Green party transport spokesperson and transport expert Julie Anne Genter pointed out in parliament yesterday how spending money on public transport can save us a whole lot of money and uses one of the best examples there is: the Northern Busway.

The busway is definitely one of the great success stories we have in Auckland. We have been able to increase the number of people crossing the harbour each peak period even though the number of cars crossing the bridge has declined over the same period: We have seen from the most recent study into another harbour crossing that adding more lanes of traffic will cost many billions of dollars.

The other key message from her speech is that investment in public transport is actually about giving people a choice. If someone wants to drive to work then that is perfectly fine but they should also have good quality alternative options. The busway shows that if there is a viable alternative then people are very prepared to use it.

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  1. Excellent response to ‘personal choice’. That’s what I didn’t like when living in Auckland – there were journeys that I wanted to make where I didn’t really have the choice but to drive (or for the trip take 3-4 times as long as driving).

  2. I think ultimately what Julie is alluding to is the spatial footprint of infrastructure (large motorways, parking). These costs are NOT considered in models which assess the impact of transport infrastructure such as gravity models. However, in terms of cost effectiveness of investment they play a major role not just for the public sector but, for the private sector as well because they are the ones who have to supply all that land for parking.

    Choice is also important, particularly with our ageing population who will find it increasingly difficult to drive as time passes.

  3. I wonder if the govt ever worries about the cost of importing so many cars. It’s basically a huge amount of money going overseas. I find quite funny that it is a (former) american to warn the Nz parliament on how bad cars are.

    1. You would hope that someone at Treasury might be awake to the uncounted costs of auto-dependency, especially the ever rising fuel bill, but there is little sign of it. The vast inefficiencies in terms of landuse, parking etc are all carefully ignored by the MoT. Like the interjecting NatParty MP in the video above the belief in the ‘freedom’ offered by the mono-modal road system is so great that it reaches the uncritical adherence like that of to a religion.

    1. Australia can get their own Julie, she’ll have her work cut out for her in NZ especially with this current government, great to see some real debate (perhaps more of a monologue at this point as National don’t botther showing up or listening) about transport and its associated costs in NZ. Have we ever had a qualified and highly-experienced transport planner in parliament let alone holding the shadow transport portfolio? It suggests NZ is finally growing up, I’m looking forward to her being part of a future government.

  4. Greens may get 20 MPs next election, so long as she retains her current level or better then we’re all good.

  5. so with nearly one third of people crossing the bridge in buses, when does the busway get extended to have exclusive use of lanes on the bridge?

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