Public transport

Auckland transport targets missed – no doubt this will require more money

Is there anything the Auckland Council can do without blowing a budget or missing a target?

The number of trips being taken on Auckland’s public transport network looks set to miss targets this year, and a new survey shows public perception of the services is worsening.

There has been strong growth on trains and the dedicated Northern Busway but fewer people are using the general bus network, which carries 75 percent of the city’s public transport users.

Most people in Auckland think public transport is a great idea…for other people to use.

With two months to go, patronage is down slightly – despite population growth – and overall bus trips are expected to fall short of the annual target of 51.5 million, by more than 4 percent.

Auckland Transport (AT) said cutting some free travel on the downtown City Link bus had produced the biggest single fall, of about 700,000 trips.

“If you’re transferring from another bus or another train using the AT HOP card, the service is still free,” AT Metro general manager Mark Lambert said.

“But I guess some of those people who were using the City Link for relatively short distances would rather walk a few hundred metres than pay a 50 cent fare. That’s completely understandable and that’s probably a good thing.”

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Faulty source of renewable clean green energy stops public transport

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So the solution is?

To get in a car.   With petrol.   And get places.

Public transport is for other people…

I loathe public transport. The only redeeming feature of it is loads of other people take it…and aren’t on my roads or in my way.

Politicians love to push people on to public transport…but it seems more and more are ignoring their pleas, especially millennials.

More than a quarter of U.S. government spending on surface transportation goes to mass transit, and yet mass transit accounts for less than 2 percent of total trips taken nationwide. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marc Scribner attributes this eye-popping mismatch to a persistent “falsehood peddled by the transit lobby:” If you build it, they will come.

A stunning chart put together by the University of South Florida’s Steve Polzin illustrates how transit supply has failed to create its own demand.

The blue line represents transit ridership; the red line shows the expansion of the country’s mass transit infrastructure going back to 1970. Their divergence is a “report card on productivity that mom and dad would hardly be proud of,” Polzin writes. It’s also a statistical representation of a sad yet all-too-familiar scene in American cities: empty light rail trains chugging along main streets in deserted downtowns.   Read more »

Again? Why are brand new Auckland trains breaking down so much?

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

Auckland commuters are once more experiencing problems getting in and out of the city’s main train station during the breakfast rush hour.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said some train services were stopping at Newmarket and passengers were being ferried by bus to the downtown Britomart station.

Multiple services across the rail network were now cancelled or finishing at Newmarket or The Strand. Read more »

Actually Heather, we won’t

Heather du Plessis-Allan wants us all to ride buses.

She’s a typical Wellington dweller waxing lyrical about how good public transport is there and how crap it is in Auckland and how we must all try harder to catch buses.

Auckland commuters lose 20 working days a year sitting in jams, according to the annual Tomtom survey released this week. In Australasia, only Sydney-siders suffer more than us.

Before you tell Aucklanders this would all go away if we start using public transport, let me tell you we are.

No we are not. In the recent census in Howick ward more than 92% of people stated they used the car to get to work. It beggars belief then that council is spending millions in the ward improving public transport facilities for the less than 8% of people who use buses.

We caught the bus more, we caught the train more, we caught the ferry more. All those extra trips add up to 5 million more public transport journeys last year than the year before.

Aucklanders come to the public transport party, only to find the authorities haven’t put on much of a bash. No one has fixed the train timetabling holes that turned me off using rail a decade ago.

The trains between Britomart and Pukekohe run too infrequently. Over the weekend, there’s one train an hour. In fact, nowadays you can’t even catch a direct train – you have to get off at Papakura and, if you’ve timed it badly, wait 27 minutes to continue your journey.

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Key on road congestion in Auckland and Wellington

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Auckland and Wellington’s traffic congestion woes have caught the attention of Prime Minister John Key, who says he’s personally experienced the “volatility” of drive times in two of the country’s major cities.

However, Key has urged Kiwis to remain patient while major traffic projects, such as Auckland’s $1.4 billion Waterview Connection, cause temporary snarl-ups in exchange for a future improvement in travel times.

Figures made public by navigation company TomTom this week showed traffic congestion was worsening in both Auckland and Wellington, beating some of the world’s biggest cities like London, Los Angeles and Istanbul. Read more »

Auckland’s deliberate and slow plan to rid itself of cars

Every big and booming city in the world is partly a construction site.

People working in the central business districts are accustomed to negotiating road cones and detour warnings. Auckland has been no exception, but now the central city is entering years of greater upheaval than it has probably previously endured.

Preliminary work has started on the underground rail link that will require Albert St to be dug up as far as Wyndham St, and a tunnel drilled beneath it to Aotea Square and beyond.

Already traffic is beginning to feel the squeeze. Besides the rail link, work is getting under way on SkyCity’s international convention centre and is due to start this year on a 52-storey tower of hotel rooms and apartments planned for the long-vacant site at the southeast corner of Albert and Victoria Streets.

The Downtown shopping centre is to be demolished and redeveloped and at the Herald’s former location at Albert and Wyndham Sts, a 30-storey hotel and office tower is planned.

The city is going to be a navigational challenge for the next several years.

The rail link alone will be disruptive enough. The practical difficulties of digging an underground railway in the confines of a commercial valley have not featured in public debate over the merits of the link.

It is to be hoped traffic planners have given the challenges enough thought. Confidence on that score is not encouraged by the plan to reduce Queen St to one lane of traffic each way to accommodate exclusive bus lanes.

City planners keep stealing the roads that we’ve already paid for. Where we had two or even three lanes, now we have given those to cycles, buses and, soon, even light rail.

Whereas councils can’t just turn parks into homes or factories, or start reclaiming the harbour for housing, there appears to be no limit to their ability to keep stealing roads from motorists.

There appears to be a steady and deliberate plan to turn the problem of getting around in a car into a self-fulfilling prophecy, to which the answer is: even less space for cars, and more space for people to walk, cycle, bus and train.

It’s not something ratepayers have been asked about, and I consider it a kind of theft.

 

– NZ Herald

Auckland Transport: We didn’t block KiwiRail, we just want $600,000

Auckland Transport denies forcing KiwiRail’s long-distance passenger trains out of Britomart to a desolate station more than a kilometre away, but acknowledges it needed $600,000 to let them stay.

An Auckland Council member on the transport organisation’s board, Mike Lee, says he has heard on good authority from KiwiRail that it was told to pay for an upgrade of ventilation and related equipment at the underground station – or get out.

“I have been told by a highly placed person in KiwiRail that KiwiRail was asked by Auckland Transport to pay $600,000 for the overhaul of the Britomart fans,” he said. Mr Lee was referring to extraction equipment installed for Britomart’s opening in 2003, for Auckland’s diesel-fuelled urban passenger trains, which were replaced in July by a wholly electric fleet.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said KiwiRail was offered the chance to keep running its Northern Explorer diesel passenger trains from Britomart, on its thrice-weekly service to Wellington, before the Government operator decided to remove them to the previously disused surface station off The Strand – at its rail junction beneath Parnell Rise. Read more »

One thing is certain about Auckland’s public transport…it will fail

I’ve been opposed to Auckland Council’s covert strategy to force people to use public transport right from the beginning.

Firstly trains are 1800s technology that worked well when people had the choice of using horses or walking.

Trains are unable to take people to most places they need to go and so the motorcar dominates because it can take one from anywhere to anywhere. Just wait to see how electric and driver-less car technology will keep the car at the top of the heap.

Trams are slightly more useful because they tend to be located on the roads where people want to go. But like all PT they are also old school…and expensive.

I also think Councils are useless at managing costs and infrastructure. The train network in Auckland is already subsidised $20 or more per person per trip.

So I think Auckland’s ambitions for PT will end in disaster. And whaddayaknow – it has all over America.

The District of Columbia is spending three or four times what other cities have to build a maintenance facility for its fledging streetcar (tram) system, a reflection of the flawed planning and execution that have dragged down the transit start-up for more than a decade.   Read more »

New train service: Wellington to nearly at Auckland

Step 1: Make a train station Step 2: Tell people public transport is great  Step 3: Forbid train from using station.

Long distance trains from Wellington to Auckland will stop about a kilometre short of the Britomart underground station from December 21.

KiwiRail has confirmed setting up a terminal for its Northern Explorer trains at the largely disused Strand surface railway station, from where commuters used to have to trundle before Britomart opened in 2003.

That is upsetting the Public Transport Users’ Association, which says the industrialised environment of the Strand will not be “a good look for tourists and their first impression of Auckland.”

The Government rail company’s head of customer engagement and scenic journeys, Gavin Rutherford, said this afternoon it was making the move before major changes to Britomart for Auckland’s $2.5 billion underground rail extension.    Read more »