Did anyone else have problems catching a bus into Wellington for the fireworks on Saturday night?
Metlink had been announcing the service notice for several days before the event, warning of road closures and promising increased capacity. Right up until the day of the event, Metlink was pushing out their message. Interestingly, the relevant information within the tweet is no longer addressable:
Luckily, Google has a cached copy.
Additional Bus Services
Normal timetabled services will run as scheduled. Larger buses will be put on routes with expected increased demand pre and post event. Extra buses will be on standby should demand increase significantly.
Go Wellington and Valley Flyer Services
Normal timetabled services will operate with additional buses available to be added to support existing routes and scheduled services on demand pre and post event.
NO additional services are being scheduled over and above the existing timetabled services; limited additional capacity on bus services will be available on demand to support scheduled services and managed by NZ Bus pre and post event.
So what happened when we got to the bus stop?
A route 1 bus was due about 5 minutes after we arrived. A few people had been waiting before we arrived and a couple more came along after us. The bus came and went without stopping because it was obviously full. A few of the people waiting joined the flow of pedestrians walking down Adelaide Road.
The next bus was a route 3, due about 10 minutes later, and was also full. By this point, nearly a dozen people had given up on the bus and walked into town.
The next bus was due in another 6 minutes. There was no way to know whether any bus coming along might have room. We ended up walking back to the house and driving to our destination on the far side of town.
On our way back to get the car, we noticed a route 1 bus marked for Courtenay Place, which must have been NZ Bus responding to demand. Fitting for this story, there was no indication of this additional on RTI, so not only was the bus not going where we needed it to go, we also didn’t know about it at a time which could have let us make a decision about catching it.
At the very top of Metlink’s service announcement for the skyshow:
Please consider using public transport to travel to and from the city centre as parking will be limited and there are road closures in place.