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Carless Kapiti commuters prove congestion can be s

25 March, 2004

Carless Kapiti commuters prove congestion can be solved

Green MP Sue Kedgley is delighted that thousands of Kapiti commuters left their cars behind and chose to take the train to Wellington this morning, leading to reports that the congestion level between Kapiti and Wellington was its lowest in years.

Transit New Zealand asked people travelling from Kapiti to consider alternative transport into the city because of major roadworks on the Mana Esplanade between Wednesday (March 24) and Saturday (March 27).

"This is a clear demonstration that all it will take to solve Wellington's congestion problems is for 1,000 to 3,000 Wellingtonians to commute into the city by rail instead of by car," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Transport spokesperson for Wellington.

"Imagine if we had a modern state-of-the-art passenger rail system rather than the antiquated carriages, some older than the first Morris Minors, and some lines, such as the Johnsonville Line, which have been left to rack and ruin.

"If we made a significant investment in our passenger transport, then what happened today would be a daily occurrence. Let's hope Wellingtonians will rise to the challenge tomorrow as well," she said.

The Greens believe that better public transport and cycling networks combined with better urban planning, for example the Land Transport Management Act passed last year in partnership between the Greens and the Government, is the key to reducing congestion in the city.

"What happened today shows how easy it is to make a difference. And we want to make it easier still," said Ms Kedgley.

"We congratulate Transit New Zealand for looking for a creative solution to their problem and look forward to solving congestion through travel demand management.

"Likewise, Tranz Rail are to be commended for rising to the challenge of provided extra carriages at short notice. But most of all, it was the Kapiti commuters that proved to Wellington and to the rest of New Zealand that it can be done.

"The Greens have always believed that everyone benefits, including motorists, when more people travel by public transport because it means there are less cars on the road and therefore less congestion," she said.

"That's why smart cities everywhere have transport strategies that encourage commuters to travel by passenger transport, cycling and walking and thereby reduce the number of cars coming into urban areas."

ENDS

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