6 Feb 2014

Bus system favoured over light rail

9:44 pm on 6 February 2014

Wellington local government leaders say the city should adopt a bus rapid transit system, rather than light rail, as part of its transport development over the next 30 years.

A sub-committee has considered submissions on the creation of a so-called public transport 'spine' to run through central Wellington.

It has released a report setting out its preferred future direction, including the expansion of the bus network through the central business district.

Its recommendations include phasing in higher capacity, low-floor buses and creating a core spine corridor with bus lanes running from the main Railway Station through to the suburbs of Newtown and Kilbirnie.

The chair of the sub-committee, Fran Wilde, says the new generation of buses will be very different to those in use now.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the buses would provide an environmentally-friendly transport system and include new technologies. The bus system would cost about $200 million, whereas light rail would be at least $900.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's regional director, Jenny Chetwynd, believes it's the best long-term solution, as it is more flexible and would provide better value for money.