Transport

How long before Len tries this here?

Len will be looking for something else now to control us and to raise even more taxes..

What better way than to have a congestion charging and add on a special tax for diesel vehicles….so he can tax his own buses he will try and force us onto.

London will follow Paris and introduce an outright ban on diesel cars which are causing “serious health damage” in the capital, campaigners warn.

The Mayor of Paris has announced radical plans to ban diesel cars from the French capital by 2020 due to concerns about how much pollution the cars cause.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is also grappling with the issue of how to tackle pollution from the fuels fumes which contain tiny particles and nitrogen oxides and have been increasingly proven to be seriously damaging to health.

France, which has the highest number of diesel cars on the road, will now ban the cars out right with Anne Hidalgo, the Parisian Mayor pledging “an end to diesel in Paris in 2020″.  Read more »

Len’s loopy train set delayed for two years

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The councillors at Auckland Council have decided they would rather be re-elected than vote to ratchet rates up even further in order to pay for Len Brown’s loopy train set.

The Auckland Council has voted to put back a start on the City Rail Link by two years.

Mayor Len Brown told a governing body meeting today that a 2015 start was considered too much of a stretch by the Auditor-General.    Read more »

NZIER slams public transport, says to embrace autonomous technologies

The NZIER has put out a report that slams public transport.

The report is gold! It is an absolute slating of PT stating that motorcar technology will ensure such high efficiencies that it is a sure bet that cars will dominate.

Once again some sensible people can see that Len Brown’s fascination with rail would probably best be met by buying him a Thomas the Tank engine set.

New transport technologies are transforming how we commute; creating major opportunities and risks to New Zealand’s infrastructure investment says a report just released by NZIER.

New technologies include crash avoidance systems that make travel safer, car sensors that in the future will smooth traffic flows to ease congestion, and apps that help people share car commuting costs instead of taking public transport. Hybrid plug-in vehicles that cost as little as a $1 a day to run and falling oil prices are also dramatically reducing the cost of car travel.

“These new technologies are already here in new car markets and on our smart phones making car commutes safer, cheaper and more comfortable” said Nick Allison, Principal Economist at NZIER.

“Consumers win from these disruptive technologies but the pace of change presents major headaches for government. As electric and hybrid vehicles become more common, less petrol will be used. Therefore, government challenges include safeguarding fuel excise revenue that funds transport infrastructure and charging road users fairly and efficiently.”    Read more »

Should the government step in to support the regions more?

Air NZ recently announced they were dropping some loss making flights.  This has been particularly stressful for Westport, Kaitaia and Whakatane because they lost all Air NZ flights in and out of their locations.  Subsequently it was discovered Rotorua pays Air NZ one million a year to keep the airline from pulling it services.

Roger Ludbrook , president of Federated Farmers Northland, shares his view

I never knew the Prime Minister was part of Air New Zealand’s PR team, but his supportive soundbites for the airline are going down in the Far North like a cup of cold you-know-what.

While I believe in free markets, you cannot tell me Air NZ’s chief executive woke up one day to find routes like Kaitaia suddenly unprofitable. If Air NZ was losing so much money on them, then presumably they were under Rob Fyfe and, before him, Sir Ralph Norris.

So what’s changed? The chipper media release of the airline’s CEO made me angry but the answer is there in black and white: “In addition to the route withdrawals we will be progressively winding down our 19-seat fleet and moving the remaining destinations to larger 50-seat aircraft.”

In other words, the bean counters have written off aircraft of less than 50 seats thereby writing off places like Kaitaia. This isn’t about better services. It’s about rationalising Air NZ’s fleet and a tweak of numbers can easily turn profit into loss.

Roger can’t stand liars, that’s for sure.  But he also isn’t a socialist.   Read more »

Affordable Housing? Sorted

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Politicians love to bang on about affordable housing but they invariably have no solutions, or their solutions just making housing more expensive.

In Sderot, Israel they have attacked affordable housing and are providing real solutions.

What to do with rusty old shipping containers no longer fit to haul goods across the high seas?

Here in this southern Israeli town, they have been cleaned of rust, given a lick of paint and recycled into a chic but cheap living space, replete with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchenette and bathroom. Stacked atop one another, the worn boxes now comprise Israel’s first student village made solely out of retired shipping containers.   Read more »

I really get annoyed with people in Wellington telling people in Auckland all about congestion

David Farrar once again decides to comment on Auckland traffic issues, proving at the same time his lack of understanding of Auckland’s transport issues.

Then again i shouldn’t be surprised because when he comes to Auckland he calls up and asks if I want to catch up for a drink at 6pm…usually at about 530pm. He is doing what a lot if Wellingtonian’s do…thinking Auckland is just like Wellington, an incredibly tiny shithole where everyone is 15 minutes from town. It isn’t…he has never contemplated the fact that in order to do that I’d be driving at least 30 minutes each way in peak hour traffic to have a drink when I don;t drink with someone who has his head inside his smart phone conducting Twitter conversations with pinkos who aren’t his friends.

Auckland is large. But this is his suggestion…

I support user pays for transport. A congestion charge is the best form of user pays – a market charge. A toll charge is also an efficient mechanism of making sure users of the transport system pay for the benefits they get from them.

So I don’t think the Government should rule out congestion charges or tolls for Auckland Council, or other councils.

Yeah good oh, David….and precisely where would you put this congestion tax? On motorway on ramps? On Motorway off ramps?

Let me tell you what would happen.

People would exist or join motorways where there are NO tolling facilities. So if you decide it is the CBD that is congested and so off ramps into the city centre should be tolled that would mean covering the following exits: Symonds Street, Wellesley Street, Nelson Street, Cook Street, Fanshawe Street, Stanley Street, and Wellington Street.

What would happen is those coming from the south would exit the motorway and any exit ahead of Symonds street including as far back as Greenlane but also Market road and funnel themselves down through Newmarket further jamming the streets in and around Remuera, Newmarket and Greenlane.   Read more »

Len’s coming for your wallet again, this time it’s tolls

Len Brown just can’t help himself.

He is addicted to spending other people’s money and is looking for ways to further dip into your pockets.

Aucklanders could pay a motorway toll of about $2 under a congestion-busting plan being unveiled by Mayor Len Brown today.

The mayor is set to announce details for tolling existing state highways to plug a $12 billion-plus transport funding gap over the next 30 years.

A motorway user charge of about $2 is believed to be one of two options prepared by an independent alternative transport funding group.

The second option is a mix of higher rates and a regional fuel tax.

Both options are capable of raising about $300 million a year to fully deliver a $30 billion roading and public transport building programme over the next 30 years.

Read more »

Selfish fat bastard overflows seat and forces other passenger to stand

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Fat bastards who overflow airline seats should be made to pay extra.

I mean you are charged for excess baggage but not for excess guts.

A passenger has complained to an airline after she was squeezed out of her seat by an obese man – and forced to spend most of a trans-Tasman flight standing in the aisle.

Caralyn Young, of Tawa, says she was crammed in next to the man on the fully booked flight from Brisbane to Wellington last Monday night.  Read more »

Finally a minister who gets that driverless cars and not trains is our future

Simon Bridges appears to get it.

That our future lies in enabling technologies not restrictive technologies.

Trains are constrained by tracks and are not at all versatile, whereas driverless vehicles are enabling in many, many ways.

The prospect of cars travelling New Zealand highways with no one behind the wheel is moving closer says new Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Officials are reviewing legislation allowing for the testing of umanned autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Mr Bridges has pledged to work with environmental interests while also pursuing the Government’s road building programme.

Mr Bridges said he was committed to “a balanced approach” and ongoing investment roads were important even from a green perspective, “over time as we move to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles”.

Mr Bridges said the Government was not doing a great deal to accommodate autonomous vehicle technology, “but I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you look at what’s going on internationally, maybe not in the next couple of years, but over time we will see driverless vehicles and that will have implications, like for example less congestion because vehicles can travel closer together”.

Read more »

A reader contribution on the transport debate

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A reader emails:

Hello Cam

After reading your blog for several months now, I have seen it steadily transforming into a voice of alternative opinion in many ways, and celebrate that.

I had been working for some time on this piece about Auckland transport, when I read your article yesterday, which sang my song.

Just wondered whether this may have any appeal for your site.

Best regards and keep up the good work


Part 1

Observations:

As a recent returnee to Auckland after over 40 years working and establishing businesses in regional New Zealand, I have recently paid considerably more attention to local body plans and actions in this region.

Joining the local area ratepayers committee on arrival, I soon hear, and discover first hand that generalised wastage/inefficiency seemed to characterise virtually all dealings of the new super city. Examples: 1. a near 200 page document of detailed technical drawings and specifications to place some traffic quietening speed bumps on a street in our area, 2. Two Council staff visit in a Council car, for a half day, to consult re spending well less than $1000 on plants in the area. When it is suggested that the most in-need areas require some soil first, we are told that this is beyond their brief and would require a completely separate department to be involved.

Accordingly, I began to pay closer attention to Len Brown’s call for underground rail for the city, which seems to be preparing to strip all available capital and then some from the City’s coffers for the foreseeable future – and beyond – at the behest of one man with a dream.

The idea of a trainset for Auckland gained great credibility under Mayor Robbie in the late 60’s, and had it been implemented then, it would probably remain a good idea today. Most people in Auckland ‘know’ this so there remains a soft spot in Auckland for the notion of ‘rapid rail’ and relatively little opposition to Len Brown’s plan.

But is it a still good idea if we start now?

There are many new ways and new technologies in the wings, some of which I have observed first hand on our travels, which may soon render an underground trainset for Auckland, a costly white elephant.

Additionally, in a volcanic city and a ‘shaky’ nation, underground makes less sense. Imagine the chaos if a Christchurch-type earthquake broke the underground rail links, after all other public transport had been seriously weakened by rail’s availability.

With these concerns in mind, I decided to look more closely at overseas systems on our recent 4 month trip to the Middle East, UK, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Monaco and Italy and the following observations also factor in some of the previous experiences I have had of undergrounds and public transport in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Australia and so on.

On this trip, I visited many cities of not too dissimilar size, one way or another, to Auckland i.e in area or in population. There are few that have both the area and the population of Auckland. In each city, I paid particular attention to their public transport options and in particular their trainsets. These included Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Istanbul, Madrid, Porto, Valencia, Granada, Barcelona, Nice, Monaco and Milan as well as many other less well known cities.

What I observed made me wonder whether this whole underground rail for Auckland proposal has been properly thought through.

Underground rail worked well, it seemed, in the sorts of high rise, high density cities that have relatively small footprints for their populations, like Madrid. Accordingly Granada, for example, is in the throes of beginning one, and I can see the point there. It is a compact city with many tourists.

Trainsets also seemed to work well in more widespread cities covering land areas like Auckland’s, even with intervening waterways, so long as they had one of the following conditions:

  1. High population (eg Istanbul, Sydney) or
  2. A long ribbon of development, as in a strip style city running along a shoreline (eg Dubai or Perth).

Read more »