Double-decker bus solution to traffic

Kiwi Bus Builders managing director Richard Drummond is building electric double-decker buses for Wellington, and thinks there’s merit in an idea to have one running in Tauranga. Photo: Nikki South.

Is a free, electric double-decker bus running kids from Welcome Bay to schools across the Turret Road bridge the solution to that area’s traffic woes?

Local architect and runner-up in the recent Tauranga City Council by-election Mark Wassung thinks so.

After seeing the designs for new electric double-decker buses being constructed by Kiwi Bus Builders for Wellington, Mark says he thought a similar bus running the school route out of Welcome Bay would be a great idea.

“We could get 75 to 100 kids and their parents off the roads, thereby reducing congestion (making it similar traffic to school holidays) and taking pressure off the Turret Road Bridge,” says Mark.

“I’m proposing we get those 250 kids no longer using buses back on one.”

Kiwi Bus Builders managing director Richard Drummond says they’re currently building the first electric double-deckers in the country at their Tauriko premises, for use down in Wellington.

He says the biggest issue with large electric vehicles is the number of batteries required to run them.

“A car isn’t pushing a lot of mass, so it doesn’t need a large battery,” says Richard.

He says batteries are becoming cheaper and smaller as each year goes by – a little like microchips – and that in the next couple of years there could be almost no price difference between a diesel and electric bus.

“A single-decker bus like the one we built for the AUT campuses cost $28 to charge and does 200km. That cost $700,000, including the charging system.”

“The biggest cost is the batteries – they are roughly $1000 a kilowatt. The AUT bus had 200 kilowatts of battery, so that’s $200,000 already.”

He thinks there’s merit in Mark’s idea.

“A vehicle that can carry a lot of people and goes where people want to go has got to be a solution. It could probably carry up to 130 kids.”

Bay of Plenty Regional Council transport policy manager Garry Maloney says staff have received Mark’s suggestion.

“They have asked him for clarification as to how the purchase of such a vehicle could be funded and where else in the network he thought warranted the demand for the large seating capacity offered by the vehicle.”


7 Comments

Double deckers

Posted on 11-05-2018 23:14 | By ray y

The buses would have to be free or they would require a conductor which they probably would need anyway with little kids aboard. Sydney used to have mainly double deckers and stopped using them because single operator buses are cheaper.They don’t carry twice as many as a single decker because you can’t travel standing upstairs.All main arterial roads are increasingly becoming more congested yet the council has a crazy fixation with getting more people to come into the city. Why ?

Yes it does.......

Posted on 11-05-2018 20:08 | By groutby

....sound promising, perhaps use smaller ’feeder buses’ from the more outlying areas to one central point (Covered and monitored area of Waipuna park perhaps?) and on to school on large ’double deckers’...and the reverse in the avo. When can it start?...certainly agree with Jayleen’s comments....

Sounds fab and.........

Posted on 11-05-2018 17:45 | By Bruja

Let’s get a few more buses running between Katikati and the city at the beginning and end of each working day. Every half hour from 7:30am until 9:30am and again from 4:00pm until 6:00pm Monday to Friday. Get them going into Omokoroa....stop at maybe Fresh Choice in the middle of the run.

High enough

Posted on 11-05-2018 15:30 | By Told you

Is the new tunnel high enough for Double Decker Buses?

Sounds good and is worth a try.

Posted on 11-05-2018 14:27 | By Jayleen Wood

As proposed, it needs to be a free, large capacity double decker, dedicated to school/college kids only. I don’t know how much cheaper a traditional "clean" diesel powered bus would save over this expensive electric option, but both types could be explored. I would also be strongly in favour of the bus having the usual driver and an additional trained bus monitor ’manager’ to keep an eye on the large number of 100 plus passengers. With our young children, one of the downsides of catching the bus was the really bad behaviour littering, swearing, teasing, bullying, throwing fights and all the loud vocal sex talk by college students. Add in a free, filtered Wi Fi service and you will have them queuing up. How to pay for it? TCC simply transfer funds as required, just as they have done with millions of wasted dollars spent on consultants etc.

OR

Posted on 11-05-2018 13:11 | By 82m

Maybe they could stop building so many crap houses everywhere until the infrastructure can properly support it.

Cheaper than new roads

Posted on 11-05-2018 12:57 | By Lvdw

Even if they have 6 electric buses running the gauntlet through Welcome Bay for the school kids and commuters that would surely be cheaper than building more roads?

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