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 reade

Central Leader - - Letters -

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). TRISH HUR­LEY

Royal Oak I was very in­ter­ested to read your piece on pub­lic trans­port vs car in the Cen­tral Leader.

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, this morn­ing I phoned Maxx to find out the finer de­tails about the jour­ney, and 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 onto, 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. DONNA HENDERSON

Mt Al­bert 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 two 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. RUTH MOR­TON

One Tree Hill

Al­though I live in Hills­bor­ough my weekly sched­ule re­quires me to travel as far afield as Clark’s 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 re-en­forced ev­ery­thing I al­ready thought about the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem – noth­ing much has changed since I was catch­ing buses dur­ing my univer­sity years more than 30 year ago. What more can I say? CAROL CHOUHFEH

Hills­bor­ough Time.

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. MARGO ZEIER

Grey Lynn

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

About time: Read­ers say that un­re­li­able and ex­pen­sive buses and trains make them think twice about tak­ing pub­lic trans­port.

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