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A Waiheke Island Myth Part 1 On Waiheke Island, New Zealand, a myth has grown up among a handful of people in the Rocky Bay Village th...

Friday, 25 October 2019


A new bus appeared today on Waiheke Island. Whoever designed it is a damnable fool, disconnected from the real world.

The other buses on the island, especially the newer ones which are very good (the ACL ones), have generous spaces for luggage on either side near the front, which is particularly necessary on Waiheke, because it attracts large numbers of visitors from all over the world, so of course they come with suitcases or big backpacks. And locals need a good amount of luggage-space for items they bring across from the mainland, as well as for the groceries and other items that they buy on the island.

But this new bus, which looks factory-new, has almost no space for luggage. There is only a small, narrow space between back-to-back seats on either side at the front--spaces so small that each can hold only a couple of supermarket bags. And there is no restraint parallel to the aisle, as there is on the well-designed buses, so when the new one goes round a corner anything in those spaces is likely to leap to the floor and career about.

On the well-designed buses it is easy to lift your luggage out of the luggage racks and leave the bus quickly, but with this ill-designed one that is impossible, so the bus has to be at the stop longer, which with Waiheke's narrow roads means it will block other traffic longer.

The layout at the front of the new bus is also bad, there is not as much room to move as there is in the ACL buses, so ingress and egress with luggage is hampered. Whoever designed it was not concerned with ergonomics.

All of that is damned stupid. Once again those who 'manage' (read mangle) the bus service on Waiheke Island have proved themselves worse than incompetent. It is to be hoped that they are not bent on changing all the buses to that dumb-as-a-brick design. That is a design which would only be OK for commuters going to offices; it is all wrong for a village-rural community that is also a popular tourist destination.

If the manglers were deliberately trying to sabotage Waiheke's bus service they could hardly do worse than they have done in the last week or two.

Sociopathy rules! OK? :-(((

NO! New and different does not mean better. Only better means better. New and different from sociopathic incompetence always means worse, and worse, and worse...

Thursday, 24 October 2019


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.

Monday, 14 October 2019


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--words, not made-up numbers.

The famous London Underground, the Tube, founded in 1863, is all words. Names. Names of lines, names of stations. No damned numbers, no damned codes, nothing but real-world placenames. It moves about 5 million people a day, about the equivalent of New Zealand's entire population. And its map is a design classic. AT's worse-than-incompetent effort on Waiheke Island is at the other end of the design universe. It is rubbish cobbled together by narcissistic sociopaths at hideous expense. They have proved that they could not design their way out of a wet paper bag with the help of nuclear weapons and a squadron of bulldozers, which an aptly mocking way of ridiculing what they have done.

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


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.......................................