New feature encourages physical distancing during travel to essential services
Under the Government’s Alert Level 4 restrictions, public transport can now 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.
To help those people, Auckland Transport has introduced a major upgrade to its app, AT Mobile. The new feature shows how many people are on a bus at any given time.
This allow people to see if the recommended physical distancing between other passengers of two metres will be achievable before they get on board.
AT Mobile users can now look under the Live Departures area of the app to see one of four “live occupancy statuses”: 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 people on a given bus increases.
This real-time information 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.
Once a bus is at its safe-distance capacity, the app will show passengers are no longer being accepted and the driver will only do drop-offs until it is safe to accept passengers again.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the updated app features. “With public transport now only in use by essential workers and those travelling to access essential services, there is enough room on most buses and trains for important physical distancing,” he says.
“In addition, AT has developed an innovative and world-leading feature for its app that will help those who do use public transport feel safer and ensure they can maintain physical distance to help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.”
“All of our customers are really important to us and right now, our customers are essential workers. Our priority is keeping them safe while they travel and getting them to where they need to be to look after Aucklanders,” says AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison.
“This update to the AT Mobile app, to show people how many others are travelling on our buses, will give essential workers and those going to get groceries the information they need to make decisions about their health and safety.
“I’m extremely proud of my team who have rolled this new function out in less than a week.”
In addition, the new AT Mobile app update has also added an alert banner on the top of both the Journey Planner and Live Departure pages. This will give customers the latest transport-related information during COVID-19 as well as a link to Auckland Transport’s dedicated COVID-19 web page.
These new features are included in the latest AT Mobile update which is now available in the Google Play and Apple App stores. You can find links to those app store pages at https://at.govt.nz/atmobile
New COVID-19 posters throughout network
We have also been placing new posters throughout AT’s network to remind Aucklanders of their responsibilities during Alert Level 4 while using public transport.
The posters remind customers of physical distancing, which is staying two metres apart from others, and that public transport is for essential travel only on a reduced timetable.
These posters can be seen on platforms of train stations, digital ads throughout the network and on our social media accounts. Window posters have also been placed in every other row of buses, trains and ferries to remind customers about physical distancing.
The new AT Mobile app features and COVID-19 posters follow additional measures we have already taken to keep Aucklanders safe while using public transport.
People now must 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. We also have increased the frequency and intensity of the cleaning of all buses, trains and ferries.
As a reminder, with New Zealand now at Alert Level 4, public transport services are only available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons, to access essential services including get to the supermarket, and to move essential goods. For details on what is considered an essential service visit https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/
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: https://covid19.govt.nz/
Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 page is at: https://at.govt.nz/COVID-19