Land transport

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

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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 »

Map of the Day

OldSpanishTrailMap2

The Old Spanish Trail was a 4800km road (coast to coast). Started in 1915.

Drink Driving limit to be lowered

The government has announced that they are going to lower the drink driving limit.

Prime Minister John Key says cabinet has agreed to lower the blood alcohol limit for all drivers.

The limit will fall from 0.08ml per 100ml of blood to 0.05ml.

Key said the new lower limit would give fines to drivers caught between the old limit and the new one.

He said the government had a strong track record for road safety, with the road toll falling by about 100 deaths a year while in government.

“The work is not over, no death is acceptable.”

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the decision was striking a balance of showing that the government was serious about alcohol in driving, while deciding whether drivers were criminals.   Read more »

The car will always be king in Auckland

Policy Parrot says:

And here is the reason why you won’t be seeing much advancement of public transport in Auckland over the next 40 years.

Electric cars.

There is absolutely no denying the car industry is the master of adaptation when forced by laws and by public demand.

And the car industry are survivors.

Firstly – in a world full of public servants and green Taliban types all expressing desire for public transport in modern cities its of no surprise that Auckland Council politicians are easily convinced about trains and tunnels.

Expensive train sets are easy targets for politicking off. The media gets a huge woody over expenditure. The masses are easily excited about new things in a city. People like progress. Politicians promise it in the form of big ticket items.

Accompanying the public transport mantra is the call to make the motorcar extinct.

Urban designers want motorways converted to lofty bike ways or destroyed and replaced with train lines ranked with apartment buildings.

Green ranting loonies want everyone to ride bikes or skip to work wearing hemp suits and eating home grown turnips.

Council officers want a freebie ride to work.  Read more »

Shhh don’t tell Kiwirail

Whatever you do don’t tell Kiwirail what fat bloated rail executives are getting in the UK to stay in their padded subsidised jobs.

Three senior Network Rail executives are set to pocket ÂŁ900,000 for not leaving their jobs, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Patrick Butcher, the group finance director; Robin Gisby and Simon Kirby, respectively the managing directors for network operations and infrastructure projects, will each get £300,000 “retention payments” next year if they stay in post.

The proposed “golden handcuffs” rekindled the row over executive bonuses at the company which is responsible for running the country’s track infrastructure.   Read more »