Most bus systems are still running 1950's style, many places around the world. Here a Christchurch example, on weekend hourly bus services, these two serving adjacent locations, common key points, and the same broad suburban area of Christchurch, by different routes running five minutes apart (yeah right).**
This typical waste of resources by bizarrely named Environment Canterbury reflects outdated and dis-integrated planning in this age when bus lanes, computers, computer chip cards, GPS should be offering "go any direction" effective interactive grid pattern networks.
Imagine if school committees by law had to be run only by people who had never had children themselves.
Imagine if members of the hospital board skited they not get sick, had never had a day in hospital ...but one day after several years in office, finally jokingly agreed to do a one hour visit to the wards for a photo shoot.
It is vaguely nauseating. They may be genuinely nice people, but equally, genuinely ignorant, oblivious. So bloody patronising. Do as we say not as we do.
Throughout New Zealand there are regional councils, district councils, community boards fill of genuinely concerned nice people playing at organising bus services, services that they have no intention of using on a daily basis.
Most of them are so little interested or versed in public transport they have no idea how appallingly bad public transport is in New Zealand if measured against any genuine vision of reducing car use in New Zealand. Or making New Zealand 100% tourist friendly, 100% retired person supportive, or keeping thousands of "still too young" younger teenage drivers off the road.
They rarely have a regional or urban threshold criteria of significance, no road map of building a public transport network step by step, to reduce car use. Most of these councillors could not tell you how many bus services operate through their area, or between their home town and the next town or city, because organising a totally committed professional public transport system has never entered their head.
Instead these elected councillors rely almost entirely upon the wisdom of public servants, administrators and planners, to tell them what they what do. Professional public transport people - few of whom ever spend half a day on a cold rainy day, getting across town to and back, to buy groceries. Well they wouldn't would they, the bus service is too cumbersome and slow!
Sure. a few paid planners and transit authority workers might commute to work on buses, but very few I image go to visit their brother and his family on Wednesday night or catch three buses across town [because they have to] to get to a desired night class at a local high school, or go for a picnic in a country area or catch a bus home from a social evening on Saturday night. In fact, I don't even have to imagine it. I just have to watch the last two bus routes from an outer terminus departing for the city simultaneously or the only services to an area running down the same route corridor, both on an hourly cycle, and both only 5 minutes apart .
I just have to read the timetables and see because no attempt has been made to create an integrated pattern it will take one and a half hours to travel ten kilometres, because transfers do not match. Might as well bloody walk the whole way!! .
I just have to listen to a taxi driver today tell me his niece, so eager for work, took a job cross-town (Kaiapoi to Lincoln!) and it took her four buses and to ten o'clock at night to get home.
Yet we have all the computer savvy and GPS knowledge to make that a one hour and ten minutes journey every hour!
On Monday morning these same planners and administrators are right back writing spin about creating more effective public transport. In the council the conversation is....oh dear, how can we get people out of cars (excuse me Betty, can we talk about this on the drive home?)
As long as we have a vision of a bus service being like the sort of bus service we had growing up we have no concept of what quality public transport could really do for society!
Note; Originally post February 2011. In April 2013 I changed the title and this unexpectedly elevated it back to the top of the queue. BTW - This particular blog posting has now had 4944 page views - let us hope some of these reading it are politicians!
June 8 2013 NOTE - A classic case is the buffoon who used to be Minister of Transport !! His sole basis for overseeing a technology that can transform society and bring huge benefits to urban life was little more than a recent bus ride!! There is even a photo showing the size of his - no not that !! - showing his total understanding of the sociology and engineering concepts of public transport. His record revealed the rest and his successor ....nuff said.
It is not surprising that National Party policy is bankrupt of any vision on future transport, other than to repeat the disaster of its previous rejection of a cosmopolitan urban rail system in Auckland in the 1970s and build more motorways, Auckland is now rated one of the worst cities in the world for transport effectiveness! New Zealand paid a couple of billion dollars in the last decade to retrospectively pick up the tab for belatedly building a competent commuter rail system in Auckland - ironically being outclassed by the Northern busway which now carries 48% of public transport commuter traffic into central Auckland although the busway cost only one sixth of the total rail upgrade cost.
Now these same failed-in-Auckland policies are being dumped on Christchurch - more cars into the city centre, funding for rapid transit NIL (apart from a bus station, very nice but not if it ignores the key factor - public transport is about effective movement corridors and Christchurch has none, just a few short patches only partly successful part-time bis lanes between choke point queues.
Bazley's attack today upon the City Council is far too kind and completely ignores the larger picture of Council's almost total ineffectiveness on public transport infrastructure issues for over a decade. A almost complete failure to put money or commitment behind public transport, dating back to 2003, including missed opportunity after missed opportunity. The city has not even done the basics, not even sought funding for major projects, funding clearly available at the time of the last Labour Government. Pathetic. pathetic, pathetic.
** More about the picture above - These two services serve overlapping functions and adjacent areas, serving Ferrymead, Bromley, Linwood Avenue and Eastgate Mall and directly or indirectly access to the central city. On Saturdays and Sundays they run five minute apart or even lap each other. as above. A side effect to this is that 535 - a shuttle (which could presumably run to any departure pattern) arrives at Ferrymead and Eastgate, the route after "the hour" (work start) and leave "before the hour" (work finish). The 535 arrives at Lyttelton from Eastgate before the hour but this is a low end, small employment zone, especially in the hours involved, and anyway lacks the "greater bus use profile", of workers at in malls, including many youth. This endless waste of resources is typical of the bizarre and dis-integrated (and disinterested in maximising passenger support) style of bus systems operated by Environment Canterbury. In contrasts bus systems that choose to take advantage of modern technologies can identify a whole small city as a grid in which all services interact in an integrated pattern, avoiding resource waste, maximising passenger options, and maximising transfer options (and therefore frequency, with interactive technology identifying using route and transfer patterns to achieve same destinations faster).
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