Auckland bus strike: Commuters rave about 'dream runs' into work

By Amelia Wade, Tess Nichol

Some motorists tried their luck in the bus lanes. Photo / NZTA
Some motorists tried their luck in the bus lanes. Photo / NZTA

Auckland has survived the first hurdle of the bus drivers' strike with commuters reporting "dream runs" and lighter than usual traffic thanks to many opting to walk or take alternative forms of transport.

However, police were spotted stopping motorists illegally using bus lanes in Mt Eden.

READ MORE: Auckland bus strike: As it happened

Police are stopping people using bus lanes on Dominion Rd. Photo / Supplied
Police are stopping people using bus lanes on Dominion Rd. Photo / Supplied

Despite the strike, bus lanes are still off limits for cars as there are still some bus services running and the lanes need to be free for cyclists, a police spokesman said.

Auckland Transport bus manager Brendon Main said buses, trains and ferries said extra services had helped eased the pressure on the highways and local roads. Today only, Auckland Transport put another 5000 seats on the trains across the rail network and the entire 17-strong double decker fleet was used on the Northern Express service.

Mr Main thanked commuters for their patience and asked them to follow the same advice of walking, car pooling or using an alternative form of transport leaving work this evening.

"Reports coming back are that we coped pretty well. We're absolutely happy with how it went.

"We would like people to repeat it again after work."

Commuters who contacted the Herald about their trip to work have reported smooth and free-flowing traffic - some are even saying the strike should happen everyday.

Traffic is flowing pretty well around the city. With minor delays in some places. We hope everyone has had a safe drive...

Posted by NZ Transport Agency - Auckland & Northland on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ludy Colenbrander drove from Mission Bay to Albany and said he arrived in record time because it seemed there were no buses "to clog up the roads".

Matt Hancock said it was a "wonderful day on the roads" this morning. He rides a motorbike and his wife drives a car and both noted traffic was lighter than usual.

"We didn't use the motorway, but if a bus strike can clear the roads of Ellerslie, Remuera, Newmarket, Mt Wellington, Kohimarama, and Grafton I suggest a 'bus free day' once a week for Auckland?"



At Britomart, train commuters said their journey was not too much busier than normal and extra carriages on some lines meant people who would usually bus were easily accommodated.

University student Simmi Kaushal, 21, catches the train in from Homai station most mornings and said her train was not particularly full today.

"It was normal, there was no hustle and bustle."


Train driver Paul James also said he thought the trains were busier this morning than usual but said there was no indication bus users were annoyed about having to catch the train.

"We had a few extra passengers, she was definitely pretty full," he said.

"Everyone seemed I pretty good spirits, maybe it's because the suns out for the first time all week."

Marketing manager Samantha Yao, 32, who came in from Middlebank said she hadn't even been aware a strike was on until the Herald asked her about it.

"There was absolutely no traffic - I'm 15 minutes early."

Meanwhile, striking bus drivers have been picketing at NZ Bus depots across the city. At the Swanson depot, about 80 drivers gathered in florescent vests with signs, chants and horns.

Picket lines at the bus depot on Diana Drive, Glenfield. Photo / Chris Loufte
Picket lines at the bus depot on Diana Drive, Glenfield. Photo / Chris Loufte

But one driver went rogue and threw eggs at company management heading through the picket to work.

"There was no intention to throw eggs, but now he's gone through a whole tray already," another driver told the Herald.

The driver said 100 per cent of comments from the public had been positive and supportive and the drivers were getting lots of honks from passing motorists. About 8.30am after four hours of picketing, the barbecue was being fired up for a breakfast of steak and eggs.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 23 May 2017 09:59:38 Processing Time: 551ms