Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | February 21, 2009

Public transport

Government intend to popularise buses

Government intend to popularise buses

Locals of Auckland don’t love their public transport system. For me who has not seen much of the world, Auckland’s transport system is quite good.

There are few reasons though why the public transport system is not liked. First, since Auckland is quite big (area wise) people prefer driving rather than commuting on a bus in order to save time. Though I wonder stuck in a traffic on the busy motorway can be worse than traveling in bus. Most highways here have separate bus ways which makes bus travel better. Secondly, people in Auckland compare their public transport system with Australian, American and British cities, and they feel bad when they find themselves lagging behind. However, to my mind, the public transport system can only get better with more usage. Additionally, Auckland because of its hilly nature (probably) doesn’t have an underground railway and that too makes the locals feel bad.

Having said that, roads in Auckland are very good and public transport system actually deserve much more respect than it usually gets. The basic problem I guess is Auckland needs many more buses.

I do believe people should realize that traveling in eco-friendly buses rather than cars help the already ailing environment. If they don’t then slowly this beautiful country shall also start getting polluted.

Auckland Train

Auckland Train

Auckland is divided in two parts with sea being the divider between the Northern and Southern parts. Buses along with trains and ferries form the public transport system in this particular city. Trains run only within the Southern city (where the downtown is). Trains here are the cheapest form of public transport though not many people use it. These trains are a bit slow when compared to the Indian trains and they run within the city limits. The slowness of the trains is mainly due to the fact that the tracks are laid on uneven hilly lands. I have enjoyed the train rides here because the trains remain fairly empty but sometimes the emptiness can scare you a bit.

Ferries connect the Northern part of the city to the Southern. Of course ferry rides are always exciting especially since one can enjoy beautiful view of the harbor. The ferry travels in Auckland remind me of the launch rides on the Ganges in Kolkata. This I believe is the best managed public transport system in Kolkata along with underground railway. I don’t know though about the current status of Kolkata’s waterways.

Buses are most prominent form of public transport though connecting the entire city. A bus ride over the North Shore Bridge from Southern to Northern part is brilliant. Like I said Auckland resembles Kolkata in some aspect, it does remind me of Kolkata’s beautiful Vidyasagar Setu. Though you cannot really compare Auckland buses with Kolkata’s buses.

A free bus that runs within city centre

A free bus that runs within city centre

Auckland buses are very colorful. While the ones that go to the Northern beaches are blue in colour, the ones that go to the Western bushes are green. We stay quite near to the downtown transport station from where one can get buses as well as trains to various parts of the city. Finding the right bus (or train or ferry) is quite easy. Typically you would put your departing and destination addresses on a transport website. The website provides in details information such as the time of the buses, from where it shall start, the route it shall take, the fare, the time it would take and the nearby bus station to your destination address. Public transport though are not run by government here but by private operators but I feel the fare structures are decided by the government in collaboration.

Most bus-stations tell the commuters when the next bus is due

Most bus-stations tell the commuters when the next bus is due

What I like about public transport system in Auckland is the fact that the drivers are very well mannered. I sometimes get the feeling that bad behavior doesn’t come naturally to people here. You get in the bus, wish the driver, buy ticket from him and the bus shall start moving only when you are comfortably seated.

In India, we have numerous reasons to cite why we are not the most well behaved races. Primary reason being we face uncountable problems in our daily lives but somehow I feel sad thinking bad behavior on Indian streets has nothing to do with stressful lives. It saddens me all the more what Auckland has achieved without even being one of the most affluent or advanced cities in the world, cities like Kolkata could have achieved the same. However, reality is we did not and we are not sure when we shall achieve that. It is not lack of funds but it is a general lack of intent among all quarters. I wonder why it is like that and how shall that get cured.

Old tram

Old tram

Auckland also has a Museum of Transport and Technology, which I found quite interesting. While I guess having such a museum in any country is quite common, this is the first one I have ever visited. This museum has old cars, buses, trains, engines and trams. Museum visitors are aided by live commentary and also literature. Someone who has liking for vintage cars would love this museum a lot. One area of the museum is dedicated to the history of air-travel in New Zealand. I found that section very interesting. It is commendable how these countries aim to preserve anything that is old and remember them. There is another section that has a recreation of the Victorian age Auckland city. I was surprised to see the letterboxes, telephone booths; coffee cups and even cigarette packs of those days are preserved as mementos. To add to the visit was a tram ride. While Auckland doesn’t have trams any more but anyone from Kolkata has to have a little fondness towards trams. I hear that Kolkata is trying its best to introduce new tramcars. I wish it did since it is unique to the Indian city.

Double-decker for tourists

Double-decker

Currently, in summer since Auckland has lot of tourists, the double-decker tourist buses seem very popular. I have not taken a ride on this one but double-decker buses have always been a childhood favorite of mine along with trams. I remember those days when Kolkata had big double-decker buses. In fact, even Durgapur had couple of such buses.

Indeed Auckland reminds me of Kolkata a lot. Kolkata could have been lot like Auckland to-day or may be even better.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. The picture in the header reminded me of a near-identical lake close to Nainital, on the way to Kaladhungi (Jim Corbett’s old homestead): it’s called Khurpatal (cow’s foot lake).

    Good roads and good public transport have always been subjects close to my heart. I can never call India developed until we have progressed vastly in terms of both: at present, barring rare exceptions few and far between, ours are nightmares, and nobody seems to care much, though the figures of our accidents, as well as tales of what our commuters suffer day in and day out, are nothing if not horrifying.

  2. Oh. These are lakes formed inside craters. The acid and minerals make the color of water green.

  3. Ferries, as appeared, are more used by daily commuters.They have skillfully used the waterways both for commuting and touring.This part of India has numerous scope to utilize the available waterways.You may write highlighting their ferry operations some other time.

  4. The Auckland City Council has some distant plans to electrify all current Auckland train tracks.
    The Auckland City Council is currently double-tracking the outer areas of the Western Train Tracks as far as I know.

    ~Kriehn


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: