The annual Farmers Santa Parade is tomorrow. A few weeks ago Luke put together a great post highlighting primarily the issue of AT and the police rushing to re-open Queen St to traffic – which has absolutely zero need to be there – straight after the parade, he also briefly touched on the transport arrangements from last year. Auckland Transport have now published information about how to get there and it pretty much tells you that you should drive.
Join the fun and take the family by bus, train or ferry to the annual Farmers Santa Parade on Sunday 30 November at 2pm.
The parade is one of Auckland’s most popular Christmas events so public transport and roads in and out of the city will be busier than usual.
To manage the parade and public safety, roads around the parade route will be closed and there will be parking restrictions.
There is a range of transport options to get you and your family to and from the city so you should plan your journey in advance and set-off early.
Check services by using this link: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/events/farmers-santa-parade/
Travel to the parade by bus:
Buses will operate to a Sunday timetable and normal fares/passes will apply. Due to road closures a number of city centre bus stops will be relocated and some route diversions will be in place. Auckland Transport Ambassadors will be on site to assist passengers.
Travel to the parade by train:
Trains will be operating to a special timetable with services approximately every 20 to 30 minutes on most lines into the city from 10.30. There will also be special services from Pukekohe.
Rail buses will depart Waitakere between 10.05am and 1.35pm. These services will transfer to trains at Swanson Train Station.
After the parade, passengers can board trains at Britomart to Swanson and transfer back to rail buses operating between 4.30pm and 7pm to Waitakere.
Britomart Station will be busy, ensure you use the Eastern Entrance in Takutai Square and be there early to board prior to departure time.
Event trains will depart Pukekohe Train Station at 10.30am, 10.58am, 11:30am, 11.58am, 12.30pm.
Return services to Pukekohe depart at 3.45pm, 4.15pm, 4.45pm, 5.13pm, 5.50pm and 6.20pm. Use the Concourse Entrance to Britomart in Queen Elizabeth Square.
Travel to the parade by ferry:
The Downtown Ferry Terminal is located on Quay St, normal fares/passes apply for ferry services. Fullers will be operating additional sailings between Downtown and Bayswater, Birkenhead/Northcote Point, Half Moon Bay and Stanley Bay.
Driving to the parade:
If you are planning to drive, please be aware that road closures parking restrictions will be in place. https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/road-works-disruptions/christmas-event-road-closures/
Public parking is free at the Downtown and Victoria St car parks for vehicles exiting between midday and 6pm.
So let me get this right, AT want you to join the fun and take PT to the parade however:
- buses only run to a normal Sunday timetable – which means hourly or worse in some places – and pay for the privilege.
- trains do run more frequently which is good but I note AT don’t make it clear either way as to whether you will pay to use them.
- ferries will have some additional sailings than a normal Sunday but like buses you will have to pay to use them.
Alternatively you can drive and get free parking. I wonder which option most families will choose?
The one major downside to the driving option is that parking is only free at AT’s Downtown and Victoria St carparks which have 890 and 850 spaces respectively. A total of 1740 spaces isn’t going to serve very many families compared to how many people go to the event and is likely to lead to them quickly filling up and families having to find alternative and much more expensive places to park. That will likely help create congestion and unhappy parents. In short what the hell are AT thinking offering free parking in the CBD, this isn’t the 1960’s any more.
What AT should be doing instead is putting on heaps more buses, trains and ferries – perhaps even close to weekday peak levels – and marketing the hell out of them. On top of that make the PT options free and charge for the carparking to further encourage people to shift modes.
The charging option also highlights another failing of our current ticketing system, no family passes. These are currently only available from Britomart, New Lynn, Newmarket, Papakura and Pukekohe and they only for trains so they’re useless for many people. The table below shows what a family of four (2 parents, 2 kids) would pay for a return trip to the city depending on how many stages away they are (I’ve limited the number of stages to 6).