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Call For ‘Electric Buses Of The Future’

May 22, 2002

Councillor Calls For ‘Electric Buses Of The Future’

Auckland’s transport decision-makers need to take a “positive leap into the future” and immediately push for modern, environmentally friendly, low-emission buses to be running in the central business district before the America’s Cup.

That is the challenge from the chairman of the Auckland City Council’s transport committee chairman, Councillor Greg McKeown.

He says with a new tender for new bus services in the CBD soon to be let by the Auckland Regional Council, the time is right to “vastly improve the quality of the buses running around the city.”

“We are well behind the play compared to Christchurch which has a number of low-emission hybrid electric buses,” says Cr McKeown.

“These buses look great. They’re modern, clean, quiet, comfortable and environmentally friendly with no diesel fumes and they are seen as a modern ‘light rail’ train without the track. These are the buses of the future.”

Cr McKeown, a strong supporter of buses as a vital ingredient in an integrated transport mix, says the reason to get a similar type of high quality vehicle such as a hybrid electric vehicle on Auckland City streets is more than just looks – it is an important part of the integration of passenger transport in the city’s roading network.

He says the city will be hosting thousands of tourists for the America’s Cup yachting regatta which starts in October there is a golden opportunity for transport regulators and operators to work together to provide a “showcase service in the central city.”

“Here we will have tourists wanting to get in and around the inner-city. They are big users of buses and it will be a crying shame if all the positive influences of Auckland as a beautiful internationally competitive city are tarnished by the experience of riding around in older diesel buses.”

Cr McKeown says he is aware of the job Stagecoach and other bus operators in the region are doing in up-grading their diesel fleets with more modern, cleaner running buses with improved services.

“But the opportunity to introduce hybrid electric buses should not be missed.”

Cr McKeown says modern, high-technology buses are manufactured in New Zealand with locally developed technology which is now being recognised around the world.

“The council’s transport committee recently asked for a presentation from the Bus and Coach Association and Stagecoach and we were very impressed by what they are doing and what they have planned, “ says Cr McKeown.

“But we need some real impetus to take a giant leap into the future and have an inner-city bus service we can be proud of and showcase to the world.”


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