Better Wellington buses submission guide

Better cleaner, cheaper buses submission guide for 2015/16 GWRC Annual Plan Greater Wellington Regional Councillors

Paul Bruce , Sue Kedgley The Green Party is urging Wellingtonians to send in submissions to Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) during the Annual Plan consultation period 16March to 20th April requesting adoptation of our better, cleaner, cheaper buses Plan for Wellington now.

Greater Wellington Regional Council completed a Hutt Valley bus review 9 years ago, which brought about an 80% increase in patronage on some routes. On the other hand, a bus review for Wellington city has not been implemented for over twenty years. Yet, current bus services continue to be plagued with unreliability problems, expensive journeys plus using many older polluting and health threatening diesel buses.

Screenshot 2015-02-13 10.08.20

The Wellington bus review begun over 5 years ago, will not be implemented until after the completion of the new bus tender round in 2017, and perhaps not even then, due to the difficulty of adopting a Bus Rapid Transit system with bendy and/or double decker hybrid buses.  The scrapping of our trolley bus services are only likely to add to the delays. The Green Party are thus calling for an earlier “better buses” 5 point plan ahead of the implementation of the new tenders:

  • Zero fare Saturday bus 3 month trial in Wellington city
  • Free bus transfers within Wellington city
  • Half price student fares region wide
  • Cleaning up the bus fleet
  • Safer school buses

Annual and long term plan consultation  takes place through to 21 April
GWRC:    http://www.gw.govt.nz/long-term-plan-2015-2025/
WCC :     http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/consultations –  For detailed information click on links at the end of each item, or contact
Regional Councillors Paul Bruce 021 027 19370 and Sue Kedgley 021 270 9088,
or Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett 021 227 8509

1.    Zero fare Saturday buses trail in Wellington city

The Green Party is proposing a 3 month trial of zero fare buses on Saturdays In Wellington city to reduce Saturday congestion, parking hassles, and improve local retail sales. Wellington city has already included a month trial of capped fares ($2) in their draft annual plan.

Weekend traffic congestion has grown significantly in recent years and utilizing the half-empty buses on Saturdays through providing a zero fare would help reduce congestion and give Wellingtonians the incentive to hop on the bus to get to town or sports. Many other cities provide similar incentives.  

three month zero fare trial would cost $750,000, and WCC has budgeted $200,000 for a one month trial of fares capped at $2 outside the CBD and $1 within the CBD.  This can be compared with the $1.4m allocated to free weekend parking. Zero or capped fares would boost local retailers who would see customers hopping off a bus and into a shop rather than driving around looking for a park.

A recent research study focusing on Tory Street precinct, showed that the greatest contribution to the local economy came from those who do not require on-street parking.  There are also problems in other regional shopping centres, and a post trial assessment will look at the potential for zero fare buses in other cities as well.

Retail NZ is keen to explore the concept – for full background information see: http://www.paulbruce.co.nz/zero-fare-saturday-buses/ 

2.    Free transfers through the week.

The Green Party is also proposing a six month trial of free public transport transfers in Wellington city in this 2016/17 financial year. Free transfers are proposed ahead of integrated ticketing package.  This will assist public transport users to transfer now on routes within Wellington city with a minimum of fuss and cost.

At the moment a customer is penalized, if he or she switches between companies to get to their destination. Free transfers could lead to fewer cars clogging the inner city streets, a friendlier cityscape, with more people coming shopping or visiting cafes, and more retail sales. This would also mean a student could access Victoria University with just one ticket.

The Valley Flyer already has free transfers in the Hutt Valley and Go Wellington could do exactly the same thing for Wellington City commuters by taking this common sense step, facilitating the implementation of bus route changes recommended in the Wellington Bus Review.
Full background details:

http://www.paulbruce.co.nz/free-bus-transfers-for-wellington-city/

3.    Half price student bus fares

The Green Party supports the proposal from the Victoria University Students Association for half price student fares region wide. Students are often living in financial hardship and are in many cases dependent on public transport to get to work or study. Discounted fares, as offered in Auckland would help students financially and reduce vehicle traffic and congestion on our roads.

Free or discounted fares are already offered to other groups in society and for an estimated cost of $2 million the region could help its students to use public transport. Wellington City Council has already met the challenge put by the Regional Council to help fund this initiative.  Support this move through through their Long Term Plans.

4.    Cleaning up the bus fleet

The Green Party want to see clean, modern, low pollution buses on our streets. Reducing pollution from buses is good for the liveability of our city – both in terms of reducing the negative health effects of particulate pollution and making our streets nicer places to be.

The Green Party is proposing to require bus operators to comply with new national emissions standards for buses, and to remove all dirty diesel buses that do not meet a minimum Euro 3 emissions standard over the next two years.

Currently the Wellington bus fleet includes 206 buses that do not meet the national standard or the Euro 3 standard for pollution. 41 of those don’t meet any emissions standard at all. Additional the Green Party supports keeping Wellingtons clean electric trolley buses in service, and used as a transition to zero emission electric battery buses.

5.    Safer school buses

The Green Party believes children and parents have a right to know that the bus their children take to school and back is safe and not endangering their health.

Currently older buses with low pollution standards that are 20 years, and no longer allowed to be used by operators to carry adults, are used as school runs, putting kids at greater risks from particulate pollution from the older, dirtier diesel engines.

The Green Party is proposing bus operators are required to remove all buses that are more than 20 years old from the school bus fleet; and upgrade all school buses to a minimum Euro 3 emissions standard over the next two years.

See Sue Kedgley¹s article in the Dompost:

Old-diesel-schoolbuses-a-legalised-health-hazard

5 thoughts on “Better Wellington buses submission guide

  1. There is hope that diesel buses and commercial trucks will become cleaner. Filters, as in U.K. are one example. The growing threat is from wood smoke with a wood stove polluting the equivalent of two 18 wheeler trucks next to your home or piping in the exhausts of several hundred cars. Encouraging that Montreal will ban the filthy things in 2020.
    cheers Alan Red Deer Alberta

    1. However, there are no filters used in vehicles which can filter out all the small pm2.5 particles
      which are the dangerous ones.

  2. Sorry, but this ‘lone wolf’ from the Northern Hemisphere (hint the picture you have here twice is where I live It is SFMTA (formerly ‘Muni” or the San Francisco Municipal railway). I have sent two emails (because receiving no response for months, I thought that I may have sent to wrong address and went astray. But if you note the messages I am trying to impart, I am a staunch advocate for railway and land based transport electrification (and the responsible electricity for that purpose) I am trying (as it is extremely difficult to find financing for non-profit organisations at least in America) I wish to eventually headquarter such in my original country of Switzerland.

    I am very surprised that I had not received any acknowledgement from this office, the Generation Zero group or the Green party of NZ. The only response I have received was my initial query to ECO (Environment Conservation Organisation of New Zealand). They had offered me three leads but may have inadvertently given me wrong or outdated email addresses.

    BTW, I have read two of your three recommended articles in regard to GO Wellington., about saving the trolleys and even eventually turning Wellington into an ‘all-electric’ city, and the report that also contained info of aging school busses as well. I am especially for light rail and electric (battery) buses and saving the existing trolleybus fleet and totally behind you all the way! (I only wished I had this non-profit ITEM (International Transport Electrification Movement) that I have had the idea for the past three decades well under way! I suppose I have to look outside of America for VCs that do assist non-profit startups. (I hope they do indeed exist)!

    Thanks again.

    Tatsuhiro Sato

    PS: I have Japanese ancestry, so this accounts for my Japanese name.

    1. Hi Tatsushiro Sato, Many thanks for your support. Sorry that you have such poor response
      from the Green Party and others. I do find it hard to keep up with everything. My email is paul.bruce@greens.org.nz
      and would welcome discussion on this important topic. Brent Efford is probably the most well informed on
      the local trolley bus saga. His email is brent.efford@techmedia.co.nz.

      Hope to hear more from you
      best wishes

      Paul Bruce
      64 2102719370
      skype paulebruce

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