New bus system for NZ

New rapid bus system for Wellington aims to solve its public transport challenges

A final plan for Wellington’s rapid bus system is in the works with the council now preparing a detailed business case.

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will transport passengers between Wellington Railway Station, Newtown and Kilbirnie initially, with a view to extending this out to the airport.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), Wellington City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have completed an indicative business case for the new bus system.

GWRC public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain says the new bus system will build on the new wider Wellington bus network that will be introduced over the next two to three years.

"The new network will give more people access to all day, high frequency bus services, reduce bus congestion through the CBD, making bus travel around and across Wellington simpler and quicker," he says.

"It will encourage even more people to get out of their cars and onto public transport – which will be great for traffic flows, our environment and public health."

A further detailed business case will examine where bus lanes are needed, how these should be designed and a priority system for buses at intersections.

New cycling infrastructure will be incorporated into road modifications that will be required as part of the process.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the system is important for Wellington and will encourage travellers onto buses.

"As our population grows, public transport becomes ever more important," she says.

"This exciting new system will transform public transport between the CBD, Newtown and Kilbirnie and I hope to see it eventually extended all the way to the airport."

The council will encourage greater use of buses, in part by funding a subsidised fare trial.

NZTA central region director Raewyn Bleakley says the completion of the indicative business case is a milestone that opens the way for the project to move forward with a single option that can now be developed.

"With 73,000 people traveling into and out of our CBD for work daily, public transport is an essential part of the transport network," she says.

The rapid bus system ties in with the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, which aims to make connections between the suburbs, city and airport more efficient.

The BRT will feature new, high capacity, low-emission vehicles and community feedback will be sought once further design and modelling has been carried out.

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