Public transport

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 »

Public transport rulez…oh wait!

trains crippled

How about that public transport huh?

Three out of four lines on Auckland’s rail network have been shut down.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the Southern, Eastern and Onehunga lines had been temporarily suspended while the network was being reset after a train broke down earlier this morning.

Mr Hannan said buses were now transferring passengers but people could expect delays.

Auckland Transport tweeted a limited replacement bus service was operating between Otahuhu and Orakei and The Strand.    Read more »

Demand for good roads is increasing, so why do elected officials keep trying to avoid making them?

It comes as no surprise to me that more children are being chauffeured to school than ever.

Anyone who has to commute in Auckland city knows exactly when the school holidays start, even if they don’t have school-age children.

All of a sudden, the number of cars on the road seems to halve and traffic is free-flowing.

Up to half an hour can be cut off your school-term commute. And when you look at the statistics in a new Ministry of Transport report that examines long-term travel trends, you can see why.

Last year, 57 per cent of primary school-age children went to school as car passengers. More than half.

Twenty seven per cent walked, 11 per cent came by public transport and cyclists accounted for just 2 per cent. In the late 80s, 42 per cent of kids walked and 12 per cent cycled. Read more »

Slap me with a week old snapper: public transport that works

SkyBus in Melbourne

SkyBus in Melbourne

Free on-board Wi-Fi and ground hosts to welcome intrepid travellers to Auckland are just the beginning of big plans by new owners to expand – and smarten – the 24-hour airport bus service.

The former Airbus fleet has already had its name changed to that of Melbourne’s 38-year-old SkyBus, which is taking it under its wing.

It will be repainted from light blue to red as more buses are added between the fast-growing airport precinct and downtown Auckland to widen the span of departures, which already run every 10 minutes during week days. Read more »

Wellingtonians lament paying too much for a subsidised public transport

Auckland will be happy to send Len Brown and the Auckland Council down next year to help with a gold plated transport system that is almost fully subsidised by people not using it.

The call for cheaper public transport fares across the Wellington region is growing louder as new figures reveal some commuters have had to swallow price hikes of more than 50 per cent over the past decade.

Figures complied by the Green Party show the average bus and train fare has risen by more than 30 per cent since 2006.

Even when adjusted for inflation fares have still gone up across the board, with the hardest hit being passengers who cross between one and five zones – the equivalent of a trip between Wellington and Lower Hutt or Porirua.

Public transport advocates have described the situation in Wellington city as “crazy” and pointed out that driving is actually cheaper than taking the bus into the CBD from the outer suburbs like Johnsonville, Karori and Island Bay.    Read more »

Keep complaining. Driverless buses don’t need bathroom breaks

Unmanned buses in Italy

Unmanned buses in Italy

How long have buses been around? Like forever…and bus drivers for the same amount of time.

Surely bus drivers have this sorted?

Bus drivers pushing for better bathroom breaks say they are sometimes stuck in the driver’s seat for more than five hours at a time.

The issue is particularly prevalent on the three Auckland Link bus services, where buses run on a continuous loop through the city in an effort to make the ride efficient for inner-city travellers, bus drivers say.

Auckland Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt said waiting five hours for a break is “unacceptable” and the issue will be raised during negotiations in November.

The union has seen a number of bus drivers penalised in court in the past for parking in a bus stop to make a quick dash to the loo, with some even carrying empty soft drink bottles with cut-off tops to use at the back of the bus when no passengers were on board.   Read more »

Hopefully all the road maggots will move to Wellington

The Wellington City Council has in recent months, in conjunction with the Greater Wellington Regional Council cancelled the Basin Flyover, wants to consider congestion tolls in Wellington and now is devoting more that $100 million to an integrated series of cycle routes….none of which will actually help with congestion.

Worse they seem to be lumbering taxpayers from other regions for the bill.

After plenty of big talk about changing the face of cycling in Wellington, the council has written a big cheque to match.

The Wellington City Council has agreed to spend $101 million on new cycle lanes across the capital over the next 20 years, with $30m being spent in the first three years to really get the programme going.

Wellington’s ‘Master Plan’ for cycling, which was approved by the council’s transport and urban development committee on Wednesday, identifies the CBD, eastern suburbs and the route between the railway station and Ngauranga as the first areas for development.    Read more »

Auckland Council steals more roads and gives them to buses

It’s going to become a self-fullfilling prophecy this way.

By reducing the available roads for car and truck traffic, it will get all snarled up while public transport sails by unimpeded, thereby “proving” public transport is “better”.

Auckland Transport is creating extra CBD bus lanes in a bid to limit disruption to timetables once it starts digging up roads for the $2.5 billion underground rail extension.

The council organisation has begun marking up 1.2 kilometres of extra lanes into the city centre, ready for when it starts tunnelling a new stormwater main under the eastern side of Albert St in November.

That is a precursor to a big trench to be dug next year along Albert St – a key bus route into downtown Auckland – from Customs St to just west of Wyndham St.    Read more »