COVID-19 update: Transport in Auckland under Alert Level 2
Bus with new maximum capacity marked by the rear door
The Government has announced that New Zealand will be moving to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on 13 May 2020.
The Government has advised that the general rule for Alert Level 2 is to play it safe. This means that if you are feeling sick you should stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise, and if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you should avoid using public transport when travelling to a medical appointment.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the move to Level 2.
“After seven weeks in lockdown, Aucklanders will be able to move around more freely once we enter Level 2 on Thursday," he says.
"It's good news for Aucklanders and for the many businesses that will be able to reopen.
“Please remember to keep up with physical distancing and the heightened hygiene focus which we have learned over recent months.
“And we need, all of us, to avoid any behaviour which might increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19. The last thing we want is to have to return to Level 3 or Level 4 lockdown."
Public transport services will return to normal levels while we are at Alert Level 2 so people can travel to where they need to go. However, please note that the Government has advised that you must not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.
Aucklanders are also advised that fare collection on public transport, as well as the collection of parking fees and enforcement of time restrictions and special vehicle lanes will re-commence when we move to Alert Level 2.
Public transport users are also advised that passenger capacity on buses, trains and ferries will be significantly lower than what was available prior to COVID-19. This is because of the need to maintain physical distancing onboard public transport vehicles as required by the Government for Alert Level 2.
We therefore ask our customers to ensure that they plan their journey ahead with the AT Mobile app, which now also displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, or the journey planner on our website.
Alternative ways of working under Alert Level 2 are also being encouraged by the Government, such as remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks and flexible leave.
Auckland Transport also encourages Aucklanders to consider travelling outside of usual peak hours (7:00-9:00am and 3:00-7:00pm) where possible. This not only supports physical distancing as more people return to work, but also helps reduce peak congestion and the strain on public transport to make sure everyone can get to where they need to go quickly and safely.
Many Aucklanders chose to walk or cycle while we were at Alert Level 3 and 4 and we encourage people to continue doing so as this is a great option to maintain safe physical distancing. AT is in the process of reviewing the effectiveness of the temporary walking and cycling lanes that were introduced at Alert Level 3. Some of these lanes may continue to operate at Alert Level 2 in order to help ensure that people on bikes and walking can stay safe and maintain the physical distance requirements that are so important to helping us break the chain of COVID-19 infection.
Businesses and organisations with large numbers of employees may need to look at a wide variety of transport options and actively plan to accommodate their employee’s needs. For travel planning resources and advice for businesses please visit https://at.govt.nz/driving-parking/ways-to-get-around-auckland/working-with-businesses/workplace-travel-planning/
The Government has also advised that domestic travel is allowed within New Zealand, but to follow public health guidance.
For more information of where and when you are permitted to travel under Alert Level 2 go to: www.covid19.govt.nz
Public Transport will be operating to normal schedules and with fare collection resuming under Alert Level 2. Cash is still not being accepted.
Physical distancing must be observed on all bus, train and ferry services with one-metre distance required between other passengers. While we will be operating to normal schedules, we will be running at about 43% of normal passenger capacity while under Alert Level 2 to make sure safe physical distancing can be achieved. Please note that standing on buses, trains or ferries will not be allowed while we are at Alert Level 2.
There will be signage on board buses and trains to guide customers to where they can and cannot sit based on physical distancing restrictions.
Physical distancing of two metres must still be observed at all of our facilities such as stations, platforms and stops.
Customers may not be able to get on the bus, train or ferry that they want to because of available space to maintain safe physical distancing. To help with this, our AT Mobile app now displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, so customers will know if one-metre distancing will be achievable before they board. In addition, all buses will display the number of people it can take with physical distancing restrictions in place. The AT Mobile app and journey planner on our website will also tell you when the next service is.
For the majority of buses, customers must use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to help ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising the physical contact between customers and bus drivers. In some rare cases, boarding will be necessary though the front door on small buses.
Customers who use a wheel chair or other mobility device or require driver assistance can still use the front door of buses. This also applies to vision impaired customers – we ask drivers to assist them through the front door.
AT is ensuring all public transport is being cleaned throughout its daily service. Buses and trains are being spot checked, with surfaces being sanitised, and we have enhanced our cleaning regime to include antimicrobial protection fogging (spraying) of facilities and our fleet.
Cash is still not being accepted under Alert Level 2. We strongly recommend that you register your AT HOP card to help with contact tracing should it be required. This will also allow us to monitor passenger numbers and make fast adjustments to services if required due to changes in demand. We will be working to make those changes as quickly as possible and again advise customers to plan their journey ahead.
Those who do not already have an AT HOP card can find a retailer at: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/at-hop-retailers/
We anticipate that public transport will be a lot busier under Alert Level 2 so, if people can, they should consider walking or riding a bike as it may be a good option for some returning to work or school.
Our AT HOP free public WiFi was disabled during Alert Level 3 to discourage people congregating at rail stations and bus interchanges. This will continue to be the case during Alert Level 2.
AT-contracted school bus services will operate during Alert Level 2. Following the Government’s guidelines, physical distancing measures will be different to our public transport services but standing on buses will not be permitted.
Working closely with the schools, AT has several measures to support contact tracing for all passengers. Hand sanitiser will also be made available for students boarding and departing the bus, in addition to the bus being cleaned in accordance with Government guidance.
As we saw with Alert Level 3, we will again see roads become busier throughout Auckland during Alert Level 2.
We ask that Aucklanders minimise any ‘non-essential’ travel and make sure that those driving do so safely while staying aware of other road users.
With freight services returning to normal levels, there will be more heavy vehicles on the road at all times of the day.
Construction sites have also restarted, meaning more construction vehicles on the road and temporary traffic management. Prepare for possible delays to your journey.
The move to Alert Level 2 also sees more work on our roads. Activities such as resealing, footpath repairs and cleaning out of drains which were paused have restarted at pace.
Other organisations such as Watercare, power lines companies, and other utilities have also begun work on that was previously programmed.
As a result, people will notice more activity in the road corridor. Please be aware of workers, drive to the conditions and expect delays throughout the city as these projects get back on track.
Customer service centres
We still need to ensure there is managed interaction between our staff and customers under Alert Level 2.
During this time, we still recommend customers use self-service options such as ordering an AT HOP card online, setting up their account to auto-top up or simply going online to top-up an AT HOP card. Journey planning can also be done via the AT website or app.
Our call centres remain open and customers can speak to us by calling 09 366 6400.
If customers are unable to access self-service options, the following customer service centres will be open but will have reduced staff numbers:
• Britomart ticket windows
• Manukau Bus Station
• New Lynn ticket window
• Smales Farm
• Papakura Train Station
The following customer service centres will remain closed while at Alert Level 2:
• Manukau Train Station
• New Lynn (ticket office windows will remain open and provide all services)
• Downtown ferry terminal
At this stage we are still unable to accept cash payments for AT HOP card top-ups at customer service centres, however customers will be able to use EFTPOS.
Parking and outdoor activities
Paid parking will resume for both on and off-street parking under Alert Level 2. Enforcement of parking restrictions, bus lanes and other special vehicle lanes will also resume.
If you are walking or cycling, make sure you are keeping two-metre distance from other people and their ‘bubbles’. Where available please use grass berms and other available space in the road reserve to achieve this.
AT is in the process of reviewing the effectiveness of the temporary walking and cycling lanes that were introduced at Alert Level 3. Some of these lanes may continue to operate at Alert Level 2 in order to help ensure that people on bikes and walking can stay safe and maintain the physical distance requirements that are so important to helping us play it safe.
In addition, we are investigating providing temporary protection at existing painted cycle lanes at key locations to further improve safety for people on bikes.
As the demand for travel around Auckland changes at Alert Level 2, we will continue to monitor the network in real time to minimise any disruptions and quickly respond to incidents that may occur.
Leisure boating and all water activities are now allowed under Alert Level 2.
Harbourmaster work under Alert Level 2 will include resuming maintenance of buoys and beacons, as well as the disposal of abandoned vessels and wrecks. Other usual business, such as compliance monitoring, will return to normal levels while maintaining physical distancing requirements.
Walking and cycling
Almost half of all Aucklanders (47%) are walking more than they did pre-lockdown with 14% cycling more often.
With that in mind we expect to continue to see more people walking or cycling as a transport choice to get to work, school or for local shopping trips when we move into Alert Level 2. We are also reminding people to look out for vulnerable road users when they travel. More than ever people are using their road space to walk or use a bike, and as a team of 1.4M Aucklanders we can all play a role in keeping everyone safe.
Some of the pop-up spaces that were rolled out during Alert Level 3 may continue to operate for Alert Level 2 with the addition of some new spaces to allow for physical distancing, we ask that people use the pop-up spaces whenever possible. For more information on walking and cycling visit https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/
AT restarted work across 160 sites from Tuesday 28 April under Alert Level 3 restrictions. Each site has been operating under strict Health and Safety protocols based on Ministry of Health Guidance and industry best practice.
These measures will not change significantly under Alert Level 2 and will continue to include: physical distancing, compulsory PPE, hygiene practices, recording site entry and exit and separating teams into zones on our larger sites.
Inductions for new project staff and compulsory COVID 19 education and training will be part of ongoing site protocols while in Alert Level 2, plus any new restarted work will require contractors to submit COVID 19 Health and Safety plans and protocols to demonstrate a safe working environment.
Although our aim is to return to normal levels of productivity as quickly as possible to minimise delays and help spur the local economy, our priority remains ensuring the safety of our workers and the general public. As such, the pace of work under Alert Level 2 may not be as rapid as it is under normal circumstances.
AT will continue to maximise opportunities to accelerate productivity where possible until we can return to normal conditions. These measures may include extending working hours and expanding work sites to take advantage of less traffic on the road.
All project timelines are under review pending an assessment of the impact of COVID-19.
Engagement (both informing and consulting communities on upcoming projects) will begin again under Alert Level 2 except for the following channels:
1. No drop-in sessions or public meetings
2. No, or very limited, face-to-face meetings with members of the public, stakeholders or elected members
Instead of face-to-face communication, AT will engage via channels such as telephone calls, conference calls, email, Facebook live and webcasts.
All AT offices will re-open at Alert Level 2 but with only up to 25% of staff allowed in the building at any one time to maintain effective physical distancing measures. We will gradually increase the number of staff allowed within offices in the coming weeks and remaining staff will continue to work from home. During Level 2 external visitors are not encouraged to come into our offices unless absolutely essential. Any visitor that does enter an AT office will be asked to register their full contact details at reception areas and will be expected to comply with physical distancing measures that will be in place.
We know this has been a challenging time for us all. We ask that people continue to be understanding and patient of everyone else who is in the same situation and appreciate everyone’s cooperation so far under Alert Levels 4 and 3.
Again, please try to avoid traveling during peak hours of the day to help make sure everyone can get to where they need to go safely.
The best place to find the latest information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is on the Government’s special COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 page, which includes up to date public transport timetables, is at: https://at.govt.nz/COVID-19
any other queries the Auckland Transport call centre is
available 24 hours/ 7 days a week 09