The Herald has been making a bit of a brouhaha recently about changes to school buses, with four articles in three days last week on the subject.

The articles focus on changes Auckland Transport have been making to school bus services at the same time as rolling out the new bus network. Some parents, students and staff from a few schools are unhappy with the changes, which has seen services change or in some cases have be removed. Like with the general public transport network, AT expect some students will need to use normal buses and transfer to get to their destination. This is leading some of those unhappy with the changes to claim that congestion has or will increase as more parents decide to give up on PT and drive their kids to school.

With congestion such a hot topic these days, complaints like these certainly get attention but it’s a little bit hard to tell just how much of the noise is a genuine concern, how much is just a fear of change and how much is a bit of elitism thrown into the mix – e.g. one of the complaints is that their child now has to travel through Glen Innes.

So, I thought I’d have a bit of a look at school buses.

ATs policies

School buses are a defined part of Auckland’s PT system and ATs Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) says this about them:

Auckland Transport funds a number of school bus services that are used exclusively to transport students to schools. These services are designed to meet an identified demand for school travel in situations where scheduled services cannot provide sufficient capacity or route coverage to meet the demand and/or where a school bus service provides the most cost‐effective alternative to private vehicle use.

Auckland Transport’s provision of school services is restricted to the urban area of the Auckland region, as the Ministry of Education is responsible for services in the rural areas of the region. In addition, Auckland Transport has no responsibility for school services that are procured commercially between individual schools and bus operators.

….

When the future service network has been rolled out across the region, there will be a comprehensive review of supported school bus services to ensure that the new network meets the requirements for school travel.

The driving factors behind this review will be to ensure that demand for contracted services remains strong, that the services represent good value for money, and that a more efficient way of serving the demand through the scheduled public transport network does not exist. Policy 7.3 details the approach to the planning and procurement of school bus services

Overall this seems pretty straight forward. Policy 7.3 also explicitly points out that ATs focus is on school services to local schools.

7.3 Provide safe public transport access for school students to and from their zoned and/or nearest school

That last part is important and it seems fair enough to me that AT shouldn’t be spending public money subsidising services just so someone can send their children to schools on the other side of the city.

Ridership and Resource

Ridership

As I mentioned in my post about the latest ridership numbers, AT recently provided me with some detailed data on all bus routes. This also includes the school bus routes that AT provide. They show that over 12 months to the end of June, School buses generated over 3.1 million trips. That’s about 5% of all bus trips in Auckland and more than any single bus route with the exception of the Northern Express.

When looking at the data, one interesting thing I noticed is that there is a significant difference in the use of school buses in the morning compared to the afternoons with around 60% of all school bus trips occurring in the mornings. Presumably this is a result of kids either being picked up in the afternoon or having after school activities.

Resource

While the ridership numbers sound pretty good, we also need to consider the resource cost associated with that ridership and this is where the picture doesn’t look as rosy. School bus runs, particularly in the mornings, occur at the same time as regular buses are at their busiest and so are in competition for resource (buses and drivers) with the rest of the PT network. To put it another way, at that time there aren’t any spare buses just lying around that can be used to do a school run. This makes them very much like peak only express buses and means in many cases, an additional bus might be needed to service a single route. This is something AT say in the most recent article on the topic

Auckland Transport has defended its attempts to axe school buses, saying it can cost an extra $50,000 to $100,000 a year to operate an extra bus often only needed on a single school route.

AT says more than 70 per cent of students catch regular public transport to school and the council body provides school buses where there is no suitable public option.

We can assume most morning school buses fit this category. These are often run using older buses no longer suitable for the general PT network get relegated to school bus duty but still cost money to operate – I suspect rattly old buses probably do more to turn kids off PT than having to transfer services.

Truck buses are often used for school runs

The data shows that prior to the West Auckland network rolling out in July last year there were over 280 different routes run in the mornings. As of June this year, prior to the changes on the Isthmus, that number was down to just over 260 and will have dropped further with the Isthmus changes. From the usage levels, some routes probably need more than one bus but for the purposes of this, I’ll assume 1 bus per route.

The NZTA report on bus numbers and as of the end of June-2017, Auckland had 1314 buses. This number has been increasing a lot recently with the growth we’ve been seeing and the new network rolling out. What all this suggests is that possibly over 20% of buses in Auckland have been dedicated to school runs

Combining them together

The results get more interesting when we combine them together. Many school buses are definitely busy with some routes averaging up to 150 students per direction. But close to 40% of all routes (each direction is considered a separate route) are averaging fewer than 30 kids per day. There are even some carrying fewer than 10 kids a day – I certainly hope AT aren’t running full sized buses around for these routes.

Network opportunities

One question I do think that needs to be raised is if any of the school bus routes should instead become part of the regular PT network. As mentioned earlier, ATs policy is to use school buses where the existing PT network doesn’t serve well. The new network has certainly made some changes and improvements but perhaps turning some of the runs into regular services might help provide better connections, not just to the schools but to the wider area.

Share this

60 comments

  1. My first impression reading about the expat lady from Kohi whose girls used to catch the school bus out to Dio in Epsom was, send them to the local school, “simple”! Love that ZB host speak.

    Which also made me think in this day and age of every man for himself, individual responsibility and making wise choices is why these profit oriented mega expensive private schools were leaching off the ratepayers to provide bus services anyway and why do they not buy a fleet of new coaches to transport tomorrows elite to and fro instead? Why play the socialist now, you St Cuths and Dio’s you?

    Still for the average mum of Kohi, she has a point. All those Cayennes, Range Rovers and Lexus GX’s, plus sundry Bentley SUV’s will probably gridlock things just a teency bit more than the non descript Jap imports out West!

      1. Phil, dude, you are welcome to your private girls schools and your 3 tonne SUV’s, I promise.

        It’s the entitlement of the Nouveau riche that is actually quite amusing and screaming to have the piss taken out of it.

        That lady is talking of starting a group, maybe you can join it!

    1. “Lexus GX’s”

      You know that model is not even available in NZ right?

      (For those unfamiliar, the Lexus GX is a flashed up Toyota Prado, available in markets like the USA).

  2. OK so that isn’t a bus in the picture. It is a truck that someone has put a people version of a cattle crate on. Where does Ritchies get this shit from?

      1. What are the benefits of this over a regular school bus? How does the driver know they’re not slamming any students in the door when it closes?

        1. A “Regular school bus” in NZ is a run down, end of life Urban or tour bus.

          The advantages of a relatively cheap truck bus is largely that it is new and not run down. This is important with regards to emissions, and making it relatively easy to drive. Also it is built to moden safety standards.

          Also, the truck underneath’s are well suited to rough roads where that is required.

          Take a look here regarding the joint between cab and body.

          http://www.coachworkcentral.co.nz/?page_id=49

        2. The benefit is that it is cheaper to transport children on a truck than on a bus. Of course these would be totally unacceptable for fare paying adults on frequent service. But here in the third world we have a lower standard for children.

          1. Exactly, if the truck with the long bottom makes sense economically, they should be being used on all the routes.

      2. It’s the rear over-hang that caught my eye, especially since the photo seems to exaggerate it. It doesn’t look so bad on the Ritchies website, and there are only about 20 seats behind the back axle so it must balance alright.

        However, as I heard it, until the 2016 VDAM Rule changes allowed 2.55m wide vehicles under general access, which is essentially the international design standard, vehicle supply at the narrower 2.50m body width was getting quite tight and (apparently) expensive, so local conversions would have been very practical and relatively economical.

  3. How many parts of Auckland have school zones so big that you can’t walk or take a public bus? I’d imagine these would be in the lower density outer suburbs – and that that’s not where AT is cutting the bus runs. I find the concept of subsidising out-of-zoners and private school kids quite foul.

    The only reason I can think of for wanting a school bus is that sometimes the public can treat kids like second class passengers. Just when you’re realising how the adults have failed you in destroying so much of nature, just when the leering and unwelcome sexual attention really gets going, just when your body is doing strange things, and when your hormones have you all over the place emotionally, that’s when the grumpy old adults tell you off for anything that doesn’t suit them… so maybe if we all treated children as the treasures they are, there wouldn’t be any need for school buses.

  4. I hope AT can be brave and resist the pressure on this one.

    And I second the sentiment of the comments above: Publicly-subsidised, dedicated school buses serving *private* schools? What a disastrous public policy that is!

    Specifically, why subsidise parental choices for the top-end-of-town? I’d suggest AT should go further and pull, as of the end of the school year, all dedicated school buses serving private schools in Auckland, with the funds re-directed in more useful (and more widely-accessible) parts of the PT network.

    I suspect these people perhaps aren’t aware that the attention they are attracting may well have the unintended effect of mobilising people *against* their cause. I, for one, wasn’t aware that we were subsidising school buses for private schools and I’m somewhat shocked by the thought!

    1. I don’t see what’s wrong with school buses going to private schools? It still takes cars off the road, probably large vehicles at that, and kids are kids regardless of the ownership of the school they attend.

      We should remember that these school buses are serving children, not schools, and set to one side any personal distaste for private education.

      1. No distaste for private schools and individual choices but these students mostly come from the homes of the comfortably wealthy. Who else could afford to pay those kind of fees otherwise? The same wealthy people who vote for their taxation lowered, to zero if we let it, so “their” money isn’t spent on something that does not directly benefit them.

        So why should the rest of us subsidise their individual choices to take their kids across town instead of the perfectly good local school?

        1. To be fair, some actually aren’t wealthy, the parents just sacrifice a lot to pay for their children to go to these schools for they think it’s the answer to all their problems…and then they are poor as a result paying for it!

          1. Grant, please. We are talking about the private schools in the articles, right, where the costs start with registration and enrolment fees, then school fees, enormous uniform costs, course fees, and the activity fees roll in over the year. Plus the special fundraising and trip fees and… I believe we’re talking in excess of $35,000 pa. On what basis would it be rational to spend that sort of money per child and be left in real poverty? Comparative poverty, sure. But that’s of their own making.

          2. Who said anything about rational? We are talking about parents making decisions for their kids education here.

          3. Lol only just saw your reply. These were working class people actual cases but admittedly a long time ago. As Jezza says I wouldn’t say it was rational or worth the effort or something I would do. Let’s just say two children of one family we still know of didn’t end up lawyers or doctors or any professional occupation.

      2. But every one of those kids could be going to a school within walking distance of their house. Of course their parents are free to choose to send them to a different school that’s further away if they want to, but Council shouldn’t be putting on for free buses to encourage them to choose that option.

        Also not all children should be treated equally – equity impacts are a real thing that need to be considered. Whether these families are rich or poor should be one of the factors taken into account when deciding whether subsidising their travel is the best use of limited transport funding.

      3. David – I agree, we are talking about transport here, I don’t think it should matter what school they are going to.

        AT have a reasonable policy here, if there is sufficient demand and the existing network isn’t adequate then put on a bus. I think it would be better if these buses were available to the general public as scheduled services though.

        1. Policy on education, health, development, social issues and transport are intricately linked, so I completely disagree. Countries where status and competition drive a perceived need for parental choice in education have a transport issue as a result. Countries where inclusion, equity and quality for all drive educational policy, and the parents expect universal quality not choice between competing schools, the transport efficiencies flow. As do the health and social benefits.

          1. Agree, but those problems are not solved by removing bus transport for private schools but keeping it for public schools.

          2. Requiring the private schools to fund their own buses would be a good start, using the rationale that if they’re not going to have small, compact zones like the public schools try to have, then they have created the problem, and they can fund the solution.

            As I pointed out below, it doesn’t take much to nudge a wealthy family to drive the kids to school – so if we’re going to be beholden to them for providing the level of bus amenity that’ll keep their cars off the roads, we’ll be funding much better amenity for them than for poorer families. That sucks.

        2. I think the school does matter, or rather the school in relation to the residence, because that has an impact on where the route goes, how many people can catch it, and how efficient it can be… which informs how much money they spend per person, and accordingly how much they don’t spend somewhere else that might have a much better return.

          In the same way that AT has done away with horribly in efficient random-place to random-place twice a day routes on the public network, they should do the same on the school network.

          The example in the article was a 10km trip from Kohimarama to Epsom. That would use a whole bus and a driver on the payroll for a single run in the morning and one back in the afternoon. By my estimate that is costing around $25 per child per day to subsidise. Is that the best way to help, or reduce traffic?

          1. Agree. If they can be provided adequately by regular services, without causing overcrowding on these services then there is no need for a school bus.

            My point was more about the differentiation between public and private – they are both travelling members of the public with taxpaying parents, I don’t see why one should be served and not the other.

          2. A private school system running in parallel with a public school system is inefficient in many ways. One is that it creates much larger intake areas; Huge for the private schools, and also much bigger for the public schools than is necessary. This creates a transport problem. The other is mentioned by Waspman. As in security (police vs security guards), health (public health system vs private insurance), environmental care (public beaches and forests vs private resorts), by having a private system, the wealthy vote to keep their taxes down so that they can pay just for their own child’s education. It is the difference between the successful social democratic states and the dog-eat-dog fully capitalist ones. Selfish refusal to contribute to the greater good despite their ability to do so, while ensuring their own needs are met to a high level of luxury.

            No, we should not be funding their ability to muck up our transport network with kids being transported either in private cars or in publicly funded buses. In a nutshell.

          3. Not sure you are right there. The wealthy continue to pay tax towards the public school system while also paying for their own children’s education separately, if anything they are paying more overall towards education than if they sent their kids to a public school.

            I’m have no plans to send my kids to a private school, but they have been part of a successful education system in New Zealand for years.

          4. If they have been voting National or Act, they have been voting for tax cuts, not just on the part of their income related to education expenses during a small part of their parenting lives, but on their whole income, and influencing decades of their lives. They have voted for cost-cutting to education (and health, and welfare, and environment, and policing) that has led to many substandard situations. Sure, they top up their kids’ needs, and their own needs, often at great expense, and to a high level of luxury, but that doesn’t help the dire situation at other schools and in other spheres. And meanwhile National dissociated as many education-related payments from the decile system as they could, ensuring rich private school kids got their sports funding, for example, by child numbers instead of by need.

            This isn’t universal education as intended when our country established it. Let’s not pretend these people are contributing more than they need to. They are responsible for the running down of basic social services.

          5. Hedi they also will be the 1st with their hands out to collect all they can when they turn “65”

      4. I have no distaste for private education. But if you choose private education, then that should include accepting responsibility for the costs of school travel rather than foisting it on society.

        And no I don’t accept that these buses take cars off the road. The same bus operating in the general PT system would take far more cars off the road.

  5. My kids take the public bus and train to school. Its more regular and half the price of “school buses”.
    I’d otherwise make them cycle but they have too much stuff to carry, and there aren’t cycle friendly routes to their schools. (There was to their primary school)

  6. This is the first time I’ve heard our rates are susidising private schools via these buses. Any other private organisation is expected to pay for the impact it has on the surrounding road network. Private schools are certainly no exception. It is an outrage and totally support AT to stop these school buses.

  7. AT is reasonable to limit school runs to those parts of the network where the additional capacity is required. You are mostly right in observing that school runs use scarece resources of drivers and buses but don’t forget school buses are used during the day for shool outings. Ideally the number of school runs would be matched to the during-the-day charter fleet requirements to keep capital and labour resources productive.

    Quality school runs can attract traffic out of cars. Gisborne (nz, “Waka Kura”) and Leeds ( Yorkshire, “My Bus”) are examples of towns that say they use high quality school buses as a traffic management tool. Gizzy council also claims credit for lowering truancy. Interesting that a local authority would even take an interest in an educational issue.

    Note that Gisborne, like Auckland, has a unitary council so it makes sense for them to actually want to reduce car traffic. Other regional councils are not road authorities so quite literally don’t care about excess car use. One should expect AT to be doing anything it can to get cars off the road at peak tines, including with school buses.

    Recently in Dunedin a bus company ended a fully loaded school run as it had fallen below commercial rate of return but it would have been a very viable service under the subsidised public transport funding model, better than most bus routes. Only a couple of the previous 40-odd kids are bussing now on public routes and all others are being driven by car. The council has grudgingly agreed to alter a publuc rpute to serve the school slightly better.

    1. Of course it’s best to get cars off the roads by providing buses that work. Do you have a source for the Dunedin situation? Sometimes people will react immediately by reverting to driving, but over time will accept the changes – a well-known phenomenon in network changes, apparently. So I’d look at the Dunedin study carefully if it was done too early, anecdotally, or too subjectively.

      In car-dependent sprawl towns and cities, school buses have their place. But in Auckland, which is moving on with better public transport, our public bus network should be able to provide what people need except on the outskirts.

      AT should put its funding into ensuring that every child can reach their local school safely – the pedestrian amenity is so poor in places that this is not the case. Subsidising private school bus runs instead of attending to pedestrian amenity for poor kids is unacceptable.

      1. I think urban schools and their communities of parents need to take responsibility for any special bus access.

        I am on a private school board – not a rich one, but an ex institutional one that is only now climbing above its inherited debt – and having a bus service using smaller buses, that works across existing routes and provides a one seat, door-to-door journey for younger kids is critical for attracting families in our outer catchment. For it to work the school administration needs to pay close attention to matching bus size to routes and passenger numbers. We also have to sell fixed levels of access to the bus, not run it on a casual basis, so parents buy-in on a use-it or lose-it basis per term. This lets the service be operated by the school at a break even or slightly better, and keeps the task predictable and profitable for the bus provider.

        Our gain is in the additional families the service attracts, which is a few, and also the considerable easing of drop-off and pick-up traffic, which is a big issue at our location with several other schools and a main commuter arterial close in around our site.

        And if our small school can manage the effort, sure AF the large ‘named’ Auckland schools can too.

        1. Yes. Between the MoE funding the bus routes for the schools in the rural parts of Auckland, the private schools like yours providing their own buses, a zoning system to ensure children have a right to attend their local school, the public transport network, and AT still funding school bus routes that make sense according to their stated criteria, this whole thing smacks of the media making money from anything that creates discord, by airing the grievances of the change-averse.

  8. I like this idea of establishing a number of school bus routes as ordinary bus services (although, presumably, fairly low frequency).

    Think about it for a moment: children live with their parents or guardians (by and large) and hence what is convenient for them should also be convenient for the parents.

    As to the fair point raised about problematic adults… the 15:16 Southern line train is one of the most vibrant and interesting services out there. Certainly it lacks the dour and oppressive mood of peak traffic catering to largely adult patrons. Yet, even on trains where school children are the dominant species (as it were) you do get instances such as the occasion where this woman basically berated a hapless pupil into abandoning his seat. She was not very old (barely middle aged as I recall) and I’m sure there was some other reason why the incident was so… disappointing to observe (did the kid have a broken arm? surely not but that’s what’s popping into my head).

    1. It’s wrong to judge someone for asking for a seat unless you know the full context; perhaps she has a medical condition or an injury – it’s 2018, time to move on from the assumption that assistance is only warranted to those with a visibly evident condition. If the woman asked for seat, assume it was warranted unless you’re somehow privy to all of her personal medical information.

      1. You weren’t there.

        And even if she did have an invisible disability the way she went about obtaining the seat and who she obtained it from (whether or not it was a broken arm, there was a very good reason to not abuse that specific pupil which was entirely visible and other victims were, obviously, available) was out of order.

        These pupils, incidentally, are very good at giving up their seats in general. This really was a case of inappropriate and unethical behaviour from an adult.

        1. True, I wasn’t there, but just being present in a situation doesn’t give you the ability to make expert judgments about another person’s health. The reality is that no one short of her GP has the prerogative to overrule her judgment on whether or not she needed a seat. And without wishing to question your integrity in any way, may I merely suggest that if your memory on whether the pupil had a broken arm is a little hazy, that it is entirely possible that you forgot or did not notice that the woman had an ailment of some kind, especially if it was an invisible one.

          The other relevant consideration before berating this woman is whether the pupil was sitting in a priority seating area. If this was the case then it would fully explain why she asked that particular pupil to move.

          Using public transport is already challenging enough for people with ailments and disabilities, especially invisible ones. It’s easy to take the ‘side’ of the person we can most closely relate to (such as the pupil), but ultimately public transport is for all members of society and we need to be very careful not to further marginalise those who are not as privileged as we are in regards to mobility, and remember not to judge others based on our assumptions and biases.

      2. Michelle, it’s also wrong to demand that a child should give up the seat. Ask politely, yes. Demand, no. I remember being forced to give up my seat when I was in incredible period pain and exhausted. Had there been a healthy respect between generations, it would’ve been possible to say “please, I need to sit too.” Plenty of adults are doing this because of an unhealthy attitude that children need to be corrected.

        1. Yes, being demanding is not the appropriate way to request a seat and it’s important to always respect fellow public transport users. Sadly, the occassional lack of intergenerational respect works both ways though. For every instance of an adult being inconsiderate to a young person on public transport, I’ve also seen at least an equal amount of inconsiderate behaviour from young people towards adults.

          If the person in this anecdote was being uneccesarily inconsiderate then I would not condone that sort of behaviour. However, suggesting that there is an epidemic of disdain shown towards young people on public transport is misleading and disingenuous without also considering the prevalence of disrespectful behaviour that some young people exhibit towards adults (and particularly seniors) on public transport. For people with limited mobility or capacity to physically defend themselves, the unnecessarily confrontational and intimidating behaviour of a small number of young public transport users can have a significant impact on their ability to use public transport, and thus their sense of freedom and independence.

          A broader push to encourage respectfulness on public transport would be much appreciated by all, and would hopefully discourage ALL disrecptful behaviours, ranging from speaking demeaningly to young people to intimidating other public transport users with loud music, offensive language and vandalism. This would make all public transport users feel safer and more welcome, and would be much more effective than selectively focusing on a single issue and ignoring all other comparable issues which impact the diverse range of public transport users.

    2. When I used PT I gave up my seat all the time, especially if my stop wasn’t too far away.

      But Ive seen two similar incidents. One was a white lady yelling at an asian kid to give up their seat and another was a white lady yelling at some brown kid to give up their seat. Both women looked perfectly healthy and said nothing about any condition. Just demanding some young person give up their seat is plain wrong. I just assumed both ladies were just racists. I regret not saying anything.

    3. I have been on the DMU to Pukekohe during the day which was full of school children on an outing and the supervising teacher and TM made a number of the kids stand for the adults that got onboard at Papakura , they grizzled a we bit but that was the end of it when the teacher told them to respect the adults

  9. The reality is, if certain bus are over crowded, or the bus station are too far away to their house, the parent simply drive their children to school, which creates massive car congestion.

    Simply telling them to shut up and use the new network is telling them to drive their kid.

    I think the issue is AT need to optimize some of their regular routes. If the bus is always over crowded AT should respond with more service.

    If the house is too far to walk to the nearest bus stop, AT should question themself about the placement of the bus stop.

    Alternatively, why not improve the cycle connections between the schools to the neighborhoods to make them safe, direct and nice?

    1. “The reality is” for everybody is that if that if transport changes the convenience of a previously chosen mode, some will choose to change mode. Designed network changes are to increase the overall efficiency and convenience of the entire network and therefore overall patronage. It is a given that some changes will inconvenience some people, and they will then find other arrangements and change mode. I have yet to see any credible arguments as to how a dedicated school bus service increases the efficiency of the entire transport network. Resources used on a dedicated school run are simply unavailable to use elsewhere. No doubt routes with high school loadings may need to be tweaked with adjustment to schedules and bus sizes .

    2. Yes I think just change is hard for some regarding PT. I suspect some had no idea until they suddenly had to help get them to school that first Monday morning (one of the articles the mum was overseas leading up to the time). I was out GI way around school rush time last week & saw a bit of transferring going on, no problem really from what I saw. Just some routes may need an extra bus inserted in perhaps, or they need to catch an earlier or later one (esp in the afternoon case) it’s very peaky the school runs. I guess for some the idea their kid now has to transfer if they didn’t previously is hard to take if they tend to drive them everywhere at present anyay.

    3. Good suggestions for what AT should do. Also, I think one of the important considerations is that if we ‘only’ look at what it is that will stop parents from driving their kids in each location, then we’d be providing far better amenity in wealthy areas than in poorer areas, and that’s not equitable. The poorer the area, the less control parents have over their work hours and transport choices. Children end up having to accept extra transfers and poor pedestrian amenity without it necessarily leading to their parents driving them to school.

      AT shouldn’t (and I’m sure they try not to) focus simply on where the school bus routes would take the most cars off the road; that would always provide bus routes for the wealthy areas where the alternative to a slightly less than ideal PT journey would nudge the parents to drive their kids. I’m sure that’s the pressure they’re under.

  10. A few things:
    1) Not that many parents would put their 7 year old on a bus with adults, but are happy to do so when it’s a school bus = driving to school in car instead.
    2) School buses generally are old buses or those truck buses so aren’t depriving the rest of the network of buses (could be argued they actually help the rest of the network get newer buses sooner as they still have life as school buses). Is there really a shortage of drivers??
    3) General bus services are more set up to get from A to B quickly. School buses aren’t under the same time pressure and can take a more circuitous route to increase the catchment area.

    If anything we need more school buses. Sure private school buses shouldn’t be subsidised as much as others (although if those families are paying more in rates and if Little Johny would be a taking a bus to a local school anyway then not really a big issue. Many private schools contract their own services through Ritchie’s etc anyway and parents pay for example Kristin School does this).

    4) The more we can get kids using PT the more likely they are going to continue using it as adults.

    1. Most of the buses provided by AT are more targeted at secondary students as primary schools tend to be closer, so I’m not sure whether seven year olds are big users anyway.

  11. Private school buses, those who ferry kids from one area with a less stellar public school to another area with a much better school, costs between $4 to $4.50 per ride on the shore. Thats $8 or $9 per day. $40 or $45 per week etc etc. Quickly adds up.
    Public transport (one change) comes in at less then half of that but since buses dont connect / come and leave at times not according to the timetable (due to rushhour traffic) it is almost impossible to trust PT. Arriving late blaming the bus is not an acceptable excuse. Thus its a choice between paying or driving.
    I pay but I would save a fair bit if I drove. SO for those with grandparents / housewives I am sure driving is the answer.

    Why not have the kids ride bikes?
    -I love my kids. I want to see them return home safely everyday…

    There is just no way Id let them share the roads with the motorists heading to work. A safety issue. I wish I could send them off on their bikes, so do they. Unfortunately Auckland Transport have fo decades done their best to build some of the least walking/ bike riding friendly environments found in the western world…

    1. Yes, and although plenty in AT are trying to undo all these historical poor planning decisions, they are stymied by cuts to the cycling budget and other very poor strategic decisions, like reviewing the RASF. The consequences play out in every household throughout the city, as you have described.

Leave a Reply