Submission on Draft Regional Public Transport Plan 2014Posted: April 29, 2014
29 April, 2014
FreePost 3156 Greater Wellington Regional Council PO Box 11646 Wellington 6142
Draft Regional Public Transport Plan 2014
There are three main criteria which should be applied to the Public Transport Plan:
Any Wellington transport plan must be designed primarily around the needs of pedestrians.
- Decreased carbon emissions as part of a larger climate change prevention and effects mediation program (decrease or eliminate fossil fuel use in public transport).
- Increased bus and train services with a corresponding increase in investment in public transport (more person-km capacity) with funds transferred from the government’s bloated highway fund. Adopting a plan for implementing light rail should be a priority.
Most Contentious Issue
The most contentious issue brought up in the Draft Plan is about the trolley buses. It is not fair to say they are more expensive to operate when all factors are taken into consideration. To put a separate question about how to pay for the ‘higher cost’ of trolleys unfairly and aggressively prejudices the questionnaire against the trolleys. It serves to deflect attention from the main characteristic of trolley use in New Zealand which is that they produce less carbon emissions than other forms of transport given that much of electricity in NZ is already low carbon with the possibility of even less. Headlining this discussion in the Draft Plan with the term “Modernising” also reflects a false notion that trolleys are ‘old fashioned’. Trolleys are growing in number around the world, with around 400 cities currently using them.
More on Electric Transport
Electric transport technology is improving so it is possible for our existing trolley fleet to be upgraded with new battery technology. This would extend the reach of the trolleys. Wellington has the opportunity to trial upgraded trolleys now. Following on, a new generation of trolleys would clearly be a better option than diesel buses, even upgraded ones, with their fossil fuel use.
There is no mention of pedestrians per se in the Draft Plan unfortunately. Access to routes, stops, shelters, under or over passes should be at the centre of the route design.
Light rail should be a priority for Wellington City. It would be another electric transport technology.