Gareth Hughes

Greater Wellington failing regional economy

by Gareth Hughes

The roll-out of real time displays — screens that tell passengers when their bus or train will arrive — has been delayed yet again, Greater Wellington Regional Council reported yesterday. This is yet another setback in a long line of setbacks and broken promises stretching right back to the year 2000.

European bus and train riders have been enjoying real time information displays since the early 1990s. Christchurch rolled out their real time displays for buses in 2001. Hamilton in 2005. Why can’t the Council deliver this significant enhancement to bus and train services that commuters elsewhere have been enjoying for years?

The way I see it, the Council has lost sight of any kind of ethic of customer service. The Council continues to raise bus and train fares, but struggles to deliver a modern, reliable transport service in return.

I’d be interested to know when the last time a councillor (besides Paul Bruce) tried catching a train to make an important appointment on time. There seems to be no urgency on the Council’s behalf to sort out the gross deficiencies of our bus and train services.

Unless there is a significant shake up at Greater Wellington Regional Council, it seems Wellingtonians will have to put up with second-rate public transport services, low ridership growth, and greater congestion on our roads. This ultimately hurts our region’s economy, because every minute spend waiting on a cold platform for a late train is a minute lost to a more productive use of time. Multiply those lost minutes across the entire region and you’ll suddenly realise why it’s so important to get our public transport services right.

Here’s the long long line of broken promises on real time information systems (PDF).