Thursday, 7 July 2011

Metro, a subsidiary of ECan't

It seems like most people in Ōtautahi have a story.

Not about the earthquakes - about buses. Up until last year and very early this year, I loved our bus system. It was a cheap, efficient way of getting around the city, with generally good service. Now, four and a half months after The Quake, things have changed. A friend's husband had two buses drive straight past him. My sister called me one evening after waiting two hours for a bus (the Orbiter, which should have been coming every ten minutes) asking me to cook dinner because she wouldn't be home in time. She eventually took a taxi. Route maps on the MetroInfo website change, but the actual route doesn't. Timetables seem to be merely suggestions.

This would be irritating enough as a simple matter of poor service from a company, but it's wider-reaching than that. Metro is a government-run piece of infrastructure with several goals: to provide transport for those unable to drive, to reduce road congestion, to reduce air pollution, to cut down on fossil fuel consumption. (At least, those should be the goals. Knowing the government, they might not be.) Considering how much we invest in the image of Clean Green New Zealand, the utter failure of Metro to adjust by now to conditions in post-quake Christchurch is unacceptable. If you want to persuade people to use cleaner methods of getting around, you need to have reliable cleaner methods of getting around. If people know that the bus system is basically a gamble, that your best bet is just to go to the bus stop and hope one will come past, it's going to stop being their first choice.

But then, given that permits have now been issued for fuel companies to look into lignites, I think we all know that this government has no commitment whatsoever to the environment - let alone alone to the young, old, poor or disabled that make up so much of Metro's customer base.

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