Buses, trains and ferries still come up short
Last week we asked you to tell us what’s stopping you from giving up your car and taking public transport instead. Those who responded told us they think that public transport is too expensive, unreliable and simply too slow. Here’s what some of our readers had to say:
The fares need to be based more on actual distance travelled rather than fare stages measured from Britomart.
Currently it costs me around $1 and takes 7 to 10 minutes to travel the 3.5km to work in my car. The bus fare is $3.20 and takes half an hour (or $1.60 if I walk 1km to the next fare stage).
The problem keeping me off public transport is the discomfort of buses which swing wildly and constantly stop-start, throwing passengers around the seats – and the height of the bottom step which means those with arthritis in legs lose their balance when alighting because most buses don’t have a handle near the bottom step to hold onto while getting off. Buses also make far more pollution than a few cars. Trains are a different story – but I have to travel from Onehunga to Remuera to catch one. Recently I had to leave my car at a garage in Station Rd – right opposite the Penrose station where the line veers to go to Onehunga. In theory I should have been able to catch a train to Onehunga and walked home. In practice I’d have had to travel to Newmarket by train then bus back out to Onehunga.
I use public transport whenever I can. That means when I have plenty of time and am not travelling with small children.
From my home in One Tree Hill, even when traffic is heavy, I can drive into the city and park near where I want to within 20 to 30 minutes. On public transport it takes an hour. When I have an appointment for which I can’t be late I allow an hour and a half. What would help? 1. More frequent buses. During the day there is only one an hour. Arrival times are so variable that if one doesn’t come within 10 minutes of the scheduled time you never know whether it was early or still likely to come.
2. Bigger signs giving the number and destination of the service on both front and back of buses. I have missed several of these hourly buses when they have sped past the stop as I’ve signalled too late. Because there are not big numbers on the back you don’t know which one you’ve missed!
3. I would like to feel safe while waiting for a bus and walking home after dark – a problem for the community, not just the bus company, but a deterrent to my using buses more. Having less scattered city stops with maybe security checks and emergency call boxes might help.
4. Train services are more frequent now and quick once they come but limitations are distance from the station or finding parking if I drive to the station.
5. Why not have shuttle buses leaving constantly from the front of Britomart to different parts of the city? Last week I walked from Britomart to the town hall and beat a bus that had been at the entrance – traffic was very light. It must have had to wait for a set departure time.
6 Reliable links. I have used the Maxx website to plan a trip from my home to a house near Takapuna Grammar. Because the train was late I missed the ferry, and the bus connecting with the next one was for a different route. The trip took 2 hours. Next time I went there I drove!
7. Simpler ticketing. Bus services could be faster if drivers didn’t calculate fares and give change.
8. To balance the grizzles – most drivers are pleasant, courteous and careful.
One Tree Hill
Abridged Although I live in Hillsborough my weekly schedule requires me to travel as far afield as Clarks Beach and Henderson.
I would consider using public transport to the city but don’t know where to catch it. Some of the local transport goes to the bottom of town but I am mostly interested in things around Aotea Square.
It’s also not cheap and not convenient.
I have just had a friend from England staying for six months. She was not keen to drive so decided to master the public transport system.
By the end of her stay she declared that if she returned she would overcome her nervousness of driving and get a car.
She was late for appointments because buses didn’t arrive when they should and then ended up having to take a taxi at great expense.
She spent hours waiting for buses trying to get from one suburb to another, eg, Hillsborough to Kohimarama for what would be a 20 minute trip by car.
Her experiences just reenforced everything I already thought about the public transport system – nothing much has changed since I was catching buses during my university years over 30 year ago.
What more can I say?
Catching the link from Victoria Park Market at 1pm and getting to Newmarket at 1.50pm and waiting another hour for the link to take me back home.
If it just happened now and then it would be sort of bearable, but it seems nearly every time I use the bus there is a delay or a delay or a delay. If they fix it, I’ll definitely use it.
In great anticipation.
About time: Readers say that unreliable and expensive buses and trains make them think twice about taking public transport.