Transport

First Auckland, now Wellington want government to make tolls legal

Charity muggers may be stopping cars and demanding money, but the idea is appealing to cities that want more money.  Always more money…

Wellington wants to join forces with Auckland in a bid change the Government’s mind on tolling exiting motorways.

The region’s political leaders say it is not practical or affordable to keep building roads to ease rush hour congestion.

Other measures – including motorway tolls, charging motorists to enter a CBD, and raising the price of central city parking – also need to be seriously considered, they say.

On Tuesday, the Regional Transport Committee, which all of greater Wellington’s mayors sit on, will vote on the idea of approaching Auckland Council to discuss a joint approach to the Government on road pricing tools.

Tolling existing roads requires a law change and Auckland Mayor Len Brown has made no secret of his support. His council has proposed a $2 motorway toll or a regional fuel tax and higher rates as solutions to Auckland’s $12 billion transport funding shortfall.

But the Government is “sceptical” about the idea, and has rebuffed Auckland’s advances to date.

The Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan, which the Regional Transport Committee will be asked to approve on Tuesday, says the transport network is being placed under high stress at peak times, particularly in and out Wellington’s CBD.

The plan estimated charging motorists to enter Wellington’s CBD could reduce car trips during the morning rush by 4 million and increase public transport trips by 3m annually.

Greater Wellington’s public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain said most of the debate about road pricing thus far had been in Auckland, and Wellington was keen to join the discussion.

He acknowledged that the two cities combined would possess strong lobbying power, but he said the intention was not to strong-arm the Government.

“The Government, in my view, will be quite cautious about the shift towards this.”

But Transport Minister Simon Bridgessaid the Government was not keen on new funding tools for transport.

He was always happy to engage with Wellington and Auckland’s councils.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the challenges facing Wellington.

It’s not unprecedented of course.  Except we’ve had tolls to pay for the item itself.  Be it a bridge, or a road extension.

Where this is going wrong is that it is a general taxation mechanism, and although it appears to be roughly targeted at “transport” related expenditure, it is the thin end of the wedge.

Once you add personal or company tax, GST, rates, ACC, fuel, and sin taxes, our lives are already taxed well in excess of 50 cents in the dollar.   There has to be someone that recognises we need to do more with less, not just come for the tax and rate payers’ pockets.  Again.  And again.

 

– Michael Forbes, Stuff

Photo Of The Day

Photo:AP

Photo:AP

The Deadliest Crash in Motor Racing History

Le Mans, 1955. The Mercedes-Benz exploded as it hit the grandstand.

The scene of the deadliest accident in motor racing history, remembered soberly to this day, the lessons from this single accident would go on to revolutionise modern auto racing.

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After two years the union caves and declares victory at Ports of Auckland

More than two years have elapsed since the Maritime Union led by old crusty dinosaur Garry Parsloe brought the Ports of Auckland to a standstill.

Their demands were to work less for more money, despite eye-wateringly generous payments for the little work they did already.

It was die in the ditch stuff for them, and they held strong right up until they caved and agreed to the terms released by the arbitrator two years ago.

As expected, Maritime Union members have ratified a collective employment agreement with Ports of Auckland.

A stop-work meeting of members unanimously voted in favour of the new collective employment agreement first thing this morning.

Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says the new agreement is a positive step for workers at the Ports of Auckland that should ensure the continued success of the port.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson concurs.

“We are obviously pleased and look forward to working with the Maritime Union to deliver even more for the people of Auckland,” he says.

The agreement between the port company and the union will be signed off today.

Parsloe has declared victory…but it was a victory his members could have had two years ago.   Read more »

Train and cycling spotters now called experts?

Auckland Council run monthly propaganda seminars and the March seminar is on public transport.

It’s clearly a joke because the email says ‘register to hear from a range of experts who will outline the key transport issues facing Aucklanders …’

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Smug cars for Smug owners

With petrol prices falling you’d think there would be a drop off in purchases of smug powered cars.

But it appears this isn’t the case, even though they are horrendously expensive.

It seems smug people still like buying smug cars.

People buy vehicles for all sorts of reasons. They buy because the vehicle meets their utility—a pickup truck for a handyman, a van for a big family, a Lincoln Town Car for a professional driver. Some make decisions based on fuel efficiency and low cost. But as is often the case with consumer products, many people make vehicle purchase decisions based on how the product makes them feel, or how it makes them look. In the U.S. in particular, the car you drive is a means of expressing your identity.   Read more »

The inherent dishonesty of Toyota

The other day I received an email from Hunting & Fishing, I’m on their mailing list.

In the middle of the email was this ad:

unnamed-1

Can anyone spot the problem?

That’s right Toyota are claiming to be the one selling ute in NZ…which they aren’t that is the Ford Ranger, which was the number one selling truck in NZ for 2014 breaking a decades long stranglehold by Toyota.

On Facebook they are claiming something similar.   Read more »

Can Auckland Transport get anything right?

Auckland Transport has stuffed up again, rooting up one of the simplest jobs they have, providing adequate and readable signage for motorists.

New signs peppering streets around Auckland’s Dominion Rd may have to be “re-skinned” to make them easier for motorists to read, the city’s transport authority admits.

Auckland Transport said yesterday that some drivers had complained lettering on the dark blue “way-finding” signs is not large enough for them to make out.

“Initial feedback is that the typeface … is too small, particularly if you are driving,” said marketing general manager Mike Loftus. “This is certainly something we will be reviewing.”

But he said the signs were designed so they could be re-skinned with larger type if necessary, rather than replaced at greater cost.

Although they were introduced primarily to point to a 12km network of routes developed for $5.9 million as safer cycling alternatives to busy Dominion Rd, they have replaced larger street signs in a number of locations. Those include four intersections along Dominion Rd.

The larger – more legible – versions will remain in storage during a trial by Auckland Transport and other council organisations to develop a standard wayfaring sign to point to community facilities throughout the Super City.

Mr Loftus said the budget covered about 100 signs and route maps installed along the Grafton Gully cycleway as well as two sets of routes parallel to Dominion Rd, for which contractors have also installed speed bumps, pathways and boardwalks, leaving only a bridge to be erected in Mt Roskill’s War Memorial Park.

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Photo Of The Day

Here’s a photograph of two Michelin men from the early 1900s.

Here’s a photograph of two Michelin men from the early 1900s.

Story Of The Michelin Man

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So much for consultation on land transport, just two options and none that says “nick off noddy”

So opening the mail we find that Auckland Council has put out a consultation document on the Long Term Plan.

Unbelievably they have inserted this question about paying for public transport.

IMG_2621 Read more »

Garner is onto it with road safety

Duncan Garner talks about the focus on foriegn drivers and the silly ideas to force them to sit tests upon arrival.

Another horror holiday road toll, another round of national angst about foreign drivers.

It must be every motorist’s worst nightmare – rounding a corner to see more than 1000kg of metal hurtling towards you on your side of the road (regardless of the other driver’s ethnicity).

Are we being racist when it comes to foreign drivers? At first glance the numbers suggest there’s good reason for concern.

In 2013 overseas drivers were involved in at least 558 crashes resulting in death or injury. It may have been as high as 800 crashes according to the Transport Agency but they don’t collect data from every crash.

In three-quarters of the incidents, the foreigners were found at fault. Eleven of the crashes were fatal.

Grim reading. But it’s pretty clear the Government isn’t going to buckle and force visitors to sit some sort of driving test before they grab the keys to a rental car and set off on the open road.

Some safety advocates want travellers banned from renting cars unless they pass an online driving test. Some have called for drivers to sit a practical test. But that’s just not “practical” is it?

Where are these people meant to do it? Drive a car around a busy airport car park? And really, how effective would it be.

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