Rudman on Electric Buses

Brian Rudman writes in the Herald, suggesting electric buses for Downtown Auckland:

The talk of removing the red fence also distracts from the real barrier separating the city from the surf, and that’s the bus station that has occupied lower Queen St since July 2003, when Mayor John Banks drove down Queen St in a horse-drawn carriage to open the new transport complex…

On a fine summer’s day it could be jam-packed with people and pigeons. On a bleak winter’s day it was forbidding. But at least it was a pedestrian-friendly link between the city and the water. Not any more.. Now, from morning until late at night, this one-time people place is dominated by the throbbing of bus engines and the choking stink of diesel fumes. Up the side alleys it’s the same. Along Customs St and up Albert St and beyond the pattern is repeated.

For waiting passengers and passers-by alike, the noise and fume pollution are infuriating.

There seems no quick solution, but until we reclaim this bottom portion of Queen St for the people, all the grand talk of a continuous link between the wharf and Auckland’s main street is just bunkum.

One answer would be to insist that only electric buses be allowed in the inner-city canyons. That would eliminate noise and pollution problems.

He’s right about the noise and pollution, but it isn’t clear if his referring to trolley buses, some new fangled battery powered buses or hybrids which so far have proven to be expensive to operate and somewhat unreliable.  And a number of the buses arriving at downtown Auckland have travelled long distances, which may be unachievable for electric buses.  Of course there are other options that could be looked at – electric trams for inner city services being the most obvious.  Also natural gas powered buses are used extensively in Brisbane – I’m not sure why they aren’t in use here either.

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