New Zealand's Labour Party has committed a rapid transit system for Christchurch to unclog the city's roads. Party Leader David Cunliffe promised that his party would invest $100 million for a modern rail project, if elected, to power in the Sept 20 elections, reported the New Zealand Herald.
Mr. Cunliffe and his transport spokesman Phil Twyford made this announcement in Christchurch, while campaigning for local MPs Clayton Cosgrove and Poto Williams.
Earth quakes and the consequent damage had changed the distribution of population in the city and traffic congestion is rampant. It is making life difficult in the northern part of the city.
Service in Every 15 Minutes
Cunliffe said the new services would operate with a 15-minute frequency, during rush hours. This investment in the public transport network will serve Christchurch in the coming century. Money will not be a constraint as it can be found from unallocated funds of the National Land Transport Fund. No slashing of funds will be done in any other planned projects, for the sake of Christchurch project.
Nearly said 10 per cent of commuters would like to take a train if the services were available and reduce the journey time by half, for those travelling by car.
Considerable savings can be made by using part of the existing rail infrastructure. Mr. Cunliffe was confident that the commuter rail will be the most cost-effective way to reduce congestion. The aim is to optimise the existing tracks and stations with a few upgrades.
The network links of Rangiora, Rolleston and Kaiapoi with Christchurch will be constructed. Cunliffe said the network would also spark urban renewal in places like Papanui and Hornby.
The project would use mostly the existing tracks and double the track at city's northern rail line. The capital investment would be used for upgrading the track, building stations and in buying rolling stock. More money will be allotted in the second phase of development
Accordingly, Rangier, Kakapo and Rolleston would be opened for residential and commercial development. The facilities for commuters will include free Wi-Fi and a one-ticket system for rail and bus services. If required, commuter rail will be extended to Rolleston and other stops in the west, by building a central city station.