Tuesday 17th Oct, 2017

End of an era: Wellington’s trolleybuses to be replaced by 31 October

Wellington trolley bus. Photo: Metlink NZ
Wellington trolley bus. Photo: Metlink NZ

Wellington’s trolleybuses are to be phased out and replaced with new bus services over October, with the last vehicle to be taken off the city’s roads at the end of the month.

The trolleybuses have been an integral part of Wellington’s public transport system since 1949. At the peak of the service, trolleybuses travelled to Oriental Bay, Northland, and Wadestown, and featured a fleet of 119 vehicles.

After years of uncertainty about the future of the service, the decision to gradually replace the trolleybuses was made by the Greater Wellington Regional Council in 2014.

“It’s going to be sad to not see them travelling our streets anymore but Wellington is growing and Metlink has to grow with it, by creating a new better service for public transport users and investing in the future, not holding onto the past,” Greater Wellington’s chairperson for the Sustainable Transport Committee councillor Barbara Donaldson said.

The replacement buses will be between four and eight years old, with most meeting the Euro 5 emission standard.

New diesel and electric buses will begin servicing the city’s network in July 2018, with an eventual goal of an all-electric fleet.

The 82 kilometres of overhead electric cabling which powers the trolley buses will be removed during night work over the next 12 months. Power to the network will be shut off at the end of services on 31 October.

“Wellingtonians should see no change to services as the trolleybuses are replaced with diesel buses by November 1. The bus services will continue along the same route as the trolleys on the same timetable,” Donaldson said.

  • Rob Nesbitt

    Electric Vehicles are quiet, and apart from the odd compressor noise, are pleasant to be a passenger in. And electric buses use power that in New Zealand is most likely sourced from geothermal sources. Wellington Council has been trying to replace the trolley buses for decades. On one attempt they only ran them during peak hours, and supplemented with diesel buses at other times. Of course, the accounting firms then found the cost of the overhead was far more expensive per journey. the council . even replaced the trolley poles with steel poles, so that when a dewirement occurred, a lot of damage followed. When Stagecoach took over running the service in the 1990s, they replaced the steel poles with fibreglass poles, and modernised the fleet I guess years of little investment, coupled by the unique Right Hand Drive trolleybus configuration, makes replacement an easy decision. It is disappointing that the stop gap diesel buses are being substituted before the yet to arrive, and not proven new electric and diesel bus arrive in 2018


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