Well I guess today could have just been a number of coincidences, but it did seem fairly symptomatic of the state of Auckland’s public transport.

So, as it was a Monday morning I headed into town on the 004/005 bus route – like I always do. The weather was pretty rubbish this morning, and inevitably the bus was late. I suppose that I have some sympathy for late buses on wet-weather days, as generally the traffic is rubbish. A pile of intrepid bus catchers huddled in the shelter, and eventually our bus came along. Then, first drama – my bus pass refused to work. Sometimes I have had problems with it in the past, but never amounting to anything more than requiring the driver to push it back in and try again. But on this occasion it just kept on saying “error”. After about ten goes I gave up and dug into my wallet for a $2 coin.

Then next drama – for some reason or another the doors on the bus (bus number 1830 by the way) refused to open for the driver. This meant that every time the bus stopped for someone to get off, everyone needed to wander to the front of the bus and wait for the driver to get up, wrench the door open and then wrench the door shut once everyone was off. I think eventually the driver found himself totally sick of that, and realised that by revving the engine of the bus hugely he could generate the extra power needed for the doors to open. That worked a couple of times, although it just about deafened the passengers. But after a while it seemed even that wasn’t going to work anymore, so he gave up.

Eventually I got to work, and had quite an interesting day actually – as I had a hearing to go to and present evidence at. I do find myself enjoying that aspect to my work, which is interesting as it’s an aspect that many other people apparently try to avoid as much as they can. I suppose that it’s good in terms of my longer-term career to get used to presenting hearing evidence, and to feel confident at it.

So after work I made my way down to the bus stop. Bus card didn’t work again, although this time the driver was quite nice and gave me a free ride. And then, almost unbelievably the doors on this bus were faulty too! This time they opened fine, but wouldn’t close. While I guess it’s better to have them this way than the other way around, it did mean that the “bus stopping” sign kept on flicking off immediately. I think it was bus number 1200…. truly strange that two different buses on the same day would have almost the same problem. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I caught a bus with a totally defunct ticket machine – what is going on here?

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  1. Could I ask a possibly stupid question? Why doesn’t Auckland use double decker buses? They are fun, carry a lot of people, and use up less room.

  2. Low clearance on a lot of routes (both trees and bridges), slow boarding and unboarding times and the risk of vandalism upstairs would be reasons. I know that logically having articulated buses somewhat make more sense than double-decker ones (due to those aforementioned reasons). London is only heading down the double-decker path because they are so much a part of London’s culture and heritage.

  3. They’re also slower round corners, have worse handling, worse aerodynamics (not a huge factor, but it does add up).

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