Saturday, 17 March 2012

Sorry, no more room

The #3 bus from Karori Park to Lyall Bay at 9:05AM was full by the time it reached the CBD. For the second day in a row. It's not the first time it's happened, and it's often been like this during the morning commuter peak on that particular route. And the next bus after that doesn't come until 9:20.

While the newest buses have more capacity than the ones they replaced, certain peak routes like the #3 are still struggling to meet demand. The bus company involved, Go Wellington, have already recruited more drivers, so the only other way to sort out the issue would be bigger buses, and they're not without their own problems.

There are two types of buses that are larger than what's currently used. The first type is the double-decker, which is occasionally seen in Wellington on the tourist circuit. However, for regular commuter service, they may struggle to fit under the Hataitai and Karori bus tunnels, and their high centre of gravity may be an issue on certain roads. Also, the trolley bus wires on the main routes may not be high enough for a double-decker to clear.

The English Rose, an ex-London Transport double-decker, on the Wellington waterfront

The second type is the articulated bus, or bendy bus. While they can fit under existing tunnels on the bus routes, they would likely have issues negotiating Wellington's often windy hairpin corners, and would be more suited for flat cities like Christchurch.

Articulated bus in Bath, England
In any case, this shortage can't go on for much longer, especially if more people choose to live in Wellington. It's not too late to sort out the problem before it gets worse.

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