I was very interested to read your piece on public transport versus car in the Auckland City Harbour News, May 11.
I live in Owairaka Ave, Mt Albert, and have recently started a job in Onehunga. I more or less have door-to-door buses available to me, so the greenie in me thought that it would be sensible to look at the bus option for getting to work.
I was well aware that my journey would take longer both ways, and I was fine with that.
However, when I phoned Maxx to find out the finer details about the journey, I was gobsmacked at the prices.
A one-way trip would cost me $4.30. I asked about any concessions, and I could buy a 10-trip concession for $38.50. But first I would have to buy a special card to load my money on to, and that would cost me $10. So $48.50 just to get started on the buses.
I have travelled on buses in San Francisco, where you pay $1.50, and for that you get up to 90 minutes and a free transfer. A pass for unlimited travel – on trains and buses – that lasts a week costs $15, less than my total trips over two days would cost here in Auckland!
In other words, in San Francisco, I could take a trip of the same distance as my commute to work for $1.50. Now that is appealing. And the people in San Francisco obviously think so too – the buses were packed.
I do think public transport is inaccessible and inconvenient for many Aucklanders, but as my example shows, even when it is as convenient as taking a car, it simply costs too much to be worthwhile.
Auckland needs to take a leaf out of San Francisco’s book and make buses affordable.