Nav­i­gat­ing ‘March mad­ness’


It’s called ‘March Mad­ness’ for a very good rea­son.

Schools are back. Univer­sity is back. Work­ers have no hol­i­day or sick leave to take ad­van­tage of.

And the re­sult is com­muter chaos on Auck­land’s roads.

Wed­nes­day morn­ing saw may­hem on the roads with com­muters re­port­ing long de­lays as they tried to make their way into the city.

Matt Lowrie, ed­i­tor of New Zealand’s Trans­port Blog, sug­gests it could be a per­fect time for com­muters to give pub­lic trans­port a chance.

Hav­ing a HOP card was a good place to start as it made get­ting on and off, and shift­ing be­tween means of trans­port, eas­ier and cheaper, he said.

‘‘There is an ur­ban myth in Auck­land that pub­lic trans­port is com­pletely ter­ri­ble. In some cases that is true. But in a lot of cases it’s work­ing re­ally well. Peo­ple just need to give it a go.

‘‘For ex­am­ple the North­ern Ex­press on the north­ern busway is fan­tas­tic. The rail lines are work­ing re­ally well now with elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. The big­gest prob­lem with them is they’re so pop­u­lar, they’re re­ally busy.

‘‘They are ac­tu­ally mov­ing peo­ple well and you can avoid con­ges­tion be­cause they’ve got their own veins or right-ofways.’’

Trav­el­ling out­side peak hours was also a good idea, but not al­ways pos­si­ble.

Lowrie said March was al­ways chal­leng­ing but this year Auck­land Trans­port had been more proac­tive about eas­ing the mad­ness.

‘‘In the past they’ve al­ways been too late in do­ing so, they’ve al­ways done it af­ter March when they’ve missed the op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘But this year they’ve put on a whole lot more be­fore­hand which is re­ally pos­i­tive.

‘‘The chal­lenge to Auck­land Trans­port is how they make it easy for peo­ple to give it a go.

Bren­don Main, group man­ager of Auck­land Trans­port’s metro op­er­a­tions, said there would be in­creased ca­pac­ity.

‘‘We will have more than 6500 ex­tra spa­ces on buses and trains, this will go a long way to­wards meet­ing de­mand.’’

Dou­ble-decker buses would also help ease the pain on routes be­tween Beach Haven, Glen­field and the cen­tral city.


For Auck­lan­ders, a stress-free com­mute can be a fine art.

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