About Paul Bruce cyclechallenge

I am a Meteorologist, former three-term Greater Wellington Green Regional Councillor, still having fun challenging the system, creating a climate for change and working on sustainable solutions for Wellington. Also check out my other blog at www.paulbruce.co.nz

Public transport windfall

Greater Wellington has made a windfall of almost a million dollars over recent months, mostly due to lower payments ($693,000) to diesel bus operators, and this saving is forecast to continue until oil increases in price again. The 3 month income statement to 30th September shows a variable variance of $929,000(item 13: http://www.gw.govt.nz/section1159.cfm?MeetingID=6650)
This windfall can be used to extend off peak discounted fares to all services. Rail commuters get a 30% discount between 9am and 3pm….now is the time to extend the discount to bus services and to weekends. People choosing to travel off peak decreased pressure at times when there is over crowding. This increased the efficiency of the network overall and could reduce the need for fare rises in the coming years. The fare structure can be a tool to encourage patronage on under-utilised public transport services and at the same increase profitability. What about some free services
Get around Auckland city on the free red City Circuit bus…
and Christchurch’s free CBD shuttle operated by hybrid buses

Adelaide – a free shuttle bus in the CBD plus the CBD section of the newly-extended tram line is free. A shuttle tram service in the CBD section is operated to augment the long-distance trams to Glenelg.
Portland, OR: a ‘fareless square’ for streetcar, MAX light rail and buses applies in the CBD
Dallas TX – the McKinney Avenue streetcar (tram) operates a variety of heritage cars on the CBD fringe as a free service supported by local businesses and the regional transit authority (DART) and is being extended.
Free or zero-fare public transport services are funded in full by means other than collecting a fare from passengers, normally through heavy subsidies or commercial sponsorship by businesses. Several mid-size European cities and many smaller towns around the world have converted their entire bus networks to zero-fare. Local zero-fare shuttles or inner-city loops are far more common than city-wide systems….see more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-fare_public_transport

Greater Wellington is investing in real time information and integrated ticketing in the coming years increasing costs further, but this investment should increase reliability making catching public transport a more attractive proposition to everyone.

Greater Wellington must also be conscious of the need to keep public transport affordable for the transport disadvantaged through targeted concession fares.

Water meters or savings through Rain water collection

Water meters or Savings available through Rain water collection

The whole energy and water conservation debate is being framed as curtailment and the use of water meters. However, there there is no consensus for water meters amongst the Regional Council, because some Councillors believe the large sum of money involved would be better invested in on site storage. Plentiful sunlight and rainwater fall on our houses and it is just a matter of harvesting it.

We drink only 5 per cent of our highly refined drinking water, yet we are paying for the other 95 per cent to be treated to the highest drinking standards, just to flush the toilet, take a shower and do laundry. With dual water systems we can have the best of both options, reducing the water bill and also the demands placed on mains water supply, on wastewater and storm water systems, while keeping treated water for kitchen use. In the case of an earthquake, it would also make us more resilient.

Kapiti District Council has made dual and waste water systems mandatory on new houses. Waitakere City Council subsidies rain water tanks.

Greater Wellington supplies water to 370,000 people and the average customer (including commercial) uses about 400 litres per day. A roof area of 150m2 is capable of capturing an average of nearly 500 litres/day, enough for most of average household use. A 4,000 litres tank can be purchased for as little as$1,200. Waitakere City Council subsidies rain water tanks – http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/AbtCnl/to/suppliers.asp

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Missed Public Transport Opportunity

Civic leaders ignore need for high quality public transport system

While the economy crashes around us and the International Oil Agency warns of fuel shortages, the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor plan reserves the big dollars for roading enhancements and tunnels, rather than for a high quality public transport system.

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce said that it was at the same time appalling and ironic, that while passing the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan, the Committee also received the Annual Monitoring Report which highlighted increased accident rates and greenhouse emissions from private cars. It also showed the lack of good public transport and safe cycle way alternatives.

Go to


Report 5, Recommended Ngauranga-Wellington Airport Corridor Plan

Members of the Public will be protesting the Council’s apparent disregard for their submissions to the Plan, lack of public transport capacity, the chronic levels of safety for cyclists and walkers, and the miss-allocation of resources to new road capacity. The demonstration will be held outside GW offices at 12.30pm on Friday 31st October this week.

Cr Bruce says the new Regional Transport Committee was unable to pick up the ball,
despite advice from special interest representatives for an immediate shift in investment towards a high quality public transport system. The majority of public submissions on the Plan urged the inclusion of light rail, and criticised roading expenditure. A feasibility study for light rail had been done in the early 90s, and thus GW had a head start, along with a clear mandate from the Public to get on with it.

On the positive side, the Corridor plan supports passenger transport improvements measures along the golden mile, bus priority measures on arterial routes, and better walking and cycling connections between local networks reflecting support for the Great Harbour Way Walking and Cycle proposal.

However, Cr Bruce who is on the GW Transport and Access Committee, said that investment in public transport should have been accelerated. Instead, the first major expenditure was on the flyover for the Basin Reserve in 2011/12, which would facilitate private vehicle west-east traffic flows. 79% of submitters did not directly support the construction of the flyover. Expenditure of at least $380 million is being planned for roading infrastructure, with another $63 million on projects benefiting both private cars and public transport.

There are 90 to 120 buses plying the CBD during peak times, with serious bottle necks near the railway station and at Courtenay Place. Angry bus drivers are blocked by other buses during peak hours, timetables are not reliable, passengers don’t get a seat, and some passengers are refused entry. A limited shaft of traffic through a single artery is exactly what high density public transport will solve. Light rail is the fastest growing transport mode and the preferred solution overseas. It has greater capacity, replacing at least 8 normal buses. Light rail runs on existing roads and is safer in urban space and through malls. It has lower operating costs, and can integrate into the wider rail network.

Cr Paul Bruce
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor
272 Ohiro Road,
Tel 04 9728699, 021 02719370
“The thinking that brought you into trouble will not bring you out of it”
Albert Einstein

Go Wellington

There are two significant costs in the private provision of public services. The first is the risk premium demanded by the private provider, a premium that is always born by the taxpayer. The second is the cost of monitoring the performance of the private provider.

  1. How much was the company fined for trips missed on Thursday 25 September when NZBUS locked out their staff?
  2. What efficiency gains, if any, have there been from the private provision of public transport services in Wellington, and what proportion can be attributed to cost cutting and a reduction in the wages and conditions of the employees.

A Tramways Union delegate noted that if the company meets the driver’s claim it will still mean that a driver with one year’s service will still only receive $14.20 an hour. Surely this is not out of line with the wages of other workers in similar industries?”….

As Greater Wellington proceeds through its review of Wellington’s public transport services, we must ensure that not only does the network provide the range and frequency required to enable people to leave their cars at home, and that the buses and trains are powered by renewable energy forms, but that those that are working at the shop face, have the conditions of work and remuneration that will ensure a quality service.

A review of the entire Wellington city public transport operation will take place over the next 9 months, with implementation by June 2010. The contact person for the of Wellington Services review is Adam Lawrence (mailto:adam.lawrence@gw.govt.nz). See the report.

Well… so of us were out cycling and walking when the buses weren’t running, and we could have more of that too…. If you haven’t caught up… visit the website.

and join us at a public meeting on 12th October.

Great Harbour Way

Great Harbour Way