Proposed changes to Wellington’s bus routes have been introduced by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council. Under the proposed changes, tertiary students are to benefit from the connection of Wellington university campuses in one route, yet there is to be no introduction of student pricing.
Core route C, will run from Seatoun to the Railway Station via Massey University Campus and the Terrace, close to Victoria University Kelburn campus. This route is proposed to run seven days a week, from 6am to 12am, every 10 to 15 minutes.
The proposed network is made up of three layers which are core, secondary, and peak-only services. Core services would run at least every 15 minutes, seven days a week, from early morning until late evening. These routes would connect all of the main transport corridors, suburban town centres and important destinations. Secondary services would run every 30-60 minutes, seven days a week, covering lower populated suburban areas. Peak-only services would supplement other all-day routes and depend on sufficient demand. Under the proposal every current bus route would change.
Regional councillors Daran Ponter and Paul Bruce have organised community meetings to discuss the proposed changes. These ongoing meetings have encouraged Wellington residents to ‘have their say’ on the proposed changes. There has been a good response from the community but there are obvious concerns, said Mr Bruce.
One of the major concerns is that some passengers will need to connect to other services where they don’t at present.
Also under review are bus fares. Under the proposal, Snapper cards wouldn’t work as one transaction across the different bus operators. “We don’t need anyone to be penalised for transferring – we need a seamless transfer from any mode of transport, such as bus to train,” said Mr Bruce. Season tickets and separate fares for three zones made up of Porirua, Wairarapa/Kapiti, and Wellington City, have been suggested, he said.
Another issue is student fares. Despite talk, Mr Bruce said student discounts weren’t supported. “There has been no support for student fares but it is a good case,” he said. Although the Youth Council have not proceeded with any formal plans, attention was drawn to an e-petition calling for reduced public transport fares for tertiary students. Councillor Daran Ponter attended the last Wellington Youth Council meeting to discuss the proposed changes.
The proposal is the result of the first major review of Wellington City bus services in 20 years. The changes aim to encourage higher frequency services on many routes, bypass congestion to reduce journey times, and shift from private cars to buses. “It will give people the choice of public transport and allow the city to free up,” said Mr Bruce. The changes will allow residents to access public transport from a wider range of places at more times, including at night and on the weekend, he said. “This will allow people to have a life without a car,” he said.
If changes are approved, they would start in 2013, once detailed planning has been completed. They would take several years to implement. Details of the proposed changes can be found at gw.govt.nz/wellington-city-bus-review.