We arrived in Sydney yesterday, and because the weather was so fantastic we headed to Coogee Beach for a bit of relaxation and to enjoy the weather. While we were in a friend’s car, it was interesting on the way back to see how many people were using the bus network to get from the beach to wherever they live. Buses seemed to be passing by at extremely regular intervals, and then when we were leaving I noticed a large number of people waiting for the bus. Finally, as we drove away from the beach we passed a bus that was doing the same and was absolutely packed with people.
While yesterday was a particularly nice and sunny day, and as a Sunday it was a day that one could expect an enormous number of people to go to the beach – it was interesting to see how well the bus service catered for them. I remember quite a number of years ago when I caught buses to and from Bondi and Coogee beaches that they were also generally very busy. In short: it’s pretty normal to use public transport to get to the beach.
Like Sydney, Auckland has a number of urban beaches that can get pretty popular on summer weekends: I’m especially thinking of places like Mission Bay, St Heliers, Takapuna, Milford and Long Bay. While there are bus services to most, if not all, of these places – the frequency on weekends follows the normal Auckland tradition: shocking.
This seems like a missed opportunity, as it means two things. Firstly, off-peak patronage is pretty “cheap” to provide for, as you don’t need to buy any additional buses compared to what you need to run during peak times. Therefore, any measures to boost PT use to recreational hubs (like beaches) at weekends are likely to make good financial sense. Secondly, with public transport so bad (and especially with it perceived to be so bad) it can end up seeming necessary to dominate the beach area with a million carparks – so that it’s relatively ‘easy’ to access and enjoy these areas.
Source courtesy of Auckland Transport Blog: http://transportblog.co.nz/