In honour of the upcoming opening of the Manners Mall buslane, which has taken away a (to some) treasured pedestrian walkway, and replaced it with a (hopefully, much faster) route for Wellington’s buses, we present to you some buses. One of our regular readers and sometime correspondent Seamonkey Madness (the greatest of all non-de-plumes, surely?), sent us these pics a while back, and I’ve been storing them up just for a day like this. Have a gander at this: its a Bendy Bus in Wellington!

Well, if you’re a bus-lover, then that will have got you excited. So much so, that we’ll save the other pic for further down the page.

But the Bus Lane in Manners Mall thing has got some people all very hot and bothered, and others rather excited. There’s that ‘political busker’ chappie, who took a sledgehammer to the tarmac (spectacularly unsuccessful mate – you’ll never get a job with Fulton Hogan). There’s also a friendly, albeit slightly manic woman who has been campaigning for the Buslane NOT to happen here in her beloved Manners Mall. Not a murmur of support from the Emos – in fact, perhaps all the Emos have died off, as I haven’t seen a touch of black cloak, neon highlights, hanging around the front of Burger King for many months now.

The two lead campaigners mentioned above, have been pestering the Council regarding two things – whether the roadway is wide enough for the buses to actually pass safely in Manners Mall / St, (which some argue the simple answer is No), and another one that struck me as quite a potential screw up – the entry of the buses into Willis St from the top of Manners. If, on Monday morning, there is a series of head on smashes between buses, we’ll know that he was right all along, and Council should profusely apologise. On the other hand, if things progress smoothly (as in, if buses progress smoothly down the Street like a squeezing out toothpath), then perhaps the intrepid campaigners should stand up and say sorry for wasting the Council’s time?

Time for a treat: here’s another pair of buses. Look: bendy buses, pre-MFC ! I am impressed.

Yes, it seems to be turning down Cuba St, swinging past the old Town Hall.

I really don’t think that the people of Wellington seem to be too saddened by the loss of Manners Mall. It had been progressively savaged by a bad case of ugly concrete block disease, and the metal cages encasing the trees had never really worked. It was glorious for about an hour a day, when the sun poured down the street, but it is not as if there were carefully sited seats in the middle that we could sit down on, or lay down on.

The key thing that we need to hold the Council to is to get an applicable amount of quality pedestrian walkways in return. We will be watching ‘lower Cuba’ very closely indeed…

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