The Wellington transport package

June 19th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

The dream is over, for the time being anyway.

A comprehensive study of ’s transport options has concluded what has long been obvious to everyone except Mayor Celia Wade-Brown: the light-rail system she promoted during her 2010 mayoral campaign is unaffordable.

The light rail scheme would have cost around $3,000 per household!

The study commissioned by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wellington City Council puts the cost of turning Ms Wade-Brown’s dream into reality at $940 million. The alternatives canvassed in depth in the report are markedly cheaper.

The first – providing more bus lanes during peak hours and more priority traffic signals for buses – has a $59 million price tag. The second – a dedicated busway for bigger, modern buses separated from other traffic as much as possible – would cost $207 million.

Buses are often the most effective form of . They are more flexible and cost effective. However the Greens don’t like buses because buses go on roads and roads are evil!

The bus rapid transit will cost under a quarter of the light rail option. It would result in $95m of time savings compared to $56m for rail. And critically it would lead to a 75 increase in public transport usage in the morning peak time while the rail option would not change the numbers at all.

So what else is planned about from a dedicated busway and bigger more modern buses? The Dom Post reports:

A second two-lane tunnel through Mt Victoria could be open to traffic within a decade.

The NZ Transport Agency has today revealed plans for a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and widening of Ruahine St and Wellington Rd to connect to the new $90 million Basin flyover.

Yay, a key step in the vision of having four lanes on State Highway One from the airport to Levin.

The plans for the second tunnel show it would sit directly along the northern side of the existing tunnel.

It would provide two lanes for east-bound traffic, along with a separate pedestrian and cycle facility linking to the flyover. On the Hataitai side of the tunnel, Ruahine St will become four lanes, and will also sport a pedestrian and cycling path.

Cool. If only they can get the tunnel to smell better!

 

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29 Responses to “The Wellington transport package”

  1. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Bus transport is definitely the way to go. Not only is rail expensive and always requires future subsidies to make it affordable but it also lacks the flexibility to change to fit new commuting patterns. Motorways need to be improved, despite the Greens’ mad protests, because the number of vehicles on the road is going to continue to increase even if we improve public transport.

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  2. Grizz (597 comments) says:

    It will never happen. The vocal minority who hate roads and wish us to return to the horse and cart with streets clogged with manure will win out in the end.

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  3. peterwn (3,246 comments) says:

    Another issue is that Mt Vic residents apparently have complained about buses going through their streets when using the Mt Vic bus tunnel, never mind that trams/ buses have been going that way for106 years. This has apparently resulted in WCC (AFAIK WCC still owns it) restricting the use of the tunnel so that, for example, empty buses on ‘positioning’ runs cannot use it, yet during peak hours the quicker these buses can ‘position’ the better.

    Double decker buses would also help – top deck Snapper only with some electronic means to check that passengers have ‘tagged on’ so the driver does not have to worry about it.

    IMO the Johnsonville railway line should have never been refurbished (it would probably not have been under a National government), but instead used as a peak time busway. As shon in last years bus transport reviews, it does not sit comfortably as part of the present transport system.

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  4. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    If it were up to me I would set a 20yr goal of a 4 lane expressway from wellington to auckland. Utilizing the ezisting sh1 for two lanes and coverting the main trunkline for the other two lanes. It may require some rejigging via national park. Also could expand the army into a corp of road builders so that less pressure is put on ezisting contractors.

    My 5cents worth anyway

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  5. RRM (9,838 comments) says:

    Cool. If only they can get the tunnel to smell better!

    If only they could get fuckwits to refrain from tooting their fucking car horns all the fucking way through the fucking tunnel! :evil:

    (I have a suggestion for a policy of deterrent, if the council / transit NZ are interested.
    It is similar to the way executed criminal’s heads were displayed on spikes above the portal to the south gate of Old London Bridge…)

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  6. thedavincimode (6,712 comments) says:

    The best solution for Wellington is to just push the whole fucking lot into the sea.

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  7. Allyson (47 comments) says:

    Another option is to re-locate the capital to Hamilton. You know the top of the N. Island where most kiwis live. Wouldnt need to upgrade or build anything in Welly, and think of all travel savings. You know Hamilton is just like Canberra in so many ways.

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  8. nasska (11,277 comments) says:

    Allyson

    Hamilton, or Palmerston North, would do at a pinch. It would ensure that the country wouldn’t get the opportunity to see how well it could function without bureaucrats & political interference after the next big quake destroys Wellington.

    It would also save on a costly rebuild….as proposed by Davinci above, just bulldoze the entire mess into the harbour. :)

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  9. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    “Cool. If only they can get the tunnel to smell better!”

    Thats the stench of all those green twats running your city into the ground. Need an election to get rid of that smell

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  10. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    RRM>If only they could get fuckwits to refrain from tooting their fucking car horns all the fucking way through the fucking tunnel

    I’ve given you a thumbs down for that. Tooting your horn in Mt Vic Tunnel is both a cultural institution and one of the great joys of living in Wellington. It’s like you’ve insulted the All Blacks, or complained about all the fancy dress when the Sevens are in town.

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  11. Nigel Kearney (986 comments) says:

    The Johnsonville rail line is a joke. Every morning and evening I walk an extra 5 minutes in the wrong direction to get the bus at Johnsonville instead of the train at Raroa. It’s faster and always turns up.

    The evening buses spend far too much time travelling down Willis St and Lambton Quay. I can miss the bus at Manners St then walk to the railway station and catch it there. There should be express buses with only three stops: Cambridge Terrace, Railway Station and somewhere near the Michael Fowler Centre, staying on Waterloo/Customhouse Quay the whole way. Nobody would have to walk very far.

    Also, has anyone else noticed that the Newlands/Mana bus drivers are quite friendly and the Wgtn City drivers are as grumpy as hell? What’s going on there?

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  12. peterwn (3,246 comments) says:

    Nigel – I am wondering too. I do not think the drivers were too enchanted with extending 14’s to Rongotai shops (Warehouse, etc) in January and the GPS system that drives the departure boards and smart phone apps seems to be non-functional in many cases.

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  13. RRM (9,838 comments) says:

    Nigel – IMHO the problems with rush hour buses through the middle of town are:

    (1) they are constantly being held up by other buses, at many bus stops along the route where none of the buses can move off until the front one is ready.

    (2) They are frequently being held up by near-gridlocked car traffic, on roads that don’t really need to be open to car traffic at all because they run parallel to the Quays which are cars-only.

    If I was made dictator, I would separate the northbound and south bound bus routes by a block, and all roads involved would become one-way (in the direction the buses are running.) All the northbound buses would travel through town along Cambridge tce—> Courtenay Pl —>Manners St—> Willis St —> Lambton Quay as they do now.

    Southbound buses would move a block towards the harbour and travel through town along Featherston St —> Hunter St –> Victoria St —> Manners St —> Courtenay Place —> Kent Tce.

    In addition, all of these roads except Victoria St and Courtenay Place would be made bus only. Car traffic simply doesn’t need to use Lambton Quay and Featherston Street when Waterloo/Customhouse/Jervois Quays / Wakefield St / Cable St are so much wider, more free-flowing and only a block away.

    The idea is that buses then be free to flow through the golden mile without being held up by each other, or the randomness of car traffic, and might then have some chance of keeping to schedule…

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  14. Bullion (64 comments) says:

    Easy first step, should look at removing the trolley bus lines so that Wellington can have double decker buses – the latest of which are hybrid.

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  15. infused (654 comments) says:

    Who voted that idiot in?

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  16. thedavincimode (6,712 comments) says:

    Allyson

    Good call. The fact that the tron spends about 6 months of the year bathed in fog makes it a particularly appropriate choice as our nation’s capital. Perhaps Huntly might be an even better choice?

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  17. Camryn (539 comments) says:

    jims_whare – those 4 lanes to Whangarei too.

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  18. Viking2 (11,417 comments) says:

    RRM (7,430) Says:
    June 19th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Cool. If only they can get the tunnel to smell better!

    If only they could get fuckwits to refrain from tooting their fucking car horns all the fucking way through the fucking tunnel! :evil:

    (I have a suggestion for a policy of deterrent, if the council / transit NZ are interested.
    It is similar to the way executed criminal’s heads were displayed on spikes above the portal to the south gate of Old London Bridge…)

    Piss off. Tooting your horn in the tunnel is an right of Wellingtonians et al. Its been going on since the day it opened.
    You self righteous lefties would take all the fun out of a day. Perhaps you should walk the poath and blow your trumpet.
    Bet you’ve never done that.
    Go on be first. :lol:

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  19. Elaycee (4,376 comments) says:

    You know Hamilton is just like Canberra in so many ways.

    Thats a bit hard on the good folk of Canberra… :P

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  20. Bullitt (139 comments) says:

    Anyone who supports tooting in the tunnel I’m guessing has never walked or cycled or driven a convertable or a normal car with the window down. I’ve done all those things and everytime someone toots its painful. It’s got nothing to do with being a lefty as I’m along way from that.

    I’m glad the light rail idea has been canned but I fail to see why upgraded buses are necessary either, particularly given they seem to be aiming at the Railway Station to Hospital route which is within easy walking distance for most people. Wellington Roads are too narrow and windy to be suitable for buses, people should be actively discouraged from using them. It would make the roads far safer for all motorists and even more so for cyclists.

    I havn’t seen the detail of the plan but I see it had a $35m saving from people commuting faster on buses. What about the massive cost to the majority of Wellington City residents that lose a lane for car use resulting in significantly more congestion.

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  21. salt (133 comments) says:

    Buses are a bit gross and third-world-y, though. It’s pretty embarrassing having them as our primary public transport. Like Delhi, and the southern US where if you don’t own your own car you’re basically considered sub-human.

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  22. wrightingright (143 comments) says:

    > “Easy first step, should look at removing the trolley bus lines so that Wellington can have double decker buses – the latest of which are hybrid.”

    Good point, get rid of trolleys! All of them are bad, holding us back, from ancient times.

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  23. hane (69 comments) says:

    > “The light rail scheme would have cost around $3,000 per household!”

    Certainly less than the happy motoring brigade pays for each of their cars per year.

    > Buses are often the most effective form of public transport. They are more flexible and cost effective. However the Greens don’t like buses because buses go on roads and roads are evil!

    Your comments prove zilch except you know nothing about cities and transport.

    > Yay, a key step in the vision of having four lanes on State Highway One from the airport to Levin.

    Wellingtonians won’t lie down and let right wing suburbanites lay a 4 lane motorway through their inner city in 2013.

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  24. campit (467 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, informed analysis available at Transport Blog, as usual. In particular this comment:

    1. The BRT option is not Bus Rapid Transit. Because there are still lots of intersections, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights etc. Especially down the golden mile. Also there are parts that run in mixed traffic including through the Mt Vic Tunnel, so the buses are going to get held up and I wouldn’t call it BRT.
    2. The cost of the new ‘BRT’ buses are not included in the cost for BRT. I’m guessing a bus every 3 minutes would mean about 30-40 buses required to meet the needs. And large high-capacity modern BRT buses could cost over a million dollars each, so that’s a large chunk of money not included. However they have included the cost of the light rail vehicles. Which makes me think there is an agenda here.
    3. Also the option of a light rail spur through a new mt Vic tunnel and Hataitai has added around $300 million to the LRT cost. They seem to have chosen the most expensive way to get LRT to Kilbirnie. I would like to know why they didn’t go over constable street. That would have avoided the cost of the tunnel and would have meant less overall track length.
    4. Wheres the discussion about refurbishing the bus tunnel? Would be far cheaper option surely.
    5. I can’t see the cost of taking 2 lanes worth of BRT land out of the town belt. Since its city land they may not have to pay… But it’s a cost losing the land
    6. The bus priority and BRT options will still mean loads of buses down the golden mile, which could easily mean there is still bus congestion and will defiantly mean it’s harder to cross the road for pedestrians. I can’t see where the report values the improved urban environment from having less vehicles on the LRT option. i.e. less vehicle noise, easier to cross road etc.
    It feels they have done everything to bring down the cost of BRT, to the point its not really BRT, and everything to push up the cost of LRT to the point its unbackable.

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  25. campit (467 comments) says:

    A second two-lane tunnel through Mt Victoria could be open to traffic within a decade.

    The NZ Transport Agency has today revealed plans for a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and widening of Ruahine St and Wellington Rd to connect to the new $90 million Basin flyover.

    Essentially this is an admission that the flyover won’t work very well as long as two lanes of traffic have to merge into one before the tunnel. Before work on the flyover commences, the cost of the second tunnel needs to be incorporated in the overall BCR of the project.

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  26. jcuk (668 comments) says:

    $3000 per person over thirty or forty years is less than $100 pa … people are idiots to quibble about it

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  27. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    They needed a comprehensive study to tell that Light rail was unaffordable in Wellington. FFS some lucky consultant just made a windfall for stating the fucking obvious

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  28. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    Elaycee (3,535) Says:
    June 19th, 2013 at 7:14 pm
    You know Hamilton is just like Canberra in so many ways.

    Thats a bit hard on the good folk of Canberra…

    I liken Hamilton more to Brussels – Low lying and damp. Also it is a pain in the arse to drive through when travelling up and down state highway 1

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  29. jcuk (668 comments) says:

    The review and the editorial just go to prove how foolish people are in rejecting Light Rail …. in cities around the world I have visited it was/is a god-send and before we became to obsessed with personal transport an ecconomical way to travel around a city. It has to be subsidised because it is a public service for the good of the general public. The obsession with the quarter acre section instead of compact cities is a major problem with New Zealanders.

    As for buses being more cost effective .. what rubbish … buses last five-ten years whereas trains last fourty– fifty years and still work well.

    Though for an earthquake likely area I think any form of transport other than legs is suspect.

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