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Almost every time I catch a bus the thing that strikes me (other than the almost always lateness of Wellington buses), is how inadequate bus stops are  in their design for shelter.  It seems that I’m not the only one thinking this way …. Read More

Riding on Air


I’ve never understood why so many buses are air-conditioned, especially in this rather temperate country of ours. The commuter buses it seems a no brainer – openable windows and customers dressed for outside conditions must be a winning formula. On long trips – there’s nothing quite as pleasant as sitting next to an open window – or nothing as worse than returning into an air-conditioned bus after a coffee break; that wicked (in a bad way) stench of fellow passengers ingrained in the nastily-patterned fabric of ergonomically-challenged seats.

It seems stranger then, in these post-fashionable days of global warming (credit-crunching being our current de rigueur), when we all know saving the planet is actually a good idea, that no one has singled out for ridicule air-conditioning on buses. I’m no mechanical engineer (and never has such a proclamation been more truely stated) – but doesn’t air-conditioning use energy? For cars opening windows increases fuel consumption on the open road but air-conditioning can also increase fuel consumption by up to 10%, and by 20% in city traffic.

But it doesn’t have to be a simple windows vs airconditioning argument. Passive ventilation systems are a way of getting fresh air and fuel economy – though I have to admit the gentle breeze through your hair is much of the open window appeal. Again perhaps the answer is in good design and IQ over energy wastage.

It really does beg the question then why so many of our stationary vehicles (buildings) invest so heavily on the old hermetically sealed environment.