Foo Fighters Bus FAIL
Have we learnt nothing from the RWC opening night fiasco?
Last night I had to walk away from the Foo Fighters public transport shambles it was so depressing. And it was happening almost exactly where the opening night fail occured.
Buses were to be operating every 5 minutes from Quay St around the back of the Britomart at the foot of Queen St.
The shambles resembled all the bad mistakes of the RWC opening night and gave me bad memories of that night .
- There seemed to be no info people visible and everyone was asking WTF was going on.
- No helpful signage. Many people from out of town or not used to buses were actually wandering around town asking how they get the buses -I answered a number of them
- Queues in all directions snaking right around the street
- Ticket collectors selling tickets in the middle of it with no semblance of an ordered queue
- No clear indication you used the same ticket home
- Ticket collectors mixed up in between people hawking Foo Fighter T-shirts
- No queueing barricades as were also missing on opening night of the RWC so by the time it snaked around streets no one knew where the queue started
- Footpaths were blocked by people queueing while normal city workers were trying to find a way to walk along Quay St
- And after 20 minutes when I was there around 6pm, still no bus had arrived!
- To make the issue worse it was raining – but the crowd, excited about the show, was very well-mannered until they started despairing they would not get to see opening acts or even arrive in time
It all had horrible memories of that awful RWC night and the potential for people to lose it.
Did authorities underestimate how many people would use the buses even though promotors had emailed ticketholders to use buses because of limited parking near Western Springs and road closures – and AT had also publicised the public transport arrangements which looked good on paper.
Or can Auckland simply not cope with an event involving 50,000 trying to get somewhere in the middle of a weekday rush hour?
The rest of the RWC fixtures worked well – but most were not on a week night at rush hour and thousands picked to walk for fear of not getting to the event because of the opening night fail.
And buses use roads so once they had dropped Foo Fighter fans at Western Springs they had to battle rush hour traffic to get back to pick up more people.
As unprintable comments flowed around me about what people thought of the public transport in Auckland, I elected to walk to the stadium.
On the way I found others did too – but many people would not have know how to get through the back streets of Ponsonby to find Western Springs.
Why was the Fan Trail – a fan trail to Western Springs – not thought of?
It was a manageable walk not that much further than Eden Park was?
Other factors highlighted the Auckland problems.
Auckland motorists seem incapable of adjusting to driving in the rain and I saw some crazy irresponsible behaviour as one often does when the day turns wet.
But what else was going on with public transport?
I passed the Kingsland station where announcements were being made apologizing for delays.
At one stage I also tried to get a LINK bus from Albert St to at least get to Ponsonby.
In the course of 30 minutes, 2 LINK buses showed on the sign as being minutes away and then becoming DUE and then the kiss of death -DLY. And then vanishing never ever to turn up.
Public transport is only useful when it is reliable and this joke with the electronic signs has gone too far. The same thing happened twice last week when I tried to get an Outer Link.
In all cases they lost my custom and made me feel less inclined to use the service in future when you need to get somewhere and believe a service turns up every 15 minutes but then doesn’t.
Was last night’s LINK problem a sign that public transport generally falls apart if extra pressure is put on for a special event?
But let’s not get distracted.
I’ve had heaps of complaints about the Foo Fighters shambles today. Many said they gave up even trying for a bus back. And they lose faith in Auckland public transport which is always the sad thing. You won’t get people out of their cars if they have one bad experience with PT.
Typical of the complaints was this one from “OrangeKiwi”:
“Well, transport to the gig was a disaster. Could’ve taken the Outer Link to St Lukes and walk a short distance (1.2k I think), but for some reason opted to go 2 Britomart and catch one of the special buses instead.
Bad choice. It was very busy (as you would expect) but no communication whatsoever, ended up in a queue with other people who had no clue about what was going on either. After having waited in the queue for 30mins we found out from other people in the queue you couldn’t pay on the bus and there was a separate queue for tickets. No word on that on any website beforehand, no signs placed on location and no-one there to tell us about this.
That ticket queue went at least one and a half time around the block of buildings (bordered by Quay, Commerce, Tyler, Queen St) and was hardly moving. Looked liked it was going to take an hour at least just to get the tickets – then back to the second queue for boarding.
So just like many, many others we ventured off into Queen St and surrounding areas looking for a taxi. It was crazy, but managed to find one. Those taxi drivers had one of the best nights I can tell you.
On the way back we just went for a taxi straight away, which was fast and easy as – our taxi driver commented to us that the taxi pickup area was extremely well organised for once. Apparently the buses were still not leaving by the time we got home (it’s about 7k).
Foo Fighters rocked though, had a good night out…
Yes, at least Foo got it right.