I have a confession to make: For the last for years I have lived in Wellington, I have avoided getting a bus for the fear that I’ll hop on only to find it is going on the right line but in the wrong direction, or on completely the wrong line.  I had visions of hopping on the bus and hoping to head to work but the bus suddenly turning onto the Motorway ‘first stop Porirua’...

Well, since starting work at Snapper this is hardly acceptable so I’ve forced myself to learn a bit about the bus system and I’ve learned a few interesting things.

Firstly and most important, Google has recently integrated public transport in New Zealand into Google Maps.  As a result you do not have to navigate Metlink’s awful website which displays things from the Bus’s perspective, neglecting to suggest you should walk 50 meters to a more suitable stop.

By putting things from my perspective, Google Maps allows me to say I want to go from say my current location to my home and will work out where I should walk to and when I should leave.  For someone like me that sees bus stops all over the place and has no idea which one I should wait at, being told exactly where and when to walk is perfect. Google will even tell me when it’s better for me to simply walk, and by giving the time of arrival will make it clear when I should catch a cab.

The other observation that I have made since starting to use busses is they all go the same route.  I’ve been looking for a good program to visualise the route information and make it clear but in written form, I’ve found every single Wellington bus goes from the railway station, along Lambton quay, down Hunter street and up Cuba street, then along Courtney place.  

This is perhaps not the fastest route from say Courtney place to the railway station but it means for someone new to the bus system they can look at what direction a bus is going and know instantly if it will take them to their inner-city destination.  For instance, if you work on upper Willis street and arrive at the railway station by train only to find it’s raining then absolutely any bus from the main platform (Platform C) will take you to lower Willis street.  

Now if only the busses would run on time it would be a trustable means of getting around!