Being from Mexico City, I find the organization and efficiency of the public transport in Auckland impressive, but as soon as I say that to the locals or my fellow exchange students that come from diverse countries, they seem shocked, because according to them Auckland’s public transport is terrible. But is it really?
The way I see it, it is a very subjective topic, because depending on where you come from, you’ll have a different perception of it (like in so many other things in life), however, I do believe that half the effort for making public transport work in your favor comes from each person. But then again, I am used to showing up at a bus stop or underground station, only to find out that for some unexplicable reason they are out of service, or the bus/train will be unvariably late, in fact, the bus/train can’t be late because it doesn’t even have a schedule.
Basically, in a city of more than 20 million people, this can happen too:
Luckily for you international students, adventurous travelers or random readers that ended up here, Auckland has much lighter options for you. The buses and trains have schedules and are usually on time-remember I am Mexican and being on time means a little before or after the set time- the system works alright and it is simple to understand.
There are three main bus routes that you can use in Auckland: the outerlink, the innerlink and the citylink. The outerlink (yellow) will take you in a loop that surrounds central Auckland, the innerlink (green) travels through the centre of the city (duh!), and the citylink (red) travels only through a few stops in the city’s heart and business district.
|Auckland bus service map. Source: http://www.letitgo.eu/category/auckland/|
In order to make the most out of these options, you should get an AT HOP card, which is basically a prepaid card that you can top up in daries, mini marts and other locations. It looks like this:
What you can also do, if you are a student at a tertiary institution, is get a student concession, which means you’ll get a discount when you use your card. I am not going to lie, this can be a tricky one. You will probably have to register in a number of websites, go to the concession office and deal with more than one person before your concession actually becomes effective. But it is worth. If you are not a student, these are the current fares:
1) CityLink: Free for AT Hop card holders or 50 cents for other passengers.
2) InnerLink: $1.90 Maximum cash fare.
3) OutterLink: $3.40 Maximum cash fare.
The price is not outrageously high or low. So don’t make a fuss about it. Instead, note that your card is also useful for trains and ferries, and also, there are airport bus services available from different locations in the city.
The places you need to go to if you have any problems or questions regarding transportation are the following: Britomart, the city’s largest transportation hub-and a beautiful building- and the Auckland Transport webpage (www.at.govt.nz).
|Britomart station in Auckland. Source: http://newzealandtouristguide.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/britomart-train-station-in-auckland.html|
If you do not like buses or trains and prefer to move around in a taxi, good luck to you maintaining your budget. The other best alternative, especially in the city centre, is to walk and admire the beautiful city that Auckland is. I hope I have included the major aspects that would get newcomers on the move as soon as possible, and I also hope Aucklanders agree with my description of their public transport system…fingers crossed!