Ironic: Green transport spokesperson late to Auckland Transport meeting due to Auckland transport
In a stunning case of irony, the Greens' transport spokesperson was late to an Auckland Transport meeting on Monday after three buses were too full to pick her up.
Julie-Anne Genter was among a group of passengers at her regular stop on Mt Eden Road and says, "By the time we got a bus, which was about 15 minutes later, there were 15 people waiting".
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She feels the delay emphasises the fact that the city needs more buses, trains and trams – however, Transport Minister Simon Bridges is defending the Government's investment in public transport.
"I just think it's past time that Auckland gets the public transport it needs. We still keep hearing these excuses like people don't want to get out of their cars. The reality is people can't get out of their cars because there aren't reliable public transport services for them to get into."
Ms Genter thinks that the problem is only getting worse, but says it's not Auckland Council or Auckland Transport at fault.
"It's becoming more and more common for buses and trains to be full at peak times, particularly at this time of the year. The issue is that Auckland Transport is working as hard as it can, Auckland Council is already putting as much money as they can into passenger transport, but they're limited in their ability to deliver to people by central government policy," she says.
"It's the Minister of Transport that determines how much money is actually available for strategic public transport infrastructure and for services."
Mr Bridges says the Government's investment in transport is at record levels.
"We've heavily invested in Auckland's Public Transport network including the electrification and upgrade of the metro network, investment in bus, train and ferry services as well as committing to fund half the City Rail Link. We've also extended and added more bus lanes, upgraded and opened new cycleways,” he says.
"We've committed to the Auckland Transport Alignment Project which will deliver a comprehensive, integrated transport network for Auckland."
Ms Genter says the Government isn't investing enough money into public transport services and infrastructure, and "it's going to be a complete disaster for Auckland if this doesn't change soon".
"It's ridiculous that our current National government is spending billions on a few stretches of highway that don't even have a proven business case, rather than prioritising the public transport that Aucklanders need."
It's not known how long Ms Genter waited for a bus on her way home.