Land transport

I really get annoyed with people in Wellington telling people in Auckland all about congestion

David Farrar once again decides to comment on Auckland traffic issues, proving at the same time his lack of understanding of Auckland’s transport issues.

Then again i shouldn’t be surprised because when he comes to Auckland he calls up and asks if I want to catch up for a drink at 6pm…usually at about 530pm. He is doing what a lot if Wellingtonian’s do…thinking Auckland is just like Wellington, an incredibly tiny shithole where everyone is 15 minutes from town. It isn’t…he has never contemplated the fact that in order to do that I’d be driving at least 30 minutes each way in peak hour traffic to have a drink when I don;t drink with someone who has his head inside his smart phone conducting Twitter conversations with pinkos who aren’t his friends.

Auckland is large. But this is his suggestion…

I support user pays for transport. A congestion charge is the best form of user pays – a market charge. A toll charge is also an efficient mechanism of making sure users of the transport system pay for the benefits they get from them.

So I don’t think the Government should rule out congestion charges or tolls for Auckland Council, or other councils.

Yeah good oh, David….and precisely where would you put this congestion tax? On motorway on ramps? On Motorway off ramps?

Let me tell you what would happen.

People would exist or join motorways where there are NO tolling facilities. So if you decide it is the CBD that is congested and so off ramps into the city centre should be tolled that would mean covering the following exits: Symonds Street, Wellesley Street, Nelson Street, Cook Street, Fanshawe Street, Stanley Street, and Wellington Street.

What would happen is those coming from the south would exit the motorway and any exit ahead of Symonds street including as far back as Greenlane but also Market road and funnel themselves down through Newmarket further jamming the streets in and around Remuera, Newmarket and Greenlane.   Read more »

Len Brown parking madness [UPDATED]

The Ground Crew have been busy.

Our Mt Roskill correspondent reports:

Reporters on the scene at the new car park being created in Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill have discovered that Len Brown’s plans for raising cash are in full swing.

The large public car parking area for people visiting the grounds, Tristar gym, and swimming pool is to have parking meters for every spot.

Locals are not impressed.

hayparkcarpark

[workers on site were interviewed for this news]

Read more »

Why doesn’t the council consider reducing costs instead of stiffing ratepayers harder?

Len Brown is now trying to make your parking charges higher…all in a bid to a) raise more revenue for him to spend and b) force people onto his crappy trains that don’t go anywhere useful.

It is just shameful revenue gathering. If you live on the North Shore or in East Auckland then public transport just isn’t an option for you and driving is faster despite traffic.

Now Brown and his rapacious army of tax collectors are wanting to charge you even more for parking…to “encourage” you to use public transport services that just aren’t there.

Auckland Council is suggesting a comprehensive shake up for parking in central city and outlying town centres, which could mean higher costs to park your car and fewer places you can.

In releasing a discussion paper today, council agency Auckland Transport says parking is a tool to make the transport network more efficient and there is a need to balance the needs of all road users.

Complaints to the agency showed Auckland’s present parking policies were not work well and were causing conflicts for businesses, residents and commuters over limited spaces, particularly in the city fringe.

Extending central city parking scheme to other main regional centres, by which time limits are removed but motorists will pay incrementally more after the first hour for on-street parking and are offered cheaper off-street parking as an alternative. The goal is 85% per cent occupancy of street parking spaces     Read more »

More than 10,000 miles and not a single ticket for Google’s Self Driving Cars

Google’s self driving cars are cool, apart from the Prius platform.

They are certainly much more appealing to me than any public transport system currently mooted, and would go a long towards ameliorating traffic issues.

It also seems to me that we would be better off investing several billion dollars in working Google to bring self-drive cars to a reality in NZ, rather than wasting the money on stupid 19th century technology that is confirmed to corridors and rails.

But are they safe?

Well it appears they are, logging more than 10,000 miles without a single infringement.

On a drive in a convoy of Google’s autonomous vehicles last week, a difficult driving situation arose.

As our platoon approached a major intersection, two Google cars ahead of us crept forward into the intersection, preparing to make left turns. The oncoming traffic took nearly the whole green light to clear, so the first car made the left as the green turned to yellow. The second, however, was caught in that tough spot where the car is in the intersection but the light is turning, and the driver can either try to back up out of the intersection or gun it and make the left, even though he or she or it knows the light is going to turn red before the maneuver is complete. The self-driving car gunned it, which was the correct decision, I think. But it was also the kind of decision that was on the borderline of legality.

It got me wondering: had these cars ever gotten a ticket driving around Mountain View, where they’ve logged 10,000 miles?

“We have not cited any Google self-driving cars,” Sergeant Saul Jaeger, the press information officer at the Mountain View Police Department, told me. They hadn’t pulled one over and let the vehicle go, either, to Jaeger’s knowledge.

I wondered if that was because of a pre-existing agreement between Google and the department, but Jaeger said, “There is no agreement in place between Google and the PD.”

Google confirmed that they none of their cars had ever been ticketed in Mountain View or elsewhere.

Read more »

Claire Trevett on the ClusterTruck

Claire Trevett’s column today explores Labour’s idiocy with their clustertruck policy.

Former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s 2006 prophecy of “jam tomorrow” will come to fruition today, although it may not quite be the kind of jam people were hoping for.

It will be a traffic jam.

Realising there are votes to be gained from angry holidaymakers stuck in traffic for hours, Labour took measures to try to harvest them this week by releasing a groundbreaking holidaymakers’ transport policy.

Labour has long been driven by a drive to reduce inequality. So it announced it would drop the need to register caravans and trailers and cut road user charges for motorhomes and campervans.

The coup de grace of the policy was the ban on trucks from using the right-hand lane on three or four lane motorways – an attempt to peg into the futile rage that swamps drivers whose aims are thwarted by said trucks.

As “Kiwi families” loaded up their surfboards and fishing rods, David Cunliffe’s Caravan of Love was here to help. “Fun can quickly turn to frustration when the family realises the rego for the caravan has expired or there’s a big truck hogging the fast lane.”

Cunliffe declared, “Kiwis are sweating the small stuff too much.”  Read more »

An email from a truckie

Yesterday we wrote about immigrant drivers and a commenter expressed his view about the responsibility of the industry.

I have received this email from an industry insider:

Dear Mr Whale Oil,

I believe that the government has made an error in removing truck drivers from the skill shortage list.

In this case I agree with what the Herald journalist has written, and I know that a mistake has been made with this decision.

It was interesting to read your piece, and the comments.

Without doubt there is a shortage of drivers in New Zealand, and in most of the developed world. This is because these people (drivers) have special skills, and we aren’t making them fast enough.

Ken Shirley said it takes years to make a Class 5 driver, and one of your commenters said that it takes a much shorter time. Please understand that this is not about getting a licence. Any half-arsed dickhead can get a licence. I am talking about being a driver of a unit weighing 40 tonnes, driving head on towards you, and worth $500,000. Not anyone can drive one of those. Not anyone can get ability to drive a heavy vehicle in a short time. The guys we train take about 3 years to get to that level.  Read more »

Darien Fenton questions the honesty of the road transport industry

Darien Fenton has probably done more to upset the transport industry in her miniscule time as transport spokehead than any other opposition union spokesman.

Her interest is based solely around Union experiences in Australia, where conditions are very different.

Labour’s transport spokesperson has called for a review of truck driver work arrangements – suggesting accidents are linked to contracting arrangements.

Darien Fenton says that after a number of fatal accidents involving trucks in the last month, the Government should not be ignoring the Opposition’s calls for a review of the trade.

“We know that truck drivers are allowed to work up to 13 hours a day, but many work much longer than that because the pay isn’t up to scratch and they need to make a living,” says Fenton.

“We also know that pressures are often put on drivers to breach time and speeding rules, yet the number of chain of responsibility prosecutions – where those who make the demands on drivers to break those rules are held accountable – are falling.

“While there are many good trucking firms in New Zealand which take care of their drivers and train and pay them properly, there are some who don’t and they are the killers on our roads,” she added.  Read more »

The perils of public transport

ssssss

Public transport unplugged in Wellington

Wellington city is removing the electric trolley buses because the system has inherent problems. Aside from future costs of upgrading lines the system is flawed because it is hindered by breakdowns, set routes and backlogs.

Sounds like the same sorts of things that could said of trains isn’t it?

Perhaps Wellingtonians will embrace the flexibility and practicalities of the car.

The plug has been pulled on Wellington’s trolley buses, after 90 years of plying the capital’s streets.

The wires that have criss-crossed the central city since 1924 will come down in 2017, and the trolley buses will be replaced, under a plan being put forward by Greater Wellington Regional Council.  Read more »

And the road maggots wonder why they get run over

Auckland Transport conducted a survey of key intersections to ascertain who the worst red light runners were…and guess what…it’s road maggots.

The Herald in a series pushing the ‘rights’ of 2% of road users have released the details.

Cyclists accounted for 60 per cent of red-light runners surveyed at four Auckland intersections, the city’s transport authority has revealed.

Car drivers were responsible for 37 per cent of 360 red-light breaches observed by Auckland Transport, and buses, trucks and one motorcycle made up the balance.

Right, so those evil truck drivers, generally don;t run red lights…hmmm…while cyclists do…a lot. No wonder they get run over.

Those statistics still don’t stop the road maggot advocates pushing their agenda.

Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said cars running lights exceeded cyclists at the K-Rd intersection.

She referred to a presentation by a senior Auckland Transport official which won an accolade at an engineering conference, noting many instances of red-light running by cyclists were left-hand turns or motivated by riders wanting to get a head-start on other vehicles for safety reasons.  Read more »

Cyclist runs red light, dies under a truck, lycra force field failed

How about we need cyclists to follow the road rules?

Yesterday a cyclist found out that his lycra force field isn’t much protection at all from close interaction with a truck.

Police are investigating how and why the collision occurred, but revealed last night the truckie had the green light at the intersection.

“When I looked back I saw this [man] flying off [his] bike and at the same time the truck just kept on rolling over [him],” said Mr Maamaloa.

It was only when other motorists alerted the truck driver by tooting their horns that he stopped about 70m down the road. …

Police said it appeared the cyclist had been riding down Parnell Rise and was turning left into Stanley St when he collided with the truck, which was travelling straight through from The Strand.

Inspector Cornelius Klussein said the truck driver, who had the green light, did not know the cyclist had come under his wheels until being alerted by other motorists tooting their horns.

“He assumed that maybe something had come off the truck so he parked up to see what was going on. It was only when he got out that he saw that something had happened.”  Read more »