Aaargh! On trains and buses to visit my Mum today

Went to visit my Mum today, exchange Christmas presents, and shout her for lunch in Pukekohe. She is 90 years old, and doesn’t feel confident about driving the motorway  anymore, so she can’t get to our family Christmas because there is no public transport available to her on Christmas Day.

So for the last few years, we have had our pre-Christmas catchup, and she has then shared Christmas Day with friends who live locally to her.

Anyway, what a drama getting there today!  I live in West Auckland. My partner and I have one car between us, a decision we made in the interests of ecological sustainability. My partner had to work today and needed the car for that, so that option was out.

To get to Pukekohe by mid-day, I had to negotiate two trains and bus replacements between them, and that meant I had to leave home well before 10am.  Same on the way home, so for just over an hour and a half with my Mum in Pukekohe, I spent almost 5 hours traveling on trains and buses.

Surely the public transport system in Auckland can do better than that.

Bus hoons

This was the excitement on my street this weekend:

Two buses crashing head-on in Wellington was not a surprise to residents at the scene, who said a combination of blind corners and “hooning” bus drivers made it “an accident about to happen”.

I’ve got a friend who calls this bus route the bus ride of terror. The bus drivers hoon along our ridge-top street. The car drivers hoon.  The motorcyclists hoon.  The SUV drivers hoon like you wouldn’t believe.  Even I occasionally rev the handle bars on my bicycle and hoon and holler down the hill.

But I reckon part of the problem is not drivers, but street design.  There are either cars parked all over the footpath, making it impossible for baby prams and wheelchairs to get past, or they are parked on the road reducing the space and visability on the many blind corners.  The other problem is the speed limit.  Two cars travelling towards each other at 50km on blind corners makes for quite a loud ‘boom’. A boom that gave my kid a nightmare. The road is only 2 kms long. Going at 30 km an hour instead of 50km, such as on Willis St at present, would lose a driver 42 seconds at most.