So, how’s that Grafton Bridge taxi trial working for ya?

So, how’s that Grafton Bridge taxi trial working for ya?

BarbC

I caught the ferry last Thursday with my bike to go quaxing for brass window catches for my bedroom windows. I’d already checked with my local hardware shop, but they told me I needed a specialty shop like Knobs and Knockers in Grafton.

It was a lovely day; I cruised up Symonds St, out of peak hours, nice cycling conditions, turned onto Grafton Bridge, and – wow! Taxis coming towards me, and from behind as well. Next thing I know, I’ve got a Crown Taxi passing me on the double yellow lines on the bridge. By the time I’d reached the end of the bridge to pull out my phone to photograph the numberplate, the taxi had flicked through the traffic lights and was on its way… hopefully to the Hospital.

What I’d forgotten, until being unable to ignore it, was that Auckland Transport has chosen to allow taxis to join buses and bikes using Grafton Bridge in daylight hours, for a year’s trial. Auckland Transport (and the taxi companies) say it’s all about getting sick and injured people faster to Auckland Hospital.

We’ve known the trial was coming for the past year, and from the outset I’ve told AT this would constitute a downgrade to cycling safety and bus convenience on Grafton Bridge. AT assured me the trial would be tightly controlled, including strict monitoring by CCTV cameras.

Matt Lowrie is equally unimpressed with how taxis on the bridge will affect bus travel. Did you read his very good Transport Blog?

AT has imposed these conditions on taxis for the trial:

  • Can only use the bridge if carrying passengers
  • Must be a branded taxi, i.e. no services such as Uber
  • No stopping on the bridge to pick up or drop off passengers.
  • No U-turn manoeuvres on the bridge.
  • Give cyclists space when following them across the bridge [unfortunately there is no definition of how much space should be given]
  • No overtaking cyclists on the bridge

I rang AT to report the Crown Taxi had breached the no overtaking condition, and asked what would happen. I was told the CCTV cameras would be reviewed and I’d hear back. I was surprised to hear, however, that the CCTV cameras don’t give full coverage of the bridge. Really! How thorough and reassuring!

My disillusioning experience was on Day 3 of the year-long trial – and we’ve spotted similar reports on Twitter during the first week of the trial.

How are you finding taxi behaviour on the bridge? Has anyone else had cause to ring/email AT’s action line about a breach in the trial conditions? 

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