Car comes out on top
PETROL prices are soaring, the planet is cooking and traffic is gridlocked.
So there’s never been a better time to get on a bus.
Aucklanders are being encouraged to leave their cars behind and find alternative ways of getting to work, both to combat climate change and make the city more liveable.
But for those who live and work in the suburbs, is public transport really viable?
For five days I gave up my easy 20-minute drive to work and tested more sustainable ways of getting around.
It took nearly $40 in bus and train tickets and more than 11 hours in travelling time – an extra eight hours compared to a normal driving week – and the only sensible alternative still involved a car.
The verdict? I’ll have my car keys back please. Day one: Bus Living in Oranga and working in Eden Terrace means there’s no direct bus routes from home to work.
Transport website Maxx offers several multi-bus options, but the most obvious is to catch a bus to the city then a connection to Eden Terrace.
But the last few kilometres into the city is slow and there’s a 20 minute wait for my connection home.
Journey time each way: 1 hour 30minutes. Cost: $4.80 Day two: Bus and walk The bus from Oranga travels along Khyber Pass Rd, which the Maxx website tells me is just a 17 minute walk from work. Sounds easy. If only it wasn’t raining.
During the 30-minute wait at the bus stop in Oranga the water bounces up from under the walls of the shelter and my boots start to leak.
By the time the bus arrives in Khyber Pass Rd the rain has worked itself into a blustery storm.
The walk to Dominion Rd actually takes closer to 30 minutes, and with my umbrella inside out and rain squelching in my boots, my resolve to make it through the week wavers.
Does the planet really need this much saving? Isn’t taking my own bags to the supermarket enough?
Journey time each way: 1 hour 20 minutes. Cost: $3.20 Day three: Train Rail would work well as a park-and-ride option, but otherwise it’s a good halfhour walk from home to the station.
The train from Penrose to Britomart takes about 25 minutes, then it’s a quick change for the western line train to Mt Eden.
Colleagues scoffed at the one-minute window allocated for changing trains on the way home, but it went without a hitch.
Journey time each way: 1 hour 30 minutes. Cost: $5.20 Day four: Bus and train The most sensible option by far. Bus to Newmarket, a quick stroll to Kingdon St station and then the western line train to Mt Eden.
There was even time for a quick coffee stop and still make it to work on time.
Journey time each way: 1 hour. Cost: $4.60 Day five: Carpool The lazy person’s commute. No walking, no waiting in the rain, and almost as quick as driving alone.
It was tough to find a carpooling buddy with a matching schedule, but worth the effort.
Journey time each way: 30 minutes.
No-car day: Catching a train to Mt Eden station was one of the options in a week-long public transport trial.