Bus priority: Action!

Wellington City Council is today considering a really significant bit of paper: the draft Bus Priority Action Plan. It’s good news and worth a read.


Here’s the bizzo (jump down to p143 to see what Council are being recommended, and 150 for the report). It’s awesome.

Some highlights:

Picking 8 key corridors to fix – prioritising by gravity of holdups and number of people affected, and honing in on the worst bits therein

Very comprehensive analysis of what’s holding buses up and spoiling the service for people – like this!

Thinking about and planning for other transport modes besides buses. They’re doing it! A bit at least, at last! Respect is deserved: it’s bizarrely hard to do this because systems are silo’d (including funding). Check out the section “Multi Modal Approach”.

Mostly being implemented by Let’s Get Wellington Moving – it’ll be the mechanism for doing many of the changes, through the City Streets and Golden Mile projects (one of several).

Happening soon! And hopefully happening proper good – the “do it all” package doesn’t seem that grandiose when we’re contemplating dropping several billion on transport…

Parking vs buses

This is less a highlight than one to watch. Prioritising bus movement over street parking will be one of the changes that make buses go better – check out the “toolkit” section.

And rightly so.

Cars parked on street often outright block buses (think Courtenay Place: just one person doing “hey it’s not my best parallel parking work but I’m only here for a few minutes” in some spots can hold up buses for everyone).

Street parking on Wellington’s already narrow roads also creates “side friction” (where the bus has to slow down heaps to squeak through gaps with everyone on board holding their breath).

And general traffic drivers looking for parks hold a lot of things up on main corridors that should be prioritised for efficient movement.

Expect a bunch of daft framing from media about “motorists” suffering – because goodness knows, one can’t ever be a Motorist and a Bus Rider (or a Pedestrian or a Scooterist or a Cyclist). And probably from some shop owners too, convinced that people coming from buses don’t shop like people coming in cars.

So be ready to support councillors when they go in to do the “controversial” bits of the Bus Priority Action Plan.

WCC – GWRC: collaboration and competence!

Throughout bustastrophe buck-passing and finger-pointing has been rife, especially pre-election. Both WCC and GWRC politicians throwing each other’s councils under … you guessed it!

The bus Priority action plan looks, at last, to be some decent joined-up work. Well done people.

Also, awesomely, Greater Wellington is has done its own Bus Network Review post Bustastrophe. They’ve done a really good job. Not the three-weeks-to-write-it once-over-lightly. Proper, with good recommendations.

Yes! Level headed, tradeoffs considered, and frankly pretty damn sensible. Find the report on Metlink’s website. The Recommendations Report is the coolest summary (unless you’re into rich analysis, in which case get into the background ones.)

6 comments on “Bus priority: Action!”

  • Marko G says:

    These improvements honestly are so heartwarming (if implemented). Often times the focus can be big exhibition projects (think tunnels, light rail, harbour crossings) but what really helps the experience for most people using public transport is the little things – having things well-spaced stops for reliable trips and comfortable bus stops. These things make people feel valued and builds the goodwill and trust with the public that is so admirable in any good PT network.

    I wrote a little on this stuff a little while ago – nice to see some action! https://tranzport.wordpress.com/2019/10/21/better-bus-stops-in-wellington-part-1-removing-stops/

  • Kerry says:

    Here we go: problems appearing.
    On page 11 of the Recommendations Report, GW states:
    “When specifically asked about acceptable trade-offs between greater frequency and not needing to transfer, bus customers said they would prefer to trade off greater frequency.”
    It is the wrong way round.
    It looks right to people who have experienced very bad connections but never fast, frequent and reliable services. But in reality, it is a barrier to creating quality services.
    Now GW will go back to the old ways, spending too much and achieving too little.

    • Ben says:

      Chin up, surely the officers will be able to account for the fact that people are acclimatised to crappy service. The passengers aren’t designing the service or policies, just feeding into design. Which is fine.

    • Colin Bloomfield says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one worried that reducing the frequency of services on several routes is retrograde. I’m also not convinced by the significant increase in the number of buses that will again be travelling the Golden Mile. The easing of bus congestion on that stretch was a very welcome gain from the new design. We’ll be back to delays, and more noise and air pollution, particularly in peak periods.

  • Conor says:

    Hi Isabella, Which of the 8 key corridors are funded through LGWM?

    Cheers.

    • Isabella Cawthorn says:

      Yo, it is all of them I believe. It’s a $250 million dollar investment into PT, cycling, and walking on all of the 8 corridors.

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