Wellington commuters are heading off to work this morning hoping for smoother travel on the Metlink public transport network.
A passenger-generated sign at a Hataitai bus stop last week expressed the frustration of early morning passengers.
Buses didn’t turn up, went the wrong way, were too full, or all came at once, causing frustration for passengers yesterday on the first week day of operation for the new Metlink public transport service.
Changed routes and timetables caused confusion for passengers, who also experienced problems with the Real Time Information system, the Metilnk website and phone number.
A subscriber to The Wellington App had problems travelling from the west, calling the bus service “diabolical”.
“The options for buses to the station/Molesworth side of town from Northland, Karori and Kelburn appear to have been halved,” she said.
“My husband and I were at the bus stop at 8:00am. The new 21 came but that goes along Ghuznee, not towards Parliament. Then the new 18E came. That also goes along Ghuznee. They both sailed past because no-one wanted them. Then there was a 13 minute wait for the 22 which would be going the other way along the Terrace, which seems pretty poor for rush hour.
“I gave up and walked.”
She tried to use the Metlink Journey Planner, but to no avail.
“The Metlink website also appeared to be in chaos. When I tried to do a journey plan it kept providing routes with buses/times which had already gone.”
Another passenger from Highbury found her concerns about the new service borne out.
“I live in Moana Rd and catch the former No 20 bus to The Terrace each day for work. I am amongst those who submitted that proposed changes to the route would be disadvantageous for many of us.
“This morning bore this out. My journey on the No 25 took 20 minutes longer, and cost more: $2.81 compared to the previous charge of just under $2.00. The journey down Willis Street alone took ten minutes.
“Admittedly I had other options: I could walk (in the rain) to the Karori Tunnel and pick up a Mairangi bus. This walk is approximately eight minutes compared to the one -minute walk I currently have to the No 25 stop. Or I could walk the length of Plunket St, again about eight minutes, and pick up a Mairangi bus at the Kelburn shops.
“I would appreciate Metlink’s advice on how an increase in both travel time and cost constitutes an improved service.”
Problems continued in the afternoon.
Another Wellington App subscriber tried catching a bus on the former 8 route, now 17e, at Lambton Quay stop 5508 from 3.55pm.
“I waited 30 minutes but no 7 or 17 showed up. I rang the Metlink 0800 number, Someone answered and put me on hold saying they will find out. Eight minutes later I was still on hold. I ended up walking half way then catching a taxi. Quite frustrating and expensive when you have kids to pick up from childcare.
“The Metlink app kept showing a bus was on its way and then dropping off.”
Complaints came throughout the day to @the metlinkwgtn account on Twitter with responsive staff keeping their sense of humour, and providing helpful advice.
Many passengers were hopeful that the service was experiencing teething troubles on the first big day of service, or had uneventful journeys.
Metlink advised that their website (https://www.metlink.org.nz/) has had a difficult reconstruction with new and old information having to be stored. Printed timetables for all routes are available at public libraries and other outlets.
The company reiterated requests for passengers to set up their journey in My Metlink on the company’s app (available via The Wellington App), use the Journey Planner, or call 0800 801 700.