Opinion: Auckland commuters, you have no idea

London on a regular day v Auckland on train strike day. Harden up, Auckland. Credit: Image - Wikipedia/Newshub; video - Newshub

OPINION: "Furious passengers are lashing out!" the media said. "It's commuter carnage!" they frothed.

After Auckland Transport announced that due to industrial action, trains would run at 20-minute intervals this week, commuters went into meltdown.

There were reports of overcrowded trains (pfffft), standing room only (sigh) and in one dramatic incident, a delicate commuter even fainted. Stop the press.


Oh please, Auckland. You have no idea.

Having only recently arrived from London, I know what a public transport shutdown can do to a city.

And on the roads and rails of Auckland this week, commuter chaos it is not.

My journey on day one of the strike was a metaphorical tiptoe through the tulips compared to what other cities have to deal with.

On Monday, I packed my bag, girded my loins, and set out for the journey.

Then anticlimactically arrived at my desk an easy one hour 15 minutes later, no more than 30 minutes late for work.

I'd been offered a seat on one train and AT staff at Newmarket kindly directed me to my second platform.

What a bloody let down.

When London's public transport shuts down, you'd be slapped on the back for making it to work two-and-a-half hours late.

And it isn't just a metre of snow or an act of terrorism that shuts down the Old Smoke.

London trains stop at the drop of a hat - a fox in a tunnel, some autumn leaves on the track, some idiot trying to retrieve their phone from under a carriage.

And when they stop, millions - MILLIONS - of people are stuck.

We're talking the population of Auckland queuing to get into a tube station.

We're talking all the good folk of Masterton squeezing onto one bus.

And you know what Londoners do in response? They keep their sense of humour, and suck it up.


On Monday, with a weary exhalation and dramatic roll of the eyes, a spokesperson for Auckland Transport sighed that standing on a train is "part of living in a big city".

"There are services that are very busy at the moment," they told Newshub. "It's perfectly safe for people to be standing on a train."

You want to live in a big city? Then harden up, Auckland.

Put on your big pants, get out of here and go commute.

Maggie Wicks is the features editor for Newshub.