The new bus network is the right approach but it will only work if implemented well. So far there are some positive looking numbers.
- Train boardings at Otahuhu and Manukau have increased, with Otahuhu doubling over the first three weeks of operation;
- Total transfers across South Auckland up by 147%,
- Bus/bus transfer up by 94%
- Bus/train transfers up by 207%.
Although what would be more useful to know is if this was resulting in more people actually using PT.
While mostly the change appears to have gone relatively well, and it’s good to hear, not everything has. We’ve been hearing reports of issues with some buses and some of these were highlighted in this article.
But some of them specifically identified the 309 route as having issues ranging from break downs, to lateness and drivers getting lost.
An opinion piece on the new network singled out route for the same issues. In particular, buses were late or didn’t show up.
In one case a bus breakdown meant a 45 minute way for regular commuters. Occasionally some of the bus doors would not open automatically.
One woman wrote on Neighbourly that the bus had always run late every time she went to catch it.
The connector service runs from Mangere Bridge to the city via Mangere Bridge and Onehunga. It’s scheduled to run every 30 minutes.
Issues such as a lack of bus lanes are are almost certainly impacting on the network and I’ve heard that significant additional buses have needed to be run to maintain timetables. The cost of doing that will almost certainly be eating into the $3 million annual savings AT touted back in February. Getting on top of this and ensuring the operators are performing well, including knowing the routes is critical.
Worryingly though, it seems there’s some passing of the buck going on
A spokesperson for Auckland Transport couldn’t comment on the specific issues relating to the bus or the route, instead saying the contractor was the best to comment on it.
Go Bus, who is contracted to run the service, declined to comment. It says Auckland Transport sets the route and timetable and should comment.
It offered no comment on bus break downs or issues with doors not opening.
Both the AT and the operator pointing fingers at each other is a terrible look. AT have continually shifted to take greater control of the PT network, as they should, but with that also comes responsibility. As a user I and I’m sure all others don’t care who the operator is, our relationship is with AT and that’s who should take responsibility here.