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Thursday, 24 October 2019

A DEPOT OF BUSES SHORT OF A SERVICE

Most people know what is meant by saying that someone is several sandwiches short of a picnic.

Auckland Transport (AT) is, literally, two buses short of a service on Waiheke Island. Here, 'literally' only means physically. Because drivers report that one manifestation of the abysmally-bad setup that they have recently dumped on the island is that they did not work out the right number of buses needed to cover the new timetable. So there are not enough buses. They are two short of the number needed.

But if the mess they have made were to be accurately portrayed as a shortage of buses you would have to say they are an empty depot short of a system.

And that is now three buses short physically , because one was crashed a few days ago, taking it out of service while its front end is rebuilt.

They are also short of a clock and a brain attached to it. They told us that services would run every thirty minutes to and from the Matiatia ferry terminal and Onetangi and Rocky Bay. They also said that there would be buses every fifteen minutes.

They lied. Between Onetangi and Matiatia, they run every thirty minutes in both directions. But between Rocky Bay and Matiatia they only run every thirty minutes starting from Rocky Bay. Coming the other way, back from Matiatia to Rocky Bay, they alternate between twenty and forty minutes. Why? They are travelling the same route, starting from the same place the same length of time after the ferry arrives. So why the stupid mismatch? Why make the service so unpredictable?

And why have some start-times from the bays at, for instance, 14 minutes past the hour and some at 17 minutes past the hour? It would have been very easy to have been simple and consistent and therefore more predictable for passengers. Again the routes are the same, the times taken to traverse them are the same, with sufficient leeway for loadings, so why not make them as easy as possible for people to follow.

You would if you cared about people, as all good systems-designers do... But narcissistic sociopaths don't.

Caring about people includes not wasting huge amounts of money to build glitzy new bus-shelters all over the place, replacing perfectly serviceable ones that fitted the island's rustic character. They have fed us a whole pile of puffery about the symbolism of the expensive artwork etched into the glass, but ignored the reason for a shelter, which is to shelter, so were not bothered by making them face openly into the prevailing wind. At ratepayers' expense. Damn the symbolism; just give us a good, inexpensive service.

And the fifteen minutes they are boasting about only applies to bus-stops serviced by both routes. It does not mean that on each route you have a bus every fifteen minutes, because the routes go in different directions. It is only where the two get back together again on common ground, in Oneroa and the ferry terminal, or for a short distance in Ostend, that that fifteen-minute periodicity occurs, But even that is only achieved by a bit of unnecessary staggering.