I am getting increasingly frustrated with the Auckland Transport’s Park and Ride facilities on the North Shore, which seem to be spreading like rust on a sunken ship. The facility at Oteha Valley Road is becoming unbearably out of control. If you are not there by 7.30am then there is nowhere for commuters to park, so they park anywhere, on the grass verges that are turning muddier and muddier by the day. On the footpaths, in the mud puddles, any way, and anywhere in their haste to get to the bus to work.
The same is happening at Silverdale, which is opposite the Silverdale Rugby Club. They have spent millions of dollars building this facility, but there is no future proofing. What they need to be building is concrete parking buildings, two or three levels in the ground and three to four levels out of the ground to future proof these facilities. They are obviously very successful and popular, and to have them creeping over the acreage is not acceptable.
You also have Akoranga Bus Station where there is virtually no parking at all. How sensible is that?
Last month I went to the All Black’s versus Australia match at Eden Park, with a great friend from San Francisco, he is used to using the AT&T park which lies on the waterfront of San Francisco and is home to the San Francisco Giants Baseball team, a marvelous and fantastic stadium that fits so beautifully in down town San Francisco.
We left Devonport on the 4.30pm ferry, two adult return tickets for the trip over, and back. I got to the Auckland side and gave the ticket attendant, who happened to be a new New Zealander, with not a great grasp of our language. I gave him one return ticket and asked him to clip it twice, to pay for both of us – which he duly did. By the time I got onto the crossing I was accosted by the ticket attendant, asking where my other ticket was, for my friend. I explained to him that he had clicked it twice, therefore paying for my friend and myself, and we were intending to use the other ticket to go home. He didn’t seem to understand and the tone of his voice became louder and louder and more agitated. I tried to explain, but in the end I shrugged my shoulders and walked over the crossing towards Britomart. On entering the bowels of the Britomart Train Station, we were ushered by another group of new New Zealanders with megaphones, onto Platform 1, where we were told the train would be there within minutes. There were hundreds of us jammed onto the platform. Somebody on the public announcement system informed us that the train was now leaving Newmarket and would be at the station in 9 minutes. There was groaning from the passengers waiting. The train duly arrived in all its’ splendor. Hundreds of people crammed onto the train, filling up every nook and cranny, with great expectations for a fast trip to Eden Park. The train rattled out of Britomart at the speed of an old Western locomotive, rattling its’ way to the Parnell Station, where hundreds of people were lining the platform, waiting to get on. They opened the doors and a few dozen managed to cram their way on board, much to the consternation of the passengers already on the train. It left Parnell and rattled slowly towards the south, again stopping at Newmarket. There were hundreds more passengers patiently waiting for the speedy train service to Eden Park.
At this point, they opened the doors again and a few dozen people tried to force their way on. I then said, “Enough is enough” to one of the other match goers, and his answer was that if I didn’t move, he would deal to me. Luckily the doors closed quickly, and the train began to move away.
On returning from the match, we decided to give the train a miss and Uber home.
The following day, being a Sunday, was the Bob Dylan concert at the Spark Arena in down town Auckland. I’d bought a few tickets months before, to take all my family and a few friends as Bob Dylan’s music has been a part of my life for over half a century.
We asked Fullers, on the ferry boat while we were going to town, if there would be a late ferry as the concert started at 8pm and ran for two hours, so we knew we wouldn’t be out in time to catch the last scheduled ferry. We were duly told that yes, there would be a later ferry at 11.15pm to take the concert goers back to the North Shore. On walking back from the Spark Arena towards the ferry, all the punters who had been told this, and there were dozens of them, were told that the last ferry had left for Devonport at 10.15pm and that was it for the night.
We duly hailed a taxi to take us back to Devonport, at that time of night it was a trip of 12 minutes. The new New Zealander driving the cab, at the end of the trip, said that will be $110.00 – Sir. This was duly negotiated to a far better rate, talk about taking the piss.
If Mayor Goff was serious about public transport we would be getting a lot better deal than we experienced. I will endeavor to use my Toyota diesel ute as much as possible, in order not to use public transport.
See you next month.