Should buses be music-free zones? Aucklanders are divided

Many people have strong opinions about public transport, but a new debate has arisen around whether or not music should be played on buses.

The question was raised by journalist and general observer of Auckland life Steve Braunias, who called it a "monstrous war against silence".

His complaint unleashed a debate around whether or not buses should be quiet places. Some said they loved hearing music on public transport, while others railed against it.

Presenter and former Dancing with the Stars NZ contestant Robert Rakete called bus music an "aural assault", but reporter Garth Bray said he took greater offence at drivers playing talkback radio than music.

When it comes to official rules around music on buses, the area's grey.

Auckland Transport's (AT's) James Ireland says while it doesn't have a policy against drivers playing music on buses, drivers are not allowed to use personal devices such as cellphones while on the clock.

They are allowed to play music through the bus sound system using their common sense and discretion in terms of volume and appropriate lyrics, he says.

Sometimes AT buses play music for promotions, such as a recent advertisement for the film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Mr Ireland says if any member of the public takes issue with the volume or content of music being played on the bus, they should get in touch with AT.

He says he can't recall anyone making a complaint about music during his time with AT.

Several people on social media said drivers on Ritchies buses often play music, but Auckland depot manager Tim Briscoe says that's unlikely, as most of their buses lack the necessary equipment.

He told Newshub that wireless radios were removed from the entire fleet some years ago, and while some buses are equipped with electronic sound systems, most are not.

"It's just air con and lights now," he says.

Mr Briscoe says Ritchies has no official policy on bus music.