Sunday, May 11, 2008


Chancing to catch a train from the towering structure
in Lower Hutt known as the Waterloo Interchange,
I found myself on a cold wet Saturday morning waiting
on the platform with nowhere to shelter. I huddled
behind a wall to stay out of the wind. Astonishingly,
this vast edifice contains no warm waiting-rooms, no
ticket office, no refreshment kiosk, no staff. You can’t
even buy a daily paper there. If ever there was an
argument for revitalizing the railways, then this is it.
I foresee the day, as people swing back to public
transport, when stations such as this once again hum
with activity, instead of being just draughty barns.


Anonymous said...

Yes I used to commute from there and its freezing. Due to unplanned circumstance, I also ended up at Wellington railway station at 7am with a baby in tow and having to wait 1/2 hour to catch a train. Altough nothing like Waterloo, its a very draughty place. There was no where warm for us to wait except the "cafe" which is really a bar. No waiting room even for those catching the Overlander.

Truth Seeker said...

Public transit in New Zelaand generally - publicly owned or private - is run like a Soviet Gulag. There is a ferry terminal at Northcote point in Auckland with a $2.5m dollar building - beautiful - that no one uses because it doesn't have a single ferry dock. You have to go out and stand on the jetty of the ferry doesn't know you're there and doesn't stop to pick you up. The bus routes are littered with "tranfers" that require walks of 50 metres or more between buses of different carriers. "A walk will be good for you."

In Toronto, all bus routes terminate in a covered, heated terminals at subway train stations. You can get on the transit system in -20C weather and ride in comfort on buses or trains in t-shirt and shorts once you're in the system. This is what it takes to get people out of their cars.

I have no idea why transport designers in NZ can't get their heads around simple things like this, but apparently they can't. They used - back in the days when people took trains. Every significant urban train station had these amenities.

Truth Seeker said...
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