28 Feb 2017

Auckland commuters promised better 'March Madness' service

12:19 pm on 28 February 2017

It's that time of year when traffic in Auckland turns into post-holiday hell - and Auckland Transport says it's using all possible resources to make 'March Madness' run more smoothly than last year.

An Auckland bus during last year's March Madness.

An Auckland train during last year's March Madness. Photo: Supplied / Travel Blog

Auckland Transport recevived more than 1000 complaints last March about the lack of buses and trains to cope with the rush of people going back to work, school and university.

The phenomenon is real: during March, traffic on the motorways increases and the number of people catching public transport goes up by 30 percent.

This year, Auckland Transport is putting on more services to meet demand including 56 more city-bound bus trips every morning.

Operations manager Brendon Main said 1200 more seats would be made available on peak hour trains from 12 March.

"This is as much as we believe we will need to tackle some of the issues encountered last year.

"We are limited in terms of buses but we have put every piece of equipment we can out there on the road."

Mr Main said a lot of planning had been done to avoid the chaos of last year when buses were overcrowded, late or failed to show up during March.

"We're out there monitoring the situation as it happens.

"We look at this every year to make sure it's enough, we've put a lot of extra capacity in, especially in some of the problem spots we had last year the most extra capacity in a very long time."

A bus on Auckland's Queen Street

Auckland Transport is putting on more services to meet demand including 56 more city bound bus trips every morning. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Transport Blog editor Matt Lowrie said the extra services were desperately needed.

"Services are extremely busy; trains have been jam-packed, sometimes people can't get on.

"We've heard from some people that have had 12 full buses go past before they can get on one."

It was great Auckland Transport was putting on extra services before the mad rush began, Mr Lowrie said.

Transport Agency highway manager Brett Gliddon said the agency would be encouraging people to ride share and avoid travelling during peak times.

"Together with Auckland Transport we'll continue to monitor and manage the entire Auckland transport network through the Auckland Transport Operation Centre, which operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

"Operators use a variety of tools such as CCTV cameras, traffic signals, ramp signalling, messaging signs and speed control signs."

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