19 Feb 2016

Bus strike: busy roads, delays expected

7:09 am on 19 February 2016

Hundreds of Auckland bus drivers have now walked off the job leaving tens of thousands of morning commuters to try to make their own way to work and school.

Businesses and their staff have been urged since the strike was announced earlier this week to make alternative plans.

All bus services for Metrolink, North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific, Link and some Howick and Eastern services stopped running at 4am until 4am Saturday.

This morning those plans will be put to the test, and RNZ's Auckland reporters will be updating this story.

But the New Zealand Transport Agency is expecting extra demand on the motorways, and is warning that delays should be expected.

Auckland Transport is also warning of busy roads and delays.

Metrolink, North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific bus and school bus services, CityLink, OuterLink, InnerLink, most NiteRider and some Howick & Eastern bus services are not working.

It is more than 1000 bus drivers who have gone on strike, and 70,000 commuters are affected.

To make matters confusing, Auckland Transport's online journey planner will still show these buses as working even though they are not.

Full lists of affected bus routes

Sandy Pasley, principal of Baradene College and also Secondary Principals' Association president, said it would be very difficult for some students, but they should still try to make it to class.

"School is open and this is not a reason not to go to school.

"We would hope that our students would still get to school, and I understand that is going to be really difficult in some cases depending on how far they have to travel," she said.

Ms Pasley said she had not heard about any schools not expecting students.

"I think that would be a terrible thing if it happened, it would be awful for students to use this as an excuse not to go to school.

"Parents need to be aware of that," she said.

Ms Pasley suggested car-pooling, walking and the city's trains as other options.

"I've got no doubt that maybe not everybody's going to be punctual.

"I think maybe schools might expect students might not be there on time, but we certainly hope they'll be making the effort to come."

Once the morning rush is over, there is the end-of-week evening commute to contend with.

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