The Greater Wellington Council / NZTA / WCC study on the transport spine for Wellington closes today, Monday 30 Sept, at 4.00pm (even though their website says it has already closed). We here at the Fish would like to encourage you all to put in a submission ASAP this morning, as it is important.

By now, I’m sure you know the issues, and the outcomes. I think we have reported about it here in the past, but the issue is: what form should our major method of public transport take in the future? We are presented with a paltry three options: Buses, or More Buses, or Light Rail. The Spine Study then basically presents some pretty dodgy figures to justify why Light Rail would cost about half a billion more than a dedicated BusWay. Personally, I think it is pretty shoddy, and should probably be binned, but it is probably quite important that you have a read of it yourself, and Make a Submission today. Before 4.00pm right?

The report starts with an option for increasing our Busedness. Enhancing the Bus routes. Only costing $59 million. But a full on Bus Way would cost about $300 million more. I’m a bit dubious about these two, the way they are presented, as surely the first is just re-phasing the traffic lights, painting more buslanes on roads, and putting in a new light at traffic lights, that lets the bus go first? Shouldn’t we be doing all that sort of thing anyway? Why would you even need to ask? Just f***ing Do It already!

The second option I’d for the introduction of a complete Dedicated BusLane system – so solely dedicated it is, that it is called a BusWay. That means that no other vehicle can go down the same hallowed piece of Tarmac. In fact, it may even mean that they have to dig up the Tarmac, and replace it with concrete. And have concrete curb walls about 300mm high everywhere, just so that no one else can sneak in. The great thing is that suburban buses could just drive on into the busway at either end, and steer themselves along the busway. Of course, there are issues, like: what happens when a bus breaks down in the busway. Best not to think about that – after all, the Spine Study hasn’t thought about that either. In theory, new, bigger, longer, bendier buses will run the route, although I’m not really a fan of them. They had them in London for a while, before they threw them all out. People hated them – they made you feel like cattle going off to slaughter. They got stuck in streets, going round corners. Still, I’m sure we won’t be bothered by that here – we’ll just knock down the building! Problem solved!

The third option is Light Rail, which the Spine Study has carefully made sure comes out lots more expensive. It also requires a dedicated route, although does not need 300mm kerbs sticking up, but instead needs 2 rails inset into the road surface. To do that of course will mean digging up the whole route, and placing a concrete bed throughout, and then concrete sleepers, and then rails set flush with the surface. So flush in fact, that cars could share the same surface, only they mustn’t, as it needs a dedicated route with no interruptions. Curiously, the Spine Study says that Light Rail would require its own tunnel through Mt Vic, adding a minimum of $300million onto the cost of the BusWay option, which suddenly doesn’t need to be having its own dedicated route after all. It just shares a tunnel with cars after all. That’s nice. Very comfy. No dedicated lane there. Guess what? It’s not going to be any faster if the Busway shares the road with the cars.

Anyway – no time to lose – have a read of the Generation Zero submission (they do short and sweet well), or a much longer report by Kerry Wood, a retired Traffic Engineer (warning, slow download ahead), or the many reports and opinion pieces on the Scoop website (don’t expect much from the DomPost of course). And please put in a submission today.

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