Regular Commuters’ Outrageous Fortune
Anyone else overhear the grumbles this morning when leaflets were distributed to Auckland rail commuters advising them of the Christmas rail closedown starting today?
It was the first time the penny may have dropped for many in realising that some disruptions start from now, prior to the full closedown.
You can read in faces the initial panic about .. how the hell will I get to where I am going from Monday.
I remain very disappointed that Auckland Transport has chosen to treat their regular fare-paying customers with such disdain. We all understand the need for network work to take place – it has happening at weekends for years. And the Christmas month long closedown is an accepted tradition. The work being done will benefit us all in the long-run.
But the main reason for bringing this forward this year – because of the one-day music festival Big Day Out- is outrageous. Regular commuters had to put up with being treated poorly for many weeks of the RWC. They came back to the trains afterwards but are now rewarded with this at the most stressful time of year.
Even though tertiary and other educational institutions have closed for the year and businesses are winding down, there is a lot to achieve in a short time for most of us. Many businesses are still in full flight. The last thing we need is to face interruptions to our journeys.
My most-used phrase on this site is that if public transport is not reliable people will not get out of their cars and use it. It’s the main reason people give me for not even trying to use public transport.
To mess with regulars such a short time after the RWC suggests they are easily dispensable.
Big Day Out 2012 in January is already a watered-down festival and may be the last one ever. The diluted line-up may well have put BDO veterans off already especially as there are so many summer music festivals happening over January with interesting lineups.That’s certainly what regulars I know tell me.
Buses already run to BDO and as buses were used to get the 50,000 to Western Springs for the Foo Fighters (admittedly in this case with disastrous project management) why do trains have to be used? AT said it’s a commercial agreement that exists between NZ Bus and Big Day Out for bus shuttle services from the top of Queen Street to Mt Smart.
“However, says AT, “this service has not met public transport demand historically and a special event rail service (fare paying) has been historically operated to meet the additional demand.”
Isn’t that selective use of the “historical” facts. The fringe bus service to BDO was never the only option so it’s inevitable people would chose to catch trains nearer their home than coming all the way into the CBD then walk all the way up Queen St to Real Groovy near Mayoral Drive to catch a bus. Putting on buses as was done for Foo Fighters has not be tried so why argue this using the fringe bus service done before as saying buses don’t work.
Buses were used during the RWC so why do they not work for special events anymore?
The report on this to the AT board justified an earlier closedown as impacting only a maximum of 2,850 passenger trips per day including both inbound and outbound while a closure when Big Day Out was one (January 18-25) would affect a maximum of 3,150 passenger trips per day including both inbound and outbound. This represents about 20% of the daily network usage. Therefore, it believed the minimum impact on regular commuters will be pre-Christmas closure.
Agreed that this is the best of two evils. But shame on AT for choosing the option that once again penalises those who continually support public transport, not offer up a decent bus service instead to those who use public transport once a year only when it is convenient.