Traffic heavy, buses full as Auckland commuters deal with train strike

Auckland commuters are bracing for a rough day of traffic after being told to make alternative travel arrangements due to the rail workers strike beginning today.

The strike takes place from 2am for 24 hours and due to the short notice, Auckland Transport has not been able to put on extra buses in place of train services.

Traffic is heavy on major roads and there are reports of buses not stopping for passengers as they are full.

However there does not appear to be widespread problems. 

AT's chief transport services officer, Mark Lambert says: "We are sorry but with no trains operating, the roads will be busy and there will be delays. People should consider options such as travelling outside peak times, sharing rides, cycling or walking.

"They should also talk to their employer about their work situation."

More than 30,000 people travel by train around Auckland on an average weekday.

The workers' employer, French-owned company Transdev, is determined to reduce crew numbers and introduce driver-only trains, says Rail and Maritime Transport Union advocate John Kerr.

"This plan puts passengers and drivers at risk, and the only reason we can see for it is cutting costs and increasing profit," he said.

Transdev's proposal would make train drivers have responsibility for monitoring door operation and passengers, dividing their attention and significantly increasing the risk of accident, Mr Kerr said.

"Our members don't want to inconvenience the public especially this close to Christmas, but they will not compromise on the safety of passengers or the rail network," he said.

Ferry and bus services will be operating as normal today.

Wellington rail workers went on strike for 24 hours on November 16, protesting Transdev's desire to cut working conditions and penalty rates for working weekends.

Commuters across Auckland are advised to allow extra time for travel tomorrow or work from home if possible. Source: 1 NEWS