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Wellington public transport plan adopted for consultation

19 March 2014

Wellington public transport plan adopted for consultation

A blueprint for world-class public transport in Wellington was today given the green light for public consultation.

The Draft Regional Public Transport Plan outlines a range of major improvements to public transport in the region over the next eight years. The public will be asked for feedback on the draft plan from 4 April.

“Our aim is to get more people out of their cars and onto buses, trains and harbour ferries. This will ease congestion, improve productivity, reduce transport emissions and make the Wellington region an even more attractive place to visit, work and play in,” says Cr Paul Swain, the Regional Council’s Public Transport Portfolio Leader.

One of the major improvements is a bus rapid transit spine through central Wellington. “High quality, high frequency buses will run north to south and east to west across the city. Through routing, where routes run through the Golden Mile instead of beginning or ending at Wellington Station at Courtenay Place, will mean fewer buses and less congestion on the Golden Mile and therefore faster trips. A new fares and ticketing system, where you use the same card for all public transport, will mean quicker boarding times.”

The central spine will be supported by a new network of bus services throughout Wellington City, giving more people more access to high frequency routes and providing more weekend and evening services to more suburbs.

“Just as the train fleet has been renewed, so will the bus fleet. We’re exploring various options – all of them low-emission – to transform bus travel in the same way that the Matangi have created a new era for train travel.”

Cr Swain says the Council’s new performance-based contracts, to be negotiated within the next three to four years, will specify the environmental standards required for vehicles. “As a Regional Council we have a mandate to protect the environmental health of the region and our goal is to lower the emissions generally across the fleet.

“The Wellington City bus fleet is of mixed age and performance capability. We’re investigating the costs and benefits of a range of fleet options over a 40-year period.

“Benefits include time savings and emission reductions from changing the current bus fleet mix, while costs include the costs of the vehicles, any infrastructure costs and operating costs such as fuel or electricity and maintenance.

“Given the trolley bus overhead network and supply system needs tens of millions dollars’ worth of work to bring it up to modern standards, the fact that trolley buses are less flexible because they can travel only where the wires are, the new Wellington City bus network has been designed on the basis that the current trolley bus network no longer operates after the expiry of the current operating contract in 2017.”

During the public consultation people will be asked a range of questions, including how important fleet reliability is to them, how important are carbon and other harmful emissions and if they’re willing to pay more for a lower emission option.

ENDS

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