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Seeking solutions to increased demand for rail

News release
5 October 2006

Greater Wellington seeks solutions to increased demand for rail services

Greater Wellington will commission an audit of passenger counts and carriage capacity before deciding how best to meet increased demand for Wellington’s commuter rail services.

For the year ending June 2006, passenger trips on the region’s rail network grew by about 11% at peak times and 8.6% overall – an increase of close to one million trips. Before this, growth per annum averaged just under 2%.

Councillor and Passenger Transport Committee Chairman Glen Evans says that while the growth in rail patronage is very encouraging, it’s also putting pressure on Wellington’s aging train fleet.

“Although Greater Wellington has committed funding for 58 new units, which will be introduced in 2010, we need to find an interim solution to cater for this unprecedented growth.”

Greater Wellington will also commission a detailed feasibility study of options to improve rail passenger capacity. Options for investigation were outlined in a report received by the Council’s Passenger Transport Committee today. Officers were also asked to report back on funding options.

“I see the audit and the feasibility study as great opportunities,” Councillor Evans says. “The audit will identify the exact increase in patronage and how it is affecting specific journeys. The options study will then help us to finalise the way ahead and find ways of keeping the new passengers.”

The options to improve rail capacity include:

- operational measures: e.g. timetable adjustments and re-allocation of carriages

- introducing additional trains: e.g. buying and refurbishing secondhand trains

- modifying current trains to provide more capacity: e.g. providing more carriage space for standing passengers at peak times.

Greater Wellington staff will provide the Passenger Transport Committee with an update of the audit and feasibility study before the end of the year.

ENDS

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