One of the most important things Auckland Transport need to do to improve public transport is to improve the speed and reliability of buses. This is something I wrote about a few times last year including this post where I analysed the average speed of buses in Auckland using timetable data.
The analysis I performed was a high-level but it was clear to me a lot more could be done with it to gain some real insights on where bus speeds could be improved. So a month ago it was interesting to see Wellington take a similar approach in a plan to speed up buses in the capital.
Wellington city and regional councils are to consider a plan to speed up buses’ travel times on key routes in the city.
The Bus Priority Action Plan was commissioned earlier this year by the councils with work from the Transport Agency (NZTA).
It identifies eight bus routes where changes could be made so travel times can be sped up – such as giving buses priority at traffic lights, more bus lanes, and improving bus stops so people can get on and off quicker.
It states bus journey times on some routes could be reduced by up to a third in the morning peak.
The plan also identified key issues on these routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
The action plan prioritised eight bus corridors based on the following factors:
- High daily passenger volumes
- slow bus travel times
- highly unreliable bus travel times
These are shown below with the routes through the city centre being looked at as part of Lets Get Welly Moving
Here is a summary of the features of each of the corridors.
For each of these routes they then analysed each segment of the corridor both inbound and outbound using bus and traffic data to identify how much buses were being delayed compared to optimal times along with what and where the delays were occurring. Those delays generally fit into the below categories
For each of the corridors they have also taken account of need to provide safer outcomes for cyclists.
The action plan has the details for each of the eight routes but as just one example, here is the Karori route inbound. One thing that I particularly like is that they’ve analysed routes over the entire day and not just at peak times.
There are a number of different improvements that can be made to improve speed and reliability, these are shown below and split into:
- Bus stop improvements – making it easier to get on and off the bus as well as reducing dwell times.
- Roadway improvements – reducing the conflicts between buses and other road users as well as increasing bus priority.
The improvements from that toolkit then fed into the opportunities for each route
There are shorter and longer term opportunities. For each corridor three high-level options were considered, minimal intervention, fix the worst problems and fix everything. These are shown below along with the high-level costs and benefits for doing each level of intervention across all eight corridors.
As well as buses being 3%, 27% or 33% faster, depending on the option above chosen, it was estimated that more people on buses it could take
- 200-600 cars off he road during peak hours
- prevent 1 to 3 death and serious injury crashes over a decade
- reduce CO2 emissions by 4,000 to 12,000 tonnes over a decade.
Overall it feels like Wellington City Council have done a good job here and it is pretty much what I was thinking is needed for Auckland when writing those bus improvement posts in August last year. If anything it raises the question of why haven’t AT done this kind of analysis and done so across the entire region – and if they have done it, why have they never done anything about it including just sharing it with the public.
As per the post on reliability we do know AT are working on improving priority on a number of corridors mainly on the isthmus but it’s not clear how they’re progressing with that – they have also not responded to requests to find out what’s happening. One of the things that I worry about is that given there are 12 different consultancies working on the 15 different corridors, we could end up with a different approach from each of them. Analysis like that above should have formed a basis for that.
I am exasperated by AT’s failure to request that passengers alight from the rear door unless they need assistance. So often the incoming passengers are blocked and the bus delayed. Sometimes drivers fail even to open the rear door.
Yes. Totally agree. I can’t understand why people do it.
Should also consider all door boarding on busy routes.
There are times when this is a good idea and times when it isn’t. On an outbound bus with a large number of people getting off and no-one getting on it will slow things down by requiring everyone to get off through the rear door.
Yes. Also, feedback from passengers to the driver is most efficiently given as they disembark. With the high level of red light running and speeding that we’re unfortunately seeing, we don’t need anything stopping the public from using the opportunity to quietly comment to drivers. And drivers are under a lot of pressure for not much pay – the chance to thank them for good driving or customer service should be taken.
All sympathy to bus drivers with split shifts etc but isn’t transitioning speed at stops pretty important? It’s easy enough to call out thanks to the driver when going out the rear door.
You’re not wrong, Helga. I usually exit the back door with the generic, Thanks, Driver. But there are times when a quieter, more personal comment is appropriate. Maybe allowing all doors boarding is a better next step. People can then arrange themselves how they wish when they get on and off.
Yes. Sometimes the driver won’t open the door straight away if you try the rear as they are distracted by what’s going on in the front. Other times, I’ve noticed, it is because I don’t ring the bell if I see it’s stopping for someone getting on anyway.
If no one is getting on at the front & you are fit enough, it’s more natural to go forward with the stopping momentum of the bus if you get up before it’s actually stopped (not recommended with some drivers and/or with young children or when carrying lots of stuff!).
Different buses, routes, drivers, times of day & loadings make this never a black or white decision.
I often notice the karori buses stuck in the congestion between the botaic gardens and bowen st whilst making their way into the city during the morning peak. Meanwhile council subsidized car storage is provided on wGAt would make a pretty decent peak time buslane. Talking about maybe 500m of Tinakori Rd, there is parking available on the other side of the road too. Its also time to accept the city needs an express PT bypass of the Golden Mile, not every PT user wants to go there and its way over capacity.
Why would you need a express PT bypass of the goldern mile and where would you put it?
What is need to have no non-essential vehicle traffic especially cars on the golden mile and in the central city area.
Thank you Matt for finding this and publicising it. Greatly appreciated by Wellingtonians.
One of the slowest bus trips is along Ti Rakau Rd. Pakuranga-Botany. At a few km/hr the 5km takes 20 or more min at peak. A few parked cars block the flow. Bus lanes both ways could be quite easily installed at low cost. The road is wide enough if the median strip was removed.
If it is just a few parked cars then why not just remove the parked cars rather than the median strip?
Removing a planted median strip is not low cost. Low cost is changing the painted lines on the road surface as is often the only change when adding a ‘cycle lane’.
Either way. I think the job could be done for a few $million. There is room for a bus lane on most of the existing road. The median strip is a 2meter concrete barrier with no trees and wouldn’t be a big job to remove it
The lanes are at a different level either side of the concrete barrier in a few places, it wouldn’t be a cheap job.
The Eastern Busway extension from Pakuranga to Botany will solve this in the long term but the parked cars should be removed in the short term if they are a significant impediment.
The AMETI Eastern busway plan is for a busway from Panmure to Botany. The difficult part is at the Panmure end and the a flyover at Pakuranga. But the 5km from Pakuranga to Botany could be quickly done at low cost and with great benefit
Removing the two metre median wouldn’t even give you one useful bus lane let alone two. Congestion happens in both directions on that route.
Lets do the job properly as proposed with AMETI and have a completely separate busway with decent length stops. Why the constant need for work around solutions?
Maybe it is because passengers have not been told to alight from the rear door. I have always done that, but mainly because I usually sit towards the rear of the bus. Many passengers sit down close tothe front, then expect to exit from the front. Perhaps a sign to say “alight from the rear door” would be helpful.
I would like to see a tidal centre bus lane on Karori road with built in stops. Would be used by city bound buses in the morning and Karori bound buses in the afternoon. Looking at the road width I think they could do curbside protected cycle lanes, one car lane each way and the central bus lane. Might be a bit tricky at stops but worth investigating.
Well AT will never be able to regard themselves as even semi-serious as a public transport agency while they have Link buses sleeping mid journey. So stupid, so fixable.
Yet it seems no one at AT understands just how much of a huge fail this experience is for all customers, and especially any new customer; how many prospective bus users does this send right back to their cars and sitting in congestion? Almost anything is preferable to sitting for minutes with the engine off, watching the driver wander about, a couple of stops into journey, or away from your destination. And the Link is exactly the service new users are likely to try.
Fix this AT, now.
To be clear. AT are right to be proud of their history PT ridership growth, but equally they mustn’t allow that record, good solid consistent improvement, from blinding them to what is still so suboptimal and under their control.
And in this case suboptimal gets nowhere close to describing it. It’s abysmal. And so unnecessary. Do the driver swap at a major start/finish point. The city is probably tricky, so the obvious place on the Inner Link route is Newmarket (assuming the Outer is getting fixed by breaking the loop, yay).
It is of no concern to users whether this suits the bus company. Or put it another way, if the bus company can’t understand how bad this is for customers they have no business here. What are they even doing in a public service role with so little understanding or regard for their customers needs?
The bus depot is at Gaunt St in the viaduct area, changeovers are often necessary to that the driver gets their legally required half hour break after 5 and half hours employed time. Newmarket would just make things even worse. The Link has had these issues since it started 20 years ago, various options have been tried but nothing really works properly becaue it is a loop service with no major interchange/facility on the route. It’s trying to be a subway when really it’s just a handful of diesel buses getting stuck in traffic.
Why do the drivers need to go to the depot? It’s not like they are changing the bus over.
Because the break must be taken at a place with facilities plus the security issues around cash boxes.
Surely it would be cheaper just to give them a coffee voucher for 277 in Newmarket? There are facilities there.
It’s crazy that in 2020 the user experience is impacted simply because the driver has to carry their own cash box.
This is a termination location for the 149 in Budapest.
I took this daily end to end when I was dropping kids at daycare during 2016. The street view from 2014 is old, but I recall a portacom like office that was drop on the edge of the turning circle.
The 149 is a frequent service – every 10 mins. With a catchment not much different from many urban locations in New Zealand.
Not all break spots need to be large complexes.
There was a post here a while back about having a depot & staff facilities in Newmarket under the viaduct area. I think really the inner-link need to be broken up as well. City link will be LRT one day…maybe a long wait for that one though.
@ Nicholas Lee, nice view for that one at least!
build a small driver facility at NM, seriously, this is too bad a problem to not bother solving.
Surely could could find a simple space in somewhere like Mahuru St.
Unfortunately around Mt Eden there are lots of signs telling people to “save the Outer Link” by giving feedback to AT against the changes :-(.
Great to see the GWRC investing money so wisely.
However; they don’t have the best track record in implementation. Let’s hope that they’re improving.
It’s the Wellington City Council actually, wouldn’t it be good if Wellington just had one agency responsible for transport instead of about half a dozen.
Okay. But why are the article picture in the Metlink livery colours then? And why does the press release begin with “Wellington city and regional councils are to consider a plan to speed up buses’ travel times…”?
It looks to me like the plan has been put together jointly by the regional and city councils as you describe.
Wellington City would be responsible for any actual implementation though as they are responsible for the on-road PT infrastructure in the city.
I’d say that the GWRC is funding it.
Usually the cost will sit with the city council as well, although I am not familiar with this specific instance.
It’s one of the flaws of the system that outside Auckland the city council and regional council have to continuously negotiate over improvements to PT often when they have different priorities.
This is part of “Let’s get Wellington moving” which is a collaboration with staff and funding coming from WCC, GWRC and central government.
Lots of nice ideas, good luck with getting them implemented in Wellington, you’ll be able to hear the screaming from Auckland if a few car parks/lanes are removed. Auckland Transport gets a lot of flak, but it achieves far more than the Wellington equivalents who seem mainly concerned with patch protection ie the ongoing national ticketing system fiasco.
Really interesting stuff. If this sort of approach becomes mainstream, things will be looking up for NZ transport planning.
I wonder about the business case, and what it did and didn’t include. I imagine they are still doing really conservative calculations. Did they include, for example:
– the CO2 reductions – and at what carbon price.
– the ridership induced by better travel times;
– the social and public health benefits induced by the increased ridership;
– the better safety outcomes from people modeshifting to public transport, which is safer than driving;
– they’ve probably included the better safety outcomes for cyclists but have they included the induced cycling from having safer facilities;
– the long term benefits of the modeshift on things like land use.
Not that it really matters. With a bcr of 1.5, they’ll probably choose the middle option, and the demonstrated improvements will hopefully then pave the way to doing the rest of the work.
Heidi, the draft business case is at https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/services/parking-and-roads/bus-priority/files/wellington-bus-priority-programme-draft-business-case.pdf
Excellent. Thanks for that, Mike. I see the different inputs they varied in table 12. They don’t mention varying carbon price, ways to indicate the social and public health benefits, long term land use changes, etc, so maybe those things aren’t in the EEM yet. I probably need to read it again.
If they haven’t been included, the actual bcr will be higher.
I hope they will go the whole hog and not just take the middle option. A 33% improvement in bus times would be a real boon to passengers and a boost to bus patronage – the other two options are rather pathetic by comparison. Its all just a question of money….
I caught a reasonably full off peak Dominion Road bus the other day. We had to wait for 3 phases at the Mt Albert Road of lights because it was reasonably busy (Dominion Road sometimes feels busier off peak than on peak), the traffic light phasing seemed to be badly done (big queues on Dominion Road but no queues on Mt Albert), and what would be a bus lane at peak hour was instead used to park 4 cars.
I think what would make a big difference off peak is to make some sections of bus lanes 24×7 – particularly the sections approaching traffic lights.
Yes. And then, in those sections approaching traffic lights, to have bus sensors to trigger the lights for the buses.
This is good to see this study being done. Wellington definitely is a special kind of PT/bus environment that could be greatly improved with some priority etc done on it. Auckland of course needs this kind of study & work done on it too.
Did anyone else notice from the improvement pictures that they are all driving/riding on the other side of the road? Seeing them all driving on the right side of the road doesn’t give me confidence that they can actually deliver the results.
I not=iuced that the roads seem to be correct for left-hand drive but that the vehicles seem to be either driving on the wrong side of them or all being driven in reverse 😉
Another easy measure would be to give priority to buses when they leave a bus stop. No more waiting for a gap in the traffic, it is up to motorists to give way.
I grew up and leant to drive where all buses have a ‘This bus has priority when leaving a bus stop’ sign stuck at the back. Very easy and costs nothing.
I believe the greens had a private members bill to change this. Unfortunately it’ll probably get knocked back if it comes up, because car privilege.
The current WCC, GWRC and NZTA plan to increase bus travel times is just one of the many talkfests that have occured over the last 55 years and like with previous talkfests, very little will be done, as the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Wellington Retailers Association will countinue to block any attempt to increase bus travel times through the Wellington central city area which has been the one of major causes of of slow bus travel over the years.
Until all parties agrees that Wellington city is a public transport friendly city and bus has priority over cars, every little will be done.
Any Wellington city experience bus driver will tell you, the biggest problem with bus travel issues is the lack of dedicated bus lanes, bad road planning that has favoured car movements, no bus priority in traffic light phasing and increase non-essential traffic allowed to pass through the Wellingon city and the continual deferment of the completion of the missing city bypass section of SH1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels.
Until the missing city bypass section of SH1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels has been completed to deflect non-essential traffic way from Wellington central city area, reconfiguring of the Basin Reserve for better traffic flows, that will eliminating the current congestion around the Basin Reserve, Wellington central city area is a predistrian mall, dediated bus lanes using inline bus stops similar to what is being used on Lambton Quay on key bus arterial routes, like Adelaide Road, Kent and Cambridge Terraces, Karori Road, Glemore Street, Bown Street, etc, traffic light phasing and road designs that favours buses not cars, better designed buses that allows quicker boarding and deboarding and eliminate uncessary bus transfer hubs, will increase bus travel times though Wellington city.
Until this is done, bus travel and bus bunching will be an ongoing issues for years to come.
Increasing SH1 capacity between The Terrace Tunnel and the Basin is off the LGWM agenda, so (fortunately) we won’t be seeing the traffic that this would induce, or the probable detrimental effect on PT patronage. The money that would have been spent on this will be much better invested directly in PT improvements, rather than improving things for cars (the least-efficient users of road space) and hoping that there’ll be some sort of trickle-down effect on buses.
The other items suggested are all on the agenda, as the bus priority documents show: WCC says that LGWM’s consultation in the near future will include bus priority measures, so we’ll all have a chance to have our say.
In particular, “unnecessary” transfers are already on the way out under GWRC’s Bus Network Review https://www.metlink.org.nz/on-our-way/bus-network-review/: from late this month there will be no scheduled transfers at Miramar (a very short-lived hub!) and fewer at Kilbirnie, with plans for all such transfers to disappear from Kilbirnie and the hospital and most from Brooklyn and Johnsonville. (There aren’t any scheduled transfers at the remaining hub, at Karori Tunnel.) The trade off is that the new through services will run less frequently, typically reduced from half-hourly to hourly: overall feedback was generally in favour of this change.
BTW, the councils and are working to *reduce*, not increase, bus travel times!
What a tradeoff. Half hourly is bad enough. Hourly doesn’t function as a network. Bummer.
Heidi, with through routes to/from the CBD, for most passengers Wellington city buses don’t actually need to operate as a network, just as a collection of individual routes (as the old network was). Wellington city is a very CBD-centric place!
It’s a moot point as to what public feedback would have been if the 2018 network had actually operated as one, something that GWRC and the bus operators failed largely to achieve through inadequate planning, poor communications, ineffective contracts and substandard operations (exacerbated by driver shortages and mandatory breaks). If these had been done right (or even just better) people might have accepted the benefits of increased frequency over the necessity to transfer, but that wasn’t to be.
But, looking on the bright side, there is an intention to restore half-hourly frequencies at some time in the future.
Mike M – There was nothing wrong with the previous network that only required fine tuning and some enhancements to incorporate increase bus services to Wellington city north western suburbs of Johnsonville, Grenada, Grenada North, Newlands, Churton Park and Glenside.
Wellington is a ‘dead end’ city in regards to land transport as the furtherest point south by road is Island Bay and beyond that point is the Cook Strait.
Wellington railway station has and is the major bus/train interchange with core bus routes to southern and eastern suburbs running through the central city area that included bus services to the city’s western suburbs so it was bus network that provide direct loop services to the core eastern, southern and western suburbs through 3 major bus transfer hubs being the railway station, the golden mile between the railway station and Courtney Place and Kilbirnie. That is why the current multi bus transfer hub ‘rapid’ bus didn’t work as it broke direct loops from/to core suburbs.
I see that some the core routes to the city centre and railway station that lost ‘direct’ services will be re-introduced under the bus network review.
Kris, there was quite a bit that fixing doing apart from the northern suburbs issues that you mention, eg lack of evening/weekend services to places like Maupuia, Evans Bay, Kowhai Park, Owhiro Bay, Happy Valley; and rather a jumble of trunk-ish routes in the eastern suburbs. These have been addressed, but not well, hence the Bus Network Review rolling back things like the hubs and the severe cuts to frequencies in the east. A particular fault was the the hub-based system required reliability, punctuality, good connection-keeping and good transfer facilities, in all of which the network failed to a greater or lesser extent. The bus priority programme is addressing the first two (better late than never!), and the bus network review the latter two, by eliminating nearly all transfers.
Absolutely agree that geographically Wellington is a dead-end city, which is one of the reasons that it makes no sense to spend hundreds of millions on increasing capacity that would largely be used for short-distance car trips.
And I agree that the Golden Mile from Wellington station to Courtenay Place and Kilbirnie have always been significant transfer points and will continue to be so. The same applies to Johnsonville, and Brooklyn will continue to be a smaller one.
Points of clarification: Wellington previously had no loop services and now has just one, in the northern suburbs; and the only routes worthy of the ‘rapid’ description are the expresses (branded Rapid Red in WCT days), which were largely unchanged in 2018’s upheaval.
“the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Wellington Retailers Association will countinue to block any attempt to increase bus travel times through the Wellington central city area”
I think you meant “attempt to DEcrease bus travel times”.
If what you’re saying is true; it’s pretty short-sighted & narrow-minded of them. Improved PT could bring them more foot traffic.
Daniel, Kris’s statement is an oversimplification and to my mind exaggerates to influence of those two groups, and I think misrepresents the position of the Wellington retailers: I can’t find a reference, but I’m sure that their spokesperson has been positive about the relationship between shopping and PT, supporting better bus services. I think that the retailers do understand and value the relationship between public transport, foot traffic and sales.
Mike M – Nearly 70% of non-essential traffic comes from outside the Wellington city boundaries predomently to the central city area for work, the airport, the regional hospital and lessor extend to the regional aquatic centre in Kilbirnie. This why the missing inner city bypass section of SH 1 between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels needs to be completed now to deflect non essential vehicles away from the Wellington city central area.
With Transmission Gully coming online early 2021, will see more cars traveling on SH 1 especially from Wellington region north western communities coming into or passing through Wellington central city area adding to the already congested road corridors that will hampen bus travel times through the central city area due to increase congestion on Adelaide Road from the hospital to Basin Reserve, from Mt Victoria tunnel to Basin Reserve and from the Basin Reserve along Karo Drive to the Terrace Tunnel.
To get people out of their cars, Wellington city needs to have an efficient frequent Wellington City bus network that offers direct serives from the city’s western, eastern, southern and north western suburbs to the central city area and and effieicent and frequent regional train services to/from the Wellington railway station, all operating under an integrated ‘tap n travel’ payment/ticketing system backed up with a congestion charging for the city’s central city area.
“Nearly 70% of non-essential traffic comes from outside the Wellington city boundaries predomently to the central city area for work”
With a sustainable urban mobility plan that can be reduced significantly. So, presumably, can the other 30% of other non-essential traffic.
It would help if the MoT, NZTA and the RCA’s understood travel demand management to be about reducing traffic volumes, as European cities do. Instead they just interpret it to be just about ensuring there are sustainable travel options and minimising the negative effects of traffic.
Kris, fully agree with your last paragraph – but how throwing money at car usage will help that is something I find difficult to grasp.
Not merely Transmission Gully but also Peka Peka to Otaki North are scheduled to come on stream, creating a four-lane highway all the way from Thorndon to past Otaki. The effect of Transmission Gully alone on PT patronage is predicted by NZTA to be pretty drastic, reducing passengers by 25% from what they would have been. Your dream of extending the highway through the city would of course make this worse, probably – as urban highway capacity increases tend to do – just moving traffic jams a short distance along.
Agreed that the Basin is an issue, but apart from that SH1 traffic between The Terrace and Mt Victoria has little effect on most Wellington bus services and zero effect on the two main spine routes: increasing that highway capacity is anything but a prerequisite for the high-quality bus service that we all crave!
I think that you are missing the point, being the difference between Wellington city and its suburbs and the greater Wellington region and that SH 1N terminates at Wellington Airport, which currently passes through Wellington CITY central city area. Auckland and Christchurch, SH 1 by passes the both city centres and even Hamilton will have SH 1N by passing its city centre by end of 2021, so why can’t the missing section inner city bypass of SH 1N between the the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels be completed, as it is critical infrastructure. It is not about throwing money at car usage, it is it deflecting non-essential vehicles away from Wellington city central city area, to allow quicker bus travel along Adelaide Road, Kent and Cambridge Terraces and the golden mile between Courtney Place and Whitmore Street.
As we have seen with all the talkfests over the years and the continual deferment of the completion of the missing inner city bypass of SH 1N between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels, traffic congestion has increased over the years, which is why quicker bus travel in the Wellington city wont happen until you reduce the amount of non-essential traffic passing through the central city area and the Basin Reserve.
To get people out of their cars especially in the greater Wellington region, Wellington city needs to have an efficient frequent Wellington CITY bus network that offers direct services from the city’s western, eastern, southern and north western suburbs to the central city area and efficient and frequent greater Wellington regional train services to/from the Wellington railway station to communities in the greater Wellington region, all operating under an integrated ‘tap n travel’ payment/ticketing system backed up with a congestion charging for the city’s central city area.
Cities that are making great strides in reducing car dependency and in reducing car emissions are not doing it in the way you are suggesting, but in the diametrically opposite way.
It’s the difference between thinking traffic is like a fluid that has to go somewhere, and understanding that mobility needs a comprehensive plan that involves PT and active mode enhancements, modeshift, placemaking, and vehicle reductions everywhere. And money must be carefully spent, not wasted on new roads, wider roads, or tunnels.
Some of the delays that are happening with the buses in Wellington are also to do with the changes in the bus contracts and particularly the drivers, and their knowledge of the general ins and outs of how to run a bus in Central Wellington. Many of the older drivers knew the tricks of how to keep to their schedule. For example, I have been on several Wellington buses where even though the speed limit is 30km/h, they are routinely doing 20!….some drivers I swear purposefully slow down so they can get a red light!…. other instances where you are on a bus to the railway station, some drivers will stop their bus on Lambton Quay, directly up the arse of a bus going to say Karori…. Alot of times people won’t even get on, but because the bus is so close to the Karori bus, they can’t go around it, and every one going to the station has to wait for everyone going to Karori to get on, on the bus ahead….. Delaying passenger journeys even further… I have personally been on a bus where the driver did this at every stop!! Its fricken annoying…. Not all issues with the buses are about traffic priority… Some of it is driver behaviour!
Mahaki, a reason for that sort of driver behaviour could be that GWRC appears to be enforcing the contractual requirement that buses are no more than a minute early at timing points. That’s a good thing – it’s a cardinal sin in public transport operation to run early – but that means that when timetables have excess running time in them for the particular road conditions at the time (which can vary considerably), to avoid penalties buses either have to run slowly or wait at or before timing points. Until the new network happened I’d never experienced a Wellington bus waiting for time, but now it’s not uncommon, and adds to congestion if it happens at or before busy stops that are timing points, like Lambton Quay north or Wellington Station.
There’s no easy solution, but enabling buses to run more reliably and consistently will help them stick to timetables. So while not all issues with the buses may be about traffic priority, this one actually is.
I half agree and half not with that….simply because in most of the cases where I have been on buses that have slowed intentionally or are doing stupid things like waiting at bus stops that they shouldn’t be, they are actually running late!!…. Thereby causing me to be late with my connecting train!! Another example is when there are railway station buses already at a bus stop, and the bus I have been in has no passengers who want to get off… Now an old bus driver would basically pass the buses that are already at the stop (assuming they are travelling to the station only )… But many of the new ones will routinely stop… Again… Waiting for no reason, and yes… They are late…. Which means they are also late for their next route. I do take your point that in some cases (like the route 1 buses coming from Churston Park, Jville West etc), thay they do introduce delays if they are very early to a point like the railway station. But that is not always the case. Much of this delayed crap only infuriates customers like myself and puts people off public transport.