A Bigger Bus for the 005

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Katie from NZ Bus has responded to my complaint about overloading on the 005 in the morning:

RE CASE 2011/01820

Thank you for your feedback regarding the recent heavy loading issues experienced by the 7.57am 005 service.

The Metrolink team have now addressed this issue by assigning a larger 3 axle bus to this duty and will continue to monitor the passenger loading on this service.

Please accept our apologies for an inconvenience and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Nice one, NZ Bus… hopefully Auckland Transport will be able to come up with a plan to have at least one additional service between 7:57 and 8:37

A Plea for the 005

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I’ve submitted the following via the feedback page of the maxx website.

Could we please have a bigger bus for the 005 7:57 service on weekday mornings.  Tuesdays service was a full standing load (only an 1800 series bus was provided) and the St Marys and Ponsonby Intermediate school kids aren’t even back until tomorrow (Thursday).

There also needs to be an additional 005 service from Westmere in the mornings.  Current services depart 7:57 and 8:37 – this gap is too large. Perhaps extending the current 8:10 or 8:25 004 services to originate from Westmere instead of the Herne Bay terminus would help here.

It took a week for the last feedback I gave via the website to be acknowledged, lets hope we get some faster feedback this time. Incidentally, even though I haven’t had it confirmed at all via the feedback process, I rode on bus 1801 yesterday and it looks to be producing far less emissions than shown in this video here.

Josh Arbury also has a request in to reroute the 005 in the evenings to go via the Albert St bus lanes rather than Hobson St. Let’s hope we see some progress on that one too.

One week later…

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Following on from the complaint I made a week ago about the clouds of smoke coming from the back of a bus on Queen St, NZ Bus advised the following last Friday:

Thank you for your email advising us of vehicle emissions being emitted from Bus 1801 on the 6th January 2011 at approximately 8:45am.

NZ Bus aim to be the way the people of our communities choose to travel. We aim to deliver a service that is reliable and safe at all times.

The information has been sent to our Metrolink City Depot business unit and passed on to the Operations Manager. The bus will be assessed and any necessary action taken.

Thank you once again for bringing this to our attention.

I can’t believe it has taken a week to route the complaint to the right depot.  One way Maxx/NZ Bus could improve their service would be to improve their complaint turn around times from 5 working days.

Polluting Buses

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This is the worst example of a polluting bus I’ve ever seen on Auckland’s Queen St, which I captured this morning on my way to work. In any civilised city, this should be completely unacceptable. A few questions:

  • Why aren’t noisy, polluting, carcinogenic emissions like this illegal in New Zealand’s biggest city?
  • Doesn’t Metrolink check buses for excessive pollution as they leave the depot?
  • Does Auckland Transport enforce any emission standards as part of any contract with operators?
  • Won’t it be embarrassing if buses like this are permitted to operate during the Rugby World Cup?
  • Whatever happened to 0800 Smokey?

I’ll be asking Auckland Transport and NZ Bus to follow up on this. Its bus number 1801, which is one of the old former Link buses I think.

[Update] – have just sent the following through the Maxx feedback form:

I observed bus number 1801 emitting excessive noise and diesel exhaust on the corner of Queen St and K’Rd. A video of this can be seen at http://www.bettertransport.org.nz/2011/01/polluting-buses/

Can this bus please be removed the road immediately until the problem can be rectified?

Also more generally, is there any agency responsible for enforcing emission standards for buses in Auckland?

Bus Dramas

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Well I guess today could have just been a number of coincidences, but it did seem fairly symptomatic of the state of Auckland’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 “error”. 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 wasn’t going to work anymore, so he gave up.

After work I made my way down to the bus stop. Bus card didn’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 wouldn’t close. While I guess it’s better to have them this way than the other way around, it did mean that the “bus stopping” sign kept on flicking off immediately. I think it was bus number 1200…. 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?

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