It’s buses for Wellington

March 5th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Faster, bigger buses have been officially chosen as the future of in , snuffing out any chance of having light rail in the capital for the foreseeable future.

The Regional Transport Committee – a collective of Wellington’s mayors and the NZ Transport Agency – voted today to push ahead with plans to build a $268 million bus rapid transit network between the Wellington CBD and southern suburbs.

Detailed plans are yet to be drawn up, but it will involve hi-tech articulated or double-decker buses running along a dedicated busway between Wellington Railway Station and the suburbs of Newtown and Kilbirnie.

The route forms the southern part of Wellington’s public transport “spine”.

Today’s decision brings down the curtain on the Wellington Public Transport Spine Study, which began in 2011.

The Wellington city and regional councils jointly-commissioned the study along with the transport agency to find the best solution to Wellington’s public transport needs for the next 30 years.

It began by looking at 88 combinations of routes and types of public transport, which were effectively whittled down to light rail and a bus rapid transit network in June 2013.

At that point, the study revealed light rail could cost as much as $1.2 billion, largely because of the need to build a dedicated rail tunnel through Mt Victoria.

$268 million vs $1.2 billion makes it a very easy decision.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who was first elected in 2010 on the back of campaign promises to push for light rail, said today she had also been swayed by the ability of buses to go further than trams.

Good to see sense winning through.

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20 Responses to “It’s buses for Wellington”

  1. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    I’ll believe sense has willed through once it starts building. I’d expect appeals and complaints.

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  2. trout (944 comments) says:

    Celia needs to have a chat to Len. The loopy rail scheme for Auckland will need zillions in subsidies to function.

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  3. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    So it took three years and how many millions of dollars to work out that the best option was to buy some bendy buses?
    Fuck me.

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  4. RightNow (6,995 comments) says:

    “hi-tech articulated or double-decker buses running along a dedicated busway between Wellington Railway Station and the suburbs of Newtown and Kilbirnie.”

    Ha, this I can’t wait to see. An articulated bus trying to get round Wellington streets? Anyway that’s not going to attract people out of their cars and into buses. I think they’re trying to manufacture a problem to fit a solution.

    The main problem with Wellington traffic is when major traffic flows intersect. The best answer would be to raise or lower one of the flows so neither flow has to be interrupted.

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  5. jp_1983 (226 comments) says:

    Just wait for the appeals to begin and the subsequent huis and koha to follow

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  6. Maggy Wassilieff (449 comments) says:

    Could we just get rid of trolley buses in Wellington??? Then we could build covered overbridges for the poor pedestrians to get them safely across the congested roads.

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  7. All_on_Red (1,645 comments) says:

    Gazzmaniac
    If you are a Wellington rate payer then yes, you truly are being fucked. Just like us in Auckland…

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  8. greybeard (62 comments) says:

    The option which I believe would be best, knowing how narrow , twisting, steep and congested are many of the Wellington roads is to use a large number of small buses, obviously more suitable for the environment and infrastructure.

    Most of Wellington’s city roads and streets were created in mid-Victorian times when there were bugger-all people and all that was required was to accommodate a few horses and carts/coaches passing each other.

    Bigger buses ? No, smaller buses.

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  9. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    The people who wanted [something else] will wail and obstruct for years. For some reason the powers that be will have to give them hearing after hearing. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Greybeard – I think the bigger buses are planned for CBD-Kilbirnie only.
    (I agree the present buses are already too big for the hill suburbs…)

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  10. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I think a better option is to move the capital to somewhere flat and build a new city like Canberra.

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  11. peterwn (3,307 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac – Collingwood?

    General comment – Moderate earthquakes knock out ‘heavy rail’ until infrastructure can be assessed or if larger for weeks. Light rail could suffer similarly. Buses can at least be used where roads are clear, but the proposed electric buses could be vulnerable.

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  12. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    “Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who was first elected in 2010 on the back of campaign promises to push for light rail, said today she had also been swayed by the ability of buses to go further than trams.”

    Sulia Weghted Down speaks with forked tongue

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  13. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    Light rail was never going to happen. Hopefully (eventually) the suburban buses will be phased out and replaced with self-driving pods.

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  14. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    It’s clear that a bus is a much more flexible and appropriate way of reducing car traffic and providing public transport than an extremely capital intensive investment in inflexible rail that moves the smallest number of people for the highest dollar investment between fixed points.

    To be fair, rail or light rail can be cost effective after decades if it is able to affect housing density but considering the Nimbyism in NZ don’t expect that to work.

    Please, please let Auckland ditch the train set approach and move to a better bus based system

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  15. Bullitt (141 comments) says:

    More congestion, more buses colliding with cars, cyclists and pedestrians. We need less public transport not more!

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  16. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    This is shocking news. Greenies have a hui and rename “Trams” as “Light Rail” and still no one takes any notice of them.

    Even Celia. :)

    I know why…. As an old bastard I can remember when cyclists used to be seriously injured when they got their wheels caught in the tram tracks!!! :)

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  17. Left Right and Centre (2,997 comments) says:

    No – she was voted in because her first name wasn’t Kerry.

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  18. Left Right and Centre (2,997 comments) says:

    Sucked in Celia – stupid cow. Let’s hear more of her brilliant ideas about lightrail – can’t get enough of it – hahahahahahaha

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  19. andrewcarrot (10 comments) says:

    Double-deckers in Wellington!! J-H-Christ, how will those sail along with the wind abeam?

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  20. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    A fleet of vans in the suburbs running circuits through the streets during rush-hour to pick up people and drop them at bus hubs. Then run dedicated bus lanes with regular reliable busses into/ around the city stopping only at the hubs. Have monitored locked bike storage at the hubs also. You would only need people with regular drivers licenses to operate the vans, they could operate on a freelance basis (not needing to be part of a union etc) – they could work either full time or part time to just cover the rush hour traffic in morning and evening. I’m sure plenty of people could operate a van for some extra cash – from pensioners to students to the unemployed, to people who work part time jobs that start later in the day.

    When there is enough people using the service and the busses become less economic than light rail. Then and only then, do you invest in the track. You can run busses on dedicated bus lanes easier and cheaper, and eventually transition to track as and where it becomes needed due to volumes.

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