Britomart Transport Centre

Our rates at work: political bollards

These can be found near Britomart in Auckland

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As bollards go, they seem to be functional. ?So what’s the problem? ? Read more »

Bridges flips bird to Brown

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Len Brown exaggerates yet again the ‘need for the tunnel in down town Auckland with stories of crowded train platforms at Britomart.

Hints of wailing and gnashing of teeth and people unable to get home.

Britomart users may soon have to jostle their way through crowded platforms to get on to backed-up rush-hour trains, Auckland Mayor Len Brown warns, highlighting the “critical” need for the City Rail Link.

In the 12 months to April, rail use in Auckland increased 22 per cent, but Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was still a way to go before usage reached the threshold at which the Government would consider helping fund the $2.5 billion project before 2020.

Mr Brown said the Britomart Transport Centre would face serious congestion problems by 2018 if the “stunning acceleration” of rail use continued – meaning a gridlocked city rail system and increasingly crowded platforms for passengers.

“At this rate, Auckland will meet the Government’s patronage threshold for financial support for the CRL early in 2017, three years earlier than projected. Growth has been accelerating since late 2013,” Mr Brown said.

Read more »

Schooling Auckland Council on transport

Bryan Leyland gives Len brown and his train spotter friends a real good tickle up?on public transport.

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Mayor Len Brown is determined to commit Auckland to building a hugely expensive railway tunnel even though no comprehensive independent and objective economic analysis has been made on the merits of the tunnel and whether or not letting the city spread and developing satellite centres would be better.

Auckland Council has neglected its obligation to investigate and evaluate all options. Given the enormous amount of expenditure involved, this amounts to a serious dereliction of duty.

Overseas research on 44 urban rail systems revealed that the average cost overrun was 45 per cent and the number of passengers was half the predicted number. Have the economics of the Auckland tunnel been tested against 45 per cent higher costs and half the passengers? If not, why not?

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Right now, ratepayers subsidise 80 per cent of the cost of every train fare. If the tunnel costs blow out by 50 per cent it will need to recover at least $450 million in fares every year for capital repayment and operating expenses. If, as hoped, there are 20 million rail trips every year, they will need to recover $22.50 per rail trip. Most of this will be imposed on the ratepayers.

No one living on the North Shore will benefit from the rail loop but they will paying for it.

No one living in East Auckland will benefit from the rail loop but they will be paying for it. ? Read more »

Auckland Transport too good to use their own rubbish services

Auckland Council, Len Brown and their transport arm Auckland Transport always want to tell us we must use public transport, but not when it comes to their own use.

Len Brown uses a council provided limousine service to cart him and his mistresses around, and now Auckland Transport has been busted putting on special transport for their staff who think the services they are telling us all to use are too slow and inconvenient.

Staff at the agency which runs public transport in Auckland are being offered a shuttle service for business trips between offices, because buses and trains are too slow.

Auckland Transport (AT) is spending more than $122,000 over six months, trialling the shuttle between its downtown offices and its headquarters in Henderson.

Public transport advocates say staff travelling between the Henderson and downtown locations should be using the bus and rail services at the door of both offices.

AT wants to reduce its car fleet by 20 vehicles, and is encouraging staff to cut car use.? Read more »

Desperate Mayor chokes on his bus fumes

Mayor Brown is fast running out of logical and rational reasons why the exorbitant $3-4 billion city rail tunnel should be built.

With no cash in council coffers due to the staggering debt levels it has fallen into Mayor Brown thinks the rest of New Zealand should pick up the tab for the tunnel through Government funding.

The Government knows the cost benefit analysis is flawed and for $4b it can get a lot more for its money in other projects that benefit more than the 6,000 council workers the rest of the CBD occupants of Auckland.

So it wants genuine rail patronage growth to justify that rail is working and that the expenditure is needed. Because the rail network isn’t overloaded now and is working fine.

Council has for sometime projected a doomsday scenario where congested rail will be over crowded and bogged down by the current terminal use – thus a ‘through link’ is needed.

But who is buying that scenario?

By Council’s own predictions the CBD – which accounts for approximately 16% of workers in Auckland – will only grow by 2% in 20 years. So where is the need?

Brown has tried everything to get funding to no avail. Now in a desperate attempt he states that ‘bus fumes’ are the issue and this spending $3-4 billion to cut back on bus fumes is the answer. Stupidly Fanshawe St is quoted – yet all buses on Fanshawe St go to places the rail doesn’t go to. So they will still be there Mr Brown after a tunnel is built. ?? Read more »

Herald editorial on Lame Duck Mayor’s rail offer

The NZ Herald editorial ticks of Len Brown for being presumptuous on his rail plans.

Mayor Len Brown sounds keener than ever, for obvious reasons, to see work start on the Auckland central rail link. He needs to be seen to be effective again. But his proposal to the Prime Minister for part of the project to start next year is premature. Mr Brown has offered $250 million from the city to pay for a cut and cover tunnel from Britomart to some point in Albert St, on the condition that the Government confirms its commitment to meet half the cost of the entire project.

The Government has made a tentative commitment to start no earlier than 2020. The mayor obviously hopes his offer will entice the Government to strengthen its commitment and bring it forward a few years. Starting the first stage in 2015-16, he points out, would enable the Downtown redevelopment and possibly the SkyCity conference centre to begin.

This is all about the rehabilitation of the Mayor using ratepayer cash to facilitate it.

As yet the Government has not budgeted for the project and remains concerned that the $2.8 billion it would cost on current estimates would shut out just about all other items on the transport improvement programme for the Auckland region over the same period.

Undeterred, the mayor and council have spent $100 million buying property along their envisaged route from Britomart to Mt Eden passing under Aotea Square, Karangahape Rd and Newton gully.

That route has its critics – some suggest the line should be closer to the universities and the hospital. Others advocate a wider loop, along Fanshawe St and around Victoria Park, then alongside the southern motorway to Mt Eden. ?? Read more »

Rail Loop will never be built

? NZ Herald

The Herald details 210 properties that have to be bought in order to complete Len?Brown’s?mad rail loop idea. Given that he?doesn’t have the cash to even start buying them and the owners will likely stall and prevaricate as a negotiation ploy I think I can safely predict that Len Brown’s rail loop will never be built in his lifetime and probably not mine:

Most of Albert St in central Auckland stands to be dug up and more than 200 properties affected by the city’s proposed $2.86 billion underground railway.

According to a plan announced by Auckland Transport yesterday, most of 210 surface properties likely to be needed for the project are at the Mt Eden end of a?3.5km pair of tunnels?running under the west of the city centre, from Britomart.

They will include the five-storey headquarters of MediaWorks and its TV3 subsidiary below the New North Rd and Mt Eden Rd intersection, near where the tunnels will emerge before joining the western railway line.

But an even larger property in the firing line is Westfield’s sprawling Downtown shopping mall of 81 retail outlets at the city end, valued at more than $80 million.

Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton said the site would probably have to be cleared for a pair of “cut and cover” trenched tunnels from Britomart to upper Albert St, behind Aotea Square.

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