Auckland's park and rides are at breaking point, with many filling up well before the height of rush hour. Commuters say more parking spaces are needed to get more people on to public transport. The Herald visited major park and rides in the city's four corners last week to assess the situation.
At 6am on a Wednesday morning the Glen Innes Park & Ride carpark was just on the verge of activity.
The morning was cool, extra layers of clothing were necessary, and the rain had just stopped, but slowly commuters began to fill up the vacant spots and board trains or buses to their desired destination.
The Glen Innes Park & Ride is on Apirana Ave, adjacent to the railway station and a temporary bus stop.
The railway station is on the Eastern Line of the Auckland railway network and operates services between Britomart and Manukau.
From 5am, train services run approximately every 10 to 15 minutes, with buses also heading to the city every 15-30 minutes from 7am.
The Park & Ride provides 71 parking spaces for commuters, but a second carpark a couple of hundred metres down the road has about 70 additional spaces.
Along with many park and ride facilities in Auckland, the Glen Innes facility is inundated during an early morning rush of commuters.
By 6.30am the first carpark is a busy thoroughfare, with spaces filling up fast.
"I usually get here about 6.40am and it's probably about half-full at that time," one commuter said. "By about 6.50am it's completely full and you have to go to the other section further down the road. That is generally full by 7.20am.
"If you are any later than 7.20am you have to try and find a park somewhere else, which is not easy around the shopping centres."
Another Park & Ride user has adjusted his morning routine to make sure he gets a parking spot.
"Usually I have to leave the house by 6.30am, otherwise this entire area is completely gone," he said.
"I have changed my schedule so I go to the gym before work, and I have to get up way earlier just to go to the gym and come here.
"Otherwise I would have to go down streets or walk further."
By 7am the last space in the first parking lot is gone and other than a trickle of drop-offs, cars quickly redirect to the second lot down the road.
A young man walking the short distance between the carpark and the station said if he arrives before 8am it's usually okay – otherwise he has to get creative.
"If I get here after, I just go bush bashing – as long as you are out of the way, people are fine.
"I have had a pretty passive aggressive note once when I was in the way," he said.
The second carpark is full by 8am, but despite the lack of spaces only one car appears to be parked illegally – positioned within the entrance rather than a designated parking space.
But a disgruntled commuter said it's not just the limited spaces that is the problem, security is also an issue.
"The Park & Ride at GI is s***," she declared. "The parking here is atrocious and cars are broken into all the time. They do nothing about it and there are no cameras.
"We've had police down here about four or five weeks ago, as over a period of two weeks about 20 cars got broken into down here and they did nothing.
"They do s***ty things like put buses right in front which is so dangerous. I can't tell you what it's like at night – you have several buses parked in front, you can't see and it is just rubbish."
Inspector Joe Tipene told the Herald police had noticed an increase in reporting of theft from cars at the parking site a couple of months ago.
"Police met with our partners at AT to discuss this matter at the time and as a result a number of preventative measures were put in place including increasing police presence in the surrounding area.
"As a result we are not aware of this being a current issue for police at this time."
The motorist said she had to use the Park & Ride.
"I don't have any choice. They changed all the bus systems and I live in Half Moon Bay so for me to get from my house to work I have to get two or three buses to the station to get a train – it is just crap."