While my comments on the Newmarket station have been mixed, and there are still certainly some unresolved issues relating to timetabling and trackwork, it does seem as though some thought and effort is going into getting people to try out the station and getting people to consider new ways in which to get to a place like Newmarket – which has excellent public transport connections and a shortage of parking.

ARTA and the Newmarket Business Association have teamed up to get a variety of retailers to offer discounts to those who show that they arrived via the train. Here’s the press release:

Newmarket train station users get premium shopping deals

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) has partnered with the Newmarket Business Association and its members in a joint promotion which promotes use of the brand new Newmarket train station in tandem with some great shopping deals, under the banner Newmarket Train Treats, at thirty-five of Newmarket’s premium shops.

ARTA’s General Manager, Customer Services, Mark Lambert says “ARTA has a close working relationship with Newmarket Business Association who, with their members, are focused on encouraging maximum use of the new station in their area, for shopping, business and leisure.

“From 1 February, Auckland Anniversary, and for the whole month of February, shoppers can show their train tickets to participating retailers in Newmarket and receive some very good deals such as $50 off international holidays from Flight Centre at Newmarket, 15% off homewares from Freedom Furniture, 10% of any purchase at Animalia Petstore, receive a free health and body age assessment from Configure Express, a 10% discount off bills at the Cock and Bill, $50 of any purchase of new prescription sunglasses or complete prescription sunglasses from Michael Holmes Premium Eyewear, the list goes on and on”.

Mr Lambert says, “During the development of Newmarket train station, ARTA has worked very closely with the local community and appreciated their support during such a large construction project. Now the station is open, local business have come to the fore again expressing their wish to encourage use of the new train station facility in their area with such a range of great offers for shoppers in Newmarket”.

Newmarket Business Association Chief Executive, Cameron Brewer says the public feedback about the design of the new $35m facility has only been positive.

“Locals and commuters alike love the new station and frequent services. The station is light, airy and a wonderful public space. We now want to entice more people to come and make the most of this fabulous 21st century public transport facility as well as reward existing train commuters.

“The Newmarket Business Association and its members are right behind the station. Hence our wish to offer some very good deals for commuters at many of our retail outlets. Newmarket is Auckland’s premium shopping area and these offers from our retailers for the month of February will be well received.

“The fact that 35 retail outlets have signed up for the campaign shows the strong level of support for the station’s success. We want people to forget the parking, make it easy on themselves, by taking the train and saving some money when they get here,” said Mr Brewer.

Mr Lambert said details of the Newmarket shopper’s promotion can be found on the MAXX website maxx.co.nz.

I’m glad that there seems to finally be a realisation, at least on the part of some retailers, that public transport can be their friend. I imagine that providing parking is one of the more expensive parts of operating a retailing outlet, and if you cannot provide parking then it makes life very difficult unless you can attract people to get to your store by some other way… such as catching the train!

Overseas mall operators (and councils) have woken up to the advantages of linking public transport and shopping areas. The large “Westfield London” mall includes both an underground and overground train station – which Westfield contributed to the cost of quite significantly, but I imagine were quite happy to do so as it meant they needed to provide far less parking than would have otherwise been the case.

If you look around Auckland a number of shopping malls or shopping districts are located in good proximity to train stations or busway stations – such as Albany, Henderson, New Lynn, Nemarket, the CBD, Manukau City, Sylvia Park and Manurewa. In many of these places, Albany and Manukau City being the most obvious in my mind, the provision of giant carparks within what should be “mini-CBDs” both destroys the urban fabric of these places and is a giant waste of quite precious (and valuable) land.

Hopefully over time we will see more deals like this one, so that people are encouraged to take the train to their local mall or shopping district when they go shopping. It’s a win-win situation, with higher patronage figures helping public transport agencies and less pressure on the often already overloaded carparks of the shopping centres making life better for retailers. Somewhat of a “mind-shift” might be needed though, as I suspect companies like Westfield still think of people who ride the bus or train as poor losers who aren’t going to spend any money anyway.

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  1. Westfield’s planned 41 storey mega tower on the corner of Albert and Custom Streets is perfect for a britomart hookup. Imagine 5000 workers going to work via train thats not including the 17 level tower next door which can house 2000 employees. Major employment concentrations will surely mean more people catching the train. The benefit of the 2 level mall beneathe the tower will also be good.

  2. I catch the London overground to Shepherds Bush Westfield every day to work. I’d say most of the customers and staff do the same thing. It is a monster of a mall, there’s no way they couldve provided enough parking for even half the employees who work there, let alone the customers! Without the upgrade of the Shepherds Bush stations, I suspect that development would never have happened.
    (there’s actually 3 other stations nearby too, shepherds bush market, wood lane, and white city )

  3. Having something integrated certainly beats having stops or stations that are just tacked on, on the edge of carparking wasteland. Obviously everybody benefits, which is perhaps why it’s not done in NZ.

  4. Considering Auckland, and NZ in general, have barely had what counts as a functioning rail system until quite recently (Wellington excluded) it’s not really a surprise that malls haven’t to date taken much interest in hooking into the system. Sylvia Park has shown that that attitude is changing however.

  5. However Manukau City has shown that the change isn’t consistent: Westfield’s failure to come to the party, ie pressure MCC/part-fund the extension of the line into Manukau City centre of is in marked contrast to that shown by Kiwi Income Property Trust, the owners of Sylvia Park. Odd given their experience at Shepherd’s Bush; but it is a big organisation and I suspect New Zealand is allocated to the troglodyte managers who dream of reviving the glory days (the 1980s) of multi-storey car parks packed with gas-guzzling Ford Fairlane station wagons which is apparently what they’re trying to do at St Lukes which is one of those malls just crying out for an underground spur on the Western line.

  6. its so insane that westfield in auckland won’t fork out for the trains to come closer to them, the long term benefits would be huge.

  7. Westfield St Lukes will not even provide under cover bus bays. They provide undercover taxi stands but bus passengers have to freeze in south facing shelters on St Lukes Road.

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