With elections coming up we are bound to get the odd political hopeful throwing out the old line that we are a harbour city so if we want to improve public transport we should be thinking about investing in more ferries. It’s an idea that sounds really good in theory but as always, it the reality is sometimes a little different. Well the other day I went along to a talk by Douglas Hudson, the CEO of Fullers, about what opportunity he/Fullers see for ferries in the future. As I’m sure you can imagine it was quite an interesting talk and helped to confirm many of my thoughts on the subject. I’m going to break this post down into a few of the key areas he covered.

Auckland Ferry Performance

People often love to point to the Sydney ferries in particular as a great example of what we should be doing. If you look at a map of the ferries you see services going all over the place with services extending all the way from Manly in the North East of the harbour through to Parramatta in the west. The ferries carry about 14.8 million passengers a year which is quite substantial but when you put it in the context that there are about 551 million PT trips a year you realise the less than 3% of all PT trips take place on ferries. With a population of about 4.7 million it means that on average there are about 3.1 trips per year per capita in the Sydney area.

Another Australian city that Douglas raised was Brisbane which runs services along the Brisbane River. Yet despite being free yet there were only about 1.2 million trips on them last year. That is less than 1% of the total PT patronage and about 0.5 trips per person per year.

So how does Auckland compare? Well we have about 5.5 million ferry trips a year yet when you compare the figures for percentage of PT trips and per capita trips, we perform better than both Sydney and Brisbane.

Auckland Ferry Performance

Further as well as performing better when looking at patronage, Douglas says we also perform much better from financial point of view. As many of you will know the Devonport and Waiheke routes are fully commercial services while the other routes in Auckland tend to have fairly high farebox recovery. The reason for this high farebox recovery is that our ferry companies also run a number of tourist services meaning many of the operating and capital costs are currently able to spread across those. They will use their boats in the morning to do a few commuter runs and then during the middle of the day those same boats will be whisking tourists to many of the destinations around the gulf. The downside of course is that there are no or limited off peak services.

Operating Issues

While our ferries are apparently more financially efficient due to the use of the boats off peak for commercial tourist services, it does mean there aren’t any boats to provide off peak services. In addition we would ideally want more frequent peak services too. To do this it means that we would need to have a lot more boats and they don’t come cheap at $7-8 million each (he said a new boat was currently under construction in Wanganui which will be here in about a year). Further and perhaps most importantly over the long run is that there wouldn’t be the option to spread the operating costs out like what currently happens thanks to the tourist services. This means that effectively all of the operating costs would need to be paid for out of the PT budget, dramatically increasing the amount we would need to spend overall.

I have also heard it suggested that we should try using smaller, cheaper and quicker vessels instead of the larger ones we tend to use. In response to this Douglas pointed out a number of issues. We have quite a decent tidal range. As a comparison Sydney has a range of 1m while in Auckland the range is 3.5m. In addition the inner harbour tends to be more exposed and have stronger swells. All of this combined means that smaller vessels become much harder to dock in adverse conditions with the wharf so the larger vessels are needed to be able to keep reliability/speed up. As it is he said some routes have up to 30% of services cancelled a year due to weather which presents additional problems as people who are willing to give ferries a go often eventually give up due to reliability issues.

One major issue for ferries is that they tend to have a limited catchment due to half (or more) of it being water. This makes it very hard to attract lots of trips without either feeder bus services or heaps of car parking. Also due to their nature as a mode of choice and he said ferries are much more of a choice that people choice to make compared other PT modes and he cited that surveys show about 30% of ferry passengers are earning over $80k per year. In the area where I disagreed with what he said the most he then went on to talk about how he thinks many people will only catch a ferry if they can drive to it pointing out that around half of all people who use the park n ride at Devonport drive there from less than 1km away. Based on this he is suggesting that expanding park n rides at ferry terminals is needed to really increase patronage although he did admit that was all but impossible to do these days on prime waterfront land. Personally I think a vastly improved bus network – like what is being proposed – and integrated fares that include ferries will really make it much easier to use ferries.

Routes

Perhaps the most interesting comments – and ones I agreed with a lot – are that he doesn’t really see much opportunities for expansion of ferry services. As we have pointed out here in the past, all of the really useful and easy routes have already been done. Other routes mooted would generally require a lot of money to be spent and potentially a lot of wharf infrastructure e.g. a ferry wharf at St Heliers would extend about 500m out to sea for it to be deep enough. There are currently a couple of routes proposed by various people including services from Te Atatu, Takapuna and Brown’s Bay but each presents some significant challenges. He said that a rough estimate for any Takapuna is that it would need about 400 passengers each peak and would need two additional boats. To put that in perspective, the most recent screenline survey suggests only Devonport and Waiheke services have higher peak patronage.

ferry-passengers

As such Douglas said he thinks the real opportunity is to improve the existing routes through higher frequencies but to do that it would obviously require buying and running more boats but also require making it easier for passengers to get to the ferry terminals.

Auckland Ferry Routes 2

This also seems to be the position of the Ministry of Transport, well at least on the potential to expand ferry services. The extract below is from an OIA request I got back recently and the document was providing background information to Gerry Brownlee.

Mot Position

Share this

110 comments

  1. I do sometimes wonder if there’s a place for a ferry between some of the western beach suburbs/townships and Onehunga, as feeders to the train. For people in places like Huia and Laingholme the ferry trip would be about as long as it can take them to get to the NW Motorway, and then the rail journey to town from Onehunga would be certainly no longer than it takes to get into the CBD. May not be enough of a catchment, though, and I don’t know if the Manukau Bar would prove to be a problem.

    1. Yes, I was thinking about the same thing. Also, how about ferries from some parts of south Auckland (Karaka, Papkura, etc?) to Onehunga? I’m guessing there’s inadequate infrastructure so putting that up will be expensive. Plus, once the CFN comes up, then there might not be demand for ferry services in that area. Have there ever been ferries in the Manukau harbour?

        1. Although the original railway trackbed to the harbour remains in place and presumably could be relaid if anyone really wanted it.

          On the other hand if the Airport line is ever built alongside the motorway bridge then a ferry dock and railway platform could be constructed at that point on the Onehunga shoreline.

          Just a thought….

      1. There was a Manukau Ferry in the past. We had a xmas outing/ toured site visit from Weymouth to the Onehunga Bridge Project site about 5 years ago and the skipper knew quite a bit about it. Quite interesting. You don’t realise how big this harbour is till you get out on it and up the tidal inlets etc.

  2. I’m sorry but this article just comes across as propaganda from Fullers about why they should be left alone to run ferries as they see fit and outside of integrated fares. The fact that they see their PT role as basically making use of the ferries whilst not on tourist duty explains why they have such awful frequency on most routes outside of peak and pretty well non-existant service in the weekends. If ferries are ever to become part of the frequent transit network then this role has to become their primary role.

    1. Not at all. As said in the post the real opportunity is to improve existing services with more frequency and off peak but the issue is doing that won’t come cheap. It isn’t like adding a couple of buses to a run as the costs step up really quickly.

      1. Agreed – if we want more services, more ferries and integrated fares for the ferries, it is going to cost a fair bit of extra public money.

      2. Actually, it is like adding buses as long as you don’t use the Fullers business model of using big ferries. The Westpark and Pine harbour services have higher frequencies than many of Fullers services.

    2. The article looks to me like a splendid argument against making the ferries part of the primary transport network. They’re already carrying a far higher percentage of our PT users than comparable ferry systems in Australia, and doing it despite near-zero fare subsidies.
      As the article also observes, making them part of the FTN would involve enormous cost to ratepayers/taxpayers through subsidy of expensive hardware that cannot be offset through other profitable uses.

  3. Pine Harbour and West Harbour use little boats. I wonder how many of their services are cancelled due to weather? Also, I would expect their OPEX to be much lower than Fullers due to much lower crewing requirements and modern high speed efficient diesels. It would make for an interesting comparison.

        1. Smaller boats presumably however have much higher staffing costs per passenger carried. This is a far from irrelevant cost in PT.

          Does anyone know the number of staff on board of the smaller ferries, and how many people they can carry maximum?

          1. Not necessarily.

            The existing small boats can be operated with only a single staff member. The West Harbour water taxi holds about 50 I believe, while the Pine Harbour boats carry about 150.

            I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fullers ferry with less than a crew of three, even when they are carrying very few passengers.

    1. I’m interested in the potential of small ferries for lower draft and cheaper opex (Pine Harbour isn’t that small, West Harbour is), but it is fair to point out they both operate out of marinas with very extensive breakwater structures.

      1. The breakwater’s are only large because they for the entire marina complex. To build something similar just for ferries would require something far smaller.

        1. True, but the point is the cost of the breakwater (and the piers they operate from) is borne by the marina development, which makes setting up the ferry links more or less free in terms of capital expenditure on infrastructure.

  4. I think BBC raises a valid point. I’d contend that as long as the majority of of Auckland’s ‘profitable’ ferry routes are monopolised by Fullers, a company owned privately by a notoriously rapacious individual, then there’s absolutely no chance of them being part of an intelligent, integrated network. Souter’s companies work on the basis of minimal capital investment and a maximum return to the shareholder, no matter all the spin and flummery from local management. It’s an incredibly successful business model; it’s also a disastrous way of operating PT and, frankly, the sooner the whole thing is taken into direct public ownership, the better.

    1. Presumably, if I had a ferry free, I could operate a Waiheke service tomorrow, and create competition – that’s the advantage of commercial services, isn’t it? Of course in reality, it isn’t that easy, with berth space presumably the biggest non-financial constraint for a new player to enter the game…

      1. I agree with Christopher T here. We shouldn’t be letting any of Fullers’s routes be exempt from the PTOM. All routes should be centrally contracted in the same way that bus and rail routes will be.

        1. Agree all Public Transport needs to be under central control by Auckland Transport. Contracted by number of services per route or km/nautical miles. Routes and frequencies can change by some measure and value contract and a way that opens up opportunities to new players if they have the plant/etc. This is everything. Ferries, Trains, Buses. This way optimum routes can be moved around at will and best served to suit the needs of the PT Network which will be a majority mode share in total by a long way if given a fair nudge like what is suggested. Some thought also to phasing in greener plant (in the control of Auckland Transport) -probably as a proportion once patronage soars and revenue goes into positive fast which it will if done right.

      2. History tells us that any attempt to operate in competition on the Waiheke service will quickly result in failure. This route is definitely seen as Fullers property.

    2. One of the impediments to alternative/competing ferry services starting up against Fullers is that company’s tight grip on farebox revenue. By ensuring the vast majority of fares are paid directly into their coffers instead of via Hop ensures that any competitor has great difficulty of a look in. The accurate passenger numbers is also kept from scrutiny. This is particularly true of the two “commercial” services.
      If Fullers was made to use hop for all fares the power they exhibit in the sector could be checked. It would also mean that another operator could set up services with AT hop derived fares. What is needed is action by AT and the Government to require Fullers to use Hop as their ticketing system instead of their restrictive ticketing systems.
      Instead I suspect it is put in the ‘too hard’ basket and an incorrect assumption that those who can travel on ferries are all affluent and therefore can afford whatever charge is levied.

  5. I like how he points out the average income of their passengers is over $80k – that’s because only the rich can afford to live in Devonport, Bayswaters and Waiheke. Its natural that anyone one who lives next to a coastal area, a prerequisite for a ferry service, will be in the more well off demographic.

    1. Ah, but if we suspend the facts and subscribe to the neo-liberal ‘trickle-down’ myth, then, hypothetically, there should be ‘poor’ people attempting to use the ferry service; you know, all the cleaners, maids, cooks, gardeners, etc, that the rich employ. Of course, they can’t because the fares are set far too high (a minimum wage won’t extend to that sort of transportation) and off-peak services are crap, so they’re recruits to the cause of automobile dependent poverty.

    2. Plenty of Waiheke ferry custom is coming to Waiheke in the morning to work on the island as many cannot afford to live there. It works wonders for Fullers as boats don’t go empty against the commuter tide twice a day. Auckland Transport should grow a pair and take the ‘exempt services’ into the fares and planning network.

  6. Although they have their place the one problem that is hard to overcome is that ferries go to the nearest coast (where the wealthy tend to live who are less likely to use PT) and hence need additional public transport connections to the suburbs to be effective. This adds to the expense (and ferries are more expensive than the current bus fares per similar trip distance) and time of travel. There is little room for park and rides at most wharves as it is so as I see it they are at their limit of usefulness.

    1. I take the Bayswater ferry every day and Bayswater wharf has a LOT of empty space for PnR but I dont see that as a good use of the space. There has been a proposal to build apartments down at the Marina which has been opposed for a long time by the residents association, which I think is a shame. If there were a couple of hundred people living there, I am sure a sizeable proportion would take the ferry, especially if the apartments are built without minimum parking requirements.

      However, a better option is to make the wharf more accessible by PT and cycling. There is already a bus from Takapuna that greets each ferry and winds its way through the suburbs between Takapuna and Bayswater. There are actually still quite a few low income people living in the Bayswater area as there is Navy and social housing there, though I would say that 90% of the people on the ferry look like quite wealthy people, professional people or students.

      At peak times Bayswater only operates every 30mins and is very well patronised. Off peak it goes down to every 2 hours at times so there is latent capacity. The patronage can be expanded with better transport links but the ferry is only ever going to carry a small proportion of commuters.

      One of the biggest issues is that the predominantly highly paid residents have company cars and parking and therefore no motivation to use PT. I really think that supplying public transport passes to staff should be untaxed just like free parking – why cant that happen?

          1. Because we are an urban society with a rural mindset among our conservative politicians.

            [Not slagging rural mindsets. I have a lovely family which is very rural (and actually lives rurally, unlike an estimated 90% of NZ’s population). But they are worldly enough to understand that what’s good for rural isn’t the same thing as what’s good for urban areas].

          2. Good point. The UK company car tax changes of 2002 for example switched car tax liability rates from a mileage rate (drive more miles = pay less tax) to a CO2 g / km emissions rate (buy a more efficient / less polluting car = pay less tax). There’s nothing inherently liberal -v- conservative or rich -v- poor or business -v- employee or car -v- PT about making changes taxes to improve tax efficiency generally or incentivise transport efficiency or dis-incentivise pollution.

            So to reflect on your question.. where does the NZ paradigm of “private cars (and here, drive-up ferries too) -v- PT” come from? Sounds like snobbery to me, not wanting to share our wharfs or ferries with the great unwashed. What’s happened to us kiwis?! What’s peculiar about our circumstances that’s driving this nonsense? Especially in AK, where so many of us have lived in Europe or Asia. Are we happy to be backwards, a backwater.. 30 years behind the 8-ball? Our “100% pure NZ”.. what is it, nostalgia? Is that why our elected politicians (even the younger ones, Brewer and O’Connor) seem to be living in 1950s, pandering to Nimbys and a bygone age?

  7. As someone who lives a 2 min walk from a Ferry I can say the existing services are great. This has nothing to do with my bank balance and everything to do with convenience. I mean, why would I take my car or (if it were ever available) walk/cycle 5kms to the city when I can have 15 mins on the harbour for only $6.

    Of course its hard to bring that convenience to people that dont live on the coast, being a ferry and all, so the jealous left will just have to stick to the CRL 😀 😀

  8. Is there an opportunity to plumb Greenhithe into the Hobsonville service? How realistic would Albany be (with a bit of dredging) as the Massey campus is there?

    1. Greenhithe has a major issue that they only area with deepwater is a boatbuilders yard, they own the wharf, the land and the carparking area and probably don’t want commuters passing through their factory site.

      Albany would require mega dredging and still be far slower than taking the busway.

    2. Would be cheaper to put the Busway along Albany Expressway to Massey, then swing back to the town centre, and probably 30 minues faster to the city.

  9. It seems to be a somewhat chicken and egg situation here. We need the bus service re-organisation to ferry passengers to ferries – we can’t re-shape ferry structures until there is sufficient feeding capacity. That should happen by about late 2016, inshallah. (North Shore nimbys are notoriously good at blocking change, so I don’t count on anything).

    A more information about the economics and running structure of this transport platform would be useful.

  10. “…As it is he said some routes have up to 30% of services cancelled a year due to weather…”

    This figure really surprises me. The prevailing wind in NZ is a westerly, with strong northerlies to easterlies – and the accompanying swells – limited to large tropical depressions. I guess that weather that can cause a cancellation is weather that makes everyone sick, rather than weather that threatens the ferry itself. The services up the East Coast bays would be very vulnerable to an Easterly kick/slop (a good roll from the beam) and services to Waiheke to Beachland would feel a Northerly. The Waitemata west from Mission Bay/North Head however should be almost unaffected by any weather condition… I would like to see the route breakdown for this 30%.

    “…We have quite a decent tidal range. As a comparison Sydney has a range of 1m while in Auckland the range is 3.5m. In addition the inner harbour tends to be more exposed and have stronger swells. All of this combined means that smaller vessels become much harder to dock in adverse conditions with the wharf so the larger vessels are needed to be able to keep reliability/speed up…”

    As someone who spent twenty years as a commercial fisherman, I find this difficult to believe. How does the tidal range affect the vessels performance? The greater range may mean the need to dredge deeper channels, which restricts manoeuvrability, but any skipper worth his salary should be able to manage all but the most boisterous forty knot plus gale on the beam in a dredged channel in any 20m+ vessel. How often do you get a steady gale of that magnitude in Auckland? Not one third of the time for sure. Also, wind effect on a vessel is a factor of how much flat surface area is exposed. Sure, an underpowered 15m slab sided bus on a raft is going to find wind an issue but harbour ferries are typically low and narrow.

    All in all, I am sceptical that environmental factors are the real problem, rather than a tired “it’s just all to hard” excuse.

        1. The tide obviously does make large areas of the harbour difficult to access as well due to depth. At a low tide it’s not uncommon to see a trail of sand being dug up behind the boat in the Tamaki River when the Half Moon Bay ferry goes through.

      1. Well the Bayswater ferry doesnt look too technologically advanced, but the docking platform just moves up or down depending on the tide. This means the angle of the walkway from the boat up to the concrete area is increased/decreased depending on the tide but it is never a problem. Elderly people walk up it pretty comfortably.

        Doesnt seem too hard.

      2. Floating pontoons at the edge of the jetty / wharf. Magic things – constant height for all boats to dock at. Last one I did was constant at 700mm above the sea level – no matter what the sea level is.

  11. taking a holistic perspective we need to expand ferry services for two important reasons. Every bum on a ferry seat is another car off the road.(similar to the school holiday effect when suddenly we have uncongested roads.) the second reason is that all the capital comparisons fail to take into account the capital costs of providing roads and their maintenance. Waterways are free, roads are not. I also agree that small vessels should be looked at more closely.Fullers admits that they use their boats for other uses so they have a big boat mentality for a reason. They need to be able to put any of their boats on any run so yes they are designed for the worst case run, to waiheke and out to sea.

    1. Actually the existing roads are free we have already built them we just need to reprioritise the network based on best use of space with some paint. I think ferries have a great role to play but don’t think it will get up to 50% mode share like buses feeding into the rail network/and or motorway system.

  12. What does a North Western busway mean for any potential ferry expansion to Te Atatu peninsular? (given its was identified as one of the only viable options)

      1. I’d read (on this site, actually) of a study a few years ago which identified it as an option for expansion (one of only about 3). But you’ve answered my question (which I pretty much knew the answer for anyway)

    1. How many lanes on the NW do we actually need if we fired up the network as I’m suggesting in one go using existing road widths. If 30% then 50% mode share achieved? Not to shoot down a PT project but along the same lines with the current regional transport model like AMETI and Pakuranga Highway. With paint/signals isn’t doing the whole network better bang for buck and sooner like now?

      1. For the extra money on this project crikey add it to phasing in a green fleet on the express buses first. Again I volunteer to get the bus/truck stencil out. Lanes done next project? Sorry all roading projects are fair game unless someone can argue some logic against what I am proposing not just political barriers.

        1. Say within 1 year 50% mode share fully utilising 1 lane only. So we use the left over on the motorway for what exactly?

          1. Again the biggest barrier we have is not being able to visualise the dream as we already have the infrastructure and probably enough buses (1000). Crikey given the mandate would be happy to mark each bus/truck stencil myself for free as can see this is the right thing for our city to do right now. But would be quicker if we got all the roadmarking crews on it. Ideally marking for cycle lane at the sametime on key routes and fix up some past poor judgement-back towards some past 1960s thinking and getting other mode networks up and running. The irony is it helps the car mode fastest by unit subtraction.

  13. The best thing we could do to improve the ferry network is to have a 30 minute off-peak frequency for all routes, and a 15 minute off-peak frequency for the Devonport run.

  14. I’ve recently been wondering if ferries could serve a useful purpose around the inner Waitamata to blud links between West Auckland and the upper Shore. Put in useful bus links from Shore wharfs linking them with Takapuna, Wairau and such.

    1. Takapuna to town on a train would be 12 minutes. The current buses take about 20 to Britomart even in traffic. The Devonprt ferry takes 15 minutes and the Taka route would be 3 times longer at least. There would need to be an enormous breakwater, both ends of that beach are the 2 busiest surfing spots on the Shore, and the northern Reef is tapu. There will never be a ferry at Takapuna.

      1. I don’t mean a wharf at Takapuna, I mean “cross town” links from West to Shore via the Inner Waitemata Harbour, with bus lines linking the inner Waitemata wharfs with Shore destinations.

        1. Would still be far quicker to take the bus/train. A busway along the NW motorway, and rail/busway to takpuna is much faster and serves far more trips.

  15. There used to be a wharf at St Heliers I think in the past. I wonder if a narrow pontoon type wharf could be built for bugger all. It would help directly with Tamaki Drive and would open this catchment with a pleasurable fix. Be it long wouldn’t rule it out.

  16. 1901
    St Heliers reports only 24 residents. The area is known for its farming, tourism and some residential, relying on ferries to the city from St Heliers Bay wharf. The Devonport Steam Ferry Company runs to Orakei, Kohimarama and St Heliers up until 1925, and the wharf was demolished in 1930.

  17. The pontoon length also gives recreational boat owners something to tie up to ( AT could sell day pass to dock there) . Really think would be a good thing for St Heliers and be a good boost to PT at the far end of Tamaki Drive. I don’t think a silver bullet fix but a good addition.

  18. Narrow floating pontoons and one row of piles to suit-setup for the smaller-medium passenger craft. St Heliers, Kohi, Mission Bay and Orakei (put pontoons off the end of the existing wharf) why not-routes go directly past this as it is and it was the primary route in the past. From checking google above there were already wharves at Kohi and St Heliers. Tourist use and commuter, recreational boaties for tieing up, even space for some fishing. And good idea Bryce get the coastal engineers to work in something-hidden coherent with sand retention into the same structures.

  19. Actually for the Kohi and St Heliers ones we could reinstate the old wharves as emergency works. Ok maybe it took us 83 years to do but still reinstating existing use rights.

  20. Ignoring a;ll of the Fullers bashing and ferry routing, is it possible that Auckland’s better ferry performances are due to the fact that the other PT options aren’t great in comparison with Auckland and Brisbane? If trains headed to the shore and south eastern Auckland I’d imagine a drop off in ferry patronage and a significant reduction in the percentage of PT use it currently represents.

    1. Its pretty simple, almost all ferry patronage is carried on the Devonport and Waikeke runs. The rest is windowdressing. Waiheke is an island with zero alternatives, Devonport a long peninsula with one road and very little alternative. No train line would change that.

      Sydney is quite similar actually, it has the one solid run from Manly and the rest is windowdressing. But you are right that the main fact is Sydney has much higher PT overall. Our ferries looks good because our PT usage is among the worst in the world overall, but those two key ferry routes have a big market share in comparison.

  21. What we need is a smart network being fully utilised across the spectrum. We really have been blessed with some stunning, (relatively sheltered) fantastic harbours and we should be making good use of them both for commuters, just getting around and tourism. Martin you are correct about the mode share. We are comparing against rock bottom numbers for PT share. Auckland needs cheap/reliable/and easy available modes to get transport across the board. So Auckland Transport board and his Worship The Mayor can we do a network reprioristisation and restrategising with roadmarking and signals please. Lets direct the buses to the best rapid service we have for that location. Get the coloured lines on the rail,road,and water for real as the current problem is fixable in my opinion for fractions of what the current big projects are eating up. The network is overdue for the 300,000km engine replacement.

  22. While we are waiting for rapid transit on rail or ferries already at maximum where possible (maybe not Waiheke obviously ) the existing buses is split so 30% (300 buses) are rapid transport feeds (picking up from key nodes only for speed,speed and speed) with a shared lane with trucks on all as straight as possible arterials and motorways. It maybe that the buses in some locations is the medium to long term fix anyway. But for now we just need to fire up something that makes the best of the infrastructure we do have. This will also help with the spending focus on the ground rather than on a plan. It’s better to calibrate the real thing.

  23. With the network faster and more coherent and giving priority even for the bus collector feeds being down by 30% number will not affect anything-Steve at Auckland Transport your thinking about the interconnecting transfers (the southern area) implemented citywide will alleviate this. Please tell me if I’m wrong?

  24. With the above 300 express buses going at full noise (on the straighter motorways and arterial with very limited stops) and the 700 collector feed buses doing the collection with interconnecting loops we don’t need to wait for the additional rail capacity. Won’t this make an instant impact and get the collector feeds ready for when they are and stop congestion /excess emissions straight away? We’ve seen the data from overseas and even our own 2 express services. We know this will work. Sorry wrong post should be under the optimum bus route one. Done at the sametime with a rechargeable card and say the first month free..this is a sure fix.

  25. Well if we can get a bold mandate, I’m willing to put all my spare time to it. I’d rather be working on the fix all working towards a common goal of a multi-modal Auckland Network , than trying to get a mandate. Len or Lester if your reading or your advisors this would really get everyone (50% usage or more) into Public Transport real fast and get everyone looking forward to the City Rail Link or any physical PT improvement even more. But the above is do-able within maintenance budgets, a new card (happening already be it too complicated) and the existing fleet of 1000 buses…I’m not joking.

  26. Rapid Express Buses (300 based on 30% existing plant) with priority as good as practicable -Draft Initial Bus Split (just a starter for 10 don’t shoot it straight away..just demonstrating impact)

    MOTORWAYS (160 RAPID EXPRESS BUSES) Loops split into smart sectors based on population % catchment
    Southern Motorway-Express – 50 buses (all the way south to the Bombays-picking up loops from Pukekohe)
    North Western – 50 Express Buses
    Northern– 50 buses (all the way to the top of Rodney Ward-Wellsford)
    Onehunga to/SH 20A -Airport -3
    Manukau to Airport-2 via 20A – 2
    SH16 Westgate to Kumeu -5

    ARTERIALS
    Dominion Rd – 40
    AMETI -(width as is) – 40 buses (feed to Howick 30, Feed to East Tamaki/Botany 10)

    Split remaining 70 buses

    Review Eastern loop Botany to Manukau City – 15
    New North Rd-10
    Great South Rd-10
    St Heliers Bay rd to Panmure Station-5 (leaving out Tamaki Drive on purpose)
    Kepa Rd (St Heliers Bay rd to Britomart)-5 (leaving out Tamaki Drive on purpose)
    Hillsborough Rd-10
    15 areas I’ve forgotten suiting the 2030 network-probably inner city.

    1. Esmonde to Devonport-Loop down same road-5
      (option ferry or northern busway)
      Glenfield to Northcote-5

      Anyway just a rapid network starter. Review back to 2030 network as needs to be kept the same.

      1. lake Road is narrow..had a quick look about 11m. 2 car lanes and 1 lane bus. 5 buses go one way at a time. Duplicating a tram type approach. Cycle have to look at parallel option in conjunction. See when you look at things big picture ..opens up other options.

        1. Could do this approach in other pinch point areas. One dedicated bus one-way at a time same lane. Better than everyone going nowhere.

        2. Given that we are able to put in 4 general lanes on Lake Road acourrding to AT we can definitely put in trams as they take less space. That road is far wider than 11m. High St in town is more than 11m wide.

          1. OK good. The point I was making with the end-game in mind is to look at all these routes and their focus while trying to get a decent network up for all modes using current seal widths . We can also think about 2-way on one lane if we are really squeezed. A single project focus (what we are doing now) loses a big picture solution…hence hitting everything and a strategy team reviewing the best outcome overall. After given a mandate it would pay to get real seal widths via accurate wheel measurements every 50m just to make sure of what we have to play with. Using RAMM chainages as a starting point on all the arterials. When finalised a Excel spreadsheet and plan can be given to roadmarkers with the final lines offset from the left hand side kerb face.

    2. I just want to emphasise that the bus interim Dec 2013, 30% approx (as a base but flexible) existing buses rapid component I’m suggesting goes south all the way to the bombays and north all the way to Wellsford. Number at the outer reaches only as required/demand needs but there and very much intended critical that the whole network covers as far and as wide as practicable so the 700 (70%) odd collector feed loops cover all collector roads as a minimum be it a lesser frequency-right out there to the so called sticks (should be walking distance away for most people) . The rapid feeds may still require inter-connection on the same route at sensible sectors for loops (not too many though-maybe 4 at the outside from Britomart furthest south to furthest north.) .I’m not suggesting zones at all just peak and off-peak times to balance demand out and inclusive of ferries so no bias just people can make there own minds up which way to go. The mode competition is freedom so lets be mindful about that in every way possible and remove barriers to suit as we are talking big numbers now.. not small fry.

  27. Now the other 700 buses are sensible circulating loops (number based on demand but evenly spread out) picking up patrons feeding into this central turbo-charger with or without the CRL (that is the nitrous injection) . Is this different to the status quo?

  28. One rechargeable card, topup while you do your prepaid phone or paypal or texting credit direct off your phone to keep your card validated as it instantly goes through the system (constant 2hr timeframe from start to enter the system before peak rates kick in). Freedom to go anywhere. Peak time an extra $3.50 on the day pass. Or $140 vs $90 per month. The first month on the new network free. 50% looking easy to me.

  29. Every bus route optimised within existing widths kerb to kerb. Flush medians maybe removed, parking maybe removed in places but only on key routes. Cycle lanes also put in if possible. But with the whole city focussed on the big picture most barriers to a new prioritised network will go away especially when the first month is free and everyone can see the benefits provided to them. This is the other advantage of one big campaign and consultation open to internet concerns as we go. But concerned only 14 weeks or so weeks and no mandate to utilise the xmas period for this citywide transformation.

  30. Balancing demands with a cheap off-peak fare and overflow into the motorway loops will be a key operational matter so rail just at capacity no more. But really trying to make the most from it. With first month free and a big uptake – earnings will go into positive real fast even with the cheap fares. Ok Len let’s do it now.

  31. The good thing when rail is going at maximum (top end efficiency) about the buses is the flexibility to change from express to collector feed and routes where best needed through-out the day. If the network isn’t the limitation it is just plant and patronage.

  32. So we have the 1000 buses (that we can divide focus between rapid and collector) , the existing road and now a pretty good starter action plan. So what is now the problem? Come on guys. Waiting for rail is a cop out and not good on the ratepayers, taxpayers and the environment. Truckies you can use the fast track lane too.

  33. Then we also complete the cycling network on the arterials at the sametime via roadmarking. Also focus towards buses towards ferries where practicable. Leaving key/focus walking etc roads alone like Queen St, Ponsonby Rd and Tamaki Drive. Come on this all good stuff for all concerned. So the only barrier is now political because it isn’t cost as for roadmarking and signal tweaks probably can do that with one month progress claim from AMETI. So politicians and guys in control…what is the hold-up here.

  34. So the politicians are holding up a multi-modal and congestion free network. Am I right? Because the above plan will fix it for peanuts!

  35. Come on Len and Lester , just give us a mandate to fix as a team approach. The problem is fixable you just need to make this decision and let all transport professionals and interested contributors plan and have freedom for the above or something refined. Do a TV campaign. This is a sure fire thing and bang for buck for Auckland is off the charts.(why settle for No10 and heading for road tolls?).

  36. Let us re-strategise against the 2030 plan with what we can do right now splitting 30% rapid transit buses. As mentioned further up even if only 3.5m width we can do -buses in a row going one way then turnaround somewhere and comeback the other way simulating a tram. if an easy 1 lane each way isn’t practicable at the current time like Lake Road. Either way think if we hit the whole network with a relatively blank slate forgetting current lines and the end-game improvements will be massive for all modes. We have the knowledge now of the future strategy so why not promote it on the ground here and now as best we can?

  37. Hold all infrastructure roading projects except commitments at AMETI at Panmure and the CRL obviously -(over the next 4 months) quickly review AMETI road widths with PT 50% patronage. Forget touching Pak Highway and Ti Rakau Drive we are utilising existing widths and that will be enough for now. Get the strategy, Auckland transport -Infrastructure, PT, signal operations and maintenance side helping us all on a multi-modal fully operating network all-round right now using maintenance budgets for roadmarking and signals. If some of those projects continue without the network up and operating fear we are wasting more precious money for no gain in turning this ship around. One team, one focus. Live blogging on each arterial , town centre node etc (split east,west, north and south). Time to fix up the past strategy in one right hand upper cut. Get a TV campaign. Start it up on Campbell Live…come on lets Smash Congestion and complete the networks right now as best we can. Benefit-Cost ratio when you just look at freight saving will be off the chart then add in saving in congestion, completing the cycling network get the picture…this is a good thing.

  38. I think the signal control room needs to extend coverage to viewing all key train stations, bus stops, wharves so buses can be called on to change between express and collector feeds and direct plant directly to where it is required for maximum patronage and efficiency. Sorry thinking after the fact now and visualising operational issues to consider on the new network when this baby is humming.

  39. I’ve sent another email to His Worship The Mayor Len Brown adding these posts to it.

    Dear His Worship The Mayor Len Brown,

    I hope you take the time to read the below (or above in this case) as it seems either everyone can’t argue with this or it is completely crazy. I would argue the former but I’ll let you be the judge. From my point of view I think we have in Auckland the brains, and will, to stop congestion flat within 5 months if we generally followed what I am proposing. It is the 2030 network but delivered now by utilising approx. 30% of the buses (300 Rapid Transit-50% motorways (covering north to south, east to west), 50% key arterials) but speeding up the network in the process and balancing the demands at key rail and ferry areas with buses. Utilising a rechargeable hop card that can be topped up via prepaid phone networks and the first network trial month free ie Dec 15 to Jan 15.

    Thanks again for your time.

  40. We need to think about pick-up and drop-off points at on-ramps (near the start) and off-ramps (near the end) (as close walking distance as possible to the adjoining arterial drop-off location) for the transfers between the collector feeds to the motorway rapid transit buses.

  41. This is where we need the Auckland Transport maint guys to assist with some fast footpaths for some interim bus shelters and connection on key off-ramp on-ramps. Once we work out where they should be. Too far ahead again need the mandate ..remember.

  42. In fact all the key transfer areas across the network for the multi-transfer need a standard treatment detail for access/shelter and maybe an off-road bay not sure (depends on location). Maybe tied in with advance loops to the next signal on. Wait still need the mandate! Bugger!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *