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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...

Monday, 10 August 2020


 Auckland Transport (AT) and the  Waiheke Local Board have released their rather self-congratulatary 'Final Waiheke 10-Year Transport Plan.' It would have been nice if they had throughout stuck to clear, simple, well-written, communicative English--if they had stuck to terms that everyone understands instantly, and not wandered off into in their version of opaque bureaucratese, such as 'accessibility lens','active transport', 'active transport missing link,' 'multi-modal outcomes,' 'reactive and problematic maintenance', etc. etc.

Their blind self-congratulation is glaringly obvious in what they have to say about the results of their 'Waiheke bus shelter [sic] programme' about which they say that 'the project produced a respected public asset that is embraced and valued by its users.'


The purpose of a bus-shelter is to shelter people while they are waiting for a bus. Shelter is its purpose. That flashy design fails to achieve that, abysmally. The old shelters, such as the one at the Placemaker's stop (which AT hocked off for $100) worked fine. The replacement, which looks like about $20,000 of ratepayers' money, is wrong in a long list of ways--on top of being put in the wrong place, and after wrecking, at huge expense, the island's transfer stop.

First, it has two openings in the front, so when it faces the weather, there are two entrances for wind-driven rain to get at you. Second, the gap between the concrete pad and the bottom of the walls is far too high. The old ones had only enough room for sparrows to duck through (I watched them many times). The new ones have a high gap that admits even more wind-driven rain, aimed at your feet. And the unnecessary height of the thing means that there is unnecessary vertical space to let the weather in through those openings. The result is that in the worst weather a puddle forms on the seat, right where you want it, in the middle. There is also a gap at the top of the walls, which lets in more wind. And the smart-alec that designed the thing has made most of the supports double as drain-pipes, so water is directed through them down round your feet and your luggage. And the seat does not go right across; a third of its possible width is wasted by expensive, decorative wood panelling. Artwork does not shelter you.

Not only have they inflicted this bad design on us, they have also put instances of it where there was already a serviceable shelter, such as at Rocky Bay and Palm Beach. They added one of those flashy things, in the wrong place. So now we have two shelters, one right and one wrong. More wasted ratepayers' money.

Their self-vaunted changes to the bus network cost a fortune, almost all of it wasted, and they only achieved an incompetent result. For example, when good designers are designing systems, they eliminate wasted effort, they do not create it. The new system has seen an explosion in the number of buses trundling about with 'Not in Serice' showing. Buses going where people want to go, at regular times, but not available to people. Brilliant!

And those damned route-numbers! All have three characters, and all begin with 50, so those characters tell you nothing, they only clutter the destination-signs. Only the last character tells you what you want to know--where the bus is going.We used to have nice simple, 1, 2, etc., and you could tell at a glance where buses were going. Now we have 501, 502, 50A, 50B, etc., and a scrambled-egg arrangement of LEDs, and, even worse, different scramblings on different buses, so you have to stand there deciphering the thing.

But 'Not in Service' is very clear. All those buses are going to AT. Because it is not in *service*; it wants, like the Dark Lord, to rule us all. Not serve us.

The deficiencies in the new regime are legion. That is only a tiny sample.