First it was the mayor catching the train while being
followed by his ratepayer-funded chauffeur-driven car. Now,
Len Brown's staff have been riding in special shuttles
zipping around Auckland - apparently because it's faster than
the public transport they provide to ratepayers.
Council-controlled Auckland Transport has started a shuttle
bus service for its staff, surprising public transport
The Herald has discovered a second shuttle at Auckland
Council and plans for a third in the works.
With Auckland Transport costing its shuttle at $122,000 for a
six-month trial, it could set the bill for moving council
staff around Auckland close to $700,000 a year.
Auckland Transport yesterday highlighted expected benefits in
a statement - being able to cut down the size of its car
fleet and improve "business efficiency".
But it also tried to justify the decision by saying the train
took too long: "Public transport is also an option used by
many staff to travel to meetings in the city but the timings
of the trains don't always suit.
"The train takes 45 minutes whereas the shuttle door-to-door
is 20 to 25 minutes."
The Auckland Transport shuttle runs from the council's
Henderson offices - just metres from where the public bus and
train leave - into Britomart in the city. The Herald was
yesterday given its timetable, showing it leaves every 45
minutes and takes an estimated 42 minutes to make the
Driver Liuneta Unasa said he frequently made the run in 20
minutes. Parked in the bus stop for buses to Henderson, he
pointed up Albert St: "The bus that's already gone? I will
catch him on the motorway - every single day."
In Takapuna, the Auckland Council shuttle runs from the civic
centre to its offices next to Aotea Square in the city. The
council confirmed another shuttle, to Manukau, was under
Councillor Chris Darby said he had used the Takapuna service
and found it well patronised by staff, who relied less on
pool cars. Although he used it, he said he would "tend to use
the more frequent public service" leaving nearby.
The trip to the city by bus took about 15 minutes. With such
a good public service, he said the need for the shuttle was
"a good question".
"I can vouch for the very good public service out of
Mr Darby said Auckland Council had yet to develop a workplace
transport plan, which it urged other businesses to do.
There was a "need for Auckland Council to do what it says
others should do" by developing a plan which understood staff
needs and found ways to meet those.
Former Waitakere City councillor Ewen Gilmour had advice for
staff: "Use the trains - they're right there. It seems a bit
rich they are the transport agency and they don't use their
own transport because of inefficiency."
Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said
Auckland Transport should lead by example and use public
A briefing document from Auckland Council last year found it
had 780 fleet vehicles for staff. Plans to phase out vehicles
included "the council shuttle service, which provides
inter-facility transport for staff".
Mr Brown has a $69,000 mayoral car which is used for official
duties. He was embarrassed a few years back when it was
revealed the mayoral car shadowed his journey to work.
A spokesman said the mayor still caught the train from Homai
station in Manurewa to Britomart at least once a week.