Hutt Valley commuters rate their local bus services

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2014

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Hutt Valley

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Bus passengers in the Hutt Valley have revealed the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to services in their area.

For reliability, frequency, personal safety, being able to find a seat and having a friendly driver, the shorter services connecting Upper and Lower Hutt were the best bet, according to community feedback.

But on some of the longer services connecting Upper Hutt and Eastbourne with Wellington, some commuters' trips left a lot to be desired.

More than 1100 bus users offered their views on the Hutt Valley to the Greater Wellington Regional Council as part of a wide-ranging review of services in the area.

Their feedback will be considered by a council committee today.

The regional council's transport portfolio leader and Upper Hutt representative Paul Swain, who is also a former bus driver, said the results showed services in the Hutt Valley required a bit of tweaking rather than a major overhaul.

Levels of customer satisfaction were generally good but there was room to improve, he said.

"There's been no talk of needing to scrap a route completely. By and large the Hutt bus network and its connections are working pretty well."

Passengers rated the No 83 and 85 buses linking Wellington with Eastbourne, as well as the No 92 bus between Wellington and Te Marua, as the least reliable.

Swain said the main problem with those services was the congestion and traffic lights they had to wrestle with in Wellington city.

Council staff had more research and consultation to do before coming up with a batch of solutions in November, he said.

But they were already considering better monitoring of traffic conditions and adjusting the timetables of troublesome services.

Solutions were also being sought for the No 160 and 170 buses between Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata, which were occasionally out of kilter with the trains at Waterloo that many Wainuiomata residents connected with, Swain said.

Opening direct lines of communication between bus and train drivers had been ruled out but council staff were looking at having improved displays inside buses that showed the location of trains.

Swain said bus drivers would also be asked for their feedback, which should help the council understand why the No 92 and 85 buses, as well as the No 154 between Lower Hutt and Korokoro, did not score well when it came to the "helpfulness and attitude" of the driver.

"By and large the drivers are very good, but it's a stressful job when you're in traffic every day and you get the odd one who is a bit grumpy, like you do in all professions."

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- The Dominion Post

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