Auckland Transport is spending over $122,000 to put on shuttle buses for it’s staff moving between it’s Henderson and CBD offices. This is something I heard about a while ago and Radio NZ has picked up on the story:
Staff at the agency which runs public transport in Auckland are being offered a shuttle service for business trips between offices, because buses and trains are too slow.
Auckland Transport (AT) is spending more than $122,000 over six months, trialling the shuttle between its downtown offices and its headquarters in Henderson.
Public transport advocates say staff travelling between the Henderson and downtown locations should be using the bus and rail services at the door of both offices.
AT wants to reduce its car fleet by 20 vehicles, and is encouraging staff to cut car use.
“We’re providing options for staff, to have a tele-conference, to catch public transport using business AT HOP cards, and we’re also providing a shuttle between Henderson and Britomart,” AT community transport manager Matthew Rednall said.
To me it is outrageous that AT are undermining their own PT services by putting these shuttles on. They say it’s about travel times
The train took 50 minutes, while the shuttle usually took 20-25 minutes, Mr Rednall said.
“There is public transport and we talk to our staff about using (it) but if we want to get the best productivity, we need to provide choices,” he said.
However the travelling times were not always much different. When Radio New Zealand checked the shuttle’s downtown arrival at 9am, it had taken 30 minutes, and the lone passenger said it sometimes took 40 minutes in congested traffic.
Yet the timetable (below) shows the shuttle takes 30-35 minutes. That means it doesn’t save that much time over the existing options which includes both trains (which are actually scheduled to take 44 minutes) and buses (the 090 which is scheduled to take 40 minutes). If the services are too slow for AT staff then perhaps they might also be too slow for the general public. A better focus would be on using the money to improve the speed and frequency of the existing services to make them more attractive to everyone. That might even help grow patronage .
If productivity is a concern then they should get cracking with getting WiFi rolled out to a greater portion of the network so that their staff can work while commuting between the two offices. It’s not even if they have a long way to go to access the PT system. Their Henderson office is directly linked to the train station while in the CBD they are just across the road from Britomart in the HSBC building.
Clearly some AT staff also think it’s a waste of time, as the image below shows someone’s put up a copy of the bus and train timetables next to the glossy poster for the shuttle.
If AT aren’t prepared to back their own PT services then why should they expect the rest of the public to? Using the services and experiencing what regular customers experience should be a everyone at AT.
And here is the audio report
or listen here.
Here is some additional information that AT sent me.
On average there are now 40 to 50 people using the service each day, about 4 per trip.
We are already seeing a drop in numbers using fleet vehicles or claiming mileage for their private vehicle.
Henderson to the CBD is 18.4km or 38.8km return, at a mileage rate of 77 cents per kilometre with parking at $3 per hour.
Public transport is also an option used by many staff to travel to meetings in the city but the timings of the trains don’t always suit.
The train takes 45 minutes whereas the shuttle door-to-door is 20 to 25 minutes. Until the CRL is built we won’t see any dramatic improvement in those travel times for the trains.
This is about business efficiency as well as cost savings and we are determined to trial different transport options for our staff.
Other initiatives include a suite of fleet bikes at our offices for staff business travel.
We are also trialling two electric bikes, if the uptake is good and proves to be an efficient and useful resource, there may be an opportunity to extend the pedal power throughout the organisation.
Just as bad are the council who put on a shuttle between their offices in the CBD and Takapuna. They can’t even claim a time saving as the PT services take the same length of time and are more frequent to boot.