Rethink called on scrapping Wellington trolleybus network

Rethink called on scrapping Wellington trolleybus network

A coalition of Wellington organisations led by a former regional councillor is calling for a rethink on the scrapping of the Wellington trolleybus system.

At the Greater Wellington Regional Councils (GRWC) sustainable transport committee meeting on February 14, the coalition of organisations called for a professional study to maintain Wellington’s trolleybus network.

“Wellington’s zero emission trolley fleet is a strategic asset in a city already committed to phasing out its dirty fossil fuel buses,” says former three-term regional councillor Paul Bruce.

Bruce spoke on behalf of the Civic Trust, Sustainable Energy Forum (SEF), Living Streets, FIT, Save the Basin, OraTaiao, and Dr Susan Krumdieck, requesting the carrying out of a business case study.

The Architectural Centre sent in a separate petition supporting retention of the Wellington’s trolleybus fleet.

“Council ambitions to design and build a new type of natural gas powered bus would increase greenhouse emissions and is an experiment too risky for ratepayers,” says Bruce.

“It’s decision to destroy the trolley system is unsafe and based on incorrect information and high-end costs. It also contradicts the Council’s Electric Vehicle officer report encouraging low emission bus fleets,” he says.

“It is another example of the Council’s left hand not knowing what its right hand is doing,” says Bruce.

“Existing trolleys have higher passenger capacity than battery buses, for use with the planned bus route network and tender process,” he says.

“More than 300 cities around the world are operating and expanding trolley bus networks. They are more attractive than other buses because they are clean, quiet and quick,” says Bruce.

According to Bruce, Lyon, France has new trolley buses, San Francisco and Seattle have extensive trolleybus systems and Beijing, and Shanghai is converting failed battery buses to trolleys.

“Other cities are building trolleybuses with new technical developments to improve their performance,” says Bruce.

“The publicly stated goal of GWRC is an all-electric bus fleet. It follows that the council make an objective assessment of the trolleybuses contribution to city transport needs and environmental impact,” he says.

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