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Bus route 18 to be restored after public pressure

The Greater Wellington Regional Council announced yesterday that the route 18 bus service between Miramar and Karori, via Newtown Hospital and Massey and Victoria Universities, will be returned to an off-peak operation, from its present peak-only schedule.

This goes part of the way to answering calls for change at last week’s Sustainable Transport meeting. It will help university students, many of whom travel to lectures outside peak travel times, and Miramar and Karori residents who want to access Newtown – particularly the Hospital – in offpeak hours.

The change was prompted by a recommendation moved by Councillor Daran Ponter to last week’s council meeting.

At that meeting it was noted that as the route 18 service does not travel along the Golden Mile of Lambton Quay and Manners Street, it does not contribute to the congestion along that part of the inner city, which the 15 July changes are designed to address.

Greater Wellington chair Chris Laidlaw fronted yesterday’s announcement, and claims the decision is evidence that the council is listening to concerns about the new bus network introduced by Metlink last month.

“This is the most obvious first change we can make.”

He emphasised, however, that the bus network can never return to the old design, which was “well past its use-by date”.

“Even though it’s still early days, the new network seems to have made a positive difference to these issues, and has set us up well for the anticipated future growth of our city and region.”

“The restoration of the full route 18 service is a measure we have identified early as something we can do to make a material improvement for this group of passengers, and we will now work with the operator to put it into effect as soon as possible,” says Laidlaw.

The change is not expected to be put in place until the end of the year. NZ Bus, who operate the route, will have to negotiate with the Tramways Union, and reorganise rosters. New timetables will have to be issued and changes made to information at bus stops.