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New design for Wellington City bus network

Media release

27 November 2012

New design for Wellington City bus network

A new network for Wellington City bus services, incorporating feedback from thousands of people and two rounds of community meetings, will be outlined to Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Economic Wellbeing Committee meeting next Thursday (29 November).
http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/council-reports/Report_PDFs/2012_497_1_Report.pdf

Peter Glensor, Chair of the Regional Council’s Economic Wellbeing Committee, says the new network will mean more services in many areas. “Core bus routes such as between Wellington and Karori, Island Bay, Lyall Bay, Brooklyn and the Miramar Peninsula will run at least every 15 minutes seven days a week. There’ll be half hourly bus services between the CBD and Newlands and Johnsonville every day, seven days a week. Less populated suburbs will have a 30-60 minute bus service seven days a week. Additional peak hour bus services will, as they do currently, supplement the all-day routes.”

Key features of the new network include:
• More frequent off-peak bus services for 15 suburbs
• New weekend and later evening services for 11 suburbs including Maupuia and Kowhai Park
• A new weekday bus service for Crofton Downs
• A simpler network – a total of 36 routes, compared to the current 44
• Less doubling up of services - currently a number of different services travel along very similar routes
• More reliable services due to less bus congestion
• Better access to local centres and key destinations
• Access within a 10-minute walk to a bus service that runs at least every half hour for 72% of people

“One of the most serious problems this review aimed to resolve was reducing the severe bus congestion along the Golden Mile (Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place) at peak hour. Currently, for example, 231 buses travel on the Golden Mile between 8am and 9am each weekday. This significantly slows down travel times not just along the Golden Mile but throughout Wellington City.

“The new network aims to get that number down to 190, through reducing duplication of services, better matching of bus size to demand, and improved traffic light phasing. However, an international transport consultant, who has done a lot of research for us, advises that the optimum number needs to be a maximum of 120, or 60 in each direction. So we’ve got a lot more work to do. Although we’ve not planned in this design for an alternative route to the Golden Mile, if congestion issues aren’t resolved through these initiatives we’ll be pushing forward with Wellington City Council for our plans on an alternative peak overflow route.”

The new network incorporates feedback on an earlier proposal which was consulted on in February and March this year. There have been also two subsequent rounds of meetings with various community groups, residents’ association representatives and public transport advocates. “Our review team has engaged with people and really worked through the issues that emerged from the consultation.

“I’d like to thank all those who have given us feedback on the review this year especially those who turned out twice for the face to face consultations. This process gives us confidence that the network is not just more efficient, but is responding to commuter and community needs.”

Key differences between the new network and that proposed at the start of the year include:
• Less need for people to connect between services
• The removal of a proposed core route along The Terrace
• Retention of a direct bus service to Victoria University on Kelburn Parade
• Direct routes between Wellington CBD and Newlands and Johnsonville
• Direct services to Kilbirnie from the Miramar Peninsula
Peter Glensor says after the network concept has been approved by the Regional Council, detailed timetables will be developed for all services.

“We’ll then talk to community representatives and after getting their feedback we’ll begin negotiations with the bus operators to implement the changes.”

The changes will begin to be phased in from 2014.


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