Well I guess today could have just been a number of coincidences, but it did seem fairly symptomatic of the state of Aucklandâ€™s public transport.
So, as it was a Monday morning I headed into town on the 004/005 bus route – like I always do. The weather was pretty rubbish this morning, and inevitably the bus was late. I suppose that I have some sympathy for late buses on wet-weather days, as generally the traffic is rubbish. A pile of intrepid bus catchers huddled in the shelter, and eventually our bus came along. Then, first drama – my bus pass refused to work. Sometimes I have had problems with it in the past, but never amounting to anything more than requiring the driver to push it back in and try again. But on this occasion it just kept on saying â€œerrorâ€. After about ten goes I gave up and dug into my wallet for a $2 coin.
Then next drama – for some reason or another the doors on the bus (bus number 1830 by the way) refused to open for the driver. This meant that every time the bus stopped for someone to get off, everyone needed to wander to the front of the bus and wait for the driver to get up, wrench the door open and then wrench the door shut once everyone was off. I think eventually the driver found himself totally sick of that, and realised that by revving the engine of the bus hugely he could generate the extra power needed for the doors to open. That worked a couple of times, although it just about deafened the passengers. But after a while it seemed even that wasnâ€™t going to work anymore, so he gave up.
After work I made my way down to the bus stop. Bus card didnâ€™t work again, although this time the driver was quite nice and gave me a free ride. And then, almost unbelievably the doors on this bus were faulty too! This time they opened fine, but wouldnâ€™t close. While I guess itâ€™s better to have them this way than the other way around, it did mean that the â€œbus stoppingâ€ sign kept on flicking off immediately. I think it was bus number 1200â€¦. truly strange that two different buses on the same day would have almost the same problem. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I caught a bus with a totally defunct ticket machine – what is going on here?