NZ’s hybrid capital

Wellington’s bus fleet will be gradually replaced with diesel hybrids over the next decade

Wellington will improve its bus network and introduce hybrid buses, as part of the Greater Wellington Regional Council's 2015-2025 plan.

The council has also just purchased land for new 250 person park-and-ride on Kapiti Coast and intents to invest heavily in more park-and-ride facilities by purchasing suitable land in the years ahead.

The city’s diesel buses will be replaced with a new fleet of hybrid-diesels and one card system for all public transport will be developed.

A significant rates increase of almost 10 per cent will help fund the initiative, as well as $550,000 to prop up KiwiRail’s service between Wellington and Palmerston North.

A further $500,000 will be spent investigating the costs and benefits of a dedicated bus lane through central Wellington.

The new park and ride facility at Waikanae Station will be popular, as the neighbouring area is struggling to cope with the number of cars parked by people connecting with public transport services heading in to Wellington for work.

Counci chairperson Fran Wilde says this will bring the total number of free park and ride spots at Waikanae to more than 400 and come as a huge relief to commuters, who struggle to find parks nearby on weekday mornings.

"Commuters will have a very short stroll to the lights to cross State Highway 1 safely to the station, avoiding the extremely risky behaviour of many commuters at the moment who are parking further north and dashing across," she says.

"The council has been working closely with Kapiti Coast District Council for several years now exploring opportunities for park-and-ride to meet demand."

More than 1000 people catch the train at Waikanae each weekday and many of these are from further north.

"It has been a real challenge finding land for commuter parking, so we’re delighted to be able to take advantage of this rare opportunity," Wilde says.

The long-term plan has gone through a stage of public consultation and will come into effect on June 30.

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