Oamaru first to see post vehicles

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New Zealand Post’s new electric delivery vehicles will hit the streets of Oamaru on Tuesday.
Oamaru residents will be the first in the country to have their mail and parcels delivered by the four-wheeled Paxster vehicles, which will eventually be rolled out in other towns and cities across New Zealand. The vehicles can carry up to 200kg of parcels and mail, but are small enough to be used on the footpath. New Zealand Post Oamaru delivery manager Brett Cairns said it was significant for the town that Oamaru was first in line to be serviced by the vehicles. “This is the start of the national rollout of the electric vehicles and I’m proud people in Oamaru will be among the first to see them in action. “These vehicles are an investment in New Zealand Post’s future, as we change the way we deliver to meet the growing demand for parcel deliveries. They’re also environmentally friendly, which is important to us and our customers.” He said trials had shown the vehicles were safe to be used on footpaths. Drivers had received full safety training and would give way to other footpath users.
New Zealand Post was granted permission by the Waitaki District Council to use the vehicles on footpaths in residential areas. However, they will not be used in the central business district or the Victorian precinct, where mail will be delivered on foot.
In March, a report prepared by council roading manager Michael Ross said that New Zealand Post was required under legislation to have approval from the road controlling authority, in this case the Waitaki District Council, to use the electric vehicles to access footpaths.
Some of the key issues considered by the council before approval was granted included whether the town’s roading network was sufficient to handle the vehicles, if it was safe for them to be used on footpaths also used by pedestrians, environmental constraints such as tree roots and frost, pole placement and vehicle parking, and the vulnerability of residents with impaired hearing or sight.
The report said “other issues” might also arise, which would be discussed with New Zealand Post.
Conditions that are part of New Zealand Post’s permit to use the vehicles include monitoring and a six-monthly review, while the company would also be responsible for any costs associated with levels of service improvements needed to operate the vehicles.
The council will not be liable for costs should the permit be revoked and changes to vehicle types would be subject to “the same rigorous examination and protocols”. The Paxster vehicle is fully electric and can be charged overnight, using a standard wall socket. It has a maximum footpath speed of 15kmh, and maximum road speed of 45kmh. The vehicles are manufactured in Norway and the battery charge lasts for between 70 and 80km.