Each year public transport patronage peaks in March – university students are back, school is not yet on holiday, there are typically no public holidays (except if Easter is particularly early) and it’s a 31 day month. However, the same is largely true for May and August yet patronage in March is much higher than those two other months – how come? Well one theory is that each year there are new people who give public transport a go in March – often university students I suspect – but they find it so woeful that by May or August they’re back driving. We all know that many elements of Auckland’s public transport system leave much to be desired, but what particular things are most likely to put people off using PT?

Well, helpfully someone’s done a study into that recently and a Governing article highlights some of the key points:

 Nothing ruins a public transportation rider’s day quite like waiting around for a train or bus that never shows up. Turns out that if it happens enough, riders will start giving up on transit, according to a new report.

University of California, Berkeley researchers examined exactly what effect a transit system’s unreliability has on its customers. While it’s well-known that reliability is important to riders, it’s less understood how, exactly, common transit problems impact the public’s likelihood to reduce their ridership in the long-term.

Some studies show that transit riders value consistent travel times even more than shorter travel times, making reliability an especially important issue for agencies to consider if they want to retain customers.

Researchers came up with a list of various ways transit can be considered “unreliable” — buses can show up late; mobile apps can offer inaccurate arrival information; subways can be so crowded that it’s impossible to find a seat, or even board — then surveyed public transit riders in the San Francisco area.

One statistic in the study stands out in particular and should give transit agencies pause: More than half of the riders said they had reduced their use of public transportation specifically because of its unreliability. Most of them didn’t just make fewer trips overall; rather, they switched to other modes of transportation to fill the void…

…Frequent, consistent service — and in particular, reliable transfers between stops — are what’s most important to riders, according to the study. Riders care most about getting picked up from their stop in 10 minutes or less, and they especially value being able to make their scheduled connections. They’re not so interested in whether their rides are crowded or whether they can find a seat.

More frequent services is certainly a fundamental principle in the new public transport network, though the importance of getting connections/transfers right is highlighted as undoubtedly there will be more connections that need to be made in the new network. Let’s hope Auckland Transport is making good progress in sorting out the details of its zone-based integrated fares system.

There are some other interesting findings:

The study also found that transit riders aren’t an unreasonable bunch. Negative experiences that involved issues that are beyond a transit agency’s direct control, like delays due to emergencies and traffic, only had a minimal impact on passengers’ choice to scale back their transit usage.

But a few key things in particular irk passengers: delays that occur once they board a vehicle and delays when they’re trying to make a transfer. Delays at transfer stops were more than twice as likely to make someone reduce their transit use than a delay at the point of origin. Riders were especially turned off by delays due to operational problems like backups in the system.

The study also found that people who own smartphones and have access to real-time arrival information are less likely to use public transit. The reason for this is unclear, but it could be that access to real-time information makes travelers more aware of delays.

In regards to the “real time information” used in Auckland’s PT system, the flaws in this system do seem to be putting people off catching the bus. I heard an interesting story the other day of someone waiting at the bus when a few other people came along, looked at a sign that said their bus was 20 minutes away or something, said “stuff it we’ll drive” (or something similar) and walked off. The twist to the story was that a bus turned up about two minutes later but by then they were gone. Another issue mentioned above which particularly annoys me is “delays that occur once they board the vehicle” – things like sitting there going nowhere so the bus can align to its timetable or waiting for drivers to switch.

Ultimately the research provides some very valuable information to transit agencies about what’s more or less important to make sure you get right.

At a time when transit agencies continue to take budgetary hurdles, the insights from the study are worth considering. Since certain failings have much larger impacts on ridership than others, it may be in public transportation agencies’ best interest to focus resources on minimizing those inconveniences in particular.

For example, it appears passengers prefer higher frequency stops with small vehicles than lower frequencies with large vehicles — even at the cost of overcrowding.

The research might be useful in guiding some operational decisions at agencies. In-vehicle delays are more likely to drive people away than delays at stops. So during disruptions, researchers propose cancelling trips in advance as opposed to holding full vehicles closer to the spot causing disruptions. That might seem counterintuitive — but not if the goal is to retain customers.

And if a delay is due to factors beyond an agency’s control, the report recommends that agencies have operators communicate that information to riders. It might also make sense to have a system in place to specifically provide guaranteed connections at transfer stations during times of infrequent service, since passengers are especially bothered by their inability to make connections.

In recent times it feels like Auckland Transport and the PT operators have been getting a lot of these little things wrong, which is starting to come through in the patronage stagnation. Turning things around will require getting right a lot of these little things and putting the customer first – something which really doesn’t feel like has been happening recently. It might mean we keep those people who give PT a go in March.

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  1. Oh boy, you’re opening up a whole can of whoopee there, Mr A. The comments for this post could go into the hundreds and much has been covered before. We guess the frequency issues will be improved with the electric trains. My biggest issue is transfers. Get off the Southern line train and wait twenty minutes for a Western line train.

    I would just use an example of a frustration for my mother in doing a stop at Sylvia Park in her trip from britomart to Pukekohe, since the introduction of the October timetable, bless her Gold Card socks.

    If you type into the Journey Planner train services from Sylvia Park station to Pukekohe after 11:00 on a week day, the next arrival is 16:09, Who would use a service like that?

  2. I think you’re right that lots of these things annoy people and put them off. Delays between connections annoy me.

    But do you think the lower patronage in May and August might just be because it’s wetter and colder? I can imagine that walking 500 metres to the bus might seem more attractive in autumn than winter. Also just because uni is running doesn’t mean people turn up – classes in March are typically full and then attendance starts dropping sharply as semester goes on.

  3. “However, the same is largely true for May and August yet patronage in March is much higher than those two other months – how come?”

    There are a whole heap of other factors at play here, in addition to Auckland’s woeful PT service, such as:

    1. In March, students are fresh into their courses, enthusiastic and generally turn up to all their lectures. Some keen beans may even go in to uni on days that they don’t have lectures(!). By May & August, apathy has well and truely set in, lectures are skipped and students have dropped out.
    2. There may be more illnesses (genuine or otherwise) keeping both students and workers from coming in the to city in May & August
    3. Likewise there are likely more holidays taken in May and August than in March, when everyone is fresh from the summer break.
    4. Seasonality. Who wants to wait around for a bus in the rain in May & August?

    1. There truly is an enormous difference between the number of people you see on Symonds St at the start of Semester 1 and the number you see three-quarters of the way through the semester.

    2. There is one obvious one you’ve missed:

      “Daylight savings ending”.

      Not only are winters (May-Aug) dark and in Auckland usually, wet and windy, each year from early April to late September the whole place just seems to be dark as well, due to lack of daylight savings.

      I know that I’ll enjoy using PT in the evening after work when DST is active – not so once it ends as by the time I get to the bus stop its dark and feels unsafe.
      And I’m not afraid of the dark

  4. I think the real time information in Auckland is so poor that it could certainly be putting people off. I stood at the bus stop today while the bus approached and at the same time the information on my smartphone said the next bus was 30 minutes away. If I didn’t know the information was terrible I’d have started walking before the bus showed up. I don’t understand why this has been such a problem for so long. How hard is it to fix?

  5. When I caught the train maybe every fortnight or so as an alternative to cycling (whilst I was studying and in the first couple of years of fulltime work) I had a fairly good impression of it – there were occasional showstopping malfunctions (signals problems and the like) but the service was cheap enough and the delays which happened didn’t affect my activities too much.

    Sadly after having to catch the train daily over the last month of 2012 I just don’t think I could cope with depending on it all the time – there is a pretty much constant level of service lateness on the Western Line which is sometimes just a minor annoyance (5 minutes late into Britomart when I need to hurry up to the office) and occasionally becomes a colossal pain in the butt (15+ minute delays or services cancelled altogether). In that respect PIDs probably make the cumulative impression on rail passengers even worse, when you turn up to the station and day after day see your service coming in at least 5 minutes behind the scheduled time.

    And then of course you never know if you’ll be sitting on the curve outside Vector for 7 minutes waiting for a Britomart berth.

    The impression given is that it’s just not dependable enough to use daily unless you can build a 15-minute tolerance into your schedule, on top of the time it takes to walk to and from the station to wait for the service. I am probably hard to convince as my current preferred mode (cycling) is not just super flexible but effectively free, but I’d say it probably goes just the same for motor vehicle commuters contemplating taking up long-term use of PT.

    1. Conveying information to passengers needs to be done well. Excuses do not cut it,

      Veolia seem to think that any information is good, whereas some is just insulting to people’s intelligence. Their current foible is telling western line passengers “we’re just waiting for a signal then we will be on our way” as we approach Newmarket. D’oh. Even non-train spotters know that. Last year it was fibbing on texts about “excessive passenger demand” delaying trains. Not helpful when you’re on that train and iris plainly not true.

  6. My bus use is almost zero now.

    “We’re ahead of schedule”- “You’re a Link bus- you don’t have a fucking schedule- drive on!”

    I know they do have a secret internal schedule, but the way it’s sold to the punters is “Just jump on and we’ll get you there as quick as we can”

    Walking or the car for me thanks…

    1. They have to maintain a schedule otherwise the catch up to the ones in front. So instead of a bus every ten minutes you get six buses in a row and then nothing for 55 minutes.

      1. I think they can already do that by unloading passengers from the bus that catches up onto the front one- then send the second one on a short cut then join the route where there are no buses currently.

        But they don’t seem to much…

        And the Nuffield street “once around the block for no good reason”. Ditch it dammit!

        1. That niggly once around the block is so the buses can ‘turn around’. There’s no room for a big roundabout here so it’s around the block they go.

    2. The bus stopping and waiting to get back on schedule on the Outer Link over the Xmas break were pretty long. (I was in Auckland on hols visiting all the islands I’d never been to) We were almost the only passengers and as a result they got ahead of schedule easily. Trying to ride through Wellesley St to go up to the university for the Alfred St stop we were informed the wait would be 14 minutes and that was after a 5 minute wait that the bus did in Westmere. So we got off and walked of course.

      In the summer holidays the Links should have a quicker “internal” schedule.

      The reason I have dropped PT usage in Welly of the bus along the Golden Mile after catching the train in is two-fold. One, it is just too bloody slow. I have found I can walk or scoot quicker along the waterfront than catch the bus along the Golden Mile. And two, this minimises my exposure to the awful pollution, tobacco, 2-stroke and diesel. I cannot for the life of me think why all bus stops and train stations aren’t completely smoke free. I think it must affect ridership.

      I really don’t like working in “city” areas, and much prefer a suburban office park. I have negotiated multiple workdays at home each week, but if I had to work in the Welly CBD 5 days a week I’d be looking for another job.

      So one reason people drive cars and park at out of town places instead of catching the bus or train to a central place is to avoid the crowds and the unpleasantness of the place when you get there.

  7. I got biking. So much so, and fortunately for me, much of where I need to go is within a 10k radius from home, that I rarely take PT now. Biking is more reliable, cheaper, and faster than PT. I strategically use the trains for longer trips.

  8. It’s especially irksome when you’ve no other options (bar a 50min walk in work shoes) to get home other than PT. Last night I sat at Britomart waiting for any bus (that took a hop card) that goes out west (i get out at Grey Lynn shops so pretty much any non express line gets me there). After watching various buses disappear from the schedule, i took the free inner link up to K’rd and watched several more buses disappear off the schedule before one finally turned up. Having a smartphone definitely added to my ire (along with the lit up signs which are indicative to the point of being completely useless) because of the expectation they build.

  9. Things that would put me off buses if I actually had any other options:
    – “real-time information”
    – level of customer service – poor driver attitudes (this includes “pretending” not to see you at a stop and zooming past you so you have to wait another 30 minutes for the next one; not bothering to stop at a bus stop because there’s a queue;)
    – lack of bus priority measures – there’s nothing like being stuck in a queue in the evening-peak with all the other cars northbound on the AHB and then being stuck on Onewa Rd.

    So many things wrong, but lastly, FRUSTRATION, at the fact that it is so bloody difficult to fix simple things with our PT with all the short-sighted individuals who lack understanding of what we actually need to have a PT system that is even remotely near world-class. Urggghhh!!

    1. Frankly the words “world class” dont even belong on the same page as Auckland PT, let alone in the same sentence.

      I have seen people on this blog refer to Auckland PT as “third world”. Frankly that is an insult to a lot of third world countries. Auckland’s PT is so disfunctional for a city in a developed country as to be embarrassing. The really frustrating thing is that the emphasise on cars doesnt even give a better alternative. From living in cities like Prague (population about the same as Auckland), I know that a properly functioning PT service is far superior to anything a car can deliver in a city.

      Cars are fine for rural areas but in cities they are a disaster.

  10. Where does one start?

    I saw an interesting incident on a crowded bus at peak time last night. A man got on and a HOP penalty was imposed and he ranted loudly to those in the bus (he was standing up near the driver) about how this was because he ran for a bus and did not know it was an express because this was indicated only on the front signage not at the side or back. He was furious he ended up at New Lynn, was not allowed to get off and then got a penalty.

    The bus joined in the debate about how woeful things were in many areas and how many people they knew no longer use PT.

    We now the reasons well and it’s frustrating there are things that could be done to stop the turnoff. I discussed in an earlier post of the 2 dozen off people who I knew have stopped using PT and since then I have come across others.

    1. Unreliable.
    2. Confusing when buses/trains arrive.
    3. Electronic signs still a joke – buses are “due” then vanish off the screen(happened to me again last night)
    4. Lack of clear signage where buses are going (see story above)
    5. No electronic signs at some bus stops about when buses will arrive
    6. The old Maxx site journey finder so often is unbelievably moronic and unhelpful
    7. HOP card discount not enough (the final straw for a number of my friends this year)
    8. Integrated ticketing still too hard –people don’t want two cards
    9. Unfriendly staff at Britomart
    10. Lack of coherent communication at Britomart station especially when things go wrong
    11. Link buses- the most visible example of Auckland’s PT- unreliable and annoying with their regular bus driver smoko breaks and delays at specificed stops to “catch up the timetable.”
    12. Some areas still badly served. Cross town journeys a logistic nightmare.
    13. Weekend train timetables inadequate.
    14. Perception that fuel prices appear to have come down, parking deals appear to be more reasonable especially at night, weekends in Council buildings. Private operators competitive with early bird specials.
    15. Standing room only at peak hours is not pleasant especially in Auckland’s humidity.
    16. Regular bad stories in the media and on this blog dissuade people –as does powerful anecdotal evidence especially when people explain why they are late for work.

    I had better stop there or I will be here all day! PT users are tolerant at first but then it just gets too hard, too frustrating and the car, walking or cycling becomes the more reliable less stressful option.

    1. A good post.

      Just the fact that it is so damn quicker – and at times cheaper – to get around Auckland by car than by bus is enough to put some people off using buses, especially if they live on the Western/Eastern fringes (Flat Bush, anyone?).

      And if you want to travel across the city, say, from Pakuranga to Henderson, by bus, you’re looking at a 3-hour trip!

      Ridiculous is the only word for it. At least the fringe suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney have decent rail links.

  11. If it didn’t take an hour and ten minutes for a bus to get from downtown to Mangere while the bus driver hurtles the machine round several suburbs, I might use it.

    I get motion sickness, and buses simply aren’t an option for me, because they’re driven too aggressively. That they’re not cheap (no, they really aren’t, not compared to other places I’ve lived) and slow doesn’t help. I’d suggest a better hub-based system rather than the enormous point-to-point-via-everywhere route system we have right now. I know this is coming, but it can’t come soon enough.

  12. In addition to all of the above, the reason I’m going back to my car as soon as I can is that my commute takes HALF the time in a car that it does on the bus, even before adding in the inevitable delays because the bus is late. For a 14km journey mostly down an empty motorway.

    But the most offensive, galling thing, is that AT doesn’t care. Sure, everyone here knows they are making changes, and the 2016 Network will be a massive improvement – however 99% of passengers will see NO service improvement between now and then. Te Atatu Peninsula is a prime example – off peak there are only hourly services, and on Sundays? HAH, try TWO hourly service. Get stuffed. TAP residents are stuck with this till 2016.

    1. 2016 is the year the plan to have all of the new network operational, most of it will happen well before then. There are some big plans ahead for Te Atatu which you should find out about soon. AT are working on it right now (regardless of you wanting them to get stuffed).

      1. To be fair Nick, the service out here (TAP) has been so bad for so long that I can understand any harsh sentiments toward the AT. I know most of the problems stem from before AT existed as an entity but they are now the ‘go to’ organisation. I hope the good news comes soon. As an aside, we were told during a LAG meeting with NZTA that there is to be no provision made for bus shoulder lanes during the causeway rebuild so if the lane is shut, the buses will just have to merge. That will be fantastic during peak times – not! In contrast, every effort is to be made to keep general traffic lanes open at all times.

  13. I find the RTI boards/signs in Wellington very accurate. I’m not sure how they work, but they must run differently to the Auckland ones as they are almost always correct. Maybe AT should have a look at Wellingtons bus system, which always seems well used, to get some ideas on reliability.

    1. When I was in Wellington a few weeks ago I stayed at a friend who lived near a terminus. Most of the time there was no real time info for his stop. Another issue I found to be worse in Wellington (compared to NZ Bus in Auckland) was that Go Wellington drivers only occasionaly seem to log their drivers into the system — many services I observed had no real time information at all. Only the Valley Flyer drivers seemed to do a more consistent job but still not as good as I have observed in Auckland. One of the CBD stops (http://www.metlink.org.nz/stop/5513) has a huge screen showing the next 10-15 services and usually about a third of them would have real time data avaliable. When I came back to Auckland it was a pleasure to see 90%+ of services with real time data! I agree it should be better in Auckland but to hold Wellington up as an example of a better system bemuses me.

  14. when the bus costs more and takes longer than a car, there is no point. I took the bus for 2 years to uni and then gave up and took my car.

  15. I switched from trains back to buses due to the general incompetence of AT in trying to run the thing. I had great trouble even getting a HOP card. Found some of the staff at Britomart quite rude in trying to sort it out (especially a customer services manager whose conduct was so bad I made a formal complaint – he actually turned his ID badge around so I couldn’t read his name when I said I was going to complain). The staff who are polite and pleasant (thankfully there are some) unfortunately had less clue what was going on than I did. The paper ticketing thing is a joke. Buy a ticket, walk three paces to give it to a person who lets you through a gate. Really? In 2013 that’s the best they can do?

    Several friends of mine have had issues with HOP cards. One on the trains where it deducted the full penalty fare three times when he tagged on then wouldn’t let him tag off. They couldn’t work out why and eventually gave him complementary passes in compensation. A workmate had a HOP card for the ferries which became totally unusable. He went back to paper tickets. Apparently when he tried to do an online top the CC transaction failed but the system didn’t handle that correctly so now that HOP card is dead.I was also annoyed I lost my free bus travel around the city with the new HOP but apparently you can get what they call a “AT HOP Monthly CBD Fare Zone Bus Pass”. Get your HOP card, ask them nicely and they’ll give you yet another card for free CBD bus travel. Great, another card. At least they have this info on the web site now. When I first asked about it they seemed to be keeping it a secret. I don’t even carry the new HOP card with me now as I found having it in my wallet with the old bus HOP card meant the bus readers wouldn’t work.

    I find the buses are somewhat better but not ideal. For me the time tabled journey times are almost the same for me from the city to home (be interesting to see what happens when they change the New North road timetable). The bus is actually faster due to less walking at either end. I find the drivers are generally pleasant and helpful. Much better than they were a few years ago. But buses are dreadful in other ways. Link buses every 10 minutes – not in my experience. Every 20 more like. I’ve always wanted to take a day off and actually measure them. How did they work out that 10 minute on average time? Measure the first two buses in the day, find they were 10 minutes apart and call it done? I asked the driver on the last Link I caught if they were still running every 10 minutes and he said it’s more like every 15 now.

    The real time info boards are pretty terrible. I mainly use them to see if I am at the correct stop for the number bus I want rather than an indication of the time one might arrive. Some bus stops are terribly designed. You can’t see though the damn things since the plaster ads on them. So in some places, like down Symonds Street, waiting in the stop means you can’t see down the road due to other stops blocking the view. And speaking of views who the hell is it who thought blotting out the windows on buses with adverts or black film or green fern graphics was a good idea? You’re sitting on a bus and you can’t see out the windows! Might as well be travelling in a container.

    And yes, the AT journey planning web site is a total dogs breakfast. I tried using it just yesterday to help a friend find buses from Glen Eden to Avondale and it was awful. Even knowing the number of the bus route it was still difficult to get timetables. Why can’t I just say ‘show me all the times of the 163 buses’? The AT hop site is even worse. When I finally got my card I couldn’t register it. The site just flat out didn’t work. In the end the contact centre had to register it for me. I wouldn’t trust them at all with any credit card info so now auto top ups for me. And up to 72 hours for transactions to appear? Really, 3 days? What are they doing, printing them out manually then catching a Link bus to get them across town to process? Actually, that might explain the delay…

    I don’t understand why AT manage to get so much wrong? Public transport isn’t a new problem. Countless cities around the world have solved all these problems countless times before. It’s all good they want to, and are to be fair are, making improvements and yes, they started from a bad place to begin with. But why does everything they do seem somewhat half arsed? I know most people I know/work with have that impression too which is why they all drive!


  16. I live on the Shore and work on K Rd, and catch the 962 a few days a week. In the mornings it is fine, faster than driving. In the afternoons it is appalling – buses are anywhere between 5 minutes early (just in time to see them drive off) and 30-40 minutes late getting from their origin Newmarket to my stop on K Rd, a distance of about 2km. And you have no way of knowing whether it will be early and late until it actually arrives, because the app and real time boards appear to have no basis in reality. And then because they share the road and take a stupid route (Curran St) it can a take another 45 minutes to join the motorway at the bridge. Compared to a total journey of about 20 minutes by car. Because of this, I generally only bus if I’m going to stay in the city after work, or my partner needs the car. Otherwise driving is far faster, although it seems utterly wasteful.

  17. Most of these posts just confirm my opinion (and I think most people’s) that for distances over about 5 (3?) kms, PT without a dedicated ROW. Buses are fine for short distances, for example to get to a train/busway station.

    I believe the same is true of cycling. Until cycling has its own dedicted ROW, it wont be seen as a real option for Aucklanders except maybe the Lycra Brigade (nothing against the Lycra Brigade but they are, nonetheless, the Lycra Brigade).

    You only really see the benefits of PT when it has a ROW of way, as the Northern Busway has demonstrated. Once the electric trains are in and we have 10-15 min frequencies on the lines, I think people will start moving back to PT. The new bus network will help funnel people into these ROWs.

    I suggest the fact that all the tramways were ripped out in 1955 shows the truth of that. Noone thought cars could operate efficiently without their own dedicated ROW and so the trams had to go. Buses were just seen as big cars so not such a problem.

    I still feel like weeping when I see the old maps of the tram networks in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. How could we have been so stupid? Maybe my grandchildren will ask me the same thing about the CRL if it is not built soon.

  18. The number one reason is that the user/public does not figure in the equation. AT may say they do, as do the other private companies involved but one only has to use the systems to realise the end user doesn’t count.

    AT have the vision for public transport and in the case of rail Veolia implement it. The trouble is Veolia are there to make money which they do via payments from AT so collecting fares and encouraging more patronage is not what they are about. Take the new train ticketing system, its either our way (AT) or the highway. They want all users to pay for an AT card and then store money on and furthermore pay to store money on it, it but many casual users don’t want to for very logical reasons. The alternative paper tickets have to be manually checked as they don’t work in the gates and there is only one machine at most stations that dispense them and they are damned slow. And too bad if there is more than one person hoping to buy a ticket. Where once you could arrive and jump on a train as it arrived many now miss out because of this very non user friendly system. Make the experience as user friendly as you can, think about the customer!

    Number 2 is fares only ever go up and up and up. Its expensive using Auckland public transport and the services don’t justify the price.

    Number 3, bus services are slow and in general non coordinated and who knows where to catch them from in the Auckland CBD, the departure points are far and wide.

  19. Given the amount of time it takes to use the bus (12 minute walk to stop, average 5 minute wait, 20 minute bus trip, 15 minute walk to work from Britomart = 52 minutes) from St Heliers, compared to my car (literally, 15 minute drive, even at peak), combined with the excessive cost (monthly passes are ABYSMAL value for money), it is simply no longer worth it for me to use public transport in Auckland. Not to mention my local area bus timetable (767/9) hasn’t changed since 2003 (when they added a few extra weekend services), meaning off-peak is still half-hourly and evening services reduce to hourly (ahahahahaha!) after 8pm. Unbelievable!

    Another thing I’ve found – Queen Street is a nightmare for buses now. The excessive number of traffic lights and the crossing system they’ve introduced at majotr intersections is a HUGE hold up for bus passengers. Catching the Airport bus from the ferry terminal usually invovles a 20 minute trip up Queen Street and 15 minutes from the tope of Queen Street to the airport itself… INSANE!

    And the “free” bus up Queen St is usually only a couple of minutes faster than walking. It’s truly a total mess.

    I’ve just returned to Auckland from several years abroad and getting around this city is the single most disappointing and grating element to living here, to the point where I’m now looking for opportunities in cities where transport is so much easier. Auckland public transport is expensive, unreliable and unsuitable for my needs. It really is a mess.

  20. Good example from North Shore Hospital today. Shelter indicator advises that next service to Takapuna is due at 15.37, with following bus due at 16.18. 15.37 bus actually departed at 15.32, after which several potential passengers arrived to find that they were in time for the scheduled service, but had to wait for 40 mins for the next bus. What a way to run a service eh?

  21. Last year, I will confess that Car dependence had finally consumed me whole despite putting up what I felt was a concerted attempt to fight it off for the last 10 years.

    For me, it was the time needed to get to a lot of places in Auckland by taking public transport (due to missed connections, buses sometimes not turning up), combined with my feeling that the fares weren’t low enough to compensate for the inconvenience.

    The event that actually broke the camel’s back was when the 635 Remuera Road service on a Sunday evening failed to turn up for the 3rd straight Sunday in a row and which left me waiting there for an entire hour each time. Catching buses from Britomart during the evenings in the weekends have constantly caused me inconvenience and on many occasions, I’ve ended up having to call my brother or a friend to come bail me out and each time without fail, they question, “Why do you persist with taking the buses?”

    As a result, whenever I need to get to the CBD in the weekends now, I park on the outskirts where parking is free and spend the 10-15 minutes walking in. Both the cost (Petrol + additional wear and tear) and time taking were overall at least slightly less than that of taking the bus in.

    I’m sorry to be negative, but having watched in dismay at the pace of public transport developments unfold in the last 10 years, I have difficulty believing that the powers to be in general terms are actually that serious about tackling our transport issues and car dependency in this city. To be honest, I would not be surprised to learn that there is a strong vested interest in keeping us all car dependent by the motor industry. As an Australian friend remarked, “Your public transport is so incredibly bad, It’s almost like your powers to be WANT any new public transport projects that have been started to actually fail!!”

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