Stephen Bland, Wellington, Aotearo
I am a visitor from Aotearoa staying at Suffolk Park. On Wednesday I was in town for breakfast and some shopping. Deciding to catch the bus back to Suffolk Park I returned to the bus stop I had passed on Jonson Street, opposite the derelict Woolworths site, at 11.45am.
A young backpacker and another person were sitting waiting in the shelter. The timetable had the next bus arriving at 12.30pm so I bought some snacks and returned to wait, sitting in the shelter with the other two folk. 12.30pm passed, then 12.45pm. I rang the number on the timetable fixed to the wall of the bus shelter. I asked the voice that answered if the bus was delayed, he asked where I was.
When I described my location he responded that bus stop doesn’t exist anymore. I replied ‘I’m standing in it, calling you on the number listed on the timetable’.
‘Can’t be,’ the voice said. ‘That stop was removed months ago’.
‘Ah no, it’s here’.
‘Well it shouldn’t be, they were all removed, no buses go down Jonson Street, you will have to walk over to the new bus stop behind the rail line’.
I asked when the next bus left, 1.45: one hour’s time. I relayed the information to the others.
‘This place is fucked,’ spat the backpacker and stormed off. I stepped into the street with my thumb out and was quickly given a lift to my door by a friendly local woman.
With the amount of traffic congestion I have seen, plans for a multi storey car park and a public transport system a third world country would be embarrassed by I tend to agree with the backpacker. The locals, however, seem lovely.