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Missing the bus

by Lindsay Shelton
Fran Wilde said on Friday that real-time information for Go Wellington buses will be “a great milestone” for public transport because it will tell us when our bus is arriving “as opposed to when it’s scheduled to arrive.” I can’t help thinking that a more worthy milestone would be: just make the buses run on time.

The region’s real time information system is costing $9.7million, according to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown quoted in the DomPost. It’s going to provide electronic displays on 190 of the region’s 3000 bus stops.

But I can’t believe that the display boards will compensate for buses which are running late.

The other day I just missed a number 7 bus outside Unity Books in Willis Street. The timetable showed that the next bus was due in 20 minutes. So I waited. After 20 minutes, it had failed to arrive. Another 20 minutes passed, and the next scheduled bus also failed to arrive. For other, luckier destinations, two or three buses passed us by. But my unhappy group of passengers hoping to get to Brooklyn and Kingston waited 50 minutes for a bus which was supposed to be running every 20 minutes.

An electronic signboard would not have made us less discontented. It wouldn’t have done what Fran Wilde is claiming: “This technology will vastly improve people’s perceptions of bus … reliability and will help us and the operators identify and hopefully fix problem areas more speedily.” It’s hard to understand why they need a $9m system to tell them that buses aren’t running.

Perhaps the $9m is part of a plan to get rid of timetables – my experience the other day indicated that they don’t mean much. Were two drivers sick? Did two buses break down? Is no one overseeing the on-time despatch of the city’s buses?

Those of us who waited for 50 minutes were ready to offer a constructive suggestion to Fran Wilde and her Greater Wellington Regional Council: spend some of the $9million on quality control. The first priority should be to make sure that the buses are running as advertised.

Problems with real-time systems
Bus patronage hasn’t yet recovered from fare increases
Tranz Metro admits it’s short of trains

April 28 – The Wellingtonista says:
You can’t trust the new real-time system

40 comments:

  1. The City is Ours, 4. April 2011, 13:25

    On March 15, the City is Ours made a submission to the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Transport Review Committee. We asked:
    1. Do ratepayers subsidize every scheduled bus?
    2. If so, what happens if there is a driver shortage and scheduled buses can’t depart. Do we get a refund?
    3. How do we know scheduled buses actually depart?
    4. Who is responsible for auditing the services and can the audit be made available to the public?
    5. How is the subsidy paid to the contracted service providers?

     
  2. Ferdinand Hendriks, 4. April 2011, 14:07

    What is Fran Wilde thinking of when she says that real time information will be “a great milestone” because it will tell us when our bus is arriving “as opposed to when it’s scheduled to arrive”? And how does Mayor Wade-Brown justify such an expensive folly, costing ratepayers $9.7million?
    I urge every ratepayer to read the Wellington City Council’s draft annual plan 2011/12 and check the proposal under “Our Work” in the section headed “TRANSPORT”. The proposed 2011/12 operational cost for TRANSPORT is $272 per resident. Based on a population of 197,700, that comes to a total of almost $54million. How much is it going to cost ratepayers to make the buses run on time?

     
  3. Kent Duston, 4. April 2011, 15:37

    Ferdinand – The funding of the real-time information system is managed exclusively by the Greater Wellington Regional Council as part of their responsibilities for public transport in the region; the City Council does not provide the money, make the decisions or provide the subsidies to the operators. So while your numbers are interesting, they are not actually relevant – we’re paying for this system in our GWRC rates, not our WCC rates.

    And just for the record, much of the cost is in the GPS units in the hundreds of buses that allow them to be tracked in real time, which will also make it possible for the operators to be held to account on their performance under their contracts. Whether GWRC will actually hold them to account and levy penalties under the contracts remains to be seen.

     
  4. Jamie, 5. April 2011, 2:12

    Kent is right about the Regional Council’s role in these matters but it is our rates money – the whole nearly $10 million of it – that is paying for this unnecessary and ineffective nonsense. We pay it to the WCC and they forward part of it to the GWRC. When you add the ridiculous waste of $11+million squandered on producing a no faster – but at times slower – and more dangerous Manners Mall/Manners Street fiasco, that makes over $20 million of our precious, hard-earned money wasted by the current and previous Council.

    The comments coming from the GWTC and WCC on ‘real time’ are just political ‘white-washing’. Almost $10 million for 190 bus stops and GPS equipment? What about the other 2810 bus stops? Lindsay is correct. The minor reduction in frustration achieved by actually knowing how late your bus is expected to be – and the system breaks down on occasion – pales in to insignificance compared to the anger and frustration, let alone other problems, resulting from the buses being late in the first place.

    And despite Kent’s comment about this system allowing bus drivers to ”be held to account” for buses being late, his comment is meaningless because in the majority of cases of buses being late or services not running, it has nothing to do with the bus driver. It is mostly to do with road and traffic conditions, especially malfunctioning and inappropriately phased traffic lights, much of these delays caused by lack of action by WCC and its staff, or even more seriously actual inappropriate, traffic-slowing actions by the same people. Then we have bus timetables that in many, many cases are unrealistic as to trip times under current conditions in Wellington.

    All this money on ‘real-time’ won’t make one iota of difference in simplifying, speeding up or making more efficient public transport in Wellington. The claims that it will are patently false.

     
  5. Kent Duston, 5. April 2011, 8:30

    Jamie – If you’d care to actually read my comments, you’ll see that I said the system will allow the *operators* to be held to account, not the bus drivers. Would it be too much to ask for you not to deliberately misrepresent my statements in future?

     
  6. Dr Lichtenstein, 5. April 2011, 10:12

    It seems to help to complain. Ring the 0800 number from any bus stop whenever GO Wellington skips buses. Reasons are not always broken down by buses or sick drivers. I understand each bus gets a subsidy from Wellington Regional Council – if that is still correct, it is a mere money-making exercise. Some time ago they always skipped two consecutive No.7 buses (Kingston to Wellington) before 8:00 am in the morning. Lots of people kept ringing the 0800 number every morning threatening to inform the Regional Council, with the effect that they sent the buses again as listed in the schedule.

     
  7. Petrol Price Driving Bus Increase - Bus - AKT (Pingback), 5. April 2011, 12:34
     

    […] at about the same time that the new contracts start to be offered. Scoop opinion  piece : Missing the bus Related […]

     
  8. ferdinand hendriks, 5. April 2011, 12:53

    Kent – Thank you for explaining the difference in management of funding between the GWRC and the WCC. But the WCC draft annual plan 2011/2012 under the section “TRANSPORT” states:
    “Our focus in the coming year will be on maintaining and operating the network. We’ll also work in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency on the Wellington Public Transport Spine Study. This study is looking into a high quality public transport system between the railway station and the hospital in Newtown and other possible connections within the urban growth corridor.”

    What does this partnership mean? The cost budgeted for transport by the WCC is just under $54 million. How does the city council intend to spend this large sum of money? The draft annual plan doesn’t even mention transport in the three focus areas. I agree that my figures are interesting, but disagree that they are not relevant.

     
  9. andy foster, 5. April 2011, 16:19

    Interesting mix of views. Particularly interesting that people here are wanting the buses to run on time (very reasonable) while in a concurrent Wellington.Scoop column we have retailers upset that the Council has removed parking to – allow traffic including buses to run more smoothly. We may find a win – win there, but we may not. In my experience one of the challenges in transport is that different people want to use the same space for different purposes – most often movement (safe/efficient) vs parking (retail/residential)

    In terms of specifics

    1 – Ferdinand – I know you have read the Draft Annual Plan. The $54 million you refer to is the gross operating cost, offset by approx $33 million from NZTA and Parking. There is also approx $38 million in capital spending. This covers things like maintenance of roads, footpaths, guardrails, traffic lights, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, road reserve cutting, operating parking services, transport planning, street lighting, bus shelters (not bus operations which are contracted by Greater Wellington) etc. There are also more one off capital projects at present including Westchester Drive (Churton Park), Waterloo Quay, John St/Adelaide Road, bus priority and earthquake strengthening eg Ngaio Gorge and Karori tunnel this year.

    2 – Real Time information. This is a Greater Wellington project. Quite reasonably they have targetted main bus/train stops. The cost would be a lot higher if all the stops were covered. You will I think also be able to use the net and txt to find out when your bus/train will be there. That’s really helpful to existing and would be passengers as you then know when you have to leave the house, office, cafe, meeting, school etc to get the bus, rather than waiting in the cold wondering whether the 7.21 is coming, or has already gone. It will also help monitor the performance of the operators, and identify delay locations better. So I say well done GWRC.

    3 – Buses on time. The biggest thing the City Council can do is to provide bus priority lanes and priority at lights (Real Time info helps here too). That is about reducing the conflicts between buses and other vehicles. We are slowly working through this process, but let’s be completely blunt – almost without exception every single bus lane proposal has, and probably will, face opposition – mostly from people who don’t want to lose parking. There are going to be other causes of delays – crashes, poor timetabling (again Real Time will help) but these are probably pretty minor compared to congestion.

    4 – Ferdinand again – High Quality Passenger Transport study? This is looking at whether a step change to a ‘high quality PT system’ or light rail stacks up. The feasibility is a component of the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan agreed in 2008 between GWRC, NZTA and WCC.

    I hope that answers some of the issues raised.
    Kind regards
    Andy Foster
    Transport Leader
    Wellington City Council

     
  10. Real time, 6. April 2011, 8:25

    Mr Foster why are we ratepayers forced to purchase more expensive unnecessary “junk” that serves absolutely no purpose? Please do answer all the other unanswered ratepayer questions first though. I’ll wait. Which is exactly what this new technology will still have passengers doing when the buses are still late.

     
  11. Cr Daran Ponter, 6. April 2011, 18:15

    Thank you Kent and Cr Foster for explaining that Real Time Information is actually a Greater Wellington Regional Council initiative. It is the Regional Council that contracts the provision of subsided bus, rail and feryy services throughout the Wellington Region. The system we are rolling out is similar to that already in place in Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton

    The Real Time Information system will do far more than allow you to know when your bus will arrive (which you can do by reading the electronic screens, text message to Metlink, internet or 0800 number), though this is still its primary purpose. Real Time Information will also:

    1. Provide the Regional Council with a far greater ability to hold transport operators to account with respect to the services provided (which is one of Maria’s issues – see first post on this issue) and to recoup costs for services that are not provided.

    2. Provide an ability to understand where, why and when in the network buses are falling behind the stated schedules. This will allow the City Councils to focus on network issues (which could be as simple as rephasing a set of traffic lights) and thereby improve perfomance to the timetable.

    3. Provide the Regional Council and bus operators with information to produce more realistic bus timetables…and thereby improve performance to timetables and reduce travellers’ frustrations.

    4.Provide an ability to interact with the city council traffic light systems to give buses that are behind schedule priority at traffic lights (i.e. to green phase the light for approaching buses).

    Yes, of course, if we could just get all of the transport network to run to the stated schedules we would not need Real Time Information. But with so many variables that act to conspire against performance to the timetable this is just not possible. So….what Real Time Information will do is give you the real oil on when your bus or train will arrive…… rather than an aspirational target!

    Cr Daran Ponter
    Greater Wellington Regional Council
    Daran.Ponter@gw.govt.nz

     
  12. Rational, 7. April 2011, 9:27

    GWRC – That’s good, at least you know that “Real Time” is not going to make the buses run to schedule. And you do know that the electronic displays do not intelligently correlate data, talk to operators, interact and phase city lights or manage regional transport.
    All the necessary information on why the buses are not running to schedule was already available FREE (through the operators and drivers).
    Can we use the alleged “accountability” monies to help pay for the $10m debt created by real time electronic displays?

     
  13. cyclist, 7. April 2011, 21:29

    Maybe the signs can tell us in real time when the waka is going to arrive in the monstrosity on the waterfront.

     
  14. Cr Daran Ponter, 8. April 2011, 19:32

    Dear Rational – I think you miss the point. The displays are simply one means of accessing real time information (RTI). Behind the RTI displays are a series of computer servers which monitor buses’ actual performance against schedules, allowing the schedule to be adjusted. And yes, the RTI will correlate data. And yes, that information will allow the Wellington Regional Council to better hold operators to account. And no, the information is not currently Free. It is not independent, transparent or easily or readily accessible from the bus operators.

    Yes, in time I would expect that ratepayers who have invested in RTI will be recouped through network efficiency, being better able to hold operators to account, and users having greater confidence in the network.

    And finally, the response that I have had from users at the Lambton Interchange is actually very positive. Often the comment is – “This is long overdue”!

    And to Cyclist: if the waka has a GPS unit that can be read by the RTI system, then this is entirely possible!

     
  15. David, 8. April 2011, 19:54

    To run a half-decent bus service, there are some really basic principles:
    1. buses go where customers want them to go
    2. buses go when customers want them to go
    3. flat fare
    4. sensible fare
    5. clean and modern buses
    6. friendly and helpful drivers
    7. keep politicians and bureaucrats a long long way away
    8. community ownership
    Go Wellington fails on 8 out of 8 points, and the mob involved should take a long hike down a highway out of town. I would say take the bus, but it won’t get them anywhere.

     
  16. CC, 9. April 2011, 7:50

    David seems to have missed the point. Wellington has an Infratil Infrastructure Investment – not a bus service. This means there are totally different principles involved which include:
    1. the right to demand a ratepayer subsidized profit of not less than 20% (post tax)
    2. a virtual monopoly
    3. the right to dictate to Councils
    4. minimum staffing on low pay
    5. the ability to increase profit by not providing services (don’t run bus – pick up subsidy)
    6……..
    ‘Service’ might appear on the list – somewhere well down of course.

    Forget about PPP, this is a SPPP – Screw the Public for Private Profit venture just like Wellington Airport.

     
  17. Jamie, 11. April 2011, 0:40

    What David said is desirable. What ‘CC’ said is sound and factual. Councilors Foster and Ponter have much to say but it’s all ‘pie in the sky’ as they try to convince us of unrealistic and unattainable supposed benefits resulting from spending this huge amount of our money. It sounds good, but it’s so far removed from reality as to be a joke. It’s like Tim Kirby’s article on the WCC website in which he makes preposterous claims about the functioning of the Wellington city traffic lights.

    The Councilors and their ‘hoodwinked’ supporters speak ad infinitum of RTI ”allowing” this or that, or creating ”increased efficiency”, or ”greater confidence”, or ”will enable operators to be held to account”, or ”will allow buses to be on time”, etc, etc. Rubbish. Nonsense. For years those in positions of authority relating to public transport in Wellington have repeatedly been informed in specific detail of all matters involved with delays, inefficiencies, cancelled services, unrealistic timetables, etc, and to a man/woman they have totally ignored, rejected or dismissed the lot. I personally have repeatedly written to, or phoned or even visited everybody from the Mayor, the Infrastructure Manager, the traffic light section, as well as senior GWRC management, with the result described above.

    As I have spent more time, put in more effort, written more pages, analysed more relevant issues, than anyone else in Wellington on these matters over recent years, let alone having had more practical experience trying to deal with them as a driver, both privately and professionally, than probably anyone writing comments on Wellington.Scoop, I would appreciate people not rubbishing me and my information. And by the way, Kent, GoWellington drivers are referred to as ‘Operators’ and this appears on documentation, so your attempt to correct me is out of line.

    So in summary, a huge amount could be done – and should have been done – for little cost, compared to the current extra $20+ million outlay on ‘Manners Mall’ and RTI, to make major improvements in all matters of public transport in Wellington. But all those, paid highly by us, with the combined collective responsibility of doing it, have universally failed to do so. All the rhetoric in the world won’t change that fact.

     
  18. David, 11. April 2011, 12:20

    Where ‘all the rhetoric in the world won’t change that fact’ then perhaps the time for such rhetoric has ended. GWRC councillors and staff are, in my view, too interconnected with business interests in this small town and no longer have the independent objectivity to serve the community on public transport issues.
    There are two ways to deal with this matter.
    The first is to make it financially untenable for Infratil to continue to operate its bus ‘services’ in the region.
    The second is to present a viable community based alternative public transportation system.
    The first is not insurmountable.
    The second is more challenging and needs leadership from within broad business, community and political interests.
    There is a tipping point at which time neither GWRC or Infratil will be able to defend their current arrangements any longer. It is getting closer.

     
  19. Rational, 11. April 2011, 13:17

    No it’s you Mr Ponter who missed all the points and questions.
    You admit that the $10 million dollar real time electronic displays that ratepayers are forced to fund will not make the buses run to schedule.
    With that admission out of the bag, you claim an inability to communicate with bus operators….so this is a good time to buy electronic displays? What year are we even going to break even /make back the cost? Was there a cost benefit test?
    All financial penalties ( “accountability”) will be funded by the service users, so we will be stung again when the buses aren’t running to schedule.

     
  20. Cr Daran Ponter, 11. April 2011, 22:35

    Yes, Mr Rational. What RTI will do is advise commuters on when their buses will actually arrive. Over time the electronic system will asist to refine the timetables so that bus timetables are met more often.

    The next challenge issue the Regional Council will be considering is bikes on buses – essentially the issue of integrating transport modes.

     
  21. Igor, 11. April 2011, 23:55

    More data on how and when buses run will allow the public and elected officials to debate changes to transport policy with more facts and less estimates and theories. It will also allow us to change traffic signal timing and see the results quickly and empirically.

    Gathering real data is great idea, as long as this information is made public so the results of transport policy changes can be debated democratically. Yes there is some cost involved, but this is mostly a one time cost and I for one believe will result in greater bus usage. If I knew exactly when the next bus was coming I would be less likely to walk and more likely to hop on.

     
  22. David, 12. April 2011, 10:45

    Considering how to put bikes on buses which don’t go where people want them to go, when they want them to go, or at an affordable price, is piling idiocy on top of incredibility. You haven’t got the basics right yet, because clearly you’ve no idea how a bus service should actually operate. See my basic points about a working bus service a few posts earlier.
    The Wellington bus services are a mess compared with Christchurch, Los Angeles, Nice, Vienna or any other number of cities I’m familiar with. Luckily, none of those other cities have the GWRC in charge of transportation policy or a cozy arrangement with Infratil.

     
  23. Jamie, 18. April 2011, 3:24

    David and Rational, I compliment you both for some lucid and acute observations and comments, in contrast to what we’re hearing from Daran Ponter and Igor. Despite what Daran and Igor mistakenly believe about the thousands of bus trips that run late or don’t run at all, every single one of them is known about and has been known about by the relevant driver and when 10 minutes or more late, by the bus Controller at Kilbirnie. Absolutely! It doesn’t need wasting $10million to get this information as it already exists. The RTI won’t make the slightest bit of difference because the information is currently available to the WCC and GWRC. It’s just that for years they’ve done nothing about rationalizing timetables to base them on real, not ‘fairytale’, bus trip times.

    And as for Daran’s comment about putting bikes on buses: what ‘pie-in-the-sky’ is he talking about? Times have vastly changed since a pram or a bike could be put on the back. With modern bus sizes and design, traffic and pedestrian congestion, etc, this would be hugely dangerous and time-consuming. Or is Daran envisaging manoeuvring bikes up the steps and around the corner on to a crowded bus and then pushing the bikes down amongst the passengers, damaging their clothes and scratching their legs or tearing their stockings, let alone trying to get the bikes out of the crowd and back off the bus, all the while using their three hands to control and lift the bike while at the same time ‘Snappering’ on with their Infratil cards? Ye Gods.

     
  24. Daran Ponter, 21. April 2011, 10:00

    Jamie, bike racks on buses are a proven technology. There is nothing dangerous and time consuming about bike racks on buses. They are being used very effectively in Christchurch and across many cities in the USA and Europe. I spoke to bus operators in Christchurch over the weekend and they found them to be no hassle to operate.

    A report to the Greater Wellington Regional Council in 2002 states that the Christchurch trial was fully evaluated and deemed to be a success (usage was moderate, there were no safety concerns, and feedback from users and bus drivers was positive). The trial and the eventual roll out was done with the approval of NZTA. The bike racks being used in Christchurch are well proven and are used extensively of bus fleets in the USA and Europe.

    We had them in the 20th Century. There is no reason why they can’t be good again in the 21 Century! Bike racks on buses are an effective way of integrating two modes of transport. I look forward to the debate on this issue when the Regional Council considers this issue in June.

     
  25. Pauline Swann, 21. April 2011, 13:05

    I am old enough to remember when we could hang our prams on the front of the buses! the babies rode inside I might add and the driver used to get out to help the mums.

     
  26. David, 25. April 2011, 14:36

    Good point Pauline. I think we should put GWRC councillors and their public transport staff in baby prams, hang them from the front of Infratil buses, and then let the friendly and courteous bus drivers take them for a test joyride along the Golden Mile in peak travel time. I, for one, would be prepared to pay to be a passenger and even pay a premium to record their observations on how wonderful their public bus system is.

     
  27. CC, 25. April 2011, 15:35

    David: With the current fares on Infratil’s Go Wellington buses, along with the massive subsidies you pay through the GWRC, you are already paying a premium.

     
  28. David, 25. April 2011, 21:55

    Unfortunately CC, I was edited and my comments are incomplete.
    Yes, I know I’m already paying a premium for a substandard ‘service’ on the Infratil GO Wellington buses.
    There should be a metro [Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt] wide bus card flat fare of $2 with 2 hours allowed for free return or connect journeys, a maximum of $4 charged per day, and free journeys on weekends if $20 has been charged to the card over the previous 5 consecutive days.
    Bus cards should be free, should be able to be topped up on the bus, and should be able to be topped up on line for free without downloading special software or using dumb attachments and with credit cards at no extra charge.
    All subsidies from the taxpayer through GWRC should also be phased out within 5 years and the fares fixed for a 5 year contract.

     
  29. Ms Hill, 27. April 2011, 20:06

    Thanks Mr P – I’m very excited at the opportunity you have given me, the prolie ratepayer. Now while I wait for a late bus (after our purchase of the $10million electronic displays and sim cards) I will know if it will be quicker to walk.
    Thanks Igor – that was such a good reason for the purchase, much better than … well nothing. Da.
    Real time.. “Knowing when it’s just more timely to walk.” That will be $10million thanks.

     
  30. Cr Daran Ponter, 27. April 2011, 23:22

    Dear Ms Hill. That’s excellent news.

    A positive story about how real time information can really assist public transport users to make informed choices – in your case walking – saving both you, the tax payer and the rate payer money..

     
  31. The City is Ours, 27. April 2011, 23:27

    On the 12th of April Greater Wellington Regional Council answered questions asked by the City is Ours (see first comment) as follows:

    1. No, ratepayers do not subsidize every scheduled bus service. Operators choose to run a number of commercial services which they fund entirely themselves. Some examples are the Island Bay Express, Airport Flyer, Newtown to Johnsonville, Wainuiomata Commuter and Stokes Valley Commuter Services.

    2. The operating contracts contain provisions for missed services, subject to a number of conditions, for which non-payment for missed services apply.

    3. Greater Wellington’s contract quality team receives regular reports from the operators about which services did not run and the reason for this.

    4. Greater Wellington is responsible for auditing service delivery, this information is available to the public under LGOIMA.

    5. Operators are paid for services delivered monthly, including any adjustments to the normal payment amount.

     
  32. Ms Hill, 28. April 2011, 18:49

    Darren – how is it going to save me money when I’m paying my increased rates for the $10million for (sur)real time? You are saying that the objective was to force public transport users like me to walk? You buy a $10 million system and claim it is for something it can never deliver.
    And just so you know, when a bus is really late and a ratepayer has to walk to work, the buses keep on running and there are no savings to the taxpayers or to other ratepayers.

     
  33. Cr Daran Ponter, 28. April 2011, 22:13

    Ms Hill, On the contrary, real time information is already serving its purpose. It is informing commuters of when buses will arrive, rather than leaving them in the dark. In your case it has provided information which assisted you to make a rational decision that walking was a better option.

    Real Time Information is already working in other ways. The information that is being collated on travel times on different bus routes at different times of the day and year means that we will be able to adjust timetables so that a far greater percentage of buses travel to the timetable (i.e. timetables that are more realistic than aspirational!).

    It is a brilliant means of communicating information in a sector that is commonly accused of being ignorant to the information needs of its customers. By the end of the year, RTI will cover the entire Wellington, Porirua, Kapiti and Hutt Valley areas.

     
  34. Jamie, 29. April 2011, 0:48

    Some very pertinent comments David. Well done. Also, well said Ms Hill. We all know, of course, that if you or anybody chooses to walk now the $10 million spent can tell a small fraction of bus users how late their bus is running, it will make not one iota of difference in relation to how much of our money is spent by the GWRC and WCC regarding our rates, or even the Govt regarding our taxes. Our walking will result in no savings at all, other than our bus fares for ourselves.
    Daran Ponter has adopted the position that it is desirable – in fact is a successful outcome of RTI – that people who have chosen to catch a bus are provided with information by RTI that forces them to walk instead! How can he be serious? In addition, as I’ve said before, all the information regarding travel or trip times has been available to the GWRC and WCC for many years, without a dollar of RTI, but have they adjusted the timetables to be, in Daran’s words, ‘realistic’? Not a bit of it, so why would they bother now? Do they genuinely care for us more today than yesterday? Maybe they do, because Daran is now calling RTI ”brilliant.” [Abridged]

     
  35. Tom, 29. April 2011, 13:14

    Daran. You really let the cat out of the bag this time ….
    “Real time information can really assist public transport users to make informed choices – in your case walking – saving both you, the taxpayer and the ratepayer money..”
    Jamie you are right – all the information needed to make realistic bus schedules was available for free.

     
  36. David, 29. April 2011, 18:15

    Ponter, Bruce and other GWRC councillors and we, the people, are talking past each other because the councillors live on a totally different planet. Bikes on buses that already don’t go where people want them to go, at times nobody wants them, at prices we can’t afford, with poor service and now the people in charge want prams as well.
    What next? Coffee, chewing gum, condom and tampon vending machines and toilets on the buses? Premium seat assignments? Surcharge if the bus arrives at the destination on time? Prams on buses should be restricted for use by GWRC councillors only.

     
  37. Daran Ponter, 29. April 2011, 19:35

    Tom , real time information is about delivering information to the user to assist commuters to make informed decisions. If on occasion it assists commuters to decide that walking might be a better alternative then I am perfectly fine with that.

    David, I work in the City and take the bus on average four times a day.

    What Cr Paul Bruce and I are proposing is another means to provide for a more integrated transport network. The Regional Council will consider this issue in June. You are able to address the Council meeting. If this is a matter you feel strongly about, then I urge you to contact the Council to arrange a speaking slot.

     
  38. Tom, 30. April 2011, 16:42

    “Real time information can really assist public transport users to make informed choices – in your case walking – saving both you, the taxpayer and the ratepayer money..” Daran P
    So Mr P, how much money do you think we ( the taxpayer and ratepayers) save if the bus is late and someone walks to work?
    Jamie is right, and you are wrong.
    All information necessary to construct realistic bus timetables was available for free.

     
  39. Daran Ponter, 30. April 2011, 18:07

    Hi Tom, Of course if a bus is late and someone walks to work then there are potential consequences in terms of lost time and income. I do not deny this. But the issue here is Real Time Information. And Real Time Information will greatly assist users to make informed decision in these types of situations. There was previously no information for bus commuters about when their bus would actually arrive. Commuters were left in the dark (perhaps literally!) and had no communication about when their scheduled service was destined to arrive. Real Time Information brings this era to an end.

     
  40. Tom, 1. May 2011, 18:09

    Daran, in the real era when the buses are still late, commuters at night are still left in the dark waiting with a royally stupid electronic display. Your technofetish (era) is a worry. Technology that is not needed is a waste of ratepayers’ money.
    You did say to Ms Hill “Real time information can really assist public transport users to make informed choices – in your case walking – saving both you, the taxpayer and the ratepayer money…” So how much money do you think we (the taxpayer and ratepayers) save if the bus is late and someone walks to work?
    All information necessary to construct realistic bus timetables was available for free. Jamie is right, and you are wrong.