rail service.


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