ZB

Auckland Transport puts on more bus services after passengers left stranded

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 3:45pm
Auckland Transport has responded to complaints by putting on more buses. Photo / Michael Craig
Auckland Transport has responded to complaints by putting on more buses. Photo / Michael Craig

Auckland Transport puts on more bus services after passengers left stranded

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Jan 2022, 3:45pm

Auckland Transport has been caught short with commuters returning to work this week and had to put on more buses. 

One commuter told the Herald that five full buses went past him on Great North Rd this morning, and when a bus did stop and he got on with his 2-year-old son people were standing in the aisle, there was no air-conditioning and it was stifling hot. 

"Normally public transport works well. This was the worst public transport experience I have had since living in Grey Lynn for three years," the commuter said. 

Another commuter said they caught a bus last night in Queen St to Dominion Rd, saying instead of the usual double-decker bus it was a single level. 

After two stops people were standing in the aisle and the commuter said she found herself sharing a 1m air space with four teenagers not wearing masks. 

AT general manager of metro services, Stacey van der Putten, said 50 additional bus services were in place for the morning and evening peaks yesterday along with additional buses to cope with the summer upgrade and closure of the city's rail network. 

Extra bus services have been added across the NX1, NX2, 97, 95, 75, 70, 27, 25, 24, 22, 762 and Tamaki Link routes. 

"It's been great to see so many Aucklanders back on our buses this week. 

"This week we experienced a bigger than expected increase in on-peak passengers, so we're working hard to provide additional services where they're needed most. 

North Shore councillor Richard Hills has been pushing AT to increase capacity, saying waiting for normal services to resume on February 1 is too late. 

"AKL wants to be back on the bus," he wrote on social media. 

Van der Putten said disruption caused by the Western Line closure and bus replacements had led to train commuters switching to regular bus services in the inner west and along Great North Rd, creating higher demand than normal for this time of year. 

She said AT is working with operators to provide extra services, but expected some pressure in the west and inner west will ease next week when trains on the western line resume. 

"Despite the increase in passenger numbers this week, on Monday our bus patronage was sitting at only 50.8 per cent of pre-Covid levels for this time of year, and overall, our bus network had enough capacity for about 75 per cent of pre-Covid passenger volumes," van der Patten said. 

Responding to concerns about commuters being crammed together on buses, AT said under the current Covid-19 Protection Framework social distancing is not required on public transport under the 'orange' setting. 

- by Bernard Orsman