trains

Green Taliban want to ban all trucks because they are filthy and dangerous

Julie-Ann Genter, Green Party

Julie Anne Genter, Green Party

The Greens are about to launch a transport policy aimed at getting trucks off the roads.

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter says New Zealand needs cleaner, safer and cheaper freight options.

“A few expensive motorways and more trucks just aren’t going to cut it,” she said ahead of the policy launch.

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Again? Why are brand new Auckland trains breaking down so much?

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

Auckland commuters are once more experiencing problems getting in and out of the city’s main train station during the breakfast rush hour.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said some train services were stopping at Newmarket and passengers were being ferried by bus to the downtown Britomart station.

Multiple services across the rail network were now cancelled or finishing at Newmarket or The Strand. Read more »

Actually Heather, we won’t

Heather du Plessis-Allan wants us all to ride buses.

She’s a typical Wellington dweller waxing lyrical about how good public transport is there and how crap it is in Auckland and how we must all try harder to catch buses.

Auckland commuters lose 20 working days a year sitting in jams, according to the annual Tomtom survey released this week. In Australasia, only Sydney-siders suffer more than us.

Before you tell Aucklanders this would all go away if we start using public transport, let me tell you we are.

No we are not. In the recent census in Howick ward more than 92% of people stated they used the car to get to work. It beggars belief then that council is spending millions in the ward improving public transport facilities for the less than 8% of people who use buses.

We caught the bus more, we caught the train more, we caught the ferry more. All those extra trips add up to 5 million more public transport journeys last year than the year before.

Aucklanders come to the public transport party, only to find the authorities haven’t put on much of a bash. No one has fixed the train timetabling holes that turned me off using rail a decade ago.

The trains between Britomart and Pukekohe run too infrequently. Over the weekend, there’s one train an hour. In fact, nowadays you can’t even catch a direct train – you have to get off at Papakura and, if you’ve timed it badly, wait 27 minutes to continue your journey.

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Auckland’s deliberate and slow plan to rid itself of cars

Every big and booming city in the world is partly a construction site.

People working in the central business districts are accustomed to negotiating road cones and detour warnings. Auckland has been no exception, but now the central city is entering years of greater upheaval than it has probably previously endured.

Preliminary work has started on the underground rail link that will require Albert St to be dug up as far as Wyndham St, and a tunnel drilled beneath it to Aotea Square and beyond.

Already traffic is beginning to feel the squeeze. Besides the rail link, work is getting under way on SkyCity’s international convention centre and is due to start this year on a 52-storey tower of hotel rooms and apartments planned for the long-vacant site at the southeast corner of Albert and Victoria Streets.

The Downtown shopping centre is to be demolished and redeveloped and at the Herald’s former location at Albert and Wyndham Sts, a 30-storey hotel and office tower is planned.

The city is going to be a navigational challenge for the next several years.

The rail link alone will be disruptive enough. The practical difficulties of digging an underground railway in the confines of a commercial valley have not featured in public debate over the merits of the link.

It is to be hoped traffic planners have given the challenges enough thought. Confidence on that score is not encouraged by the plan to reduce Queen St to one lane of traffic each way to accommodate exclusive bus lanes.

City planners keep stealing the roads that we’ve already paid for. Where we had two or even three lanes, now we have given those to cycles, buses and, soon, even light rail.

Whereas councils can’t just turn parks into homes or factories, or start reclaiming the harbour for housing, there appears to be no limit to their ability to keep stealing roads from motorists.

There appears to be a steady and deliberate plan to turn the problem of getting around in a car into a self-fulfilling prophecy, to which the answer is: even less space for cars, and more space for people to walk, cycle, bus and train.

It’s not something ratepayers have been asked about, and I consider it a kind of theft.

 

– NZ Herald

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 »

New Zealand’s Silliest Local Government Spending, Ctd

Palmerston North train commuters still have their hands out bludging

Palmerston North train commuters still have their hands out bludging

It is not just the halfwitted Auckland Council who are raising rates at 10%, the Greater Wellington Regional Council is doing the same. And for similar silly reasons to Auckland.

Wellington region ratepayers are poised to write a $550,000 cheque to keep the Capital Connection commuter train alive for the next five years.Greater Wellington Regional Council will vote on Tuesday whether to alter its long-term plan to include a five-year lifeline for the beleaguered weekday service between Wellington and Palmerston North.

The funding is one of a number of proposed tweaks to the council’s draft 2015-25 plan, which includes an average annual rates increase of 9.8 per cent – or about $38 for the average home – for the 2015-16 financial year.

Yes that’s right, the Greater Wellington Regional Council is paying a subsidy to the inmates of Palmerston North who want to leave every day for work.

Lord knows why, anyone with any sense would leave Palmerston North to pay their own way.   Read more »

Brown’s rail project an expensive “boondoggle”

Not Len Brown this time, but Jerry Brown, the Governor of California and his ill-fated rail project.

The similarities are astonishing though.

As California breaks ground this week on its new high-speed rail line, it is clear what the $68 billion dollar project amounted to: though the project will surely make unions, construction workers, and bond salesmen happy, it is little more than money the state doesn’t have for a train that its residents don’t need and probably won’t use. TheWashington Post reports on the project’s continued financial troubles, and it’s not pretty:

Voters approved a $9.95 billion bond aimed at funding the initial construction of the rail project in 2008, by a slim five-point margin. The Obama administration added another $3.2 billion in federal grants, and the legislature agreed in 2014 to provide funding through cap-and-trade taxes on greenhouse gases, which will add another $250 million to $1 billion per year.

That means the rail authority will have about $26 billion at best, less than half the estimated total costs. California High-Speed Rail Authority officials have said they expect advertising, real estate developments and private investors to fund up to a third of the total costs.   Read more »

On yer bike Brown

Len on a bike.  Credit: Sarah Ivey

Len on a bike. Credit: Sarah Ivey

Len took the train once.   Read more »

People, don’t flee the Police

Apparently only a broken arm for the idiocy displayed.

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Maybe Len could try this train set?

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