Since the cluster-fluff of extending rail service to Waikanae, retimetabling for overcrowding and not introducing the Matangi trains on time, you all probably know by now that the Melling Line trains have been replaced by rail replacement buses, and are leaving from the dreaded platform 9 at Wellington Station. A double decker, some museum pieces from Foxton, and probably a mossy one from down the back of a Waikato dairy farm, have been dusted off and put into something akin to a service, and are ferrying poor commuters between Melling, Western Hutt and Wellington. As a result disgruntled commuters are finding other arrangements and the peak-hour commutes on the Hutt Road have become even worse than before.
To combat falling passenger numbers the Greater Wellington Regional Council has announced that the rail replacement buses are to be themselves replaced from May 1 with a wheelbarrow service.
The GWRC has ordered some fancy wheelbarrows from Korea, which were to be put into service back in February. Reports that the Korean wheelbarrows are not performing to expectations have been dismissed by the GWRC Chairwoman Wild Fruit Flan as “crap”. Their introduction onto the Melling route will be at a rate of 1 every 10 months starting in July and will be completely rolled out by the time New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup “next time round in 2027”. In the meantime the GWRC has hit the RD1 farm shop in Featherston and have bought up all its wheelbarrows, which wasn’t very many. Wild Flan says “there may be some initial overcrowding with two people having to ride in each wheelbarrow, plus the obligatory ticket collector, but if people don’t like it, then they can be the one to get out and push”.
Of course there is not really any safe way to push a wheelbarrow down the Hutt Road and into Wellington so as a priority the National Party, with it’s pro-cycling and pro-wheelbarrowing Transport Minister, Steven Joyce, has announced full funding to build the Great Harbour Way between Petone and Ngauranga.
However the GWRC and Metlink have advised that for any passengers originating in Melling and Western Hutt arriving at Petone with a wheelbarrow they can no longer accept wheelbarrows on board trains, unless they are folding wheelbarrows.
People pushing wheelbarrows on the Hutt Road are advised to watch out for people riding sack trucks thinking they are Segways, as those people need to be locked up.
In other news the NZTA has announced a survey into a $240 billion project to put wheelbarrow warning signs between Aotea Quay and Petone.
Also in an effort to protect it’s public transport revenues the GWRC has asked for help from truck drivers to run over anyone pretending to be a wheelbarrow, instead of their usual target, cyclists.
Wild Fruit Flan told us here at Wellington Regional Cycleways that “With all these great public transport initiatives Wellington will once again be known internationally as the greatest city in the world,” but that remains doubtful with the council so far unsuccessfully implementing its projects to replace the Wellington Cable Car with an egg beater and a piece of string, and the Days Bay Ferry with a fleet of swan-shaped pedalos.