Why do we need trains when driverless technology is upon us?

Trains are locked onto rails…they can’t divert around network outages and are horribly inefficient especially for passenger transit. Basically they don’t work unless massively subsidised.

If we look at the billions poured into Kiwirail since Labour bought it back at an inflated price you can see just how bad and inefficient it is.

I’ve often said rip up the rails and create heavy transport lanes on the land instead, sending buses and trucks down the nice even gradients.

I’ve also said driverless technology will solve transport issues. The video above shows how it can work for bus transport and the Daily Mail also has an article about the advent of driverless trucks for heavy transport.

Self-driving cars have long been confined to the storylines of futuristic films and the engineer’s drawing board but now they finally being tested in real traffic on a German autobahn.

German carmaker Daimler has been trialling a self-driving truck under real traffic conditions on a German motorway for the first time.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros truck was fitted with the ‘highway pilot’ system, allowing it to work without a human driver, and travelled from Stuttgart to the town of Denkendorf. ? 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 »

Truck smashes into overpass


I can’t work like this


Road Rage!


I wonder how much it would of cost to buy a ramp…..


When your priority is to arrive on time


Not the beer!


Road freight and other stuff

A reader emails about road transport in?relation?to the Labour/Green?commitment?to introduce state control of power.

After huge success with power control models it must be time the Greens looked at nationalising the road freight and passenger transport industries.

This was done in the?UK?in 1947 with some success according to some old died in the wool (now dead) ?poms consulted 60 years ago.

This will allow us to make sure that all in inefficiencies of the rail system are equally shared by the road freight system. It will ensure that all trucks are reduced to 5 tonnes capacity and that any deliveries over 50 miles will be done by rail.

This will mean that people travelling from town to town (cities will also be reduced in size) will be able to happily travel in buses without trucks blocking their view.

As a result supermarkets will reduce their stock items, and only one approved brand of any product will be sold.? Read more »

Truck Drivers vs Wharfies

On Monday I explored the differences between Teachers and Wharfies and some moaned that Teachers were hardly in a dangerous job, so then I looked at Police vs Wharfies, the Police are woefully underpaid for the amount of danger they experience compared to the rather benign working environment of wharfies.

People still complained that the comparison wasn’t really accurate because wharfies use heavy machinery like straddle cranes and swing lifters and move big heavy items like containers around.

So what better comparison then that a truck driver. According to Careers NZ the wage conditions of truckdrivers are:

Straddle carriers and trucks in a port

Image via Wikipedia

Heavy truck drivers usually earn between $15 and $25 an hour, or about $31,000 to $52,000 a year. These rates assume a 40-hour week but many truck drivers work more than this, some up to 65 hours a week.

However, pay can vary greatly depending on the:

  • type of goods being transported
  • size of the vehicle being driven
  • region?you work in
  • company?you work for
  • length of the trip.

I also checked by giving a trucking company CEO, who is a mate of mine, a call and asked him what the most his best wages driver earned last year. He said that it topped out at $70,000 mainly because a truck driver simply is unable to work the hours due to driving hours regulations. The most one of his drivers could work in a week including driving and non-driving time was 70 hours. They are off course driving equipment valued with a replacement cost well in excess of $500,000.

Not only that he pointed out that unlike wharfies who use their equipment in a controlled and flat environment, his drivers used all the same equipment to load containers, or loose items, or cars and vehicles onto the trucks, then drove thouse trucks onto the Motorway network and suburban streets to their customers depots where they again operated items like fork lifts and straddle carriers and off course swing lifters to load and unload the deliveries. Not only that they have the entire Police force laying in wait to catch them out for missing log book entries, expired RUC, mechanical defects, speeding and all manner of others things. Not to mention attempting to avoid all manner of other road users doing their crazy thing on the roads.

I also asked aobut health insurance plans and leave and the such and was met with silence and a comment about statutory requirements.

So in essence a truck driver is doing all of high risk usage of heavy machinery and in many instances the exact same machinery, but having to work every bit of 70 hours a week to attain the maximum possible of $70,000 while a wharfie works just 28 hours for every 40 hours rostered, scores $91,000 plus benefits, 5 weeks leave and a full medical insurance plan for them and their family.

The job comparison is fair. The wage comparison and conditions are not. Wharfies think they are hard done by but when you compare with similar industries you find that they are very well compensated. The only real difference being the closed shop and lack of comeptition has enabled them to rort the employers for far too long. The Ports of Auckland is now moving to bring the Port into the 21st Century.

Enhanced by Zemanta