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AT Local trial extended while bus-service future considered

Flagstaff Team

The AT Local ride-share trial in Devonport has been extended until August, as Auckland Transport (AT) seeks feedback on whether the 806 and 807 bus services should continue.

AT says it cannot afford both AT Local and the two bus services, especially after Auckland Council issued an edict to cut costs.

While public consultation will be undertaken “this will not be a referendum”, AT states in a report to a Devonport-Takapuna Local Board workshop. If AT Local was discontinued:

• AT would seek to make improvements to local bus services, based on feedback.

• Ferry-fare integration would allow connected trips to be made with reduced fares.

• Passengers with reduced mobility would lose a “corner to corner” service. If the two bus services were discontinued:

• AT Local costs would increase, in order to add a weekend service.

• Ferry-fare integration would not initially apply to AT Local.

• AT Local would be amended over time to meet passenger needs.

A hybrid option, with some AT Local and some local buses, is not favoured. It would mean some areas would only have one or the other service, and both would be compromised.

The 806 and 807 buses do not fully meet community needs, such as aligning with ferries, operating after 7pm or serving areas such as Ngataringa Bay, the report says.

If AT Local were to be removed, an enhanced bus service would be provided.

If buses were removed, it would save costs and remove duplication, the report says.

Only the 806/807 buses would be affected. But currently AT Local does not replicate “bus functionality”.

AT Local has no weekend service, and no Hop card readers in vehicles; it is only accessible via its app – a smartphone is needed, plus a data plan and the ability to use the app – so tourists and those without a smartphone are unable to just turn up and use the service.

In addition, unaccompanied children under 14 can’t use AT Local, and the service could be swamped if a full ferry of passengers disembarks with many 806/807 bus passengers, the AT report says.

Consultation is underway, and a decision by AT is expected in August.

This article originally appeared in the 14 August 2020 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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