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Wellington’s public transport to be streets ahead

1 February 2005

Wellington’s public transport will be streets ahead

Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Manager Dave Watson says he agrees in principle with comments made today by Automobile Association Director of Public Affairs George Fairburn.

Dr Watson says Mr Fairburn’s’ comments, regarding bringing in congestion charging in Auckland as ‘the very last straw once you have a very good public transport system’, made sense to him.

“Getting Wellington commuters to use public transport is our first priority and we are lucky enough to have a solid public transport system already established in this region. What we need to do now is to enhance and improve that system and make it more attractive to commuters.”

Dr Watson says the Wellington region is already half way there in terms of having the bones of an excellent passenger transport system and, with recent injection of over $225m by the government, there was a very real opportunity to be in the healthy position of increasing public transport usage faster than private car usage.

He says there is no doubt that if you are going to punish people using the roads then you have to have a very good alternative transport option for them to use.

“By alternative I refer to public transport and walking as viable alternatives. Walking is largely overlooked but our studies have shown that over 10% of people already walk to work in the Wellington region. This is by far the biggest percentage recorded in any region throughout the country and we intend to improve facilities for walkers with some of the recent funding ear tagged for this purpose.”

Dr Watson says with a good, solid public transport system in place road congestion pricing becomes a viable method to control road congestion growth without penalising the ability of people to get about their daily lives.

ENDS

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