March madness: Auckland Transport beefs up services ahead of commuter chaos

Auckland's public transport system has received its annual beefing-up of services as students begin to return to the city centre.

Semester one classes are starting at the two central city universities, the University of Auckland (UoA) and Auckland University of Technology (AUT), bringing an influx of commuters onto public transport.

Auckland Transport is putting on extra services to try and prevent crowds of upset commuters waiting at bus stops.

Auckland Transport media relations manager Mark Hannan told Newshub it’s business as usual at the moment, but the real test will be next week.

"Yesterday there were 190,252 trips on our buses whereas last Monday there were 200,495 – a decrease of 5.1 percent," he said.

"Some services are busier than normal but nothing noticeable. The numbers using public transport will go up if the weather turns bad."

There are currently 12,937 bus trips per week day compared to 11,200 this time last year, Auckland Transport said in a statement.

On top of that, nearly 200 double-decker buses are in service to help alleviate the pressure.

Auckland Transport bus services manager Darek Koper said the larger buses will be focusing on key routes.

"We will also be running more extra-large and double-decker buses on some key routes," Mr Koper said.

"We have recently added more double decker services on Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd, Manukau Rd and Remuera Rd and other routes with 193 double deckers now in service."

An Auckland Transport train at the station.
A train. Photo credit: Newshub.

The train system is expected to cope with the demand, but extra ferry sailings have been added to the Hobsonville Point service.

Auckland Transport admits that even with all the extra services, people may end up in the cold. It will be doing daily monitoring to see where people are suffering.

"We will be checking which routes may need more services and we will be moving buses around where we can to help with the demand," Mr Koper said.

"Unfortunately some buses will be full and passengers may have to wait for the next bus."

He suggested avoiding travel on buses on busy routes during the afternoon or morning peak times.

Bike Auckland recommends switching to the peddle power for the worst of it, as the weather in March is often pleasant for riding.

"'March madness' is almost upon us: Auckland's busiest month on public transport," it said on Twitter.

"It's also the loveliest month to go by bike - sunny, reliable, and serene - which is why we celebrate #Marchradness!"

Just don't count on taking a Lime to work.

Newshub.

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