Kāpiti commuters in Wellington will be able to travel on electric buses from next year after Greater Wellington Regional Council signed contracts today with preferred tenderers Tranzit and Uzabus.
The two companies were chosen for nine bus routes across the region after the council called for tenders in August last year.
Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw says the introduction of 10 double-decker electric buses next July, followed by another 10 in 2020 and a further 12 in July 2021, will mark another phase in the evolution of the region’s public transport network.
“These are first steps in our ultimate goal of an all-electric fleet. Our immediate goal is to lower emissions. By mid-2018, 80 per cent of all buses will be new, the majority of which will comply with the latest Euro VI emissions standards.
“Their introduction, together with electric buses, will put us among the top performers worldwide for lower emission levels.”
He says the use of larger-capacity vehicles and more efficient scheduling will enable 400 buses to do the work of the current 500-strong fleet. This will reduce congestion, especially in the central city, and make journey times faster and more reliable.
“Tranzit has given us a commitment to employ as many bus drivers as possible, and on good terms, from the region’s existing workforce.”
Tranzit Managing Director Paul Snelgrove says the company will hire another 380 drivers, with as many as possible coming from the existing workforce.
“We’re ordering 228 brand-new buses, with as many built by the Kiwi Bus Builders team as it can handle.”
Mr Laidlaw says new timetables will be introduced alongside the new buses next July. A single ticketing system for travel on buses anywhere in the region and simplified fare structures will also be put in place next year.
“Taken together, all the changes will create a modern, efficient and connected bus network, supported by simplified fares and ticketing.”