Buses- New Zealand

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Wellington's trolley buses are facing the axe and look unlikely to survive beyond 2017.
The Greater Wellington Regional Council today agreed to the goal of a fully electric future bus fleet for Wellington, but also agreed to scrap the existing contract for trolley bus services when it expires in 2017.
The move came as the council considered its draft regional public transport plan.
There are 60 trolley buses in the city's fleet, which was upgraded at a cost of $27 million seven years ago.
Councillor Sue Kedgley described the proposal as "one of the most shockingly short-sighted decisions this council has ever made".
"It's the equivalent of pulling up the tram lines 50 years ago," she said.
But regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde described the move as "visionary", saying there was no point clinging to obsolete technology.
Paul Swain, the regional council's public transport portfolio leader said the council backed cleaner public transport.
"We believe hybrids are the best technology for use during the transition to electric buses which are still some way off," he said.
The plan includes faster and more-frequent train services, integrated fares where people use one card for all public transport services.
It will go to the full council on June 26 for adoption.

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  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Wellington's trolley buses will be axed in 2017 after the Greater Wellington Regional Council agreed to the goal of a fully electric future bus fleet.
It agreed yesterday to scrap the existing contract for trolley bus services when it expires in three years, and move to hybrid diesel buses during the transition to an electric fleet.
There are 60 trolley buses in the city's fleet, which was upgraded by NZ Bus at a cost of close to $40 million seven years ago.
The move came as the council wound up its deliberations on the hearing of public submissions on the regional public transport plan.
Councillor Sue Kedgley described the trolley bus move as "one of the most shockingly short- sighted decisions this council has ever made".
"It's the equivalent of pulling up the tram lines 50 years ago."
NZ Bus chief executive officer Zane Fulljames said it was disappointing. "It does not appear that all options to retain some or all of the trolley services have been adequately considered, particularly as the city moves towards implementation of the transport spine in 2022."
Fulljames said NZ Bus backed the move to a fully electric future, "provided there is an appropriate recognition that electric technologies are still immature and the timing of the implementation is critical".
Regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde said the the move was "visionary" and there was no point clinging to obsolete technology.
Submitters to the draft transport plan were split on the future of trolley buses, she said. "What came through was that the most important thing was for people to get where they wanted to go when they wanted to."
Paul Swain, the regional council's public transport portfolio leader, said its members backed cleaner public transport.
"We believe hybrids are the best technology for use during the transition to electric buses, which are still some way off. Hybrid buses will increase the reliability and flexibility of our bus network, while reducing emissions and improving the environment in places with high congestion, like Wellington's Golden Mile."
He acknowledged the "iconic" trolley buses were a feature of Wellington. "But there are new technologies that will come at a lower cost for the ratepayers, and be more environmentally friendly."
The 50-year-old trolley buses' power system will need upgrading soon, at a cost of millions. Maintaining the 160 kilometres of wires and 15 substations costs about $6m a year.
The draft transport plan will go to the full council on June 26 for adoption. It includes faster and more frequent train services, and integrated fares, where people use one card for all public transport.
NZ Transport Agency regional planning and investment manager Lyndon Hammond said the decision provided a significantly better opportunity to address emissions, noise and congestion in Wellington.
Councillors also approved a recommendation to freeze public transport fares at current levels in this year's annual plan, rather than raise them by about 2 per cent as they normally do.

Tweaks to the plan since public feedback was requested have seen the council's proposed rates increase of 6.1 per cent pegged back to 5.7 per cent.
After a long fight, Wellington tertiary students have welcomed a move towards discounted bus and train fares.
Greater Wellington Regional Council yesterday recommended a 25 per cent discount for students' on-peak public transport fares.
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) president Sonya Clark said the move was "a huge step forward" that would make the capital a more student-friendly city.
VUWSA has led the Fairer Fares campaign since 2011, and brought 2500 signed postcards to a hearing last month.
"Public transport takes up a significant part of students' weekly budgets, and the reality is many simply can't afford to get to class due to the cost," Clark said last night.
"We're delighted that the Wellington City Council and Victoria University are aware of this and have signalled that they're happy to continue the discussion to make Fairer Fares a reality for students."
The proposal came as the council completed its deliberations on public submissions on the regional public transport plan. It will go to the full council on June 26 for adoption.
The proposal will rely on "substantial" financial support from the Wellington City Council and tertiary institutions.
Victoria University vice- chancellor Grant Guilford said it welcomed the discounted fares.
"I do note, however, that the regional council itself considers transport one of its core functions. The university's job is to invest its resources in the education of its students, not to invest in the transport network."
Councillor Ken Laban said the latest move would get students out of their cars and on to public transport. "This is a tremendous opportunity for greater patronage."
An estimated 67 per cent of Victoria University students travel at off-peak times.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade- Brown said she backed fairer fares for students.
"We're open to an approach from the regional council. If there is a partnership model, we're certainly open to considering that, but in the first instance it's the responsibility of the regional council to fund public transport."
Fran Wilde, chairwoman of the regional council, said tertiary students were important to Wellington.
"They contribute significantly to the city's economy and they help create the unique vibrancy of Wellington
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Wellington bus drivers have overwhelmingly thrown their support behind retaining the city's trolley buses.
About 300 members of the Wellington Tramways and Public Passenger Transport unions attended a stop-work meeting in Kilbirnie today to discuss the effects of phasing out trolleys.
Greater Wellington Regional Council is expected to sign off on a plan tomorrow that will see the capital's 60 trolley buses scrapped in 2017 and replaced with hybrid diesel-electric buses.
The city's other 218 diesel buses will suffer the same fate but will be progressively phased out as they reach their end of their useful lives.
The unions' concern is that with trolley buses out of the mix their owner, NZ Bus, will be at greater risk of losing contracts to rival bus companies.
That could mean NZ Bus has to resort to job cuts or winding back its terms and conditions in order to stay competitive.
Two motions received unanimous support from union members today.
One was for the union to urge the council to delay its decision on scrapping the trolleys until the region was ready for fully electric buses and the technology had been proven in Wellington.
The other was for the council to put provisions in place protecting current wages and conditions for drivers regardless of which bus company it awards contracts to from 2017.
Paul Swain, the regional council's transport portfolio leader, fielded questions at the meeting but did not always have answers the crowd was looking for.
He said it was not the council's place to determine wages and conditions. Rather, it was a matter for unions and bus operators.
But bus operators would be looked upon more favourably during tendering if they had a good working relationship with their workforce, because that meant they would be less susceptible to strikes, he said.
If the process was done right then the council would be able to put a more attractive bus network in place, which would see demand increase and hopefully prevent any job cuts.
Swain also defended the decision to scrap trolley buses, saying the council was not prepared to spend $52 million ratepayer dollars upgrading their power supply and substations.
Tramways Union secretary Kevin O'Sullivan said he was pleased so many members showed up to make their voices heard on the issue.
He was confident the unions would prevail regardless of whether the regional council included the demands in its transport plan tomorrow.
''We keep getting told there's no reason why wages and conditions can't be stipulated in these new contracts.''

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Capital bus commuters had to bear the brunt of today's stop-work meeting, which saw all Go Wellington bus services grind to a halt between 9am and 3pm.
A reduced Valley Flyer bus services operated during this time. The Airport Flyer, Mana/Newlands, Victoria University and school bus services were not affected
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Naked Bus will give a taste of business class to passengers travelling overnight on SH1 with a lie flat bed sleeper service hitting the road just before Christmas.
Tickets for the nine-hour journey between Auckland and Wellington will start for as low as $1 and range up to $55.
Up to 40 passengers will travel in bunk-style beds and will be given sheets, pillows and for a limited time, a free 'onesie' to use on the trip.
Naked Bus is touting the service as the first of its kind in this country.
[b]See a company-supplied video describing the service here:[/b]

The bus has a toilet on board and will call at Hamilton and Palmerston North. It will offer passengers wifi and a food service.
The 1.85m beds would be separated by a "privacy board" and Naked Bus chief executive Hamish Nuttall said those travelling together would sleep side by side and those travelling alone would sleep next to those of the same gender.
A cabin attendant will travel on the bus.
"We believe it will change the way people view bus travel and it caters for a growing mobile workforce. It will be popular with existing customers as well as those who hadn't previously thought about travelling with us."
There was demand for main trunk bus travel from students and others who had missed out on low cost air fares, he said.
The company was working with regulators before the launch date, December 18.
"Our multi-disciplinary team has worked closely with regulators, designers and engineers to create the Sleeper buses, which are currently being fitted out in Christchurch," said Nuttall.
There are typically one or two $1 seats on each Naked Bus service. Rival bus company InterCity offers one-way Auckland-Wellington services for as low as $31 for midweek overnight travel if booked in advance.
During the day the bunks would convert to groups of four standard seats facing each other.
Naked Bus was established in 2006 and said it is on track to provide 700,000 passenger journeys this year
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

One of the new ManaBus.com's new long distance buses.Competition has increased in the long-distance bus market with the launch today of a new city-to-city express service, ManaBus.com.
Prices for the new service, which plans to operate five new express routes between eight North Island destinations, will start from $1 plus a $1 booking fee. That's similar to the lowest fees charged by major competitors, the InterCity Group and Naked Bus. The Auckland-based company is owned by Souter Holdings, which also runs Fullers Ferries, Howick & Eastern buses and the Wellington-based bus service, Mana Coach Services.
Transport entrepreneur and company owner Brian Souter said their experience from many successful years of operation in the UK, North America, Poland and Finland has demonstrated there is a demand for fast, modern and innovative city-to-city express coach travel.
"We firmly believe that the introduction of new products and services, offering the consumer more choice at affordable prices, will grow the total transport market and encourage modal shift from the private car," he said.

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Souter Holdings is part of the global transport company Highland Global Transport and the Souter Investments portfolio of companies. Souter's sister, Ann Gloag, co-founded the Stagecoach Group, starting in Scotland with two buses in 1980. Today the listed company has a market capitalisation of more than 2.2 billion pounds and operates nearly 12,000 buses and trains in the UK, Western Europe, the US and Canada.
The Stagecoach Group has had close ties with New Zealand infrastructure investor Infratil over the years. In 2005 it sold all of its NZ operations, including the Fullers Group, to Infratil. Four years later Infratil, in turn, sold Fullers to Souter Holdings, which also bought ferry operator 360 Discovery Ltd the same year. Fullers is now facing competition from newcomer Explore Group on the Auckland to Waiheke ferry sailings. Souter Holdings owns 74 per cent of Mana Coach Services, with the remainder held by Infratil.
The launch of ManaBus.com has created 70 new jobs across the North Island while the fleet of new luxury coaches were purpose-built by Tauranga-based Kiwi Bus Builders. The company wouldn't say how much it had invested to start up the venture, other than "a considerable amount".
The country's largest long-distance bus operator is the InterCity Group which eight years ago faced another new market competitor, Naked Bus. Naked Bus founder Hamish Nuttall said his company grew 25 per cent last year, from a mix of expanding the market and taking customers from competitors. "A new entrant into the market will grow awareness which is good for us," he said.
Last month it said it would trial a "lie-flat" Sleeper bus, a first for New Zealand, for $50 or less from December. ManaBus.com said its new coaches offer free Wi-Fi, at-seat power and USB points for charging mobile devices, and reclining seats, but no lie-flat option.

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