• Rosy Harper Duff recently returned from four years in London and Canada and now lives in Takapuna. Her father is the writer Alan Duff.
Dear New Zealand Government and Auckland Transport,
I would like to start this letter with two words: incompetent and unacceptable. These are the words that come to mind when thinking about the Auckland bus system. I speak as a frustrated commuter and doubtless for many others like myself.
I am sad to think that I am about to become another car, adding to the endless lines of traffic, due to the fact that I am no longer able to rely on the Auckland public transport system. Just one more unnecessary vehicle, adding to the 43,000 Auckland gains every year. But as they say, "desperate times call for desperate measures".
When travelling to work by bus, I would like to think I can rely on the buses to get to and from, with ease and at a low price. I'll admit to many days where my bus came with no troubles. However, these days have become few and far between.
On several different occasions, I have been waiting patiently for my bus, an eager commuter, ready for the day of work ahead of me. However, much to my surprise, no bus. No update on the app, no news as to where any of my three buses were, nothing.
While I understand there are reasons for bus delays and buses not arriving, all I ask is that these be communicated to myself and my fellow commuters. In a first-world country, where people rely on these buses to get to work on time, no-show buses simply won't do.
A city's transport system is a fundamental foundation determining how it runs, not only for the local populace but tourists and visitors. Auckland has now cracked the two million mark for annual visitors to the city.
Auckland is our country's number one tourist destination. Being a traveller, I know how much tourists rely on public transport. London, for example: A city visited by multimillions, with 10 million residents, many of whom rely on public transport. They have real-time arrival boards, buses that arrive on time and go every five to 10 minutes. Now this is a system you can rely on.
Much of our economy depends on tourism, but even more, bus commuters getting to and from work. Why can London figure this out, yet we can't? I hope one day this question will be answered.
As stated, every year 43,000 more cars are piling up on Auckland's roads. This is an alarming increase. If the current transport system remains as it is, this number of cars on the road will continue to grow, not only contributing to the appalling traffic but also to the greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere. While climate change is a whole different kettle of fish, which I won't delve into just now, as I risk being here all night, it is still an important aspect to look at.
There are now 45,000 people living in the central city: that's the number the planners said we'd reach in 2032. There are 22 per cent more people working in the CBD and the number of commuters arriving on public transport has risen from 13,000 to 40,000.
More people and more commuters means there needs to be more buses that we can count on. Right now, it's a lottery if they're going to turn up. Yet, here we still are, waiting for our buses which never arrive.
I understand that this is a first-world problem, and I know we all have bigger fish to fry than late or no-show buses. However, we live in a first-world country, where we are fortunate enough that we can call this a problem. We also have the first-world privilege of free speech and the ability to voice our opinions in the hope that one day, something will change.
So I ask of you, the Government of New Zealand and Auckland Transport, take a long, hard look at yourself and make a change because in the words of Wayne Dyer, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
A new car owner.