Hybrid bus on display in Wellington

People can ride the hybrid bus for free today (Emma Jolliff / 3 News)
People can ride the hybrid bus for free today (Emma Jolliff / 3 News)

Wellington's Mana Coach Services will be trialling a Volvo Hybrid bus from tomorrow.

Chief executive Ian Turner says the Volvo Hybrid will be used for three weeks on its busiest routes, from Courtenay Pl to Johnsonville, Newlands and Churton Park.

He hopes ultimately it will use less fuel and therefore reduce emissions. He says a good test for it will be the steep Ngauranga Gorge.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) plans to introduce up to 10 double-decker hybrid buses into the Wellington City fleet within two years. They're part of what it calls a stepping stone towards a fully electric fleet in the longer term.

GWRC Regional Transport Committee chair Paul Swain says the intention is to reduce emissions from the capital's bus fleet, but he admits it will come at a cost.

A conventional diesel bus costs $450,000 and a hybrid closer to $600,000.

Exactly who will supply the buses has yet to be decided.

The GWRC says hybrid buses will be part of a network that delivers faster services along the Golden Mile and weekend and evening services to suburbs that don't currently have them.

On concerns about the quietness of the hybrids and potential danger to pedestrians, Mr Swain says it's a case of "pedestrians beware".  

He says the trolley buses are also quiet and people got used to them.

Wellington's trolley buses, which would have cost $50M to upgrade, will be decommissioned from the middle of next year.

3 News