Price Waterhouse report says “Scrap trolleybuses”

by Bill

Wellington Trolleybus
Photo of Wellington trolleybus courtesy of Royston Rascals

In a recently published report commissioned by Greater Wellington Regional Council, consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper are highly critical of trolleybuses, and recommend they play no further part in Wellington’s public transport system. At page 24, the report lists the disadvantages of trolleybuses:

  • Trolleys require significant investment in overhead network infrastructure.
  • Overhead wiring networks means that bus routes are limited to existing infrastructure and are difficult to revise (in the absence of investment in network extensions or changes). Any extension to the network requires significant capital investment.
  • The power supply system can become overloaded if too many trolleys are drawing electricity from the network at the same time, stalling the movement of the trolleys.
  • Overhead wiring limits the ability to introduce taller vehicles (e.g. double-deckers).
  • Overhead wiring contributes to visual pollution.
  • Overhead wiring poses potential risks to pedestrians if the lines become damaged or fall.
  • Trolleys have limited ability to pass other trolley buses that are running off the same line. This slows traffic, particularly at stops and if buses de-pole.
  • The low noise output of trolleys can result in crashes with pedestrians. […]

The report says of the Leeds trolleybus proposal:

Despite the targeted benefits of the system, there has been significant opposition to the £250 million project. Approximately 20 buildings will need to be demolished for space, and another 3,000 business and domestic properties could be affected. Opposition to the proposal claims that the project will provide poor value for money and will damage both the environment and quality of life.