'Eerie calm' as nonplussed commuters navigate transport changes

2:34 pm on 18 June 2018

Hutt Valley commuters stepped out the door this morning into the unknown.

A new bus poised for the morning commute.

A new bus poised for the morning commute. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Yesterday Wairarapa bus company Tranzit took control of the buses in Wellington's Hutt Valley.

It said it expected there to be some confusion for commuters this morning as minor changes rolled out for some timetables.

This morning, intermittent public transport user Catherine Hutton was dispatched to report on whether Wellington commuters were thrown into conniptions by the tweaks.

Would Tranzit live up to the exacting standards of Munich - with one of the best transport systems in the world - or equal Mumbai, which holds the record as the worst?

The answer was neither.

Despite fear of commuter confusion at Waterloo - one of the Hutt Valley's busiest stations - there was an eerie calm.

Buses came and went, trains came and went.

People were unvexed.

One commuter, Ahmad, took two photos while on the bus and sent them to his wife and daughter.

"I was excited. It was very new and the windows were very big, it was very comfortable and very spacious," he said.

Ahmad liked the new buses, much better than the old ones. Called his wife and daughter to tell them and took photos.

Ahmad likes the new buses much better than the old ones. Called his wife and daughter to tell them and took photos. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Not even the new green and yellow colour scheme, which prompted MP and former city councilor Paul Eagle to dub the buses "vomitron", got people talking.

Maybe they were conscious of the time and wanted their breakfasts to stay down.

Some told RNZ the buses were warm and new, some classic Kiwi understatement given that Tranzit described them as "brand new, state-of-the art Euro 6 buses ... every vehicle is fully air conditioned, heating and cooling".

Possibly many had not noticed the changes. "It's a bus, it runs to a standard timetable," Boris told RNZ, adding that he hadn't given any thought to the modifications.

Commuters at Waterloo train station.

Commuters at Waterloo train station. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Apparently the new buses have more space for luggage and less seats. That could be a problem.

Some were on time, while others ran late - probably even Munich cannot deliver every single bus on schedule.

There will be changes to train timetables so they mesh with the new bus schedule in mid July. At the same time new buses, timetables and bus routes will be rolled out in Wellington city.

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