Anticipated Political Protests in Wellington: A Deep Dive into Metlink’s Preparations and Contingency Plans
Metlink’s Warning and Preparations for Potential Disruptions
Metlink, Wellington’s public transport service, has recently issued a warning about possible disruptions due to political protests in the city. The service has rerouted several bus routes and established road closures in preparation for the anticipated protests around the Parliament area. The streets that have been affected include Hill Street, Molesworth Street, Aitken Street, Guildford Terrace, and Kate Sheppard Place. Moreover, the Lambton Quay and Bowen Street intersection and Bunny Street near the bus depot are now restricted to buses only.
These closures are expected to cause some disruptions for commuters, with the most significant impact predicted for those leaving the city on Friday evening. Five bus stops have been temporarily closed, and buses are being rerouted through different routes. However, Metlink’s senior operations manager, Matthew Chote, stated that he does not anticipate a massive disruption.
The Rationale Behind the Road Closures
The police have set up these closures to manage traffic and access to Parliament in anticipation of the planned protests, which include a march from Civic Square to Parliament. The closures are expected to be lifted after midnight on Friday.
While the exact number of protesters is not yet known, the police are in contact with various groups, including the Freedom Rights Coalition, the Convoy Coalition, the Stop Co-Governance, and the Anti-Fascist Group. Indications thus far suggest that the protests will be peaceful, and contingencies have been put in place if that changes. The police have set up fencing and specific entry points to Parliament to prevent the carrying in of tents or large structures. Signs stating what is allowed into the grounds and that Parliament closes at 6pm have also been put up.
Lessons from the Past: Recalling the February Protests
The city experienced heavy disruption in February last year due to anti-mandate protests, which is still fresh in the memory of the city’s public transport officials. This history has informed their preparations and contingency plans for the upcoming protests.
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