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Monday, 14 October 2019

WHAT AT SHOULD HAVE DONE

Auckland Transport (AT), like bureaucracies all over the world, loves codes. They like inventing codes--something that stands for something else--and of course they alone know all the codes and what they stand for, which makes them feel important. It is part of their lust to impose their vain notions on the real world. They do not understand that systems should be designed for real people in the real world, not that people and the world are there to be shoe-horned into their systems.

AT's bus-routes have codes. Why? Because they have designed their systems round them, particularly their website.

But what do people want to know? They want to know how to get from A to B, from a place with a name to another place with a name. Places have names, not codes. People know the A, because they are standing there. All they want to know is what bus/train/ferry they must catch to get to the B.

So the ideal system, the people system, the real-world system, would be based on the real world and people's place in it. It would therefore be based on a map. That is very easy nowadays, particularly because we have Google's maps to use as a wonderfully detailed foundation.

So you are standing somewhere, the A in question, and you want to get to whatever B is your desire. So the ideal system would display a zoomable map, and would have two red, labelled pointers in a box at the top. The box would say, 'Please drag these pointers to where you want them to be'. One would be labelled 'I am here' and the other 'I want to go here'. You would drag them to where you wanted them (and if you were on a cellphone the first one might suggest where it should be via GPS).

If you were catching a bus,when they were dragged to where you wanted them, a window would pop up showing the front of a bus, with the subtitle: 'You need to catch the bus that shows this in its destination window. The next one will be leaving in nn minutes at hh:nn. The journey will take about nn minutes.'

If you were not near the relevant bus-stop it would show you where you had to walk to get to it, and even what the streets along the way looked like if Google had that data.

If you had to catch a train or ferry the window would show where you would catch it and what would be displayed on the station/terminal screen, again so that you could look for the right thing in the right place.

So you would know where to go and what to look for when you got there, so you could get on board the right vehicle (or vehicles if transfers were needed, which would of course be shown).

No codes would be necessary, because, as already stated, places have names, not codes. Codes are for control-freaks who want to impose themselves on reality, not work with it.

The same images of destination windows would show above the printed timetables in bus-stop shelters and leaflets. Not silly codes; actual bus signs.

In short, AT's system should have been based on chaps and maps, not on pointless codes. AT failed, as always, to base its operation on the real world. And the ratepayers were forced to foot the exorbitant bill.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

INSANITY IS SPELT AT

To detail every aspect of the incompetence of Auckland Transport would fill volumes. But only a few few aspects of the recent changes they have made to the bus service on the island will suffice to prove that they are worse than incompetent, they are crazy, and they chuck vast amounts of ratepayers' money down the toilet of their profligate craziness.

'It's sabotage, mate, sabotage,'a bus-driver said to another passenger the day after AT's crazy changes hit Waiheke.

Waiheke's bus service was once managed by a very good man, Ward Climo. Wardy as everyone called him is one of those golden men, a man it is an honour to know, a straightforward, down-to-earth, profoundly-caring man, and he was very good at his job.

In those days the destination windows at the front of buses showed a roll of black cloth with the destinations in bold white letters, designed by common sense to tell you quickly all you wanted to know--which is of course where each bus is going (some of the older buses still have that). They showed one of two destinations: Onetangi (via Surfdale), Rocky Bay (via Palm Beach), and, going the other way, Matiatia Ferry. Very simple, very direct. When a bus was still hundreds of metres away you could easily see if it was the one you wanted, so you could get your luggage ready and signal the driver well in advance.

Then the cloth rolls were mostly replaced with panels of LED lights that could be programmed to spell out whatever was wanted. But still the signs were kept simple, with big letters, so they were still obvious hundreds of metres away: Onetangi 1, Rocky Bay 2; and Matiatia Ferry 1 or 2 the other way. The route-numbers were large with clear space by them so that they stood out. So still, the only question---'Is that my bus?'--was answered quickly, at a considerable distance. Fine.








Then the Auckland Transport crazies struck, and filled the LED panels with two lines, showing the destination in smaller letters with voluminous sideways scrolling underneath that attempted to show all the main stops along the way. All useless, because the timetables showed that. Cluttering the front of buses with it was stupid. It was not the basics of good system-design: KISS KID--Keep It Simple Stupid, Keep It Direct.

But the AT crazies had not finished. Now they have piled craziness on craziness. For no reason except to manifest their excesses of craziness, they changed the simple 1, 2... to 50A, 50B, 502, 503, 504, and they packed even more 'information' into the destination windows--thus creating so much LED clutter you cannot now be sure till a bus gets almost to the stop that it is the one you want. Only then can you collect your luggage and make a signal. Or if you are a visitor you can then annoy the driver by asking where the bus is going, because they clutter is so confusing that you cannot be sure. The bus might be going to see Little Green Men on Planet 3 round Alpha Centauri for all you can discern.

But the AT crazies had not finished. The timetable data in the information sign at my bus stop has been printed in small characters, down at waist-level, not in large characters up at eye-level. Waist-level!!!!!!!!!!! I have no eyes in my navel, small or large. Few people do--a fact that has escaped the notice of the AT crazies. And above that data the sign is mainly white space, except for a meandering route-map that fails to tell passengers what they most want to know--where they need to transfer to get from the Rocky Bay route to Onetangi or to Kennedy Point. So the data you need is treated as unimportant, and white space as most important, because it dominates the sign. Why not print the timetable in nice big letters, at eye-level, and also show all the transfer information so people know how to get round the island.


What they should have done, of course, was to have put the times bit up the top, in much larger print. And that snake down the right side, and added to it beside the Ostend stop a note to say, 'Transfer here to the Onetangi route', and beside the Oneroa stop a note 'Transfer here to the Kennedy Point ferry'. Because people want to know how to get round Waiheke; they are not just going along one bus-route to get from A to B on it. And, of course, they should not have put any of that crazy 502 nonsense. 2 is more than enough. There's other rubbish on this sign that should be scorned, but life is not long enough to go through it all. The only thing they got right was to adopt a 24-hour clock, but they have messed up how that is implemented and explained They can do nothing right even when they are right.

But the AT crazies had not finished with that sign. A couple of days later they paid someone to take it from inside the shelter and place it on a pole outside. So now to read the timetable you have to stand out in the rain, not in the shelter. It is a little higher; it is now for people with eyes in their nipples.

The AT crazies hit a zenith of craziness at another stop, the one opposite the supermarket. For ever and five days there had been a timetable fixed to that shelter. Good./ But now it has been removed and replaced by one fixed to one of the expensive, unnecessary steel posts that AT has caused to sprout all the over bus-routes. The post is 8 metres away from shelter, the expensive signs at the top are invisible because they are buried in the branches of a pohutakawa tree, which almost manages to conceal the timetable sign too Eight metres from shelter, instead of on it... Those fools are mad.

The AT crazies had not finished with manifesting their craziness in O'Brien Road. They decided to put yellow no-passing lines, single or double, at various points on the median of  the road to tell motorists not to pass. Motorists would have to be a whole bakery short of a picnic to try passing at any of those points, but bureaucratic crazies like to tell people the obvious because they are narcissistic  control-freaks who love themselves and like ordering people about. But they failed to put double yellow lines where between Te Whau Drive and Okoka Road, the only place where it could be argued that they were needed. But the crazies, being blind to the obvious, failed to see that. A little local knowledge would have told them, and told them why.

But those AT crazies were not finished. They put a huge red blob right across O'Brien Road just above the very obvious bend below Okoka Road, with 'SLOW' emblazoned across it in huge white letters, so that people would know that they had to slow for the bend. You see, without that blot on the road to distract them from the obvious they might not see the obvious: that there is a bend in the road. The road has been there for nearly a hundred years. Now it has a blob. [The 30kph signs were there only for doing the roadworks to put the blob and other things.]


But AT's profligate crazies were not finished. For years there had been a very adequate bus-stop shelter down at the Rocky Bay.  Not flash, but cute and rustic and all that was needed. But they decided to built a flash new one at great expense. So now there are two. They even had a new sign made for the new one; they could not bring themselves to recycle the old one.

In the week the craziness was started, down at Matiatia a Class 1 Control-Freak, a damned fool of an AT bod, was ordering the buses about in the week. No, not ordering, disordering--being a thuggish bureaucrat. Because for years the bus leaving for the number 1 route, to Onetangi, was always parked first in line outside the terminal and the one leaving for the number 2 route, to Rocky Bay, was behind it, second. Very good. So you always knew where your bus would be when you came off the ferry, it was always in the same place; you could go straight to it. But the damned fool was busy forcing the drivers to go to the first spot regardless of where they were going, so sometimes that would the Onetangi bus, now renumbered by AT craziness, and sometimes it would be the Rocky Bay bus, depending on which one happened to arrive first at the terminal. So now people had to hunt about for the bus they wanted.

AT's craziness also ordered bus-drivers to wave a greeting to each other when they passed in opposite directions. Which drivers have been doing for ever and five days. 'Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs' is an old saying and wise one. Don't be a narcissistic thug, is the blunt version. All bureaucrats are narcissistic thugs, which is why they are so egregiously stupid,

One could go on and on and on, but there is not enough space or enough life in which to detail AT's profligate, narcissistic, thuggish worthlessness.

But all this is worst than craziness. It is also thievery, because all this and a vast amount more has been done on ratepayer's money. Which explains that my rates are now ten times what they were when I came to the island twenty-two years ago but inflation has only multiplied by about 1.5 according to the Reserve Bank's inflation calculator. In one word it is chronic wickedness visited upon us by profligate fools.


As the driver said: 'It's sabotage.'
For which ratepayers pay, and pay, and pay, and pay, and pay.......................................

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

WATER RATES ON WAIHEKE

The detailed breakdown on the Web of island rates for a residence shows a somewhat surprising entry: 'Water Quality Targeted Rate - Non-business'.

'Somewhat surprising' because of Waiheke's DIY water-supplies and wastewater systems, so I called 301-0101 to upload a Level 1 Interrogation of the Inmates, and after the normal long-spoon wait was told by a First Respondent Inmate that Auckland Council only charges land-rates; it does not charge water-rates, that those are charged by Watercare (which is a kind of collection of Outmates), so I was transferred to them... but they, of course, do not operate a helpdesk outside office hours.

When I caught up with Watercare next morning they said: 'It's definitely not us. It's definitely Auckland Council.'

So, back to the Inmates, and now it was Level 2, bordering on Level 3. The response was an email a few days later from a Second Respondent Inmate, which over 'Kind Regards,' proclaimed: 'Water Quality Targeted Rate is to help fund an accelerated programme to improve water quality in our beaches, harbours and streams. This is a city wide targeted rate that applies in all areas [sic].'

Thus is Waiheke charged a 'city' water-rate. Hmmmm...

AT--WORSE THAN INCOMPETENT

A few weeks ago seven boys and girls from Auckland Transport (AT) came across to sort out the ignorant savages who live on Waiheke. We are, of course, ignorant savages in comparison with the Magnificently Superior Creatures from the mainland, who exist on an infinitely higher plain--somewhere above Alpha Centauri, at a rough guess.

The Magnificent Seven, stood about, armed with magnificent clipboards, and magnificently identified pressing problems that did not exist, then went away to the Magnificent Mainland to plan them out of existence. But... when you set out to eliminate problems that did not exist you bring into existence problems that were not there before and never should be.

But, being from the Alpha Centauri Mainland, they did not know that, so they did not see the real problems in the two bus-stops on either side of O'Brien Road at its intersection with Te Whau Drive. There had been two small problems. Two bus-stops, one small problem each.

First, there was a small problem at the stop opposite Te Whau Drive, because it was only the shoulder of the road. That was OK except in wet weather and days after it, because buses always pulled over to the shoulder so as to get off O'Brien Road as far as possible, and therefore kept digging a pothole when they accelerated away, which filled with muddy water, so passengers who had just alighted were likely to be deluged brown.

All that was needed to fix that was to seal or concrete the shoulder, then that pothole would never appear.

But the Magnificent Seven did not see that. No perception, no local knowledge, no concern for anything except to spend the Maximum of Ignorant Savages' money and thus feel Maximum Magnificent Important.

Therefore at huge expense a Magnificent Design was done, and a large gang of workmen and machines from Fulton Hogan were hired to spend several days turning that Magnificent Design into concrete, wood and pipe. They built a raised concrete pad, edged with a high concrete curbing, which certainly eliminated the pothole (very good) but also eliminated the shoulder that buses had been able to pull over to (bad, bad, bad). So now buses were obliged to block the road when they stopped. Magnificent!

And block it further up the road, making it impossible for vehicles to use the mouth of Te Whau Drive to pass the bus.

Second there was a small problem at the stop on the other side of the road, on the corner of Te Whau Drive and O'Brien. It had long had a nice little bus shelter, one of those cute rustic ones that fit the character of our village-rural environment. But because its concrete floor was significantly lower than the shoulder of the road, rain sent buckets of muddy water down into the shelter, so people then had to immerse their shoes in a muddy swamp. The obvious solution was to unbolt the shelter from its concrete base and pour a new base on top, thus raising it about 250mm. Then the floor of the shelter would be a bit above the shoulder of the road.

But the Magnificent Seven did not see that. No perception, no local knowledge, no concern for anything but how to spend the maximum of Maximum of Ignorant Savages' money and thus feel Maximum Magnificent Important.

Therefore at huge expense, a Magnificent Design was done, and a large gang of workmen and machines from Fulton Hogan were hired to spend several days turning that Magnificent Design into concrete, metal, gravel and wood. They built a raised curve of concrete curbing going right round the corner, and between it and the bus-shelter they laid down a wide swathe of deep gravel.

So now the floor of the shelter is even further below the edge of the road, which means that to get out of it and into a bus you have to climb a gravel slope and summit on a high curb; and low-slung buses have a problem pulling into that stop; and mothers with push-chairs are presented with an upward-sloping gravel obstacle-course that makes it hard to get a child and a push-chair into a bus quicker than jaunt to Alpha Centauri; and buses can no longer pull into the mouth of Te Whau Drive
to clear O'Brien Road, so are obliged to block O'Brien Road on that side too. Magnificent!

On top of all that, motorists coming out of Te Whau Drive into O'Brien Road now tend to swing wide to clear that curbing round the corner--so wide that as you stand waiting for a bus you see most of them crossing the centre-line into traffic coming up O'Brien Road. Magnificent!

O'Brien Road at that point was already narrow; it has now been narrowed even more.

All that is because the Magnificent Seven failed to see the real problems, and so they created problems that had not been there before. Well done, O Magnificent Seven! That's Progress!? Take a boo.

As a wise old bus-driver observed: 'They made a bad situation worse.'

If AT ceased to exist Waiheke would be better off. They don't know where it's at. But they do know how to wAsTe buckets of our money.

AT is worse than incompetent. Incompetence does badly a job that needed doing. Worse-than-incompetent does a job that did not need doing, never needed doing, and should never have been done or even contemplated--and does it badly. Very badly. That is AT.

In the matter of those two bus stops, AT, not content with being worse than incompetent, carried on and reached even greater depths of profligate stupidity. The bus stops had always been next to earth and bush, but after it had made such a damnable mess of them it decided that there was not enough earth on that part of the planet, so it hired people to buy some more out of ratepayers money and sprinkle it about.

But they were still not finished with being mind-bogglingly stupid and damnably wasteful. They erected a sign, spang in the middle of the grass footpath that leads to one of the bus stops, so now pedestrians have to dodge out on to the road at that point. All AT needed to do, and was told to do, was to keep the grass mown so that the verge was always a usable path. They failed to do that. Instead, they blocked it. With a useless eyesore of a sign on the edge of a beautiful forest reserve. and to underscore their stupidity the sign is a warning to motorists to watch out for pedestrians--the very pedestrians who are forced on to the road because of the sign.... !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adding insult to injury, everything they have done at and around the two stops is ugly; it is out of keeping with the environment. They are not only worse than incompetent; they are also environmentally insensitive. And thieves, because they take public money to create their vandalism.

In the study of logic a term is used that is also used in mathematics: IFF. IFF is an abbreviation for 'If, if, and only if.' The fundamental dictum in logic is 'IFF the premise is true and the reasoning is true the conclusion must be true.' Or, as it can also be stated, in reverse, 'IFF the premise is false or the reasoning is false the conclusion will always be false, it cannot possibly be true.' All that can be put more simply: 'Unless you start with the truth and proceed by the way of truth you cannot possibly arrive at anything true.' AT has repeatedly proved by what it arrived at that it did not start with the truth or proceed by the way of truth. It ignored the fundamentals of good service. And it did it all on ratepayers' money. It is therefore chronically guilty of fundamentally bad service and public thievery.

------

AT's sunken bus-stop shelter at the intersection of Te Whau Drive and O'Brien Rd and the gravel ascent now needed to escape it--a well-nigh impassable barrier for push-chairs:








The thick pad that was installed by profligate AT instead of just fixing the puddle--where the puddle had been is marked. The pad has already been broken, obviously by a bus that got too close when the driver tried to pull over:



As Google Earth saw that intersection, both ways, before AT's blind machinations got at it:



Public servants are the salt of the earth. They care about people, they are thoughtful and prudent and behave as good stewards of public time and money. But bureaucrats are none of those things; they are the opposite. Scientific analysis of them, including a study back in the 1990s, shows plainly that they have the same psychological profile as individuals who commit crimes against the person--those who are guilty of the assault, rape, domestic violence, child-abuse and murder. They are thugs, but not with fists and physical weapons. Their assaults on people and the populace deploy their two favourite words: policy and process--either good policy invented by public servants, which the bureaucrats turn to evil, or evil policy that they themselves invented. They seek out positions of power in order to exercise their wicked thuggery. They vindicate themselves by covering their evil with cloaks of fine words, pretty logos and flash offices, etc., but the evil is always there.

In a word, they are insane. Not Section 8, barking-made insane, but psychologically dysfunctional with deep-seated sociopathic tendencies. The proofs of their sociopathy are plain, in the 'thinking' they manifest in their designs and bureaucratic rules, in the careless way they waste public money, and in the fact that they do not strive to do things in the ways that are the least-disruptive, carry the minimum of upset, have the lowest cost, and have the maximum careful attention to the people who will be on receiving end of their actions. A part of their madness is the self-delusion that they are not dysfunctional, a delusion inflated by their vanity.

Bureaucrats are thugs, they are evil, they are mad. AT has a plethora of them.


AUCKLAND TRANSPORT DOESN'T KISS KID

What on earth were they 'thinking' at Auckland Transport; they don't know where it's AT. What on earth were they 'thinking' when they came up with the new codes for the revamped bus-routes on Waiheke Island, the ones that start on October 13 2019? Whatever it was it had nothing to do with logic or the real world.

In systems-design there is an old, wise acronym: KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid. To that, I like to add KID -- Keep It Direct. And one of my favourite quotations for all aspects of design comes from an American designer, Saul Bass, who said, 'Design is thinking made visible. '

Signs, particularly signs for roads, should convey information concisely and speedily, real information, not worthless garbage.

The new codes designated by AT for the island's revamped bus-routes have been advertised as 50A, 50B, 502, 503, 504. There is no logical structure is that, no connection to the real world, and no thinking worthy of the name.

First, is that fiftyA, fifty2, etc., or five-hundred-and-A, five-hundred-and-two, etc.? And why 50 or 500 as prefixes? There are not 50 or 500 variations on the final destinations on the island and therefore not on the routes.

At the moment there are only two final destinations: Onetangi, which has long been Route 1 (very logical: One-tangi), and Rocky Bay, Route 2 (two words, again very logical). The new scheme adds one more final destination: Oneroa--for the new shuttles to and from the two ferries. Therefore, logic and reality and familiarity dictate Route 1 and Route 2, and adding Route 3 for the new shuttles. Route 3 is to have two variations, to Matiatia and Kennedy Point, and thus, logically, it should be 3M and 3K. Onetangi is to have two or three variations, going to The Strand or Waiheke Road and thus in simple logic becomes 1S, 1W, etc.

That is all firmly fixed to logic and the real world. It is eminently simple, it does not clutter bus-signs or timetables, it is easy to communicate to foreign visitors, even in hand-signs. And it keeps what is familiar; it does not throw it away to satisfy some bureaucratic whim.

Codes are not needed in an ideal system, but if they are used they should always be meaningful. Every character should give information, useful information. That 50A, 50B, 502, 503, 504 scheme fails that test. Remove the '50' and no information is lost. But remove any character from 1, 2, 3, 3M, 3K, and  useful information is lost.

And from a distance, with less than good eyesight, 50A and 504 look similar on the front of a bus, as do 50B and 503. All you want to know when you see a bus coming is is it the one I want. That '50-something' nonsensical trash tells you nothing.

1, 1S, 1W, 2, 3M, 3K pass the KISS KID test. AT's damnably silly setup fails it dismally. It is ridiculous, and deserves to be laughed at by everyone on the planet.

In the study of logic a term is used that is also used in mathematics: IFF. IFF is an abbreviation for 'If, if, and only if.' The fundamental dictum in logic is 'IFF the premise is true and the reasoning is true the conclusion must be true.' Or, as it can also be stated, in reverse, 'IFF the premise is false or the reasoning is false the conclusion will always be false, it cannot possibly be true.' All that can be put more simply: 'Unless you start with the truth and proceed by the way of truth you cannot possibly arrive at anything true.' AT has repeatedly proved by what it arrived at that it did not start with the truth or proceed by the way of truth. It ignored the fundamentals of good service. And it did it all on ratepayers' money. It is therefore chronically guilty of fundamentally bad service and public thievery.

Public servants are the salt of the earth. They care about people, they are thoughtful and prudent and behave as good stewards of public time and money. But bureaucrats are none of those things; they are the opposite. Scientific analysis of them, including a study back in the 1990s, shows plainly that they have the same psychological profile as individuals who commit crimes against the person--those who are guilty of the assault, rape, domestic violence, child-abuse and murder. They are thugs, but not with fists and physical weapons. Their assaults on people and the populace deploy their two favourite words: policy and process--either good policy invented by public servants, which the bureaucrats turn to evil, or evil policy that they themselves invented. They seek out positions of power in order to exercise their wicked thuggery. They vindicate themselves by covering their evil with cloaks of fine words, pretty logos and flash offices, etc., but the evil is always there.

In a word, they are insane. Not Section 8, barking-made insane, but psychologically dysfunctional with deep-seated sociopathic tendencies. The proofs of their sociopathy are plain, in the 'thinking' they manifest in their designs and bureaucratic rules, in the careless way they waste public money, and in the fact that they do not strive to do things in the ways that are the least-disruptive, carry the minimum of upset, have the lowest cost, and have the maximum careful attention to the people who will be on receiving end of their actions. A part of their madness is the self-delusion that they are not dysfunctional, a delusion inflated by their vanity.


Bureaucrats are thugs, they are evil, they are mad. AT has a plethora of them.