I have a strange combination of methods by which I get myself to and from work during the week. In fact, I don’t think any two days of the week are exactly the same, which is quite interesting. I suppose that the down-side of this is that there isn’t a nice comfortable pattern to sink myself into, although at the same time I could think that the up-side is that there isn’t a comfy pattern to get bored by.
There are bits of my commuting cycle that I find nicer than others, unsurprisingly I suppose. I always quite enjoy the way that Leila and I catch a bus into town together on Monday mornings. It’s nice having the opportunity to chat with her on the bus, and I think that I enjoy catching a bus during the morning commute because the public transport system actually feels half-decent for once. The buses come every 2-3 minutes, they actually travel faster than the cars (when they’re not picking up passengers) because there are bus lanes and so on. On the down-side, we often find ourselves on the same bus as a million Auckland Girls Grammar students, who can make one hell of a loud racket when they really try to. Or at other times we’re worrying about how long the bus will take and whether there will be time for a coffee in town before Leila needs to catch the Link bus over to her work – generally we are fine though. Perhaps I am interested in morning-peak bus trips because generally I haven’t taken too many over my years of bus catching. Especially not when I compare it with the number of later-morning buses that I’ve caught, or even with the number of evening peak buses that I’ve caught. I guess it’s a novelty factor that will probably wear off once I get a job working in the CBD and find myself catching morning peak buses to work each and every day.
Another aspect of my commuting habits that I enjoy is the local 008 bus which I catch directly to my normal work (ie. if I’m not heading into town on this particular day). This usually ends up being Tuesday and Thursday mornings. While it’s super-annoying that this bus is operated by Urban Express and not NZ Bus, which means that I have to pay cash each time as my GoRider card isn’t accepted (gah bring on integrated ticketing), because this is a fairly infrequent bus route I find myself on the bus with the same people just about every morning I catch it. There are the two kids that get off the bus at a particular stop each day so they can wander down to their school, the other two kids who get on at the same stop – sometimes puffing like crazy after sprinting along Richardson Road to catch up to the bus, and so on. I guess I kind of enjoy the familiarity of it all, even if I feel like a bit of an outsider still (as I only catch that bus 2 mornings a week).
Of course all my public transport experiences in Auckland aren’t positive. I particularly find myself getting annoyed by things that could fairly easily be fixed up. Like bus drivers paying a bit more attention to when you’re trying to signal them, or not going through red lights when you’re trying to walk across the road, or ARTA actually replacing bus timetables, or buses actually showing up on time. OK, so I guess that the whole “late bus syndrome” has probably been around for just as long as buses have been. Generally in Auckland it’s a result of having stupidly windy and overly long bus routes. The 224 route is a classic example, and I have developed a person vendetta against that route because whenever I need to catch a bus along it into town, the bus is inevitably about 15 minutes late. This solely happens because the route is stupidly long, originating in Henderson (even though a million other routes serve Henderson to New Lynn). I’ve written a letter to ARTA about cutting it back to the route of the old 223 (which started at New Lynn) so that the 224’s punctuality can be improved. I wonder if that’ll have an effect.
I really want to actually commute by train. It’s so much nicer than on the bus. Perhaps after 2013 when we have electric trains I’ll make sure where I live is close to a train station.