Greater Wellington and Wellington Airport unlock land for sustainable public transport

Greater Wellington has signed a long term lease with Wellington Airport to secure nearly two hectares of land in Rongotai to enable Metlink to explore a range of public transport infrastructure options that could aid the growth of services in the region and provide more efficiencies in running the bus network. 

Under Greater Wellington and Metlink’s current Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) Partnering Contracts, individual bus operators are responsible for providing depots and related supporting infrastructure. A council review of PTOM in 2021 highlighted that a lack of long term investment and infrastructure was a significant risk to a reliable, robust and efficient public transport network. 

Greater Wellington Chief Executive, Nigel Corry, says the lease agreement is a strong signal of how the regional council intends to play a more active role in public transport facilities and infrastructure in the near future. 

“With the government proposing to replace PTOM with the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework (SPTF),  Greater Wellington and Metlink will be able to more easily own public transport assets such as depots, and charging infrastructure, and perhaps even buses in the future. 

“We know that land is scarce in Wellington, so we are thankful for our relationship with Wellington Airport and the opportunity to secure the Tirangi Road and Kingsford Smith Street site. 

“While there is as yet no specific development concept, the site has high strategic importance given its location, with the potential to support greater reliability and frequency of Southern and Wellington City bus services, more rapid development of bus charging infrastructure, and the ability to complement any mass rapid transit introduced as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme,” says Nigel Corry. 

Wellington Airport Chief Executive, Matt Clarke, says the lease agreement is a reflection of its growing relationship with Greater Wellington and Metlink and the shared commitment all parties have to sustainability. 

“We’re pleased to help the regional council secure a site that could enable critical public transport infrastructure. This could include EV charging infrastructure for its ambitions of a fully electric fleet, as well as other sustainable energy options for operating the site itself,” says Matt Clarke. 

While initial feasibility studies have shown that the Tirangi Road and Kingsford Smith Street site could be used for a variety of purposes, including a bus depot, the regional council will be engaging with its mana whenua partners, as well as stakeholders and the community as to how the most can be made of this opportunity for the benefit of the public transport network in the future. 

Any future decisions regarding development on the site will require amendments to Greater Wellington's Annual Plan or Long-Term Plan as well as approvals from Waka Kotahi, and there will be the opportunity for interested parties to provide input and feedback through those processes.  

Updated December 12, 2022 at 3:05 PM

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