The Auckland Transport board meeting is today and below are the bits and pieces from the reports that caught my attention.

First up as usual there are a number of items in the closes session of the meeting that it would be very interesting to see the details about. These are

  • Ferry Services Contract
  • EMU Implementation
  • Tiverton/Wolverton
  • City Centre Access Options
  • Mill Road
  • Parking Services report
  • AT HOP Update
  • Rail Operations shortlisting

On to the Chief Executives report. These are generally just in the order they come up in the report.

AT are working with some of the teams from the HackAKL event and two of the top five teams will have a completed concept within three months.

Discussions have been held with the top 5 teams, 2 have progressed to a stage where the concept will be completed inside of 3 months, with the help of AT. The other 3 in the top 5 are still discussing within themselves how to progress. As well an additional application (hop Balance) from one of the other groups has been launched. We are still restricted in the data that we can make available, PT is working on this with the bus operators.

AT are creating a customer charter which includes specific measures that cover PT, roading, walking and cycling and they say they have been looking overseas to find out what the best practices are. They say the draft versions of the charters will go to a board committee in October. I think a customer charter with specific measures is a good thing and I would hope that there is some consultation from the public on final versions.

AT will be holding a consultation in late September on the rehabilitation of Franklin Rd and surrounding streets. They say Major focuses for the consultation include maintaining the heritage value of the
road (including the trees), parking, a lowered speed zone, walking and cycling. 

A detailed business case will finally be done for the East West Link. It’s something I would have thought should have happened long before it was moved near to the top of the priorities list.

AT say the Environment Court appeal against the Silverdale Park n Ride might delay construction till the next financial year (i.e. after July next year).

On the EMUs there were 22 in the country at the time of writing the report however some more arrived yesterday and provisional acceptance had been issued for 18 of them. After the August summer holidays production will be ramped up as the intention is that by the end of the year we will get four delivered a month instead of the current two per month. On the issues with the over cautious signalling system they say

The ETCS system has been modified by reducing the driver warning before curves and other infrastructure features and the resulting improvement in running times.

As part of the Otahuhu Bus Train Interchange AT are looking at connections to and from the station. The report notes that this will include additional bus priority and improved walking and cycling connections.

At Panmure the new road alongside the tracks is almost finished and due to open to use at the end of September. It’s been called Te Horeta Rd. The image below is from the board report showing the road and it’s looking very much like a mini motorway although I would be happy to be proven wrong once it’s finished.

AMETI - Te Horeta Rd from AT Board Report

HOP use keeps on growing which is a great sign. Overall 67% of trips were paid for with HOP which was up from 65% in June. By mode bus was up from 62% to 65% while rail was up from 75% to 76%. In some ways this is not surprising given the changes in fares that occurred and means the trend of increasing HOP card usage is likely to continue. They also say a strategic business case as well as revenue and patronage modelling for integrated fares is almost complete.

2014 - August - HOP Card graphs

Perhaps the biggest news from the report is about the next train timetable which is now targeted for November

Finalisation with KiwiRail and Transdev of the new timetable to support the increased frequency of Manukau services and the introduction of an EMU weekend timetable was progressed in July and early August. This provides 6 trains per hour from Manukau in the peak period and 3 trains per hour in the interpeak and off-peak, with weekends going to a 30 minute service plan. When the timetable commences, diesel shuttle services will run an hourly service between Pukekohe and Papakura on Saturdays and Sundays and connect with arriving/departing EMUs at Papakura. The target date for the timetable introduction is early November following progressive replacement within the existing timetable of diesel rolling stock with EMUs on the Manukau Line.

Some good news about the look of buses in the future with AT developing what sounds like a region wide design. This is long overdue although I’m sure some operators won’t be happy (I for one can’t wait to see the back of the horrid Birkenhead bus livery). They say the starting point for the new livery is based off the design used on the electric trains and the livery will be included in the future operator contracts which will be rolled out with the new network.

AT say they are also working on a wayfinding system which is something long overdue.

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    1. Buses don’t have consistent livery in Melbourne. Apart from the branded smart bus routes Melbourne buses are in different operator liveries. Buses are very much the poor cousin in Melbs.

      1. They sure are, I must have seen something new then last week; there were definitely buses with the fractured ‘federation square’ PTV livery about that’s also on the new trams [except the yellow one] and the new trains….

        1. Correct – all buses will be adopting the fractured orange livery except Smart Buses (which I think should go silver but alas).

  1. What an arse – “can’t wait to see the back of Birkenhead bus livery”

    How often does this blog complain about all the advertising on buses and how heritage must be maintained.

    There livery predates the removal of trams and the building of the harbour bridge and have been one of the few (only) companies to reject corporate greed (advertising).

    1. I don’t advocate for heritage to be retained other than exemplar cases. I think we give way too much weight in our planning rules towards old stuff just for the sake of it.

      The livery certainly looks like it predates the trams and it makes the buses look like they do too. Not a good look when trying to attract customers who have the option of a modern car instead.

  2. It looks like a mini motorway, and it’s built on the Eastern Motorway corridor. AMETI – Eastern Motorway, stage 1, hidden in plain sight 🙂

  3. Consistent livery will at least give the appearance that, at long last, Auckland has a grown up, functioning, public transport network rather than a barely usable collection of rag, tag and bobtail amateur transport operators out to make a fast buck. Pity the same can’t be done for the Fullers ferries (prop.B Souter) which currently have a livery that, from an historical perspective, is only equalled by that used by Stagecoach (prop. B Souter).

  4. Personally I quite like the current bus liveries, they provide a bit of variety and character, and they are a visual aid to distinguishing between routes – i.e. if I want to go to Manukau I will be on the lookout for Waka Pacific busses rather than ‘Go West’ ones.

    1. NZ Bus themselves have phased out that paint scheme switching everything to the same bluey/purple colour. It makes no sense and is confusing for anyone not familiar with the situation.

      1. Actually it’s about reducing confusion. Nothing worse that standing around looking for a Northstar/Go West/Waka Pacific bus and then a Metrolink one turns up to cover a fleet shortage and people don’t board it because they think it’s the wrong bus based on the colour. Also easier to maintain a single livery.

        1. Saw this a lot when I lived in Takapuna – Go West buses would turn up instead of North Star ones and everyone would stare at them confused even though they had the correct route number and destination on the signs.

          The ‘special’ routes (e.g. Airbus Express, 380 Airporter) I think are better off being a bit different, and in both of those cases the likelihood of different buses filling in are low due to the unique operators.

  5. A customer charter…good grief, whatever next? Maybe the public will be able to address the transport committee, in order to have matters raised with AT directly (instead of being filtered through Local Boards ‘liaison officers’). It’s a brave new world.

    1. What about not stacking everything and his dog (because commercially sensitive) into the “closed agenda” too?

      Damn right it’s commercially sensitive. It’s our rates money and our city.

  6. If memory serves me correctly the current diesel fleet of trains is 10 – 2 car sets, approximately 17 or 18 – 4 car sets (ADK’s and SA’s), 9 x 5-6 car sets so around 35-36 available units in standard configurations.

    The plans AT have are to increase services and equally importantly patronage markedly. We will have 57 EMU’s and in that one unit, in essence, will replace a 4 car set or 28 – 6 car sets with one 3 car set. However of course many EMU’s will end up as one 2 x 3 car sets for peak loadings and obviously as patronage picks up these will become more common and by having 2 coupled together will reduce the numbers of individual trains they have at their disposal. This is not to mention maintenance and train crews demands.

    It is not hard to see that in the very near future Auckland will not have enough trains to meet demand again and in fact if most of the diesel fleet is withdrawn there will most certainly be insufficient rolling stock to meet demand. And this does NOT take into account having a specialised fleet solely for Papakura to Pukekohe as the current units do that run as an add on to the normal Brit to Papakura services anyway.

    How are AT going to deal with this, as they have cancelled a further order of EMU’s because of budget constraints. Will they simply abandon more services, or will they retain a fair chuck of the diesels anyway? Something has to give!

    1. I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself. Here is the capacity comparison:

      Once it is clear that we are about to need additional trains [surely a very good thing!] the turnaround to ordering won’t be long and the case to purchase them will be irresistible.

      1. Very helpful graphics but its not so much capacity although as more people use them the tendency will be to double units up. My concern is every extra service is an extra train and it limits just how many extra services there will be available per day. Example; pre EMU there was 2 ADL’s on the Onehunga service, hourly, off peak.and rumours are they will become half hourly off peak meaning 4 EMU’s. You get the picture.

        I suppose they can run smaller trains that are crowded more often but that can become a disincentive knowing you will be like beasts in a cattle truck standing for the entire journey.

        1. Roughly an hour end to end on the two main lines, 45 minutes to Manukau and half hour on Onehunga only need 35 trains to run maximum possible services as 3 car sets so we almost have enough to double carriage every service.

  7. Nice graphic Patrick, especially with the breakdown of seating versus standing capacity. This is an important point from a customer experience perspective with a good correlation to potential patronage growth.

    The EMUs apparently deliver a 40% increase in ‘total capacity’ in the morning peak (n.b. lots are standees). This will cope with the current levels of patronage growth for another 2-3 years before capacity issues arise on certain lines and at peak times on some services. If we are to avoid the current overloading issues that currently occur on the Western Line in the morning peak, then the options are increasing the frequency or providing additional cars (where scheduling can allow to be matched with other high demand trips in both peaks).

    AT currently have a measure that highlights the services that have standees for over 15 minutes. This essentially works as a flag to the operator to look at potential options to address (sometimes there are not any). I understand that >70% of total capacity is also used as a measure. At the end of the day patornage will occur if capacity and customer experience are delivered – generally means being seated!

    1. On the western line our preference is for higher frequency first, although that of course hits the Britomart throat limit pretty soon, then double up the train length. Which becomes the only way to increase capacity at the peaks into the city…. But still the issue is really political because with PT it seems we have provide a system failure in order to get any funding (even loans, with interest) unlike motorways which are funded decades in advance, with 100% grants and interest free loans! from us the taxpayer.

      Just the way it currently is, but things do change.

      So what AT has to do is provide the best possible balance of frequency and capacity that the network and the resources can support and carefully track and document the rising demand and get lobbying.

      One day we will have forward planning for all modes and properly evidence based funding decision making.

      1. Patrick the western line already has 5 or 6 car trains at peak so it’s likely some will need to be doubled right from word go even with increased frequencies

        1. 4 tph at peak on the West atm.Assuming 2 5 car and 2 6 car sets that is 2200 in the morning peak. 6 three car EMUs would be 2250, even only using 3 car sets there would be more capcity.

  8. Additionally, standing isn’t bad, especially for short trips, of which we know more occur on the westerners than the southern and eastern. Currently. Post CRL I am certain there will be even more short trips especially in and through the centre. Frequency is freedom.

    And the graphic is Matt’s work.

  9. Any plans for real time bus positioning? Also with regards to the Hack AKL concept, the prizewinning MyAT 2.0 already had a concept at the time of winning, so by concept I hope they mean more than just the current concept. You can download the apk of the concept for android off the hackakl site or one of the sites it links to (I forget where exactly).

  10. Birkenhead bus livery – yes, their latest buses certainly look better from the inside than from the outside.

    But at least on their buses, you can see the outside world from inside the bus! Advertising and overlaid logos covering windows (including the AT logos on the Northern Express and the new trains) are awful to look through, and can even exacerbate motion sickness.

  11. I actually love the Birkenhead Transport livery….. Probably the Double Decker NEX is the only livery that I prefer (the single decker looks out of balance).

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