Something for bus drivers to note

By Chloe Johnson

Bianca Teulilo said she was 'growled at' by a bus driver for paying her fare with a $20 note. Photo / Doug Sherring
Bianca Teulilo said she was 'growled at' by a bus driver for paying her fare with a $20 note. Photo / Doug Sherring

Bus passengers take note - your driver shouldn't refuse your $20 bill.

Two of Auckland's biggest bus companies have confirmed staff should accept notes of all denomination.

Their comments came after commuters complained of being refused travel or told to sacrifice change if they only had a $20 note.

Jacinda Hill, who travels to the city from Albany every day, said she had problems almost every time she tried to pay with a $20 note.

One driver said he would take the note but keep her change. She refused to pay $20 for a $5.60 fare and walked 15 minutes to the nearest shops to get change.

Another commuter, Soo Yook, said she gave $3.50 to a woman with a $20 note who was refused travel.

"She had to borrow from me, a stranger. It wasn't a pleasant experience for her.

"She had to be in the city at a certain time so she had to take that bus."

Bianca Teulilo had also experienced bus drivers who were "grumpy" about how people paid their fare.

"One man growled at me for having a $20 note ... I can understand where they are coming from but it's not our problem," she said.

NZ Bus general manager John Calder said his drivers had not been told to refuse passengers with $20 notes.

A company policy says a driver should hold the note and give the passenger their change when they get off.

Calder said the company had received only one complaint about a driver's attitude to $20 notes.

Ritchies managing director Andrew Ritchie said drivers should take all passengers, no matter what notes they had.

But he said drivers carried a small amount of money for safety reasons and recommended passengers carried change when possible.

"Bus drivers don't have an endless supply of money."


Commuters have welcomed moves to ease overcrowding on Auckland's public transport services.

Mayor Len Brown this week announced a raft of improvements already being phased in, including:

More and bigger buses on routes between the city and the North Shore.

Extra buses on Mt Eden Rd and Dominion Rd routes.

Four extra carriages on trains on the southern and eastern line.

The move follows a spike in passenger numbers attributed to rising petrol prices. It came after the Herald on Sunday highlighted commuter concerns, including buses being too full to pick up passengers.

Auckland Council transport committee chairman Mike Lee said the changes were partly because of Herald on Sunday coverage.

"The media has a role, not only in keeping the heat on public transport and also making sure that these services are quality and reliable."

Brenda Goodyer, 53, an office manager who commutes to the city from the North Shore, was pleased more buses would run on the Northern Express route: "We need them."

- Herald on Sunday

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