On arrival, I went to the Britomart Travel centre, which was itself a mistake. I queued behind an Asian and a person of indeterminate nationality, neither of whom seemed to know what they wanted. The second one was replaced by a similarly disadvantaged American, and I was then queue-jumped by a heavily tattooed Maori who also didn't know what he wanted. By the time I was attended to, I was told that this was the wrong queue, but I had already missed the 1:10 to papkura. No matter, I walked over and bought a day pass and went down to the platform to wait for the 1:40.
The platform area owes much to the Stalinist era and my perceptions of Eastern Europe in the old days. Bright cheery lights and bright cheery music could not hided the fact that the centre was made out of breeze blocks, while the trains looked like pre-war tin sheds. The music was interrupted by "The Britonart Transport Centre is a smoke-free facility" (yeah, till someone burns it down) and "Please keep behind the yellow line" and all the usual virtuous stuff.
The 1:40 arrived after an apology (well, three actually) for a 12 minute delay, but the train was in poor shape and retired at Otahuhu, where passengers then got onto the next train...
There is lots of beautiful scenery in new Zealand: indeed, the country has made its name on it, but there wasn't any here. Graffiti, piles of tyres, piles of other rubbish, sad grassland and derelict railway carriages. That was the good stuff. The quality of the service: not good.
This probably does a great deal to account for why Auckland is in the world's top ten for per-capita non-use of public transport. Even Los Angeles does better, but maybe it's because their rapid transit also goes through places where people live and work, rather than places that might have become suburbs but didn't seem to be the best ones. The other famed Auckland opinion is also to blame: "Yeah, I think Auckland should have good public transport, because if it did, there'd be more room for me and my car".
This LJ rant comes to you with apologies to 617 and any other JAFAs who might be reading this.
It's now time to head back to the motel for a shower and a change of clothes before dinner, the main reason for the trip. All over the CBD: Asian owned cybercafes - $2 per hour. Be seeing you.