A Middlemore Hospital doctor has criticised Auckland's rail system, saying she is late for work a third of the time and important meetings with patients and their families often have to be rearranged because of inadequate public transport services.
In response, Transport Committee chairman Mike Lee has called the rail system ''a complete disgrace".
"Sixty-seven percent [of our trains] are punctual; you could say that's third-world but I think that's an insult to the third-world. It's a complete disgrace.
"There needs to be much more focus and motivation from management to improve the situation."
Lee says that he believes commuters deserved much better services than those currently on offer.
Commenting on the ONE News Facebook page Chrissie Hamilton agreed with Mike Lee's comments.
"Virtually nothing has been spent on rail infrastructure for the past fifty years, compared to roads," she wrote.
While Laura Baird said that Auckland trains are satisfactory except for the price.
"It increased without any real warning a few months ago. $3.40 from Remuera to Britomart. Are you kidding me? I think the Auckland rail system could learn a thing or two from the Wellington system," she wrote.
While Katie Laurence disagreed, writing, "Auckland trains are awesome. I loved using them to get to work. They were almost always within 7 minutes of their scheduled time which was fine with me.
"They just needed a couple of extra carriages to allow for the 60,000 students that were heading into the city when university classes were running, that's all," Laurence commented.
Families visiting hospital 'hugely affected'
Doctor Helen Luxford outlined her concerns to the Transport Committee this week.
Luxford, who lives in Meadowbank, said the Eastern Line was "entirely unreliable," with only 67% of scheduled trains arriving within five minutes of their allocated time.
She asked councillors how she was expected to tell her employers that she could only make it in on time for work two out of every three days.
She said often people were not paying because of a lack of supervision on carriages.
"Frequently there is no revenue being collected because the trains are too full and the inspectors are unable to get around. This smacks in the face of price rises. It does not make sense to be missing out on revenue for months and months and I think that's unacceptable."
Luxford said that a plethora of public transport problems in Auckland were having a massive effect on individuals, professionals and ordinary families.
Speaking about an incident some weeks previously, Luxford said a fellow passenger who was upset over being late for work had been reduced to tears after significant delays.
"He was told 'tough,' and the man was in tears and said how late he was. This is having a significant economic impact for people especially during these difficult times, it's really not on.
"This is a huge issue [affecting] families at our hospital. Sometimes the family have all taken time to attend a meeting with me so it's not just me being late for work."
Lee has called for a far more integrated approach by transport agencies to improve transport reliability and has also suggested incentives for transport staff to tackle fare evasion.