Official Map: Suggested Bus Network of Wellington, New Zealand

When Brent Palmer submitted his own frequent service map of Wellington, he also sent along a link to a PDF of a diagram that the Greater Wellington Regional Council is using as a discussion piece to promote changes to the bus network.

I think Brent describes it best:

There are plans for a more comprehensive public transport network in Wellington. What a shame that the schematic depicting it is a monstrosity that looks like it was done by the work-experience kid. You’re gonna need eye-bleach.

Wow. This thing is simply terrible. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it had been thrown together in Word or PowerPoint with the limited drawing tools available in those applications. But no-one would ever do that… would they?

Metadata in the PDF reveals a document title of “Wellington Network Diagram for Advertorial”, so appallingly, it would seem that this is a map meant for public consumption, and is not just an internal planning document.

Right now, I finally think that the Buffalo light rail map has some serious competition as the worst map to ever grace this blog. Half a star.

Half a Star

(Link to PDF file - download at your own risk!)

Unofficial Map: Frequent Transport of Wellington, NZ

Submitted and created by Brent Palmer.

This is one I conjured up this weekend, dealing with Wellington, NZ. Only four local bus routes (and the Airport Flyer) turned out to meet any half-reasonable “frequent service” criteria.

Transit Maps says: A gorgeous looking map from long-time follower, Brent Palmer, that unfortunately serves to highlight the paucity of frequent transit services in New Zealand’s capital. Another striking dark background, and some unusual but highly effective colours for the routes themselves. Brent makes good use of the extra space afforded by the lack of routes, with nice big numbers for the routes, clear type, and a very handy inset diagram of commuter rail services. Top notch work indeed. Four-and-a-half stars!

4.5 Stars!

Official Map: MAXX Commuter Rail, Auckland, New Zealand

Time to get away from North America and Europe and head further afield… about as far afield as you can go, actually! Here’s the system map for Auckland, New Zealand’s commuter rail system. This map, available from the MAXX website, seems to be based off the map they place above doors in the actual train carriages. This explains the horizontal format which skews the Southern Line out to the right of the map instead of towards the bottom, where it heads in real life.

Have we been there? Yes, way back in 1993… I didn’t catch any trains.

What we like: Clear, simple and easy to understand. Nice differentiation between normal stations and interchanges.

What we don’t like: The labels angled to 30 degrees seems almost entirely unnecessary, as they could fit horizontally with minimal effort. It looks particularly odd at Manukau station, where a 45-degree curve meets the 30-degree type.

Strangely, station names are set in two different sizes: all stations on the Western Line are 18-point, but stations past Penrose on the Eastern, Southern and Onehunga Line are set in 16-point. I can’t see any reason why this is necessary at all, and seems like an error made by the designer to me.

Finally, and this is no actual fault of the map itself… I know it’s an historical name (being named after the British Navy ship that surveyed Auckland Harbour in the 1840s), but “Britomart” just makes it sound like Auckland’s main railway station is located under a cheap convenience store.

Our rating: Competent, but not exactly exciting. Average in just about every way, including my score: two-and-a-half-stars.

2.5 Stars

(Source: Official MAXX website)