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Run-down J'ville line needs urgent upgrade

20 February 2006

Run-down J'ville line needs urgent upgrade - Greens

The Wellington Regional Land Transport committee must heed the views of Wellington residents and give priority to upgrading the run-down Johnsonville line, the Green Party says.

Associate Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says priority must be given to getting new, more modern and more frequent trains on that line during the morning peak times.

The views of Wellington residents were published today in a report that summarises the submissions on the first stage of consultation on the North Wellington Public Transport Study.

Ms Kedgley says it is clear there is a need to transform the Johnsonville line from a run-down, dilapidated suburban rail service into a modern rapid transit system, preferably using light rail.

"At present a mere $5.4 million has been allocated to refurbishing 50-year-old carriages on the Johnsonville line. What this survey shows is that we need to invest in new train carriages, not just patching up old stock, and increasing the frequency of services during the morning peak.

"In the 21st century, standards for rail have improved and people expect modern, accessible, reliable trains, not ancient carriages and unreliable services," she says.

"We don't expect people to drive around in 50-year-old cars, so why should we expect them to commute in trains that old?

The report shows there is overwhelming support for retaining and upgrading the line.

"The consultation should put to rest questions any questions about whether its worth upgrading the line, or foolish suggestions, which surface periodically, that the Johnsonville line should be pulled up and replaced with guided buses," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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