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Getting home: Taking the late bus

Friday 25th July 2014

Drive or be driven, take the bus or your bike, or simply by foot – every night, we weigh up time, money and convenience in deciding how we get home.

In a series of videos, young New Zealanders from across the country take us on their typical route home – and share the risks they assess along the way.

In his own words, Luke, 19, is “not a small guy”. Even so, he can get a bit anxious while waiting to catch the late bus home on Friday nights – and he imagines it’s worse for women.

After acting in a show at Nelson’s Theatre Royal that finishes late he needs to get home to Richmond, about 15 kilometres away. He only has his learner driver’s licence and doesn’t want to put his mum out, so the Late Late Bus is pretty much his only option.

The bus runs between 10pm and 3.30am on Friday and Saturday nights, and at $4 a pop, it’s significantly cheaper than a taxi.

It’s popular with young people out on the town in Nelson. On average 60 people catch the bus every weekend, though sometimes the figure can peak at well over 100 users, depending on what’s happening in the city.

“It can get quite rowdy, especially the later you get,” says Luke. “Ten pm isn’t too bad because people are just coming into town, but if you go home at like 11pm, 12am, 3am, you’re going to start dealing with the really drunk people who have been kicked out of the clubs.”

The figures suggest he’s right to be wary. According to research published [pdf] in the New Zealand Medical Journal, consumption of alcohol on the part of the perpetrator is a factor in more than 62,000 physical assaults every year.

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