Wellington City bus review

GWRC is “proposing” new bus routes across the city. At first, I was thinking this really doesn’t affect me, since I ride a bike. A few times a year now I’ll take a bus. Then something caught my eye in the summary of proposed changes:

75% of people would be within a ten minute walk of the expanded network of core services compared to 58% at present

Does that potentially remove 15% of cars from the road? This does affect bicycling. Ugh… Now I have to read and understand it. Here’s the PDF, which is also available in hard-copy at most libraries. The same information is also available online, and there are some  community sessions coming up.

So far, the only detailed analyses I’ve seen of the proposed changes are on Bus News:

There’s some Q&A on Stuff.

Although somewhat off topic, this is probably a good opportunity to remind GWRC about some elements of the public transport system that affect us:

  • Bikes on buses
  • [Better] Bicycle parking at bus-stops (especially if you live more than 5-10 minutes walk from the nearest bus stop! Or the nearest off-peak bus stop. Or the nearest bus stop with service more than once every 30-60 minutes.)
  • “Bus only” lanes should allow bicycles, at least off-peak (excluding the rail station bus terminal)
  • The “improvements” to Manners St still seem like a disaster

I’d also like to see a free loop around CBD, with [most] outlying services terminating at the loop. Transfers could be done from one end of the loop to the other. This would encourage people to not drive in CBD, and be a great local experiment (and foot in the door) for getting rid of the fare-box and moving towards 100% subsidized bus service. Don’t laugh, free buses have been proven PROFITABLE for cities around the world.

Submissions are due by Friday 16 March. Before I make my submission, I’d like to hear what y’all have to say. Thanks for sharing!


4 thoughts on “Wellington City bus review

  1. Brian

    I think the proposal does have the potential to remove cars from the roads, but not sure about a whole 15%. That will depend on whether the new routes are time-competitive with driving (for those who currently drive) I suppose.

    Biggest strengths in my view are:

    1. The concept of the Core, Secondary, and peak only hierarchy of routes.

    2. Removing bus traffic from the Golden Mile.

    3. The idea of secondary routes feeding into suburban hubs, to reduce overlapping services.

    Biggest faults are:

    1. Core Route C not following the Golden Mile and losing its trolleybus status.

    2. Secondary routes that go all the way to the CBD. These should connect to core services at suburban hubs, to reduce duplication and long loopy routes.

    3. Johnsonville core route being routed through Newlands, without significant increase in “amenity” in the Johnsonville train service.

    4. Lack of integrated ticketing across all buses and trains.

    5. No apparent coordination with the PT Spine study.


  2. Quintin

    I would have loved to see the Golden Mile become car free as part of this review. That would make plenty of space for proper bike lanes along the Golden Mile and a new pedestrian plaza at the north end of Lambton Quay.


    1. atom

      Good stuff. Hopefully someone can comment on my concern with light-rail through the Golden Mile; would that mean rail-tracks in the street? Those are deadly for bicycles. If there’s a way to do light-rail that doesn’t conflict with safe on-street bicycling (elevated or otherwise segregated), them I’m all for it.

      Maybe with light-rail it would be feasible to do a tight loop around the Golden Mile? Then make the GM exclusively non-motorized…?

      The “Electrify Wellington” title on the Green’s page also reminded me of this: Diesel buses in most cities use exhaust pipes that are at the top-rear of the bus, not the bottom-rear. Here in Wellington, being behind a bus on a bicycle often means being caught in a cloud of black smoke when the light turns green. GWRC should require that diesel buses are fit with taller exhaust pipes. That should have been done before the new buses were ordered, but I’m sure they can be re-fit.


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