How do the bus companies compare?

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 07:56 20/03/2014

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Passengers will soon be able to see how the Wellington region's bus companies rank in terms of performance, as the regional council moves to introduce league tables.

The tables will be publicly available and are expected to compare how well operators are doing when it comes to punctuality, reliability and customer service.

The initiative has been included in Greater Wellington Regional Council's regional public transport plan.

It has been designed to encourage bus operators to lift their game, thereby increasing fare revenue and decreasing their reliance on ratepayer subsidies.

At present, the bus network features commercially run services that do not have to conform to performance or fare standards.

But from 2017, almost every bus service in the region will operate under a new type of contract that allows the council to include performance-based criteria.

Paul Swain, the council's transport portfolio leader, said ratepayers were helping finance the bus network and had a right to know if they were getting value.

"We're shining a light on this because it's very important we're transparent about it."

Bus companies will be judged against different criteria in different parts of the region, so the comparison will be fair.

A draft copy of the regional public transport plan was approved by Greater Wellington Regional Council yesterday.

The public will be asked to provide feedback on the document between April 4 and May 9. The final version is expected to take effect from July 24.

It includes plans to scrap Wellington's 60 trolley buses in 2017 and progressively replace older diesel buses with either electric, hybrid or more modern diesels and trolleys.

A yesterday's council meeting, councillor Sue Kedgley attempted to delay a decision on scrapping the existing trolley buses until battery bus technology had developed further and could be relied on. Her motion did not receive enough support.

Councillor Paul Bruce said the capital's trolley buses spared people from having to breathe in about 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

He had "no confidence" that a zero- emission replacement would be found.

Council chairwoman Fran Wilde said Greater Wellington would be very clear that bus operators would have to run vehicles that were more environmentally friendly.

THE PLAN

Introducing contracts with performance-based criteria for public transport operators.

Simplifying the bus network by removing overlapping services and having fewer buses on the Golden Mile.

Building a new $268m bus rapid transit network between the Wellington CBD and southern suburbs.

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Revamping the rail network so trains run more frequently but at smaller sizes.

Adding another 35 two-car Matangi trains to the 48 already operating.

Double-tracking the Hutt Valley rail line all the way to Upper Hutt.

Creating a smartcard for all travel across bus, rail and ferry.

 

- The Dominion Post

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