History of the decision to withdraw Wellington trolley buses and replace them with diesel ones.

The 2013 to 2016 Greater Regional Councillors pictured below voted, or agreed with, the proposal to get rid of the 100% pollution free trolley buses which have been replaced by old diesel ones. Most of the current GWRC councillors agree with that decision also. Current GWRC councillor Sue Kedgley and former councillor Paul Bruce opposed the removal of the trolley buses at the 2014 vote and fought vigorously until October 2017 to retain them. Alas there wasn't any support from the 2013 - 2016 Wellington City Councillors, either, to retain the trolley buses or replace them with pollution free alternatives. WCC councillors Sarah Free and Chris Calvi-Freeman elected in 2016 were not supported in their attempt to retain trolley buses on the Seatoun - Karori service, (route 2 from 15 July 2018).

The GWRC decision was made without a business case study, and seemingly without all other options being explored or costed. It is suggested that councillors made their decision with inaccurate and unverified statements being made to them about the condition of the buses and infrastructure.

1. Trolley buses were falling apart. Not so as most were less than 7 years old in 2014, yet were deemed suitable to convert to the now abandoned Wrightspeed technology, and are now likely to become battery electric buses. The first battery conversion, bus 361, is now on trial.

2. Overhead wires need total replacement costing tens of millions. Not so as most of the overheard infrastructure was finally brought up to date in 2012 (Karori route) and 2015/16 most of the rest of the system. Little maintenance was done on the overhead wires for 25 years leading to trolley buses reliability issues. All the overhead wiring was destroyed 2017/18.

3. Underground feeder cables all need replacing. Not so, although the Hania sub station feeder cables were damaged more than once by roading contractors and needed partial replacement.

4. Sub station circuit breakers and rectifiers needed replacing due to their age. This is correct, but why weren't the millions paid to WCC owned Wellington Cable Ltd by the GWRC used for this purpose ? Wellington Cable Car Ltd was paying the WCC very healthy dividends year after year, so we can we deduce just where that money was coming from ? The sub station equipment should have been progressively replaced from the early 1990s but wasn't. Now Wellington Cable Car Ltd is hemorrhaging money.  

Lambton Quay has 120 buses per hour passing through it at peak periods, all of which emit cancer causing particulates and noxious gases. The trolley buses which accounted for nearly half the CBD bus movements emitted zero pollution and made little noise. All bus drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are now at greater risk.

 

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