Wellington Scoop

Taking the dog for a ride


by Lindsay Shelton
Another big decision from the Regional Council. The people who decided to get rid of the trolley buses have now decided that we’ll be allowed to take dogs on their trains and buses.

And not only dogs. Cats too. Any pets. As long as they’re in cages.

Councillor Barbara Donaldson – who last year had the difficult job of defending the decision to junk the trolley buses and give the city a fleet of 100 per cent diesels – spoke happily yesterday about the new rules for pets on public transport.

Even pet goats, it seems, could be allowed to travel with us – as long as they’re small, and as long as they’re in a cage.

But the pets can’t travel at rush hour. They’re in the same category as gold card holders. They can travel free – but only outside peak hours.

Only one regional councillor opposed the pet plan. David Ogden quoted a concerned constituent:

…they will poo on the bus, they will bark, they will run around on the bus, they will pee on the bus. Someone will get bitten. They will sit on seats and who is going to stop them.

But no one agreed with him. Bad behaviour isn’t possible in cages, apparently.

On Facebook, city councillor Iona Pannett congratulated her regional colleagues:

Wonderful to hear … pet owners have been calling for this change for some time. Can’t wait to get my two small dogs on the bus (appropriately carried of course) and without annoying anyone!

Tranzit has also been on Facebook, seeking drivers for its new contracts which start in mid July. It offers flexible work hours, a variety of shifts, a work / life balance, and choice of location. Applications close at Easter. And now there’s an extra requirement – drivers have to be sympathetic to having dogs or cats in their vehicles.

Not only recruiting. Tranzit’s Facebook messages include news of a promotional video:


Exciting day ahead today, we have our photographer shooting our brand new EV Bus in Wellington. Mike will be creating a video today showcasing our family driven, slighty crazy bus team and our values to our new driving team to be!

Daran Ponter has also been on Facebook, spreading the word about the public transport changes that are coming in July:

Free fare transfers from 15 July. When you get off one bus you have 30 minutes to get on another bus without paying the same fare zone twice. Only when using Snapper Card. Make sense?


On 15 July Snapper cards will replace Mana cards on all North Wellington Bus services. You will need to run down the $$$ on your Mana Card as your will not be able to transfer $$ from Mana to Snapper cards.


There are concerns about the loss of the Airport Flyer and express commuter services in the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata. These are commercial services that are provided by NZ Bus – ie they are not subsidised or controlled by the Regional Council. Nevertheless, if NZ Bus pulls the plug GWRC will be looking at options for getting commuters to where they want to get to.


From Sunday 15 July, there will be a new rail timetable for the Kapiti and Hutt line with increased off-peak services. Bus timetables will be adjusted to meet new train timetables, meaning that services will be better connected to help you get around more easily.

He even showed us the strange new colour scheme that someone has chosen for the new buses:


MetLink has also been announcing details of the changes that are starting soon. The MetLink message is, however, more complex than Daran’s. One of the most important changes isn’t mentioned till the tenth paragraph.

We haven’t increased fares for over five years, but we’ll need to apply a 3% fare increase to all Metlink fares from mid-July. This will really help us to offset the cost of other fare changes, including new discounts, and to ensure all of us that use public transport contribute to the share of the cost.

There’s also a disconcerting suggestion from MetLink that the changes may not run smoothly:

These changes will take a while to bed down and there may be a few sticking points along the way. They’re big and bold changes that we need to make for the Greater Wellington region’s future economy and, most important of all, for those of us who live in and explore it. For some of us, some changes may take a bit of getting used to. We will be doing our best every day to make things better but we ask you to please bear with us.

What sticking points are they expecting?


  1. Henry the Labrador, 22. March 2018, 13:15

    GWRC pet’s policy looks highly discriminatory to me. I can’t see my owner lugging a carrier big enough to put me in so I can sit on his lap or up in the luggage rack. I’ll keep walking or taking it easy on the back seat of my owner’s 1980 mini. The little yappy dogs can go by public transport.

  2. Sarah Huckerbeeeee, 22. March 2018, 21:17

    Priorities priorities?? First: Facebook foulup, now goats on buses…and all in one day. What’s next?

  3. Andy Mellon, 22. March 2018, 21:20

    Can’t wait to take my parrot on the train. I’m sure it won’t squawk when it’s sitting in its carry-cage.

  4. luke, 23. March 2018, 11:32

    meanwhile I shall be buying a car as I actually don’t like being around animals.

  5. helen, 23. March 2018, 13:06

    Any chance of the transfer period being extended to 35-40 minutes? (so that when someone misses a bus as the previous one went early, there is still a chance of getting a transfer to the next one. The half-hourly services are VERY bad at actually going at half hourly intervals – and that has huge potential cost implications for people required to transfer.)

  6. Trish, 23. March 2018, 13:29

    No mention of the fact that snapper users will continue to get charged 33% more per month than train users.

  7. Gillybee, 23. March 2018, 18:03

    “What sticking points are they expecting?”

    The deafening roar from both ends of the new No.2 route when the good people of Seatoun and Karori wake up to the fact that:

    a) (Infratil-owned) NZ Bus will service the route, not Tranzit

    b) The current bus stock (which includes at least 68 Euro 1 buses) will NOT be retired in July, but will continue to be used until December 2018

    c) The number of bus movements are set to double when the new timetable comes on-stream in July, ie same buses as now, but LOTS more (along with more noise + pollution)

    d) When the older diesel buses are retired in December they will be replaced by more (albeit newer) diesel buses…in other words, NO electric buses. Not one, for at least FIVE YEARS.

    e) The number of diesel bus movements during school hours is set to increase by 900% when compared to the trolley bus era. A shocking statistic given that three primary schools sit within close vicinity of the route.

    We’ve only just started. The fall-out will be massive and WILL affect the next local body elections, unless changes are made and fast.

  8. Piglet, 24. March 2018, 16:49

    Yes, it’s time to abolish the GWRC and replace it with a Public Transport Authority. We need a Maggie Thatcher to rid us of the waste and ignorance of the current 2 layer system. If health can be run by a board, then so can buses and trains. In the UK, few people except overpaid bureaucrats and underemployed politicians lamented the extirpation of the Met Counties. Down here we would create a body with a clear directive to optimise public transport, appoint people who know something about running public transport and give district and city councillors something to govern.

  9. michael, 26. March 2018, 11:42

    How would an elderly person with a small dog be able to walk around with a pet cage, a dog on a lead and whatever other bag they may need when not on the bus? I am not elderly and it would be a problem for me.

  10. luke, 27. March 2018, 10:18

    I might get myself an agressive pitbull to take on the bus with me in its cage. Finally, Ill be able to intimidate people.

  11. NigelTwo, 27. March 2018, 15:05

    The old policy was “black or white” as we say. This new policy will have grey areas and corner cases. As each one is tested it will be headline DomPost news (ugh). It will consist of aggrieved commuter, pontificating Regional Council, and the bus company/driver who will incur the main flack. Why do we need such aggravation?

  12. Dave B, 27. March 2018, 18:29

    There’s no need to get rid of the Regional Council. Just certain of the leaders within it. It hardly matters what the organisational structure is. Good leadership will make good decisions despite a ‘bad’ structure. Bad leadership will mess things up even under the best of structures. The hard part is finding new, good leaders to replace those who are letting us down.

  13. mac, 27. March 2018, 21:35

    Will be quite fun sitting next to a great dane on the bus to town.

  14. Mr Smith and rover the dog, 27. March 2018, 21:39

    My main concern would be if an animal on the bus or train breaks wind. One way to clear a bus or train.

  15. Piglet, 28. March 2018, 13:56

    Dave B It is the objectives that the GWRC is set with that is the real problem. A Public Transport Authority would have one objective. PUBLIC TRANSPORT