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Concern over age of trains on Jville line

NEWS RELEASE
20 February 2006

Concern expressed over age of trains on Jville line

New, more modern trains topped the list of key transport issues for northern suburbs residents, according to respondents to the North Wellington Public Transport Study that began last November. Frequency of buses, reliability and more direct routes were the other key issues.

Just over 500 submissions were received during the first stage of consultation which asked people to identify the issues, problems and public transport needs of Wellington’s northern suburbs.

Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council are jointly undertaking the study which will guide future investment in public transport within Wellington City’s northern suburbs.

The study area covers Churton Park and Grenada Village to the north, Woodridge and Newlands to the east, Johnsonville in the west and follows the Johnsonville rail line to the CBD as far as Kaiwharawhara, including Ngaio, Khandallah and Crofton Downs. The study area, currently serviced by a mix of rail and bus services, does not include Tawa which is serviced by a different public transport corridor.

Wellington City Council Principal Strategic Advisor Transport Greg Campbell says people have made it clear what the current issues are.

“It’s no surprise that the quality of trains should be high on people’s list of concerns, given their run-down state, and this is a key issue we need to address. It is important, however, to note that people are also indicating they want both more bus and train services to get them more directly and closer to where they want to go.”

Public transport to the study area includes bus services and the Johnsonville train line. Slightly over half of the submitters used bus services while slightly under half used the train. If they had a choice, most people took the service that was closest to their house and 85% of people walked to their public transport.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Manager Tony Brennand says the response from right across the study area has provided a good picture of the needs and issues associated with public transport services. “It varied between suburbs, for example Churton Park and Newlands commuters would like a direct bus service to the city at peak times while Broadmeadows and Ngaio residents sought increased services outside peak times and during the weekend.”

Mr Brennand said that in spite of the differences between areas there was a lot of agreement across the northern suburbs with the top priority raised by submitters being a desire for more modern trains on the Johnsonville line. Only a small minority did not want the line upgraded.

The study showed that 69% of submitters would be willing to pay more for significantly improved services but say substantial price increases would encourage people to switch to private cars. 29% of submitters believe the public transport system would improve with electronic ticketing and timetable updating systems.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast says she is pleased with the quantity and quality of responses to the study.

“The northern suburbs are a key growth area for Wellington city. Public transport issues are crucial for the area’s development and we now have a good basis for decision making.”

Greater Wellington Regional Council Passenger Transport Chair Glen Evans says the next steps are to review possible options and then recommend a preferred approach.

“The public will again be given a chance to comment during these phases before decisions are made by the middle of the year. The outcomes will form part of the Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy 2006 and other transport and urban development plans.”

The next stage of the study will be to consider options for meeting the public transport needs of the area. The community will have an opportunity to comment on these options during the next stage of consultation due to take place in March.

For a copy of the report people can go to www.gw.govt.nz/northernsuburbs

ENDS

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