New electric double deckers launch
5 July 2018
New electric double deckers launch Greater Wellington’s bus fleet of the future
Wellington’s new battery powered buses mark a major step toward a 21stcentury public transport system for the region, says the Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council Chris Laidlaw at the launch of its new bus network on Thursday.
Speaking at the parliamentary launch of Metlink’s new network and electric buses, Cr Laidlaw said: “Our electric double deckers are wireless buses for a wireless world. They will be the centrepiece of a world class bus fleet and a transformed network. They are New Zealand’s first battery powered bus fleet, and we believe they are the first fully electric double deckers in the southern hemisphere.
“We’ve set ourselves the target of a 100% electric bus fleet and the first stop on our way is 10 new double deckers this year and 32 by 2021. We have to be ambitious because transport emissions are a significant contributor to climate change,” says Cr Laidlaw. “For Greater Wellington, a 21stcentury public transport system needs to offer practical daily alternatives to private cars, as well as being genuinely sustainable.
“All of us need to think more about the environmental impact of our daily travel and, as a council, it is our responsibility to provide the sustainable choices our communities want. Making the move to electric buses is part of providing that choice, but our new approach has also delivered a significant upgrade of the rest of the bus fleet, and a bonus for customers and the environment.
“By early 2019, we’ll have more than 350 new Metlink buses on our roads - that’s 80% of our fleet. They’re built especially for our region and feature modern, efficient, low emissions engines. Customers will also really notice the difference in quality and comfort. The council and our four bus companies – Tranzit, NZ Bus, Mana and Uzabus – are investing tens of millions of dollars in buses that are quieter, more spacious and air conditioned.
“We want more people using public transport every day, so need an integrated network that can carry an expected increase of four million more passenger trips by 2024. We have to make Metlink buses, trains and ferries work together more smoothly so we can carry more people to more places, more often.
“When our new bus network starts on 15 July, train timetables will change too so they connect better with buses. We are also introducing a range of new fares and ticket types to encourage off peak use. In a few years it will get even easier for customers when Greater Wellington leads New Zealand in the introduction of a national integrated ticketing scheme, creating a single way to pay on all public transport.
“We’re really excited about the benefits this new network will deliver to our region,” says Cr Laidlaw. “Like any major transformation, it might take time to bed down, but customers and ratepayers will experience real gains in service and value over time.”