Mt Eden transport solutions still under discussion

May 10, 2016

Mt Eden transport solutions still under discussion

Generation Zero's Better Buses campaign helped identify commuters' problems. Photo: Josephine Edmonds

Ongoing issues with public transport along Mt Eden Rd has led to call Auckland Transport for more solutions.

At the Albert-Eden Local Board meeting last week, Generation Zero, a youth-led environmental organisation mentioned potential solutions for the ongoing problems, which include overcrowding, full, and late-running buses.

Generation Zero spokesperson Niko Elsen suggested solutions such as the urgent use of double-decker buses, extending the peak period of travel, and having a general increase in the amount of buses running throughout the day.

“We need to know how to handle these guys [bus users] and how to supply to their demand,” said Mr Elsen.

At the meeting, Auckland Transport spokesperson Brendon Main admitted transportation on Mt Eden Rd had not run smoothly this year.

Mr Main addressed Generation Zero’s suggested solutions, and said double-decker buses would be on the Mt Eden route next month.

However, he admitted there were not enough buses running for the first two weeks of March when there was extra demand with university students beginning classes.

“Mt Eden Rd in the beginning of March wasn’t up to the level we would expect,” said Mr Main.

He said once they realised the problem, AT placed additional buses on the road.

March is the biggest month of the year for Auckland Transport with a 30 per cent increase in passengers catching the buses, said Mr Main.

This is known as ‘March Madness’ and is due to university and school students beginning classes, but he said once students settle into university routines, those numbers usually drop back.

However, it appears bus users are still unhappy two months later, with many posting complaints and photos of overcrowded buses on social media.

Regular bus user and university student Tegan Miller-Rowlands often boards overcrowded buses from Kingsland to the city.

“I’m lucky if I even get a seat,” she said.

Generation Zero recently released a report with figures from their Better Buses campaign.

The campaign, which asked Auckland bus users to voice their experiences on public transport during the month of March, received 1157 submissions.

The report showed Mt Eden Rd was the worst of those surveyed, receiving at least 100 complaints more than the other routes.

The report was also discussed in a post on the Transport Blog on Wednesday and one initiative proposed by a member of the public in terms of spreading demand is to stop offering tertiary concessions during the morning peak period.

At the board meeting, Mr Elsen said that they have discussed in the past what could be changed in regards to student concessions, and said it could be unfair on students in Auckland.

“It would have to be a really strong discussion with the universities, there are still a lot of eight and nine o’clock lectures and that’s the way they like to structure it.”

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