The people of Wellington have been taken for an expensive bus ride and have been sorely let down by it's Regional Council over a period of at least nine years. All of the has cumulated in bus transport system that is unfit for purpose and solves few of the problems it purportedly attempted to fix.
We need Regional Councillors who will seek and focus upon the facts, that will critically question and evaluate what has been put before them. We want our Councillors to do what is right for the long term of our City our Region and our environment.
There can be no denying the fact that the old transport system did have some flaws and needed a few changes. But, having said that, it performed well. Central to our system was the trolley network, it was a low cost operation, and most importantly was carbon neutral.
It may be worth going through some of the debunked reasons why the Greater Wellington Regional Council decided to take away our trolley buses and land us with a system that has left us worse off. These reasons included:
- The trolley buses were getting old: Most were less than ten years old. We have replaced these buses with diesel buses that are older.
- The overhead wires needed replacement: Not so. Most of the overhead wires had been replaced by 2016 (the year before GWRC tore them all down!).
- The trolley buses would not be compatible with the proposed new routes: Well, we all know that was just untrue! They would have still been able to operate on most of the new network.
- The underground feeder cables needed to be replaced: Untrue.
It is no secret that we need to be seriously reducing our green house gas emissions. We have known this for years and numerous IPCC reports have spelt this out and the imminent dangers we will face if we don't make changes. What I have found astounding is that our Regional Council has ignored all of this and replaced no-emission trolley buses with old diesel replacements. As a consequence the carbon emissions have increased.
With climate change and the need to reduce both carbon and methane emissions we all need to act, but we need leadership from the top and this has been absent in relation to the approach to the bus stock. If actions speak louder than words, it is very clear that responding to Climate Change is not a priority for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
This is despite the promise of the GWRC Chair, Chris Laidlaw in the 2016-17 Annual Report where he states, "Public transport is undergoing a rapid evolution... With the promise of of a steady conversion of the region's bus fleet to full electric and far lower emissions." It hasn't happened and does not look likely to happen for a long, long time.
The big fact: Wellington is the only city in the world to have replaced carbon-neutral (trolley buses) public transport with old, carbon-emitting, diesel buses. And, our Regional Council has done this knowing that climate change is not something that is open for debate.