As of 11.59pm last night New Zealand entered “Level 4” of the alert system that guides our response to the Covid-19 virus. This means we are now formally in “lockdown mode” and you must not travel, unless you work in an essential service or you are accessing an essential service.
From a transport perspective, there are some very significant impacts.
- Construction of all new projects either has ceased or will cease very shortly. This includes construction of City Rail Link.
- Maintenance and renewals of existing roads can continue, to maintain essential transport connections.
- Public transport is now free across the whole of NZ and will remain so until June 30th, but should only be used by those getting to work in an essential service, or those accessing essential services like supermarkets and pharmacies.
It will be a strange next few weeks and everyone’s fingers are crossed that our lockdown is successful and New Zealand avoids the horrific scenes that have been seen in many other countries around the world.
Follow these tips along with Ministry of Health guidelines to keep safe while using public transport.
- In alignment with new national policy while at Alert Level 4, all public transport (bus, trains and ferries) contracted by AT will be free from the morning of Thursday, 26 March.
- From 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 public transport services will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons, to access essential services including get to the supermarket, and to move essential goods. For details on what is considered an essential service visit the COVID-19 government page.
- You must now use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to help ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising the physical contact between customers and bus drivers.
- While travel will be free people should continue to tag on and off using their AT HOP card. This will allow Auckland Transport to monitor passenger numbers and make fast adjustments to services if required due to changes in demand.
- Essential workers may be asked, while travelling, to show who they work for. Where practical people should carry some form of identification showing who they are, who they work for, and their job (e.g. a business card, letter from their employer, or other work ID).
- If you use a wheel chair or other mobility device, or require driver assistance, you can still use the front door.
- If you do have to travel, please stay at least 2 metres apart from others. Look out for stickers telling you where to sit which we will be adding to services.
If you do need to use Public Transport for Essential travel, here are some useful tools:
- Where possible, we ask that you use an AT HOP card to travel.
- Download the AT Mobile app for the latest notifications. AT Mobile is the best way to keep up to date with alerts on disruptions and changes to services.
- By saving your regular journeys and stops in AT Mobile, you will also receive alerts and information specific to the services and stops you use. Watch this short video on how to save stops. We need your permission to send these notifications, so please remember to turn this on when opening AT Mobile for the first time. Watch this short video on how to save stops.
Remember that you can go for a walk or bike ride outside to get fresh air – and it’s almost certainly a good idea for your wellbeing if you do so. But make damn sure you stay two metres away from anyone else and avoid touching anything that someone else may have touched (benches, handrails etc.) I hope that people perhaps reconnect with their local communities and neighbourhoods over the next while and there’s a new appreciation of how important it is to be able to easily and safely walk around.
We will keep posting fairly regularly over the next while, although there may not be a lot of transport news to report. We are also intently aware that many of the normal debates and discussions that we have on this site seem rather unimportant compared to current events. Please forgive us if we don’t always get this 100% right, we’re trying our best.
(Credit to Todd Niall for the picture at the top of this post)