Wellington Scoop

Shakes, rattles and rumbles in Kowhai Park

by Terence Galuska
A vibrating, rumbling disturbance is being caused by the size of the buses now being used offpeak in the narrow streets of Kowhai Park (old number 8, now 17/17e). It is impacting on people’s health and well-being.

This needs to be acknowledged by Metlink, and addressed by making changes to this service, as well as others – I know I’m not the only one affected.

I appreciate that 30 seat buses may be a bit of an improvement and cause less rumbling and vibration than 40-50 seat buses during off-peak.

But 30 seat buses were not what the local community had in mind when we responded to the consultation on improving our bus service.

The community, myself included, were under the impression that smaller buses, similar to those previously used on the old 29 route (about 20 seaters maybe) would be put into service in a loop servicing our community outside peak hours. Not 30 or 40 seat buses that shake, rattle and rumble down Mitchell Street till 11pm from Monday to Friday, waking people up, affecting people’s sleep, health and well-being.

I’ve had to get sleeping medication because the buses are keeping me awake at a time I’m typically asleep. That’s not acceptable by any standards and shouldn’t happen to anybody as a result of a change to a public transport system in a quiet suburban neighbourhood.

Kowhai Park isn’t a high noise, high vibration area, but that’s what the Regional Council have done to our quiet little community.

These new bus services aren’t carrying very many passengers. (This is based on discussions I’ve been having with drivers themselves). Many buses are running empty or having just one passenger, and empty buses are common especially the 10 pm and 11 pm services.

It’s not surprising really – the buses only go from Brooklyn to Kowhai Park. It’s a few kilometres and a bus of 20 seats would have less impact on Kowhai Park residents, cause less rumbling and vibrations, be more sustainable, with less environmental impact. It would also be better suited to the narrow roads of Mitchell and Karapa Streets that have cars parked on either side.

Hence Metlink needs to address these issues and make the changes that people are requesting. This service and others cannot be left in place for a further 10 years like it is, or “tweaked” around the edges.

I’ve had a response from MetLink which, as a business architect and strategist, I find deeply troubling, as it points toward hiding behind “community consultation”. Aka – We did this because that’s what you asked for. It also points toward a lack of ownership and responsibility, and rather than admitting there’s a genuine problem that needs to be solved to the satisfaction of the community, the response is pretty much a “go away Mr Galuszka as I’m not interested” in your complaining.

The Kowhai Park community of roughly 560 households and 1400 people didn’t ask to go from twenty buses Monday to Friday, to sixty buses Monday to Friday, capable of carrying 2200 passengers in and out of the area. Nor did it expect buses every 30mins from 8am to 10pm Saturday, and 8am to 9pm Sunday.

We just wanted a slightly improved weeknight service and a small bus roughly on the hour during the weekends.

Terence Galuska is a resident of Kowhai Park.

1 comment:

  1. Fionnuala Cowhie, 14. August 2018, 18:48

    If the 17 service brings people from the 7 bus route up to Kowhai Park, then shouldn’t the 17 wait until the 7 has actually arrived in Brooklyn village? [via twitter]