Wellington’s iconic trolley buses will no longer be retiring in 2017, with a number set to be converted to “plug-in hybrids.”
The decision comes following a Generation Zero petition, signed by thousands, calling for Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) to choose the electric option over new diesel-hybrid buses.
Green Party MP Julie Genter said the move was “a big win for the Wellingtonians who stood up and said they didn’t want to see their city choked by fumes from diesel-hybrid buses.”
If GWRC choose to more widely adopt the electric buses, the Green Party says Wellington will be leading the charge for electric transport in New Zealand.
Spokesperson for Generation Zero Nina Atkinson, added to this saying “the ball is now in the GWRC’s hands as to whether Wellington moves to cleaner public transport or takes a backwards step to dirty diesels.”
NZ Bus, the owner of the trolley buses which are currently under contract with GWRC, has signed on American company Wrightspeed to refit a number of them with electric motors.
However, the deal is still in negotiation, with some councilors hoping for a trial period before the contract with NZ Bus is signed. This would be primarily to ensure the electric buses can cope with Wellington’s hills—bloody classic.