1a) How often do you take the bus?
About 5 times a year
1b) So not often, why do you think that is?
Well, it’s expensive for one, and the bus stops aren’t very convenient for me.
1c) So how far is the nearest bus stop for you?
Well, it’s far enough that I have to drive there.
1d) So you have to drive there, park, and bus?
Yea, which I think is alright, I mean I take the Albany express, there’s parking there. If there’s a free car park, with enough parks, then I think it’s okay, but if there’s not enough car parks, then it’s really inconvenient.
1e) You said the bus is expensive why is that? ie. what are you comparing it to?
The cost of the fare itself is expensive. If I take the car, and split with 1 other person, it’s already cheaper than the bus, plus the bus is not convenient. I don’t mind the inconvenience if it was cheap to bus, but the bus companies can’t seem to make it cheap enough, maybe it’s because the buses have limited capacity (only 1 level, not enough seats).
Part of the reason why I don’t bus often is because the drivers aren’t very friendly. I mean the first few times, when I wasn’t familiar with the bus, they seemed irritable and not very wiling to help, so it left a bad impression.
2a) Do you usually take the same buses?
Usually the same one. Just to go city.
2b) So are you quite familiar to the route?
Yes, because the Albany Express route is very simple. It’s not like the other city buses, it’s newer and the overall structure’s nicer.
2c) Does the bus have many stops then , or is it more or less a direct service?
It does have stops, but it only stops at a few main stations stops (ie, ones with carparks), it’s actually just dedicated to those who want to get straight into town, not like the other suburban routes.
3a) If you had to take a new bus elsewhere, how would you go about finding the information?
I’d look on the internet.
3b) If you weren’t able to go online how would you go about finding the information?
Then I’d go to an I-site (Tourist information center).
3c) Have you had to do that before?
No. Oh wait, yes I have, when I went on a holiday with my parents. [Was that in Australia or New Zealand?] Both, I’ve done that in Auckland as well. It was pretty easy though, because when we went, the people at I-site were very helpful and clear, they gave us the bus maps and pamphlets to take, but didn’t even need to use them. [So it was the people that were helpful and not the maps?] Yea, I glanced at the maps, but they looked really confusing so i didn’t want to use them.
3d) Are you usually confident about finding your way with buses?
No, not much confidence at all.
4) Would you like to have social interaction at the bus stop or rather be left alone?
I would prefer to be left alone, I don’t want to talk. [Any particular reason?] Not really, but it could be that waiting for the bus puts me in an irritable mood, so I’m not exactly in the mood for a chat. Plus when I’m waiting for the bus, I am waiting to start a task, I am usually mentally preparing or make plans for what I need to do, even for something like uni, so I don’t feel like having a chat.
5a) Do you usually feel safe and comfortable at the bus stop?
Yea I usually feel pretty safe. [At daytime or at night too?] Yea, it’s alright at night too, cause there’s plenty of lighting. [What about comfort?] Yea, it’s comfortable. [Good seating, cleanliness?] Very clean. [So you’re content with all the the physical comforts the bus stop provides?] Yes, Northshore express is really good. Only thing is, it’s convenient to drive there, but since it’s got it’s only segment of road off the main path, it’s actually quite a long and inconvenient walk if you are walking there. Oh there is one good thing tho, they don’t just have car parks, but bike parks there too.
[Extra comment] I have on complaint though, it’s that people who take the bus are really noisy! [Do you mean at the stop or on the bus?] Both a lot of people, esp at night with the drunk locals, they’re yelling, dancing, shouting. It’s really annoying.
6a) Are there any services or information you’d like to see at the bus stop that aren’t currently being provided?
Yes! It’s really hard to find how much you need to pay to get to your destination, you always have to wait till the bus arrives, ask the driver, then find out (my god, it costs almost $6?!). I mean the first time, I didn’t know anything, and I wanted to know which stop I need to get off, but the only info I can see is the final destination and not the stops, how can I tell where to get off when there’s so many bus stops in the city?!
6b) So there are no maps provided at your stop?
Nope. There is a bus counter but you have to walk there and there’s not even a basic map at the stop itself. [Is the kiosk far?] No, but you have to look for it (out of line of sight from the stop). Plus not being able to see the cost is a big hindrance since I can’t have the money prepared before hand, makes it really slow since I have to count out the change etc.
7) What’s the most memorable positive experience that you have had with public transport (buses in particular)?
I thought it was nice when the drivers help disabled passengers onto the bus (wheelchair), but I’ve seen a bad side to that too. I’ve seen it before where there have been some Asian passengers, who don’t know much English and didn’t know some of the seats designated for wheelchairs, but they didn’t know. The driver was nice in helping the wheelchair patron, but then swore at the Asian passengers. So at first I thought it was pretty good, but then got a very negative impression since the patrons left the seats when they were told anyway, no need to swear at them. I mean even kiwis who aren’t local to Auckland wouldn’t have known those are designated seats for wheelchairs, so there’s no need to get so worked up at those Asian patrons.
8a) What’s the most memorable negative experience that you have had with public transport (buses in particular)?
When the bus doesn’t turn up. [That’s already enough to leave the biggest impression on you?] Yes. [Is it because it’s not fulfilling the most basic expectation you have for a bus stop’s function?] Well it could be worse, you can have a driver who drives really erratically and crashes, but dude, I am a paying customer, it’s like booking a service and they just cancel your booking for no reason. It does’t look good.
9a) What would you most like to change about your bus waiting experience?
Oh! Well I’ve got huge opinions on this! First of all, shelter, you know from the rain, but also don’t know who’s the dork that decided to give shelters a clear roof, so while the sun is burning your skin off while you’re waiting in the morning there’s nowhere to hide.
Plus I think they really need to have something like a rail for queuing, like what they have in Hong Kong. Because it’s really unfair at the moment, no one queues! I mean I got in a fight once, I told some guys off for cutting the queue, they told me “You Asians never queue anyway so why should we?” I let it slide but what I really can’t accept is when they shoved an elderly gentleman to the ground when he told them off for cutting the queue, they were even AUT students catching the AUT shuttle bus at the AUT city campus! So when they shoved him, I hit him back. That’s why I think a culture for queuing is really important.
I haven’t seen it around Auckland, oh wait, AUT did used to have one 4 years ago, a bus stop with a rail and people naturally queued there, but they removed it when they started the new building, ever since then, there was no more queuing. Even people who go there first, if they were sitting and waiting they wouldn’t be able to get a seat. Many messy situations, including people being pushed over.
But do you think there’s a reason why they don’t put rails (eg. it blocks the footpath)?
No, actually I think queues would unclog the footpath. When people aren’t queuing, they’re spread out disorderly and hog a much larger area. I htink the only bad thing about queuing is that it’s less comfortable. When you aren’t queuing you’re free to seek your own shelter or seat, such as tree shade, but when you’re queuing, you can’t.
I’ve seen bigger stops with seat for waiting, but once bus comes, all the seated people are unable to get on the bus. I mean, me, or some of the older patrons, would usually let the people who came first board first, but when you have the younger people, especially students who just finished a class or lecture, whatever race, it doesn’t matter, they’ll just ignore everyone else. I think it’s a huge issue when you get here first but don’t get a space on the bus, especially at rush hour. That’s why I think different stops should cater to the different people that use then, routes that take people to work at rush hour should cater to that load, then standing should be sufficient since they don’t have to wait long, but maybe there should be seating at other smaller stops where the buses have enough room and queuing isn’t necessary.
Q10a) Any comments you want to make?
Well I usually find the buses and stops to be pretty clean, so that’s nice. Oh and did you know buses in Wellington has wifi?
10b) What about any good examples from overseas?
Yea, Australia’s around the same as New Zealand, inconvenient, expensive, bad service. Hong Kong buses really are cheap though, so that’s good.
10c) What about Octopus cards what’s your opinion?
Of course those are good, those make a huge difference! So much faster. [What about Hop?] I’ve never used Hop, just snapper in Wellington, did you know it’s done by HK people? They got people to copy the Octopus card. So I think it’s pretty good, save time. [But Hong Kong cards can be topped up, and have balance checked almost everywhere, to you think hop still has a ways to go?] Yea, so that’s why I don’t have a Hop card, I don’t use it. Plus I already feel very negative about Auckland buses and rarely use it, I only really take the AUT shuttle bus. Why? because it’s on time and cheap, that’s why I’m willing to tolerate being pushed around, people cutting queues etc, just because it’s cheap, only a $1 a ride (used to be even cheaper). That’s $1 from Akoranga to City, if I took Albany express, it’s almost $6 already.
10d) So does the Aut Shuttle take any special route that makes it more frequent and on time?
No, it takes the same route as the Albany Express and uses the same stops but is more frequent. The bus routes to Albany are newer with dedicated bus lanes pretty much going the whole way so there’s almost no hold up from traffic. Honestly I think the biggest hold up is when the buses stop and people take too long paying fares. I mean, if you imagine a 2 minute hold up at each stop, that’s already 12 minutes by the time it gets to the 6th stop, huge difference.