Discussing :: A radical idea, free buses!

Reducing congestion with free buses The Greens have announced a plan to reduce traffic congestion in Auckland: free public transport for school students. Its not as crazy an idea as it sounds. Here in Palmerston North, they have free bus travel for tertiary students - and with a quarter of the city travelling over the bridge to Massey or the CRIs every morning, it has made a tremendous difference. There is still congestion, but noticeably less of it. And as a bonus, it has improved bus services generally, at least in terms of the size and quality of the vehicles. Would the same happen in Auckland? I think it is at least worth investigating. And the cost -... read full article

#1

A radical idea, free buses!

Radical is the right word! I thought the Greens really wanted us all riding bicycles, not driving around pouring out diesel smoke like the current bus service does? Why pick on students to get free buses anyway? In Palmerston North it can make sense. Half of the city lives off the income from the Massey Students, much like Dunedin. So a free service is just another city incentive to attract the students. Here in Auckland we don't do "incentives"! Examples, Around the World Yacht races now pass through Wellington, V8 Cars in Hamilton, Flower Show moved to Christchurch. Have they all forgotten that we tax and rate payers already subsidise the public transport systems in Auckland by I think 40% of the cost? Yet pretty much every month the northern motorway is congested because of a bus breakdown on the Bridge. The offshore Company who runs the services pocket the extra rather than spend it on maintenance it seems. I would like a free bicycle, so I can ride to the supermarket at weekend and get the groceries! Why should we not all get free bikes? Some would ride to walk instead of using their car I am sure. Auckland is not a City which lends itself to effective public transport, and no amount og Green whinging will change that. If Waterview had been built 15 years ago when firat mooted, it would have cost a tiny franction of the current prices. Now we get motorways with millions spent on fancy landscaping, sculptured concrete works, mass plantings of native trees and shrubs. looks lovely, but we are a relatively poor country. We cannot afford the luxury. Or free buses either.

#2

A radical idea, free buses!

I think it's a brilliant idea. Traffic is noticeably quieter during school and uni holidays and the cost would benefit everyone (not just the students), as faster moving traffic means less fuel cost. Think also of the money that would be saved by not having to build new roads, as we make better use of what we have. Various studies have shown money spent on public transport to be more efficient than money spent on roads alone. True, this idea alone wouldn't free the roads, but it would make a noticeable difference, and is the sort of thing Auckland needs to do to prove that public transport is a legitimate option, and the way to make our city properly world class - how many big international cities have a public transport system as weak as ours? This is where Auckland falls behind, and it doesn't need to be so. The councils have been spending heaps on improving bus lanes/bus corridors, and this would be the perfect way to make optimum use of them, while providing benefit to many families and other road users. I'm all for it!

#3

A radical idea, free buses!

By failing to keep building roads over the past 20 years at a pace that kept up with the growth in population, we have created a massive cost that this generation must face up to. Public transport can ever only serve, in Auckland, a small slice of the population. We cannot social engineer the population to live in high density housing when we have built almost none of it. We cannot social engineer people to work close to their homes. So we are stuck with a sprawling thinly populated city. Sure, traffic is easier when schools/universities are closed. But think of why that is? Partly its because a slice of the parents have gone on holiday with their rugrats, and so they are not driving into work! Giving them free buses will make precious little difference. Do your kids pester you to drive them to school because the bus is more expensive than you car? I dont think so! Parents drive the kids because its a long cold and wet walk to the bus stop, which probably has no shelter. The buses are erratic at best, leave anything from 10 minutes early to 30 minutes late. (real life experience) A free bus is not going to change that one scrap.

#4

A radical idea, free buses!

i think its a great idea... i see lots of criticism but not many alternative (and realistic) ideas?

#5

A radical idea, free buses!

I can see why you would think it would make little difference, but we all agree that something needs to be done to fix Auckland's traffic issues, and I believe that the relatively small cost of this would justify its results. It may reduce traffic by just a small amount, but can you imagine the cost of the roads that would need to be built for the same result? I think it's at least worth a try!

#6

A radical idea, free buses!

I agree that the layout of Auckland does not lend itself well to public transport, but what is the alternative? The motorways can not get any wider, neither can the off ramps so there is simply nowhere for all these cars now, and nothing can change that. The only solution is less cars. Agreed that making it free for students wont do much because most of em still travel in cars. Need a mindset change - visiting Copenhagen I witnessed cycle lanes on EVERY street in the city, they even had their own traffic lights. A ton of people cycling, rain, snow or shine - including lots of hot women in short skirts...... People just got over themselves and rode a f**king bike. But I can't see it happening until the opportunity to do so safely is offered by the city.

#7

A radical idea, free buses!

That Guy asks, what are the alternatives, and a valid question. A great deal of the problem lies with the short term thinking that has pervaded decision making for decades, ever since Mayor Robbie really. Eg the Harbour Bridge, but at least those in authority took the bull by the horns and fixed it. Now we rarely fix, because no-one has the courage to bulldoze houses. How many hundreds of millions is being spent on the replacement Newmarket flyover? How many new lanes does it give us, nada. Why not? Because they want to force people to use buses. Millions spent on the new Onewa Road on-off ramps. How many new lanes, ziltch. Millions being spent on the Grafton Gully bridge. Any more lanes for cars, no, cars are permanently banned from it, its a bus bridge only in future. How much more does it cost to add an extra lane or two while doing these major jobs. Not a fraction of what it is going to cost to try and add on to them in 10 or 15 years time. There is room alongside big stretches of the motorways to add a lane and even two in places. Each strip done like that does ease the flow in that area.

#8

A radical idea, free buses!

Good article. I would definately use free buses and I believe alot of other people would also. It may also help to remove the negative stigma associated with bus users. It may not solve traffic congestion problems in Auckland but it is an option that should be tested and appears to be far more cost effective than perpetual expenditure on infrastructure that is always too little too late.

#9

A radical idea, free buses!

We already have some free transport for over 65s, and now possibly free transport for school students. How come everyone else (hardworking single income families for example) are subsiding other people's free travel. Not sure about the fairness of this.

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