Democracy = bus (and bike!) lanes


It’s the last week of Parliament for the year, the last week of the CIR on asset sales (I hope you’ve all posted your ballots and got all your friends/family/workmates to do the same!), and the last week to submit on a few of the Government’s terrible motorway projects. My expert evidence on the Basin Reserve flyover is due this week, and Puhoi to Warkworth submissions to the Board of Inquiry close Friday.

I know everyone is frantically busy in the mad pre-xmas rush, so I’ll spare you a lengthy blog post about some great positive initiatives in Auckland (until next week, anyway), and instead just recommend you watch this fantastic TED talk.

Enrique Peñalosa is awesome.


  1. Enrique Peñalosa, contributed quite a lot to Bogotá while mayor – even more than the Millennia bus system.

    There are a few worthwhile youtube videos, and the PBS series E2, has an episode outlining some of his changes in Bogotá.

    (Still missing TVNZ 7…)

    I seem to recall him visiting (or being interviewed) by a NZ reporter some years ago, who was stunned that his first act as mayor was pulling up some of the roads in the centre of town and pedestrianising them – overnight.

    • Yes, he is a man with a vision.

      We need more visionary and courageous leaders at national and local government level to actually bring about a radical culture change in New Zealand!

      Under the present government New Zealand seems to be moving backwards. They want to allow more urban sprawl and build more highways and roads, rather than apply a resolute change of direction in urban planning, which involves not just housing, but also the wider infrastructure of roads, bus, train and cycle networks.

      Even in Auckland, where at least some moderate improvements have been made, we can do more than just paint a few yellow lines on the side of streets and roads, to allow cyclists to use them.

      I used to cycle a lot when younger – and even in and out Auckland City. I gave this up, after being hit by a bus and ending up at A+E at the hospital, and also having had so many scary close encounters with trucks, buses and ordinary private motor vehicles.

      If cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, now even Paris, London, Madrid and other places, and here we seen, even Bogota in Colombia, can bring about culture chance and safe networks for cyclists, same as busways for faster bus traffic, then for sure, this must be possible here in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

      But sadly, the mindset of the majority is unchanged, all rather “petrol headed”, individualistically minded, rather anti social, and they do see too little reason to change. They are the ones that vote governments in and out, and we know, Key and his “dinosaur” minded lot got voted in, with the help of two Parliamentary “over stayers”.

      Time for a change, I say!

  2. All your efforts are highly respected and appreciated by me, dear Julie Anne!

    BUT the reality of what I experience every week, as a regular bus user in Auckland, is so far from what is desirable, and what should be done, it is a total DISGRACE, what Auckland Transport and the contracted bus companies are delivering to us.

    We have this messy transition to wider use of the AT HOP card, where passengers get annoyed for not being able to use some older ones on buses they use to take, some having to spend extra, as I understand, and the whole system being close to chaotic, at least for many.

    Then a few weeks ago I learned of bus stops along Manukau Road to be closed, as they were “too close” to other ones, and “slowing” bus commuter traffic, due to being unnecessary stops. There were complaints by elderly and disabled in retirement villages and so, but I am unsure about AT listening.

    Two or three weeks ago I learned that they ABOLISHED the traditional day passes, like the popular ‘Busabout’ tickets, often used by beneficiaries or others, who only travel occasionally, but then frequently. Yes, they were very good for some of us, as we could spend a day or two a week, to travel unlimited at affordable fares, to do our errands, to visit friends or family, to see doctors and do shopping, also to perhaps to a little “tiki tour” around the city and so.

    But no, now it is all to be done by either using a HOP (“flop”) card, offering discounts at around 10 per cent from the normal fare only, or by paying the normal cash fare for each ride.

    So those that have no HOP card will have to spend extra, possibly twice as much or more, to do what they used to do, or they have to also get a HOP (“flop”) card to “save” only a little bit on their travels.

    I am astonished that they get away with this. So much for giving people an incentive to use buses and public transport. It seems they rather want to maximise their takings, their earnings, rather than give people a reason to get out of cars and use buses or trains.

    Some bus drivers continue to be rather rude, drive past stops despite of people waving out, even when their bus is not full. Some seem to not have learned driving in a considerate way, as their driving is erratic, and like they are transporting cattle on the back of their trucks. Others are friendlier of course, but I ask, are they still so unhappy and underpaid, that they hate doing their jobs, and behave like they do?

    So in summary, having grown up with public transport in a more organised and forward looking society in Europe, where things look a bit better for bus and train users, what is our incentive to go and use this public transport, when we get shafted and treated with disrespect by those many overpaid “jerks” working in the planning and administrative management sections at Auckland Transport.

    I feel they should all be sacked and me made to re-apply, once a proper, responsible and decent transport administration has been set up. I am furious and sick of using the buses now!

  3. $2 bus travel anywhere and everywhere everyday. no more expensive executives planning marketing campaigns or instituting ridiculous hop cards.
    Pay a living wage to the drivers so they can actually possibly like their job. We are talking about an essential public service.
    pay for it out of the sacked executives salary budget.
    create a service Auckland can be proud of. Fight the cancer that is cars

Comments are closed.