Auckland traffic is flowing freely, with barely a bus or bike in sight as bus drivers take the day off for some R&R, otherwise known as a strike. Motorists are revelling in the freedom.
Talkback radio says commuters aren’t noticing much difference. Maybe because some have opted to work from home, an increasing work trend anyway, or maybe it’s because all those buses are no longer clogging the arteries of commerce. They certainly haven’t taken to their bikes. There’s barely a pesky cyclist to be seen on their magenta highways and cycleways built especially for them at great expense to the ratepayer. What bliss!
One of the reasons public transport went into decline was the public got sick at being at the mercy of transport unions who could hold commuters to ransom by going on strike. This hastened the demise of unionism and led to people making the great choice to liberate themselves from public transport altogether by driving cars to work. This was before GenY and GenZ who know nothing of such things. Those of us more experienced in life know the dire consequences of relying on others.
These days it doesn’t matter if workers get stuck in traffic. Cars are mobile offices. Many commuters are already wired into their workplace and the world from their cars via Bluetooth technology and mobile phones. They are comfortable, air-conditioned havens of tranquility. Anyway, there have been no traffic jams without buses.
Maybe there’s a lesson for Aucklanders in today’s bike and bus free day. Instead of raising rates by 10% pa to pay for public transport and cycle lanes Auckland Council could reduce rates by 10%pa for the next thirty years by encouraging more ‘take a car to work days’.