A front page Dompost article about the costs of switching the trolley bus power on and off for street maintenance supports a political view favouring destruction of New Zealand’s biggest electric vehicle fleet – Dominion Post, Monday 12th September.
Discerning ratepayers are asking questions about governance, management failures that created the excuses for demolishing this valuable infrastructure. More than 300 cities manage clean, quiet trolley buses, which are well regarded as the most cost effective whole of life electric public transport.
Wellington’s trolley buses have low floor chassis, are in excellent condition, power supply and underground cabling need maintenance but at quarter of the cost of complete replacement. 70% of overhead wiring has been completely renewed over recent years.
The controversial decision made two years ago by regional councillors to scrap them was a decision based on poor process and dubious information.
A bus contractor is now attempting to develop a new type of hybrid battery bus using the Wrightspeed wheel train. While I wish them best of luck, I believe that we should not be reverting to a hybrid which will introduce new greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere.
A strategic business case for expanding and upgrading the trolley bus network with modern lithium ion batteries for off-line capability and automatic reattachment devices needs to be made.