A few months ago Auckland Transport started consultation on changes to how on-street parking works in the Central City. While there were a number of things to the proposal the key one was that on-street would be targeted towards shorter stays by ramping up the price the longer you stay. There were over 700 submissions on the proposals and as a result AT have made a few changes. The biggest of these changes is the introduction of a third zone in the city which applies to the eastern and western edges of the CBD.  But the changes don’t just stop at the on street parking that was consulted on, they say that as a result of the feedback they are dropping prices for casual car parks in the AT owned parking buildings and also dropping the maximum daily cap in an effort to encourage more people to use them rather than the street parking (early bird parking is already cheaper than this so I don’t think it would impact PT much). It is scheduled to be introduced in the middle of October and here is the AT press release:

A new City Centre Parking Zone, along with some other new parking initiatives, will be introduced by Auckland Transport in mid-October.

Auckland Transport’s Chief Operating Officer, Greg Edmonds says: “As Auckland’s population continues to grow, we are committed to delivering convenient access to parking both on and off street as part of the transport mix which includes public transport, walking and cycling.

“The main objective for Auckland Transport in changing the management of on-street and off-street parking in the City Centre is to prioritise short-term parking over long-term parking in an area of the city which has a high degree of visitation for business and leisure activities”.

The proposal for the creation of a new zone and associated pricing went out to public consultation in June this year.

Auckland Transport received 718 submissions on the proposal and has made changes as a result of that feedback.

On-street parking prices will remain unchanged at $4 per hour for the first two hours in the core CBD.  After two hours prices will increase relative to the zone, the purpose of this is to prioritise short term (less than two hours) parking on streets.

The scheme will commence with three parking zones rather than the two initially proposed with lower prices around Union Street and Wynyard Quarter. There will be no time limits on any of the zones.

Auckland Transport will also introduce a ten minute “grace period”, which effectively means free parking. It will also remove most P5, P10 and P15 restrictions for on-street parking.  The grace period will allow the removal of short-term parking restrictions as people will be able to stop anywhere for ten minutes before payment is required. “This is a customer friendly option allowing quick pick-ups and drop offs and extends parking options for the likes of couriers and delivery companies,” says Mr Edmonds.

Auckland Transport will also extend paid parking from 6pm to 10pm in the central CBD area. This will improve access for visitors to premium on-street parking in the city in the evenings for leisure activities and reduce congestion during the evening peak.

Additional changes as a result of public feedback include; reducing peak casual hourly rates to $3 an hour in Auckland Transport’s Civic, Downtown and Victoria Street car parks. The current rate is $5.50 per hour for the first two hours and $4 or $5 per hour thereafter. Mr Edmonds says “Car parking buildings are also a good option, particularly at night, because they are well-lit and have security measures.”

In a further effort to encourage off-street parking in the CBD, a daily maximum charge of $17 per day will be introduced in Auckland Transport parking buildings for longer stays. The daily maximum currently sits at $29.

Both on-street and off street parking prices will be reviewed after six months.

The revenue impacts from these changes are not known at this stage but Auckland Transport expects it to be revenue neutral.

Chief Executive of Heart of the City, Alex Swney says: “For many years parking has been seen as a major reason not to come into the city. We see today’s announcement as a significant change in approach to parking in the city.  It recognises the ‘moving feast’ of parking demands of our businesses and their customers. It’s a major step forward and we are sure we will be looking back in a year and see significant improvement as a result.”

Mr Edmonds said the changes will be implemented from mid October 2012. Details of the changes will be communicated to the public through the Auckland Transport website (www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz) and through a public information campaign closer to the date

And a map of the new zones

Parking is one of those things that seems to really get some people worked up so it is great to see that AT have persisted with this and that it will happen. It is also good that they are going to review the pricing for this in 6 months time which will be to ensure they are set at the right level. Good work AT and those involved in getting this over the line.

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  1. Is there a concern that dropping the max daily charge from $29 to $17 will induce people to get off the bus/train and into their cars?

    1. I agree that it is odd having Wynyard in that zone considering how the target is to have something like 75% of people get there by methods other than car but with prices reviewed regularly that could fairly quickly change.

      1. Wynard is tricky since it has a small local customer base today and is disconnected from the rest of the city (by Fanshawe in particular). The cost reflects the need for it to attract daytrippers in car.

  2. It’s disappointing that the shared spaces are included in this. Does this mean they’re becoming un-shared? Or simply an error by the map maker?

    1. There are plenty of places in the city without roadside carparking. Just because a street is included in the zone doesn’t mean you can park wherever you please.

  3. AT already encourages driving to Wynyard by not enforcing the existing parking rules. I’ve never once walked along Jellicoe St without seeing cars parked all over the footpath; AT obviously doesn’t care.

  4. Anything under $4 per hour is cheap when stage 2 one-way fares into the city are $3.40, and much higher further out. I can imagine students at the Uni (for example) thinking relative to a lecture that it’s worth taking a chance on parking and skipping using PT. Agree with others that prices will rise, but will they rise faster than PT – which has been going up pretty quickly lately?

    1. As a Masters student at Grafton campus, I and many others used to park in the free parking around Newmarket and walk – mountain road clearway (9am) was my favourite and we used to queue up down the back streets ready for 9am to hit so we could get our spots. Cheaper (not my car, households car so I only paid petrol and the occasional service), faster and more reliable than the public transport available especially when your experiments went past 6pm – which was pretty much daily. I refused to wait for hourly buses after 6pm and get home 45 minutes later than I could by car.

      1. And to that Stu we have a long way to go in the Auckland transit situation where costs are more balanced.

        I present these figures for the price of taking a car from Papakura to the City, park, and drive back again in comparison for a round trip on the train. To keep all things equal I shall use a family of 2 Adults and 3 children both for the car and train. Time for travel will be in the weekend.

        Car: 1990 Dihatsu 1.5l engine
        Fuel Economy: 10km/litre using 91
        Price of Gas at Papakura: $2.14/litre average
        Distance from Papakura to Civic Car Park and back again: 72km on most direct route – time of travel 35-40mins
        Parking in an Auckland Transport Parking Building: $8 flat rate (weekend and evening rates)

        Total Cost using the car: $26.46

        Cost Breakdown:
        Fuel 7.2 litres at $2.14/litre = $15.41
        $8 Parking
        Maintenance, WOF, Registration (12 months) and Insurance: $3.05


        6 stages from Papakura to Britomart (same in reverse)
        Family Pass $24 for unlimited travel in weekends/public holidays and after 9am weekdays: Unavailable for sale on the train, rail station ticket machines and ticket agents. Family Passes only on sale at Britomart, Newmarket and New Lynn Ticket Offices

        Fares as a result from the Family Pass being unavailable as above as Conditions of Carriage dictate one must have a valid ticket or pass to travel on the train

        Fare from Papakura to Britomart: Cash – $29.80 (2x adults @ $7.90 each and 3x children @ $4.50 each); using AT-HOP from October 28: $25.95 (2 adults @ $6.90 each and 3x children @ $4.05 each)

        Fare from Britomart to Papakura: $24 as you can get a family pass for the return trip, otherwise the above fares apply again.

        Cash: $53.30 for 1 way (to Britomart using single trip tickets) + Family Pass in return – OR $58.60 if you forget your Family Pass purchase at Britomart and have to pay for individual fares again

        AT-HOP Stored Value: $$49.95 for 1 way (to Britomart using single trip tickets) + Family Pass in return – OR $51.90 if you forget your Family Pass purchase at Britomart and have to pay for individual fares again

        Travel time from Papakura to Britomart (or vice versa) 50-53mins average

        Car: $26.46, Train: $53.30 if your got your Family Pass at Britomart AND paid your fare into Britomart first, Bus: whatever their Family Pass fares are on-board the bus

        So I think taking the car to the city might be a tad cheaper if you were honest on the train with valid fares and tickets.

        If you do not believe me here is my fare matrix: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106204771/Day-Pass-Fares-Mode and also try it yourself and report back here on what exactly happened.

        Information on Integrated Ticketing can be found at the AT website (I am not going to post the four links – again)

        1. And the bigger issue there is that most people wouldn’t make the mental comparison between car and train as fair;
          They certainly wouldn’t include the WOF, and would tend to underestimate the fuel so would be thinking $15 – $20 for the car trip (which is only one of the adults PT – not even both!)

          What’s worse is the PT time comparison should add the average wait time between trains (because again this is the comparison most people make) so an extra 15 mins or so offpeak (or worse for late night) at least for the return leg.

          However what is interesting in here is that the former lower cost contains sufficient tax to cover the entire NZTA contribution to roads etc; as well as the nearly 50% ticket subsidy on the latter PT trip (despite that still being higher). That always gives me a cognitive dissonance issue where I like trains and want to say they are more efficient; but unless the suspicions that the car parking portion is massively subsidised (which I suspect it effectively is) then the economic evidence would be to the contrary.

          1. Ben you have to buy a car first. You have failed to include that cost in your math. And you have skewed the parking costs by choosing the cheapest time to park; the weekend. As well as using an unusually high number of car riders. The average is actually 1.2.

            So in the interests of balance why don’t you also compare a single commuter on a normal working day driving a late model car that you include the costs for, and see how that looks?

            Having said all that, PT is very expensive in AK and parking is too cheap.

  5. How is the 15min free parking going to work practically. Are parking wardens going to have to walk up a street every 15 minutes to mark then ticket cars with no ticket at all. It will be great for couriers etc but I see a lot of people pushing their luck if they they think they will be parked for 15 – 40 minutes

    1. I think you have to take a pay and display ticket … just select 15 minutes but not have to pay any money. So if you’re not in your car and you don’t have a ticket BAM!

    2. It is a ten minute grace period. That’s self explanatory: if a warden finds a car without a pay and display voucher then they wait ten minutes before issuing the ticket. It’s exactly the same as now, except with ten minutes grace.

      I really like this proposal. Round my place I currently have free parking all day Sunday, but $2 per hour for two hours max on Saturday. Making it $1 all weekend with no time limit will suit my visitors much better.

        1. They’re mostly suburbanites who are scared to leave their living rooms. Occasionally one will venture into the big bad city, if I tempt them with easily accessible parking.

  6. This looks great – now all they need to do is expand the area covered by pay parking outside of the city centre. When that happens you’ll know that Auckland has really “grown up” as a city … until then it’s still just another socially awkward teenager with potential but limited motivation.

  7. Parking around uni free with no time limit after 6? Around wynyard quater free in evenings and all day Sunday?

    These places have heavy demand in this times and need some kind of management to ensure they are used effichently. It’s currently crazy busy on princess st in the evening with numerous cars waiting double parked for a space to come free.

    I don’t understand why they think wynyard qtr won’t have any parking shortage on Sunday with its cafe strip…

    Generally positive changes otherwise though.

  8. One wonders how the move to short term parking will affect people cycling. It suggests there will be a lot more cars pulling in and out of kerb parking, and being NZers they likely won’t be looking for bikes.

    I think reducing the cost of parking by almost half is ridiculous, but perhaps it’s merely being used as a means to get these reforms through. Once they’re in council can slowly increas pricing 1-2$ every six months.

  9. Is there some confirmation anywhere that the pricing will be responsive to demand levels? There are hints that’ll be the case, but I’m not entirely sure whether it’s been confirmed.

    1. I take it that the original proposal stands unless the recent press release stated that it had been amended. As the original proposal had prices linked to demand yes I think it is safe to assume that pricing will be responsive to demand.

  10. Stu has a guest post about this on the human transit blog here: http://www.humantransit.org/2012/09/the-price-is-right-market-based-parking-comes-to-new-zealand-guest-post.html

    Now… that post emphasizes much more than I had realised that the goal is to regularly change the charges. My sense is that the charges are set too low at the moment. So how soon can we expect to see change? Well… according to the announcement “Both on-street and off street parking prices will be reviewed after six months”. Colour me skeptical, but unless it is clear from the outset that the plan is to frequently change the charges (SF’s scheme does it monthly) then every time prices are reviewed it will be a political hot potato, and it just won’t happen.

    If the idea is that we’re introducing market-pricing of parking, then I don’t think this scheme accomplishes that. It’s only real merit in the absence of regularly changing prices is that it is easier to understand than the current mess of highly local charging regimes.

    1. My question then would be to wonder what mechanism they have for monitoring demand to set appropriate pricing? Buildings are easy, you can tell exactly when someone enters or exists. But what about on street? Will the survey every street in the zone on a regular basis to monitor occupancy across the day? Or just get semi-anecdotal feedback from wardens?

    2. David – I would say that to move straight to a full market pricing type situation with prices reviewed monthly would have caused far to much uproar and probably have got the idea killed off. Better to introduce the concept now with lower prices and longer review times then over time increase the frequency of that i.e. first review is in 6 months at which time they say they are doing X but will review again in 3 months. Do the same thing again in 3 months with a review in 2 months etc. In the grand scheme of things It won’t take long but it is about getting people used to the idea.

      I think it is probably a similar situation to how Jan Gehl describes how you remove parking from the city. If you try to do it all at once the people get upset but if you do it at a few % per year then no one notices. It is probably fair to say that it is happening right now in Auckland and people aren’t complaining as in the last few years we have thankfully lost lots of on street spaces from things like the shared spaces and that will continue as more streets get upgraded.

      1. Matt L, fair point – tend to agree overall. Yes – provided that reducing the update interval actually happens! But yes, move slowly at first, then more quickly as the idea takes hold

    3. Good question David –

      Our first problem is one of semantics: The phrase “market based pricing” means different things to different people. In the case of my HT post, I personally would not have chosen that title, as some people tend to have an old-left aversion to the notion of market based price signals.

      I personally prefer the phrase “demand based pricing”, which means more accurately describes the process by which prices are set:
      1. AT set some starting hourly parking rates
      2. AT then monitor occupancy levels for a specified period (say 6 months)
      3. If occupancy is higher than desired threshold (say 90%) then prices are increased; if lower then desired threshold (say 60%), then prices are reduced
      4. Loop back to step #2 and repeat

      I’m not exactly sure whether that’s market based pricing or not, because we don’t really know how the private sector would price on-street car-parks. And even then I’m not sure we would want to follow what the market did anyway – there may be strategic reasons for us to price parking differently, e.g. price in a congestion premium. My attitude is “who cares what the market would do, let’s just do what makes sense to managing this resource”.

      In terms of whether it’s a political hot potato or not I do think you are being too sceptical – remember that this policy has already been approved by AT’s board, gone out to public consultation, and come back in a slightly modified but essentially intact way. Of course the politicians may get on the soapbox when prices go up, but I can’t see it becoming a major issue (after all, AT will probably be able to point to instances where prices drop too).

      I’d just finish by observing that in my mind at least this is a major step forward from where we are now: We now have a reasonably formal and transparent price-setting policy for on-street parking in Auckland. It may not be perfect and it may subsequently be tweaked/improved. But at least we have taken the first step …

      1. Stu, yes agree that semantics is an issue. I would be one person generally guilty of reacting badly to the word ‘market’ if only because it has been used to batter us over the head for the last 30 years as a way of changing things to favour the rich. Happy to give the process the benefit of the doubt for now if they follow Matt’s suggestion, then maybe we’ll get to monthly reviews. I think the first couple of changes may be troublesome nevertheless – the initial prices seem low, so upping them seems inevitable. Happy to be proved wrong if it turns out that way though!

        1. I agree – the initial prices do seem low.

          From memory, however, the last time prices for on-street parking in Auckland was changed was in 2006, so even if prices move up relatively slowly from the low starting point they will eventually reach a “fair” level. Consider going up 50 cents every 6 months (i.e. $1 per year) from a starting price of $4 – that still equates to a 20% annual increase. So I think there’s scope for relatively large and steady increases in the price of parking where it’s justified by demand.

          The other thing you will find is that many of the council’s streetscape improvements will tend to reduce the amount of on-street parking such that some cars are displaced and the demand for what’s left will increase. That means that the increases will probably happen more widely than one might initially expect, because supply in many places will also diminish.

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