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Missed news wrapup

Every week we receive numerous press releases related to transport and we only tend to comment on a few of them. Here are a couple that piqued our interest but not quite enough for a full post of their own.

Recently Auckland Transport announced they had put the first tender out for the rest of the CRL project (after the early works currently underway). This week they announced they’ve put up the tender for the construction of the tunnels and two new stations.

Largest City Rail Link tender process starts

The largest component of the City Rail Link (CRL) project – the construction of the tunnels and new stations – took a major step forward today with the release of its first tender documents to the industry.

The project is picking up speed with Expressions of Interest sought only a fortnight ago for the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all tunnel track work and rail systems between Britomart Station and the Western Line at Mt Eden.

There will be two new stations as part of the build of the underground rail line linking Britomart with the existing western line near Mt Eden. The new stations will be near Aotea Square with entrances at Wellesley and Victoria Streets and a station in Mercury Lane, just off Karangahape Road. The present Mount Eden train station will be extended and redeveloped.

Tender documents sent out today are for the tunnel and station works that involve:

  • Aotea Station:  Cut and cover construction of a 15m-deep, 300m-long underground station and plant room box, including platforms, lifts and escalators to street level, plant rooms housing station and tunnel equipment, full station fit-out and entrances at either end at Victoria and Wellesley Streets.
  • Karangahape Road Station:  Mined construction of a 32m-deep underground station, including platform tubes and 150m-long platforms, lifts and inclined escalator to street level, plant rooms housing station and tunnel equipment within two shafts, full station fit-out, entrance at Mercury Lane and provision for a future entrance at Beresford Square.
  • Tunnels:  Twin-bored tunnel construction (circa 7m diameter) between the Mt Eden station and the southern end of Aotea Station.
  • The provision of maintenance services for the new stations.

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says today’s development shows the considerable progress being made.

He says that as well as the tenders rolling out for future construction, current works are well underway. The 2m-wide tunnel boring machine simultaneously excavating and installing a new stormwater pipe under Albert Street has finished the first leg of its journey.

The nine-storey-high piling rig working in Albert Street has already dug more than 140 of the 376 piles required.

“What will be a highly efficient and reliable transport choice for Auckland is now visibly taking shape.”

The tunnels and stations contract being sent out today will be procured using a Design and Construct model with a lump sum price based on a bespoke contract.

They also put out a few new high quality images of the stations.

Aotea Station – Wellesley St

Karangahape Rd – Mercury Lane

Mt Eden

Hot on the heels of Auckland Transport announcing it was going to trial two electric buses in Auckland, operator NZ Bus announced they were trialling some BYD electric buses in Auckland and Wellington

BYD’s all electric battery bus, with fast re-charging

NZ Bus to begin trial of BYD electric bus

NZ Bus to begin trial of BYD electric bus in Auckland and Wellington

NZ Bus will this week begin trialling its new BYD eBus in Auckland and then in Wellington, as another part of its strategy to lead the transition to electric-powered public transport in New Zealand.

NZ Bus Chief Executive Officer, Zane Fulljames, said that the trial will enable NZ Bus to assess whether this fully electric bus, which is proven in other markets across the world, can meet the challenges of New Zealand’s unique topographical landscape and the specific requirements of bus networks in Auckland and Wellington.

“As a business we are committed to leading the industry towards an electric-powered bus fleet, as was reflected in our announcement last year to invest NZ$43m in Wrightspeed electric powertrain technology to be retrofitted to buses in our existing fleet.

“Trialling BYD eBus technology is about looking at options for the future in terms of our ongoing fleet replacement programme,” said Mr Fulljames.

The makers of the eBus, BYD Company Limited, operate across 6 continents, 48 countries and regions, and 200 cities. They are the suppliers of the largest electric bus fleet in Europe and are in fleets across Canada, USA, Chile, China, Singapore and Australia.

NZ Bus’ trial of its BYD eBus is expected to last up to three months. The BYD eBus may not attract attention as it travels Auckland and Wellington bus routes, given that it looks much like a conventional diesel or diesel-hybrid bus, but people might notice that it is significantly quieter.

In parallel with the BYD eBus trial, NZ Bus is also well underway with the process of retrofitting Wrightspeed electric powertrains to its existing bus fleet at its workshop in Wellington.

“As a major transport operator, NZ Bus has the scale for investment of the kind these initiatives represent. We are committed to continuing to lead the industry and contribute to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint through innovation,” said Mr Fulljames.

And finally, Mayor Phil Goff has kicked off The Auckland Bike Challenge

Mayor Phil Goff challenges Aucklanders to get on their bikes.

The Auckland Bike Challenge kicks off today and Mayor Phil Goff is encouraging Aucklanders to join the 2,500 people who have already registered for the free month-long event.

Bigger and better than last year, the Auckland Bike Challenge run by Auckland Transport is now part of NZ Transport Agency’s nationwide Aotearoa Bike Challenge.

The Auckland Mayoral Office has two electric bikes and Mayor Phil Goff is looking forward to getting on his bike during the challenge.

“Living out in Clevedon means cycling to work’s a bit tough for me, but I enjoy getting to meetings and events in the city on my bike, and use it when I can,” he says.

“Cycling’s a great way to get around our city. It’s a joy being out of a car in the fresh air, getting fit and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The Mayor says Auckland Council is committed to helping more people get out of their cars and on to bikes, and is investing in new world class facilities to make cycling safer and more accessible.

“The Quay Street Cycleway, the first stage of the Glen Innes to Tamaki shared path, the Mt Roskill Safe route and the award-winning pink Lightpath on Nelson Street are very popular,” says Mayor Goff. “We will continue to invest in safe cycleways across the city to reduce congestion and pollution and make Auckland an even better place to live.

“The 2017 Bike Challenge is your opportunity to explore our beautiful city and to see it in a new way. I look forward to seeing you out and about and on your bike this summer.”

The Auckland Bike Challenge is a fun, free workplace competition that encourages people to give cycling a go during the month of February 2017.

More than 270 Auckland organisations have signed up and will compete against similar-sized businesses within the Auckland region and nationwide.

Run by Auckland Transport and supported by the Sustainable Business Network, Healthy Auckland Together and Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the event supports workplaces encouraging staff to ride for at least ten minutes during the month of February.

Rides are recorded online, and there are prizes up for grabs for both businesses and individuals.

There’s still time to register for the Auckland Bike Challenge at www.lovetoride.net/auckland. The website includes a live leader board to track results, information on prizes and easy ways to encourage others to participate.

61 comments to Missed news wrapup

  • Christopher T

    That’s an highly misleading image of Mercury Lane. It’s obvious that Auckland Transport thinks all it needs is Tinkerbelle throwing a bit of photoshoped fairy dust around a steep, dark and narrow street to compensate for its value engineering the station into a pretty much inaccessible facility. The Beresford Square entrance should be operating from the start.

    • Greg N

      And as those pictured high rise buildings adjacent to the Mercury lane entrance/exit for K’Rd station will get built, one at a time over the next 10+ years, those poor PT users of K’Rd station will have to squeeze up and down a dingy narrow lane to get to/from the only entrance/exit right beside a construction site.
      Puttign up with a decade of disruption? And for what? to allow AT to save a few dollars on K’Rd station.

      Better to simply put in the Beresford St entrance in *before* K’Rd CRL station opens. That way when Mercury lane is basically out of action for long periods of time thanks to all that building activity most people won’t be inconvenienced.

      Hopefully the winning tenderer for the CRL station tender will see sense and recommend that both entrances be built together and opened pretty soon after the station opens to the public.

      Otherwise it will be a real mess to use K’rd station until 2030+

      • Bevan

        Yes I’m really hoping the same thing that the tendering company will make a competitive bid to just build both K’Rd entrances.

        Seems so insane to build the majority of the Beresford Sq access shaft/emergency exits/air vents etc, but not put the finishing touches of it being an actual public entrance.

    • Jeff T

      I wasn’t going to comment on Mercury Lane but I agree t is a misleading ‘impression’. Unless they intend to level out the alleyway. Part of the idea for this project was to rejuvenate areas along its’ path. I can’t see this doing it for K’ Road.

      It still just seems that we’re only getting one new station, at this stage, Aotea, for a very large spend.

      • S Ridley

        Mercury Lane is in no way wide enough to have trees on both sides of the road unless you remove the footpaths / parking and even then you would have to reduce the road to the minimum allowed. I’m also not sure it Vector / Mercury will be very happy about a tree being planted basically on top of a transformer. In any case after many years experience with the Mercury Theatre I would be surprised if they ever get it to look like the picture.

        • Hmmm, Trees take up very little space at ground level. And the road is shown as single lane only, Mercury Lane currently has parking on both sides, footpaths, and an over-wide traffic lane, remove that parking and there’s more room available than it might appear. What concerns me is that persisting with down hill one-way traffic directly at the Transit station entrance is likely to be a recipe for nasty car-on-human impacts… that carriageway is going to have to be so calmed as to be near pointless to drive on… Have we got the traffic circulation down there right? I don’t think the current pattern is at all good; it’s a sort of officially sanctioned rat run, and often used at crazy speed because of the routing and the geometries.

          • Nick R

            Mercury Lane is 15.3m wide at it’s narrowest point. If you allow 3.5m for a generous traffic lane and 1m each side for a very generous tree/furniture/lamp post line, you are left with ten metres for footpath, say six metres on the station side and four metres on the opposite side.

            That would be about as wide as the footpaths on Queen St.

          • S Ridley

            The traffic patterns down the Lane are a bit of a mess. I know cars fly over the intersection to use Canada street as a rat run to avoid using Newton Road or Symonds Street (Upper Queen St is out due to the no right turn). There is of course the use of the theatre which does require large trucks to drop off and load gear. However with the right design yes I could see it being possible to widen the footpaths. I can however already hear the howls of discontent about loosing on street parking.

          • Nick R

            Well thats the thing, its not a rat run, it is intentionally designed that way.

          • Or rather its the worst sort of Rat Run; a traffic engineer officially endorsed one!

    • Sailor Boy

      Mercury Lane does not need any traffic access. Provision for cars at this location will ruin the trains station. Ruining a $400m station for a few hundred cars a day.

      • An ideal road pattern for this area is not easy. The current one-way rat run designed entirely to benefit fast movement through for the benefit of faster access to other places is dreadful and will have to be considerably improved, but balancing local access, new uses, and especially the decision to make this the only station entrance is not at all straightforward, especial taking into account the desire to calm the Pitt to Queen St section of K Rd…. But clearly having vehicles changing down the hill from the K/Pitt intersection is madness. Perhaps AT will have to accept that this station location just doesn’t ft with vehicle access, anyway ‘kiss n ride’ doesn’t look like a likely source of ridership for this most urban of stations…

        Perhaps pedestrianise Merc Lane from K to the station and have Cross St and lower Merc lane as a one way, calmed route?

        • Sailor Boy

          +1, my idea was to pedestrianise Cross to K Road retaining access to the only driveway in a shared space from the Cross Street end of the block. Still maintatins all access and just means those who want to turn right from K to Queen need to use Symonds of Newton Road instead, hardly onerous.

  • mfwic

    The other news item was the ghost bus. It cost AT over $50,000 to carry 95 passengers in 6 months. That is over $500 per passenger. It would have been cheaper to pay them $200 to stay home for the day.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11792614

  • Ricardo

    Goff is “looking forward” to getting on his bike. This just highlights the novelty value of these exercises. If truly attractive he would be on his bike on a more regular basis.

  • kelvin

    Did a research on wrightspeed. Wrightspeed powertrain is a promising technology. It enables old bus to be convered into hybrid plugin bus at reasonable cost.

    • Waspman

      I am taking an educated guess Wrightspeed is a way of getting a more reliable bus by eliminating piston engines, their associated turbo’s, starters, alternators, automatic transmissions (namely all the things that fail and cost a fortune as mileage rises and are so subject to driver abuse) not to mention underfloor thermal temperatures as the bus becomes largely electric. But this is as opposed to doing any major for the environment. And going by the braking horsepower (twice that of the propelling horse power) the drive-line will do a lot more of the braking rather than traditional friction disc or drum brakes.

      Therefore removing all those moving parts will see the cost of servicing and repairs drop substantially I would think especially on a revenue generating machine that will run high mileage . The fuel savings for a bus are potentially quite good, the stats I was reading talked about 11 to the gallon for a bus size and I assume that is a US gallon or 3.75 litres. But it is still a polluter and a compromise but a more efficient one.

      • Mike (the longstanding one)

        Wrightspeed certainly looks good in theory, but is untested and unproven on buses. The prototype bus, trolley 362, was due for completion in October last year but there are no sign and no news of it yet. Draw your own conclusions!

        • Greg N

          I concur.

          And I note that Wrightspeed’s main technological claim to fame is electrifying US rubbish trucks [not buses], on the sole belief that the frequent go a few feet/stop/hoist then repeat, nature of a rubbish trucks life will translate equally well to the life of a [refurbished], not so modern, former Wellington passenger trolley bus.

          Yeah! Wright!

          This more smacks of a backdoor deal between NZ Bus and [former NZer] Wright to get rid of the trolley buses in a politically acceptable way.

          The fact that the one and only prototype seems to be, like a lot of NZ Bus, buses, late, and therefore “lost in transit” [pun intended] is therefore not overly surprising.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            The decision to get rid of the trolleybuses was taken by GWRC long before Wrightspeed appeared on the scene, against strong opposition from NZ Bus – I remember going to a keep the trolleys meeting where Mr Fulljames made that point very clearly. NZ Bus later pulled the Wrightspeed rabbit out of the hat, potentially retaining the value of the trolleys (otherwise just scrap), to much acclaim and relief from GWRC.

            No backdoor deals, sorry!

          • Greg N

            So you say.

            And yet the golden prototype is gone to ground.

            Then suddenly, NZ Bus have a new Ebus partner to dance with in the form of BYD?

            While the old Trolley Buses can be refurbed with new power plants, at the end of it you’ve still got a middle aged bus using one off technology.

            With which you may not ever get the rest of its expected life out of these buses, should Wrightspeed do any or all of: go belly up, or lose interest or get taken over. [as happened to Designline here a few years back hence why the HEV trial stopped dead when the turbine blew its ass].

            Of course this is Wellingtons mess to clean up. And maybe NZ Bus are simply making the best of a bad political deal handed to them by GWRC.

            Even so, it doesn’t bode well for a successful outcome does it. And who carries the can if the Wrightspeed “hover conversion” fails?

            Even if the Wrightspeed conversions are a wonderful success, its still delivering orphaned hybrid technology when the rest of the world is moving on and using non hybrid battery eBuses.

            As I recall a big string in the very argument that GWRC made for ditching the trolley buses was the limited availability/lifespan of all the infrastructure that makes them work.

            Sounds like they’re simply in danger of repeating the [alleged] same mistakes of the past to me.

  • Greg N

    NZBus says “the [eBus] trial will enable NZ Bus to assess whether this fully electric bus, which is proven in other markets across the world, can meet the challenges of New Zealand’s unique topographical landscape and the specific requirements of bus networks in Auckland and Wellington.”

    I wonder what those unique challenges Fulljames refers to here that somehow mean that they [NZ Bus] can’t commit to rolling out eBuses immediately just like the rest of the planet is doing right now?

    Could it be, the fact we drive on the left side of the ride and therefore have to have the doors on that side of the bus which means all our buses cost a lot more than that the BYD “direct from China” [drive on the right] models they sell to the US and elsewhere by the shipload?

    Or maybe the fact its that we have hills and the rest of the planet doesn’t?
    Or maybe NZBus expect the bus to run its long windy, stringy bus routes all day without any stopping to recharge, so that even if the drivers take the off-peak hours off, the bus can’t?

    Or maybe that they know NZ’ers really don’t like noisy, smelly, slow & cramped buses and are worried if the eBuses are as successful here as they are everywhere else, that we’ll realise what a crock all their existing fleet actually is and we might therefore stop using their buses en masse until they upgrade the fleet to fully electric? Giving them a huge expensive headache, best avoided by not going there?

    Whats the bet that the bus trial will be ended early for some unspecified reason – before we get to accustomed to the better performance of eBuses.

    • Steve Cable

      you only have to think back to the city circuit hybrid buses stalled on Victoria Street outside Whitcoulls due to high loads of students riding for free, air conditioning demands and insufficient battery storage to climb up to Princes St in order to recognise that yes, we do have to make sure that electric buses will work in the Auckland environment, after all the buses used had run in Christchurch with few problems

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10650826

      • Greg N

        Apples to kumquats. That was 7 years ago, an absolute eon in terms of EVs and EV buses in particular.

        I quote from your link:

        “ARTA recognises the reliability problem with the City Circuit service. It’s been identified as an issue with the Capstone Micro Turbine, which generates electricity for the buses. The solution is to remove the ‘hybrid’ element from the buses concerned so they will be retro-fitted with brand-new Euro 5 engines, therefore they will not be branded as hybrids any more.”

        So it was nothing to do with them being electric buses, more to do with the fact that they were [diesel] hybrid buses from the get-go and the [obviously under-sized] hybrid electrical generator broke down – and while it could have been fixed, it wasn’t, so ended the HEV bus trial.

        All was done using totally different, 7+ year old tech. Diesel Hybrid tech is dead in the water,
        The VW Dieselgate saga showed anyone that Diesel has no future as a low emission “saviour” of ICE technology vehicles.
        Unlike the thoughts back in 2010, when all this was being trialled, then Diesel Hybrids were going to be the saviour of the planet. Yeah Right.

        There is nothing special these days in using pure electric buses – providing you have a big enough battery on-board to cope with the electrical demands of motive power and the demands of air-con as well. I don’t believe that for example, that US [where BYD ebuses are in use today] users have less demanding routes, or aircon needs, or that a bus load of them is lighter than a bus load of Aucklanders are.
        So going up a hill from say the bottom of Queen St to K’Rd should be meat and potatoes to a modern eBus.

        If if it can’t even do that, with aplomb, at least ten times an hour then it simply has no place on NZ roads, let alone Aucklands.

        I’m sure NZBus actually don’t need to trial these eBuses, they know they will work, they’re simply trying to not look too behind AT, who after all announced their own trial of a different bus brand a week back.

        I still think NZ Bus have an internal acceptance issue over eBuses – otherwise they’d be here on our roads already. As the operating costs reductions are huge compared to even a Euro-5 bus, even after allowing for the higher purchase price. The economics alone make it worthwhile.

        But I think the BYD bus trial will end with a whimper, at some point, like the last one above did, but not because of technical inadequacy, more to do with corporate intransigence coupled with a desire to look like you’re doing something, “right now” means the most expedient “half arsed” trial will be done.

        Probably a lot better trial, mind, than was obviously done here for those crappy (new) ADL buses that NZ bus continues to foist upon us.

        • Steve Cable

          actually Greg, my comment related to the need to test buses in our environment, rather than the example chosen

          • Greg N

            Too often in this country we have an inflated world view that we are unique and everything about us is just, so, different.
            Therefore products and lessens from elsewhere in the world simply don’t or can’t apply “as is” so we must be very cautious in our approach. We must always try before we buy. [Unlike the ADLs which were obviously, buy before try and now they don’t fit who can we palm them off to].

            Exactly the case in point here I believe.

            Those BYD buses have already been “tested” all around the world. And yeah one or two caught fire in the US a while back so they’re not necessarily perfect but they are in successful, revenue earning service for bus operators all around the world. And as I recall Diesel bus fires can and do occur here too, so they’re not perfect either. And BYD are a respectable Chinese EV company, not some Chinese wannabe Kamakuza (unlike the KR, asbestos riddled DL locomotives which be bought untried from some Chinese company with zero experience in, but desperately wanting to become, a Railroad Locomotive company).

            I really don’t understand what the “New Zealand’s unique topographical landscape” features are that Fulljames alludes to.

            Nor do you, I suggest.

            To me its really just PR bullshit for “we don’t want to spend money on these new EV buses if we don’t have too as we have a large fortune committed to buying cheaper, small diesel buses from ADL and elsewhere for the next 15+ years already. And if we have to use these Ebuses [as AT might soon require us to do in Auckland if their trial is successful] then we’d loose a lot of money in cancelling those existing contracts and having to flick off those recently bought diesel buses we can’t use in Auckland anymore, to other operators or routes.
            So we’ll sow some doubt about their suitability now and try and kick the can down the road for bit, like we’ve gone and done for the last 5 or so years.”.

            I doubt that the routes through the hills in Wellington are unique in the world of roads, or buses and certainly even if so, that has absolutely nothing to do with suitability for Auckland as another poster suggested. And in any case, I presume NZ Bus can get their existing bus fleet up these routes now, so they know what size bus will fit and what won’t. There are certainly no Auckland routes that present “unique topographical landscapes” that I am aware of. unless he refers to the ability of said eBuses to transit safely along a climate changed induced sea levelrise impacted Tamaki Drive? Whenever its under water occasionally?

            There may be specific geometries of roads in Wellington that would prevent some bigger buses being put on those routes, but thats not something you aim to discover once the buses are here. You can work that out in advance from the technical specs like wheelbase and weight and other dimensions.

            In any case I’m sure the Fire Service has similar requirements for specific geometries of roads and weights of vehicles to get to fires and road accidents that occur up those hills.
            A quick exchange of information with the Fire service by NZ Bus would confirm that info if they don’t know that info already.

            In any case a 3 month trial, over all the different routes that NZ Bus indicates it suggests it would need to run them on to know if they’re suitable?

            Whats that, about 1-2 days per route at best? Hardly time for a decent assessment. Sounds more like a PR Tiki Tour.

            What NZ Bus really and simply want to do, is like all companies from ExxonMobil on down, that are wedded to using fossil fuel, they want to keep the status quo for as long as possible because it suits their (and their shareholders) needs better to do so. Thats not necessarily serving Aucklanders or NZ Incs needs mind, just their corporate interests..

            However, When and if you and I see NZ Bus operated eBuses plying Auckland streets en-masse frequently, in the next 5 or so years then I’ll gladly eat my hat.

            Until then I’ll invoke my right to reserve judgement on their alleged commitment to a fossil fuel free PT future for their bus fleet in this country.

            Of course, if NZ bus’ Fulljames wants to come on here, as he has done in the past, and show us his companies new epiphany, well I’ll welcome the informed debate.

            Until then I’d feel safe in betting that the the “we’ll see you in ministers office, then in court, Snapper-touting, NZ Bus of old”, leopard has indeed not changed its spots one iota. No matter how many PR pieces they release that suggest otherwise.

            Which is why AT’s move is timely, and provides as stick to force bus operators to play ball.

    • kris

      He is referring more to Wellington where its bus routes have steep roads like the Brooklyn hill from the city to Brooklyn and Kingstown or the Courtney Place to Mt Victoria route or the Houghton Bay route, etc. The only steep climb for an ebus in Auckland is up Queen Street to K Road.

      NZ Bus has already committed to covert Wellington 60 trolley buses to Wrightspeed electric powertrains.

    • Mike (the longstanding one)

      Right-hand drive can’t be a significant issue since there are already BYD buses operating in the UK.

    • Bryan

      What are the power requirements for charging ebuses? Presumably there will be a significant cost in providing the required electrical infrastructure, not just the cost of installing dozens of charging points at each depot, but the cost of upgrading the power supply to each depot. London has specified that all replacement buses from 2018 must be hybrid or electric (currently 1700 hybrids out of 9000 buses). On a side note, 51 of the 73 ebuses being trialled in London are a joint venture between ADL and BYD. https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-first-fully-electric-bus-routes

    • Bryan

      The rest of the planet is still trialling electric buses. Please advise which cities with topography similar to Auckland and particularly Wellington are running electric buses? Hong Kong has just started a two year trial comparing electric buses from two Chinese manufacturers over selected routes – “The Companies will assess vehicle performance as well as cost effectiveness of the electric buses under local conditions with a 2 year trial.” – details here :- https://www.nwstbus.com.hk/en/uploadedPressRelease/9045_07092016_eng.pdf

      • Guy M

        Well, Hong Kong roads up and over to Stanley etc are much steeper than Wellington’s! If their electric buses can handle the HK Island routes, then they can handle the Wellington ones as well.

  • Waspman

    Bloody ironic NZ Bus are disposing of their trolley bus system.

    • Pete G

      I think its a combination of the councils and NZ bus. The power cables that feed the road side cabinets are apparently stuffed, hence the removal. Pretty short sighted imo and I wonder how Citylink are going to cope with stringing their fibre across town once the wires go. Grade separated rapid transit to the hospital, airport and beaches would be very nice.

      • Mike (the longstanding one)

        The abandonment is being driven by Greater Wellington Regional Council, based on technical advice about the condition of the infrastructure that has been strongly challenged by experts in the field. NZ Bus are merely responding to that with Wrightspeed, potentially turning the otherwise-stranded trolleybus assets into ones that have a continuing use.

        But if Wrightspeed is going to be so good, why are they also dealing with BYD?

        • Greg N

          Wrightspeed are Rubbish Truck experts.

          They may end up being rubbish bus experts as well [lifting that mantle off NZ Bus in the process] if they’re not too careful.

      • Alphatron

        The trolley us substations, many of which date back to the tram network, are life expired not the overhead wires. Estimated cost to renew of around $60million I think.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          That $60m figure has been challenged by people who have expertise in the area.

          You’re right about the overhead – GW’s consultants say that it’s in the best condition it’s been in for 30 years, with much rewiring in the past couple of years.

  • Why are cars shown in the bus-only Wellesley St? Like pointless buses shown in renders of Victoria St; someone is back-sliding on the Centre City Master Plan…..

  • “Why are cars shown in the bus-only Wellesley St? Like pointless buses shown in renders of Victoria St; someone is back-sliding on the Centre City Master Plan”
    Why consistently are there cars parked along the grass verges and grass areas outside AT’s Corinthian Drive Office? Unfortunately I think that there is such an obsession on getting the train set extensions half right that they struggle to make meaningful progress on anything else.

  • Jim

    It would be interesting to see if the tenders give dates for start and completion.
    I have a feeling that the project time will depend on the finances of Auckland city.
    So it will be interesting to read the next Auckland City’s annual report and see whether the new council has made cuts on some of the previous years waste and how serious they are to improve the bottom line. eg way too many highly paid execs, new slogans for Auckland.
    At the moment NZ has a decline in power usage and more so if Tiwai Pt Aluminiun smelter closes.
    So it’s a good time to bring on electric buses ( maybe not for all routes) as power costs are declining and less expensive oil will need to be imported

  • The Aotea station building has lost height too interestingly; I wonder if they have decided against it because it’s on the north-western corner of the Aotea precinct and a tall building there would shade it. Although surely not much more than the Bledisloe building behind it (just shown in the render)….?

  • Sacha

    I found Ian Wright’s presentation at TedxChch 2015 an interesting overview of what Wrightspeed is about, if you have a spare 16 minutes to watch the clip: http://www.tedxchristchurch.com/ian-wright/

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