rail

Despite warnings from Auditor General Auckland Council commits millions in loans for Len’s train set

Despite warnings from the Auditor General about staying works before having the means to pay for the rest of the Rail Tunnel – Auckland Council is about to start works down the bottom of town.

Big traffic and public transport challenges face downtown Auckland from construction starting in less than a year for the $2.5 billion underground railway to Mt Eden.

Auckland Transport disclosed yesterday that it hopes to start digging trenches across lower Queen St in January, meaning rerouting buses such as the Northern Express fleet.

That is expected to require the relocation of 16 bus stops.

The council body also expects to close the main entrance to Britomart Station, through the old Central Post Office, for about three years from March.

Temporary ticketing machines and gates will be installed at the eastern end of the station to cope with peak crowds of about 4000 passengers an hour.

Albert St, one of the main bus feeder routes into downtown Auckland, faces some disruption from October as a stormwater main is moved to make way for a pair of “cut and cover” rail tunnels to be dug from Britomart as far as Wyndham St in a package of early works likely to cost about $250 million.    Read more »

Another HBRC cock-up, when will Fenton Wilson resign?

Fenton "Jong-un" Wilson

Fenton “Jong-un” Wilson

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council, under the appalling leadership of Fenton “Jog-un” Wilson lurches from one cock-up to the next.

The Ruataniwha dam is stuffed because they couldn’t get simple commercial matters right, and completely stuffed up environmental issues.

Now they have bollocksed up their insistence on re-establishing a failed rail line.

Local body politicians are fighting to get the Napier-to-Gisborne railway line reopened after being rebuffed by state-owned KiwiRail.

The line was mothballed in 2012 because storm damage was too expensive to repair.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Transport Committee chairman Alan Dick said a decision by KiwiRail on Friday not to consider Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s request for a time extension to confirm equity investment in a Napier-to-Gisborne short-line rail operation, was a disappointment.   Read more »

Unpacking the numbers on rail

Auckland Council is desperate to prop up the numbers for its rail tunnel and is resorting to some pretty under handed tactics in an attempt to force people onto its trains and provide the illusion to the people and the Government that the rail growth targets are being achieved, therefore the money should be spent.

Today’s announcement that they will cease all early bird car parking rates is a veiled attempt to force people to use Len’s pet railway.

The trouble with this thinking is that it is seriously flawed with greater chances of it failing to boost rail patronage.

There are good reasons for doubting the effectiveness of such a policy. Firstly the Census 2013 data tells us that the majority of people in Auckland don’t live near to the rail so don’t use it. We will know more in March 2015 when the Dept of Statistics releases the exact data on how people travel to work and from which locations. And that should be a telling picture for the scrutineers.

I have done my own investigation and startlingly I have found that Auckland has in excess of 40 zoned workplace destinations around the region and most of them within the urban limits. The top 10 workplace destinations are:

1. CBD;

2. Mt Wellington, Penrose to Onehunga;

3. East Tamaki, Highbrook, Botany;

4. Albany;

5. Manukau and Wiri;

6. Greenlane – Ellerslie;

7. Newmarket and Epsom;

8. Eden Terrace and Grafton;

9. Ponsonby and Grey Lynn;

10. Takapuna.  Read more »

Contrary to popular belief, public transport doesn’t help the poor

One of the main reasons the left wing loves public transport is the belief that the poor will be assisted.

Unfortunately that is a bit of  myth.

Access to public transit helps, but it’s not enough to connect workers with economic opportunity in the form of jobs.

Buses stop right outside LaToyia Newman-Gross’s apartment in suburban Columbia, Md. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get around by public transit. “They run every hour,” says Newman-Gross, 32. If you miss a bus, you’re stuck. Waiting out in the sun or snow with her four children beside her usually isn’t a great option.

Americans are driving shorter distances, buying fewer cars, and are less likely to apply for a driver’s license than just a few years ago. This might be due to the recession—owning a car is expensive—or it might be due to a cultural shift in favor of urban living.

But almost all households, regardless of socioeconomic status, own at least one vehicle. In 2009, more than three-quarters of workers commuted by driving alone. Recent research suggests that, particularly for single moms like Newman-Gross, owning a car can mean access to better jobs and safer neighborhoods.  Read more »

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New trains stuffed and former fan Mike Lee puts the boot in

Mike Lee in happier times when he loved the new electoric trains

Mike Lee in happier times when he loved the new electoric trains

It seems that Len Brown’s much vaunted new electric trains are in fact a dog.

Auckland’s flash new electric trains have been grounded by power faults which are mystifying the region’s transport authority.

Four of the state-of-the-art Spanish-built trains were disabled in one stroke this week due to power failure.

They have been replaced on the Onehunga-Britomart run since Tuesday by their diesel predecessors, and Auckland Transport says it could take several more days to identify and fix the problem.

But Auckland Council infrastructure chairman Mike Lee says the “bizarre and unacceptable” irony is the old diesels are running at faster speeds than the electric trains were allowed to reach.

The trouble has struck just weeks before more trains in what will ultimately be a 57-strong fleet costing the council and the Government $540 million are due to start running between Manukau and Britomart via the eastern line through Panmure and Glen Innes.

Read more »

When public service announcements on Twitter go wrong

Oh no, a truck hit a bridge…

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Would you like the bash with your train ride?

I don’t believe in public transport. And here is one reason.

After at least 14 assaults Auckland train inspectors are to wear lapel cameras for added protection.

No wonder rail patronage is dropping and growth is stagnant – it’s simply a dangerous place to be.

I’d drive my car rather than be assaulted on a train.

Ticket inspectors on Auckland trains are to be armed with small CCTV cameras on their jackets to combat fare evasion and violence.

Video and audio footage will be used as evidence for police prosecutions in the absence of any direct financial penalties able to be imposed on those caught riding trains without paying.  Read more »

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USA and Canada Rail Network Map

An Idea for Len Brown to implement to assist with his rehabilitation

Len Brown’s spin doctors are trying to find a way for him to rehabilitate himself…I think I’ve found just the thing.

When Len Brown gets back from his extended summer holiday hiding from the citizens of Auckland and finally fronts for something he might think about implementing this for Auckland’s train system.

He is after all qualified in all aspects.

Yes, people do ride mass transit. And once a year, they do it without pants.

As part of an international improvisation event called the “No Pants Subway Ride,” scores of people  – fully dressed, but only from the waist up – swarmed stations in major cities around the world.  Read more »

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US High Speed Rail