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Investment in public transport set to double

22 August 2006

Investment in public transport set to double over next ten years

Greater Wellington Regional Council is doubling its investment in the region’s public transport system over the next ten years as the number of people using public transport continues to grow.

Councillor and Passenger Transport Committee Chairman Glen Evans says Greater Wellington is committed to improving public transport in the region within available funding sources. Over the next ten years, the Council has budgeted to invest $1.3 billion in passenger transport.

“Significant new expenditure is planned to upgrade rail services with new rolling stock and improvements to rail infrastructure such as stations and platforms,” Mr Evans says. “Over time, this will increase capacity, reliability and frequency.

“The upgrade work is a priority and processes are already underway to purchase new trains. However, it will still take time for many of these improvements to occur. The Wairarapa carriages are being built now and will be in service next year with the rest of the new rolling stock in service in 2010.”

Figures released this week by Greater Wellington show a healthy increase in the number of people using the Metlink network of bus, train and harbour ferry services. Total patronage of these services for the year July 2005 to June 2006 was 35 million passenger trips, an increase of 2.6 million (or 8.1%) over the previous year.

Along with the significant increase in public transport usage, the all-day average congestion over the region’s key roads and motorways decreased by 17% in March 2006 compared with the previous March.

Other figures show:

- the growth in harbour ferry services was the greatest at 13%, followed by rail (8.6%) and bus (7.4%)

- peak-time patronage increased by 11.6% compared with a 4.6% increase for off-peak patronage. This represents a significant change in trends in recent years, where the patronage growth had been at off-peak times.

“It’s certainly a major challenge for the Council but this increase in public transport usage is a very positive signal for the region and an opportunity,” Councillor Evans said. “We need to do everything we can to respond to this demand within our available resources.

“Greater Wellington’s vision is of a sustainable region, and high-quality, efficient and frequent public transport services are an integral part of that vision.”

ENDS

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