There was an article in today’s Herald by Brian Rudman that not only refers to this blog, but also refers to one of my biggest annoyances when it comes to catching my regular bus: the extraordinary unreliability of the service when it comes to the length of time it takes to get from Customs Street up to Victoria Street.
The night of this brave statement, I arrived at my bus stop to find a grumpy crowd of regulars seething about having waited more than 20 minutes for a Link or an 004/005 bus to take them home.
Both services were supposedly running a bus every 10 minutes at that time of night.
The next evening, a bus in North Star livery turned up. Climbing aboard, we were greeted by that damp public urinal smell that makes one nervous about sitting down…
…My route must be the shortest and simplest in the book. Up Hobson St from the bottom of town, right into Victoria St East, then straight ahead up College Hill to Herne Bay.
Yet the combined expertise of NZ Bus and assorted local body agencies has, from time immemorial, been unable to provide a regular, reliable timetabled service.
What ordeals customers on more complicated and outlying routes must face I dread to imagine.
Brian and I happen to catch the same bus route, and on some occasions the same bus. Usually he catches it from outside the TVNZ building on Victoria Street, while I sometimes wander up there or sometimes wander down to the Customs Street stop (it generally depends on whether I’m in a hurry and whether I have the energy to climb up Victoria Street). The 004/005 bus almost always leaves Customs Street on time in the evening, but while on some days it zips up Hobson Street quickly, on other days it gets stuck in traffic and can take up to 20 minutes to make the few hundred metre journey from Customs Street to Victoria Street.
There’s one simple reason for the massive variety: Hobson Street does not have bus lanes. Sometimes the traffic from the motorway onramps at the top of Hobson Street tails all the way down to the bottom of the street – the bus gets stuck in that and we’re pretty much stuffed. But what makes the whole process utterly infuriating is that parallel to Hobson Street is Albert Street – and Albert Street has bus lanes! You could easily shift the outbound service to Albert Street – and as there are no bus stops on Hobson Street nobody would be inconvenienced. Furthermore, you could put a bus stop on Albert Street (right outside the NZ Herald building there’s one – which would make Mr Rudman very happy indeed) – improving the accessibility of the 004/005 outbound for people working in the CBD. Something like what’s shown below: The blue line obviously indicates the new route the bus would take outbound. The red star shows the new bus stop location (the orange star shows existing locations). So let’s see:
- This would improve reliability as the bus would be able to use the Albert Street bus lane.
- This would improve accessibility through the new bus stop on Albert Street.
- This would improve travel speeds through the use of the bus lane.
- This would inconvenience nobody as there are no bus stops on Hobson Street.
Why hasn’t Auckland Transport done this already?