Foo Fighters Bus FAIL


Have we learnt nothing from the RWC opening night fiasco?

Last night I had to walk away from the Foo Fighters public transport shambles it was so depressing. And it was happening almost exactly where the opening night fail occured.

Buses were to be operating every 5 minutes from Quay St around the back of the Britomart at the foot of Queen St.

The shambles resembled all the bad mistakes of the RWC opening night and gave me bad memories of that night .

  • There seemed to be no info people visible and everyone was asking WTF was going on.
  • No helpful signage. Many people from out of town or not used to buses were actually wandering around town asking how they get the buses -I answered a number of them
  • Queues in all directions snaking right around the street
  • Ticket collectors selling tickets in the middle of it with no semblance of an ordered queue
  • No clear indication you used the same ticket home
  • Ticket collectors mixed up in between people hawking Foo Fighter T-shirts
  • No queueing barricades  as were also missing on opening night of the RWC so by the time it snaked around streets no one knew where the queue started
  • Footpaths were blocked by people queueing while normal city workers were trying to find a way to walk along Quay St
  • And after 20 minutes when I was there around 6pm, still no bus had arrived!
  • To make the issue worse it was raining - but the crowd, excited about the show, was very well-mannered until they started despairing they would not get to see opening acts or even arrive in time

SHAMBLES: Foo Fighters bus snaking queue

It all had horrible memories of that awful RWC night and the potential for people to lose it.

RWC OPENING NIGHT: They queued around Britomart in frustration to get in to get a train

Did authorities underestimate how many people would use the buses even though promotors had emailed ticketholders to use buses because of limited parking near Western Springs and road closures - and AT had also publicised the public transport arrangements which looked good on paper.

Or can Auckland simply not cope with an event involving 50,000 trying to get somewhere in the middle of a weekday rush hour?

The rest of the RWC fixtures worked well - but most were not on a week night at rush hour and thousands picked to walk for fear of not getting to the event because of the opening night fail.

And buses use roads so once they had dropped Foo Fighter fans at Western Springs they had to battle rush hour traffic to get back to pick up more people.

As unprintable comments flowed around me about what people thought of the public transport in Auckland, I elected to walk to the stadium.
On the way I found others did too - but many people would not have know how to get through the back streets of Ponsonby to find Western Springs.

Why was the Fan Trail - a fan trail to Western Springs - not thought of?

It was a manageable walk not that much further than Eden Park was?

FAN TRAIL: Worked well and very popular

Other factors highlighted the Auckland problems.
Auckland motorists seem incapable of adjusting to driving in the rain and I saw some crazy irresponsible behaviour as one often does when the day turns wet.

But what else was going on with public transport?
I passed the Kingsland station where announcements were being made apologizing for delays.
At one stage I also tried to get a LINK bus from Albert St to at least get to Ponsonby.

In the course of 30 minutes, 2 LINK buses showed on the sign as being minutes away and then becoming DUE and then the kiss of death -DLY. And then vanishing never ever to turn up.

Public transport is only useful when it is reliable and this joke with the electronic signs has gone too far. The same thing happened twice last week when I tried to get an Outer Link.

In all cases they lost my custom and made me feel less inclined to use the service in future when you need to get somewhere and believe a service turns up every 15 minutes but then doesn’t.

Was last night’s LINK problem a sign that public transport generally falls apart if  extra pressure is put on for a special event?

But let’s not get distracted.
I’ve had heaps of complaints about the Foo Fighters shambles today. Many said they gave up even trying for a bus back. And they lose faith in Auckland public transport which is always the sad thing. You won’t get people out of their cars if they have one bad experience with PT.

Typical of the complaints was this one from “OrangeKiwi”:

“Well, transport to the gig was a disaster. Could’ve taken the Outer Link to St Lukes and walk a short distance (1.2k I think), but for some reason opted to go 2 Britomart and catch one of the special buses instead.

Bad choice. It was very busy (as you would expect) but no communication whatsoever, ended up in a queue with other people who had no clue about what was going on either. After having waited in the queue for 30mins we found out from other people in the queue you couldn’t pay on the bus and there was a separate queue for tickets. No word on that on any website beforehand, no signs placed on location and no-one there to tell us about this.

That ticket queue went at least one and a half time around the block of buildings (bordered by Quay, Commerce, Tyler, Queen St) and was hardly moving. Looked liked it was going to take an hour at least just to get the tickets – then back to the second queue for boarding.

So just like many, many others we ventured off into Queen St and surrounding areas looking for a taxi. It was crazy, but managed to find one. Those taxi drivers had one of the best nights I can tell you.

On the way back we just went for a taxi straight away, which was fast and easy as – our taxi driver commented to us that the taxi pickup area was extremely well organised for once. Apparently the buses were still not leaving by the time we got home (it’s about 7k).

Foo Fighters rocked though, had a good night out…

Yes, at least Foo got it right.




  1. Anthony says:

    I drove past at 6.30pm and was surprised by the size of the queue, came back at 7.30pm and everyone had gone and there were stacks of buses waiting, it did look like a bit of a mess and rain + rush hour traffic is always a catalyst for delays, more people drive and they drive slower (generally).

  2. JX says:

    I elected to walk after taking one look at the shambles that was Quay Street - it was everything you said and more - no one had a clue what was happening.

    The walk was pretty straight forward and got their in about 35 minutes and was sorted. If I had waited for a bus at Quay street I reckon I would have missed the beginning of the Foo Fighters.

    Of course you are right - the bottom line is that Auckland can’t host events - the RWC was an aberration in that it was so big it had to work and had everyone’s attention on it - but general non-global events in Auckland - forget it - this place just can’t manage it.

    A world-class city my ass - if Auckland wants to be taken seriously it needs to take itself seriously first and step-up.

  3. F*** up says:

    I did miss Tenacious D and I’m spewing.

    Why can’t they get this right?

    No one knew what was happening down there. There was no one to ask. The line went on forever. It seemed to go all over the place.

    Yeah I got there for Foo. But I shouid have been there for the rest.

    Next time Im taking the car. I saw people parking around St Lukes road where they shouldnt have and didnt get towed.

    Better risk than taking public transport.

  4. Matt L says:

    I didn’t go but still witnessed some of its impacts, I caught the 5:24 train out west and it was pretty full, most people between town and morningside got a free trip because staff couldn’t get through the carriages.

    Later on I was driving back towards town on the motorway and as expected there was a huge queue to get off at St Lukes heading west but these real issue was that there were idiots getting out of cars and walking alongside the motorway and some even running across it.

  5. Geoff Houtman says:

    It’s almost like the good folks at Auckland Transport should have had a - what’s it called?


    I think that’s the word.

  6. Luke says:

    I saw the long queue for the official buses, then instead went to other side of Queen St outside of Britomart and caught one of the regular normal buses to Blockhouse Bay. Only had to wait 10 mins, bus full of people going to foos.
    On way back thought transport was excellent, buses lined up along both sides of Gt North Road as far as the eye could. Must of been about 30 going to city. No wait at all, just had to walk 5mins down road past buses lined up, then jumped on first bus that was open and away within a couple of mins.

  7. julie says:

    I couldn’t agree more, everyone was asking what was going on, a few the rock wearing t-shirts standing around with their backs to everyone.

    We Didn’t make the concert as, after standing in the via queue for 45mins we hadn’t moved and friend, who had a broken foot, was in pain.

    Really sad, as we’d been looking forward to the concert for months and it was my birthday!

  8. AKT says:

    @Julie That’s a really sad story.

  9. The Rocker says:

    We & heaps of ppl I know bought the bus tickets & gave up waiting for one.

    So if they boast how many they got to the stadium on the buses, they had better not count how many tickets were sold to work it out.

    A waste of $10.

  10. damian says:

    I drove and parked a friends house nearby. I dont know why people waste their time with PT.

    I did on exit see a good line of taxi’s in a well ordered manner - good to see some form of PT working.

  11. damian says:

    Julie - the concert was pretty average anyway.
    Certainly the worst Foo Fighters concert I have been too.

  12. ingolfson says:

    “Why was the Fan Trail – a fan trail to Western Springs – not thought of?”

    Lots of people seemed to walk - crowds were blocking me from cycling along Northwestern Cycleway while I was trying to get to another appointment. But they were pretty well-mannered, and did tend to give way eventually when I rang my bell.

  13. Bryan says:

    There were security staff at Morningside to direct patrons to the venue (a 15-20 minute walk). Didn’t see anyone get off the 4:36 (running late and crowded due to the 4:24 being cancelled).

  14. JJ says:

    Had walked half way back into town, after passing thousands of people waiting for town buses, b4 first bus past me. Where the hell were the buses into town all i could see was the Nth Shore buses qeued up. Auckland transport failed once again, time for heads to roll they’ve had enough chances to get it right.

  15. MrV says:

    Sack everyone, call in the Swiss.

  16. JC says:

    I don’t know why I am not surprised at this.
    The Auckland City Council are just a bunch of dickheads who don’t believe they do anything wrong.
    I cannot wait for the next local elections to get rid of Len Brown and his waste of timers. I cannot believe we were suckered in by these lying pricks
    The fact these guys cannot arrange for a few buses for a rock concert is a pretty poor effort. A good indication of how useless this group of council members are.

  17. AKT says:

    @JC The Mayor does not organise buses to Foo Fighters.
    Auckland Transport is the body that does that.

  18. JC says:

    Really - So Len Brown is not the boss, and these matters do not go over his desk………I think so
    And I also think he has no answers for the people who were effected. Once again great leadership shown by Len, nice one ..

  19. Geoff Houtman says:

    JC- David Warburton is the CEO,
    Mark Ford is chairman, the board of directors here-

    I’m pretty sure Rodney Hide (and Mark Ford) appointed these people- Len Brown just inherited them.

    Complain to and about the people that cause the cockups- not those who don’t?

  20. Bryce says:

    You probably voted for the suckers who put most of the people into positions on the Auckland Council COO’s - at the recent general election.


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