I’ll take the car thanks

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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 on the way home.

Jour­ney time each way: 1 hour 30 min­utes. 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. 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

If only

it 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: 1hr 20m. 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: 1hr 30m. 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: 30 min­utes.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

No-car day: Catch­ing a train to Mt Eden sta­tion was one of the op­tions in a week-long pub­lic trans­port trial.

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