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.