05 November 2008

Commuter mode in Wellington

Wellington is friendly to commuters; it has a network of buses that ply major thoroughfares on a regular schedule so you can visit the city even if you don't have a car. It has trains as well that service major towns, with the central station at Wellington City itself.

You will find these signs along the roads where you can flag down the bus. On the post itself is the approximate time you can expect the bus to arrive. I can say the times indicated therein are quite accurate. Some stops even have benches and shade to protect you from the wind. They weren't kidding when they said Wellington is the windy city!

Here comes the bus! We belong to Zone 3; it costs $4.00 to reach the city, in half an hour or so, a little under an hour til Courtenay Place, which is the last stop also in the city. You can also buy a bus card. It's $20.00, but $10.00 is credit you can use. It's also great having a card because you get 20% off , so it's $3.60 to the city. When you no longer need the card (you're moving, for example), you can return the card and have the $10.00 refunded (provided it's still in great condition, that is).Here in New Zealand, the driver is also the conductor. So when you step up, inform the driver where you will go and hand over your cash. See the contraption to the left of the driver in the photo below? Place your card on top of this after announcing your destination. In both payment modes, you get a receipt printed out. You can also buy your bus card from the driver.
Don't forget to say "thank you!" to the driver when you alight!

And then there's the train station. Use of the train is being encouraged. For one thing, it cuts back on emissions. Many stopovers have parking areas so you can park your car and board the train for the rest of your trip to work.

This is the central railway station at Wellington.

Previously, we had the impression that trains were cheaper than the bus. But when we boarded one in going back to Johnsonville, it cost us $4.00 each! Kids 4 years and below ride the bus and trains free of charge. One of the stopovers is shown below. Most are simple platforms.
Emote moment in the train :-)

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