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Final Update From Wellington Bus Review

Final Update From Wellington Bus Review
Reminder: Submissions close for Residents Associations on Friday 23 March 2012

Cr Paul Bruce and I held our last presentation on the 2012 Wellington Bus Review on Monday, with the Houghton Bay Residents Association (the full list of meetings is shown at the end of this email).

We would like to thank all of those groups who have hosted us and we thank you for making submissions and encouraging residents in your communities to also make submissions.

ENGAGEMENT

1. There was a strong call for communities to be engaged with again with respect to route design, timetabling and hub design in particular. People were fearful that this will be their last opportunity, especially in Johnsonville, Newlands, Paparangi, Woodside, Churton Park, Glenside, Grenada, Houghton Valley, Southgate, Melrose, South Karori, Wilton/Mairangi, Strathmore Park, Highbury, and Miramar.

CITY-WIDE ISSUES

2. A broad range of issues were raised at the meetings, including:

a. Questioning about the rationale for the bus review and a reaction to the notion of hubbing.

b. Concern that the review may not have had adequate access to both bus patronage and traffic data.

c. Questioning about the timing of the bus review in relation to integrated ticketing – i.e. integrated ticketing should be in place first. Integrated ticketing came in for a lot of attention with many people commenting favourably about the bus to bus transfer proposals, but nevertheless exasperated that integrated electronic ticketing is still so far away. Note that the Regional Council’s Long Term Plan, which is currently out for public comment, proposes $39 million for integrated ticketing.

d. Suggestions that the Spine Study be received before the bus review progresses further, and that full scale integrated ticketing be implemented before any bus changes are put in place.

e. Concern about lack of detail in review in relation to design of, and facilities at bus interchanges (hubs). There was angst at most of the meetings across the City over the proposals for bus to bus transfers. People want to see, and have an opportunity to comment on, the details in relation to the hub transfer points. There are particular concerns about the location and design of the hub transfers at Johnsonville, Miramar Shops, Kilbirnie, Newtown (Hospital), and Zealandia (Karori Tunnel) – so pretty much all the hubs. The hubs arrangements for the Hospital came in for the most attention. Issues that people want to be reassured about are connection times, all weather facilities, CCTV, Real Time Information, low floor to low floor transfers, electronic ticketing etc. Retailers expressed concern about the potential loss of car parks because of hubbing facilities.

f. Concern was expressed at many of the presentations about the amount of money the Council has budgeted for interchange facilities and whether these facilities will be adequate to the task (i.e. all weather shelters, Real time information, close bus connections, integrated ticketing). It appears that if forced to hub then commuters expect a high standard of bus interchange facilities – many international examples were quoted – Brisbane and Perth were perhaps the most commonly quoted.

g. A clear concern by some that the trolley buses are being targeted for removal by the review.

h. A concern about the safety and practicality of some routes.


CORE ROUTES

3. Particular concerns raised in relation to the core routes were:

a. A1 – the apparent decrease in the number of services, especially in the peak, when buses are already running full.
b. A2 – coming in for reasonable amount of criticism as a “high frequency spur to nowhere”. Commuters on the No 23 route are putting forward good suggestions to for the A2 to be extended along the current route of the No 23 (i.e. the A2 would be a diesel service).
c. B – Numerous comments that 3 route in and out of Karori is already very crowded in the peak and that the proposals to not address this, and potentially make the situation worse.
d. C route – pronounced concerns about this route, in particular:
o removal of North Miramar running of current Route 11.
o the assumption that Victoria University is within 5 minutes of the bottom of Salamanca Tce (i.e. a lot of the University is much further than this and disabled students and staff will have difficulty with the C route).
o concern over the routes that have been traded off for the “C”, in particular the 18 and the 23.
o the Terrace route proposal (traffic, narrow road, few safe bus stop choices).
o concern to put this route back down the Golden Mile.
o the fact that this would not be a trolley service.
e. H route – the fact that this route is proposed to act as the collector for all off-peak bus services in the Northern suburbs – some good alternative proposals have been forthcoming – this is a huge concern for Northern residents who voted unanimously at the public meeting to reject the bus review proposals. The H route is estimated by local residents to mean that as many as 30% of Northern suburbs residents would need to hub at Johnsonville or Newlands (as opposed to the average 10% quoted by the review); and
f. D1 route– concern that the timetable in the peak is significantly less than at present.
g. F route – concern that this route should go directly into the City and that residents and workers in the Rongotai area should receive a regular commuter bus service.

SECONDARY ROUTES

4. Particular concerns over a number of secondary routes, especially:

a. loss of the No.5 service came in for a lot of criticism from Haitaitai residents, especially those that rely on this service to take their children to schools in Mt Victoria.
b. the loss of the Te Aro No 9 service and the proposed No 19 service (Aro Valley, Highbury).
c. The potential loss of the Gloucester St Loop on the No 14 service – big issue for Wilton residents.
d. the significant reduction in peak hour services to/from Wilton/Mairangi, and the Northern suburbs (which I can only presume is a mistake….but which we need to address).
e. the loss of the No 18 service, linking across the City and to Victoria University – particularly concerning for those making campus connections and those wanting to get to the Hospital.
f. the loss of the 22/23 (at the Mairangi/Wilton and Southgate/Houghton Bay ends in particular).
g. Strathmore Park: the loss of a peak hour service means that all commuters (100%) from upper Strathmore Park will now have to interchange at Miramar. The residents are more concern about the lost of three direct services into the City.
h. the No 29 service in the Brooklyn – Happy Valley – Island Bay – Southgate – Newtown area came in for significant negative comment, with many suggestions for the status quo (i.e. retaining the 21, 22 and 23 services as they are). Some people like the fact that it is now a bigger loop with a more regular all week service. But most are concerned that the No 29 will force them to interchange (except where they have access to the Peak only 32 service). Houghton Bay Residents are significantly concerned about the route proposed for the 29 service as well as the hubbing idea, and residents in above the National Hockey Stadium have noted that there will now be no bus services to their area at all. Vogeltown residents feel equally aggrieved at the loss of the 21 service.
i. the diversion of the 210/211 up Westchester Drive (diverting it from the current direct route past Glenside).
j. all, all day services North of Johnsonville-Newlands hubbing to the H route.
k. the fact that 100% of upper Strathmore Park residents will have to hub in both the peak and off-peak.

5. The peak services came in for less comment, generally because they tend to replicate more closely existing peak services and because, by and large, they run through the CBD without the need for hubbing. The main focus of peak service users is frequency of service and the peak-non-peak route split proposed in the CBD. There appears to be almost universal opposition to the proposal to switch peak services onto the waterfront. Many commuters appeared to favour an option that would use Featherston St for peak hour only services. At many of the meetings there were also proposals for an inner city loop service that would replace all services currently running through the Golden Mile.

6. Significant concern about the apparent reduction of peak service route frequency, especially out of the Northern suburbs, Mairangi/Wilton, and Southgate/Houghton Bay.

7. There were many questions about why there are so many NIS buses and why commuters can’t access these (especially to travel to Kilbirnie). There were comments that removing NIS buses from the Golden Mile would significantly alleviate congestion. There were also comments about the routes that NIS buses use.

The above issues need to be tempered by the fact that people often commented that they could see the need for the review even if they were critical about some of its proposals.

Thanks again for engaging on the bus service review. We will keep you informed of progress and opportunities for further engagement.

Face Book: www.facebook.com/daranponter
Personal Website: www.daranponter.co.nz
Council Websites: www.gw.govt.nz | www.facebook.com/GreaterWellington | www.metlink.org.nz

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