5 Mar 2014

Rapid bus system future for capital

9:13 pm on 5 March 2014

Double-decker or articulated buses, powered by electricity, diesel or hybrid fuel are to become the public transport of the future in Wellington.

That is instead of light rail, the system originally championed by mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

Wellington's regional transport committee has decided to adopt a bus rapid transit system with larger, faster buses - possibly with purpose-built roads - instead of light rail or the option of squeezing more buses onto existing roads.

The buses will be phased in over the next eight years.

Ms Wade-Brown says the new bus system is cheaper and more flexible than light rail and can service more suburbs.

Councillor Andy Foster believes light rail may needed in 20 years rather than electric buses he says will only provide a short-term solution to problems such as capacity.

However, the chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council dismissed his concerns. Fran Wilde says Mr Foster's argument is fruitless and his comments are just conjecture.

Ms Wilde says the new bus system is urgently needed. Improved buses can be introduced in 10 years' time and the fleet upgraded as technology improves.

She says Mr Foster doesn't understand the system's flexibility and room to expand capacity.