The Importance of Co-Ordination

Well I have finally managed to finish Paul Mees’s excellent book – A Very Public Solution. It is certainly the most comprehensive book solely on public transport that I have ever come across, and if it wasn’t out of print (there’s currently one used copy available on Amazon for around $US 320) it would be an immediate addition to my book collection. Unfortunately I will have to return it to the University of Auckland’s library pretty soon, but before I do I think it would be useful to have a look at some of the concluding statements that Mees makes – and focus on what he thinks is really really …
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Newmarket West Station

There has been quite a lot of talk over the last few days about the future of the Newmarket West Train Station once the new Newmarket station opens in January next year. Brian Rudman wrote a fairly lengthy article on the matter in today’s herald, while another article on transport issues also mentioned the ‘up in the air’ future of this station. Effectively, the debate is about whether or not the station should remain operational once the flash new multi-million dollar Newmarket station is opened. This is what the Newmarket West station looks like at the moment: Rudman presents a good analysis of the pros and cons of the options, …
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Further details on electrification

The latest KiwiRail newsletter has some interesting insights into Auckland’s electrification project – and specifically the announcement of funding for that project’s trains last week. A couple of extracts: A few thoughts. Firstly, it is disappointing that a contract won’t be awareded until the end of next year. Considering that the original contract by ARTA would have been announced many months ago now (it was put out for tender around the end of last year), it would seem as though the electrification project has been effectively delayed by about 18 months. Secondly, it’s interesting to hear that the plan is for the EMUs to run on the Eastern Line and …
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Regional Public Transport Plan – submission

As mentioned in a previous post, the Auckland Regional Public Transport Plan is open for submission until December 24th. This plan will be very useful in guiding the structure of Auckland’s public transport services over the next few years – and involves a pretty big shift in the structure of the public transport system. As per my submission on NZTA’s farebox recovery policy, I’m happy for people to copy as much or as little as they like of my submission. Anyway, here’s my draft submission in full. 1. Introduction: This submission is on the Draft Auckland Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). This is a plan required by the Public Transport …
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October 2009 Patronage – the lockout hits home

The effects of the bus lockout, which took place in early October, on patronage statistics shows through clearly in ARTA’s October 2009 Monthly Business Report. Bus patronage is down a whopping 18% on the October of the year before, although rail did certainly pick up some of the slack – meaning only a 12% decline in patronage over all. In fact, rail enjoyed its second highest month on record – with 767,000 trips being made within October. Bets are now on as to when we might first crack a million rail trips within a month – with March 2010, August 2010 and March 2011 being the most likely candidates in …
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Rudman on Pedestrians

In a similar vein to the post I made a couple of days ago, Brian Rudman has written an excellent article in today’s Herald about how little Auckland seems to care about its pedestrians: What about the walkers? A few days ago, the blueprint for the Auckland Transport Agency was unveiled. This is the $1 billion-a-year organisation that will preside over the new Super City’s roads, footpaths and public transport networks. The document contains three pages of charts and lists, itemising involvement in everything from road maintenance and parking enforcement to railway station surveillance and rolling stock asset management. But there’s not a word about pedestrians. Given that practically every …
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Draft NZTA Farebox Recovery Policy – my submission

Following on from my post on NZTA’s Draft Farebox Recovery Policy, here’s the submission I have put together. Details on how to submit your submission are here (basically just email it off to chad.barker@nzta.govt.nz). Submissions close on Monday, so be quick! Anyway, here’s my submission – feel free to use as much as you like in yours, remember the more people who say the same thing the more likeliness it will be listened to! Draft NZTA farebox recovery policy: consultation document Complete list of consultation questions Question 1 Are the objectives and principles appropriate? If not, why not? Answer: In my opinion the current two objectives are appropriate. I also consider …
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Bus Dispute Finally Over

It was with great relief today that I read the industrial dispute between drivers and NZ Bus is finally over. ARTA seem highly relieved too, in their press release: ARTA pleased stability returned to bus customers The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) says it is very pleased that stability and certainty has been returned to Auckland’s bus passengers today with notification that agreement has now been reached between NZ Bus and the Auckland Combined Unions. ARTA’s Chief Executive, Fergus Gammie says. “This has been a long and difficult road in respect of our customers who deserve stability of service. The last financial year has seen the biggest increase in public …
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People Friendly Spaces

A fairly common theme of annoyance with the way Auckland operates that was raised in my “Pet Peeves thread” seemed to be the lack of respect paid to pedestrians within Auckland’s CBD. A few examples of comments in that thread: From rtc: I think one of my biggest peeves in Auckland is the free left turns that almost all roads in the city have, and of which maybe 2% have zebra crossings. Many of these are downright dangerous and really hammers home the message that the car has priority over anyone on 2 legs. From The Trickster: The pedestrian crossing just by The White House on Queen St – when …
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More Details on the Electrification Announcement

Well interestingly enough the more I dig into today’s electrification announcement, the better the news is that I come across. As I outlined in my very brief previous post, the long-awaited funding for Auckland’s electric trains has finally been approved – as a loan to KiwiRail from the government. I’m not really sure about the long-term impacts on KiwiRail of this money being a loan, rather than a grant – but for now I think we’ll ignore that aspect as it’s not particularly important. The reaction from the ARC is very positive, and I agree that this is a pretty historic moment – nothing now will stop Auckland’s railway system …
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