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FIT proposes two options for running both buses and light rail in central Wellington.
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The objective is a much-needed step-change in Wellington’s public transport, an integrated service using buses and light rail, as well as improved connections to rail. All are needed: buses alone have insufficient capacity, and light rail alone requires too many transfers.
The intention is to make the best use of each mode’s characteristics:
FIT anticipates that integrated public transport in Wellington will facilitate greater public transport use, with corresponding benefits in fewer crashes and lower pollution, congestion and carbon emissions. A realistic goal in Wellington should be driving light rail demand to support a 5 minute frequency, 7 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week. From the Railway Station, light rail would reach the Airport in under 20 minutes.
FIT’s first option is for buses on the golden mile and light rail on the waterfront, with hubs at the Railway Station and Te Aro Park. A second option assumes that Lambton Quay will be pedestrianized between Whitmore and Willis Streets. Light rail runs on the western side of Lambton Quay (or on Stout Street), with a hub at Midland Park, then uses Panama and Hunter Streets to reach the waterfront and a stop at Frank Kitts Park. See Light rail and buses in the CBD.
Northbound buses stay on the existing route, but southbound buses take another route, on Johnston, Featherston, and Panama Streets to Customhouse Quay. New bus stops at Panama Street (about 100 m apart) replace existing stops between Willis Street and Farmers.
At Midland Park southbound buses stop at a realigned kerb, with the footpath on an enhanced existing path in the park. This allows space for bus and light rail platforms, as well as vehicle access for deliveries (on the same basis as in Cuba St, 10 am to 4 pm).
Apart from Lambton Quay, this option has little effect on existing traffic circulation. In most places narrowing lanes and removing parking will be enough. Other traffic modifications are: