Auckland Transport has updated its AT Mobile app to show users how many people are on a train at any given time. The mobile app also has an updated journey planning feature to help with AT's 15,000 daily essential trips.
Aucklanders using AT Mobile can now see if the recommended physical distancing between other passengers of two metres will be achievable before they get on board the train.
Under the Government's Alert Level 4 restrictions, public transport can only be used by those working in essential services, for medical reasons, to access essential services, including getting to the supermarket, and to move essential goods.
Currently around 15,000 essential trips are happening each day on average across AT's network, which include trips by essential workers and those traveling to supermarkets or pharmacies. For details on what is considered an essential service visit the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website.
As they could start doing with buses in March, AT Mobile users now can look under the Live Departures area of the app to see one of four "live occupancy statuses" for trains: Likely empty, Likely space available, Likely near the limit of safe distancing, and Likely not accepting passengers.
The categories will be shown as four icons in the shape of people that will fill in as the number of customers on a given train or bus increases.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the app is a great example of necessity being the mother of invention. "The AT team has been innovative in putting this together very quickly," he says.
"It enables AT to ensure that it meets the rule of trains as well of buses running at no more than 20 per cent capacity to ensure passengers can maintain 2 metres of separation. This allows passengers travelling to essential work or to access essential services to know that they will be safe using public transport.
"It will also have a carry-over into the post-lockdown period, enabling people to determine how full a train or bus they are hoping to catch is," he said.
The real-time information provided to the app is based on live data from AT HOP on and off tags, which is why it is important for anyone using public transport to continue to use their AT HOP card even though trips are free while we are at Alert Level 4.
AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the update is the result of great collaboration across the organisation.
"This update, and last month's update to AT Mobile to show the occupancy on buses, is another example of our team working to respond to an unprecedented situation to keep our customers safe," he says.
"Those who are travelling on trains for essential trips are now able to make an informed decision about which service to take for their health and safety. I’m very proud of the team for making this update happen so quickly."
In addition, AT Mobile's journey planning section has been redesigned today to more clearly show the steps for each journey, including notifying the user if the first stop is closed or moved so they can plan accordingly.
These new features are included in the latest AT Mobile update which is now available in the Google Play and Apple App stores.
The new features added to AT Mobile follows numerous other steps that AT has taken to help Aucklanders use public transport as an essential service during COVID-19.
All trains are regularly treated with disinfectant, using new fogging equipment. This is in addition to the increased frequency and intensity of cleaning on all buses, trains and ferries.
AT has also been placing new posters throughout the network to remind Aucklanders of their responsibilities during Alert Level 4 while using public transport.
People must now use the rear door to get on and off buses to keep everyone as safe as possible by minimising the physical contact between customers and the bus drivers. Those with accessibility needs can still board through the front door of buses if they need assistance from the driver.
Buses, trains and ferries also have a significantly reduced maximum capacity to ensure anyone using public transport as an essential service can maintain the required two metre physical distance from each other.
The best place to find the latest information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is on the Government's special COVID-19 website.
You can also view Auckland Transport's COVID-19 webpage.