Cheap weekend buses in Wellington

In an interesting move Wellington City Council is paying $200,000 to subsidise bus fares on Go Wellington buses on weekends in the lead up to Christmas. As Wellington bus users look forward to low weekend fares in the run-up to Christmas, their Auckland counterparts face a doubling of the price of new Hop cards. Wellington City Council yesterday announced it was contributing $200,000 to subsidise bus fares, to as little as $1 for one-stage rides, for four weeks from November 28 to encourage more people to use public transport. “This initiative will provide a welcome boost for retail sales,” said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. The fares, on yellow Go Wellington buses, …
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Public transport and congestion in Wellington

Last week, I took a look at some new research from the Netherlands that estimated the benefits of public transport for car travel times based on data from 13 “natural experiments” – public transport strikes. The Dutch researchers found that PT provided significant congestion reduction benefits – around €95 million per annum, equal to 47% of PT fare subsidies. While the data was specific to Rotterdam, I’d expect to find similar results in most other cities with half-decent public transport networks. The whole thing got me wondering: Is there any similar evidence from New Zealand? Fortunately for PT users and drivers, but unfortunately for researchers, potential PT strikes have mostly …
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Rail costs in Auckland and Wellington

Is Auckland getting ripped off when it comes to the cost of running rail services? Councillor Mike Lee has long thought so and has frequently raised the issue by way of comparing the costs of running the Auckland and Wellington rail networks – $125.6 million vs $85 million in the financial year to 30 June 2014. At that time rail patronage was also almost identical in each region. He has frequently blamed the way rail is set up saying: A contributing factor may lay in the fact that in Wellington services are a matter between the Wellington Regional Council and KiwiRail. In contrast the Super City’s rail services management system is …
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Congestion Charging in Wellington

Auckland may be the most prominent voice when it comes to discussing congestion charging in New Zealand but it appears other cities are keen to join in. Last week it emerged that Wellington are also wanting to look at congestion charging however unlike Auckland where it is being talked about primarily as another revenue source, Wellington say they need it to deal with the after effects of building new motorways. The call for a toll on Wellington’s CBD is growing louder, with studies revealing the central city could be flooded with almost 12,000 more cars once its proposed new motorways are up and running. Wellington recently joined forces with Auckland to …
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Basin Bridge Bowled again

Basin Bridge Bowled againFantastic news out of Wellington yesterday with the High Court rejecting completely the NZTA’s appeal of the decision by the Board of Inquiry to decline consent for the Basin Reserve Flyover The High Court today dismissed the NZ Transport Agency’s attempt to overturn the rejection of its controversial plan to build a 300-metre concrete flyover alongside the Basin Reserve. In a decision released this afternoon, the Court stated: The Transport Agency has not established that in its decision the Board of Inquiry made any error of law … Consequently the Agency’s appeal is dismissed. And earlier: The Board’s decision does not contain any of the errors of law alleged. The …
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Waiting a century for a cycleway

The Wellington to Hutt Road is, and has been for a quite long time, one of the most popular and important cycle routes in New Zealand’s urban areas. It connects a busy downtown area with large suburban areas in the Hutt Valley, via a scenic harbour front. It’s also a rare flat route in a hilly city where cycling is relatively popular by New Zealand standards. Given this, you’d expect there to be a safe, separated cycleway of adequate width squeezed somewhere in between the road and rail line. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. If you’re headed northbound from Wellington to the Hutt Valley, you are required to squeeze into …
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When is Bus Rapid Transit not Bus Rapid Transit?

This is a guest post from Andy C – a long time Wellington public transport user… Well when it is Wellington of course… Some of you may remember that back in 2013, the Wellington City Council undertook its ‘public transport spine’ study, which looked at options for the highly used public transport spine from the Wellington railway station to the Hospital in Newtown. The problem definition from the study was quite clear: In future years, too many vehicles and modes will share a constrained corridor resulting in longer and unreliable transport journey times which will worsen over time There will be increased traffic congestion in the strategic and local road …
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Development update: June 2015

It’s been a busy month for development: Auckland Council announced they’d be selling off some of their surplus land, and so did the government (which Matt wrote about here). This makes good headlines for the council and government, making it look like they’re taking steps to tackle the supposed housing crisis. However, I’m not sure how much of the land is actually “new” to the scene – e.g. the council’s announcement includes the land being developed for the Flat Bush town centre, which has been a work in progress for many years, the government’s announcement includes Hobsonville and the McLennan subdivision in Papakura, and so on. Anyway, I’ll look at …
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Deluge

This is a Guest post by Wellington Architect Guy Marriage Wellingtonians get a hard press in the Auckland papers sometimes, but last Thursday we thoroughly deserved it. We are normally a fairly resilient lot, and put up with more than our fair share of howling wind and torrential rain at times, but regularly battle through with trains and buses all performing admirably. Even our regular rush hour traffic jams only just live up to their name, and are normally well over within the hour. We know about Auckland’s horrific traffic, and sympathies, we really do. But last Thursday, we suffered a total melt-down, and for a supposedly heavily resilient city, …
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