The current bus network is a convoluted mess, akin to someone having thrown spaghetti onto a map. Last year in the draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP), Auckland Transport announced that they would be fixing it with what I think is a fantastic new network. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one who thought this way with around 70% of the submissions to the draft plan supporting the idea. Crucially the consultation in the RPTP focused on the overall concept rather than the specific routes.Β Later this week the next major step in the process to rolling out this network begins with Auckland Transport launching the consultation period for the South Auckland parts of the network. This is the stage where every individual route is being consulted on and the point where there is the most opportunity for people to be upset by the changes being made.

While we will have to wait until the launch to see all of the material that AT have created to explain the network, we can get a glimpse of some of it from a presentation to the Transport Committee last week. To highlight just how much of a difference the new network is, this is an image from the current network map of the area around Mangere, Otahuhu and Manukau. The map is cluttered and confusing with around 50 different routes on it, many doing only slightly different things and all running with poor all day/week frequency.

Southern Area Current

And here is roughly the same area as it is covered by proposed new network.

Southern Area Proposed

There are quite a few things that immediately pop out. The first is that because there are considersbly fewer routes, each route is able to be given its own colour which greatly enhances the legibility of the map. It also means that each route only needs one or two labels along the entire length rather than having to constantly re-label each section of route when there is a change. There are a few other things which also make the map easier to understand. The frequent routes – which will run at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, 7 days a week – have a thicker route line compared to the secondary network which has a minimum of 30 minute frequencies over that same time period.Β The peak only services have a thinner line again and it is also a dashed and dotted line. To me the different styles of line really make it easy to understand the hierarchy of routes that exist.

The next thing to note is the route numbering, the frequent routes have just a two digit number and if they have a tail that splits off, they are labelled as A or B rather than be given a new route number. By comparison the secondary and peak only services have three digit numbers. Again the numbering is something that helps to differentiate he really high quality services from the rest of the routes. Keen eyed observers will also note that the key interchange points all little symbol.

New Network Interchange symbol

And here is the map showing the new network between Manukau and Papakura. In addition to what is mentioned above, you may notice that AT are proposing to close both Westfield and Te Mahia Train Station. Like Waitakere both have had almost no patronage growth over the last decade and in the case of Westfield, patronage is likely to drop much lower once the trains are being run out of the new Wiri Depot. One of the advantages of closing these two stations is that it means passengers from south of them should be able to get faster ride with each one saving 1-1Β½ minutes per trip.

Southern Area Proposed 2

As mentioned above, there are a couple of key interchange points around the network. Some exist already while some will need to be built, one of those is at the Otahuhu Train Station. The network proposes that all buses passing through Otahuhu will stop at both the train station and the town centre, hopefully fixing the severance between the two as with integrated fares there will be no extra charge for the transfer. Further with two frequent and one secondary route passing through, that is at least 10 buses an hour so there is never likely to be much of a wait for passengers transferring. The presentation includes an image of what the interchange may look like. It will be built on land next to the station that is currently being used to store containers.

Otahuhu Train Station Bus Interchange

All up things are looking good so far and when it comes to the network maps I like many of the visual techniques that AT are using to really highlight the frequent services.

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      1. That until we have a reliable train service, which we will never have until the EMUs are fully deployed, we need the GSR alternative.

        We also need it when there are railbuses as the NZ bus 47? route is actually faster.

  1. Wow amazing how much simpler and better this new network is. Those crosstown routes in the south will be great.

  2. Looks good, must have taken bloody ages to go through the old routes and come up with the new ones.
    I wonder what the max walking distance from a bus stop is supposed to be?

    1. It took a fairly large team about six months to do all of Auckland, although the entire process of consulting, getting feedback, redesigning and implementing will take about three more years to fully complete.

      I beleive that the max walking distance from a bus stop was not set at a specific figure however one of the main goals was to provide as much coverage as there is currently, in other words basically every corner of each neighbourhood that currently has a bus still has a bus. In practice there are probably some bits of roads that lose a bus stop or two, and others that gain one, but overall it’s more or less the same.

        1. I’m not suggesting it’s you’re fault by the way. We just need, in my opinion, to try and shorten up the implementation time frame if at all possible.

          1. Brisbane tried an unfeasibly short implementation period for their new network, and lost the entire thing. In this case taking the time to do it right it critical.

          2. I’ll defer to your knowledge about such things. I guess the current implementation period still has the services operational at least 6 months before the motorway opens. Roll on mid 2016 so I no longer have to wait an hour between off peak buses.

          3. Bryce – the roll-out is also about timing in the changes with the EMUs so there is sufficient capacity available on rail network where many of the buses will feed in to.

          4. You’ve got half hourly, off peak, rail services Matt. I missed a bus by 3 minutes last Friday after a meeting in town and had to wait another hour.

          5. Yes I know it is rubbish off peak but what does that have to do with the implementation time-frame for the bus network roll-out? My point was that there is no point changing the bus network to feed into the rail network if the rail network doesn’t have the capacity (at peak times) to be able to handle it. That isn’t to say I don’t think off peak frequencies couldn’t be improved before the roll-out

          6. My point is, I guess, the only way we get more frequent services is once the network is rolled out to West Auckland. Also, of course, the NW buses are not reliant on EMU rollout but bus interchanges. Just frustrated. I want to use PT but it just keeps on being difficult due to frequencies.

          7. Three years is painfully slow and overly cautious. And why the need for all this consultation? They’re paid as experts, so why don’t they act like it? If something doesn’t work after introduction, tweak it until it does. They’re losing bus patronage NOW, after decades of neglect. 85% of PT users use buses…. why should they have to wait until the trains are up to mediocre?

            Too many routes have seen zero timetable changes for over ten years. Insane! Too many routes have last departures from the city at 11pm, or earlier. Why? And will this be addressed? No idea.

            This should not be taking another three years, period.

          8. Tim you’ll get cries of “you didn’t tell us, we don’t want this blah blah” if you don’t take the passengers with you they’ll be using the service not the experts. There will always be oversights the experts are not on the ground they can guess most things but it’s best to know your mostly right rather than not know your a little a bit wrong. All and all the passengers must be on our side.

            Personally it’s a we know best attitude that central government uses is what your suggesting and I don’t like it even for things I like.

        2. Yes Patrick, hundreds of routes thousands of route km’s and going crows feet and other odd shapes to something more spoke and hub is pretty mean feat.

          fyi Me and a band of merry men and women(AT Ambassadors) will be at the interchanges and southern rail stations encouraging affected/potential benefactors passengers to give feedback and in the case of Westfield and Te Mahia a flyer informing them of their station’s potential closure from Wednesday.


          1. That’s nice and all. But I’m pretty sure the majority of bus users aren’t on the train, and don’t actually get on and off at the interchanges. Any plan to actually get on the buses and talk to people there?

      1. > I beleive that the max walking distance from a bus stop was not set at a specific figure

        Is there any literature available on analysing catchments? I’ve seen “400m” used as a rough guide, but it seems pretty crude. Wondering if things have advanced since then, since we’ve got new census data out soon.

        1. 400 metres is indeed the rough guide from literature, though I couldn’t give you any exact references right now.

          Anyhow, you are correct in that it (a 400m buffer) is a rather crude measure, as someone who lives 401 metres away from a bus stop/train station/whatever isn’t necessarily going to be put off by having to walk a whole extra metre, and could well be just as likely to walk to the transport node as someone who lives 399 metres away.

          In terms of more advanced methods, a more accurate measurement of the concept of distance decay is generally used (or should be if it isn’t!) to better gauge catchment areas. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could dive into something called isochrone mapping – which is a map that replaces the spatial unit of measurement (i.e. 200/300/400m from the node) with a temporal unit of measurement (i.e. 5/10/15 minutes from the node), which, IMO, makes for a better communication method (but maybe that’s just me). On the flip side, making an isochrone is far more complex than simply using a distance based catchment mapping method.

          Off course if you want to get even more in depth then you’d also have to take into account other ancillary details about the population and the walking route(s) to the node. Details such as age, walking ability/health, desire to use PT, walkability of the route(s) etc… Though some of these measures – such as “desire to use PT” & “walkability” – are quite fuzzy terms and, therefore, difficult to quantify. But doing all of that for a public consultation map would seem a bit OTT to me!

          1. 400m generally much too low, part of the reason we have ended up with a hopeless spaghetti network. Maybe the hourly services will start heading down towards that figure. However there is a tradeoff, 5 minute walk for half hourly service, or 10 minute walk for service every 10 minutes.
            And the urban environment plays a huge roll. People will regularly walk 800m up Queen St, but they won’t walk 800m in Manukau or Albany.

          2. Actually there’s also a method called the “two-step floating catchment area method”. I’m not altogether familiar with it, but it has been used quite recently to measure PT accessibility on the North Shore – which, conveniently, also answers your first question!

            Mavoa, S., Witten, K., McCreanor, T., O’Sullivan, D. 2012. GIS based destination accessibility via public transit and walking in Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Transport Geography, 20 (1); 15-22.

          3. Catchment isn’t a magic number of metres, it is a flexible continuum based on several factors, the individual, the terrain, the quality and directness of the walking network, the quality of the transit stop, the weather, and perhaps most importantly the level of transit service they are walking to and the overall journey distance.

            There have been some surveys at the new New Lynn station that suggest the 50th percentile walk distance to the station is around 1,000m (i.e. half the people walk less than 1km, half walk more). So in that case 1,000m catchments make sense.

            There is a lot of evidence to suggest that service levels play a big part, people are happier to walk further to a rapid transit station where they can expect frequent and fast service. By extension we can expect that people will walk further to get a frequent all-day every-day bus than the kind of bus we have now.

            Certainly if I had the choice between a bus that comes once an hour 400m away and a but that comes every ten minutes 600m away, I would choose the latter every single time.

            Apparently people making longer trips by PT are also willing to walk further to get to the stop. Or really it makes more sense in reverse, if your PT trip is only 1.5km long you’re not going to be too willing to walk 1km to get to the stop. If your trip is 15km long then 1km feels totally reasonable.

            There is also some suggestion that people are happy to walk longer distances at the ‘home’ end of their journey than at the destination. Kinda makes sense that you will walk further in your own neighbourhood.

          4. @Bryce – most people won’t be cycling to the stop. The 400m distance is a distance at which significant numbers of people start to be put off by how far they have to travel, not the distance that the hardiest few are willing to go.

            400m is a bit low, though. As Nick points out, people will walk a lot farther to a decent fast and frequent service.

  3. Yes – I too would like to go to the library and express my feelings too – tricky when its
    a Monday 10 to 7 pm though ……….by the time i am back from work
    its nearly 6 and the kids might not like to be dragged out at dinner
    time …………(nor will the 2 year old be that nice at that time)
    I wonder actually how much feedback will get taken into account
    in the final version ? My experience with these things is feedback is often just a formality ?
    Oh well – there is enough changes in there that will make the day longer and life trickier for me
    that its worth expressing my feelings I guess.
    I really wanted this all to make life easier …was excited when I first heard about it all
    (until I saw details on these blogs)………..really really tired and sad now
    just wondering if there is a point in making formal feedback that’s not saying yes its wonderful
    but actually from a practical sense it makes my day to day life harder in multiple ways πŸ™
    I hope for some its am improvement

    1. Tell us here what your routes are and how these will change. We know that all the agencies follow this site.

    2. While the overall concept of the new network has been approved, I’m sure AT will be willing to make changes to some routes if there is some good reasoning behind it.

      Where are your normal trips to and from?

      1. Hi Matt
        Thanks – but I really don’t believe our express buses will be saved – they are not popular with
        those in decision making positions and the push seems to be to the train – I can accept from a planners or admin point of view
        that they are expensive and they want the money spent elsewhere. However from a very human point of view for us given the way the train runs
        pretty much everyone who uses those express buses does so as the train does not serve their commuting needs
        (otherwise they would have chosen the train) and most of those people have limited other choices.
        Perhaps it would just be a bit kinder if they weren’t trying to push these changes as improvements –
        for many they might be for others they are not. I will submit my feelings – at least then I tried I guess.

        My wider concern (for those in my area rather than me particularly) is the loss of direct
        Eastern line trains. I suspect we are a long long way of convincing someone its worth
        the cost for the Manukau south train connection – esp with the new article I saw in the paper
        where the local board said that to get one some of the new inland port Wiri tracks would need
        digging up (it seems to me that it now will cost more and be harder to convince people to do it).
        So while we now have fairly frequent (but full peak) trains and decent off peak that run
        direct Eastern line and Southern line soon we loose one of those options. I hope perhaps
        my general concerns on that (if shared by enough other people) might be reconsidered.
        (ps do you know what article I am talking about re the tracks ? or shall I try and find it ?)

        Also I know the 471 and 472 to town is lost – that’s a long way but I do know people who use it
        – I would like to know what its replaced with ? I know that the Great South Rd busses 471/2 to Manukau
        These Gt South Rod busses are also super fullthrough greenlane etc (or they were when I used them)
        can be utterly packed and I hope the officials and planners realise how highly used those busses are ?
        And also would it be possible for a lot of the busses that we have that service side routes currently
        to be updated – they are those sort that have no wide seats and narrow aisles or really high steps
        and it means a lot of those cross town routes cannot be used if you are not able bodied or if you
        are using a pram (even a stroller is a push).

        I am just thinking – will that info all be available if we look on the website or is the route info etc only
        going to be available on open days or if we go somewhere specific ?

        1. I have just realised that if what jjay says is true, that there will be *no* buses from Pukekohe to town, i am really going to be in trouble. The train – if it continues to run from Pukekohe! – will add an hour to my (already 12-hour) day – and subtract half an hour from my already tight work time.

          There are four of us who are regular from Pukekohe to Auckland on the 475-477X bus – for all of whom the train, if it still will run at all, will be a real problem.


          1. Yes, there are four regulars *from Pukekohe* – once we get to Papakura we fill up. By the time we go onto the motorway at Manukau City there are usually about 40 people on the bus. There are two separate issues:

            – 475 continuing on as 477X (affects only Pukekohe passengers – in addition to the four long-trip regulars, there are half a dozen or so others – some get off at like Wesley College – this is the 6:05AM bus – others go to Papakura or part way to Manukau City).

            – 477X itself from Papakura – as above, the early (6:30AM) bus has about 40 passengers. Can’t say for the later buses – quite a lot more, I think. I think jjay takes the later bus (7:10AM from Papakura?? – 6:45AM from Pukekohe) and can say.


          2. I fail to see he issue with cancelling express services from Pukekohe. Does the train not serve the exact same route?

          3. You may see my earlier extensive comments. The train does – at the expense of a more arduous and lengthy journey. In my case two or three changes of vehicle (vs none) and about an next extra 45 minutes to hour in my now-12-hour day, considerably more inconvenience for my wife, and less time at work.


          4. But JTJ are you nowhere near the 475/477 that takes you to Papakura, then the faster direct train to the city [or next year Parnell] for the Uni? I agree that transferring is a bit of a hassle but for a smoother and faster overall ride it would not seem like not a bad option at all, especially once the new trains are running?

  4. HI Patrick – already done that …………..but thanks …………
    summary is this- but like I said its already been said so you’ve heard it before:
    loosing 477X
    was a direct and full but not standing room only
    bus service which made it close to where I needed to be
    and was totally accepting of us………….
    New system will force me to catch train -since I found out the changes I have done a couple
    of non peak test runs – timed that the walk up and down both ends adds 30-40 odd mins each way
    to my commute (while I love walking – but not in rain or with the toddler at the end of the day
    esp when I have to be home for a pickup by 6 and cannot leave work before a certain time etc
    and not when heavily pregnant with toddler in tow either!, also factor in you are slower and the elevator
    at britomart is slow and its easy to miss a train as well)

    Have kid plus pram to commute with
    trains standing room only now and not kid friendly in rush crush hour
    Though new trains are 6 an hour we already have 5 an hour in rush hour
    (we loose Eastern line trains in new setup) – so although the new trains
    increase capacity I suspect its still going to be a jam packed morning peak
    hour train – that’s not really ideal with a toddler or new baby in tow.
    Though the last off peak train I caught I was surprised by how nice the guy was
    I have had some really unpleasant experiences when travelled with the kids
    on full trains. ………perhaps that’s changing but I am very very nervous
    its just not going to work for us and not be extremely stressful
    I would like to know what passenger capacity the new network will have
    (eg 5 old trains at X people capacity v 6 new trains at X people capacity ? )
    and will there be dedicated space for prams, dogs, etc ? That dedicated
    space currently is only ok off peak – otherwise its full of people who are not
    that happy to see you plus your load.

    Also – with loss of Eastern line trains direct from Manukau South
    I am concerned if I do off-peak to Eastern line what sort of waits I will have at Puhinui
    and can AT put a full-time security person in a station building or prefab on there or buy some of the surrounding
    houses and open up that area and make it a hub ? I need to get hold
    of the full AT new network info to see if they do that. My concern is that for us
    with prams and guide dogs etc getting off and on multiple trains and busses is actually
    stressful and tricky and I also have security concerns re Puhinui as its not a major station
    but given no Southern train Manukau connection its going to be a common transfer spot ?
    Also that might mean people just think “bugger it” and start parking there to catch their trains
    – I see no parking there now – will that happen in the new changes ?

    Anyway I have heaps of questions !
    Personally its going to be heaps tricker in the new system
    and that makes me sad. But a lot of my questions are also general ?
    Trouble is will it help to actually try and juggle stuff to go and talk to someone
    or is it all a formality at this stage ? Our attempts to save some of our expresses
    a few years ago was just that a lot of effort for nothing – I am kinda over that.
    Or perhaps everyone but me will love it (though I know a few more who are unhappy with changes
    – we may just be a few). Anyway what I am hoping is that our suggestions and inputs will
    actually allow practical improvements incorporating suggestions from day to day users
    to be made……but I am not sure if I should priorities that over the kids dinner and bedtime !

    Also the distance to bus stop etc question concerns me for those who are older or with special requirements
    (a bus stop moving across a road may not be a big deal to someone but if you struggle with
    walking far or can’t see well or struggle with negotiating kerbs etc its a big deal) -I hope those
    people will be able to have their needs considered in the redesign process

    1. Jjay, you should definitely submit some feedback, online if not in person.

      The main thrust of the network is about an all day network that works regardless of the time of day. Part of that network design acknowledges that demands are peaky, and that peak time demands over the all-day demands are best met with peak-only services.

      In other words, if there is a full bus load of people catching the 477X then it still makes a lot of sense to run that 477X pattern. Why make a whole bus load of people going to the same place transfer? You should bring this up and they may very well keep running it.

      As for what passenger capacity the new network will have, in rough terms our old trains have capacity for about 130 people depending on the exact model. When run as coupled pairs that gives you one long train with room for about 260 people. The new trains have a capacity for 373 people, or 746 when paired up.

      So in other words the new trains will be a lot longer, more spacious inside and will have up to three times the capacity of what we run now.

      1. Regarding feedback, both jjay and I have been hammering them for a year about this πŸ™‚ So far, one fears, without effect.

        I have been riding that bus since the beginning of 1985 – well ‘that bus’ meant NZ Rail back then, then Cityline, Stagecoach, etc.


      2. Not quite on the capacity there Nick, you are comparing seated capacity of current trains with total capacity (including standing) of the new trains. Even so, there is still a heap of extra capacity being added from longer trains and with more of them even more again.

          1. No standees – but bums on seats capacity ……..some are standing.
            And most of the people get off or on at two stops – Symonds Street
            outside Langham (that nearly empties the bus) and those people are K-rd
            and upper queen street or Auckland girls grammar (or connecting buses to
            West Auckland). The next lot are off at the stop by AUT which is the AUT/Uni crowd.
            Well that’s my bus which is a later one. The one before me is fuller.
            Although when Uni is on break and school is out then the numbers do reduce.
            And the whole standees issue is one of the reasons I can catch that bus. Most of my friends
            whose kids go to the same daycare often choose to walk if there close enough rather than
            try and get onto the standing room only busses.
            Again it perhaps brings up a big question – are people like me who take up more room than
            most really welcome on peak hour services if the aim of them is to carry as many people as
            possible as economically as possible ? Do we expect our differential needs to be catered for or
            is that a bit selfish – its a big question and I assume the fact few people I see on the bus
            don’t need extra space etc then perhaps it is answered already. But I actually think
            it is an important question to debate ? There is no point me trying to advocate for
            changes that mean I can easily use peak hour transport (and others like me can too –
            as I would like to encourage it as my kids all know what its like to use public transport
            extensively and the oldest is only 7 !) when the system and other users are thinking ohh bugger
            not her – I wish she’d just drive damn it ! I guess if a carseat counts for a T2 lane then I am sweet
            (if there were more T2 lanes on the Southern that is).

          2. Thanks for clarifying the standing versus sitting capacity NickR.
            That is a big issue for me – I think its tricky to stand and emergency breastfeed
            or attend to a grumpy child not to mention crowds of people standing over
            kids is often frightening to them. I know the current trains are
            are standing room only at Papkura and my sister in law tried them with
            children in tow – despite two 5month olds she very rarely found anyone
            that gave up their seat for her and when she attempted a breastfeed while standing in a corner
            on a full train once – she got insulted by the train person and told
            she was putting her kids at risk by taking them on the train.
            So my hope is that if I have to catch the train in the future its not so full that I end up with the
            same sort of treatment -I would not want to subject my kids to that.
            The express bus has been amazing and a life saver (even if several of them have
            no wide seats and theres no airconditioning) I have been so grateful for both
            the driver and the people on that bus throughout the years for their tolerance for us as well as the ability
            to get off in the pouring rain and only have a 3-5 min walk to the daycare and a 2 min walk to the bus at night !

            Also as far as I understand peak trains goes from 5 to 6 – so that’s not a lot more physical trains
            (and that’s due to Eastern not going as south as it useful) – I think it means off peak is a lot
            better – 4 to 6 but peak 5 to 6 not a lot more in terms of trains. So 130 sitting (= how many standing ?)
            and 373 standing (= how many sitting) ? Also what is the expected increase in load on the train network
            from the changes to the “feeder” bus routes and changes from the loss of express busses
            (my guess would be if you take the 477X away there’s another hundred or so may be two hundred
            using peak hour trains – and I assume that will not be the only route that’s going “byebye” or
            feeding more people into the train). My maths would suggest if things go well the new 6 trains an hour
            could reach capacity quite quickly and we will be in a standing room only or drive past people situation
            again ? What is the common coupling on those Papakura peak trains now ? 130 or 260 ? IS
            there going to be great ability to couple the new trains (e.g. are we more likely to get them coupled ?).
            What would be the justification for coupling – will it be when standing room capacity is reached ?

            Also I wonder if AT would consider keeping at least one eastern train an hour that runs from Papakura ?
            DO you guys know (any of you) what the passenger numbers are from South of Manukau to
            Eastern line destinations ? I would have thought you were getting Sylvia Park workers and teens
            out for a night. I know you get Mums and prams and older people heading there off peak as I do that sometimes
            if I am not working.

          3. Crowding on the train is an issue I hadn’t wanted to raise, but it is a serious problem. For some, long crowded journeys are not a problem. There are a lot of us for whom they are. jjay has a baby; I am 70. Public Transport is not simply for the young, single, and able.


          4. Again failing to see the issue here? You all catch the train to Newmarket and then transfer to a Symonds Street bus. It is quicker for you, there is very little waiting time and it is FAR cheaper to run, allowing higher frequencies on thosee routes to make PT more accessible to others.

  5. Going to be a disaster for us in the south if it goes through as stated. The 471-477x connexion is essential for us in Pukekohe. Used to have to transfer and about three days out of five in the evening (more like one in ten in the morning) you were stuck. Not even sure from the proposed changes if the train will work.


    1. John from memory you work at the Uni don’t you. Why not catch a train from Puke to Britomart then catch one of the very frequent buses up Symonds St. It would be a free transfer with integrated ticketing and there are heaps of buses along that route.

      1. Yes, I do. Something like that is what I would have to do – but as I said, because of the timing, and the distance to the train stations, it will add about an hour to my day – and I will have to leave work 20-30 minutes earlier. And jjay (whom I know off-blog :-)) said something about the trains not going past Manukau!! Not sure what that is. Will there still even be trains to Pukekohe?


        1. Trains will continue past Manukau. What jjay is referring to is that trains from Manukau will only use the eastern line while trains from Papakura (and eventually Puke once it is electrified) will only go through Newmarket. Well that is the thinking anyway.

        2. No John – eastern line trains – they just start terminate in Manukau – the Southern line (via Newmarket) will still run
          from what I understand – regular to Papakura and then I imagine they do a diesel from there to Pukekohe ?
          Or some diesels from town to Puke ?
          I am pretty sure its just the Eastern line that alters ?

          1. They are looking at electrifiying all the way to Pukekohe… if they can get the funding. That means a single new fast electric train from Pukekohe to Britomart, and probably much better frequencies than there are today.

            Also are you guys aware of the new Parnell train station that is being built, and the new cycle/footpath between the university and Parnell? Could be very simple to hop off at Parnell and walk about 600m over to the campus.

          2. Frequency is not an issue. It’s (principally) getting to and from the stations – secondarily, as I said somewhere, the rumour that evening trains are very often quite late. Maybe the rumour is false?


          3. Someone has mentioned Parnell station to me before –
            wont be cycling with pram in tow
            but I would consider walking it if its safe etc
            Anyway from what I could figure getting to Britomart or Parnell
            with my load will be equivalent timewise (though one cannot
            do a time trail to a currently no-existent station)—–anyway you spin it – it is extra time
            in a daily commute from what I have now- and I would much rather the numbers stacked in
            the other direction………..
            Also if you use a stroller to take up less space on a bus train you loose
            rain cover ability on the stroller and you cant push the stroller with umbrella
            so probably a wetter trip too for winter at least.
            Its just these little details that build up – small day to day things …………..

          4. how can frequencies have anything to do with it? That could give me more flexibility. I will still have to leave home a lot earlier, leave work earlier, take longer to get to the train – and my wife won’t be happy, either πŸ™‚


          5. Well, if you start work at 8 and the current journey takes an hour, leaving hourly at half past the hour you have to leave at 630.

            If the new journey takes one hour ten and leaves every 15 minutes then you can leave at 645, ergo a longer travel time, but leaving later.

        3. The RPTP has train frequencies from Pukekohe to Papakura (DMU) at 15 minutes in the peak and half hourly off. This will be in conjunction with EMU’s running a faster more frequent service than what is there now. Sounds like a pretty good service to me.

          1. It’s the time to get to and from the stations that is the problem. And though for me I have a bit of a problem – heavy backpack and I am 70 years old – jjay, I know, has a pushchair and child.

            By the way, I am told that the evening trains’ punctuality is pretty poor.


          2. What single-track? The only single track on the Auckland network is on the West line, west of Swanson, and that won’t be in use for passenger services from 2016.

            The Southern and Eastern lines have been double-track for the best part of the past century, all the way to, and past, Pukekohe.

            What you said used to be very true – of the Western line – until it was completely double-tracked a few years ago when Grafton Station opened.

            By the way that’s another option – switch trains at Newmarket to get to Grafton, up the lift (for jjay’s pram) then any Central Connector bus from there across Grafton Bridge to the top of Symonds St – although for jjay, a contra-peak bus from Britomart may be better given the pram – not sure what bus loadings are like around there at that time of day.

            Parnell probably would remain the better option tho.

          3. All these methods are possible; none of them is as good as at present. At present I get on one bus in Pukekohe (10 minutes’ walk from home) and get off the same bus at the University (5 minutes walk from my office). As it is, I leave the house at 5:55AM and get home at 6:05PM. Taking the train I would leave the house at something like 5:40AM (not sure when the train leaves Pukekohe) and get home if I am lucky by 6:30PM – and have to make at least one train change. In addition my wife would have to get up considerably earlier than she does now to take me to the station – so she can have the car during the day – be sure to be there in the evening when the train arrives – and I would have to walk up from Britomart (or, if the Parnell station gets built, from there) in the morning, walk down in the evening – or take buses, which could take longer depending on schedules. I may have to leave work earlier to ensure catching the evening train.

            I think you can see that all the suggestions indicate only the fact that I could still get to work. It is not that there is no arguable reason for keeping the 475-477X connexion. Including at least the 6:05AM from Pukekohe and 6:45AM from Pukekohe buses, and the corresponding 4:35PM and 5:10PM (if that is the right time), there are probably well over a hundred people – more likely 200-300 – affected, and affected significantly.


          4. Yes there is Grafton too – I had forgotten about that but I am reliably told at the moment the view of diggers on the new Uni site is quite fascinating if you are under 5 and of the XY persuasion …….seems like a lot more work train to train to bus than the current direct express bus though…….I would struggle to see how it would be quicker either – but of course its an option. To be quite frank though I find connector buses not worth the time saving or the getting wet saving as they tend to be quite popular and under the new network probably more so (and in the wet more so as well) – its not worth squeezing onto those busses nor is it worth waiting for them (if you get none for ages then 2 in 1 min as well). At least with walking even if you are late for work you are up on exercise – to walk up to Med school by myself takes me 15 – 20 minutes at a decent pace – so probably a walk to the grafton station with pram in tow ~ 30 mins (plus the stop for the diggers!) ……..then wait for train at Grafton then to Newmarket station walking to the other stop (? mins)
            and wait to transfer there (I suppose with every 10 min freq assume up to 10 mins for that ?)
            hmmm probably the math for Britomart is slightly better than that……..

            On the Westfield loss – I know a certain train obsessed 2 year old who will be much upset – that is his penultimate station on all of the Eastern/Southern lines ………not sure that’s enough to make a business case for it though πŸ™‚

          5. I agree about connector buses. With waiting time, and depending on where the stop is, it is almost never any faster. Just walk. I don’t have a child to deal with as jjay has – but I have pretty bad back. Walking not terrifically easy.


          6. John I tell you what when it happens you can have the stroller put your feet up and I’ll let the two year old
            push you – the trip may not be faster but you’ll certainly have some stories to tell your wife
            when you do eventually get home……………….

          7. @John, how far are you walking from the station, and how long does it take to get to work at the moment?

          8. You haven’t answered either of my questions.

            @John, how far are you walking from the station, and how long does it take to get to work at the moment?

        4. Hi John, I am in a somewhat similar situation in that I live in Puke and work in Parnell (Carlaw Business Park to be exact). I find it only a 10-15 max minute walk to and from Britomart. With the Parnell station going in it will be even closer for me and for you at the Uni. You could also got off at Newmarket and transfer to one of the many buses going past the hospital and down Symonds St. Punctuality is rarely a problem in the evening (I catch anything from the 5:44 onwards) – most trains arrive on time or run over time by 5 minutes at the most which is still pretty reasonable.

          1. You are right about the walk. That is what I would have to do. In order to get the evening train, in particular, I would have to leave well early. I would say it is 20 minutes in the morning (again, I am older and don’t walk all that fast, carrying a backpack). Less walking time in the evening, but I would have to leave early in order to ensure not ending up home at 7. In addition, the Puke train station is not walkable from where I live. At present it is ten minutes walk to the bus stop for me in Puke. Now I would have to get my wife to come get me or something.

            The 477X goes right down Symonds Street.


          2. @John, why does it matter if the train is 5 minutes late? If they go every 15 minutes you just turn up without even looking at the timetable.

          3. True – so waiting another fifteen minutes is no problem? Particularly when you are scheduling your wife to meet you at the station at the other end (I don’t think I am going to walk).


          4. No John, you are being disingenuous.

            I actually catch a frequent service daily, you don’t look at the timetable at all because it doesn’t matter, you just turn up and wait for the service. The absolute maximum wait is 15.

            If your hourly service is 5 minutes late you wait 5 minutes longer if your 15minute service is 5 minutes late then 1 in every three trips you wait 0 minutes less.

  6. From looking at the map the most signficant gap appears to be a more direct link between Otahuhu and Onehunga. While I agree with the concept of a spoke and wheel design, this cannot be done in this geography as the middle of the wheel would be in the middle of the harbour. But it looks like those travelling from Onehunga to Otahuhu may face a longer bus ride if they have to change at Mangere or Sylvia Park.

    Given the capacity constraints on Britomart there cannot be more regular Onehunga train services until we get the CBD Rail Link, the rail network can’t provide a less than 15 minute service with a change at Penrose. Given all Otahuhu services now go past the railway station (great move), I think there would be a stronger argument that the red line service from Otahuhu to Sylvia Park represents a more significant duplication of the rail line than a service from Onehunga/Otahuhu.

    I realise there will also be buses in the secondary network that may do this job, but given both Otahuhu and Onehunga will be major transport nodes its still worth asking why there cannot be a more direct link between the two? Such a service could also service the area around Westfield station after the station shuts – IMHO this would be better than the suggested 319 which seems to duplicate the rail line to Ellerslie.


    1. Onehunga has a frequent bus to Penrose, where you can connect to either the train or a bus to Otahuhu. You could also continue further to Sylvia Park and get another frequent bus from there. You could also go the southern way via Mangere Town Centre depending on where in Otahuhu you were headed. Lots of options.

      1. I be clear I support what AT are trying to do here. The promise of the new network is that journey times, including waiting time, may be less than now due to increased frequency, even when a change of bus is required. But in terms of public acceptance of the new network I can see difficulties in situations like this where there a reasonably good service exists already, yet in the case of Otahuhu/Onehunga, this will be replaced by buses that appear to go ‘the long way’ and require a change – it looks like overall journey times will be longer.

        Good to confirm there will be a frequent bus Onehunga/Penrose. But are you confirming there will be no direct buses Otahuhu/Onehunga on the secondary network?

        I understand the introduction of the trams cut patronage on the Onehunga line in the old days. It will be interesting to watch if a more regular Onehunga Penrose bus and integrated ticketing has an impact on Onehunga rail patronage, and we may get an indication this month when Urban Express is integrated with ATHOP. I think this would be a real shame, particularly if we have to wait until the CBD rail loop to realise the potential of the Onehunga line through decent frequency.

        1. Why should there be direct buses every where? Otahuhu to Onehunga is clearly a logical 2 part trip with the north-south trip to penrose and the east west to Onehunga. What issue will a transfer be, if both of those are every 15 minutes or less?

  7. JJ
    I am not sure about current train capacity but do know that the new ones are bigger and are as follows:

    3-car sets [minimum] 375 people
    6-car sets 750 people, or 1000 max

    Furthermore prams etc will be much easier to use especially on the lower middle cars.

    So with the added frequency and capacity they will be much , much more useful.

    I know the quality of all stations are under review and upgrades are virtually continuous, not sure about the timing on this for Puhinui. We will make enquires for you about any plans and dates for Puhinui Station.

    In general there is this from AT about stations:

    Upgrading rail stations

    Auckland Transport is working towards upgrading the region’s rail stations to accommodate longer trains and greater passenger numbers, improve security and information, and to meet disability access standards.

    The new rail stations all have modern shelters and seating, CCTV security monitoring, emergency help points, improved lighting, improved access for the mobility impaired, safety markings including yellow tactile strips strategically placed on platform for the visually impaired, public address system, information display boards showing timetable information and way finding signage/maps.

    Further information is available on this site on Auckland’s new passenger trains (Electronic Multiple Units), the electrification of the rail network in Auckland to co-incide with the new passenger units trains, and details of the station upgrade programme.

    Unfortunately the AT website doesn’t seem to be very up to date and mostly lists stations that are in the process of being upgraded or already have been. The new Mt Albert Station is about to open for example.

    1. Thanks Patrick missed this comment – am super curious to know whats to happen to that station – not that I use it as I don’t but I reckon its to become a major player πŸ™‚

  8. Watching the southern line express buses (ie 47#X) go through university most of them are less than half the seated capacity, even between 5 and 6pm. This tells the train has proven to be much more attractive for most people. With good bus feeders, and good legibility no reason why the train won’t be good for anyone.
    Train much much faster along this route, so even though so may have to change they will not get a slower journey.

    What I’m really interested to know is when the trains through here will be running at 10, or at least 15 minute frequencies all day. If that is not included in consultation material will cause alot of trouble, as people will think they will need to connect with todays infrequent unreliable trains, not next years frequent, fast, and reliable trains.

    1. Quite true that when we leave the University – which is the second stop after the first (I get the 4:35PM 477X in front of the Music School), we have only a dozen or fewer passengers. We go onto the motorway at Grafton Bridge entrance and by then are about 40 people. There are two more stops after us.

      And I wonder if the idea is that we (for whom the train is a bad choice) should just be told to lump it?


      1. Why not catch the bus to the station, ride the train to Newmarket then catch the bus to Symonds Street. Would be quicker than your current commute.

        1. I don’t see how it could be quicker. Waiting for the bus, waiting for the train – etc. At present it is simple.

          Not much point in continuing this. For me and for at least some couple of hundred others – and we have tried the train – the train is a (minor) disaster. I won’t lose my job; I will be significantly messed up (and so will they; that’s why the take the bus).


          1. Here is how it can be quicker. The train is already faster than the bus.

            The new network has less waiting time for bus and train, and the new trains will be even faster.

        2. PS – I will say that when I have tried the train in the past the timing has been about what I said – leave home 20 minutes earlier (and, as I said, I then must impose on my wife to drive me – who normally does not have to get up early and is herself 66 years old), get home half an hour later. I suggest you try commuting from my part of Pukekohe my hours for a while before declaring that you know it would be quicker. It is must longer. In addition, I had to leave work about 15 minutes earlier than with the bus – in order to get home later.


          1. Sorry, I forgot that you are analysing the integration of the train with local servies as if the local services aren’t being changed. Again. If you could give us the start time of work. Your walking time to the station and a rough address I guarantee we can find you a route better than this one you have dreamt up to dismiss the new network.

          2. I had vowed not to waste more time commenting, but … πŸ™‚

            Working hours at University 7:30-4:30. Distance in Pukekohe from the station about 2Km (walking time more than some because, though not feeble, I am 70 and have a moderately bad back). Distance in Auckland to Britomart (according to Google maps) 1.6Km.


          3. PS – I suppose I should add the equivalent details for my present route:

            same work times, 10 minutes walk to the bus stop in Pukekohe, 5 minutes at the University. My bus leaves Pukekohe at 6:07AM, give or take a minute, gets to the University about 7:12 or :13. Leaves the University at 4:40PM, gets to Pukekohe at 6:00PM.


          4. Ok, I assume that you start work at 730, and you said earlier a 5 minute walk to the bus stop. So that is a total commute time of 89 minutes in the morning.

            You will still have a 5 minute walk to the bus stop, and a 25 minute trip to Papakura, train is 48 minutes to Newmarket plus an average of 5 minutes wait., we will take off 3 minutes due to the EMUs, so that is 45, and a 5 minute bus trip and 4 minute average wait for the bus to get to uni.

            Assuming that all of those routes are 15 minute frequencies or less (those ones will be) the departure time for a 730 start is 5.54 or 8 minutes earlier than your current departure time. Possibly even later if theservices line up better.

            Assuming that you have non fixed start times you are slightly worse off, but that would make you completely unrepresentative of the majority of commuters.

          5. Not sure how you get 89 minutes. I leave the house at 5:55, am at work at 7:15 (including walking). That is 80 minutes. 9 minutes less than what you said. That is 80 minutes including walking at both ends. Dunno about others.

            The evening is worse because the evening motorway is worse, and sometimes we have to layover in Papakura if we get there early. I leave the office at 4:30, am home at 6:05, so 95 minutes in the evening.


          6. The evening will be exactly the same but in reverse, so for a 430 finish you will be home around 6.05

          7. No it isn’t. Because you star work at 730, it is 89 minutes if you leave at 601. I explained this whole thing earlier.

            If you don’t start at set times then you are so unique within the transport market that it is hardly surprising that you aren’t the primary consideration.

          8. I must be too then ……might be common in certain jobs only perhaps …I certainly have flexible starts and ends but the earlier the better so I can get right onto starting the day……..also more than enough work to keep me busy on the day I don’t get paid for working as well as nights and weekends if I can squeeze it in. As well as the odd work the day come in in the middle of the night for a few hours on odd occasions ………or the odd 24 hours in a row …….those occasions of course call for a car – and generally someone else to drive it too (or a space under the desk to sleep after πŸ™‚ ) .
            I cannot imagine my line of work is the only one where that is common ? Nor Johns either ??

            However having said that I am more of a set time worker now having little ones with set daycare hours etc and their routines etc….it means certainly the same routes at the same times most of the time bus-wise.

            However unusual these cases might be though I don’t think its totally uncommon….a lot of firms are open to flexible start and end times if the job isn’t public facing and the person does their hours – it can probably be considered a good thing on the gridlock and system loading front allowing that flexibility …..perhaps rush hour gets spread but lightened – and it could be good for the load on the public transport system too the whole flexi-time. Of course many professions cannot do that but those that can might consider it an selling point.

          9. Yeah, that would be pretty uncommon. Less so with modern times and all. But then your door to door if you time the buses is going to be about 10-15 minutes longer, and probably less as the buses actually seem to do puke to Papakura quicker than scheduled.

            You are a unique case in that you are using an express that leaves very close to your house at the exact time that you want to leave and drops you off at the doorstep of your work.
            I’d say the 95% of Aucklanders couldn’t say that.

      2. Hi John,

        From what I can tell the train to Pukekohe will be slightly faster than your bus (post electrification). So you will be trading off slightly longer access time (to station) versus slightly less in-vehicle time (on train). To me you are not being asked to “lump it”, rather you have quite reasonable alternative – catch a faster (and soon to be more reliable) train instead of a dedicated peak bus, which as you freely admit is not exactly well-used – hence resources better used elsewhere.


        1. I think you are right that the train trip itself will be (slightly) faster – once electrification is done, if it ever is. My point is that it cannot remotely make up for the rest of it (including my wife’s involvement). And of course they cannot and will not keep the current service for me alone. My point is that I think there are a good couple of hundred stories that would tell the same story.

          And of course stuff like “well, if your train is gone the next one will be only fifteen minutes” (and the un-said but necessary “well, that’s your wife’s problem”) are ways of saying “lump it.” At present I don’t have to. If one has a life outside of work – and some of us do – it’s at least an annoyance. As I said above, for the very poor, it’s a lot more than just “lumping it.”


          1. So this network that will make PT easier for 10,000s of Aucklanders should not be implemented because 200 people may have to make transfers?

            You are being very selfish.

            Also, why could you not cycle to the station, or transfer to a local Pukekohe bus after your train trip?

        2. PS – and I don’t agree that the bus is not well-used. To say that from Pukekohe to Auckland there are only about four regulars is not the point. They are proposing to can the whole Pukekohe motorway bus. That’s a couple of hundred people, not four.


          1. Also, a standard bus has 40 seats. That means that if all seats are fule Papakura to Newmarket then the average ocupancy of the bus is only 20, as it has to do the reverse trip too.
            That same bus could move 120 people to Papakura Station in the same time, and do the return trip to Pukekohe town centre for free.

          2. Just one thing occurred to me on my morning bus today. Right now our numbers are down because University exams are on, to be followed by three weeks’ break. Current morning numbers 25-30 on the motorway. From 22 July they will be more like 35-40 – may have one or two people standing.

            I have noted “Sailor Boy” commenting that my own situation is exceptional. It may be – but I would say that applies to everyone. Those on our bus who have heard about this business are very worried.

            Some have also said that we are just resistant to change. I am not at all resistant to change. I am resistant to change for the worse. Change that leaves things as good as at present, or improves them, is great.

            I really don’t think there is much hope of their listening to us – which makes the bus stop ads saying “have your say” a little disingenuous. Certainly we can have our say. Our driver tells me that they have been told that these things are happening – not that this is the proposal. That, I suppose, is normal language, but I really have little hope that anyone will pay any attention to us.


          3. Yes it would Roger. I go to the university and the Southboud 47 somethings are empty every morning.

            The reason that those on your bus are concerned is because they are probably the very narrow segment of the market that are currently served reasonably well by the system. The enormous majority of Aucklanders will see a better service. And you will see a better all day service, at a cost of 8 minutes or so on your regular commute.

          4. Except that “probably” is not exactly convincing or well grounded in evidence.

            In fact, the service I’ve been referring to has been getting steadily cut over the last 5 years, so the service has been getting worse, not better.

            And It’s not “my” bus as such. I had to give up public transport for the most part when I moved from Mt Wellington to Manurewa though slightly less so when my employer moved from Manukau to Ellerslie/Penrose. I did actually use the Great South Road buses prior to that.

            When I use PT, it’s the train. I try it for a week every so often when I am reasonably sure I won’t get client call outs. So far I’ve yet to make a week without a breakdown or I’d use it more often, even though it costs me more than the cost of using a car by a substantial margin (around 50% more not counting wear and tear)

          5. Yeah I just did the math for me without the unknown new timetable. But I sat down to do the serious math last night …
            4.30 work leave is minimum to get the 8 hrs in despite
            the fact I could do flexi-time work wise thats to fit in with daycare hours too. 30 mins to Britomart with shorty the stroller and
            the backpack of infinite capacity and friends and down elevator of slow doom
            (or ~ same grafton or parnell from what I can tell). The somewhere up to a 10 min wait for the train given I have no idea timetables.
            41 min trip and then I have a 20 min walk for a pickup that has to be before 6 at the latest.
            I did want to try it out for a few months before I said no especially to see how full the trains actually will be then (selfishly of course a drop in patronage
            would really work in my favor in that regard actually!) and how we get treated on them by staff and other commuters given we will take up more space.
            However that 6 pm deadline is set in stone so the math isn’t in my favor at the moment.

            But then again you are saying 2016 ? I thought late 2014 for the rollout of the new South system ? The someone said today 2015 ? 2016 certainly
            is a lot more breathing room to work out logistics but I thought we would be done and dusted and implemented by then and
            watching from the side-lines as our mates go through it in other parts of Auckland.

            And the huge irony is all the criticisms on this post about me being afraid of change of using a different public transport system
            is the biggest scariest change for me is not changing to the train but the thought I may actually have to DRIVE.
            And on a road with other Auckland drivers too!
            I have totally rolled with the changes and moves and requirements for most of my adult life to use public transport
            rather than drive – for both idealogical and personal reasons.
            As much as I try very hard to like it …..I really hate driving, I tend to follow road rules and not push in, I did not even get a license til past my mid 20s
            and not a full one till my mid 30s so last year in fact, hence me and driving in rush hour traffic are not natural combination! So hmm yes it may be I face
            a large change in the future but it won’t be the shock of the changing face of Auckland public transport system for me that does it
            but rather the development of a few more b**ls and hardiness to becoming a seasoned rush hour driver if it comes to that which I still hopes it doesn’t.

          6. As I said before Sailor Boy – the 477X that I catch at least drop their “mother load” at the langham.
            Those people are the ones that then go onto work , study or bus transfers in Upper Queen Street,
            K-rd, Auckland Girls Grammar etc etc. The other group are AUT/Uni but by the time you see the buses
            perhaps its possible they are not containing all the passengers they actually carry. Same could be said
            in the reverse direction too given I don’t know if you are watching them early in the morning or in the afternoon
            nor from which university bus stop.

          7. And if the 477X bus is going back empty, why don’t they schedule the return as a regular 47N run, given that I would doubt that it would return in time to do a second express run anyway?

          8. So John, how is it you know the 2016 train and bus timetables given they haven’t been set yet?

          9. Correct. I am working on the current timetables. However, because of the trip to and from the train station and my work time, I doubt it will make much difference. I hope I will prove to be wrong.


          10. Given we don’t have a timetable set for the new network it would be difficult to do that.
            By the time those timetables come out its probably too late to do all the logistics work
            and prep work if alternative forms need to be uptaken (e.g. buy a car, work out parking etc
            if necessary or try and arrange carpooling, or change jobs or whatever). So I suppose
            John is using reasonably sound scientific principles of trying to develop scenarios and models
            with the known information and knowledge and use that as a starting basis to work out what will be best for him under the new
            system. Though of course we cannot expect 2016 timetables to be out yet he would probably
            have to have something to go by.

          11. Right! Hey, I like it! It’s stupid to make predictions based on the existing system – just trust us that the new one – which, once in place, you won’t be able to do anything about – will be fine! Just trust us…

            jj “Stupid” is my middle name

          12. JJay, why walk 30 minutes backwards to Britomart when you can get a bus the right way to Newmarket in 9 minutes, which also shaves 8 or 9 minutes of the rail trip?

          13. No jjay, both you and John are only looking at one side of the ledger; only looking for what’s going and not trying to see what is coming as well. This is not ‘scientific’ but one sided. The New Network is not service reduction but service change; perhaps it is too hard to imagine the new possibilities? But it is something we are all going to have to try to do if our input is to be of any value, and for it to be taken seriously.

          14. sigh …Nick R – before this does degenerate into personal insults lets just say we are probably not on opposite sides of
            this. Perhaps different ages, stages, walks of life, differing needs and outlooks but not different sides. I really want
            a good public transport system for Auckland and so do you and most of the people who write these blogs.
            However I guess I don’t enjoy being the egg in the omelet nor the collateral damage but I guess someone has to and
            perhaps at the moment it will be us. You are right it is a change – not necessarily an improvement for all but the foundations
            for a new beginning. So I will respect that for you and many others its exciting – and thats great I was quite excited when I heard
            about it all too. So please respect the fact that there will be some for whom this will be tricky not because we are deficient in anyway or lacking imagination
            or ability etc but because we just want it to work to fit into the logistics of our busy life.
            I think that the awesomeness of life is we all do have different outlooks and opinions – I learnt heaps from seeing these interactions
            and info presented here but I think I would also like respect.

  9. Looks good. Two comments about some details come to mind:

    1) I can foresee the trip up the hill to the Universities from Parnell station being a popular one, especially on rainy days. It looks like there is a route there that may serve this function in the PDF file, but the details aren’t included.

    2) Otahuhu station really could do with that bus exchange, but whoever designs it will need to bear in mind that it’s not a nice part of town to hang out in right now, especially at night. Good lighting, security cameras and a security guard in the evenings will be needed to make it feel like more of a safe place.

    1. hopefully with the zonal fare system in a few years people will be able to jump on a Symonds St bus at Britomart, Newmarket or Grafton effectively for free, which will be popular if it is raining. Will be interesting to see how they do the pedestrian connections for Parnell, to make sure it is legible for those going to University. If not patronage will be useless.

    2. Ped routes to Uni from Parnell are part of programme i believe.

      Good points about Otahuhu, but you can be confident that the standards elsewhere on the network will also be installed there. Including security and lighting, same with the new Man City bus station. basically these places haven’t had any really work for half a century so when it comes it makes a huge change by bringing them up to date.

      In Otahuhu’s case it’s clear from the visual above that the bus interchange station will mean that the whole thing is no longer hidden behind grim stacks of containers etc. This is going to cause problems for those of us in the photography and film industry who have been used to using Otahuhu Station as a perfect location for ‘urban decay’ scenes! Bring it on.

      1. Westfield can be the ‘new’ decayed train station. Won’t getting those containers out of there be a good thing? Otahuhu, with some council intervention, could have huge potential but has a lot of severance due to Salesyard Rd and the industrial area. Some road diets wouldn’t go amiss around there.

  10. I’m certainly not supporting the removal of a continuous bus service between papakura and britomart. I don’t think many people will, considering how many people use it. There’s a difference between giving people the option of transferring to a train and forcing people to do so. It’s not a very good move when you start forcing people to do that sort of thing. It’ll be the same for the new north road bus services when that comes into consultation.

    1. I agree. There is another (lesser) issue, as well. A small but significant number of persons use the 475 from Pukekohe, getting off variously in Paerata, Wesley College, or Drury. I think that they intend (they mooted this in 2011) making the 475 to be only a loop bus *within* Pukekohe. The people I mention are stuck – and they are the poorest of the poor. They have no alternative. For some it will be the end of having a job.

      I think this is an important part of this. One my fellow regular Pukekohe-all-the-way-to-Auckland 6:05AM bus riders is a cleaner at an Auckland hotel. No automobile; a long way away from the train station. I think if we design a PT system that caters only to the middle-class we have done a bad job. the Public in the name should mean just that. These are not rare cases, I think – and not things to be brushed off with versions of “just deal with it.”


      1. That’s a very good point you make John and I shamefully admit I had
        lost sight of that in thinking about this and how it affected me. I at least can get a second car,
        make cut-backs elsewhere to pay for it and get over my driving phobia
        and then have an alternative. For many (and a large number in my area)
        public transport is the only option – I hope really strongly those
        people make their voices heard in this. It would be utterly upsetting if
        that was not the case. Actually it is one thing that concerns me regarding those Eastern line changes.
        I know I am encouraging my Mum
        (who cannot drive due to her sight and has limited taxi funds) to make a submission regarding those
        things she feels will affect her (though I suspect she is hoping I will just
        put that in to my submission on her behalf!).
        But then again some of these changes may also be for the better for them – I am so keen to see the
        full details of the whole set of changes.

        1. You said:

          “I hope really strongly those people make their voices heard in this.”

          Of course for many, perhaps most, of these people they will not be heard. I think of the Thai lady – almost without English – who gets on in Pukekohe and works at Wesley College. Or the Indonesian lady who travels all the way from Pukekohe to Auckland. Better English but no car, perhaps no Internet access. I try to keep her up to the play but she will certainly not be able to go to meetings. I myself may not be able to, depending on when and where they are held.

          I had hoped that this AT Blog would be able to try to put in a voice for *all* PT users, not just the ones for whom the train is the obvious best option – not to mention those for whom there is no option whatever but the existing bus system.

          In thirty years of living in Pukekohe, this is the first I time I have ever seen a real threat to the possibility of the bus for us. I personally think it appalling. They forced us into the Super-City – and then tell us our services will be cut.


          1. John, your talking like buses are being removed from Pukekohe, when in fact Pukekohe is scheduled to get much more bus service and higher frequencies for longer periods seven days a week.

          2. I know right John, she must be stoked about the increased frequencies along that route.

          3. I really don’t see what normal people would care about frequency. We have to be at work on time. Knowing there is another ‘bus in 15 minutes is just a way of saying I will be 15 minutes later.

            The Indonesian lady works at a hotel in Auckland. The frequency on that route will be reduced to zero.


          4. Well John ‘normal people’ in practice will care enormously about frequency because it is the service that enables connections to function usefully in practice, makes total journey time shorter, and provides the capacity to make trips possible and comfortable despite growing demand.

            Without high frequency we are all dependant on perfect accuracy of service provision. We all know what is likely to work better in the real world of Transit operations; perfect to the second punctuality, or the ‘nevermind there’s another one along in a minute’ model. I’ll take the later thank you, especially in Auckland.

            Here it is again as it seems you’re more than a little stubborn about this, the high frequency model gives us:

            1. choice and options to be ourselves a few minutes late or early, and the same for the service provider
            2. less waiting [10 minute freq gives an average 5min wait]; shorter overall journey
            3. greater network capacity, so a more comfortable journey and the ability for the network to reach growing demand [I know you are only focussed on your needs but AT has to design a system for many more people with many different needs than you]

            You may be as regular as Emmanuel Kant in your routines but most people are not, flexibility of offer is a good thing for a Transit provider, especially in an age of a greater variety of employment, study, and entertainment patterns.

          5. But at the moment there is no question of making connexions from Pukekohe. I – and the largish number of persons on my bus who are concerned – get on the bus at the stop they get on at – and get off the same bus at the stop they get off. There are no connexions to make.

            As for regularity, I don’t know about others, but the people I am talking to – like myself – have pretty fixed start-work and stop-work times. So regularity is not something about our personalities; it is the way our employers require it.


          6. I’m normal (relatively speaking), and while I do have to be at work on time, on time means getting to meetings and worshops, sometimes at my office, sometimes at others, sometimes across town. Sometimes I have three meetings a day in three different places that I need to travel between. Other days I start early so I can leave early to catch a movie, sometimes I sleep in but work late.

            Not everyone always commutes at exactly the same time, in fact I would say these days a lot of office workers need to keep a flexible schedule.

          7. But John, again, this is consultation about about a whole New Network to be run in the future, 2015, where everything will be different, new routes and new frequencies… you cannot possibly understand it by looking at the current network.

          8. Perfectly correct. I only know the effect on me – which will require me to take the train. Thus there will have to be significant connexion times at both ends – which I have not got now.


          9. PS – I am not attempting to judge the whole system of changes. I am only commenting that it will be significantly negative for me and a bunch of others – and a disaster for a few.


          10. Right. We can’t tell how it’s going to be. But we’re supposed to take “Trust us, everything will be fine”. Generally speaking, hearing that will always make me nervous.

          11. Time to man up and take one for the team John. I’d love to have a personal chauffeur bus service to take me exactly where I need to go to work each day, but I realise that would be a huge waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere for the benefit of many more people than myself.

          12. You’re starting to get a bit personal there Nick.
            Should I start asking for qualifications and evidence of your experience in public transport planning prior to listening to you?
            Or just check that you can bench 120kg first?

          13. Hi John,

            Experience in New Zealand and overseas shows that frequency is an extremely important attribute of successful public transport networks. Locally, you only have to look at the success of the (commercial) Link and B-Line services to see how a committment to all-day frequency can generate considerable patronage. If you’d like an international perspective, there’s a lot of resources/discussion available here:

            Basically, frequency is what makes public transport a viable option for a wide variety of people and a wide variety of trips. It’s important to remember that many (not all) people do have considerable flexibility in their work hours. Many people also desire some flexibility in when they travel to/from work, e.g. they might want to stay in town and have a coffee before heading home. Many other people want to travel during the middle of the day. Frequency and all-day service is what makes all these types of trips possible by public transport.

            To use an example that’s close to your heart: Truncating the Pukekohe peak services at Papakura frees up resources to operate an all-day service between those two towns. That means any retired person who need to get from Paerata to Papakura for a medical appointment in the middle of the day can now do so. Or a tertiary student who has a 1pm lecture can now leave home circa 11am (and catch the train) rather than 8am, when the peak bus departs. Both the retiree and the student are key examples of the sorts of people who would benefit greatly from higher frequencies across the day.

            More generally, the flexibility in travel patterns that is enabled by higher, all-day frequencies is extremely important to many people, especially passengers who travel outside of peak hours. And there’s surprisingly large number of them. Don’t presume everyone who uses PT in Auckland follows the Swiss watch schedule that you do ;).


          14. Thanks, Stu – however, I am not in the business of designing a transport system, but rather in using one. It would be nice to think that it wouldn’t make things worse for those of us in the far(ther) south. Pity that it will. I guess I’ll just have to man up and bite the bullet – and accept that extra (so far as I can estimate now) 45 minutes per day.

            Since my day is already 12 hours long, I doubt i am going to be spending time having coffee after work. I’d rather get home to my wife, have dinner, and get to bed by 8:30 – or, rather, in the new system, 8PM – in order to get up to catch the transport.

            By the way, you mention tertiary students. Quite a few of those take our bus – and get off at the University. Now they will have the added pleasure of getting backup up from Britomart.

            If I were in charge of the design, I would take these global views. Since I am just trying to get to work and home in reasonable time, I’m afraid it’s just that terribly selfish point of view I am looking at.


          15. Well yes Roger that was perhaps a bit personal, but we’ve been through the design of the network, the trade offs and the specifics with John days ago. Yet he just keeps coming back to “me me me, but what about me? What about my bus, nothing else will ever possibly be as good, let alone better”. I would have expected something a touch more reasoned from a university staff member of his seniority.

      2. Those people are not abandoned – the RPTP clearly shows that bus services are retained to all those areas.

      3. John, I think you need to actually go and look at the map, look at the frequencies and plan out some of these trips that you are claiming to be victimised by the network.Most of them will be faster and easier with the new network.

    2. One thing that needs to also be considered in this discussion is what happens if we retain these particularly long bus routes. They can rack up some fairly hefty service km’s just to do one or two trips a day on a route that duplicates a rail line that will be doing the same thing. One of the reasons that the proposed network is able to offer increased frequencies over a wider area is by removing this kind of duplication. If we retain it then we will need to cut service somewhere else.

      Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because one service is busy that it is a good use of resources. Remember that for its driver either has to get from the depot to starting point before the run or get back there after the run which means that the route can be twice as long.

        1. What about to cost to those who currently don’t take a bus at all because the available services are infrequent, inefficient and unreliable? We have to trade off the benefits to all users and find which services most efficiently provide benefit. I don’t think a bus duplicating a train route is one of those efficient services. If we keep the long peak-hour bus to Pukekohe, we’re unable to support services that provide as much benefit at less cost (and denying these potential passengers the choice).

          1. Rhys – while I do feel for you and your lack of choice and frustration and your hope for a more regular service – and I think its entirely fair that you should expect to get a good service which makes PT a viable option for you I do also want to point out when I looked a my house choices ( renting, flatting, then buying 10 years ago and then buying recently) – I spent a huge amount of time looking at areas and how they were serviced by public transport. It was a enormous factor in our choice of area and our decision to stay South and near the Great South Rd. It was quite limiting but our high reliance on Public transport for me and for my Mum who can no longer drive made it a priority. To now see all these changes which undermine a lot of that is quite upsetting. We chose our area to live around public transport options as part of a fundamental part of our way of life to now be told that we are being selfish about wanting to keep that hurts.
            But again I do wish you luck I hope you can make a submission and encourage development of busses (or trains) in your area. I know there are many areas around
            here that are new developments that really needed buses ages ago had a long wait to get even a halfway useable service – in the future I hope new developments don’t have the same wait.

            Also I am not sure cost-wise what how much an express bus full of people costs AT and ratpayers I am informed a lot and I am informed its not worthy of it but no actual figures. And also the figures are affected by the fact the providers apply for subsidise for the services as well. I know when our express services were cut back by half a few years ago they did the changes and the counting of heads in late Nov and Dec after the Uni and AUT students were off – it certainly did not put the numbers in our favour (I think it was even after the senior high schoolers were off as those after school buses bit the dust). While I would hate to think a service now servicing say a couple of hundred in their daily lifes stopped a potential one servicing a thousand or so I would also like to see the details which show me it is my express service of ~ 8 busses in total a day (4 am and 4 pm) that is causing the great drain on the PT system.

            Also the thing is these services are not actually a duplication of the train – there is a great divergence at many many points – to a point which makes it a long walk or other for someone to switch to the train (which then means they will think PT is no longer viable for them). How long that limit is will depend on the person and their circumstances (eg. and older person or someone like me with a kid might think differently to someone who enjoys a walk, a female may think differently to a male if its winter and dark etc etc).

            Also (and I am not a Pukekohe person) that is a huge growth area – depending on how the Unitary plan plays out most services there will increase in demand as expansion occurs …….

            Anyway good luck – I hope you get your changes and as soon as possible

          2. Again talking about tradeoffs. So far I only see this happening in the south and west. Go figure. It’s always been that way. Also talking about removing bus services in the south due to lower patronage. Contrary to this is the North Shore get’s to keep all their convenient services no matter what the patronage or cost. The north shore residents have always had this luxury and they always will.

          3. Jamee – The North Shore goes into consultation for the same type of change next year. There are a similar number of frequent routes on the shore as there are down south

          4. Yes Matt L, but it isn’t them I’m really talking about. More like the half hourly services. Everyone will see when the full map of “All” services comes out.

          5. Furthermore the North Shore has buses doing the work that is done by trains in the South; the fast direct service. This is getting a huge improvement with state of the art new and more frequent services and stations. You feel your area gets nothing, while people on the Shore complain about not having a train service… being from neither area it doesn’t look to me like either is so hard done by frankly.

            It seems to me that you are over emphasising the disbenefit of transferring while under emphasising the benefits of radically increased frequency. Perhaps it is too hard to imagine such a big change? Perhaps by not focussing so much on what another area’s service is like it might be easier to picture.

          6. You mean like this, the amount of route coverage seems fairly similar, certainly not materially different enough to suggest any bias. Most of their services will tie into to northern busway stations, same as what happens with the rail line in the south.

          7. That map shows al of the quarter, half and full hourly routes, the only ones mising are the very few express buses that are still likely to operate.

        2. Jamee Bland go to the bottom of that web page and you can download the entire RPTP with the maps of all the services. The appendices contain the proposed individual service frequencies as well.
          By the way, we are losing our expresses and direct services here in the East Coast Bays as well so we certainly aren’t getting any special favours.

          1. Already got it. But if you go to “Appendix 1.A: Proposed Future Service Network”, you will see what routes are missing from the maps. Like, near me, the maps are missing the edmonton road services and massey east/colwill loop, titirangi (beyond the village) plus more.

          2. Why is that an issue?

            Some existing routes are being deleted in order to make the network more user friendly. Those are just a few of those routes.

          3. Sorry, my error. Those buses are hourly, which I mistakenly said were included on the map.

            I have seen a map with those but it does not appear to be in the report.

    3. train every 10 minutes that takes far less if you are doing any reasonable length journeys. Can’t see anyone taking it from CBD to Papakura, of they do they probably don’t know enough about rail services.
      Otahuhu to Manurewa will still get at least 15 minute services.
      Can’t imagine the existing service being especially helpful midway along its length, timetabling must be hopeless. Also times totally irregular.

      Of interest to John note this on the presentation “consultation on bus services to Pukekohe, Waiuku, Tuakau and Port Waikato to follow, except 475 will no longer become 477X at Papakura”. So therefore 475 will stay for time being, but will be able to get on much quicker rail service to town. The patronage growth on rail suggests that people overwhelming prefer rail for these journey lengths, especially when it will be 10 mins quicker from Papakura with electrification.

      1. Regarding the 475, yes, they intend to keep the 475. From what I have heard from AT people (and from their attempt in 2011) what I understand this to mean is that it will be inside Pukekohe only.

        I think your inability to image things is not a good measure of reality. Those of us who have been travelling from the south for a long time have had a lot of experience in examining alternatives.


        1. From what I know of the 2011 Pukekohe bus review is that they planned to cancel the 475 (to be replaced with the train) and change the 465 loop service to cover more areas.

          I think what they mean by 475 staying the same is that it will continue to run regularly the Pukekohe – Papakura route, and I imagine it will stay this way until intermediate rail stops are added along the way. The lack of access rail provides to communities along the bus route is the key reason the 475 wasn’t cancelled, so probably will stay the way it is for some time.

        2. So quit whinging John. You can catch a more frequent 475 to Papakura, catch the train to Newmarket, then catch a bus to Uni.

      2. It might be worth trying the 471/472 route Luke C – you may want to jump out onto the tarseal
        due to the shear length of it. But in my years of doing it (which I don’t now) it was used along its
        length. I even used to catch it when I was a poor student living in Penrose/Greenlane – it seems to
        have very popular bits – the Gt South to Otahuhu is not a duplication of the train – it diverges significantly.
        And then again Greenlane to town I would not call the bus catchment and train catchment area the same either. And I do know people that catch it from South to Penrose for work – and those people find its easier to
        get access to work using bus than train and work in the industrial part of penrose near the great south rd. I guess in its length if you go Papkura to Britomart the train is a better
        option but it should at least be replaced by several regular buses along the way that have coverage of the great south rd areas the bus covered incorporated into their route.
        I have no idea if the new services will or not – but I am interested to see what the plan is.
        And it might be worth noting I do know the odd person with a monthly bus pass who did the whole long haul trip as they did not always catch the express (sometimes worked till 2 or so) … save money not having to pay for train fare as well- if integrated train + bus is as cheap as train only or bus only that should mitigate those issues however.

          1. Exactly.

            It seems that PT is always lamented no matter what it does.
            Faster trips from most places to most other places, more frequent services, faster rail services, integrated fares and yet it is still wrong.

    4. Papakura to Britomart on the 477x is 1 hour 19 minutes. On the train it is 53 minutes. With the new trains it will be less than 50. What’s the big problem with saving half an hour?

      1. Nick R, i don’t know which bus you take. Pukekohe to the University is, during busy times like now, one hour and five minutes. That’s from Pukekohe, not Papakura. Evening bus takes longer – about one hour 20 minutes. But one does not save any time – it takes considerably longer – because one has to get to the station; change trains; get from the station.


        1. Well, you will be catching the bus from uni to Newmarket which you do already, that is being made more frequent. You then get on the train at Newmarket and cover the ground to Papakura faster. The swap to a bus to Pukekohe and cover the ground that you are already doing, also on a more frequent route. Sounds faster to me.

  11. It seems that with south and west auckland, they are giving with one hand and taking with the other. Probably all to do with money. They are increasing the frequency of a lot of bus services, and as a result of that, they’ll take away many services like the 471-2 route. Even though lot’s of people use them. They’ll also use the excuse of the train frequencies being significantly improved. I hate to think how much money they will be directing at the northern bus services. At the expense of west and south aucklanders. As they always get what they want.

    1. Ah, well, I am about to leave my office to go catch my inefficient 477X bus to Pukekohe πŸ™‚ Will be busy this evening and probably have lost my momentum in this by tomorrow. But some useful comments everywhere. I think there is truth to what Jamee says here. But we will have to lump whatever they come up with. I have tried giving them my ideas for two years, and will continue to do so. I have heard they may be public meetings in Papakura (not, I assume, Pukekohe :-)) so I might be able to go to those.


      1. Well no Jamee that’s not correct as all areas will be getting the same rationalisation. It is neither about transferring funds from one region to another nor about spending less money overall, but about improving service everywhere with the same budget. The south and west are just first because, as i understand it, they are the areas with the most urgent need for improvement.

        It is based on the idea that frequency is freedom. Freedom from uncontrollable events like bus breakdown for example, because who cares if the 5:05 doesn’t make when there’s a 5:08, or similar. It is also based on increase clarity and legibility of the whole network, as well as on extended reach through transfers. This is a new idea for Auckland and AT are going to have to make sure they have all the details well worked out in order for it to work and win the trust of people like you who have clearly learnt to be very suspicious of transit provision in Auckland. No doubt with good reason.

        Big test for AT.

        1. Hi Patrick – I saw that rationalisation in the paper – from Len Brown – South gets new changes first as its been an area long in need of a proper revamp of services etc/neglected etc or along those lines. Yet you can see from some of the comments on this blog there is utter sheer frustration in other areas (where not sure as the user did not specify) about the lack of services. I do wonder if that person might be from out East actually – we looked into moving that way as part of our areas of investigation when we brought a larger house. I did a bit of looking at the PT system – I know in the central areas you could get express buses which on paper got to town around the same time as I currently do now (if you believe the timetable and i know the traffic out there is a big issue so perhaps you shouldn’t) but there seem to be large areas out that way that really are missing out -areas we could not even consider moving to with our high reliance on PT. No doubt there are other areas too – but I wonder how long it is before East Auckland
          gets its review ? Or are they waiting for the new roading to be done before they change that ?

          I also wonder if South and East were picked as first because they have train lines as well and the timetabling fitted in with the electrification changes etc as well ? Whereas Northshore and East don’t ?

          1. jjay It goes something like this, if I recall correctly:

            Consultations, followed by implementation
            South 2013-14
            North 2014-15
            West East Central 2015-16

            All done, integrated fares, new trains, new network by 2016! Impressive and demanding for all involved, but so worth it. No area gets any special treatment, or at least everywhere gets special treatment.

            It will be worth the pain of the changes, although I know some people would rather keep the poorer service they have than face any change whatsoever, human beings being the strange and complex things that they are.

    2. Jamee, do you think you’re being a tad presumptuous to suggest the North is somehow being favoured? There’s no evidence of that whatsoever in the maps that Matt linked to.

  12. Retaining the papakura services wouldn’t specifically be for people using it for the entire trip. Lot’s of people won’t like the idea of having to walk a potentially much longer distance from a train station. Especially when it raining. But this is never taken into consideration. Also, having to make transfers isn’t exactly appealing to aucklanders. As they have always been extremely unreliable. As the bus services are always late and the connecting bus never waits. So you’re left to wait for another service.

    1. It’s all well and good for the people who live close to a station, or go to and from an interchange, but for the people in between who don’t want to go to a train station and have a longer walk (or are making a journey to and from points that aren’t near a station), these are the poeple that are going to be inconvenienced the most. Which is a lot of people.

    2. Some good points Jamee – those have been my experiences with transfers etc. As well as safety issues with waiting at some of the stations or stops for transfers. On paper there is probably a lot of good ideas in the new designs – its just practical implementation and human nature will affect how successful they are. A lot of your points are those that are of concern to me (or will affect me) in relation to the changes that are afoot.
      There will be a few years of “settling in” time I think in these new changes – I suppose by the time all of Auckland is got through some of the common issues and themes will be better known and accounted for. By the time my kids are back on the commute system as older teens it should be worked out I hope.
      Thanks anyway for your comments πŸ™‚

      1. jjay, basically we shouldn’t judge the coming system on the state of the current one- there is physical work happening everywhere that goes along with the system changes… look at the Otara bus station the Ellerslie train station, and the New Lynn, Panmure, and Manukau City [the bus part is not yet built] interchange stations for clues as to how the new system will be physically. Above you can see how that is coming to Otahuhu, Papakura is also being rebuilt. None of this can happen over night but you’ll have to admit it is changing constantly.

        As for transferring now, that pretty much isn’t really supported at all yet, so again it’s too early to judge how easy or difficult it will be. First they have to change to one unified payment system; the single HOP card, then to a zone or distance based fare system, so there’ll be no new fare for each stage of a journey, while at the same time building the physical infrastructure as you mention; better, safer, and more convenient stations.

        This will no doubt be frustrating and difficult for current users as it all changes but I don’t think you’ll have to wait for your kids to grow up for it to be working well. Next year will be tricky as the new trains arrive and are bedded in, and as first new bus routes are begun, even 2015 will still probably be rocky, but by 2016 things should be pretty well operating in many places, certainly on the train network which is the spine of the system on the isthmus. And especially down south where it is launching.

        But it will be important for users to give as much feedback as possible, especially about their specific needs to make it as good as possible. But don’t get disheartened; this is a huge and tricky change but the motivation behind is to improve the lives of the current and future users, it isn’t a plot to make things worse.

        1. Well Patrick -timing unfortunately couldn’t be worse for me. With a surprise addition on the way by the time
          all these new changes roll out I will have a very small baby in tow doing all this – that makes me feel extremely vulnerable to all the inevitable teething problems we will see. I have already made the decision partly based on all of this that my older child will have to relocate his care to closer to our house – no more quality cuddle time in rush hour with him the practicalities won’t work (no more motorway trucks for him either ohh dear we will have to hunt them out on weekends I guess). But the little one will have to endure it as there’s a higher requirement for he/she to be closer to me. By the time its sorted out my kids will be getting older and hubby will well and truly have been snipped so I might even be close to commuting sans children again ?!

          The service I used has been increasingly snipped at over the years less and less services …all the while being told its because its not important enough and they want the resources for elsewhere (the last time was just after the Northern expressway started and an official told me our services had to be cut as they had priorities elsewhere on the network so I think I can be forgiven for thinking that consultation isn’t going to make a huge difference to the end result and for even feeling a little hurt that despite that fact I have structured my life carefully to fit in public transport my concerns are not a priority and never will be.
          My experience of transfers pre-kids was extremely poor and my experience now is a technical challenge…….often requiring the patience and acceptance of other commuters if its a tricky bus/train – I tend to avoid them and I will be cynical of them – AT will have their work cut-out to convince me I am a happier commuter under the new system. I have also watched my Mum struggle to deal with a system set up for the able bodied and I have concerns on that level esp for transfers and safety. She has flat out told me she just won’t do something involving transfers by herself with her guide dog – she will stick only to what is direct – which limits her freedom – the opposite of what is hoped will be achieved.

          But I do hope all and all for the people of the South who get the changes first it serves them well and is an overall improvement and if user input is put into the system that would be great too as I think it will need it. Of course it is complicated and complex – it will never be easy to make it work for everyone – what I can hope for is that a continuing voice for users of all needs and services from all areas can be heard and some sort of practical improvements can be made from those inputs.

        2. Will be keen to see how Manurewa develops station wise – not sure they will do much but its got so much scope for so many reasons. Also very interested to see how Puhinui is set to change – so many transfers feed into that station or will do next year (Those from South wanting Manukau, those South wanting Eastern lines, Those from Eastern lines wanting South, those from Manukau wanting South etc) – I may be wrong but my gut reckons it could end up a pseudo hub as people cut out the middle man and decide to park there. I wonder if AT owns any of the land around there – as it looks like there’s a few vacant lots in amongst the back of the houses there ? Personally given its transfer place of the future I am hoping for a full-time security guard on there or a little station building to be built – it would help to address some security concerns.

  13. Also, not many people are going to like what they see when they look at this map. Showing no services between otahuhu/ellerslie and newmarket/downtown. Who wants a system where your only option for going beyond otahuhu, but not all the way to town or newmarket, is to get the train, or have to make several tranfers between different buses.

    1. Really? Brand new faster and more frequent trains aren’t a good enough option for people wanting to go from Otahuhu or Ellerslie and Newmarket or Downtown? I doubt that very much that people will be screaming for a slower bus stuck in traffic instead. Well except I suppose people who are scared of change. I mean I understand if you were taking about routes not served so well and directly, especially as that service is about to improve radically.

    2. from Ellerslie to town only service will be Howick and Eastern, however will be at least every 10 minutes all day. From Otahuhu, half hourly to ellerslie.
      This is actually greatest area of change, currently timetables list about 20 services you can catch, will only be 1, but will be useful and regular. Currently random 20-25 minute gaps along this route.
      However why would one catch a bus from Otahuhu to town, train 26 minutes (several mins less with electrics), bus 40 minutes.

      1. Again, I’m not talking about commuters going to/from britomart nor newmarket. But to/from great south road in between. Not everybody’s trips are as convenient and straightforward as you’s seem to keep saying.

        1. stations at Otahuhu, Penrose, Greenlane, Ellerslie and Remuera. Roughly every 1.5km so 750m, or less than 10 min walk. Main gap between Penrose and Otahuhu but few very high employment places here, and generally no more than 1km to high frequency service. Only issue is really between Syliva Park Road and Church St where services now half hourly instead of 15/20 mins, but again very few high employment places here, and better service than most industrial estates.

          1. could actually be a good idea to help avoid spending billion or so for the East West Link, running more higher frequency routes through here. Even though this area might not deserve increased level of service, the wider freight benefits may justify it. However this is outside scope of network review, and can be looked at in a few years as we expand the service once frequent network bedded in.

          2. perhaps not high employment but an industrial area with employment – and that is where some of those who use that bus work ……though I am not sure I would be keen on doing the walk to the penrose train station in the dark and I think that was one of the reasons the person I had in mind used the bus …….it was much closer to her work

          3. Yes jjay, that is why those people can catch the train to Sylvia Park then transfer to a local bus, for an overall better service.

      2. Luke. Not to be overly blunt, but comparing stop to stop transit times is pointless. The time that concerns people is ORIGIN to DESTINATION. Going from 5 + 40 + 5 for a bus to 10 + 26 + 20 is not an improvement.

        And that’s not even factoring in the associated time/risk costs associated with having to do transfers.

        And to be blunt, I’m a programmer. And I’ve seen the issues that AT have with their ticketing system. 3 days for data to get from their card payment system to their web site is beyond ridiculous.

        1. I’m more saying the handful of journeys that are worse off are still going to be fine really. Great South Road is the only corridor in South Auckland that has any usable regular buses at all, and thats only by accident as they are going elsewhere. So a few people get minor inconvenience for a huge increase in service.
          Of course would rather AT had increased funding so they could run more services, then wouldnt have so many issues like these, but this improvement is being do with zero increased operational costs.

          1. zero increased operational costs ? I didn’t realise that – what a mission it must be to try and roll out such major changes with absolutely no room for financial flexibility on what was done or additional funds for teething problems…(though I assume that does not count things like purchase of new trains and network electrification nor the cost of design and consultation on the project ?). I can’t imagine in that case putting in a submission will have a heap of effect as the whole thing will be extremely tight as it is money-wise – though there may be the odd situation where something is minimal cost or where there is enough issues for enough people it might be worth mentioning, otherwise I guess its a case of you get what you get and hope it works out.
            I can imagine it would be frustrating to have such rigid constraints when working on huge project like this – will be interesting to see how it all pans out (though that might be more fun from the sidelines for a while at least while things get sorted πŸ™‚ )

          2. It is being done to the same bus operation costs, basically the same number of buses, same number of drivers, covering the same number of service-kilometres. It was a network redesign in the narrow sense, taking the existing network and reorganising it.

            The only extra cost added was the new trains, they add a heap of capacity to the rail lines and they are faster than the bus in the same corridor, therefore there is a lot to be gained by focussing on connecting people to the train rather than running buses in parallel.

            For example, that bus from Pukekohe to the city covers 98km return. One bus needs to drive 98km to take one load of people to the city. If that service is cut short to feed people to the train at Papakura, the return trip is only 31km. That means that the same bus and driver can make three return trips in the same time with the same cost.

            So connecting to the train triples the frequency and triples the capacity for the same expense, much more efficient.

            This 2016 network is the ‘housekeeping’ that sorts out what we have now, it provides a good basis for further investment in the future.

          3. “This 2016 network is the β€˜housekeeping’ that sorts out what we have now, it provides a good basis for further investment in the future.”

            Once again good info to know ………..I was under the impression this would be it for a very long time ……

          4. @Nick R … “So connecting to the train triples the frequency and triples the capacity for the same expense, much more efficient” …

            That’s only true UP TO the point where you reach the capacity limit for the trains. And while I’ve seen capacity quotes here, they are not apple to apple comparisons. Which in and of itself makes me suspicious that someone wants to fudge the numbers in their favour.

          5. No increase in OPERATIONAL cost, but new spending on all those things you want like safer stations; bus and train and ferry.

            This is possible because the current system is so flabby and inefficient with so much duplication and long slow services. Anyway this is a good thing, no one wants wasteful public subsidies do they?

          6. Luckily enough Patrick I did see and read the word operational in there ……
            however its often hard to know how a particular company might define that –
            my assumption was new purchases of trains was not included nor the
            huge station rebuilds like Otahuhu but I wasn’t sure if station maintenance and things like security cameras
            etc would be as those things would be an ongoing cost for operation of the network.
            Anyway once again useful info to know……..
            Not sure what I ever said about ferries though ?

          7. JJay Operations is running stuff, fuel, wages, maintenance [opex]. And capital expense is buying new stuff; trains, stations, wharves [capex].
            Opex never goes away, but cleverer capex spending and smarter organisation can make that opex more efficient, especially on a per passenger basis if these changes lead to more people using the system. And more people using Transit especially at a lower opex per journey leads to a net higher benefit to the whole of society, including for those who continue to drive.

            No you didn’t mention ferries because you are focussed only on your direct needs, but AT has to try to balance everything they do and spend money on for all people and all areas so it is worth remembering how much they have to balance. But still it has to work right down at the individual level.

          8. I think I have said several times in these comments that I appreciate its a huge job Patrick to balance it all –
            and there are a lot of different requirements that AT face – I also appreciate from the info I have gained
            here more about the constraints these changes were designed under. For me that is great info to have
            as I enjoy learning these things immensely – and I have always wished AT luck with what they want to do
            which is give Auckland PT attention. However I guess I also thinking about little things – for my needs and for people I know
            and how those little day to day things might make a big difference to others in general as well- I think that
            its good for AT to have that info too. I could not comment properly about
            needs of the ferry system as I use it only rarely I just read your sentence as stating I had specifically done so.

          9. Roger there is an interesting point that your comment raises between capacity on Transit networks and on private car systems. I know it’s a bit off topic from your specific point but it is relevant to the general discussion:

            As more people use a new motorway say, it’s utility drops, we call this congestion. When more people use a train service say this allows more services to be run, thereby increasing the utility of the service with uptake. So long of course new services and/or longer trains are added.

            But the main point holds; there is no better time in the life of a new motorway than its first day, it’s all downhill from there, but an underused or young rail line generally has a poorer service than a mature well used one. Until you get to Tokyo levels of use, with constant crush loading, but then that is a long long way from happening in Auckland.

            What we are seeing now with the New Network is the need to improve the capacity of each train and especially the number [frequency] of the services which in turn will male the system both more effective and attractive to users which will [almost certainly] lead to a virtuous circle of increased uptake and improved frequency and capacity.

            This is occurring because of the opportunity to design a more efficient system by organising the different modes together rather than separating them and making them compete. With transit so long as there is a good Right of Way, and investment in vehicles and stations, more is indeed more. Not so with car based systems; success is failure, ultimately.

          10. I just hate to think what kind of pressure this is going to put on rail between britomart and otahuhu. Especially when rail is the most prone to disruptions (as aucklanders know all too well). What about when an area of the network between these two interchanges has to be shut down due to whatever incident, there are no viable alternatives in regards to buses to get people out to south auckland. Hate to think of the mess at britomart if that happens.

          11. If the new EMU’s are not reliable then something has gone terribly wrong. Pretty much all signalling has been renewed and I’m guessing some of the signalling issues could be caused by the electrification works.

        2. Well then buses would be provided to replace the trains – quite normal in places where a train or tram breaks down. Having buses constantly competing on the off chance that one of them breaks down isn’t a good use of resources. NZTA doesn’t build two motorways side by side in case one if blocked.

  14. well the trains will be running every 10 minutes, so no need to worry about timed connections. And as you see with the Otahuhu interchange there will be major upgrades to interchanges high quality. Also note the Otahuhu Papakura section will stay as normally with the 33A/B still giving same service as the 47#.

    Yes some people will now have to transfer, but look at the benefits. Currently service from Otara to Mangere is hourly, will now be every 15 minutes.
    The other issue with the one-off 47# services is what if you miss them, or need to stay in town an extra half hour. Your journey home will be a mess. Under this network, no problems, services running every 10-15 minutes anyway.

  15. It is only the great south road area’s between otahuhu and newmarket that I am concerned about. You’ll never be able to convince everybody to use the train and put up with having a longer walk. Especially if it is raining.

    1. It is called a transfer mate. It is where you get off your train, geton a bus and get dropped as close as you currently do to where you want to go, but you get to do the whole thing quicker because the frequencies are so good.

  16. Here is an example. I can not see anybody accepting having to make 2 transfers (3 bus trips one way) just to get from Hunter’s corner to say, the harp of erin. Not acceptable.

    1. just one transfer at Otahuhu to the half hourly 319. However be they would find it quicker and easier to bus to Papatoetoe (5 mins) and train to Ellerslie (15 mins). This compares with current bus trip of 28 minutes. Also note new combo would be available at least every 15 minutes 7am to 7pm, same cant be said for 471.
      Yes there is slight tradeoff here, but said person from Hunters Corner can now visit most of South Auckland with one transfer on services than operate every 15 minutes. Mild inconvenience on one very particular route, in return for vast increase in frequent journey options across all of South Auckland.

  17. I will have to stop commenting, lest I lose my job from having spent all my time here – in which case I won’t need transport πŸ™‚

    Just wanted to say that there has been quite a lot of talk about increased frequency of trips, and also reports of the scheduled time of this or that trip, or leg of a journey with transfers.

    To me – and, I suspect, to most people who use public transport for commuting – this is all irrelevant. Most of us have specific hours when we must be at work. To me, increased frequency is of no benefit. The important points of transport, in order of decreasing priority, are:

    – minimising time *door to door*. It is of not the slightest interest to be told that this or that train journey takes fewer minutes than my bus journey. It is the time I leave my house until I arrive at my office; and, conversely, the time I leave my office until I enter my door at home, that count. Only these. Not how long I spend sitting in a seat.

    – predictability. This is one reason why transfers are a negative. To say I can take a train to point A, then a bus from there to B, means I would have to be certain that the train will get there at time X that it says; and that the bus will leave B and the time Y that it says. Neither of these things is something I can have confidence in. Once I am on the Pukekohe bus, even if it is delayed, I know that I will not have a wait at some transfer station.

    – comfort – by which I don’t mean just nice seats. My experience with the trains is that they are crowded and noisy. My bus is not crowded (by the way, I said earlier the bus had 40 people when it got to the motorway. That was pure guesswork and wrong. The buses I mostly read have 38 seats. This evening’s 4:35PM from town had 24 passengers when we went onto the motorway at Grafton Bridge – though we do pick up a lot on the way from the Manukau exit until Papakura). On my bus I can relax, read, sleep.

    But the points are in that order. Door to door time is fundamental.

    All from me! I am going out for a while this evening, and tomorrow I will (I hope!) not comment – got to work!!


    1. lots of good points John ….but very distracting. Luckily for me it was distraction from a tummy bug, a toddler with a tummy bug and a husband with a tummy bug of doom ……so while I should have been more productive with my day at home around the mess cleaning up I am afraid I fell privy to electronic media as well.

  18. Are you planning on catching the bus home after going out? – cause it looks as though if you don’t catch the last 471 at 5.05pm you’re stuck in the city. Under the new system at least you’d have the choice to use public transport outside standard commuting times – every 15 minutes at peak, 30 minutes, and hourly late at night. Sounds useful. Perhaps a solution for that last-mile issue is a bike?

  19. This thread is amazing to me, since at other Public Transport related blogs we have train aficionados yelling about the withdrawal of the Waitakere trains on the grounds that “people around here just want to use the trains and won’t touch those crowded, noisy buses”.

    What it really boils down to is that people don’t like change. Should existing users’ convenience be put above the idea of making public transport more useful to ALL Aucklanders? Is John Thayer Jensen the PT equivalent of the Milford/St Heliers mob trying to stop apartments going up in their neighbourhood?

    We forget that our current garbagy system works *well* for some people, and they never want to change.

      1. Change happens yes but once again you want to manage change so you gain users
        but don’t alienate the ones you already have. The idea of public consultation hopefully
        allows us all to have our voice and gives those who designed and are managing the changes
        to understand what impact each one has on the area of interest. If we want to make the new system
        better than the old we will have to accept change but not for just changes sake.
        And I fail to see that the first version of the plan on paper will be the best. Don’t get upset when people voice their feelings as its all part of the process. I have to accept change for a system I have
        used as a teen but I can express my concerns when
        it negatively affects me and those who make the system should not take it personally that I don’t
        view those changes as the improvements they are being marketed as.
        By the way the system did not automatically work for me – I have worked hard to make it work
        and worked my life around it – considerable efforts on my part over the years. If I can see the new systems
        will be better overall and beneficial then great but once again its a major reworking of my life to make that new system work for me and work around the drawbacks….I want to be sure that new set of changes is indeed beneficial and some of the practical
        issues for users worked out before implementation. Existing users are important as well as the holy grail of new users that you want to get from this all.

        Also these things are important of course its an emotional issue -its not about a bus or train or minutes
        or maps for a day to day users its about getting to and from work with as much speed and low stress as possible and having solutions that can be worked into your day to day life. So as such when people who have
        been using a system for years and years adjusting to all the changes the system has thrown at them
        are faced with another and the attitude just get over it we want it done a new way it is hard especially if the sense is that our views don’t count. And for others who feel their system is just not good enough to use there is of course frustration that these changes are just not happening soon enough – but you know what its about mutually respecting that – it would be a bad idea for these changes to alienate existing users in the quest for greater coverage nor can we keep the system the same for ever. But this is not about a not in my backyard don’t want change response and more a sense of sheer frustration and despair that the day to day logistics or life get harder again with some of these alterations for some of us……….

        1. jjay, your views do count. That is why AT are embarking on one of the longest and most comprehensive rounds of public consultation that has ever been undertaken about public transport in Auckland. It started with the RPTP, which sought to establish key concepts and embed the primacy/structure of the frequent network. AT were very clear that the details of which local/peak services would be retained would be ironed out in subsequent public consultation, such as this.

          Without wanting to be too harsh, I’d suggest you stop moaning to us and get along to the public consultation to make the case for retaining your peak bus. If it’s well-used and not rendered redundant by other services, then I’m sure AT will consider it – they’d be foolish not to. From the quality of the communications AT has pulled together this consultation is clearly not a white-washing exercise.

          1. Hey Stu I am sure I can submit and still moan as you say – what I like about this blog is the amazing array of opinions you get – you express yours and get an variety from supportive to derisive back in return – its a great way to encourage deep thinking around the issues and has been highly useful and I think it has helped me structure my submission thoughts a lot more. Its so like peer review its really cool ! I missed the RPTP submissions – I found out about them after they closed and before I was really aware how many things were going on that would affect me …but yet I shouldn’t assume making a submission to this new consultation will be a waste of time – I think I had started to think that but there’s enough comments here to suggest at the least it should be read with a modicum of respect. Do you know Stu if there will be info packs available anywhere around the PT network we can view …. it sounds like there’s lots of info out there already and I wonder if we wait till the 19th for its unveiling.

          2. awesome Matt – site gives me a 404 error at the moment but I assume comes
            online Wednesday – so I will keep it and check again then.

  20. What if alienating one existing user means you can run a more efficient service that attracts two new users in their place. There is a moral conundrum there, are you obliged to use the resources on the incumbent as you always have, or are you obliged to use the same resources to the benefit of the greater good?

    1. Actually Nick R that’s a good point I suppose if you can guarantee that your changes will then ensure even if everyone currently using the service is pissed off and buys another car if you get 2 more users in their place for certain you are onto a winner. And the result of more users probably then means more changes so then more users might come back – or at the very least have a better run in their cars as many others switched to PT ! I guess I was thinking about it all from a more fairness to everyone level rather than an analytical level – that it would be nice if there were a way of keeping most users satisfied and then attract more.
      I suppose time will tell and if we are lucky enough to all be around in another couple of years the stats will reveal all.

      1. jjay – from what I have heard it is quite common when these types of changes are introduced to see a bit of a drop off in patronage for a while but then everyone gets over it and patronage jumps strongly and to a higher level than before. I suspect we will see the same here. Current users who are most affected by the change might drop off but potential new users who benefit the most from the changes will take a while to realise but then as they do patronage will surge. Along with everything else it certainly means we are in for a rocky few years.

        1. Well overall so many on here are convinced it will be an amazing transformation – but yes I can imagine teething issues……….. anyway come 2016 or 2017 the stats will be able to be trusted again and I guess you will be able to see how well it all worked……..Thanks so much for that link to the info – it was awesome to get it ….I want to look for the good bits as well and work stuff out for my Mum too so it will be super useful for submissions and logistics ………

  21. I really hope AT are reading these comments, should be good prompt for the sort of flack they are going to get during consultation. Especially considering its election season and potential candidates will be jumping on top of community concerns like these.

  22. You know. A lot of “I prefer the way it was” vs “just accept it will be better” probably boils down to: Do you actually trust them to do a decent job.

    And there’s this wonderful little thing called complexity theory that basically says. Welcome to Novopay.

    Which is the same mistake they made when they swapped out diagnostic labs a few years ago
    Which is the same mistake the IRD estimates they have a 40% likelihood of having with their $1.5 billion computer upgrade.

  23. What Nick R said about the moral conundrum of changes where you inconvenience one existing user but win two new users in their place.

    A business that wants to grow the business cannot think only about its existing customers. It has to look also at people who are not its customers, and ask why they are not.

    With all due respect, if we keep route such and such because so and so finds it handy, then we have to do the same for everyone else who is in the same position, and you can kiss good bye any change (given that this is about using the existing resources to more benefit – we cannot afford simply to add new services without changing the existing ones).

    Turning a long radial peak period bus service into a short feeder to the almost parallel train line is an obvious way to save resources which can then be put into running better services at other times or places to grow the business.

    1. @John. Yeah, except for the part where you get a 30% reduction in usage, and regain it at 5% per year, and in 2 years time the political environment changes and the reduction gets used as an excuse to pull funding. Cos that NEVER happens.

      1. Well we’re hoping it’s more like a 5% reduction as people adjust to change, followed by 30% increases for a couple of years.

        1. Well I guess that means for a little while at least …its desirable to have 95 % of the existing users happy with the changes
          or at least having worked out the cost-benefits to them of the changes to decide its still worthwhile using PT ? Or I suppose
          have no other choice so continue to use PT ? Its probably doable if the implimentation by AT et al is done well and the
          strong systems for bus train/bus bus communication are put in for transfers etc etc ……I guess the stats over time will be telling.

          One thing though is that might not be a true representation as the way the stats will be collected will change – AThop
          (and I assume snapper HOP?) can collect data on usage and send it to the “mother ship” for analysis so to speak.
          Do the old ticketing systems in the buses do the same ? I assume not as when we are due for a restruture we normally
          get people with clipboards on our buses and at our bus stops. Not to mention most people I know use a monthly
          pass – for that no ticket is even issued you just buy the pass and you could be going anywhere anytime – its like a silent
          majority of regular commuters not contributing to patronage stats – or are they measured somehow ??

        2. @Nick. Yeah, but John’s comment was specifically about upsetting 1 to gain 2, and if you’re upsetting a current user, you’re far more likely to lose them than gain a new one in the short term.

          1. @Patrick. Oh indeed, I agree that people are going to get hurt for the majority to benefit. I was talking about the relative likelihood of gaining vs losing passengers overall. But I also have some issues with the scale of the project as a whole.

            The PT system is like any other large complex system. It has unseen and difficult to determine correlations and effects both internally and externally. And we have a couple of sayings about complex systems in my line of work.

            1. You can’t build a large system and have it work. You can build a small system and expand it.
            2. “REAL” systems are “hairy”. That is they have all this weird redundant and strange looking stuff in them because over time people find that things are broken, and have to handle them.
            3. Life is never as simple as your design.

            Hence, my expectation is that that lovely simple little map is simply not going to measure up to the real world.

            and since I know that our government (which ever party is in) is blatantly capable of ignoring clear and compelling evidence based studies that prove their policies don’t work, I also expect that the system will get screwed over fairly promptly. And I’d rather we didn’t provide that opening.

          2. Roger, as a PT network planner myself I think your sayings have little relevance to our line of work. Auckland’s PT network is, to be frank, fairly obviously broken and in need of major change. The good bits are obvious from looking at patronage data – and appear to have been retained in what AT is proposing – whereas the bad bits have been restructured.

            PT is not as complex as you seem to suggest. Each PT route serves a clear purpose (connect many As to many Bs), while also fulfilling a role in the wider network. A “good” network is simply a bunch of routes that caters for the underlying travel demands in a relatively simple/effective way while also providing adequate coverage.

            A PT network can be “good” without needing to be perfect. The only question is how good a network is – and this is something that can be incrementally improved over time. So I think your fear is somewhat mis-placed: Major network change can be undertaken without risking catastrophic disasters.

            What AT appear to have done is taken a whole-of-network design approach but then staged the implementation. This seems to give them the benefits of both worlds: They have developed an integrated network (rather than piecemeal adjustments), but bought them time to consult, refine, and hone their implementation.

          3. And statements like that are what concern me.

            I’m not a PT planner. But I do work with complex systems daily, And in fact, I’ve spent 2 years working on a system of optimising cost for a substantial portion of NZ’s ocean freight, when means I do have some experience with simple constrained capacity planning.

            But I think you misunderstand what a complex system is. Weather for example is a complex system. However the rules for it are simple, and in fact have been readily calculable since WW2. But we all complain that they get the forecast wrong. Though in fact their error rate has dropped by a factor of 3 since then.

            And I’m not saying it has to be perfect. I’m saying “we” (as in humans in general) cannot properly evaluate all the effects, and the “you” (as in traffic planners specifically) almost certainly will lack the experience required to form trustworthy opinions on the matter, simply because the plan/implement/feedback cycles for you covers multiple years (like government policy and stock brokers) rather than daily (like doctors, dentists, firemen and weather forecasters). Same reason we pollute, same reason we drink, same reason we smoke, etc. The cause and effect are too widely separated to learn from effectively.

            Here’s a great transport example. Redoubt road motorway extension to the airport. Wonderful thing. Except the congestion rapidly became horrific (yes I drove through it). Why? Because the traffic loading arrived 2 years ahead of schedule. Solution: undesirable, but install lights. Why? Because the proper solution requires adding an additional lane south. OK, when’s that going to happen? Oh, we haven’t got that in the 10 year plan yet. So the people planning the change had a problem they expected would occur in 2 years, their forecast was massively short, and they hadn’t even planned to think about dealing with it for 10 years. Of course, the additional lane was now out for RFP last I saw.

            In addition, the “not as complex as you seem to suggest” process you are working through requires evaluation of the current and forecast state for road, rail, sea, population growth, housing and infrastructure development, transport availability, local and central government policy, economic conditions and probably a bunch of stuff I can’t even think up. And every one of those forecasts is made up of dozens to hundreds of assumptions about how things will happen. and most of the “current” state is either a year or two old, or also contains some assumptions.

            In addition to this “bulk reconstruction” of the network (how many of these year+ long projects have you completed personally by the way?) At the same time there is a new ticketing system going in, and new route information systems. Further adding to the complexity involved. And those already have issues.

            1. A single ticketing booth per station. Queues to use, and not uncommonly broken. My mother and sister got free return travel to Pukekohe by train not long ago because the ticketing machines at both ends were broken.

            2. Train break downs. Yeah tell me that won’t happen with the new trains and I’ll say you’re lying or ignorant. LESS often yes, NOT happen no. We just had someone use the train a week ago, TWO train replacements on the way to work. By the way, with trains running closer together, what are the effects of a train breaking down between stations?

            3. Real time ETA information for buses. Doesn’t work when the driver’s don’t sign in, which is frequently the case. Who designed that? The system must know where the bus is (or it couldn’t do the ETAs), and it must know what run the bus was supposed to be on (because drivers almost always use the same bus, and I would expect that both buses and drivers have to be scheduled for capacity planning). Between those two items it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what a bus is doing unless it’s wandered off onto a different run.

            4. Buying top ups for your AT cards. The balance doesn’t show up on the web site for up to 3 days. WTF???? Two electronic systems that require 3 DAYS to get information between them? That’s basically useless if you’re needing to check your balance at all.

            What’s your assumptions list look like?

            What’s your risk register look like?

            What are the confidence intervals on your forecast?

            If a large fire burns down half a block in Grey Lynn, what effect will that have on bus patronage?

            If in 2 years it’s replaced with a 4 storey apartment block that adds 400 people to the area, what effect will that have?

            Note that I’m not expecting you to answer those, but I’d like to know that you actually can answer them.

          4. Sorry Stu. None of that is intended personally, hopefully it didn’t sound like it.

            And I do actually agree with most of what you are saying.
            What I am saying is that I expect not catastrophic, but SIGNIFICANT failures during the implementation.
            And that rolling out 3 major overlapping changes at the same time is massively increasing the likelihood that they will happen.

          5. Roger – I will leave Stu to answer most of your questions but I do know that the people involved in doing this redesign of the PT network have done this many times in many cities all around the world so they do have a lot of experience at it.

            1. I know there is some work going on to improve this and might include the possibility of more machines.
            2. Yes train breakdowns will still occur but as you not they won’t be as frequent. They also won’t be as bad when they do occur to. For example each three car train has two powered cars. If one breaks down the other can still work and my understanding is that the performance will only be impacted by at most 10%. Further most trains will be two sets joined together (6 cars, four powered) so the performance loss of one power car going down will likely be very small.
            4. The 3 days is a worst case scenario, in most cases it will show up the next working day but AT say 3 days to be conservative. Better to say three and have it in one than say one and have it take three.

          6. Hi Matt.

            1-3 are all good news. #4, that was not an “AT says” that was direct commentary by a co worker on their experience.
            And 1 day would imply overnight batch processing, which still isn’t that useful if you want to know if you need to top up your card before you go home tonight.

          7. Electrics will be more reliable than replacing with new DMU’s. Less moving bits for a start.

            The reason all these things are happening at once is because Auckland failed to invest in PT for 40 years so there is a lot of catching up to do.

          8. I absolutely agree.

            What I’m disagreeing with the “everything will be fine” and the “but you’re just an odd individual and your situation doesn’t count” that we see.

            I’m betting that we will see things like the journey planner failing when things switch over because something got updated too soon or too late, or fares not working, or the scheduler failing, or finding out that those 1,000 people you thought would switch to or start using those new stops on that street can’t because there’s actually a creek in the way and they’d have to walk an extra kilometre than you thought when you took their existing stops away.

            Or the ticketing machines can’t issue correct tickets, or some one of a hundred other things none of us even know enough to think of.

            Because the other thing to remember is every person that gets P*D off is going to complain to at least 10 other people about how bad it all is.

          9. Bryce 60+ years

            But also each change requires the others, which does raise the complexity and rather support Roger’s hand-wringing.

            The main point is that patience will be required and AT are going to have to tough it out, plan it cleverly, and keep saying that there’s a huge amount to be done, please don’t judge the final out come by present standards, or by half changed ones, they are really going to have up their communications and openness to take a clearly grumpy and suspicious public with them….

          10. Roger – yes it is overnight batch processing and the cut off is 10pm. One feature of the cards is that they do allow you to go into a negative balance. That means that if you need to get home and only have a say a dollar left, you can still catch your service. Of course if you are in the negative already you will need to top it up either at a machine or one of the retail outlets that are being rolled out.

          11. Ah, didn’t know that.

            My wife got stung because she only had trips on hers, and when she failed to tag off one night due to screaming toddler she couldn’t use the card because the fine put her negative, which she had no way of knowing about until she tried to get on the bus the next day.

          12. Only had trips? does she have an AT Hop card (blue with a big AT logo on it) or the the purple Snapper HOP card (SNOP). The AT Hop card does let you do that buy you can’t load trip on whereas the SNOP card can have trips on but will be replaced by AT hop in a few months.

          13. That was a snapper card. Well over a year ago. At which point she gave up using cards as the cost saving was negligible vs the PITA factor of not being able to use the card unexpectedly.

          14. Ahh right, yep the snapper cards aren’t ideal. The AT Hop ones are better and it will be good when they are completely rolled out to buses.

          15. Roger the snapper is basically a fake smart card made by infratil. The new one (AT hop) is an official Auckland transport thing that will work on all services.

  24. I think it is important thatAT redo their journey planner to actually work. The current algorithim is shit.

  25. @Patrick Reynolds

    June 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Actually, that example is way over simplified. For a start, each lane on a road has a carrying capacity below which adding additional vehicles has no impact on travel times, and above which it does. The same applies to rail.

    Your description comes from the fact that the two are in different parts of the loading curves.

    A rail track doesn’t have unlimited capacity either. Firstly, the length of a train is limited to the length of the shortest platform it stops at, so you can’t just keep growing a train. Secondly, you can’t run trains one behind the other. You need spacing for both time at station, and safe stopping distances.

    For example, let’s say that a train covers 40km of track, at an average speed (when not stopped) of 60kmph, and that it stops at each station for one minute. And let’s say that the train is 100m long, and you need an additional 30 seconds of travel time for safety margin.

    That means you can run 1 train every 1.6km, or roughly speaking about 35 trains per hour.

    Oh cool, I found the technical terms:

    1. Yes that’s all true in theory, but in practice in Auckland we have heaps of untapped capacity on the rail network, which is a great boon, and now that we are getting the means to unlock some more of this [electrification, new trains, integrated fares, bus integration] so for some considerable time, especially when we build the CRL to radically reduce the Britomart capacity constraint, my description holds.

    2. 26,250 per line per hour (based on 6 car EMU). That’s a, excuse me, shit load of people. Roughly, I think the Southern line only has mid to high 20’s per day at this time (someone please feel free to chip in and correct me if I’m wildly wrong).

      1. I was going to say that the Metro figures made it look like we could run about triple the planned capacity without upgrading. Which that looks about right for. And it would also imply that the planned rail capacity is around double that of a 3 lane motorway. Good. I’d actually prefer rail as it takes up less space than a motorway. No wait, that’s not right πŸ™

        If we take the Metro headway figures, we’d be looking at ~15,000 per hour at 1 every 3 minutes. And if we take the planned figures we’re looking at 4,500 per hour, so slightly less than the capacity of a 3 lane motorway. Or about 2,250 per hour with 3EMUs, which would be enough to cover the daily capacity if it is in the 20K region.

        So plenty of capacity long term.

        I still think that a massive revamp is bound to lead to serious issues for users in the 1-2 year range at least. And the AT systems are not helping with that perception.

        1. Roger a double tracked rail line has the equivalent carrying capacity of 12-14 motorway lanes, obviously depending on the numbers, size, and frequency of the trains that run on it.

          The point is that we are about to get one big jump on that carrying capacity 2014/15. The plan is for 10 minute frequencies on the three main lines + a couple on Onehunga. So [ignoring the O-line for simplicity] 6 x 750 people /6-car set = 4,500 /hour per line = 13,500 per hour.

          22 trains/hour at Britomart, 14 at Newmarket

          When the CRL is built that to can be multiplied by a further 2.5 times = 33,750 full journeys /hour.

          This is of course capacity, in practice it will be less, but the beauty is that the actual supply can increase with demand [if we need to order more trains then that will mean success]. This it is an indication of actual capacity in practice on our strange little network.

          1. Hi Patrick.

            Since I’m corresponding 1 line to 1 3 lane (each way) motorway, the 4,500/hour figure would correspond to what I said. However, you seem to be saying that the carrying capacity of a 3 lane motorway is either 1/2 or 1/4 of what I indicated depending on what you mean by 12 or 14 lanes. I’d assume 6 or 7 lanes dual, which would be 1/2. Unless you were talking about the maximum carrying capacity, in which case, I’d agree.


            The theoretical carrying capacity of a 3 lane in one direction is 5,400 vehicles per hour, if (god forbid) people actually obeyed a 2 second following distance. My observation would be that 0.5 seconds is more usual, but I’ll stick with 5,400 vehicles, and a 1.1 occupancy rate, being ~6,000 passengers per hour.

            Which is what I assume lets the central government go for motorways over trains.

            And I have no idea why I’m arguing over these figures, since I’m generally in favour of the idea, I just have concerns about the likely failures during implementation.

          2. Patrick. CRL will actually do double that into the CBD as oth directions travel into the CBD.

    3. Each of the southern and eastern lines is signalled for four minute headways but they will operate at six trains per hour, or twelve in total. The limitation is about how many we can get in to Britomart more than anything else. With six carriage sets at 750 people each that is a capacity of 9,000 an hour between Otahuhu and Britomart, or the equivalent of 180 buses. That is what will run.

      With the CRL the limit at the core is about 2.5 time greater. Depending upon the distribution of services you could easily see twenty four trains an hour between Otahuhu and the CBD each way at peak times.

      1. And of course, if there was an issue of capacity from Otahuhu to the CRL via the NIMT, there is always some extra capacity on the Eastern Line. That is some growth potential right there.

  26. The new network looks great on the whole. But, I’ve notice a major shortfall; The service between Manukau and Onehunga is hopeless. The 30 bus will run via Papatoetoe, both of the airport terminals and Mangere Town Centre. I highly doubt that anyone would consider using that bus to get from Manukau to Onehunga. Using alternative routes to get from Manukau to Onehunga would require two changes if you stick to the frequent network. Using rail for the journey isn’t any better. It only requires 1 change at the moment but this will change to 2 changes if, in the future, all Manukau Services run via the Eastern Line. On top of this, both of the stations are located on the outskirts of the suburbs’ business districts. This would really put people off using PT to get between Manukau and Onehunga. I really hope that during the consultation phase this issue is sorted out.

    1. You can do it with one transfer: Manukau – Sylvia Park on the Eastern Line then there’s a frequent network bus from there to Onehunga. That’s still pretty roundabout for a route connecting two pretty major centres, though.

      1. Considering that they are both major centres, at the very least they should have a direct route with only one transfer; ideally a direct route with no transfers.

      2. I have not caught a train to Onehunga but I am pretty sure that would be another option ?
        It would probably be Manukau to Puhinui transfer there to a train that goes via Penrose then go from Penrose to the station for the Onehunga train ? Not sure how that would compare time-wise on the new network to that bus option ?

        Also another option if you wanted to skip the gym for the day or add a bit of a walk would be walk Manukau to Puhinui and catch the train to Penrose from there. For a while as a little kid I used to do the Manukau to Puhinui Rd walk to the school – on my little legs it took 15-20 mins taking the long way round (safer road crossings then) and I would guess you’d have to add another 10 to the station from past the school – so a fit adult would do it in 20 -30 mins I would say. It would not be the quickest way but if you were a keen walker and wanted some fresh air it would be doable ……….or a cyclist ……….

          1. Excellent point – I have two questions:
            1) how easy is it to make that trip now?
            2) what do you think is the best way to provide that link?

            In answering #2 I’m particularly interested in how the proposed network could be adapted.

          2. Currently you could catch either the 327, 328, 347 or 348. These aren’t particularly direct, but they are much quicker than the proposed route 30. I reckon that the best way to provide the link would be to create a new frequent route that follows the route of 30 from Manukau to Papatoetoe, then follows the 31 to Mangere and then follows the 30 to Onehunga. The 30 could then be shortened to Manukau-Papatoetoe-Airport-Mangere, and the 31 could terminate at Papatoetoe. This would provide a quick direct link between Manukau, Papatoetoe, Mangere and Onehunga, and would minimize route duplication.

          3. You would then lose one change journeys to the airport from the Onehunga crosstowns.
            The 348 timetabled at 50 minutes, certainly going via Syliva will be no worse. Just an issue of legibility. AT will need to work hard to ensure people know how they can utilise the frequent network as well as it allows people to.
            The current bus services are so bad that a majoirty of journeys have huge improvements, and only isolated cases like Hunters Corner to Ellerslie, and Onehunga to Manukau that have mild inconvenience.
            Being positive use the joinery planner from Otara to Mangere. Currently one bus an hour, which now goes to one bus every 15 minutes. Huge improvement.

          4. I wouldn’t call this a minor inconvenience. Considering the number of people who travel between these places, it seems like a reasonably major issue; either having to take a ridiculously indirect 30 or change multiple times to get between Onehunga and Manukau.

          5. It worth noting that the current Manukau to Onehunga/CBD buses regularly run late from my experience (at least by the time they reach Onehunga). Drivers have told me they often get stuck in traffic in Mangere. I suspect part of the reason for this is the windy route these buses take through Mangere, which perhaps is a reason they should look at straightening out the proposed route of the 30.

            I once attempted to make my way to Onehunga from the airport via the 380 and Manukau Onehunga buses. It was a Sunday and it took me over two hours. That journey at least will be a lot faster with the new network.

            People are not expecting direct buses everywhere – thats a straw man argument in this context. What is being suggested is that there is likely to be an expectation there will be direct connections between major transport centres, that being either a direct service or max one transfer.

            I raised the issue of improving Onehunga/Otahuhu connections above – this would be one way to ensure a one transfer connection from Onehunga to Manukau that avoided windy Mangere and got passengers onto the rail network for more of the journey, particularly if Manukau trains ran on the Eastern line. Don’t mean to be a struck record on this, but this discussion is helping me clarify issues for when I give AT some feedback πŸ™‚

          6. The implementation of AT HOP for buses should start giving a much better picture of PT use in Auckland, which should therefore give a better understanding of how to fine tune services to meet needs. Right?

      1. Half of the Hillsborough Road crosstown will go on from Onehunga to Otahuhu , however that means only hourly inter-peak, and half hourly peak.
        Thats part of the central consultation though.
        Agree that probably should be improved, but that will be something for future funding. Going via Sylvia Park won’t be too bad on frequent network though, 18 minutes bus to Syliva and 20 minute train to Manukau. Certainly no worse than at the moment.

    2. Train every 10 minutes to Sylvia Park, bus every 15 to Onehunga. Or go via the airport if you want a single seat ride. Or wait til the CRL is In and then catch 3 trains?

  27. Will the Otahuhu bus interchange be built BEFORE (or at the same time that) they change the South Auckland network? I would hope and assume so as the area is a traffic bottleneck on Walmsley Rd and Mangere Rd. Bus lanes or bus priority measures would be useful around here.

  28. I understand the need to “tidy up” the South Auckland bus network. However, I am also a staunch supporter of the 477X, and am disappointed this service is being terminated. I can definitely say the earlier timings of this bus are faster than the current train service. I catch the bus at 6:20a.m from Southmall and am at my office (on Symonds Street) by 6:45-6:50a.m. The 477x services have high patronage and meets specific needs for its travellers. I will accept the inconvenience of added time to my journey if I am not being forced to pay extra for it. As I live in Wattle Downs, my monthly bus pass covers my bus from Wattle Downs to Southmall in the morning (and then for the 477x into town), then back again in the afternoon. Will I not have to pay more now to use both bus and train? Would love if this could be clarifed. If I am to incur higher costs, I may be able to mitigate (but only slightly) by getting off at Te Mahia station and waiting to be picked up by partner on his way home from work (which is not the most reliable due to his flexi hours)…but that wouldn’t really matter anyway as Te Mahia station will no longer be in existance. Happy to accept if I am wrong but would love to know a bit more…

    1. Mandy, the whole of Auckland is getting new systems. Including a zone fare system where everyone will only pay once for their whole journey no matter how many separate trips or vehicles it is make it up. Just like in London if you’ve been there.

  29. Thanks Patrick re clarification of fares…never been to London but my brother works for Metronet so can consult with him…do you know if there has there been discussion yet regarding an increase in prices under the new zoning system?

    1. The zone system will presumably be designed to be cost-neutral across the board, in practice some trips may go up a bit while others go down.

      1. HI Nick too crowded can’t fit on those buses normally – most my mates who do prams and central city buses don’t if
        they can help it or do what I do and small strollers which sometimes can be folded up
        if you can juggle the child etc and the bus waits at the stop for you to do that.
        But can you imagine the other commuters being to happy about that – judging by past history and this blog I doubt it – would be pretty selfish of me
        to expect them to either. Its not so bad when toddler is old enough to be stroller-free (3.5 -4 by the time they set for that – esp my random
        boy the daughter was less prone to random acts of traffic!) but will be a 4-5 month old for this set of fun
        and even a little stroller (which I use now) for that age is not recommended. Can often wait for a few to pass
        and then get one but then again thats time too, have found waiting for links etc when alone the 15 min gap can
        be none none none 40 mins then bang bang bang 3 – so I am not so sure if that will improve for the other buses. Besides if the walk didn’t
        eat into time I need to be elsewhere and I wasn’t too tall for the stroller it would be the only bonus in the whole thing as I enjoy walking a lot !
        up the opportunity to walk is the one thing I like about this whole thing – as walking is fun !

        If I do decide its worth a test run in our bright new world I shall certainly do a more extensive set of logistics extrapolation tests on the whole thing I shall have a look at the buses closer
        -however as you said to John how can you judge the new timetable based on the OLD ! But trying it out with the current buses would be the best approximation I could
        currently do.

        1. The bus transit time is not what you have to consider. You have to consider waiting time. If the buses are every 15 minutes, you could have a waiting time of 15 minutes. Add to that the scheduled 9 minutes is 24. I am with jjay. If I end up having to train to Britomart, I will almost certainly just walk up. I can *plan* that time; I can’t plan when the bus comes.

          But i don’t have a pushchair to handle.


          1. John. I regularly go up the hill from Britomart to the Uni the B line buses are far faster regardless of the wait and that is for a fit 20 something.

            Also, I fail to see how Britomart comes into your trip. You are doing the NZTA thing and trying to make the improvements sound as unattractive as possible. Catching the bus from Nwmarket or Parnell you would be at uni before you were at Britomart.

          2. John, take a look on Symonds St next time you catch a bus at the sheer volume of them headed to Newmarket,

            According to the draft RPTP buses will run between the university and Newmarket at 32 an hour at peak times, so the wait time will be two minutes at worst, or in reality almost no perceptible wait time at all.

          1. Hey Bryce – I will take that as a compliment πŸ™‚ Many of my friends and family call me crazy
            which is probably more apt (mind you then the next step is them telling me get another car!). And its so awesome to hear from
            someone else who does it with their little ones – it is an awesome way
            to get just a little more time with them each day – prime motivating force for why I choose to – tell me how you worked it
            – was it carry or walk ?

            I do take a stroller and I guess I am a veteran of doing it now (?) as I have done it
            for 2 kids over 7 years (one at a time!) and with a little surprise on the way
            I am grappling with the logistics of ……well everything currently !

            In the first place when I started I looked slings – that wasn’t so practical as I needed
            a nappy, spare clothes, lunch bag for bub and stuff for me and I struggled a bit esp
            with a bigger heavier baby. Our walk home from our old place was 15 mins walk with stroller too
            and 25 mins or so with a random 2-3 year old along a busy road and a handful of bags but I did ditch the stroller with my girl
            from near 4 and that was ok and (when it wasn’t raining) a nice girly and me stroll
            (and a manic crazy laughing run when I carried her in the pouring rain while the bags bobbed behind us!).
            That made it a lot easier too transport-wise but then we started again from scratch with a new bub !

            I did a bit of research at the time too – to figure out if it was safer for them to be loose or in a stroller
            but of course they do want to be cuddled anyway. You can fold a stroller down too in tight space
            areas but you do need a kind pair of hands to take bub while you fold for that to work well. I also choose the smallest
            stroller I could – an umbrella one – its a pain to push if you are tall like I am as I am way too tall for it
            but it fits better and is foldable so it wins out. Could not do it with anything bigger I don’t think -not easily ?

            To be honest though it probably only worked for me as I managed to get on a bus
            that was at most a couple of people standing if I caught the right bus
            and not the earlier one so we were not too much in the way.
            Also a set of pretty tolerant regular drivers and a number of people who turned out
            to be highly supportive. In fact I have really been lucky to have had such amazing
            customer service from those drivers over the years… I wish I could give them
            a Xmas bonus !

            I had someone I know who did it on the trains for a bit but
            did not get that same experience and then gave it up made some major other changes and
            – then ended up going the second car route.

            I think when things are very full on buses and trains a stroller is optimistic – though then there is the logistics of
            carrying everything plus baby at the other end – super super keen to tell me how that worked for you
            and for tips ?? Certainly how do you work it in on the standing room to pretty full crowded buses and trains ?
            I am trying to figure out how best to work that out now – so if you have tips that would be nice to hear ?

          2. I just used the backpack but never at peak times. Too hard to even think about. Well done.

          3. Thanks Bryce πŸ™‚

            Backpack is a great idea – we brought one with high hopes for our kiddies but both of them threw screaming fits about using it
            so that was that πŸ™‚

  30. Hey, can anyone tell me where to find how many carriages are actually used on trains on the southern line at present?

    and what the planned numbers are?

    1. You would probably have to ask AT or Veolia for that, at the moment they run quite a mix of train types and combinations to getting an exact handle on it probably requires the latest operational schedule.

      1. I did, since I was upstairs at britomart today πŸ™‚ According to a platform helper (since the ticket people couldn’t answer) it is 4 or 5 carriages, usually 5 at peak. Which was slightly surprising since the NZADL description on Wikipedia said paired carriages, with 1 powered.

        Which also means that 4 powered in the new system isn’t as much better as it sounded.

        1. The ADLs are only a small fraction of the trains running. The majority are sets of 4 to 6 SA carriages hauled by locomotives.

          The new electric trains will come in 3-car sets, with 2 powered and 1 unpowered. The longest trains in peak time will be 2 of those units – 6 cars long. The cars are also larger and carry more passengers than the current trains.

          1. Yeah, 4.333333333 more apparently. πŸ™‚ How do you fit 1/3 of a person into a carriage?

            Better hope they’re running 6 on the southern for ALL peak runs, otherwise there would actually be a substantial reduction in carrying capacity.

          2. What’s with this 4.33333 business? That joke would make more sense if I knew where you were getting that number from.

            As far as I know the plan is to use 6 car sets for all the peak runs on the Eastern, Southern and Western lines, each line running every 10 minutes. So more trains and each with significantly more capacity than now.

  31. @SteveD “The new trains have a capacity for 373 people, or 746 when paired up” 373/3 = 124.333333 Of course, while the SA carriages might be smaller, the ADL are supposed to fit 130, so in that case they are actually 5.6666667 smaller.

    But now that I have numbers, I’ll crunch them. Let’s see if I can find peak train occupancy per trip at peak on the southern line somewhere πŸ™‚

  32. Ok to quote from the AT info
    “Train services

    There will be trains at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week, from Puhinui, Papatoetoe, Middlemore and Otahuhu to Britomart. At a later date there will be trains to and from Manukau and Papakura at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week. There will be trains to and from Onehunga every 30 minutes.”

    This does not actually say that Manurewa and Papakura will be getting the 6 trains an hour from the start of the changes ??? Not sure what a “later date” means a month later a year later etc ?
    One would assume (without benefit of the timetable) that the peak trains will run far more frequently than that from a start – any idea where I could find more detailed info to confirm that ?
    I am hoping the trains come into play in full force before the bus services are decommissioned ……..

    Our drivers have now told us they have been told services end 2015 so perhaps that allows a little bit of overlap ?

    Also anyone keen to hazard a guess on what they mean by “small buses” in the following quote ?
    “β€’Smaller buses are likely to be used on Local and Connector routes in areas such as Papakura and Manurewa.”
    given we already have a lot of big buses with narrow aisles with limited pram room I am hoping they
    we are not going supersmall here like the ones I think they might be referring to ? Would love a link to a picture if anyone seen the buses they referring to here

  33. Well, that was a pretty much useless search, curse you google.

    The raw data used to produce this:

    This looks like it would have good data too:

    Might have been vaguely relevant. But Patronage Peak occupancy, which is what you would need for capacity planning.

    Let’s see what happens if I assume standing room full and sitting full.

    Let’s see

    5 carriages at 68 / 130 people each = 340 and 650 respectively

    5 x per hour is the current coverage

    1700 and 3250 per hour respectively.

    6 carriages at 125 = 750
    Let’s assume that sitting is 50%

    375 and 750

    6x per hour

    2250 and 4500 per hour respectively

    Let’s try best and worst case deltas

    1700 growing to 4500 = 265%
    3250 to 2250 = 69%

    Well, if we limit it to sitting only, we’d be screwed.

    Lets look at the 265% then
    Hmm, 4 years at 25% growth.

    Guess we don’t want to lose 5% then grow at 30%, or we’d better have some spare carriages already

    shifting 10% of the bus trips to the train would increase the train capacity requirement by ~50% all by itself

    That pretty much eats the capacity increase to the same percentage of occupancy immediately

  34. PS – a friend (fellow bus rider) comments:

    Having now had a close look at the AT info for our area (South Manurewa/Papakura/Takanini)
    in terms of 15 mins frequency bus routes there seems to be only 4 for south ?
    The connector services or local routes are 30 min or 60 mins frequencies –
    looks v. similar to old timetable (or the current one I should say) perhaps increases in the weekends (e.g. some 30s are 60s I think), also truncation of the Wattle downs route at Manurewa not Manukau so there’s probably a significant loss of busses inadvertantley running through to Manukau that do now.
    Only really difference I noted was that there were a couple of new routes which go via to Karaka and Addison etc which have been newly built since last time they did a rejig……….
    The major difference is the long haul routes along the Great South and Expresses

    Also its not clear from AT how the trains will run yet either ??
    to QUOTE …..
    “Train services
    There will be trains at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week, from Puhinui, Papatoetoe, Middlemore and Otahuhu to Britomart. At a later date there will be trains to and from Manukau and Papakura at least every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week. There will be trains to and from Onehunga every 30 minutes.”
    So thats not the same as 6 trains an hr ? We already (through Manurewa) have 5 per hour peak
    so in fact there is no clarity in the info AT is making publicly available to those who wish to
    make a submission that there’s actually to be more trains ??
    So confusing – anyway 2015 gives us enough time to win lotto and give up this commuting lark
    ……………..or start our own little company with a couple of mini-buses – ……

    I myself have to be at work by 7:30, so more frequent trains after 7AM don’t do a lot of good.


    1. There are currently trains at 10 min frequencies between 6am and 7am, just because someone mentions a plan for between 7am-7pm of course that doesn’t mean nothing will run outside of those hours.

      You really are bending over backwards to find fault; simply coming across as a change-phobic paranoid.

      1. Ooh, John must really be getting to you.

        He simply stated that an increase outside the time period he travels would be of no help to him. He made absolutely no observation about what was going on with in it.

        Currently running at 10 minute intervals would be 6/hour.
        We’ve been told it’s 5/hour.

        Which is it?

        If it’s currently 6/hour, then the supposed peak capacity increase is significantly smaller (~600 vs ~1000) that would otherwise be the case.
        If it’s currently 5/hour, then why are you saying 6?

        1. Au contraire, I’m perfectly serene, just trying to help someone determined not to see…

          As for your math, timetable says 6tph at the peaks for Papakura when I last looked, no idea what configuration of the current old bangers they run, nor whether they keep to this.

          I do know that the new trains when up and running [2015, I figure] at will have more capacity, be quicker and more reliable and the that the promised schedule, and will offer a vast improvement in frequency.

          I am also optimistic that electrification will be extended to Pukekohe sooner rather than later because 1. it is a very cost effective improvement, and 2. huge amounts of greenfields land along the line are being earmarked for new housing supply. And that this will make for another level of service improvement South fairly directly after the coming one.

          Furthermore if the new trains do quickly fill up, as you seem to be suggesting, that will the best and most compelling argument for yet more services and even higher frequencies.

          1. Serene? You called him “… a change-phobic paranoid …” I had a great uncle who was an actual paranoid. I don’t think I’ve seen anything that would even remotely suggest that John is one.

            He also doesn’t actually strike me as being particularly change phobic.
            He has managed to articulate clearly the problems he has with the proposed changes.
            I understand many of them myself.

            It is likely that many of those issues would eventually be addressed. But without details and the ability to experiment, he is quite sensibly drawing on 3 decades of experience to draw conclusions.

            Hell, I’m not forty yet, but I’m already finding things happening that I’ve already lived through once before.

          2. “…just trying to help someone determined not to see.”

            Patrick, not sure if you are referring to me or to Roger. What, precisely, do you imagine one of us is determined not to see??

            As for me, I can see the many advantages on the whole of the new system. I am simply pointing out that for me, and for a number of my fellow long-run southern bus passengers, the new system is not advantageous.

            What I don’t see – and I assure you, it is not a matter of any determination on my part not to see – is how those general advantages mean that I myself (and a number of others) will not be disadvantaged.

            This latter point is, undoubtedly, selfish – in the sense that I am thinking of the only person, after all, for whom I am responsible: me. It is not selfish in that I am claiming – as I am not – that the changes should not be made so that my ride will continue as it is. I am not suggesting that. I have, indeed, suggested they might be able to afford to continue at least the commute-time bus runs from Pukekohe – but if they cannot see their way to do so, then so be it.

            But it doesn’t change the fact that under any form of change that I can see, I – and a significant number of others – will be worse off.

            jj “Blind as a Bat”

          3. @Sailor Boy


            At last TRY to use realistic numbers.

            Not every person in Auckland uses, or would every choose to use public transport.
            In fact, a first order approximation of usage would probably be nearer 10% or 100 to 150 thousand people.
            assuming 2 trips per day every working day and ~5.3 million PT trips in Feb (since I saw that in the council report for Feb last night).

            Which means that your magic 10,000 (got a reference for it?) would actually translate to 6-10% of current users, and maybe 3-5% of any likely patronage in the near future.

            Which is in fact a SIGNFICANT portion, especially given that those currently using the services are those most likely to want to do so.

      2. I’m not trying to find fault at all. I am only saying that my commute will be much worse in the new scheme, and I am not alone.

        Are there really trains at 10-minute intervals from Pukekohe before 7?? If I took the train on the current timetable I would have to take the 5:36AM. You are saying there are trains from Pukekohe at 5:46, 5:56, 6:06 … ????


    2. John,

      The services you refer to operate at a minimum of 15, 30, and 60 minute frequencies between 7am-7pm. During peak hours they will often operate at much higher frequencies, and they will often continue to operate beyond the minimum 7am-7pm span.

      I can assure you that frequencies on the new network are, on average, much higher than the current. How do I know this? Well, because AT is proposing to reduce the number of routes by a factor of three, while maintaining overall coverage. Hence, each individual route in the new network will, on average, operate three times more frequently than the current network average.


      1. HI Stu …..
        Saw your comment – that’s interesting to know ….of course there’s maybe 3 or so new routes South into Greenfield’s/Developing areas
        so I guess that addition must also be factored in. I suppose in areas where not so much new building outwards is going on
        this factors in play will be different too – possibly more consolidation rather than addition of routes ? But areas with new builds need new routes
        as well to service those areas.

        Also the zero operational balance constraint – I was assuming that’s worked out per region – e.g. South, North, East, West, Central
        to cover the big 5 ? Is that correct ?

        1. Hi JJay,

          Yes you’re generally correct. My comment on frequencies above is “on average” so don’t interpret it too literally with regard to individual routes. Nonetheless, the RPTP indicated that three times as many people would live within coeee of frequent service in the new network, which seems to correspond nicely with the route-level analysis.

          Now, in terms of the operational cost, my understanding is that AT were aiming for a zero increase across the whole region. From a look at what has been proposed, I would suggest the south is a winnner – insofar as its overall service levels seem to have been increased. That is especially true when you factor in the additional rail frequency the south will receive with electrification and new EMUs, which is not available on the North Shore, for example. It makes sense, to me the south “wins”, however, because the Unitary Plan expects that the south (in conjunction with the north-west) will accommodate much of the city’s greenfield growth.

          Observing that the south gets more service, however, is not to say that other sub-regions will necessarily receive less service. Remember that this network is being developed, consulted on, and implemented over a 3 year period, during which time total PT budgets are projected to increase, So it may be that the south – and perhaps other sub-regions – can “win”, while the remaining sub-regions receive at least as much service as they currently enjoy, albeit re-structured to align with the strategic intent of the new network.

          Basically I’m saying that I’d expect all sub-regions would receive as much service as they do now (especially in terms of effective service, i.e. service that takes people where they want to go). That’s not to say that the proportion of service allocated to each sub-region is the same under the new network – as you would expect this proportion will shift based on changes in the population distribution and transport network across the city.


          1. Well that clarified some of my wondering………
            A whole Auckland balance probably weighs for the inner suburbs if you assume higher population density there and lower outer combined with more long haul trips outer that cost more to run and on paper it looks attractive to balance a couple of short inner with loss of a few outer long hauls as they serve a higher potential coverage. However whole Auckland balance then weighs against the inner suburbs in terms of the distribution of the cost load for establishment and running of new routes which are likely to predominate in new areas of development on the outer fringes of Auckland where no current public transport services used to exist – after all while the cows that used to inhabit the fields around the South did not really catch buses quite as much as the average Aucklander the rows of houses there now are filled with will do (and I think cows may also have technical issues with the AThop). And it certainly opens up options to allow people who cannot afford to run a car or cannot drive etc to choose those areas as places to live (though I note houses in Karaka seem to have a cost range from 750K to over 1 million so I guess there would have to be spare change for the mortgage still).

            Perhaps for the Weymouth residents the fact Karaka gets its own bus route means they are less likely to get that major arterial route and bridge through their suburb and I can imagine that those who expressed concern about wetland/animals in relation to the bridge would also be hoping that. At the least I suppose they can argue a new on\off ramp and bus route gives alternative options and may mitigate congestion there. Assuming uptake of course…….

            Though the new routes and costs does bring up another query – are their developers levies for public transport ? I know the Addision guys would have contributed towards the station the area wanted but that was a offered to help pay not a must pay situation. I guess Addision makes do with a bus service now … seems to stop in Takanini station – and it probably costs AT a lot less to make that station safer etc and capable of taking more people than it would to build a giant overbridge.

  35. John if everybody else in Puke feels the same we could save a huge amount of money and cancel the train service altogether.

    It could be replaced by a bus service running hourly (to save money) all the way into town.

    1. And I know d**n well that John has carefully limited his statements to things that affect HIM, or “A COUPLE OF HUNDRED PEOPLE” at most.

      Does everyone here really want to start the exaggerating and making stuff up game?

      I can play that game if you want.

      It’s not beneficial, but I can sure as hell play it.

    2. They certainly do not. The trains from Pukekohe are well-used. There are, nevertheless, some couple of hundred (my guess) for whom the trains do not work as well as the bus, and for some of those the trains will not work at all.


      1. Unfortunately not all journeys can be catered for, but I’m sure council could run a single bus a day into the city and back for those that refuse to use the train, at cost.

        1. I should point out that I use the bus rather than the train not because I refuse to the use the train but because the bus is much better for me. That is true for most of those other riders; for some it is only way.

          That said, it would be good if they did, indeed, keep a few commute-time buses going. I have suggested it in my submission.


  36. interesting debates,it appears that those rail advocates seem to know more about bus scheduling than those who use the services daily for over 20 buses serve a completely different market to that of the railways not to dupilicate or compete with.just think of the kapiti commuter and runciman commuter buses in wellington…

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