Buses- New Zealand

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Metro have released a draft public consultation brochure for proposed changes to the bus network later this year.

From the metro website:

Where people travel in Christchurch has changed. More people are now working in the suburbs, and using their local facilities, so while retaining good transport links to the central city is important, we need to reflect this change.

Fewer passengers are now using the buses because our current services don’t meet their needs. We need to make changes to encourage more bus usage, increase our financial viability and better reflect the ‘new’ Christchurch.

The proposed new routes will bring more buses to key suburban locations, such as Papanui and Barrington. Although not all services will continue to travel via the city centre, good connections will be provided between services.

To view the full consultation document please click here (pdf 992 kB).

You can also view the new routes descriptions and estimated operating hours here.

To provide us your feedback you can fillout the form below or print off a feedback form and mail back to us. Feedback form (pdf 117 kB).

Submissions must be received by Friday 3 August 2012.

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  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Auckland commuters could be in for trying times as bus drivers respond to a pay offer that has failed to win approval from union negotiators.

NZ Bus is urging passengers to make alternative travel arrangements between 9am and 2.30pm on Thursday, when all its Auckland buses, apart from those on the Inner Link route, will be off the road. More than 800 drivers are stopping work to vote on the offer.

According to a notice to the drivers of a paid stop-work meeting at Alexandra Park Raceway, issued by the Tramways Union and the First Union, eight days of pay talks with the company have ended without agreement for a new employment deal.

Auckland Tramways president Gary Froggatt, the unions' advocate, has confirmed his team is not ready to recommend a company pay proposal to the drivers, but said NZ Bus had accepted an invitation to present its position to Thursday's meeting.

He believed there remained scope for a settlement without extra disruption to passengers, possibly with the assistance of a Labour Department mediator.

But a long-term agreement reached in late 2009 after a bitter six-month dispute - which included the suspension of all NZ Bus services during a seven-day lockout of the drivers - is due to expire at the end of this week.

That will make it lawful for either party to take industrial action to press its negotiating position.

The agreement was aimed at ensuring there could be no industrial disruption to NZ Bus services - which account for about 70 per cent of Auckland bus trips and half of all public transport in the region - during last year's Rugby World Cup tournament.

It was reached after the former Auckland Regional Transport Authority withheld $1.1 million in subsidies from the bus company, which came under strong public criticism of its suspension of services during the lockout, forcing many commuters to walk to work.

The authority used some of the withheld money to pay $500 to each of the locked-out drivers, as part compensation for lost wages.

That was on top of a settlement that ultimately lifted their hourly pay by $2, in three stages to $18.75 by February this year.

According to the unions' stopwork meeting notice, the bus company is seeking a further three-year deal in return for an ultimate pay rise of 7.25 per cent, although the first instalment - of 2.3 per cent amounting to 43c - would not be paid until November.

The company has not commented on the negotiations other than to advise passengers to plan their travel carefully on Thursday, and to apologise to them in advance for any inconvenience.

Bus services run by Ritchies, Howick and Eastern, Birkenhead Transport, Urban Express and Airbus will not be affected.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Red Bus will run red-zone tours in Christchurch starting this month.

In March, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority sought expressions of interest in the inner-city tour service, listed as a “potential business opportunity” for private operators.

Red Bus was identified as the most able to provide the necessary health and safety logistics to run an operation potentially involving large numbers.

Cera’s bus tours through the central-city red zone late last year were popular, with more than 28,000 people taking the weekend and evening trips over a six-week period.

The tours, which will start outside the Canterbury Museum on July 17, will drive through the cordoned area of the central city.

Passengers will see and hear information through digital imagery and commentary.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said the tours were designed to give people an insight into the impact of the earthquakes on Christchurch, the support the city received from other communities after the quakes and the recovery effort.

The tours will run for about half an hour and cost $15 a person.

They will run daily between 10am and 2pm.

Children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

People are required to remain seated throughout the tour and to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

Anyone interested in going on the tour must book by phone – 0800 500 929 – or online at redbus.co.nz.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A free twice-weekly bus service enticing Tauranga pensioners to gamble in Hamilton has been panned by those who say not enough is being done to help problem gamblers.

SkyCity is in the spotlight after revelations the casino's bus service from Tauranga to Hamilton has been bumped up to twice a week in response to increasing demand.

SkyCity began the trips several years ago but growing patronage has seen the casino bus service go from once a week to operating on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The Problem Gambling Foundation has raised red flags over the practice and accused the casino of targeting the vulnerable.

Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said the bus service was inducing people to gamble, adding it raised further questions of SkyCity's host responsibility programmes.

Some bus users admitted they were problem gamblers.

SkyCity has defended the service saying no bus users are obliged to gamble or even enter the casino once in Hamilton.

Casino general manager Arthur Pitcher said the service was no different from courtesy buses organised by pubs.

But Kihikihi man Roger Taylor, 79, said not enough help was available to problem gamblers.

Mr Taylor, a member of the worldwide movement U3A (University of the Third Age), said he had seen first hand the devastating effects of gambling addiction.

"I have an acquaintance in Queensland who can't go past a place with pokies without going in," he said.

"It's an insidious addiction. People talk about problem gambling but nobody really explains the signs of it to people.

"SkyCity might say people on the bus don't have to visit the casino but they're not putting this bus on for philanthropic reasons, they're doing it because there is money in it.

"If you have something like a free bus service taking people to the casino there needs to be safeguards in place and the safeguards have to be completely independent of the casino."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Passengers on the red-zone bus tour are being given a glimpse of ”life after man” as the bus weaves its way through central Christchurch.

The latest addition to the Red Bus fleet will take people behind the central-city cordons, starting tomorrow.

The tours feature a new ”streamlined” bus, complete with two large video screens that will display pre-earthquake images, accompanied by a commentary from a Canterbury Museum guide.

A trial run with the media onboard was held today.

The bus weaves from outside the Canterbury Museum past Cranmer Square, along Salisbury and Barbadoes streets and into the cordoned-off central city, including through Cathedral Square.

It stops outside the Canterbury Television site, where 115 people died, and beside quake-hit Christ Church Cathedral.

Museum guide Virginia Malcolmson said the tours were designed to tell people about the quakes, what had happened since and what would happen next.

As Malcolmson talks, images of Christchurch before and after the quakes flash up on the screens.

What has come down, what will come down and what is coming down are pointed out.

Malcolmson described looking at Victoria Square as seeing a glimpse of ”life after man”.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe hoped the tours would tell Christchurch’s story.

”It’s saying this event’s happened, but here’s why, ” he said.

”It’s talking about where the city’s going and about the recovery process.”

The tours will run daily between 10am and 2pm. They will last about half an hour and cost $15.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A European approach to public transport could be implemented in Dunedin, through an Otago Regional Council plan.

Changes to Dunedin bus routes were proposed in the council’s draft Otago regional public transport plan 2012, which aimed to establish guidelines for all public transport providers in the region for the next six years.

The council recommended a network-wide review of bus routes next year, in keeping with a move away from radial routes running across the city via an Octagon hub.

Instead, a European approach to public transport could see connected lines with co-ordinated timetables and suburban transfer points at which passengers could change to other routes.

Public transport in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch already followed the European approach, which was designed to better cater for customer needs and increase patronage.

It could result in fewer buses travelling into and through Dunedin’s city centre.

The draft public transport plan will be considered by the ORC policy and submissions committee at a meeting in Dunedin tomorrow.

A report to the committee recommended the plan be publicly notified so Otago residents could make submissions on its content before a final plan was implemented.

Changes to Wakatipu Basin public transport were also included in the plan, which anticipated all services in the area would operate without public subsidy after an existing trial ended on February 29 next year.

Integrated ticketing and real-time information systems would remain under council management, as well as overall planning for the network, a report to the ORC committee stated.

ORC transport manager Jane Turnbull said the plan would probably be made public on August 18 and, if so, submissions would close on September 22. It was anticipated a hearing committee would consider submissions in early October, and the council would adopt a final document in December for implementation within a month.

The Public Transport Management Act 2008 required the council to prepare a new plan for Otago to replace the 2008 regional passenger transport plan, which expired at the end of last year.

All Otago territorial authorities and registered public transport operators were consulted in the plan’s drafting, as were the New Zealand Transport Agency, Ministry of Education and KiwiRail.

The plan built on Otago’s regional land transport strategy, the regional council’s draft land transport programme, and past submissions to local authorities about public transport.

Feedback from residents through previous consultations would be considered, and some of the recent submissions to the transport committee in respect of public transport had been included in the plan’s scope.

Ongoing feedback from bus users would also be studied.

The plan also addressed the council’s involvement in procuring public transport services, registration, a total mobility scheme and an integrated public transport network policy.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Sixteen bus services pass through Mangere Bridge every day yet none travels directly to the area’s biggest employer, Auckland Airport.

Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board is drawing Auckland Transport’s attention to the anomaly, along with other bus-related issues.

The board’s transport spokesperson, Lydia Sosene, explains that the two airports in the area employ about 12,000 people yet only 30 per cent of those workers live locally. She’d like to see numbers increase but says convoluted bus routes are hampering progress.

“There’s opportunities to up-skill and get jobs at the airport with programmes like Youth Connections, but public transport is the missing piece of the puzzle.”

The journey from Mangere Bridge to the airport, just 8km away, involves taking at least two different buses. It’s just as difficult to make the trip from Otahuhu.

“It’s ludicrous you can catch a single service to the airport from Botany but not from here. There is no direct connection from Otahuhu to the airport for residents, travellers,or people doing business.”

She says the area’s residents were especially reliant on public transport given their lower socio-economic makeup.

“We are a community with big challenges. Public transport has not served us well, yet it plays a key role.”

Ms Sosene describes how several hundred new homes have been built in Mangere’s Robertson Rd, yet only one of the street’s nine bus stops has a shelter.

“When you see who’s trying to use the buses it’s students and Super Gold Card users. They’re sitting in the rain and complaining to us every week. Some have to walk 2km to a bus stop.

“We need more than a pole and a yellow dotted line. We need proper shelters with seats.”

Another local board member, Carrol Elliott, says she drives to the CBD along Mount Eden Rd and admires “lovely” bus shelters lining the road.

“I’m so envious. Please could we have one or two for Robertson Rd?”

Ms Elliott lives off Coronation Rd in Mangere Bridge and says she sees plenty of buses “flying” past but none goes where she wants to go.

“One of the things promoted as a reason to get people out of cars and onto buses is convenience. Bus routes have been added as our area developed. They added a turn here and there – now the routes look like a bowl of multicoloured spaghetti.”

Local Board chair Peter Skelton concurs. “I have to catch three buses to get from Favona Rd to Penrose. It’s the mayor’s focus to get people connected together but at the moment it’s all over the place.”

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan agrees bus services to Mangere and Otahuhu are not well connected but says it isn’t feasible to provide direct links to the airport from every suburb. The agency is reviewing Auckland’s bus routes with the intention of delivering a simplified and better integrated network with fewer routes running more frequently and for longer periods.

“Mangere is not alone in Auckland in this respect.”

Mr Hannan says that as part of the review, the infrastructure that supports the network will be looked at.

“That will include a full review of bus stop locations and shelters, with a programme put in place based upon prioritised needs across the whole Auckland network, given available funding.”

He says Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board took part in a workshop on Auckland Transport’s proposals this month.

Other boards will follow before the opinions of South Auckland people are sought later this year.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Auckland commuters are being warned to expect delays on Friday afternoon as NZ Bus employees attend a union meeting.

Nearly 900 Auckland bus drivers will attend the meeting from 1pm until 4pm on Friday, after no agreement was reached at wage talks today.

Spokesperson for First Union Transport, Karl Andersen, said although the two parties were not that far apart, the company’s offer was unlikely to meet the expectations of Auckland bus drivers.

“Given the importance of these negotiations to nearly 900 Auckland bus drivers, we need to make sure that as many drivers as possible can now attend the report back meetings.”

NZ Bus is currently in negotiation with Tramways and First Union, who represent the bus operators in Auckland, for a new collective agreement.

NZ Bus wanted the union meeting be held earlier in the day to ensure less disruption to services, particularly schools.

“It’s disappointing that the unions have not agreed to hold their meeting a couple of hours earlier, when the impact could be minimised”, said Shane McMahon of NZ Bus.

McMahon said the offer on the table is to increase wages by 6.6% over 27 months in three movements.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Queenstown bus service is moving towards becoming fully Commercialised, having been subsidised by the Otago Regional Council (ORC) for the past two years.

ORC awarded a contract to Connectabus, of Queenstown, in 2010, to operate a combination of subsidised and non-subsidised services on a trial basis.

The subsidised services are Queenstown to Arthurs Point, Frankton to Kelvin Heights, and Glenda Drive/Quail Rise/Lake Hayes Estate, while the commercial services are Queenstown to Arrowtown, Remarkables Park, and Fernhill/Sunshine Bay.

ORC director of corporate services Wayne Scott said the Arthurs Point service would be the first one to become fully commercial and operate without a subsidy from the end of September. It would operate with a reduced subsidy in the meantime.

Connectabus was reviewing the timetable for the remaining services so they would ultimately reflect usage and peak service requirements. Any changes would ideally be in place by the end of this calendar year.

Mr Scott said Wakatipu people had been very supportive of the trial, and this had given the operator confidence to ultimately operate the service on a stand-alone basis.

This was borne out by patronage figures across the network which saw the number of trips taken rise from 517,758 in the 2010-11 financial year to 619,816 in the 2011-12 financial year.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

On Wednesday 15 August,  Metro will be going live with their new website.

It certainly looks nice and refreshing.  The new website shows pictures of the buses on the timetables so passengers know which colour bus to expect.

It’s also got a new format for the timetables.  Instead of reading across, you read down.  It’s a little weird at first,  I’m not use to reading timetables this way.  I know many cities have timetables in this format.

With Christchurch’s continuing route diversions,  metro have placed a useful ”Detours & Updates” box on the main page.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Invercargill Passenger Transport (IPT) have won a recent tender for the Invercargill bus service.

The 5-year contract, commencing on December 3rd will see an introduction to many new features onboard the buses.

All buses will have bike racks, onboard audio announcement systems, electronic ticketing, LCD screens, CCTV and WiFi.

There will also be new routes.

Audible announcements and visual display monitors for bus departures will be installed at the 3 main CBD termini.  A major renewal of the bus shelter asset is currently being palnned to coincide with 3 Dec start date.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A pedestrian culture of not looking properly was prevalent in Wellington.

A pedestrian culture of not looking properly was prevalent in Wellington.

Pedestrians – not drivers – are at fault in most bus crashes involving pedestrians in central Wellington.

A long-awaited pedestrian safety review was released today at a briefing for Wellington city councillors.

Safe and sustainable transport manager Paul Barker told councillors while accidents were rare, a pedestrian culture of not looking properly was prevalent in Wellington.

”It’s a small percentage, but it’s a worrying percentage.”

”We accept that pedestrians are stepping into the road way and not looking to the right,” he said.

Recommendations put forward include:

* Slowing down traffic to 20kmh through Willis and Manners streets

* Introducing street furniture such as benches to create safer crossing areas

* Making buses easier to see

* Reducing the waiting times at lights

* Using social media campaigns to encourage safer crossing behaviours

* Red light cameras

* Training bus drivers to leave larger gaps between vehicles.

The end of Bond St will also be blocked to prevent cars turning in to Willis St.

However, handing out fines for jaywalking and permanent barriers is not on the cards.

The aim was to create an environment that made it as easy as possible for people to make the right choice, while also lessening the potential impact when people didn’t, Barker said.

”We accept that humans fail, and we need a system that picks up and compensates for that.”

The reports were commissioned after accidents between pedestrians and buses on the new two-way bus route – including the death of jogger Venessa Green last year. NZ Bus director Tim Brown was also seriously injured last month.

At least 13 people have been hit by buses since the council’s $12.5 million Manners St bus lane opened in November 2010, and a series of vehicles exiting Bond St are understood to have been hit by buses at the busy junction.

Findings from the report include:

*People 25 and under were more likely to cross at non-signalled points

* Women were least likely to look properly before stepping out,

* At controlled crossings people would use a ”pack mentality”, assuming people at the front of the crowd had looked

* Twenty-five people were observed crossing without looking at all.

CitiOperations manager Mike Mendonca said the barriers temporary barriers along Willis St would stay for up to a year.

The barriers would only be taken down once officers were satisfied the environment was safer, he said.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomed the ”complimentary” studies that made up the review, and said she supported moves to keep temporary barriers along Willis St until more permanent changes could be made.

”What we’re trying to do, rather than allocate blame in anyway is find solutions … so that a mistake doesn’t result in injury or death.”

The pedestrian safety study was launched earlier this year by a steering group made up of Wellington City Council, NZ Bus, police, the Tramways Union, NZ Transport Agency and Greater Wellington regional council.

How do you cross the road?

In New Zealand there is no law against jaywalking most of the time – you are legally allowed to cross the road.

However, there are rules around where and how you cross the road, and infringements ranging from $10 to $35 can be dished out if you decide to make an unsafe dash to the other side.

* The main rule is that, if you are within 20 metres of a controlled crossing – either a zebra crossing or light signals – you are required to walk to that crossing to make your way across the road.

* You are meant to wait for the green man at intersections controlled by signals.

* You are required to keep to the footpath while walking, and cross at right angles rather than diagonally.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

More trouble looms for Auckland commuters after NZ Bus drivers vowed to take industrial action even if it provokes the company into locking them out.

The company denies even hinting at locking out its 900 or so unionised Auckland drivers, as it did for seven days in a bitter pay dispute three years ago.

But almost 700 of the drivers at a stopwork meeting yesterday voted by a 97 per cent majority to reject a company pay offer and serve notice of a “work to rule” campaign, despite advice from union leaders to keep the possibility of a lockout in mind.

“The gloves are off,” one First Union delegate said after the meeting, which halted the company’s 70 per cent share of Auckland’s scheduled bus services for more than five hours from 11am.

School buses were driven by non-union drivers and most commuters appeared to have got the message to make other travel plans, although some casual passengers were stranded at bus stops left without posters to tell them of the disruption.

Young mother Danielle Rocque was annoyed at having to call a taxi for herself and 7-month-old Moses, and a Weekend Herald reporter had to use informal sign-language

to tell an elderly Chinese woman there would be no buses for four more hours.

Trains were “chocker” for about three hours from 1pm, said one Britomart official, although the station was back to normal passenger numbers by about 4pm when the buses started running again.

He said the parties had been close to a deal including an offer of a 6.6 per cent wage rise in instalments over 27 months, which made it all the more disappointing that the company would not budge on penal rates for “cancelled days off”.Although the company blamed the timing of the stopwork meeting for the disruption, Auckland Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt said it was given three days’ notice to ensure notices went up on all buses and stops.

There had been calls from drivers at the meeting to demand the offered wage increase – from $18.75c to $20 an hour – immediately rather than wait until 2014 for the final instalment.

Mr Froggatt described the work-to-rule, to start the week after next, as “low-level industrial action”.

But he acknowledging that measures such as taking five minutes on terminal duties at the end of each trip could cause logistical difficulties for the company.

He also accepted the company had taken a far less “combatant” stance this year than it did in 2009, but said it was important for the drivers to be aware of its right under industrial law to lock them out.

NZ Bus chief operations officer Shane McMahon defended the pay offer, saying it was being made in difficult times.

“Times are tough right now with unemployment at 6.8 per cent and the offer tried to move wages forward, while still remaining competitive and ensuring job security for our people.”

He acknowledged the company made a profit of $46 million in the last financial year, but said it invested about $60 million over that period in new Auckland buses.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Posted by:
"schreibmaschiner" schreibmaschiner

Greater Wellington Regional Council has a small ad in today's Wellingtonian (a community newspaper), page 13, with a tiny-scale map of its proposed bus route changes following consultation on the "review."

It gives this link to the GWRC website. There is nothing on the GWRC front page about this at all so you will only find this by reading the small print of the newspaper ad:


You can get a PDF of the map there.

Basicially, this is the proposal for the trolley buses:

Aro Street 9 route dieselised and extended up Raroa Rd to Highbury, while still running to the Railway.

Hataitai 5 route scrapped with no replacement, service covered by the present 14, which will still run to Wilton but terminate at Hataitai rather than run to Kilbirnie.

Newtown Park 10 route scrapped, covered seven days by the present Houghton Bay to Mairangi which will run via Taranaki St and the Terrace to Salamanca rd rather than Adelaide Rd and the Golden Mile, and extend to Crofton Downs.

All other trolley routes will stay but with some changes:

Karori 3 will interlink with Island Bay 1 rather than the present Lyall Bay.

Seatoun 11 will remain trolley rather than go diesel, the plan to divert via the Terrace has been specifically dropped.

Lyall Bay 3 will remain trolley, the plan to divert it as a diesel via Evans Bay has been dropped.

Miramar 2 to remain unchanged.

Kingston 7 now appears as a major core (high frequency) route rather than shared 50/50 with Kowhai Park diesel route.

To sum up:

Three trolley routes to be scrapped, 5, 9 and 10. These are all short spurs off main routes with low patronage. Hardly anyone uses the 9.

All remaining trolley routes will be core "high frequency routes" that operate seven days a week. The 5, 9 and 10 only operated on weekdays at long intervals from 6am to 6pm and hardly justified the cost of trolley infrastructure.

The six or so buses used on the 5, 9 and 10 can be used to replace peak time diesels on the other routes.

The proposal to dieselise the Lyall Bay and Seatoun routes have been dropped -- no reason given but I pointed out in my review submissions that their wires from Kilbirnie on had been completely renewed at great cost very recently, as recently as March in the case of Seatoun. 

This is probably the best outcome we could have hoped for and is much better than was originally proposed.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Auckland Transport is denying speculation that Snapper been dumped from a project to unite the city's public transport infrastructure under a single electronic billing system.

Several media reports this morning claimed the transport authority's board met yesterday to drop the firm and rescue the $98 million Hop project after the Snapper technology used by NZ Bus, the city's biggest bus operator, proved incompatible with the overall billing system.

However, Sharon Hunter, a spokesperson for Auckland Transport, said there was nothing extraordinary about yesterday's meeting, and that it was still working with Snapper on the project.

But she did admit there was "still some discussion" around whether the project will meet its scheduled November 30 launch date.

The Auckland Integrated Fare System - one of the largest IT initiatives in Australasia at the moment - aims to create a single billing platform across the Auckland's ferries, trains and buses.

Snapper and Auckland Transport made headlines in June after problems with an interim system put in place on NZ Bus' component of the project surfaced, which resulted in the regional transport agency alleging various breaches of the participation agreement and filing a claim for damages.

The interim system was set up as a field trial, with the aim to ultimately incorporate it with those used by other bus, rail and ferry operators. It's understood the rail and ferry components are complete.

Snapper, which is owned by listed infrastructure investor Infratil, said the claims were unfounded, and any compatibility issues likely rested with Parkeon, a company that provides similar services across the other Auckland bus companies.

Some of the technical issues reported at the time included some NZ Bus customers being charged penalty fees after card reader failures prevented them from tagging off.

Neither Snapper nor Infratil were available for immediate comment.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Wellington electronic-card supplier Snapper Services has come out swinging against a decision by Auckland Transport to sack it from the region’s troubled public transport ticketing project without any apparent compensation.

The Infratil subsidiary and sister company of the region’s main bus operator, NZ Bus, vowed last night that “all necessary steps will be taken to recover losses arising from the wrongful termination”.

It warned that Auckland ratepayers would be the casualties, saying the ultimate cost of the decision by the council transport organisation’s board at an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon was likely to the significant, boosting what it believed had already been more than $100 million spent on developing a public transport ticket across most of the region’s buses, trains and ferries.

“Snapper’s clear legal position is that it has not breached its contract with Auckland Transport,” said chairwoman Rhoda Phillippo.

“The fault lies with Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the French multinational Thales for not providing the critical components for successful integration.”

Thales won the main $87 million supply and operating contract for an integrated Hop ticket ahead of Snapper, after the local company held up a tendering process for more than six months by claiming impropriety by a former Auckland Regional Transport Authority official, whom the Transport Agency cleared of blame.

Yesterday, Auckland Transport announced that it had decided to terminate a “participation agreement” by which Snapper was allowed to supply an early Hop card last year to the 650-strong NZ Bus fleet.

The organisation said it had concluded Snapper was unable to meet a stretched deadline of November 30 to make its card readers compliant with the wider scheme, for which the Transport Agency is paying $56 million and Auckland ratepayers $42 million. It said Thales now had the task of adding the region’s bus fleets to the scheme, but that would not start until April.

The Weekend Herald understands that follows difficulties also faced by a separate consortium supplying equipment to smaller bus firms.

But a defiant Ms Phillippo said last night that NZ Bus would continue to operate “HopSnapper” cards, of which there are almost 200,000 in circulation in Auckland, and for which her company had “never received any compensation for its integration efforts”.

The transport organisation’s chief executive, David Warburton, said earlier that it had “terminated its participation agreement” with Snapper in the interests of “protecting Aucklanders’ money and progressing the essential outcome of a first-class integrated ticketing programme for public transport in the region”.

“This is a regrettable decision but follows our conclusion that Snapper could not modify its system in a suitable timeframe to make it compliant with the technology being progressively developed for Auckland Transport by French firm Thales,” Dr Warburton said.

It is understood Snapper sought an exit payment of $12 million, but was rebuffed by Auckland Transport’s board.

Despite Ms Phillippo’s complaint that Snapper had not received compensation, its early Hop version was rolled out under a $1 million marketing budget from Auckland Transport

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland Council planners are backing a politician's call for a northwestern busway - but not at the cost of delaying the $2 billion Waterview motorway project.

Although Labour transport spokesman and Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford is pleased about support for the concept in a staff report, he is disappointed the Government's Transport Agency will not "future-proof" the motorway project for a dedicated off-road busway like that on the North Shore.

"My view is that we are going to need a full-service busway there within a decade," he said.

Transport Agency acting northern highways manager Steve Mutton said a 2010 study had indicated passenger demand for a busway was "decades away" and a plan to widen and extend shoulder lanes would suffice for now.

But Mr Twyford believes new plans by Auckland Transport to ramp up bus services along the motorway and through arterial feeder roads from 2016 to at least once every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, aided by passenger transfer stations at Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, will fuel demand beyond predictions.

As well as building a 4.5km link between State Highways 20 and 16 at Waterview for $1.4 billion, the agency intends widening more than 8km of motorway from St Lukes to Te Atatu by 2017 for about $600 million.

That will include raising and widening between Waterview and Te Atatu for $270 million from the beginning of next year, but not a busway.

The council report is due for consideration tomorrow.

Connecting the west

*New bus interchanges planned for Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, and 15-minute services - from early 2016

*Widened Te Atatu-Waterview motorway causeway, for extra traffic and bus "shoulder" lanes - from early 2017

*Full off-road busway from Waterview to Westgate - between 2022 and 2041 (Auckland Plan provision

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Shakeup plans include running feeder buses to transport hubs.


Auckland buses are facing a major shakeup in a new proposed plan. Photo / Doug Sherring

Auckland buses face a major shakeup, and the region could be divided into zones similar to London's network as authorities look to streamline services and fares.

Changes to about 400 services proposed by Auckland Transport are being put up today for a month of public consultations.

Regular services could be cut to about 130, bolstered with 40 peak-only commuter runs, but the council body says there will be only minor changes to coverage. It says its priority is to simplify the network in return for service frequencies of 15 minutes or better between 7am and 7pm each day along about 30 bus corridors, and more often at peak times.

Click here for a closer look at the transport proposal.

These will be complemented by "connector" buses running every 30 minutes, and localised and targeted services.

It has created a Tube-style map showing services running in Auckland, and the "zones" fares could soon be linked to.

Network planning manager Anthony Cross said that although "some" people would have to walk further to bus stops, that was unlikely to be more than about 200m in most cases, and frequent bus services would be put within reach of many more Aucklanders.

Cutting out duplication would mean relying more on feeder buses for passenger transfers to high-frequency routes, including rail, and developing transport interchanges at key locations such as Otahuhu, Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd in Henderson.

Public transport operations manager Mark Lambert said getting passengers used to making easy transfers was an important step towards gaining maximum benefit from the proposed underground city rail link.

Passengers would gain a 50c discount for transfers until a new fare system could be introduced by the end of 2014, in which there would be no charge for swapping between services within each of six new zones.

Mr Lambert said Auckland Transport was seeking public comment only on the overall structure of the new system for now. There would be opportunities for more detailed consultation at each stage of a three-year rollout to 2016, starting next year with South Auckland, Titirangi-Green Bay and some parts of the central isthmus.

The draft plan also points to a Government requirement to increase the contribution of passenger fares to transport costs from 44.3 per cent now to 50 per cent.

Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee warned that higher fares would undermine the push for greater patronage, but welcomed the route restructuring, saying the region could not have a "more inefficient, expensive, ramshackle bus system" than at present.

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
A public transport shake-up proposes cheaper bus fares for North Shore residents compared to Auckland's poorer areas. 
    Under a draft zoning plan, by Auckland Transport, Albany residents would receive a cheaper two-zone bus fare than those living south of Otahuhu or west of New Lynn. 

    Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford said the public transport zones proposed by the council-controlled organisation are unfair to some of Auckland's most deprived communities. 

    "People in West Auckland and south are low-income families and wage workers who are heavily reliant on public transport. They will be penalised under this system." 

    Twyford said Auckland Transport should redraw the zoning lines on the map or introduce distance based charging, he said. 

"I have spoken against these zones because they are unfair and I don't want to see our community disadvantaged." 

    The Auckland Regional Public Transport Plan aimed to put frequent bus services within reach of more Aucklanders.  

    The plan is open for submissions until November 5. 

    Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter called on the public to make submission if they have any concerns with the plan. 

    She said the zoning map is historical and is only a proposal. 

    "This is a draft - it is not set it concrete." 

    Under the proposal, buses would arrive at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm on popular routes. 

    Zone-based fare systems would allow unlimited travel in a certain time and area on buses and trains. 

    Passengers would need to transfer at key interchanges for some trips and also need to walk further to bus stops. 

    A copy of the draft plan and feedback form can be found on Auckland Transport's website http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/rptp

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Bus companies see low trees on some routes as a major issue.


Howick and Eastern has attached a metal frame on one of its buses to a height of 4.2m to start trials next week. Photo / Supplied

Double-decker buses are coming to the aid of Auckland's public transport, which will see the first one plying the Northern Busway next month.

Northern Express service operator Ritchies Transport expects the 88-seater vehicle to arrive by sea from Malaysia at the weekend, before being painted in Auckland Transport livery for trips to start between Albany and Britomart by mid-March.

Rival operators NZ Bus and the Howick and Eastern Buses are also involved in "infrastructure trials" with the council transport body to select other potential routes for double-deckers.

But although the newcomers are expected to have a clear run along the busway and over the harbour bridge, the Tramways Union warns of difficulties posed by overhanging trees and other obstacles including traffic lights and even building verandas on routes such as Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd.

Auckland Transport acknowledges some routes may prove unsuitable, but says double-deckers offer an opportunity to increase passenger capacity on others by up to 70 per cent, and are preferable to longer articulated or "bendy" buses.

Ritchies managing director Andrew Ritchie said his firm had run a fleet of double-decker coaches for tourists for more than 10 years and "we know where we can go".

It hoped to order 15 to 20 more once the pioneering vehicle had proven successful in clearing peak-time passenger loads on the busway.

"I don't think there will be any issues, but just to make sure it is all okay, it is better to just get one and then if we want to make changes [for future buses], to make those off the first one."

Mr Ritchie said the bus had been purpose-built over a European Scania chassis, and would be about 4.3m high.

Although it would not have a conductor to supervise passengers reaching the top deck, he expected the roll-out of Auckland Transport's electronic Hop card to buses from April to improve loading times.

He understood the council organisation did some tree-trimming along Fanshawe St so double-deckers could get close enough to bus stops, but not any major pruning.

Howick and Eastern general manager Sheryll Otway said her company was keen to select a main arterial route from its home base to the city before ordering several double-decker buses for delivery next year.

It wanted to reduce its "geographical footprint" with double-deckers about a metre shorter than its existing 13.5m vehicles.

It has attached a metal frame on one of its existing buses to a height of 4.2m, ready to start infrastructure trials next week, but Ms Otway does not expect any major obstacles.

NZ Bus conducted a similar trial along Mt Eden Rd this week, but has yet to disclose its findings.

One bus driver told the Herald that the exercise threw up major challenges from over-hanging trees and traffic lights.

Auckland Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt said introducing double-deckers to inner city streets would be "an absolute disaster" and some drivers had problems with single-deckers.

"We actually had a double decker bus some years ago, I think under [previous bus fleet owner] Stagecoach - it was tried out and came back all ripped along the top."

"Our standard buses are hitting trees now, never mind the double-deckers."

Mr Froggatt said Auckland Transport was taking too long to clear trees along bus routes, including in South Auckland, where one of his driver delegates was threatening to "take a chainsaw out there and fix it himself".

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

With the smell of new plastic and views of Auckland's harbour, passengers and officials took a top seat in city's new double decker bus.

   The 86-seater bus completed its test run today as it prepares to hit the Northern Busway route on Monday.

   And the service got the thumbs up from the bus's first passenger.

   Marina Zhang took her seat between suited-up Auckland Council officials.

   "I'm very excited about being the first passenger. It's very good and I like the second level."

   She travelled every day on the bus from her home in Sunnynook to her city job.

   Anothe equally excited passenger, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, took his seat up top.

   "It's like being a tourist in your own city," Brown said, adding double decker buses could be the future of Auckland although, it did offer up more challenges for the city's gardeners.

   Brown said the council had to ensure shrubs and plants did not hinder the extra-tall bus.

   Ritchies Coachlines are contracted to run the service and company director Andrew Ritchie said they were considering purchasing another 20 buses for the North Shore route.

   The buses provide passengers more space and comfort along the increasingly popular route, he said.

   The bus is just over four metres high and comes with a $70,000 price tag.

   Although the good-news bus story comes shortly after doubts surfaced over the city's trams, the mayor came to the defence of the trams.

   Brown said he would support saving the old Wynyard Quarter trams.

   Although, he said, you could not compare the new bus with the tram's future as buses were public transport while the tram was for tourists.

   "It's a small blip on a big journey."

   Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer said reports Waterfront Auckland has suspended funding for the trams should come as no surprise.

   Brewer said revenue for ticket sales for the trams were a third of what was forecast in the trams' first eight months.

   Ratepayers are forking out for the trams' operating loss, he said.

   "The trams financial failure was well-signalled."

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Auckland bus passengers should expect some inconvenience in return for a simpler network.

United States consultant Jarrett Walker, leader of a team which has prescribed the radical network redesign adopted by Auckland Transport, says a two-thirds reduction in the region's existing jumble of 400 bus services will prove controversial in some cases.

A network of fewer but higher-frequency services relying on more passenger transfers between buses cannot sacrifice simplicity, he says.

He expects some to complain when asked to walk further to their nearest bus stop.

"Frequency is very expensive, so a high-frequency network has to be a very efficient deployment of services," he said during a return visit to Auckland, where his strategy should start unfolding in 18 months, subject to public consultation.

"Simplicity is so crucial, legibility, being able to keep [route] patterns in your head and that necessarily means we have to follow some fairly simple paths that won't be what some people are used to."

Auckland Transport expects to operate the redesigned network for about the same cost as existing services, although it faces some extra capital spending on bus transfer stations such as at Otahuhu, Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd in Henderson.

For more on transport solutions:

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
on’t Scrap our Trolley Buses, say Greens

Friday, 4 April 2014, 3:19 pm
Press Release: Green Party
Media Release: Don’t Scrap our Trolley Buses, say Greens.

The Green party is launching a campaign to keep Wellington’s trolley buses, and convert them into a more efficient, reliable and flexible bus service, using the latest electric technology, including batteries that can be recharged from overhead wires.

The Wellington Regional Council Public Transport plan, which is being released today, includes a proposal to scrap Wellington’s fleet of 60 trolley buses, even though no decision has been made as to what to replace them with.

“We want the Council to halt its plans to scrap our trolley buses, and conduct a trial to see how trolley buses perform with rechargeable batteries and high efficiency motors installed into them,” Paul Bruce, Wellington Regional Councillor said today.

“Our trolley buses are quiet, and have no emissions,’ Sue Kedgley, Wellington Regional Councillor said today. “It doesn’t make sense to scrap these iconic, zero-emitting, climate-friendly trolley buses and replace them with noisy, polluting diesel buses, when international research is highlighting the health risks of diesel fumes, and some cities are moving to prohibit diesel buses entirely from inner cities.”

“Trolley buses run on renewable energy, and insulate us against potential future oil shocks,” Green MP and Energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today. “It would be extremely short sighted to get rid of our electric trolley buses and replace then with oil-based diesel buses, at the very time that the world is running out of easy-to-get oil.”

“Electric battery technology is evolving rapidly, and modern batteries and charging systems could transform our trolley bus fleet, and enable it to travel substantial distances without overhead wires,” Paul Bruce said.

“With modern motors and rechargeable batteries in them, we believe trolley buses would be as reliable and flexible as diesel buses, but without their noise or pollution,” Ms Kedgley said.

“It would be foolish to scrap the trolley bus fleet when New Zealand Bus has recently spent $40 million dollars upgrading them, and they have a further 10 -15 years of life in them,’ Gareth Hughes said. “And why scrap the overhead wires when they’ve been recently upgraded, and are used to support our internet network in Wellington.


Don’t Scrap the Trolleys!

The Green Party is launching a campaign to retain and upgrade Wellington’s trolley buses, and convert them into a more efficient, reliable and flexible bus service, using the latest electric vehicle battery technology.

This new technology could greatly improve the performance of trolley buses, and ensure that they are as flexible and reliable as diesel buses, but without the emissions or noise of diesel buses.

It is therefore calling on the Wellington Regional Council to delay its plans, outlined in its Public Transport plan, to scrap the trolley buses, and conduct a trial to see how trolley buses perform with rechargeable batteries and high efficiency motors installed into them. If the trial is successful, it would like to see the entire fleet of trolley buses upgraded in this way.


Wellington is fortunate to have a fleet of quiet, zero emitting, climate friendly trolley buses, which run on renewable energy sources instead of diesel, and therefore insulate us against any potential future oil shocks.

New Zealand Bus has recently invested $40 million dollars in upgrading our trolley bus fleet, and as a result, our trolley buses have a further 10 -15 years of life in them. As well, the trolley bus overhead wires have also been upgraded, and are used to support our internet network in Wellington.

At the same time, electric battery technology is evolving rapidly, and modern batteries and charging systems are now available that could transform our trolley bus fleet and make it more flexible and efficient, able to travel substantial distances without relying on overhead wires. These modern batteries could be recharged through our existing overhead wires, or through wireless charging technologies, to make them even more efficient.

Given this new technology, we believe it would be a major mistake to scrap our trolley bus fleet and close off future, sustainable options in a rapidly developing field. It would be particularly short sighted to get rid of our only non-polluting form of transport before we have decided what would replace them. And it would foolhardy to replace zero emission trolley buses that run on renewable energy, with oil-based diesel buses.

Instead we should trial the new technology, and assess their effectiveness. If the trial is successful, we should convert the rest of the trolley bus fleet.

We therefore propose that an existing trolley bus is modernized with a high efficiency motor and batteries that can be recharged from overhead wires, or by being plugged in at a depot. Another charging system, using induction at stops, could be used to trial the ability for trolley buses to run off-wire for sections of a route. Yet another option would be to trial a trolley bus with a diesel generator backup, and a hybrid bus, and compare all these different buses for their performance and efficiency.

We need to recognize, too, that our overhead wires are part of our strategic infrastructure, and enable electric powered public transport. Any future electric powered transport could use our overhead wire network. At a time when fossil fuels are becoming scarcer and rising in cost, it makes sense to have the option of using renewable energy to power public transport. Taking down the overhead wires, as is proposed in the Regional Council Public Transport plan, would close off this option forever, and would be the equivalent of pulling up the railway lines.

We further note that:
• New Zealand electricity is around 75% renewable, with large untapped resources of wind and solar energy if demand grows.
• Electric vehicle technology is evolving very rapidly, with lower costs and higher performance.
• There are about 400 public transport systems operating trolleybuses worldwide, with over 600 new trolleybuses scheduled for delivery this year.
• International research is increasingly highlighting the health risks of operating diesel vehicles in busy pedestrian streets—some cities have already banned diesels in inner city areas.
• New electric buses cost around one million dollars each to purchase, and we believe it may be more economical to upgrade our existing trolley bus fleet than scrap it and purchase new electric buses.
• Hybrid buses could also use trolley poles in town. And a future light rail system could also tap into a well-established system.

Please support our proposals by making a submission to Council and by attending our public meeting 16th April 5.30pm at the Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane (off Tory Street close to Courtenay Pace). .

Submission Guide

Make a submission to http://www.gw.govt.nz/draft-regional-public-transport-plan-2014/ requesting:

That the Greater Wellington Regional Council defer making any decision about the future of Wellington’s trolley buses until it has conducted a trial to upgrade several existing trolley buses with modern high efficiency motors and batteries that can be charged either from overhead wires or by being plugged in at a depot.

That Wellington keeps its overhead wire network, to ensure that Wellington remains resilient, and retains the option of electric powered public transport.

That no decision is made about replacing Wellington’s fleet of trolley buses until a zero-emitting alternative option has been selected. Say you do not want our non-polluting trolley bus fleet replaced with oil-based, polluting trolley buses.

Public Meeting: 16th April 5.30pm at the Sustainability Trust, 2 Forresters Lane

Stakeholder Meetings
(Please RSVP nichola.powell.gw.govt.nz the meetings you plan to attend)
7 April 7pm - Northern suburbs - Johnsonville Community Centre 3 Frankmoore Avenue, Johnsonville
8 April 7pm - PT Advocates, Committee Room, GWRC, 2 Fryatt Quay, Harbour Quays
9 April 7pm – Southern suburbs - Parks Bowling Club Hall, 598 Evans Bay Parade, Kilbirnie
10 April 10.30am – Khandallah/Nagio/Crofton - Meeting Room 14, GWRC, 2 Fryatt Quay, Harbour Quays
10 April 7pm – Central suburbs - St Thomas More Church, 30a Worcester Street, Wilton
28 April 7pm - Central suburbs - Committee Room, GWRC, 2 Fryatt Quay, Harbour Quays
30 April 7pm – Eastern Suburbs – Strathmore Community Centre, 108 Strathmore Avenue, Strathmore Park
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
OPINION: Sad as it will be to see them go, Wellington should get rid of its trolley buses. The case is sound.
To work properly, public transport systems need to be fast, reliable and affordable. Wellington has fine public transport, with unusually high passenger numbers, but trolley buses are hampering it on all of these fronts.
To keep the trolleys running, a major $52 million electricity infrastructure upgrade looms. Beyond that, simply maintaining their overhead wires costs $6m per year.
These substantial outlays drive up fares; other options require neither of them.As bus passengers know, trolley buses are also ponderous and prone to queues and breakdowns. A close study of Wellington's bus options concludes that ''time savings'' will be the biggest benefit of cutting trolley buses.
Furthermore, the transport agencies have already decided on ''bus rapid transit'' for Wellington - with features like dedicated bus lanes, multiple entry points and high-capacity buses. Trolley buses, with their expensive fixed infrastructure, make this promising idea much more difficult.
Critics say dropping trolley buses is environmentally daft, because of their low carbon emissions. (They're responsible only for what's produced by generating their electricity).
In fact, the bus fleet will get cleaner from 2018 regardless of which replacement option is chosen, because of the significant fuel-efficiency improvements in new diesel buses.
On a deeper level, it's clear the best way to reduce transport-related carbon emissions is to get people out of their cars. That's not easy - as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott once put it, ''even the humblest person is king in his own car''.
The best counter to this is an excellent, reliable public transport system. Every measure that makes buses faster and cheaper encourages more people to take them. Green MPs of all people should recognise this, and drop their Save the Trolleys talk.The other argument for holding on to the buses is nostalgia; they've been a recognisable feature in Wellington's urban landscape since 1924.
This is fair up to a point, but the buses are working vehicles that people rely on, not municipal decorations.
No one should get too misty-eyed over this. Only 20 per cent of the city's current fleet are trolleys. They don't operate at weekends at all, and they're frequently hauled off entire routes when roadworks or other problems arise.
So the city should say goodbye to the buses. What should replace them? There are several good options, including an all-diesel fleet or hybrids. Interesting new technologies are also developing rapidly, though they deserve caution. The report on
Wellington's bus options suggests a ''temporary solution'' might work until their kinks are ironed out.


Whatever option is chosen, there's one more step transport administrators should take: use the savings to cut fares. Wellington passengers currently pay too much for bus rides. Better service and lower costs would be a boon for them. If they coax some people out of cars, too, they would also be that rare thing: a free lunch
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Backers of Wellington's endangered trolley buses have rushed to their defence.
Under the Greater Wellington Regional Council's draft regional public transport plan, the trolley buses would be ditched after 2017.
There are 60 trolley buses in the city's fleet, which was upgraded at a cost of $27 million seven years ago. They would go under the plan, as would the city's 218 other buses, to be replaced by more modern vehicles, which have not been chosen yet.
Several submitters to the draft plan yesterday questioned the wisdom of discarding the trolley-bus network.
"Once they're gone that's it. It's something you'll live to regret," Paul Kelliher said.
Tim Bollinger said the history of the trolley buses reflected that of Wellington.
"The city was created on these lines and this system."
Ken New described the plans as crazy. "You're going to replace zero emission buses with polluting diesels powered by imported oil."
But not all submitters were as taken with the trolley buses. The cost of maintaining the "ugly" wire network could not be justified, Frank Quirke said. "Imagine how different the city would look if they were removed."
NZ Bus general manager strategy Scott Thorne said consideration should be given to keeping some elements of the trolley service through to 2022.
"Keeping partial trolley services on key routes would preserve the environmental benefits and perceptions of our city, reduce the network costs and ensure greater value from the $36 million trolley fleet, which will otherwise be scrapped prematurely."
Bus and Coach Association chief executive Barry Kidd warned against adopting new technology too soon. "There's a real risk when opting to pick a winner, and we're not sure it's the right time."
Wellington Tramways Union secretary Kevin O'Sullivan said the trolley buses had a useful life until at least 2022. "The overhead wires are probably in the best condition they have been in for 50 years."
It wanted to see the electric bus network retained, as hybrids and other options were untested.
Submissions on the draft plan - the regional council's blueprint for public transport services - are being heard this week. The council has received 618 submissions.
The draft plan includes proposals for a new high-frequency bus network, integrated ticketing, and options for replacing Wellington's bus fleet with new generation diesel buses, hybrids or electric buses.

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