Rant mode (hasn’t been much news):
I’m writing this from a new Designline bus. This morning, I took one of the recently-arrived Zhongtong buses, on CBS/GoBus’s newly-acquired 83 route. I’ve ridden on a few before, but I was struck by how much they seem to have deteriorated in just a few weeks.
Firstly, the biggest problem is their route display screens. NZ in Tranzit has a couple of photos up showing how even at close range they’re barely readable.
Inside, the headrests seem to have aged fast, though I can’t recall if they were always that pale yellow, but there were some with a different, whiter colour. Either way, it’s an unappealing interior.
Worse, the stop buttons around me (I tried three) didn’t work. Neither did the pullcord. I noticed another passenger looking concerned as we swiftly approached our stop. I assume she had the same problem.
While we tend to focus only on the ‘macro’ level of transport – the infrastructure, the routes, the technologies – most of our interaction is as passengers. That passenger interaction is equally important, and the pleasantness (or lack thereof) if the journey is often overlooked. The experience today made me look unfavorably on the Zhongtong buses and CBS/GoBus as a whole, and I’m generally pretty enthusiastic about these things. For the wider public, it must cause immense, silent damage to the reputation of our public transport network.