Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christchurch Metro - the full run down

NZ in Tranzit opinion -  on Christchurch Metro exposing itself in public

I just checked out Metro's facebook page.

Unbelievable!! I find Metro giving the advice below to a person who wanted to get from Northlands to Moorhouse Avenue, a journey, about 7-8 km, that pre-quake that took less than 30 minutes;

Metro Info Hi Krystal, the 18 from Northlands currently only runs as far as Bealey Ave. At Bealey Ave you need to transfer to the Link service to get over to the other central city terminus at Parkside, and from there you can catch a number of buses to Moorhouse Ave. If you catch the bus from Northlands at 12:10pm or 12:40pm you should get to Moorhouse Ave by 2pm.

Or put another way, you can expect your journey will take between 1 hr 20 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes.
Obviously to every sane person this grossly unacceptable; that's not a "transport" system!
It is a joke, but a joke that I have found myself to have a rather bitter taste in the mouth, in extreme case bus and ferry journeys that have taken over three hours (admittedly on Sundays). 
If the return journey for Krystal above takes as long then that means between 3 and 4 hours of a day is consumed getting to work, study, shops or some other location. No wonder so many patrons have walked - maybe literally walked - although 85% of the city is back at work and study, somewhere, so presumably a high portion of the 20-30,000 daily pre-quake  bus users still need/want/prefer buses. 
Is there some huge hole between Northlands and Moorhouse Avenue or something that buses fall down and have to be cranked out of again with a block and tackle?
Has Metro started using rickshaws? No, that can't be it they would be faster!
Why is exactly that passengers can not get across the city faster?
Why? It is certainly not because any of the roads needed to make this journey requested above directly are ruptured. Papanui Road, Bealey Avenue, Harper Avenue, Deans Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue ....about 35-50  minutes, ok maybe that's 20 longer than normal, because of congestion. But possibly over twice that amount of time?? Why?
Why? It is certainly not because we do not appear to have the surplus buses and drivers given that 10 routes are not operating or not operating over part of the route ...circa 60 under-employed drivers on those routes/operating bus companies alone.
Why? It is certainly not because Civil Defence or now Christchurch Earthquake Recoverity Authority do not have the power to go beyond present legislation or legal contracts to deal with situations.
Why ? It is certainly not because funding is not available - in October last year Environment Canterbury was proudly saying they had saved Regional rate-payers $3.8 million in shifting to gross contracts....did this money saved go back into our bus system? ...no....following the earthquakes should the Council have considered ...hey this is a disaster, it is costing everyone ...we aint gonna make the savings we intended?
Has Ecan decided on a minimal rate rise, even at a time of unusual costs and huge loss of rating value, partly to try to smooth over the puppet government resistance factor? No comment. Most of the ECan ratepayers after all live in Christchurch.
Why? Is emergency funding - if it was needed  - to run extra services and emergency shuttles not available?  It should be - helping transport recover from the Christchurch earthquakes is one of the five priorities of the Ministry of Transport.
    Ok recognised Stephen Joyce is not partuicularly in there batting for public transport but look what he has allowed to be  spent in Auckland. And a mere $88 million extra for Wellington rail in the recent budget.
....New Zealanders tend to be very fair-minded - politically Joyce [if he was involved at all in a NZTA decision]  couldn't to deny Canterbury a million or two emergency aid for public transport without costing National thousands of key votes in urban electorates where thousands rely upon public transport. And know shit when they smell it.
There are no excuses, though the comfortable well paid bureacrats will no doubt say "dear oh dear, it's earthquake this and earthquake that". Months down the track (months of added waiting) it lacks credibility. The issue is mostly a matter of political willpower, commitment or strategic competence by the people elected - oops- imposed, to lead, and their Metro officers.
But anyone who gave a tinker's cuss about the people they are paid to serve would in a couple of hours identify where the system isn't working, where's it taking absurdly long to make the simplest journey, where there are areas not getting adding frequency, where there are areas people can't get to a supermarket easy etc etc. [actually a competent authority will have most of this social mapping already on computer, on tap]
In Christchurch it is made a bit simpler because there is ring of Malls about 4-5 km out from the city centre, it has been one of the really good things Metro has done [stage one] to route almost every route via a mall/shopping and services hub. Consequently every mall is a mini-hub of 4-6 routes, including orbital services and, in the north east-west cross town services.

Connect these malls directly and thousands of journeys are shortened.
Public service to circumnavigate the hopeless no through-route/double transfer/three waiting period system or the "miss two buses in a row" system is needed.  Temporary shuttles - direct services from Northlands around the back of the park and Moorhouse Avenue to Sydenham  and then Barrington; direct service from Bealey Avenue (multiple routes ex North and north east)  to Eastgate. Joining up dozens of dots, by-passing a hundred woes. 
Hours of wasted time for consumers chopped out of the current system and possibly the cost already met because presumably if ECan is paying gross contracts then it will have to pay per month regardless of whether 35,51, 83 east, 84 east etc are running or not.
And if that is not the case and they do have to borrow the money or see the minister
...well between you and me, that's is what they are paid to do. Keep buses running effectively as possible.
Paid to run a competent bus service for a quake battered people needing maximum support. Not paid to run a once great bus service into the ground!!

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