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FIT is here to talk about rapid transit for Wellington City — a high frequency, all-day every-day service, on a dedicated right-of-way:

  • high frequency means at least every 15 minutes
  • all-day every-day means at least 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week
  • a dedicated right-of-way means the service is separated from other vehicles, making it reliable and fast
  • the only kind of urban transit service that can compete with the private car
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FIT’s Scenario A+ alternative to LGWM’s proposals offers a people-centred, not car-centred, vision for Wellington’s future. Scenario A+ fulfils LGWM’s objectives through:

  • better, safer walking and cycling, starting now
  • a congestion charge for cars entering the city centre during peak hours, starting when Transmission Gully opens
  • rapid transit using light rail, initially from Miramar to a regional hub at the railway station, opening by 2027 at the latest

The high capital cost of light rail requires a strategy that actively seeks to maximise ridership and mode share, not the passive “demand follows population growth” strategy that LGWM has adopted. Future light rail mass transit as proposed by LGWM would be difficult and disruptive to build and expensive to run. Its proposals are predicated on private cars remaining the dominant mode.

FIT sees urban rapid transit as a strategic investment that brings economic, social and environmental benefits to the country. Rapid transit plays the same role in the urban economy that expressways play in the rural economy, enabling urban development and enhancing urban form. Bringing rapid transit projects to fruition requires central government support, like that provided for RoNS.

Funding is the biggest barrier to making rapid transit happen. We’d like to encourage the government to play an active role. This could include facilitating innovative funding mechanisms, such as the recent proposal from Sam Stubbs of Simplicity that KiwiSaver funds are a good fit to infrastructure investments. In countries such as Canada, pension funds have been investing in urban rapid transit since 2000.

One option may be to set up The NZ Infrastructure Bank as a subsidiary of KiwiBank. The Bank would:

  • raise money from investors such as KiwiSaver operators, here and overseas, using instruments such as infrastructure bonds
  • use this money to finance infrastructure projects (design–build–operate–maintain)
  • bring a commercial discipline and financial transparency currently lacking
  • necessarily take a 30–50 year view of its asset portfolio
  • allow private investors to have a minority shareholding, if needed

We believe these proposals are consistent with the government’s transport and environmental policies. How can Wellington do this? Should we be asking you to brief Minister Twyford or should FIT offer to brief him? What’s your advice and how can we best help?

Glossary

FIT
Fair Intelligent Transport
LGWM
Let’s Get Wellington Moving
light rail
An urban rapid mass transit system, segregated from general traffic as much as possible, with wide spacing between stops and priority at intersections, fast enough to compete with private car travel
RoNS
Roads of National Significance

Glossary →

Page last modified 23 February 2018 at 01:19 PM