Some North Shore school students and their parents are becoming increasingly frustrated with their bus either not arriving on time, or not at all.
There is no dedicated school bus for out of zone students from Bayview, so Albany Junior High School students catch the 891 public bus. An Official Information Act report shows that the bus service has been cancelled nine times in the past three months, most recently on Tuesday 29th May.
Year 9 student Luke Nelham says the bus has been unreliable “for years”. His mother, Tamara, has changed their transport plans in the afternoons because of the “lack of consistency” and now carpools with another parent.
“Some days they’d be sitting there til quarter to four, ten to four….there’s been times when the bus hasn’t turned up. It’s no wonder that people get frustrated using public transport and go back to using vehicles.”
Parent Nicole Wallace starts work at 7.45am, so she drops her daughter off to a friend, who then drops her at the bus stop. This is her daughter’s first year at the school and the bus has been cancelled “a couple of times...and we’re not even half way through the year”.
Samir Patel used to work for NZ Bus and says the service has become more unreliable than it used to be. His son Tirth has been catching the 891 bus for the past three years.
“I rely on the bus….you are not prepared for that. I don’t have staff in the morning so I have to make other arrangements or call somebody to [work] and then go and drop him off.”
Local parent Makiyo Inoue is petitioning for a school bus to be chartered for the Bayview and Beachaven area.
“The number of kids going [to the school] is growing and the public bus often comes late or doesn’t show up.”
Her petition has more than 30 signatures from current and future students. Mrs Inoue had previously assumed that her daughter Celeste had simply missed the bus, and did not realise that the bus service occasionally did not run.
On April 13th, there was no bus service before or after school, with no notice given. The OIA report also showed that the bus service in the afternoon would sometimes arrive up to four and a half minutes early, leaving insufficient time for students to get from their classroom to the bus stop in time.
“This is unacceptable,” says Bayview parent Krissy Willems, who is urging parents to make a complaint to Auckland Transport.
Auckland Transport media spokesperson James Ireland says the situation is “not ideal.” He did not have an explanation at this stage, and will be investigating further.
With the new network in September there would be a bus on that route every 30 minutes, and there will be financial penalties for buses that “do not run on time or do not run at all.”
Albany Junior High School principal Stephen Kendall-Jones says that traffic is a “major concern”.
“If a bus is cancelled, we ensure that children use other routes or we contact their parents...They are never left to fend for themselves as we always have a teacher in charge on duty.”
None of the parents we spoke with had ever been contacted by the school about this.
By Khalia Strong, journalism student at AUT.