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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Trams, 'Buses, Cabs, etc

Trams, 'Buses, Cabs, etc.

There is no city in the Colony where the people so persistently ride in trams and omnibuses as they do in Auckland. This is due chiefly to three things: first, the distance and extent of the suburbs; second, the determination of those who “laid out” or should have laid out the town, to make the very most and worst of the hill difficulties; and third, the climate, which is rather too warm in summer and too wet in winter to make walking a perennial delight. This habit of the people of riding wherever riding is possible has called into existence an abnormally large business in the street passenger carrying line. If the 'buses of Auckland, with their teams of four, five, and six horses to each conveyance could be suddenly set down in the streets of Wellington, the untravelled natives of the capital would get a more exaggerated idea of the size and importance of the northern city than they could obtain by any other means. The meanest suburb of Auckland has more and better omnibuses
Mount Eden, showing Maori fortifications from Albert road.

Mount Eden, showing Maori fortifications from Albert road.

than the whole of Wellington. Fortunately for the capital, there is no need for these expensive 'bus services. But they have their advantages. The rate-payers are put to great cost for maintaining the roads; but to strangers who wish to see the city and suburbs at an expense hardly noticeable, the trams and 'buses of Auckland are a wonderful boon. The 'buses run into every corner of the district, grinding the roads into sand pits to the disgust and danger of cyclists; but the people hold tenaciously to their 'buses, which, through running to more out-of-the-way places, are even more popular than trams.

The trams, all drawn by horses, run through Newmarket and Epsom to Pottager's Paddock, the popular recreation ground, about half way to Onehunga, and they are there met by 'buses belonging to the Tramway Company, which continues the journey across the isthmus. About sixty trams leave Queen Street wharf for Newmarket, between 7.30 a.m. and 10.30 p.m. and half of these run on to meet the 'buses for Onehunga at Potter's Paddock. Towards the west the tram lines run to the extemity of Ponsonby. Eighty-six trips are made each way during the day, between the wharf and Ponsonby (Three Lamps), but only fifty-six continue to the terminus of the line

The 'buses make about eighty trips each way to and from Ponsonby, the majority taking the same route as the tram. To Newmarket about the same number of trips are made; but they are mostly via Parnell. About forty trips each way to and from Mount Eden, a still greater number to and from Mount Roskill, and about twenty to and from Mount Albert, are made daily; and, as these all run side by side with the Newmarket trams, as far as the corner of Symonds Street and Khyber Pass Road—about one mile and a half from the wharf—it is safe to say that a passenger has, in the couse of the day and evening, two hundred chances of riding to any place within these points. As far as the Ponsonby reservoir, the Richmond Road, Arch-hill and Avondale, 'buses run the same course as the Ponsonby trams and 'buses; so very great facilities are also afforded for communication with the city by the second main artery.

Howick, Panmure, Otahuhu, Papatoitoi, Mangere, and other outlying places are all served by 'buses; yet, notwithstanding all these conveniences for travelling, the number of private conveyances in and around Auckland is many times greater than that of those owned within the same radius at Wellington.

The cab service at Auckland is well equipped; but the fares are the highest in the Colony—another legacy of early Auckland's blundering surveyors.

Of late years there has been a great improvement in the quality of the horses worked in connection with the trams, 'buses, cabs, etc. None of them have the jaded, dejected look so common to the Auckland horseflesh of a quarter of a century back. Taken all round, the horses of Auckalnd present an appearance exceedingly creditable, in view of the very hard work they are called upon to perform.