Life of buses, boats, trains and cars

19:33, Dec 13 2011
DAYTRIPPER: Deborah Dunleavy from Waiheke Island spends 90 minutes travelling to work in Parnell every day.

Driving, sailing, busing, then walking may seem like a complicated way to get to work but Deborah Dunleavy doesn't mind.

She lives on Waiheke Island and has commuted to work in Parnell for the past decade.

Her 90-minute journey begins just before 7am when she drives 20 minutes from her home in Onetangi to Matiatia Wharf.

Then it's a 40-minute ferry ride and a 30-minute walk or bus trip, depending on the weather, to her office in St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell.

And even after getting off the bus, her office at Fitec, an industrial training organisation, is still another few minutes walk away.

She is one of more than 189,000 Aucklanders who travel outside their residential area for work, according to the 2006 census.


Mrs Dunleavy, an industrial designer, used to be a teacher on Waiheke but decided on a career change to broaden her horizons and for better pay.

"I wouldn't want to live anywhere other than Waiheke," she says,

"But I like working in the city as well. It's like being in two different worlds."

Mrs Dunleavy says she particularly enjoys the ferry trip and sits outside on the deck when the weather is fine.

"It ends up being about a 12-hour day but I've built up quite a stamina."

Mrs Dunleavy says the walking keeps her fit and she doesn't mind the monthly cost of $350 for the bus and ferry.

Colleague Andrew Eatock lives in Huntly and drives to their Parnell office for work three days a week.

Mr Eatock is from England where he says it's not unusual for people to travel an hour and a half or more to get to work.

"I don't really mind the driving. On a good day it takes me an hour and a quarter because I try to leave at about 6am to avoid rush hour," he says.

"I don't mind working in Auckland but I wouldn't want to live there, we prefer the rural lifestyle."

As does fellow commuter John Jensen who catches the bus from Pukekohe to Auckland city every day for his work as a systems administrator at Auckland University.

"I'm a country boy and my wife's a city girl so Pukekohe was a good compromise," he says.

Mr Jensen buys a monthly bus pass which costs $240, a cost offset by the cheaper living costs outside the city.

He doesn't like the train because it is more crowded and expensive.

It would also mean a long walk up Queen St whereas the bus conveniently drops him right outside the university.

It takes him more than an hour each way but the 69-year-old enjoys the trip.

"It's the quietest time of my day because the bus is hardly ever full. I take a book or do some work on my laptop."

Professor Charles Crothers from AUT's sociology department says commuting does have some valuable aspects.

"A lot of people talk together, read or catch up on the news, or do work. So it's not a complete waste of time."

Mr Crothers says people are often prepared to travel further to work in order to live somewhere different.

"In that respect I suppose it's the parents making the sacrifices on their time so their kids can live in greener spaces with better facilities."

Professor Grant Schofield from AUT's health and environmental faculty has researched commuting.

He says while use of public transport is increasing, long commutes are more common overseas in cities such as Tokyo or New York where the public transport systems are better.

East And Bays Courier