Public transport nirvana

<rant> Imagine if you could download an app and tap a few onscreen buttons to create a Tap and Go public transport payment card that lived inside your phone. Then imagine that you could add some dollars to this card with a couple more taps. Now you’re using it on buses, trains, in convenience stores, […]

Public Transport Spine survey, last days

Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council have partnered with NZTA to investigate the public transport corridor that runs through the Wellington CBD, between the railway station and the regional hospital in Newtown. The study is reasonably comprehensive: instead of looking at quick fixes, it’s asking what we should be doing in the long […]

You can’t trust the new real-time bus system; don’t

Earlier this month Alan heralded the beginning of the roll-out of the Regional Council’s new Real Time Passenger Information project. So far, though, I’m not happy. Just as numerous pieces of publicity in local and community newspapers have failed to alleviate my suspicion that the system is not all it is cracked up to be, […]

predictive bussing revisited

It’s been the better part of a year since we wrote about the Regional Council’s Real Time Passenger Information project. GPS units are now being fitted to a growing subset of Go Wellington buses (other companies to follow soon), so that their real-time positions can be used to calculate exact “time to arrival” information for […]

Bus woes

Stupid busesI’ve avoided it as long as I can but I’m going to have to start laying into the Wellington buses. This will serve two purposes — to gather a weight of evidence with which to construct a platform from which I can launch a series of more formal remonstrances; and possibly more importantly, to make me feel better.

I have begun a journal of woe — chronicling my problems and frustrations — and you can join in too, if you want.


Wellington public transport has made another great leap forward. From the margin of a local community newspaper:

Bus users across Wellington can use their cellphones to find out when the next scheduled service will arrive. The service allows prospective passengers to find the times of the next three buses due by txting a four-digit number — the bus-stop ID number, displayed on bus-stop signs — to BUS (287). A reply will arrive within seconds.

Now note that this will not tell you when the next bus will actually arrive, but (presumably) give you the next three buses due as per the timetable. So not hugely helpful when your bus has not shown up for no apparent reason, and nor is it as cool as the digital signs I’ve seen in Auckland’s inner suburbs, but still a start. Now can they just sort out integrated ticketing? Kthxbai.

When the lines go down

I’m sure you know that the Wellingtonista is a big fan of the trolley buses, and thinks that everyone who bitches about the wires overhead being an eyesore is an idiot. You probably think that it’s because we’re dirty leftie greenies that we’re fond of the wires, but the truth is, we like them because it’s hilarious when they go down. Like this morning, watching a trolley-bus having to get shunted by another bus out of a major Hataitai intersection. And getting to ride on the other side of Courtenay Place around marooned buses. And seeing Willis St totally blocked up with the corpses of trolley buses left lifeless. Actually it was lovely to see how friendly all the traffic was, and how quickly police and other people in shiny coats were there to direct traffic and keep things running. Sometimes Wellington is a surprisingly well-oiled machine. The official word after the jump:

Bus Angst #32

for god's sake, move down the back!Two words: bloody buses.

Actually, here’s a few more. This particular Wellingtonista had to wait forty minutes last evening for even one bus to turn up on his route. Of course, when one did, it was packed to the gunnels, so it sailed by the stop, as did the next, and the next. Finally, one only moderately packed bus did find space to fit me on board, so I did eventually get home, but what irks me is that in the forty minutes spent waiting at the bus-stop, I saw three Kilbirnie buses go by (the second two weren’t even that full), and two Houghton Bay buses. I mean, if they’re going to cancel buses, couldn’t they be a little more even-handed about it all?

Bus routes affected by the cancellations are listed here. I find it hard to believe that there are no #1, #4 and #32 cancellations after 4:30 today. As a precaution, I plan to back-walk a few stops to the Beehive end of Lambton Quay, to ensure, at least, that I can get onto a bus that will take me home, should one deem to actually turn up.

Cheers drive

And still thank youWith so much happening in this fair and glorious city of ours (it’s not just mine, it is all of ours) there’s a high chance that you’re gonna bump into some “out of towners”, especially the next few days as the city fills up with drunk penguins, herds of Elvis-es and not an unwelcome amount of nearly naked people … the rugby Sevens are on!

Whilst we all know that nearly everything is within walking distance of the Stadium (“It’s a very walkable city” was probably only just pipped by “Absolutely Positively Wellington”) we at the Towers are sure that there will be a high proportion of these tourists catching buses from ‘here’ to ‘there’.

And once on the bus they will be pleasantly surprised by how, as Wellingtonians leave the bus, there is a hearty, “Cheers drive!”

Well, actually it’s likely to be a, “Thank you” or even a, “Thanks driver” but why shouldn’t it be, “Cheers drive”?

More reasons to moan about the buses…

a mexican juggling green ballsThe fares have gone up! Well, for some of us they have. The new zones do make things a little simpler, but one gets the feeling the 1, 2 and 3 stage price hikes will generally outweigh the discounts the more rare 4 stage traveller will be making. Don’t know about you train users. You can fend for yourself.

If you’re a little confused about it all MetLink have excellent online info about the new zones and fares.

And to the bus-driver who looked stroppy at me this morning when I presented my brand new (but old-school $20 three-stage ten trip), and griped that I should be using one of the new cards, and made his decision to let me on regardless seem as if was the greatest show of magnaminity shown by a single person across the Wellington region this year, might I now say (having checked the rules): “Get stuffed! It’s valid to the 17th!”