29 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Freight trips quicker, less stressful with lack of traffic

12:09 pm on 29 March 2020

The Covid-19 lockdown has led to a noticeable drop in traffic, with some truck drivers saying it is much easier to meet timetables.

Generic picture of truck driver recording / logging information.

Truck drivers in Nelson and Marlborough are reporting shorter travel times and less stress during trips because of the lack of traffic. Photo: 123RF

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Central Express driver Barry Peters said the normally busy State Highway 6 between Nelson and Blenheim was now up to 15 minutes faster than usual.

He had just arrived at Port Nelson with a load of bottled Marlborough sauvignon blanc for export when RNZ called.

Peters has been driving trucks for 44 years and said the traffic was noticeably lighter on the highway between Nelson and Blenheim, which was normally crowded with tourists and campervans.

"There are none around at the moment and the local traffic ... it's basically empty.

"Rai Valley is empty, Havelock is empty, so it's a lot easier on us."

Peters said there was only ever a small percentage of road users he considered a problem, including campervans that occasionally pulled out from a picnic spot or rest area.

"But right now we're not having to deal with the one or two percent of drivers who can be a problem.

"I'm not saying everyone's a bad driver but there are a few out there, even anyone driving a car will notice that, so it's a lot less stressful in that regard."

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

Peters said they were having to haul the wine to free up space in the tanks for the fruit being harvested now.

Road freight is considered to be an essential service during the lockdown along with the health sector, key public services, transport providers and food producers.

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