Snapper, re-visited

In actionIt’s been a long time since we’ve mentioned Snapper in these pages.

In the meantime it’s become so much of an everyday part of life in Wellington now that it hardly seems worth mentioning anymore. Or is it?

Recently we got an email from Snapper asking us if we’d like to come and see what they’re up to. It seems they’ve had a few other things on the go as well as the recent Valley Flyer conversion and they’d like to let us know about them.

Sounds good. But it doesn’t have to be a one way thing. Now’s our chance to ask Snapper what they’re doing to bring some of our public transport "most needed" items into reality:

  • fully integrated ticketing across all public transport providers in the Wellington region, and
  • our bus stops equipped with real time bus information – we may not want much, but we want the best, and at the moment we have to admit that Christchurch, at least in part, Has It.

What about you? If you could ask the Snapper people a question, what would it be? Is there something you’d like changed? Is there anything about the present system that bugs you?

Let us know, below, and we’ll pass it along.

Wellington reclamation animation

From the ‘Reclamation of Wellington Harbour‘ Wikipedia article, here’s an animation by Matt Lane that shows the various stages of the city’s expansion seawards over the last century and a half.

reclamation of wellington harbour animation

The reclamation of Wellington Harbour was a phased approach (starting in the 1850s) of land reclamation from the Wellington Harbour. The original goal of the reclamation was to increase the amount of usable flat land for Wellington City. The motivation of latter reclamations in the 1960s and 1970s was as a response to container shipping (containerisation) and new cargo handling methods. Today, reclamation has added more than 155 hectares to the Wellington

[Via Mirarmar Mike]

Award Season – “Chappy” Nominations Announced

Richard Knowles and Kip Chapman in The Little Dog Laughed at DownstageAs Hadyn rightly points out, it is "Award Season" and the Wellington theatre community is no exception. The list of nominations for the annual Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards was announced yesterday and they demonstrate once again that live theatre in Wellington is in very good shape.

The judges (critics and reviewers from The Dominion PostCapital Times, Theatreview, Salient and The Lumiere Reader) all watched more than 90 productions during 2008 and the nominations are spread across 29 of those.

[Details of the nominees, and a special opportunity, after the jump]

snapped? (wha)

the snapper feederIt’s been a couple weeks since we last checked in on Snapper.

The Snapper rollout has continued apace, and some of us haven’t used our old ten-trips for two whole weeks! (Well, we were excited about this, anyway.)

More and more people are boarding buses armed with the cards; and more and more buses (and their drivers) are ready to take them.

And in the meantime we’ve learnt many things. (Read on for more.)

snapped? (toru)

another snapper cardToday, reader DaveK let us know that Snapper cards have finally gone on sale at a couple of retailers in town, at least. They’re also available, along with the card readers that allow WinIE types to do refills at home, from the Snapper website.

Of course there’s been a few more teething troubles reported; difficult questions haven’t been answered; not all buses (or drivers for that matter) seem to be enabled for the new technology; and retailers still don’t seem all that fussed. Meanwhile, as Poneke has reported, the 10-trip tickets will be withdrawn from sale from August 29.

But while the whole thing seems very much a work in progress, we’re just glad they’ve started on the rollout to us, the public transport punters. It’s the Future™, you know.

So in the spirit of the week we’re in, we’ll offer some words of encouragement:

He ika kai ake i raro, he rāpaki ake i raro.

snapped? (rua)

So we can confirm that yes, the new Snapper cards do work pretty well in the buses (based on the small sample of one attempt earlier today using our trial USB snapper pictured). One would expect so, given that the technology comes from the giant T-Money install in Seoul, where their mega-city sized public transport operation will have smoothed all the rough-edges out of it long ago.

Snapper USB card - this one plugs into your PCBut WTF is happening with Snapper?

First, the Dom Post reports that the rollout, due for Monday 14th, has been delayed again (originally the rollout was supposed to be in June). Then we find that at least some buses are running with live, lit-up and useable Snapper readers anyway – such was the one we caught this morning. And to confuse the matter further, no retailers appear able to sell commuters the cards until the end of the month… well, those retailers that actually have agreed to sell the things in the first place, that is.

But… we wants it!

So what might have caused this Clayton‘s delay? In the absence of anything useful from Snapper themselves we can, of course, indulge in wild speculation (after the jump):


So maybe it’s been easy to escape, but next week the new Snapper cards come into circulation.

Snapper USB card - this one plugs into your PCAnyone who travels on a Wellington Bus cannot have failed to notice the newly installed orange and black fish logo-ed teardrops at the front and side doors. These are the readers for the cards. Just wave the card over the reader, and value is debited from them to fund your bus trip. You can recharge them over the ‘net (but only if you have a Windows PC and a masochistic willingness to subject yourself to Internet Explorer) and at any of the supporting cafés and former 10-trip ticket sellers.

It all sounds pretty good really: no more being stuck for the right change; never a click short on your 10-trip; and never even having to think about how much extra is stop past your usual. And then there’s the possibility (as some of us, trialling Snapper, are doing now) of putting the first coffee of the morning on it as well.

And it’s cool. We like the logo; the different form factors; and just the sheer techno-geekery at play.

Others have been positive, too; Poneke has had a reasonable time with their card. So here at Wellingtonista we’re all really looking forward to it.

We do have a few questions though, (after the jump):

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn

My room at the Holiday InnI’ve just moved to Wellington, but before I did a proper move, work sent me up for a few days to get acquainted with things, and while I was there I stayed at the Holiday Inn on Featherston Street.

I was kind of excited because over past 25 years, there have been many hip hop songs with mentions of exciting things that happen at a "hotel, motel, Holiday Inn". What extravagances would await me? Perhaps a party that didn’t stop till six in the morning…

Holy Smoke!

The historic St Peters church, on the corner of Willis & Ghuznee St, is currently on fire.


There are seven fire appliances and one ambulance attending the fire, and just now they seem to have stopped the smoke belching out of the doors and windows. More updates & photos as they come to hand…