Auckland bus users urge Auckland Transport to return to normal schedule after complaints of full buses

Auckland bus users are complaining about the lack of services currently being operated by Auckland Transport (AT). 

With everyone back at work after the Christmas break, congestion on buses has increased, but AT is still running on a reduced schedule. 

AT spokesman Blake Crayton-Brown said they are running reduced timetables for bus services until February 1 and train services until February 6.

"We made the decision to run reduced bus and train services until the beginning of February based on a robust analysis of passenger numbers from previous summers along with the Government's latest COVID-19 guidance," Crayton-Brown told Newshub on Monday.

"We know passenger numbers tend to slowly increase over January, but it's not until schools and universities start back that we see the biggest increase in passenger numbers."

Auckland bus users have taken to social media to complain about the lack of services.

"I arrive 2 minutes early for the 7:40 bus which arrives on time but is totally full so drives on past. I note due to the reduced schedules the next bus is half an hour away. That one arrives late and also totally full. Several intelligent people go in together on an Uber," one person wrote on social media. 

Another person said on Twitter: "Auckland is hectic today - waited 45 minutes for a bus because the first 6 or so were full."

Crayton-Brown said some services have been running at capacity, such as some peak services from Albany to the city centre, but there is still a "reasonable amount of spare capacity across the network". 

"We are proactively adding in additional bus services over the next day to meet demand," he said.

"These buses will be added to areas which we have had noted full buses and extended wait times. 

"This will be evident from this afternoon, with more services again added tomorrow morning."

North Shore Ward councillor Richard Hills said he told AT that the February 1 date is "too late" to return to normal services and increased capacity is needed now. 

"My concern is if we don't get those time timetables back urgently - rather than that first of February date - then we could lose those people forever, and then we don't ever get their patronage back," Hills said on Twitter.

He said that Aucklanders' COVID-19 "risk appetite had changed" and that he had received complaints previously about the lack of services but "today it's widespread".