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Transport chaos this week proves need for funding

22 March 2006

Transport chaos this week proves need for funding boost

Rush hour chaos this week is yet more proof of the need for urgent investment in Wellington bus and run-down train systems, Greens Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"It's bizarre that regional transport authorities and Transit NZ are planning to invest 90 percent or more of funding on the Western corridor into more roading rather than public transport when each day we see more and more evidence of urgent basic infrastructure problems on our trains and buses," she says.

"The last two days have been particularly bad for train travellers, with school children missing classes and office workers up to an hour or more late,"she says. "With the overcrowding on trains, there's a real danger of a serious accident with people pushed up against carriage doors from the inside. One passenger has complained to me of 20 people in her carriage having to stand all the way to Featherston.

"Commuters are being left with options of either standing in the rain for long periods due to overcrowded platform shelters and train carriages, or taking the car - resulting in even more overcrowded motorways and a clogged city.

"Meanwhile - and it seems to happen especially when it rains - many buses are so full at rush hour that they either go past some stops, leaving waiting commuters in the rain, or take in so many passengers it becomes a safety risk."

Ms Kedgley says she is keen to find out more about the reasons for the delays but from information given to commuters by Tranz Metro - through the Wellington Regional Council's Metlink information service - signal failure south of Mackay's Crossing was responsible for Tuesdays' delays on the Paraparaumu line, signal failure near Wellington and "speed restrictions" for todays' delays on the Paraparaumu and Hutt lines and "two old trains taken out of service" for chronic overcrowding on the Wairarapa/Hutt train last night.

While delays on the Paraparaumu line were around 40 minutes both this morning and yesterday morning, crowded carriages meant some passengers had to wait at stations much longer for a free space.

"It is ridiculous that at a time of rising petrol prices and concern about climate change that central and local government are in effect discouraging the use of public transport by their dithering and old-fashioned funding systems."

A regional council/Transit committee looking at options for Wellington's "western corridor" which this month opted for a full four-lane billion dollar Transmission Gully motorway had come up with a plan for the wrong century, Ms Kedgley says.

"Our rail corridor is desperately in need of investment. It's a tragedy that the hearing subcommittees' proposals will see our rail system continue to deteriorate."


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