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Save Our Iconic Trolley Buses, say Regional Councillors

Save Our Iconic Trolley Buses, say Regional Councillors

Wellington Regional Councillors Sue Kedgley and Paul Bruce say the proposal to ditch Wellington’s iconic, non-polluting trolley bus fleet, contained in the Regional Council’s draft Public Transport plan, is short-sighted and foolhardy.
“Wellingtonians strongly support trolley-buses as a quiet, non-polluting, climate friendly form of transport that use renewable energy sources,” Ms Kedgley said.

“We should not be replacing trolley buses with expensive, oil-based, polluting diesel buses. Until such time as there is a realistic, zero emitting, sustainabile alternative, we should ditch this proposal,” Ms Kedgley said.
Wellington spent $27 million upgrading the fleet 7 years ago.

Councillor Bruce noted that the proposal has yet to be discussed at any formal Council meeting. “Our trolley bus fleet is the envy of other cities. Instead of being totally reliant on oil for public transport, we have an alternative network of trolley buses that use renewable energy and don’t pump diesel fumes into the air,” Mr Bruce said. “The replacement of the diesel buses by electric light rail should be the priority, rather than scrapping of the trolleys. Modern European and US cities are expanding light rail or trolley bus lines to connect with shorter run electric buses”.

“There is a lot of talk about self contained battery electric buses, but the technology is still in its infancy and is only used for small buses”, he concluded.

“It’s ironic that at a time when the rest of the world is trying to get sustainable, renewable, non-polluting public transport, Wellington risks losing its trolley bus fleet,” Ms Kedgley said.

The Councillors pointed out that many major cities around the world have trolley bus fleets, and Vancouver and Athens have recently upgraded and expanded their fleet of trolleys.

Some years ago, the Wellington council made a commitment that Wellington would become the first carbon-neutral city in the world. “This proposal will simply make us more dependent on oil, and less likely to ever become carbon-neutral.”
The draft Regional Public Transport Plan will be voted on this Wednesday, and will go out for public consultation on 4th April 2014.

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