If Auckland Transport are to succeed in the goal of reducing emissions, congestion and improving mobility across the region, it will be key that they get more people to use public transport. Saying that is easy but actually achieving it is incredibly tough and one of the big challenges AT face is that the network is only as strong as its weakest part and every time someone has a poor experience on PT, it makes it all that much harder to get them to trust using it again.

When PT works as intended, it can be a fantastic way to get around the city but when things go wrong, they often go very wrong. I had one such experience on Friday night. It’s a good example of why so many people choose just to drive and how AT need to do so much better if they want to have a chance at achieving their goals.

With the move to the traffic light system, I was catching up with some friends for a drink in Pt Chev. We had a great evening and it was fantastic to be able to see people in person again. My issuer started when it came time for me to get home.

Those that have read this site for some time will know I live a short walk from the Sturges Rd train station. That gave me a couple of primary options.

  1. I catch either the Outerlink or a 66 bus to Mt Albert and catch a train from there, this was my preference as there are two routes and also they stopped at the closest bus stop to where I was.
  2. I catch an 18 bus to New Lynn and catch the train from there.
  3. I catch a 133 or 134 bus to Henderson and from there catch either the train, one of a few buses, or walk 15-20 minutes home.

I needed to leave around 8:30 and looking at Auckland Transport’s mobile app I saw a 66 bus was just a few minutes away, perfect. I walked to the stop and got on at 8:34 when it arrived. I also then checked the app for live departures for Mt Albert Station and it told me a train was due in about 15 minutes – by the time I got to the station that would leave about a 8 minute wait, not too bad (for Auckland) I thought.

Four minutes later I had tagged off but here’s also where I came across the first customer experience issue, the physical transfer between the bus and the train. There are a couple of issues:

  1. Why are there not bus stops on Carrington Road next to the train station? It is around a 300m walk from the bus stops near Benfield Ave which while not difficult for someone able bodied like I am, would be much harder for those with disabilities – this is also temporarily made even more difficult by the temporary traffic management taking up most of the footpath on the southern side. There is clearly enough space on the rail over-bridge for bus stops but AT have chosen to prioritise a small number of people turning right to New North Rd.

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  2. Why is there no pedestrian crossings on this part of Carrington Rd, both to improve access to the bus stops but also to make it easier and safer for those on the Northern side of Carrington Rd to access the train station. How is a child or someone who isn’t mobile enough to run across the road meant to get across.

After getting to the station and tagging on at 8:42pm I encounter the first major issue. The real time boards were saying the train was 20 minutes away. Checking the app again quickly I saw it was still sitting at Parnell like was when I checked earlier. That’s not ideal.

About 5 minutes later there was an announcement that there was an overhead line fault at Newmarket and that Western and Onehunga services were effected (but not Southern ones?). It’s a real indictment of Kiwirail how many faults we seem to continue to have on the network, including track faults despite all the closures we as users have had to endure even just over the last year or so.

I’ve learnt from bitter experience over the years that sometimes unscheduled disruptions get fixed quickly but other times they don’t and given I didn’t have a lot of other options by this point. I thought I’d wait a little bit and see what happens. By now some services were starting to show up on the real time boards as cancelled. It felt like a long time but the time stamp from my message to my wife tells me it was about 10 minutes later another announcement was made that the fault had been fixed and services would resume. We’re back on track I thought.

Only during this time I was also checking the AT app and the train still was not moving from Parnell. Sure enough, a while later another announcement was made that there was an overhead fault causing issues.

After a bit more waiting, and being 30 minutes since I tagged on at the station I thought I’d give something else a go. Perhaps I could catch a bus to New Lynn and see if there was any progress with the train otherwise 14 bus to Henderson. At least that would get me a bit closer to home. Checking the app I was in luck, a 22N was just a few minutes away so I made my way to the bus stop and found another case of the bus stop being way too far away from the station – about 200m this time.

The bus trip to New Lynn was uneventful but arriving there I found the next 14 bus was over 20 minutes away. Meanwhile I had noticed on the AT app that the train had moved to Newmarket, which would be progress, but it had then been cancelled. I can only assume Transdev, the operator of the trains for a few more months, decided it was easier to do that and better for their stats than it was to help stranded passengers. The next train was only just leaving Britomart and so was at least half an hour away. It was at this point I gave up and got a taxi home.

I have a pretty high tolerance for issues. Yes sometimes things break and go wrong, and it’s not just with PT either, as evidenced by Waka Kotahi reporting near daily crashes or breakdowns on the motorways that block traffic.

Time and time again research shows that the two most important factors in getting people to use PT are frequency and reliability. That is needed not just for the 9-5 commute but for all trips across the day. While some of this, such as rail faults, are outside of ATs control, many aspects are.

AT have made some good improvements over the years but my experience on Friday is a good example that Auckland far too often lacks both frequency and reliability for public transport. It’s also the kind of experience that would lead many people to just give up on using PT entirely as being all too hard.

Mayor Phil Goff’s climate package, as well as other investments budgeted for in our long term plans, will help address some of these issues but not all of them.

It also made me think about how customer experience is talked about at AT and in particular to their board.

In the monthly indicators paper the board are presented with the following graphs on the satisfaction of Aucklanders. To me the message it sends is that PT, with satisfaction over 90% is fine and that the focus should be on other parts of the organisation where satisfaction is lower, such as for roads and footpaths. But there’s a fundamental flaw with the PT customer satisfaction numbers, they’re based interviews with people who are already prepared to put up with the existing system.

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93 comments

  1. In Wellington I have given up complaining when things go wrong. We just start to adapt. Like these days if i have an appointment in Wellington I always catch the train before the one i should be able to catch if everything worked properly. And if things do go wrong, communication seems to cease and we all stand around wondering what goes on. No wonder so many people on the Kapiti Coast say they are looking forward to the opening of Transmission Gully.

    1. Same for me in Auckland. I used to complain but after a while I realised no one cares. I just switched to my car. Not ideal but at least I know I’ll get to my destination and not 1h late.

    2. I encourage you to keep registering your experiences on the Metlink network. Complaints and bouquets assist us to isolate and respond to issues.

  2. I have had a variation of this evening far too many times. AT are terrible at explaining the scope of issues on their network. It’s also ridiculous that AT set their transport system up around transfers between services, but they frequently don’t build the stations with this reality in mind.

    The western line will not be running for a month. Should be the best maintained network in earth soon.

    1. Yea it sucks big time. This January will be the actual back to normal for many people.

      If it’s anything like last year; packed busses, taking indirect routes, with no AC. A pretty miserable start to the year.

  3. To be fair a lot of this happens in other cities too. We just don’t have the alternatives that those cities have (although it sounds like you could have got home by bus eventually).
    I don’t often catch the train as they don’t come near my place, but I took the kids out for a train ride to the city yesterday. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw two staff members manning gates at Parnell station! How can they justify having staff just sitting there doing nothing at a station that no one uses while the rest of the PT experience is so crap?

    1. “How can they justify having staff just sitting there doing nothing at a station that no one uses while the rest of the PT experience is so crap?”

      SIMPLE: This it to prevent fare evaders and taggers from using that station

  4. “To me the message it sends is that PT, with satisfaction over 90% is fine”
    But if you look at the graph a score of seven or more counts as excellence.
    I am enormously skeptical of this measurement. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the questions are framed to achieve the answer they want. I travel the network very frequently and very often I would be awarding less than seven for the outcome.

    1. Have you ever heard a single person tell you that Auckland has good public transport (and if so have they never travelled)? Surveys are always designed to tell you what you want to hear.
      Maybe they should get a few tourists to rate Auckland’s PT compared to other countries they have been to. Even then they would probably exclude all the 1/10 results as an anomaly or something.

      1. Inversely, the people who most frequently say PT in Auckland is terrible, are the people that use it the least and drive everywhere.

        Auckland has good public transport for a city of its size. Every single person that visits me here are legitimate surprised with effective it actually is given how it’s described like a hyper auto centric North American city. (I have only been 40 countries). It’s not perfect, sure but its mostly getting better. Bit by bit. The “new” Bus system example was actually an amazing success.

        AT adapting to disruptions, is very consistently bad tho.

        1. “There exist cities with worse PT than Auckland” is not the same as “Auckland has good PT”.

          That first sentence is a tautology — people who don’t have any functional PT nearby will of course have to drive. What do you expect?

          Auckland has areas where you can get by on PT but they cover only a small part of the city.

        2. Roeland. Yea I get that, but it fully cuts both ways. That poster clearly does not spend much time on PT, but still is making statements about how bad it is.

          People expect their auto centric activity to one for one converted to PT are delusional. Even in the places with the best PT living near stations is at a premium.

          I live in Auckland in part, because it’s easier to be car free than almsot anywhere else in the country. I think the useful PT area is actually pretty big.

        3. There is no such thing as auto centric activities. People who drive are not driving just for the fun of it. You go to friends, to work, to the supermarket, etc. For most of these things you don’t need a car. It is just usually the fastest and most logical way to reach things.

          Without that car, the amount of things you can reach in a given time shrinks by 80 or 90% or so. That is a fact. If you have a car, a HOP card and a stopwatch you can measure it. If you’re lucky that remaining 10 or 20% still includes your job.

          You’ve got the cart before the horse. People complain about PT because they actually have experienced it. And they are smart enough to not try it again.

        4. You say ” Every single person that visits me here are legitimate surprised with effective it actually is” I presume you mean “how effective” Your visitors and yourself are obviously lucky enough to live close to main routes. Even though I live next to a train station, most of Auckland takes a hell of a long time to get there using public transport. At times impossible.

        5. The living near stations argument is also meaningless. The key principle here is the pigeon-hole principle. There are only so many houses near stations.

          In theory I could move to such a location (if it were not above my pay grade). That will improve my situation but not that of Auckland as a whole. If I move in, I get my car lite lifestyle, but I will also prevent someone else from moving there (or push someone out).

        6. I just looked at google maps and from my house (near a frequent bus route in Mt Roskill) to Takapuna (a randomly selected destination) it takes 1 hr 5 min by bus or 19 mins by car. Sure the bus from my house to city at peak is a good option (mainly as don’t have to pay for parking), but at almost all other times or destinations it is significantly slower. I don’t think that would be the case in most European cities this size (although there you could probably walk anywhere in the city in 1hr!)

        7. @roland
          There is no such thing as auto centric activities
          This is a falsehood
          Direct counter example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QJ-N-AQJYc

          The living near stations argument is also meaningless. The key principle here is the pigeon-hole principle. There are only so many houses near stations.
          I would argue that the pigeon-hole principle does not really apply. There is not a fixed number of homes near PT. Higher demand will drive more building on these sites increasing the number of holes. And clear popularity will drive more PT lines (as it is now)

          @ roj taggbert
          Even though I live next to a train station, most of Auckland takes a hell of a long time to get there using public transport
          Depends a bit on what you mean by “most of Auckland”. Most of the surface area, sure. But most destinations, is a more mixed bag. Especially going forward with a significant increase in density of housing and services around PT hubs, I would argue most destinations, that most people would visit (hence most of Auckland for those people) would be very accessible, easier and faster on rapid transit

        8. The relevant part here is that you still don’t need your own car to watch a F1 Grand Prix.

          There is not a fixed number of homes near PT → well, we’ll see. I have the impression that most new homes are going up in outer areas without much access by PT. Incidentally the inner ‘leavy’ suburbs — our one area of scale where PT actually forms a network — has an approximately fixed number of homes.

        9. Roeland. Auckland could have Tokyo’s PT system and Auckland car drivers would still be ranting about how bad it is and that Auckland needs to build the best PT system in the world before they will use it. It’s hoenslty fine and getting better every year. You can go most places inside the urbanfoot print, but the 10% most popular places are easily accessible and some trips are faster via PT that cars. Sure it could be more expansive, but car drivers want copious amounts of space to store their cars, so oh well. I wonder what petrol prices will do in the near future…

        10. There is no distinction between ‘car drivers’ and other people. If that were a thing the Northern Express would have been a white elephant. It wasn’t. We just have ‘people’.

        11. Replying to Roeland: “There is not a fixed number of homes near PT → well, we’ll see. I have the impression that most new homes are going up in outer areas without much access by PT”
          The Western suburbs are getting a lot of growth in multistory buildings from Avondale right through to Ranui along the Western rail line.
          “Incidentally the inner ‘leavy’ suburbs — our one area of scale where PT actually forms a network — has an approximately fixed number of homes.” Yes, it increasingly looks like the whole of the Auckland isthmus with its comfortable freestanding house and sections wants to remain heritage protected. Sure pick a couple of outstanding suburbs and call them heritage but stalling density growth across the majority of the isthmus is not good planning.

      2. In fairness it’s rare for anyone around the world to think their home city has good public transport. It can be light years ahead of Auckland’s and the locals will likely still be complaining about some aspect of it.

        1. I suppose another way of looking at is how visitors view PT. Tourists rave about Asian cities PT , many European cities too. I think if we asked tourists who had a range of places across the city to visit we would get a useful indication of how Tamaki Makaurau compares.

        2. But if you are a visitor to Auckland then the PT is actually good. You probably stay near the city center, take the train to Newmarket to shop, Parnell to eat, take the Link buses to a myriad of locations, head up on the Dom rd buses for whatever people do there. Take a western line train out to Eden Park. Catch a ferry over to Devonport, maybe Waiheke. Stroll around the wide pavements of the Viaduct. Quick bus trip over the bridge to Takapuna.

          If where you stay or where you to commute to is the city or city fringe, you’re sweet, really. Once you have to go outside of that for everyday things, it starts to fall apart. But tourists don’t do that.

        3. But Auckland advertises to tourists places like Piha and Kumeu vineyards, Clevedon markets even. We visited Berlin a few years back and traveled to destinations 60km from city centre all on good, easy, cheap PT, not all places people may want to visit are city centre. I think we can agree that outside the city fringes PT ” starts to fall apart” here.

        4. KLK trying to find a bus in Auckland city is almost impossible. If you do want to go up Dominion Road for example you need to know to get the bus from the second bus stop on Queen Street after Wellesley Street. I only know that one because its the one I take, I wouldn’t have a clue how to get a bus from anywhere else in the city, they basically all of have their own random stop somewhere. Sandringham Road, New North Road and Mt Eden Road all leave from different places despite all being central isthmus. I guess the app helps these days, but compared to other cities where you can get most places by train and there are big obvious stations, buses really suck.

        5. I agree with Jimbo buses are not at all tourist friendly in Auckland, although that applies in many other cities as well.

          The trains are easy to follow but they don’t go many places and are often having shut downs outside of commuter hours.

          The ferries are good and would probably be the highlight for most tourists.

      3. JimboJones. You consider driving from MT Roskil to the CBD, despite living near a frequent bus line?
        I live in West Auckland my Daily commute to Takapuna takes one hour, that’s absolutely comparable with driving a car, except I get free time to read on my phone. It’s a no brained to do this via PT.

  5. Good post… low reliability (of rails) and poor communication/announcement badly on top of difficult transfer options affect user experience.
    It’s very frustrating at time turn up to a train station then to find out a mysterious track fault happened.
    maybe a good measure is for AT and Auckland Council drastically eliminate staff parking (e.g. 15% of today’s figures) by 2025 and achieve a good PT usage by their own staff.

    1. “trying to find a bus in Auckland city is almost impossible.”

      HUH. Try taking some personal responsibility for your journey planning. Do you expect that there will be someone at every street corner to hold your hand?

      Try using the AT App or the AT Journey Planner

    2. “a good measure is for AT and Auckland Council drastically eliminate staff parking”

      Here is a fact: AT does not provide staff car parking at its Fanshawe Street building. They do offer cycle parking lockers and shower rooms. AT also offers flexi time and work from home days.

  6. I have an airline background, where one of my roles was running the reliability programme. Key metrics included not only on-time performance (i.e. delays) and cancellations, but also the cost of delays, which is where it gets interesting. AT could estimate a cost of delays by taking the typical number of passengers and valuing their time per passenger. Putting on-time performance (OTP) into dollars was an effective way of getting my colleagues’ attention. For interest, in 1995 the delay cost per minute for a 747 was $365.

    1. London had a scheme where if you were delayed by 20 minutes or more, you could claim back the cost of the ticket. In the nineties, I traveled for free on a high percentage of journeys on the Metropolitan Line. You had to fill in a paper form with the details and a voucher was posted out. But you could probably travel all day long now and not be able to apply for a discount, because both frequency and reliability are so improved. I’m not saying the discounts were a factor in the improvements, but it was a consolation and would have been meaningful feedback to the operator.

        1. That’s a real world solution to the issue,pax inconvenienced, pax compensated.Also gives a monetary figure,that would irk at several levels,as it is an avoidable cost. With Kiwi Rail running track,and Transdev operations,no doubt would be a blame game. Bonuses for getting it right,and penalties for getting it wrong.
          On bus stop placement,still a hangover from not wanting to disrupt, decide the best place for the stop ,from a network perspective,consider all safety implications ,and put it there.

    2. Love the idea of placing value on users’ time! Fundamentally it doesn’t seem like most govt people seem to understand this concept. They spend too much effort trying to cut cost (in the wrong places) instead of investing in the absolute best PT solution possible. Until PT appeals to the masses it will remain a pipe dream. For it to appeal to the masses it has to be better (faster, safer, cheaper, more reliable) than driving your own car.

      1. There has to be some customer measure that doesn’t rely on a small sample on a particular day. Putting dollars to it can also be used to justify investment decisions to drive improvements.

        I have some sympathy with AT; I spent a year with Airbus and it often seemed to me that our perspectives were almost at 180 degrees to one another.

        1. For PT to operate sustainably it has to operate like a profitable business with sufficient uptake of services (paying customers). If the service is [significantly] better than the other alternatives, [plenty] customers will happily pay for it. It would greatly help if the govt focused on moving people from Point A to Point B as fast and smoothly as possible on the longer journeys first, where we would realize the best gains in terms of time saving and emissions production.

        2. For PT to operate sustainably it has to operate like a profitable business

          Hard disagree. We do not hold this standard for road or air travel at all, why should “normal” PT be any different.

          In some areas rates fund up to 50% of local road expenditure. Local roads make up the vast majority of the network in the country. And flying gets bailed out every time there is a hiccup in travel movements. This is all ignoring the elephant in the room of externalised costs.

          It would greatly help if the govt focused on moving people from Point A to Point B as fast and smoothly as possible on the longer journeys first, where we would realize the best gains in terms of time saving and emissions production.
          The onus is on you to prove that longer distance travel (within NZ) makes up the biggest emissions production. I am highly skeptical that it does, borderline ready to dismiss without googling. Given the vast majority of trips are “short” intra city trips.

          https://i2.wp.com/www.greaterauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2018-State-Highway-volumes-SH1-North-v2.jpg?ssl=1
          Looking at this image, the area under the graph in Auckland / wellington is massive compared to the standard SH1 traffic volumes. This is the premier long distance route in the country too, which means that SH1 takes far more long distance trips than a standard road.

          Getting from A to B within the city multiple times every day, makes up far, far more trips and emissions than getting from A to B for the proverbial Aucklander’s thrice yearly trip to Taupo.

        3. To Jack’s point…let’s make an analogy; if the govt created a really efficient metro service to get people from Mangere to Albany (call this a ‘longer journey’ in this context), then all the people in the suburbs between Albany and Mangere could potentially have access to this service.

          Whereas if the govt wastes more resources trying to service more shorter commutes via some mediocre mode of PT, it is not going to achieve much for all the investment involved.

          PT has to offer significant advantage (over independent car travel) in order to appeal to the masses. Otherwise it will never get enough people switching over to use (and fund it). Whether funded directly by the users, or indirectly by taxpayers & ratepayers, someone has to pay.

        4. “For PT to operate sustainably it has to operate like a profitable business”; maybe. In the grand scheme of things, the “profitability” could come from cost avoidance i.e. building fewer roads.

      2. Yes, agree Gerard. A mid-speed rail metro system could achieve average speeds around 80-95kmph in an urban context, whereas any other ground based transit like light rail, cars and busses would struggle to reach anywhere near this sort of average speed around the city. Better speeds mean better efficiency, more capacity and better service.

  7. Just before the latest lock down a frieght train failed between Papakura and Pukekohe in morning rush hour delaying the units and both Te Huia,s they were still cleaning up the mess with buses and taxis at 10 am. I was expecting coverage in the anti Govt section of the media but nothing. But what anyone does about it I don’t know other than having thunderbird to the rescue locomotives stationed to push or pull disgraced trains or units out of the way. Even then safety procedures must be followed so nothing is going to be done quickly. There are alternative bus routes that can be used between Otahuhu and Papakura and I can’t think of any bus train connections which are too onerous. Greenlane is the worst. I see that Auckland train control will be moved back to Auckland from Wellington. I expect this will improve communication.

      1. There’s crossovers at Homai and Papakura AFAIK. I’ve been on a train that ran the wrong direction into Homai station when the line was closed after Homai due to an incident.

      2. All lines are signalled to allow trains to run in both directions. Maybe some trains still ran or possibly the loco failed on the crossovers to the Glenbook branch and blocked both lines. Anyway major delays. I expect further improvements to bi directional running will be made as part of the electrification project. More crossovers at the new stations etc. You would have to hope so given the cost.

  8. I contract to the UITP (http://www.uitp.org) – teach how to best design and deliver Customer Experience aka Passenger Experience to PT service providers around the world and assess / benchmark PX Performance. In the UITP, we focus on ‘Passenger Centricity’, ‘Service Quality’ and ‘Capability Building’. Its all about frontline service performance in fact – ensuring that bus, train and tram services work effectively, especially during service disruptions. We often teach / benchmark the effectiveness of the ‘basics’ of frontline PX – bus stop / tram stop and train station locations vis a vis service transfer (including shelter provision at stops), 24 x 7 all-weather route and network legibility and daily life-oriented service provision. Real Passenger Experience is a confluence of Service Design, Wayfinding and Service Marketing. You cant have one without the others and you cant do one without the others. The successful CX / PX divisions of PT service providers around the world, are those that prioritise the delivery of frontline PX in real-world terms, regularly benchmark their services against international standards such as EN 13816 / EN 17210 and focus on maintaining service quality during all variations of service disruption.

  9. I live on Willcott st , so very conversant with the area, especially the traffic lights. The road layout was two straight ahead lanes in both directions, the current right hand turn only lanes were also straight ahead. No problems, even in peak hours pre covid worked fine.
    Enter AT with “improvements” which included a bike lane on the bridge, which isn’t really wide enough to accommodate one. Enter traffic banked up due to these improvements. Local community and others have complained, but AT just give the normal b/s excuse they use.
    And a bus stop closer to the station is totally unworkable due to the road narrowing towards the bridge. Not to mention very high curb. The photo showing traffic build up down Carrington road is actually an understatement, at times traffic build up can be halfway down Carrington rd. Yep, due to AT improvements. The bike lane is very little used.
    I am at a loss to understand why the author has not used active transport, as this page keeps banging on about it. There is a brilliant cycleway from PtChev towards Henderson. If you advocate bike lanes, please use them.

        1. I drink alone, yeah, with nobody else. Yeah, you know when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself.

    1. The bike lanes around the Mt Albert shops are isolated without proper safe connections to the rest of the network.

      Try riding from Avondale shops to Mt Albert shops and you’ll find only a few dozens of metres of the journey is up to the standards of a safe protected cycle route. Painted gutters or meandering side streets don’t count.

      New North Road could and should be a great safe route.

      This is one of the reasons someone in an Avondale apartment might drive to Pak N Save.

      1. Absolutely great train ride from Avondale to MtAlbert. Better still, it’s an easy walk. No need to bike. AT already have plans to “improve” New North Road. Bound to create more mess.

        1. Yes why on earth would I want to ride a bike on a mostly flat road 5 minutes each way when I can wait up to 20 minutes at either end to pay to sit on a train for 3 minutes? Sold!

        2. My mistake, say 10 minutes each way – for free, and with a vehicle that’s easier than walking for many people with mobility issues and doubles as a way to haul the stuff you buy.

        3. A good rule of thumb is that if you spend 30 minutes doing a trip on Public Transport, it is almost always faster and more convenient to do that trip on a bicycle.

  10. “Traffic signs blocking the footpath taking on my way to Pt Chev”

    Damn. If you encounter that with a pushchair you have a pretty annoying problem. Note also how the bike lane de facto ends before that bridge.

    And yeah I’m one of those people now. I’ve tried it before, and it was so absurdly poor that I have a very hard time imagining trying it again. Do you know how cumbersome it is to drive to the back streets behind Karangahape Road? I know because I’ve done it. But it was not nearly as bad as when I tried to reach them by PT. Oh my god that was bad.

    1. I walked past there five minutes ago, plenty of room for a pushchair, no problem there. Major roadworks in Willcott st.

  11. AT didn’t get much say in that “improvement” at Mt Albert. Trying to solve the intersection for cars was impossible, given the space available, and solving it for buses, people on foot or on bikes was “nearly but not quite”. A miss is as good as a mile in this case. And any interchange needs to be “get off one thing and on another”.
    We hope that Connected Communities may be able to come up with something, but dropping the bar onto the ground does make it easier to look for improvement.

  12. Went to Phoenix game at Eden Park,pre covid,free PT with match ticket,very pleasant experience getting there,coming home to Onehunga, just diabolical.
    From memory,one train left Kingsland for town,and that was it,staff on the platform copped horrendous abuse from some would be passengers.
    I was expecting a delay of sorts,but to have no plan was a real missed opportunity. A lot of the passengers, would not be regular PT users,this would have reinforced why they still aren’t, the AT staff on the night were also badly, let down by their employer,no-one goes to work to be treated like that.An apology next morning,made it all right ,though

  13. I guess a lot of these problems have come from the train network growing from almost a trial (will Aucklanders take the train if we build Britomart) to an important asset for the city. In those early days when Britomart opened the budget for anything would have been peanuts.

  14. Matt, great point, “Why are there not bus stops on Carrington Road next to the train station? It is around a 300m walk from the bus stops near Benfield Ave …”

    Yes, why isn’t there a closer bus stop? Why does the 82 stop outside the Air NZ building on Fanshawe St with a 150m walk to catch the NEX1, when previously they stopped side by side? Just like they do on the other side of the road.
    It’s just inept planning and shows that PT is the poor cousin when making transport decisions.
    Conversely, why aren’t park and ride 150-300m from the station and the very valuable adjacent land turned over to high rise commercial or residential?

      1. Bus Driver, I am not advocating for park and rides. They are a wasteful use of resources and are most likely to create more emissions than they save. The Devonport ferry car park seems to be an example of this.

        I am saying that if there has to be park and ride build it away from the valuable station land.

    1. “I’ve learnt from bitter experience over the years that sometimes unscheduled disruptions get fixed quickly but other times they don’t”

      Then there are other factors that shouldn’ty be that cause disruptions. The lack of a left turning lane, just for buses, on Halsey St for buses coming from the city and going to the Shore was a huge disruptor. It could have been investigated by an AT staffer looking out the window and seeing the problem and imaging the fix. Yet they fed out cow excrement that they needed a consultant to address the issue.
      Then after about three years they discovered that could have two turning lanes. Genius!
      AT needs continuous improvement for PT.

    2. ” “Why are there not bus stops on Carrington Road next to the train station? It is around a 300m walk from the bus stops near Benfield Ave’

      WHY? ANSWER: Use bus stop 8812. It is located outside the church, just past the Mt Albert Road Shops, on Mt Albert Road. Then walk BACK to the shops and use the pedestrian crossings to reach the Train Station. Simple.

        1. Indeed, the intersection is often congested, so waiting for the bus to get through the intersection and then walking back usually takes much longer than getting off in advance of the intersection.

  15. “The real time boards were saying the train was 20 minutes away.”

    Someone from AT operations told me that the “real time boards” do not display the location of train or bus, in real time. Instead they only display the “scheduled time” that was entered into the AT time-tabling systems 6 weeks earlier.

  16. For much of Auckland, its all or nothing.

    By that I mean that for most people, wherever they live and wherever they are going/commuting, its actually not that far by car, time-wise. a 20min drive is nothing and that gets you a long way in the region. So PT really has to nail it if its going to get people out of their cars. Because driving in Auckland is just not that bad compared to other cities.

    I know there is a cost factor (depreciation, fuel, parking) and finding a carpark near your destination, the ensuing last-mile walk, etc, all of that being conveniently ignored. But its small PT issues like the ones in the post which just add up to people thinking – unless they have the gold-plated PT access few are lucky to have, or their drive is so terrible they’ll put up with anything for an alternative – I might as well take the car again.

  17. You are clearly an experienced, savvy and patient public transport user (using the app / knowing your way round town / different routes / timetables and stops) … many of the people AT need to convince to increase use would be way less tolerant, flexible and PT literate. I think it’s really easy to assume that people have the level of public transport literacy required to actually get where they want to go! I only use PT if my bike’s broken and the car’s not available which is a couple of times a year. As a result, I need to figure routes out from scratch pretty much every time I take the bus / train … and it’s daunting sometimes even with the app.

  18. The root issue is whole CCO + AT + NZTA structure is inefficient, bureaucratic and dysfunctional.

    There is no accountability and incentive to make it better. The worst system ever.

    If you hope things will improve in the next few years… be prepared to be disappointed.

    Nothing will be fix without a restructure of the whole broken CCO system.

    1. Changing the CCO system would likely have little impact, it would still require interaction between the Council, NZTA and Kiwirail. Wellington is a living breathing example of this.

  19. Does AT actually report its Operational KPIs over time?
    i.e.
    – late buses
    – services cancelled
    – rail lines closed for repairs
    etc

    It would provide a good way to see how well the system is performing and whether its getting better or not.

  20. Public Transport hahahahahahahah hahahah hahha

    Next scheduled bus near me is 2026 and only by the SHA’s coming on stream and maybe the mayors $1B better busses.

  21. Great post which details the experience many other PT users in Auckland have every now and then. I also have a high tolerance for issues in general, but for evening trips like the one you described I feel there are not enough alternatives (frequency) and the real-time information too often unreliable, which makes it difficult to recover from any hiccups like the one you described.

  22. “On bus stop placement,still a hangover from not wanting to disrupt, decide the best place for the stop ,from a network perspective,consider all safety implications ,and put it there.”

    This already happens. During the launch of the new Auckland bus network, hundreds of bus stops were introduced, repositioned or upgraded. Unfortunately many selfish retailers, and home owners constantly object to have a bus stop near the shop, or outside their house.

    When they don’t get their own way, they become abusive, complain to the mayor, or post angry message on social media, claiming that if a bus stop is installed nearby, it will be the end of their world.

    1. Yes, but the Council does not have to listen to them; this has been established in court. Therefore, strong leadership and up to date legal advice should mean this is not an issue. Either AT could have stood their ground against weak political leadership. Or AC could have stood their ground against weak implementation.

  23. “We visited Berlin a few years back and traveled to destinations 60km from city centre all on good, easy, cheap PT,”

    This is a meaningless comparison. Germany has a population of over 83 million, with a much larger tax base, and higher taxes, that can support infrastructure and PT projects. In Germany, the average single worker faced a net average tax rate of 38.9% in 2020. In New Zealand, the average single worker faced a net average tax rate of 19.1% in 2020. Are you proposing that New Zealand matches the German tax rate?

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