Public supports Greater Wellington’s Plan for greener, more accessible public transport
The Council has adopted the Greater Wellington Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) 2021-2031, which is a blueprint for mobilising greener, more sustainable and more customer friendly public transport in the region, after an overwhelming positive public response of 2750 submissions.
The RPTP’s core priorities are contributing to the regional target of a 40% increase in active and public transport ‘mode share’ by 2030, the decarbonisation of the public transport fleet by 2030 including all electric buses on core services, and continuing to improve customer experience across all aspects of the network, including integrated fares and ticketing, advanced electronic information and Total Mobility Service provision.
The Plan was met with an overwhelming public support for the key strategic priorities, in particular the ‘mode share’ shift and decarbonisation targets which will maintain our region as leaders in sustainable public transport.
Greater Wellington Chair, Daran Ponter, says the programme of work outlined in this Plan will build on Wellington’s strong public transport culture with a clear long term investment plan to build capacity, quality and enhanced connectivity in and between the different residential, retail and employment hubs across the region.
“Public transport is a corner-stone to the livelihood of our region, with the Wellington region having the highest per capita public transport patronage of any city in New Zealand,” says Cr Ponter.
Cr Ponter believes that the COVID-19 pandemic helped shape the bold targets to make public transport more adaptable for growth, more climate focused and more accessible for our diverse communities.
“During the challenging time of the pandemic, our region saw how essential public transport is for day-to-day life and how more than ever we need to be bold and innovative to adapt to a changing world. The Council and Transport Committee took this opportunity to fine-tune the focus of these bold targets which have been well received by the public.”
Greater Wellington Councillor and Transport Committee Chair, Roger Blakeley, says this Plan will establish our region as a world leader in addressing transport carbon emissions and climate change.
“As a first point of call, we will decarbonise the bus fleet, further electrify our longer distance rail services and introduce electric ferries.
“The Plan’s targets are new and exciting and will see significant investment underpin the transformation of public transport services throughout the region. In particular, major investments are planned for new rail rolling stock on the Wairarapa and Manawatu lines, as well as additional rolling stock capacity on the Metro Rail Network.
“Fundamental to the Plan’s success is the support and integration of other national and regional transport plans and projects. To name a few, these include the Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan, 'Let's Get Wellington Moving', the Wellington Regional Growth Framework and the National Ticketing Solution,” says Cr Blakeley.
Cr Blakeley emphasises that the Plan continues to look to the future, by committing to investigating new and emerging technologies, such as public transport on demand and digitally integrating services with other transport providers outside of conventional public transport.
Metlink General Manager, Scott Gallacher, says a key focus over the next three years of the RPTP will be working with all partners on ways to lift the terms and conditions of public transport operational staff, including bus drivers.
“We’ll be working on a range of targeted approaches towards solving the current shortage of bus drivers, to ensure the enduring reliability and punctuality of bus services that passengers expect.
“This Plan also puts a strong focus on improving the accessibility of our services to serve our diverse region, and enhancing the passenger experience through a range of initiatives, including improved signage, bus stops and shelters,” says Mr Gallacher.
The RPTP formally establishes a new unit to operate an express bus service between the Railway Station and the Airport, which will be an integral part of the Metlink network and feature on RTI electronic information boards and the Metlink app and website.
This RPTP will be available to the public next week via the Greater Wellington Website, and hard copies will be available in local libraries in mid-July.