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Sunnynook service frustrates

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014
Chris Treneary
Jess Etheridge
BUS BATTLER: Chris Treneary, of Sunnynook, says the ‘‘cannibalisation’’ of the suburb’s bus service by Auckland Transport means the disabled and elderly are cut off from society. 

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Chris Treneary has a long list of dates and times when the lone Sunnynook bus has not run.

One incident includes a woman, 69, having to walk 3km to get home when two buses never showed up.

Ms Treneary says friends have given her a lift home when buses do not turn up despite waiting for more than a hour.

It leaves her exhausted and distressed, she says.

The "cannibalisation" of Sunnynook's only bus service over the last 16 years - the length of time Ms Treneary has lived there - has struck a high, she says.

Services have been pushed from 30 minutes to hourly, with many still unreliable.

And after weeks of no sleep due to excruciating pain and taking painkillers to survive the day, the last thing Ms Treneary says she needs is a bus driver refusing to lower the bus so she can get on.

"My feet ache like there's boiling blood in them," Ms Treneary, who suffers from a muscularskeletal condition, says.

Signs on most buses say they will kneel on request.

The lives of those dependent on public transport are being disrupted, Ms Treneary says, as they cannot get to services, such as physiotherapy.

Ms Treneary says she loves Milford and Takapuna facilities, such as the library, but if buses are not efficient it sees money from her invalid's benefit used on taxis.

She feels like a "second-class citizen".

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy was unavailable for comment.

The organisation's bus services manager Brendon Main says he does not know specific details of these incidents but says the behaviour is unacceptable.

Bus staff are trained to strict standards of customer service, Main says.

Auckland Transport recognises it provides an important social service to ratepayers enabling many to access those services, he says.

The Sunnynook buses were cut due to patronage, not timetable concerns, with the 30-minute runs averaging seven passengers, Main says.

The buses have been re-invested into other areas.

BUS ISSUES

Some of the Sunnynook bus problems Chris Treneary has collated:

A woman, 69, had to walk 3km in the dark to get home when two buses did not arrive. She walked the same route the bus takes to see if they showed up. They didn't.

The same woman tried to catch the same bus at 10.30am three days later. It never arrived and disappeared off the electronic timetable.

Two women, including one in her early 70s, had to wait in Takapuna for an hour when their 2.05pm bus did not turn up.

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A hairdresser says her 5.10pm bus did not run on February 26. Auckland Transport investigated and found the bus ran on February 27 – they had looked at the wrong date.

A checkout operator learned to drive because taking the 7.10pm bus after work is "too stressful" because it does not show up.

Ms Treneary's 5.05pm route 843 bus on March 13 was more than an hour late to its Milford stop. -

- North Shore Times

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