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Source: Auckland Council

In Alert Level 3 the advice remains the same – stay home as much as possible and only travel when necessary. Yet with more people going back to work and school, and with some infrastructure and construction projects restarting, there will undoubtedly be more traffic on the roads than has been seen in recent weeks, meaning all Aucklanders need to take extra care.

Auckland Emergency Management Deputy Group Controller Mace Ward says that during the lockdown, the region’s roads were almost empty which showed just how well Aucklanders responded to the restrictions that were put in place to break the chain of transmission.

“During Alert Level 4, we saw more people having the confidence to get out on their bikes or go for a run around the streets, away from the added danger of the usual levels of Auckland traffic,” she says.

“Now we’ve moved into level 3, we need to make sure we haven’t become complacent. There will be more cars on the roads than we’re used to, so we need to take extra care when we’re out and about.

“For drivers getting back behind the wheel for the first time in a month, you may be feeling a little bit rusty so please ensure you plan extra time for your journeys and be aware of others who may be using the roads.”

Auckland Emergency Management Police Liaison Guy Baldwin says it’s important Aucklanders continue to be vigilant. “Let’s not forget that everyone has done lockdown a bit tough, so please continue to be just a bit more patient, courteous, and show a little kindness when you’re out and about,” he says.

Driving under Alert Level 3

While at Alert Level 3, travel is allowed for essential personal movement which includes:

Sharing the roads safely

During the lockdown period, there has been an increase in the number of Aucklanders taking advantage of the quieter roads to get out on their bikes or go for a walk or run.

As the roads get busier under Alert Level 3, it is essential that drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and any other road users pay extra attention to their surroundings, especially at intersections.

Social distancing is still in place. When using shared pathways or footpaths, remember to keep a two-metre distance from anyone outside of your bubble.

Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy

All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after January 1 2020, have been temporarily extended, due to the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

However, it is your responsibility to assess your vehicle’s safety. At a minimum, you need to self-inspect your vehicle using the TWIRL procedure (tyres, windscreen, wipers, mirrors, indicators, rust and lights).

Operators of heavy vehicles should also follow NZTA’s inspection guidelines.

Drive to the conditions

Although the region has been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather, during lockdown we transitioned into Autumn and with that comes a likely change in driving conditions.

You may also be a little rusty after not driving for a few weeks, so give yourself extra time to complete your journeys, especially on wet and windy days. 

Make sure you are aware of driver fatigue too. You can learn more about how to avoid fatigue on the NZTA website. 

Public transport is an option

Public transport will continue to be free while we are at Alert Level 3. Those travelling on public transport should avoid peak times unless it is necessary, such as going to work or school. This is to ensure that two metres of physical distancing between staff and customers can be maintained.

Auckland Transport has taken numerous measures to help keep customers safe on our network, including:

  • The AT Mobile app now indicates the available capacity that is on a bus or train service at any given time, so customers will know if two-metre distancing will be achievable before they board
  • Ensuring all public transport is being cleaned regularly using enhanced cleaning regimes, including antimicrobial protection fogging of facilities and the fleet
  • Buses and trains are being spot-checked, with touch surfaces being cleaned regularly
  • People must continue to use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising physical contact between customers and the bus drivers
  • Customers who use a wheelchair or other mobility device or require driver assistance can still use the front door of buses. This also applies to vision-impaired customers
  • AT’s cleaners, mechanics and other essential staff have been using PPE as well as maintaining clear physical distancing rules.

While public transport will still be free during Alert Level 3, it is strongly recommended that you register your AT HOP card to help with contact tracing should it be required.

Traffic management measures during Alert Level 3

Auckland Transport Operations Centre (ATOC), has developed traffic management plans to manage traffic near high-risk sites such as interchanges, schools, Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACs), hospitals and drive through takeaways for the move to Alert Level 3.

Emergency speed limits have been put in place (30km/hr) in high risk sites and Queen Street access is restricted to buses.