AT have linked through to an interview that their Chief Operating Officer has conducted around public transport in Auckland and some of the measures AT are taking around it. Much is stuff we already know but there are a few extra bits of information that are interesting.

Greg Edmonds Interview TV9 2

Some of the things I picked up are:

  • AT HOP on Buses will roll out from April and take 3-4 months
  • Integrated zone based fares will take roughly an extra year after that as AT works through the various associated with it. He also suggests Ferries will come under the zonal based system.
  • We knew that Manukau was planned to be gated in a couple of moths but he is suggesting that New Lynn will be done now too, previously AT had just said they were going to consider it.
  • The new penalty fares that have just been introduced are going to be increased from $10.30 to $20 in April in advance of legislation to allow for fines to be issued.
  • There is a budget set aside this year for more improvement in the real time system.
  • Interestingly he suggests that the Harbour crossing will start in 2015/16. That is the first time we have heard that and pretty worrying considering how bad the project is (that is unless they plan to do a PT only crossing first).
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  1. Excuse my ignorance but Gated = ?? Also if they are going to up the penalty to $20 and introduce a fine long term I hope they actually distinguish between those who (like me) tagg on but have forgotten to tag off or failed to have the tag off (on the bus) register properly for various (sometimes technical sometimes toddler driven) reasons…………As legally they are quite different things – and failing to tag off is not exactly fare evasion and indicates intent to pay – but yet they penalise each the same. And I know that I am not the only one not to tag off properly other passengers on my busses have had similar issues – Imagine what sort of money they will start making from regular public transport users that simply have had a busy day or something and dont tag off or the machine does not tag off properly etc. I wonder if they have factored that in – I hope they address that anyway !!!!!!!!!!!! But I guess there is no incentive for them to do so. Sad – that could actually be a disincentive to use public transport for some – I know people who (like me) dont use the snapper cards for that reason or who use monthly passes and/or cash instead. Even if things go right most of the time – it would not take many bad days and a few $20 fines to add up. And its wrong to assume that all people who don’t tag off are “fare evaders”.

    1. Gated means the gates that force a tag-on/tag-off before they will open. Britomart and Newmarket currently have fare gates, so if you’ve used either station in the last couple of months you’ve encountered the gates.

      The penalty fare is the fare for failing to tag off, so you’ll want to pay very close attention to what the machine says in response to your tag. A fine will require wilful evasion – not tagging on in the first place.

      1. Well gated sounds good then – it means you cant get out unless you have tagged off properly. The bus tag on off system has technical issues I am not sure if the AT hop on the train has them too as I just buy paper fares from the machines at this stage but its not just a matter of attention to tagging off that counts ! I think that the max penalty for tagging off should be the max fare for that particular line……….. otherwise is sounds a little like revenue gathering to me. All in all I suppose this stuff is overall what needs to be done its just frustrating for me as a user that something that is not always easy with small kids in tow esp in the peak hour is getting more complicated – penalties increasing, cards that have to be used or queing for tickets rather than pay as you go as well as the impending loss of the last of the busses I and my sucessive toddlers have travelled to work/daycare on for > 10 years nearly now because someone has decided its better to force transport users into one mode of transport (the trains) which don’t work well for my particular needs and are really too crowded and unwelcoming to people travelling in peak hours with small children as it currently stands. So for me all these changes are making it less appealing – though I guess I am not really the target market – which is sad considering both my kids have grown up knowing and having modelled that there are alternatives to cars.

        1. I bet they’ll try and claim admin costs for the excess. But being as I’m a programmer, I know that’s a crock. Run a once a day automatic process to bill the card the excess, and require it to be paid before topping up the card. No additional admin required.

          Then again, we are talking about an organisation that needs 2+ days to transfer account transaction information between their payment system and their web site, so I don’t have high hopes.

        2. Failing to tag off is fare evasion because the fare isn’t calculated and deducted until you do tag off. It’s not exactly intentionally rorting the system, more like walking out of a restaurant after forgetting to pay the bill.
          A couple of other things to consider, the system currently used on the buses is indeed slow and technically failure prone. That is one reason AT decided not to use it. The other system currently used on trains and ferries is much better and more reliable, and it is being rolled out to all buses later this year.
          It’s a hassle to change over to the new system but I think most people will find it simpler. Personally I like the idea I can set an auto top up from my bank account, then all I need to do is tag on and tag off as I travel and I never have to think about fares, payment or credit ever again.
          Also before the network change comes to connect buses to trains, we will have our new electric trains that will be faster, cleaner, quieter and have much more room and capacity.

          1. Except of course its like walking out of a resturant without paying BUT having left your credit card details with the reception desk when you walked in ……….And will the new trains also include staff that are more friendly to people with children/prams and or guide dogs ………so far my experience esp in the busy parts of the day have not been good in that regard……except during the rugby world cup when they got really friendly and it was a pleasure to go on them. I would love enough room on the train in peak hour I can travel with my son without being in anyones way or terrifying him in the crush of people – enough room so I dont get glares or enough room so the sort of thing blogged about here (not my experience)
            does not happen ………Or perhaps enough awareness of the staff that I don’t get the train doors trapped on my arms while i get the pram off which sadly has happened- then again the new trains might be an improvement in that regard and also if there is truely enough room to comply with demand they might be an ok way to travel…….

          2. The key thing is tagging off is what tells the system how far you have travelled and therefore how much to charge. The restaurant thing isn’t really a good analogy because a restaurant could work out exactly what you ordered and charge you accordingly. On the bus or train they have no way of telling where you get off, so have to charge you the maximum possible.

            One thing though, I think the $20 penalty (in lieu of fines until the legislation is sorted) is for those that don’t have a ticket or valid HOP at all. I think, although can’t confirm, that tagging on but forgetting to tag off will still only attract the maximum possible fare as a default. But still, tagging off is very important so they can work out precisely where people are going to and from. Without it they won’t be able to work out easily where to put on extra buses, what stops need upgrading, what trips are going unserved, which are going to waste etc.

            And yes Jodie the new trains will be much better for those with prams, bikes, luggage, wheelchairs etc. They will have wider doors, level floors, large seat free areas, more circulation space and perhaps most importantly, way more room for passengers overall. Also the doors will be passenger operated via a button on the door, which means they aren’t going to close on you unexpectedly.

          3. Since there is so many staff on trains selling tickets, why not just put staff on the stations instead? There are less stations than trains and the staff can be there 8 – 5 say.which would cover most of the people who are trying not to pay.

          4. @Adam W

            There is now only one member of staff (besides the driver) on the train, the train manager (TM). Before the TM can be removed a) the EMUs have to be fully implemented (as the TM’s currently open the doors) and b) the law would have to be changed as currently TM’s are required for all passenger trains in NZ.

  2. I imagine it is news to NZTA that they’ll be starting work on AWHC in a few years time. Unless he just means route protection and detailed design.

    1. That is what I was figuring, Was news to me and most likely news to the rest of the city on the AWHC work starting rather soon.

      On a more “interesting side” – such work should mean speeding up the CRL if we want the start of North Shore Line to be built in conjunction the AWHC (some 10-20 years early)

  3. It’s a concern that the COO of AT obviously sees the AWHC as a good thing and wants it started ASAP, suggests there is still a lot of myopic silo thinking and planning going on at AT..

  4. As long as this harbour crossing includes train tunnels that allow a rail connection to Aotea to be built, I don’t mind. Political reality must be confronted, and Aucklanders want another road crossing.

    1. A new road crossing would bankrupt the land transport fund, especially coming after the excesses of the RoNs and stagnant/falling traffic volumes. Be careful what you wish for – financial impacts associated with a second harbour crossing could well drag funds away from anything else.

      1. We only need look to Brisbane and Sydney to see the disastrous financial outcomes of building mega expensive motorway tunnels that don’t solve any actual transport deficiencies, and therefore don’t carry much traffic.

        All the harbour crossing does is shift the same state highway capacity from the bridge to the new crossing, allowing the entire bridge capacity to be used for car commuting to the CBD.

        My question is how could we possibly justify four or five billion dollars of expenditure just to have four lanes from the North Shore to Fanshawe and Cook Sts instead of two. Will the traffic on those two extra lanes be able to ‘pay’ for the immense cost?
        And really, if our goal is to increase commuter capacity from the Shore to the CBD by about 5,000 people an hour surely we can do that for much much cheaper.

        Plus I have to ask, where do those two extra lanes of traffic come from? Winding Onewa and Esmonde Rds? Widening the Northern motorway to ten lanes to Constellation? And what happens on the city side? Two extra motorway lanes translates to seen or eight new arterial road lanes, where exactly are we supposed to put them? Fanshawe St twelve lanes wide? And where to park them all, where do three or four more Downtown car parks go?

        Yeesh, I’m failing to see how even Darth Brownlee or Emperor Joyce himself could justify it.

        1. Hear hear, it seems to be an EITHER CRL or AWHC situation.

          Only one of them makes sense, only one is needed, and as luck would have it- it’s the far cheaper of the two.

          Fuck the AWHC, CRL now dammit!!

          1. I can’t see any way how it is an either CRL or AWHC situation. As you say only one makes sense and only one is needed, that’s not an either or situation, it’s a one is a good idea and the other terrible situation (unless you mean the funding, if we waste it all on the AWHC then we have nothing left for the CRL).

        1. Bah ha! Funny.

          Jakarta is an very strange city though, because from what I understand the Suharto government (dictatorship?) removed all footpaths and public meeting spaces as a means to quell public opposition, i.e. stop people from gathering. That means that many of their road corridors are incredibly narrow. Although I don’t think Mr Kirmanto is suggesting that they should widen road corridors to create space for footpaths ;).

  5. Not sure how feasible it would be with the current layout, but Papakura should also be gated in my opinion. As far as I understand, it will be (like New Lynn) one of the few permanently staffed stations with a ticket office so in that regards, the gates could always be supervised. It would stop people travelling between Pukekohe and Papakura without a ticket. Papakura is still one of the busiest stations, so it warrants it. I believe they should also look at Henderson.

  6. Hang on a minute, Nick R, you said: “Also the doors will be passenger operated via a button on the door, which means they aren’t going to close on you unexpectedly.”

    Is that correct? Surely the door closes would be handled by the crew, so no ability for passengers to prevent them closing.

    1. If you have ever caught a train overseas you’ll know how passenger operated doors works. Passengers can open doors but they close by themselves and become unable to be reopened when the driver flips a switches which also closes any remaining doors. You can stop them closing by standing in the door of course.

    2. Yes, the driver will lock and unlock the doors, but the opening and closing will be up to the passengers (they will also close on timer after however many seconds, but can be reopened with the button unless the driver has locked it). Same system as in Melbourne, except Auckland will have door close buttons too.

      1. I can’t at all see how that is workable. Mel & Bris have door open buttons, but door close is controlled by the crew. Obviously the pax close will have to be overridden in daily operation at basically every station.

  7. “more improvement in the real time system”. whatever they have done in recent times the real time system has gone absolutely downhill. previously it was accurate for me and when it said the bus would be at the bus stop in 1 minute, it would usually mean 1 minute. now it has the scheduled time (as per the timetable) but the next column on the display doesnt normally state when the bus is arriving (although occasionally it does). so whatever they have done recently it is no better than just using the timetable…

    1. Previously it didn’t indicate whether it was scheduled or real time – the two columns now show whether a bus is being tracked or whether it’s not.

    2. I agree with Lee that he real time system seems to have gone downhill terribly in recent times. A whole heap of buses just aren’t being picked up by it.

      1. The new system indicates whether the buses are being tracked or not (i.e. whether the driver has logged onto the tracking system) – if the bus “due” times aren’t being shown, or “picked up” it is because the driver has not completed this step. The previous layout did not show whether the bus was being tracked or not (if the bus was not being tracked it automatically ran off the scheduled time). This has now been fixed so that you can accurately see whether the time is accurate (tracked) or guesswork (schedule).

        The only way to improve the reporting accuracy of this system is to come down on drivers that continuously fail to log their buses onto this system…

      2. IMHO the the real time system has become worse that useless. I was in Mt Eden village yesterday and it was telling me the next 277 was in 34 minutes. I check the timetable and the next is supposed to be in 4 minutes, and lo and behold it turns up perfectly on time. Within those few minutes two groups of people had turned up at the stop, checked the board, scoffed and walked off again.

  8. I’m rather concerned about it taking “months” to get HOP rolled out across buses. That means months of confusion, angry letters to editors, and more loss of patron goodwill. What a bloody shambles.

    1. Meh … these things take time. While I’m as keen as you to see it rolled out quickly, the phrase less haste and more speed springs to mind. If they roll it out prematurely and cock it up in right royal fashion then they will lose much more good will than if they take one more month to get it right.

      Once it’s in all the previous palava can be blamed on “transitional issues”. And Snapper, of course :).

      1. Snapper stubles aside, our ticketing rollout is proceeding very quickly and easily by world standards. The Oyster card took seven years to be rolled out across London, from initial testing to being available on the Overground and suburban lines.

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