News report from Sustainable Energy Forum
At the year’s first meeting of the Wellington Regional Council’s Sustainable Transport Committee this week, a coalition of Wellington organisations called for a professional business case study to maintain Wellington’s trolley bus network. “Wellington’s zero emission trolley fleet is a strategic asset in a city already committed to phase out its dirty fossil fuel buses” says former regional councillor Paul Bruce.
Mr Bruce spoke on behalf of the Civic Trust, Sustainable Energy Forum (SEF), Living Streets, FIT, Save the Basin, OraTaiao, and Dr. Susan Krumdieck, requesting that a business case be carried out.
The Architectural Centre sent in a separate petition supporting retention of the Wellington’s trolley bus fleet.
“Council ambitions to design and build a new type of natural gas powered bus would increase greenhouse emissions and is an experiment too risky for ratepayers” says Mr Bruce. “Its historic decision to destroy the trolley system is an unsafe and based on incorrect information and high-end costs. It also contradicts the Council’s own Electric Vehicle officer report encouraging low emission bus fleets. It is another example of the Council’s left hand not knowing what its right hand is doing.”
Mr Bruce added “existing trolleys have higher passenger capacity than battery buses and they can be used with the planned bus route network and tender process.
More than 300 cities around world are operating and expanding trolley bus networks. They are popular because they are clean, quiet and quick. Lyon, France has new trolley buses, San Francisco and Seattle have large trolley systems and Beijing and Shanghai Beijing are reconverting failed battery buses to trolleys. “Other cities are building trolley buses with new technical developments to improve trolley bus performance” says Mr Bruce.
“GWRC’s publicly stated goal is an all-electric bus fleet. It follows that the council make an objective assessment of the trolley buses’ contribution to city transport needs and environmental impact,” Paul Bruce concluded.