The results of a Herald poll this morning seem about as surprising to me as the sun coming up each day. Transport has been voted by the people polled the biggest issue in Auckland.

Poor transport remains Aucklanders’ biggest bugbear, eclipsing the shortage of affordable housing.

Herald-DigiPoll survey of 500 Super City dwellers found 43.8 per cent ranked transport as the biggest issue facing Auckland.

It was streets ahead of affordable housing, the chief concern of 17.1 per cent of those surveyed, and balancing the city’s budget (3.4 per cent).

Those were the only three specific issues suggested to survey participants, although 26.9 per cent of those polled volunteered other problems as their chief concerns, including the cost of living (6.1 per cent), Mayor Len Brown’s extra-marital affair (3.3 per cent), rates (3.2 per cent) and a growing population (2.1 per cent).

The reason I found it unsurprising is that we have seen similar results in previous polls including this one from UMR about a year ago and even the AA had similar results from it’s members in a poll a few years ago. Equally unsurprising is that it’s PT solutions that the public are crying out for with over half of the respondents wanting better PT which is more than twice the number that want more/better roads.

Public transport improvements have been nominated by 54.6 per cent of participants in the latest poll, taken last week, as the best way to improve Auckland’s traffic problems.

The $2.86 billion underground rail proposal was considered the most important ingredient by 33.9 per cent of those polled, and buses running every 10 minutes at peak times by 20.7 per cent.

Completing the city’s motorway network and building more roads where necessary won top priority from 20.7 per cent and another harbour crossing from 16.2 per cent.

Support for the 3.5km rail link has rocketed from 8.6 per cent of those surveyed by the same polling company before the 2010 local elections, although rail to the airport and to the North Shore were more popular then, before receding in acknowledgment that tunnelling through Britomart must precede any big increase in train services.

We won’t be getting 10 minute peak frequencies on every route but the new bus network will be delivering significant improvements, especially off peak. As expected Len has been quick to say that we’re on the right track with a mix of projects.

Mayor Len Brown believes the poll’s recipe for tackling traffic congestion shows Auckland is “making progress along the lines that people see that what’s needed is a fully integrated solution – not just roading but the whole thing”.

Mr Brown indicated he would make funding for the underground railway his second-term priority, starting with council consideration of a taskforce’s advice that Aucklanders will face steep fuel tax and rates rises from 2015 unless loans can be raised on a promise yet to be obtained of Government approval of new road charges for drivers.

He promised to rectify a failure in his first term to build more bus lanes, and expected integrated ticketing and electric trains to prove “game-changing” in the way Aucklanders got around.

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy said major reorganisations of bus routes, starting next year in South Auckland with a new emphasis on feeding passengers to the rail network would provide the higher frequency sought by many of those surveyed but a big challenge he intended overcoming was better punctuality and service standards.

However as we have pointed out numerous times, despite the rhetoric the current plans are road heavy with around 70% of the budget going on roading improvements and that is shown in the graph below from the Integrated Transport Programme. There is such a huge mismatch between that what the public want, what they are being told they are getting and what is actually being built. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad and frustrating.

ITP CAPEX funding percentage

Of course let’s not forget that back in June the government announced a package of transport projects they prioritised motorway projects, bringing some forward some from the third decade in the ITP to be built ahead of the CRL – which they pushed back to 2020.

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54 comments

  1. Pretty sure a few years ago the Western Ring Route was being trumpeted as needed to complete the motorway network, so not sure what those 20% are hoping for.

    But great to see the solid support for PT and seemingly an understanding of some of the core ideas around it (like you need to CRL for any wider rail expansion). Shame we seem to have a plan that doesn’t follow that support.

    Would also be interesting to test even the minor support the AWHC is getting with tolls included in the question.

    1. With regards Tolls for the second harbour crossing.
      You would need to indicate what the tolls would be – most people think it would be $1 each way like it is in Tauranga for their bridge
      [even though that toll was set and paid off some time ago].

      People might support a toll on a second crossing in theory if they won’t pay it or if they think it would be a dollar to use it.

      Make it $10 each way (more like the actual toll needed for AWHC) and see what level of support you get.

      And then follow that question up with, “Would you support a second harbour crossing that was rail only – assuming that any toll to use that was built into the rail ticket price and that the predicted reduction in traffic on the the current harbour bridge would also reduce as a result?”

      And see the level of support you get for that option over a second (road) harbour crossing.

        1. And also the fact that a lot of ATs planning and execution is totally crap when it comes to anything PT.

          Remind me what does the T in AT stand for again? Thats right “Tarmac” – Good old “Auckland Tarmac” doing the same crap PT that they’ve always done…

      1. Where is anyone suggesting that the rail tunnel go to Akoranga, and then everyone gets on a bus to continue the NEX?
        Of course the bus takes 30 minutes, and the train will take less than 20 minutes to cover the distance so that will sure help.
        I note the NEX is timed at 29 minutes regardless of the time of day, does it not take longer at peak times?

          1. Agreed, NEX times are for a weak peak, I have had 40 to Albany on the worst run, outside of peak I expect 22-25 minutes for the whole trip.

      2. You are being disingenuous again.

        The comment above compared rail only to the existing scenario, and motorway only to the ex;isting scenario, you are comparing rail and motorway only to each other.

  2. Is Auckland City permitted to issue bonds? There is probably a section of the population currently holding their funds in bank deposits who would be interested in a quality bond issue.

  3. I can’t decide whether it’s amusing or depressing (it is not surprising) that the photo the Herald picked for at least the online version of that article, despite the findings of the survey, is of cars on a motorway. Seriously?

    1. Hopefully some pictures of the electric trains will become stock use soon enough, speeding past the crawl on the Southern motorway…

      1. It may be that the electric trains have a larger symbolic and emotional impact than expected.
        I cross the Ellerslie footbridge at 8.15ish on my way to work. At least once a week the traffic on the motorway is static or almost so. There are plenty of people who will get a good look at those swish new electric trains…

  4. I can’t believe the Len Brown affair was even asked as one of the key issues in this survey. I understand there are people out there who seem to care about it but to put it as the number 1 concern in your life in Auckland ahead of transport, housing, sewage, libraries etc is beyond me.

    1. My guess is because honesty, integrity, fidelity – in short, character – is absolutely essential for public office, as it affects every decision or, at the very least, public perception of those decisions. Put bluntly, if you deceive in one area you can deceive in another. That’s also why John Banks and Daljit Singh are currently before the courts (I’m not prejudging the guilt or innocence of either of these men, but John Banks is my electorate MP, so the outcome of his trial in particular is very important to me).

      What I can’t believe is that anyone would not see Len Brown’s affair as a problem (think Richard Worth – and I’m pretty sure that didn’t actually involve an affair).

      1. The Richard Worth issue was referred to the police. No one is suggesting that the police should be involved here, or that any of this tale will end up in court as per your other examples. He’s shown he is human, and like all humans can fail from time to time.

      2. Exactly. And while Len is far better than his opponents, he needs to stick to his word. I want the full Congestion-Free Network, not a scaled down version. With someone who compromises, that’s what we risk.

      3. Banks and Singh are before the courts because they are alleged to have broken the law. Sex between consenting adults is not against the law. Richard Worth, as conan said, came to light because there were questions of actual illegality and misuse of ministerial power. Brown shagged someone who wasn’t his wife, and gave a reference to his mistress who was apparently actually qualified for the role.

        If you don’t see the difference in these cases, may I suggest you have your glasses checked?

    2. @Exacuklanderinsydney;

      it wasn’t asked as one of the options. If you read the original article, only transport, housing or the budget were offered as options. The affair was something people volunteered off their own bat.

      Which does detract from the poll, a little, since people often don’t volunteer answers in surveys. It just shows that transport is a bigger issue to people than housing or the budget.

  5. The majority of people (almost 55%) are asking for the CRL and whatever it takes to get buses running every 10mins. Hardly gold plated.

    1. What is the relevance of that question? How does the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway help them? AMETI? Should we cancel those projects because it doesn’t help get people to Eden Park on Saturday night from Browns Bay (kickoff would be at 7.30 BTW).

      1. No but somehow it is miraculously going to help Northland. I mean, the current road is virtually unpassable and results in a 10hr passage via a muddy track. That’s without mentioning that goat track that is SH16. Jeeps and Landrovers only.

    2. Well today, for a major event, you would take a bus to the busway then get the bus direct to eden park. Or park and ride at albany.

      With 10 min bus frequencies and 5 min train frequencies on the western line, it just becomes a regular journey, you don’t need to worry about timing it to make some special service that runs on a special timetable.

      This also becomes an option for going to any old game at Eden Park (where today they don’t run a special bus service). Secondary Schools final? Why take the regular bus + train service.

      Bus to britomart, train to kingsland. Train to kingsland (post electrification and CRL) has got to be faster than the current bus service, what route does it take from the bridge to eden park?

      Then if you add rail to the shore into the mix, you can skip the go-slow from onewa rd to the bridge.

      Meanwhile what is your non-PT alternative today? Drive and park miles away and then walk in?

    3. I am rather confused by your example SF Lauren. As a resident of Browns Bay, a trip to Eden Park using PT would be relatively straightforward. We have even managed to get to Mt Smart via PT. In my (rather limited) experience, getting to events by PT is not usually that difficult. It is getting home again that is the problem, when services run infrequently or not at all later at night.

    4. They could take the busway from the Shore into Britomart to catch a train to Kingsland. The CRL would mean more frequent trains (so less waiting to transfer from the bus) and a quicker journey from Britomart to Kingsland by not taking the circuitous route via Newmarket (which includes having to wait for the driver to change ends there to ‘reverse’ out towards West Auckland).

  6. We already have a complete and high quality inter-regional transport network. All of the state highway projects on the list are there purely to cater for local trips that have congested that network. The state highways are only self funded because the NZTA pays for them out of the NLTF before they dish out funding for other projects. The vast majority of trips and fuel taxes generated come from the local roading network.

    1. Who are you responding to, here? Is it a deleted comment? I think if you’re going to delete comments, you should show that there used to be something there, or the threads become even harder to follow.

    2. “The issue here is however is that the gold plated PT system that the majority of these people want would be horrendously expensive.”

      You did.

      1. “The issue here is however is that the gold plated PT system that the majority of these people want would be horrendously expensive.

        The CFN for instance would only go about 10% of the way there once you look at what people complain about.”

        That’s the whole post. Not clear. You don’t know what ‘these people’ want. So you can’t cost it.

      2. I’m not the one making claims about a gold plated system. So having listened to these people can you outline the gold plated solution needed and the costs. How does this differ from the planned bus network? The CFN. The CRL.

        As you are referencing comments on this blog please do show me one (after all you hear these comments on this blog regularly so should be easy to find) where this complaint was made:

        “The ones who complain that it takes a bus too long to drive along a road when it’s going at near free flowing speeds and is only slowing down to let passengers alight”

      3. As you are referencing comments on this blog please do show me one (after all you hear these comments on this blog regularly so should be easy to find) where this complaint was made:

        “The ones who complain that it takes a bus too long to drive along a road when it’s going at near free flowing speeds and is only slowing down to let passengers alight”

  7. Well the great news here is not only the raw numbers; which are fantastic, but also the trend. Watch out for the trend, always. And, excuse the pun, this is one way traffic.

    So will someone at the top of AT get on with changing the hopelessly out of date culture there? What will it take; the removal of dead wood? Frankly this organisation’s determination to deliver vapid car only streets is increasingly looking like incompetence. Old men phoning it in; doing what they’ve always done?

    Here’s Joel Cayford on the money: http://joelcayford.blogspot.com.es/2013/10/who-steers-auckland-transport.html?m=1

    1. The trend may look good, but that’s only because they decided to build all the roads first and delay the PT spend till the end.

      Just wait, in another 5 years they will have dreamed up new bunch of essential motorway links that require destroying more neighbourhoods to complete the motorway network.

      These will all be pressing projects because the last 5 years of motorway building will only make the roads more congested. And so expect them to be higher priority than the PT projects, thus that 3rd decade when all the PT stuff is done will always be 3 decades away, and auckland will always be a bitch to get around.

    1. “Bikes are for children, you need to step up from adolescence, it’s hard to save $15K and buy a car. People bike to work and then come to a party and want to get a lift with you, they’re using other people.”
      Yawn.

      1. He may get quite a shock if he ever leaves NZ and goes to Europe or N America (like New York) at how many people are still stuck in adolescence on their bikes.

        This is pretty much the kind of mindless crap I would expect from a Shortland Street “actor”. Comedy really.

        Ironic that he plays a doctor on TV – something that actually requires a brain.

  8. The company I work for bus MDF to make into panels for interior designers, these are self funding in that we cover the costs by onselling them. It doesn’t stop us buying new tools so that we can use the MDF more effectively.

  9. The state highways are self-funded? Does that mean i should be expecting a refund of my road tax to appear in my letterbox?

    Seen as the road now kindly pays for itself surely the government can no longer force me to pay road tax?

  10. Greens and Labour are on board for the CRL should they be elected. Hope NZ First is also on board. That will make it real hard for National to play the “let´s delay it until 2020 – or whenever Gerry Brownlee decides”.

    2014, the year we get to vote in a Govt who will get the CRL started asap!

    Auckland Transport need a public kicking up the backside to change their spending plans on transport. What the people of Auckland want, the ratepayers want, not what some old grey headed 1960´s thinking road loving planners want.

    1. well said Jon. Although I would not count on NZF supporting the CRL unfortunately. Hope I’m wrong …

      I would, however, start counting on a change in government in 2014. And with that we should see more rational (and apparently more popular) transport policies/priorities.

  11. Pretty sure just about all the cars coming off the self funding state highway at Fanshaw St where I’m sitting right now have just finished an inter regional trip all the way from the North Shore to Auckland.

  12. “The issue here is however is that the gold plated PT system that the majority of these people want would be horrendously expensive.”

    As opposed to those really cheap motorways solutions that magically solve all of aucklands transport problems in one fell swoop.

  13. Did we really need to remove all of SF Laurens posts? Now the conversation here make no sense. Maybe just remove the inflammatory name calling ones?

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