Bus route shake-up aims well received

MICHAEL FORBES AND ELLE HUNT
Last updated 07:00 28/11/2012

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Details have been revealed of a new bus network for Wellington City that will result in less traffic along the Golden Mile and more suburban buses at weekends.

Under the proposed changes, buses will run along the city's core routes - including Karori, Island Bay, Lyall Bay, Brooklyn and Miramar - at least every 15 minutes, seven days a week.

Less-populated suburbs will have a 30-minute to 60-minute service daily, with additional buses during peak hour.

New weekend and late-evening services are being proposed for 11 suburbs, including Maupuia and Kowhai Park, along with a new weekday service for Crofton Downs.

The total number of routes, excluding Hutt Valley services, will drop from 44 to 36, but Greater Wellington regional council says that is largely the result of "tidying up" routes where several services travel along similar paths.

The only route effectively being discontinued is the No 50 Broadmeadows Shopper. The future of the No 47 bus that connects Johnsonville with John St via Victoria University is yet to be determined.

The council's Economic Wellbeing Committee will discuss the proposal tomorrow. If approved by the full council, the changes will be phased in from 2014.

Committee chairman Peter Glensor said the council had taken on board 6500 pieces of feedback it received after an initial proposal went out for public consultation in February.

According to the council's calculations, 72 per cent of people in the city will be within 10 minutes' walk of a bus that runs at least every half hour.

Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association incoming president Rory McCourt said the new network reflected extensive consultation to ensure it met the needs of students.

The university and VUWSA had expressed concerns about terminating bus routes at The Terrace, rather than Kelburn Pde.

"Council has taken on board many of the concerns we raised earlier . . . and the revised network retains these important routes, with frequency even lifted at peak times. This is good for students."

Wellington city councillor Andy Foster said the new design was a great improvement on the initial proposal.

"They've done a lot of really, really good work amending the proposed routes, addressing the issues around capacity, and filling in some of the gaps that were there before."

Mr Foster was particularly pleased by the council's goal of reducing the number of peak-hour buses between Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place.

Fewer but fuller buses would be more efficient and create less congestion.

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NEW NETWORK

Four routes created, 13 modified and another 12 replaced by new or modified routes

More frequent off-peak bus services for 15 suburbs

New weekend and late-evening services for 11 suburbs

New weekday bus service for Crofton Downs

INITIAL CHANGES

Proposed core route along The Terrace removed

Primary access to Victoria University via Kelburn Pde maintained (rather than off The Terrace) with provision of a consistent high-frequency corridor between the Kelburn campus and Wellington railway station

Direct routes into and out of the CBD from both Johnsonville and Newlands created

Direct services to Kilbirnie from Miramar created

IS YOUR NUMBER UP?

Modified services: Routes 1, 3, 11, 14, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 32, 46, 54 and 55

Replaced by new or modified services: Routes 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 22, 43 and 44

Discontinued services: Route 50

- The Dominion Post

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