Travelling into town by car might be convenient but there are downsides. It is expensive. Fuel prices have increased dramatically over the last 12 months, regular petrol by 29% and diesel by a staggering 45%. When you factor in car parking charges, traffic delays, cost of car ownership, and pollution maybe now is the time to rethink your commute.
We spoke to Brigid Rogers, from the Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association (WQ TMA), about how convenient it is to use public transport to commute into Auckland.
“Public transport is a great alternative to the car for many people throughout the city. It is faster, cheaper, safer, and great for the environment and your carbon footprint. It also allows you to start work or relax as soon as you sit down, whether you are replying to emails or reading a book, or solving the latest Wordle puzzle,” said Brigid.
A recent survey analysed the amount of extra time we sit in our cars during the rush hour. It amounted to an astonishing 150 hours (or over 6 days) during 2021. And this was during the pandemic. In 2019 we spent an additional 12 hours sitting behind the wheel (over 7 days).
If I want to trial commuting to work by public transport, where do I start?
“There has never been a better time to start,” says Brigid. “Until the end of June, Auckland Transport is discounting all their public transport fares by 50%, and the purchase of your first HOP card is reduced from $10 to $5. There is a further 12% off fares if you travel outside peak times.”
There are numerous apps that can help you plan your travel.
“Auckland Transport has a great journey planner. You simply plug in your starting point, destination, departure time, and preferred mode of transport and it will plan your trip, informing you of the cost, any transfers, and walking time.
They also have a real-time journey planner app. This includes the location of e-bikes and scooters. The app helps commuters be at the right stop, at the right time and avoids waiting time at bus stops, ferry piers, and train platforms.”
The WQ TMA has produced a smart animated bus map. This incredible resource gives details of all the bus routes that provide a direct service to Wynyard Quarter or stop within a short walking distance.
Can I easily bike, scoot, or walk to work?
There are other means of transport. If you live close enough, bikes, e-bikes, electric scooters, skateboards, and walking are all viable methods of transport. If you live further afield you may scoot, bike or walk the first or last part of your commute.
“Many employers have onsite facilities for cyclists, walkers and scooter users. These end-of-trip facilities can include showers, lockers to secure your change of clothes, charging stations, secure parking areas, and drying rooms,” says Brigid.
There is also a public secure bike parking facility in the Jellicoe Street car park.
Not sure about e-bikes or where you can ride them in the city? Auckland Transport can help. They have designed a series of free, guided, e-bike trips. The course is about 7 km, and takes approximately 2 hours to complete, and the bikes and helmets are provided. This is a great way to see if an e-bike is for you.
Is it easy to pick up a car, should I need to make a quick trip?
“Yes! Sometimes a trip to a client or appointment requires a car. But this does not mean you need to use it for your commute that day. Currently Wynyard Quarter has three car share schemes operating – cityhop, mevo, and zilch. You can use the car by the hour or on a subscription basis. Zilch only operates electric cars and has a convenient site right in the heart of the quarter,” says Brigid.
Need more help or want to learn more?
There are lots of great initiatives circulating within organisations. From offering year-round subsidised travel on public transport, to interest-free loans to purchase e-bikes and informal carpools.
“Whether you are looking to save money, reduce your carbon footprint or simply get back some of that lost time, changing the way you travel to work makes sense. WQ TMA can help you work out what your best sustainable travel options are. We are happy to help you plan your journey from A to B. Simply pop us an email.”
WQ TMA is an independent group whose mission is to be “the voice of Wynyard Quarter: creating a thriving environment for business and community and fostering economic vitality by building partnerships and delivering targeted transport initiatives.”