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GWRC transport woes to be discussed this morning

The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s transport committee is putting a positive spin on the city’s transport woes, while the Wellington City Council decides how to allocate nearly half a million dollars in grants.

by Mark Cubey

This morning’s monthly meeting of the Sustainable Transport Committee of the Greater Wellington Regional Council will address Wellington’s transport problems, though the agenda shows that the council seems to have little appetite for contrition.

The key item on the agenda is the presentation by GWRC chief executive Greg Campbell of the report on the implementation of the new Wellington bus network.

He writes that, “Interim measures are being put in place to address capacity issues and we are working hard to improve on-time performance and transfers, minimise cancelled trips, resolve issues with the Real Time Information System and complete the bus hubs.”

According to Campbell, Metlink, which operates the network on behalf of the GWRC, and its bus operators – mainly NZ Bus and Tranzit – “have been monitoring the performance of the network since it was implemented and now have a common understanding and appreciation of the current status”.

He maintains that “the data shows that the network is able to operate effectively under the current design” but adds “that does not mean that there are not issues that continue to negatively affect customer experience”.

The lengthy and detailed report in the agenda, unable to meet the prescribed two-day publication deadline before the meeting as advised by the GWRC for the second month in a row, purports that pressing issues such as effectiveness of bus hubs and transfers, accurate real time information, reliability of service, increased service frequency and reduction of overcrowding are all expected to be delivered by Metlink.

The report also acknowledges the mistake Metlink made in removing asking for seats to be removed from buses; this will now be reversed.

However there is much that disgruntled passengers will take issue with, including: further lengthy delays to construction of unwanted bus hubs; trying to spin that there has been an increase in use (by counting transfer trips as individual journeys, thus inflating the numbers); retrenching from last month’s commitment to extending the 18 route service by suggesting it finish at the mid-peak time of 6:00pm; casting cold water on the idea of reinstating the 14 route journey from Hataitai to Kilbirnie; and assessing school services as “generally working satisfactorily”.

There is more. Much more. It should be a lively meeting.

Also scheduled for a 9:30am start is a meeting of the Grants Subcommittee of Wellington City Council. It will be meeting to decide how to allocate $450,000 between 16 applications seeking funding of $1,606,023.

The campaign to raise $4.2 million for the earthquake strengthening of St John’s in the City is expected to receive around a quarter of the amount available.