We're seeing a lot of industrial action at the moment: the nurses, the teachers, the court workers, the midwives - and actually they've all got my support.

But do you know who hasn't?
The bus drivers.

In order to successfully strike, you need to take the public with you. You need to have some goodwill in the bank, some trust built up, so that when you down tools the wider public goes "oh yeah I see your point, you work hard, I've had positive experiences with you, I support you".


This is where the bus drivers have fallen over in my view.

First of all, I've never seen a bus arrive on time. Ever.

Secondly, I very rarely see a bus driver who isn't grumpy.

I've caught enough buses in my time to know I'd rather take the car.

But my daughter's growing up in the age of public transport being hammered down our throats. Never have we heard more about how we should be on buses and trains and in cycle lanes.

So here in Auckland, we have a Hop card system run by Auckland Transport. A Hop card is a pre-loaded, non-cash ticketing system which allows you to travel on trains and buses, with fares debited each time you tag on.

An integrated non-cash ticketing system is expected to be rolled out nationwide at some point - so here's the warning. It doesn't work.

I bought my daughter a Hop card, topped it up, waited the ridiculously long time of up to 72 hours for it to be loaded, and sent her on her way.


She hopped on the (very late) bus and the card was declined. She was stood down off the bus.

I rang Auckland Transport who told me that was odd and to try again. I did. She was stood down off the bus again.

I rang Auckland Transport again and they told me that their system showed money was indeed on her card... and to try again. I loaded yet more money, waited the loading time, she re-tried, it declined.

Three times she was told no, she can't ride.

And here's my beef with the bus drivers.

Her friend tried to tag her on, with her own Hop card, but the driver told her she wasn't allowed to do that, and told my daughter to get off the bus. Drivers can't do that.

They don't get to pick and choose who pays for what fare. If payment for a fare is being offered via any Hop card, they have to take it.

But this driver elected to take matters into her own hands, play God, refuse it, and put an 11-year-old back on the street.

It's these kinds of experiences that make kids scared to take the bus.

So to the striking bus drivers: You may need to work a bit harder on your attitude, if you want people along for the ride.