The Auckland Transport Board meet tomorrow and while it might be earlier in the month than usual due to Christmas, there’s no shortage of information. As usual here are the things that caught my attention.

The closed session is once again packed with reports, some are listed as being due to commercial sensitivity and others to allow free and frank discussion with the information released later.

Items for Approval/Decision

  • Diesel Rolling Stock Sale
  • Managing 2014/15 Programme
  • AMETI
  • CCFAS2
  • Dominion Road
  • Bus Service Commercial & South Auckland Tender
  • PT Fare Annual Review
  • Street Lighting Acquisition
  • Te Mahia /Westfield
  • Southern Station Review

Items for Noting

  • Deep Dive – Service Provision Options
  • CRL Update
  • Heavy Rail Strategy update
  • Service Extension Options
  • Te Atatu
  • EW Connections
  • Draft Statement of Intent 2015-16

There are a number of quite specific items there and one I’m surprised about is the annual fare review seeing as we just had fare changes implemented in July that resulted in fares for bus and train trips using HOP reducing. The Te Mahia / Westfield stations will be about whether AT close them as proposed in the new Bus Network. They are the two least used stations on the network with each having less than 100 people use them per day.

Onto the board report

Funding was approved for property purchase and construction for the $26 million Te Atatu Corridor project which will widen and upgrade parts of Te Atatu Rd and Edmonton Rd. Included in the project are some walking and cycling improvements however they are inconsistent. In some places cycle lanes will be on the street while in other places they will just be shared paths. I guess there wasn’t enough room for proper cycling facilities after the addition of a 2.5-3m median.

Funding was also approved for the design and construction of the Upper Harbour Cycleway. As someone who rides along this road weekly the improvements are welcome although I suspect they will ignore the biggest issue along the route being the Upper Harbour Dr/Albany Hwy intersection which is possibly the most dangerous in Auckland. Fixing that is likely dependant on a future 30m+ of an upgrade to that section Albany Highway.

Later on in the report an additional mention is made about the awarding of a number of service contracts. Two are singled out as providing much better value than anticipated with a combined saving of almost $5m compared to what had been budgeted.

  • Security Guard Services and Patrols – Contract awarded to Armourguard. The successful tender resulted in a saving of $2.1m compared with the two year budget forecast
  • Public Transport Facilities Cleaning – Contract awarded to City Cleaning Services. The successful tender resulted in a saving of $2.7m compared with the two year budget forecast

For specific projects AT are working on the ones that caught my attention are:

Penlink 

Auckland Transport is progressing a planning strategy to ensure ongoing security of the Penlink corridor. This involves lodgement of an alteration to the existing Penlink designation and a suite of consent applications to allow up to four lanes on the Penlink alignment to reflect the updated design, and to extend the lapse date by another 15-20 years to align with the current draft ITP. Some changes to the existing designation boundary are proposed, however, the majority of the proposal will fit within the existing designation footprint. Notification is proposed in early 2015 due to the Christmas and New Year period. Key Stakeholder engagement is continuing and two open days are also proposed to provide the general public with an opportunity to discuss the project and planning process in more detail.

Discussions on alternate procurement methods continues with interested parties. These will be brought to the Board if they progress to any substantial proposal.

I can understand the need to retain the designation but quite where AT will find the over $350m needed for Penlink is unclear.

Devonport Wharf Transport Interchange

AT say the project completion will be delayed by two months to May 2015 after the contractor encountered construction difficulties below the Wharf Boardwalk.

Otahuhu Bus-Train Interchange

Enabling works are underway and AT say the project is still on track for completion at the end of next year which they say is “to align with the expected roll-out date for PTOM (South) in February 2016“. This suggests that the roll out of the new network has once again been delayed as it had been due to roll out in the middle of next year.

City Centre Integration

City Centre bus infrastructure planning is focussing on the Fanshawe St Busway, Wynyard Interchange and Downtown Interchange. A series of workshops will commence in December with the University and AUT to progress issues and options for the Learning Quarter Interchange and east-west bus corridor.

A City Centre Transport Framework is being developed with NZTA to collate and map out transport initiatives and issues across the city centre, as context for future development. Completion due mid-2015.

It’s good to see the Fanshawe St busway progressing as that will help further improve the PT experience for bus users from the North Shore. It is particularly important as at peak times 60-70% of all people using Fanshawe St are on a bus despite buses only having 22% of the space in the corridor. While the amount of space buses have won’t change, what should improve are the bus stops which should become more station like.

CEWT Fanshawe St

Swanson Park and Ride

AT say the tender should be awarded by now with construction starting soon. They are expecting the project to be complete by April next year. It will see 136 new car parks added to Swanson station for a cost of $2.5m. It will include improved lighting, signage, CCTV, additional platform shelters, walkway canopies to the footbridge and stairs, and new platform surfacing and marking.

Other PT improvements:

AT say they are continuing to do shadow running of test trains on the Southern and Western lines. Electric trains will be introduced to the Southern Line in early 2015 with a fully electric timetable by April which I assume means the Western Line too.

The Manukau interchange is being targeted for completion by early 2016.

HOP

The usage of HOP dropped slightly to 70% in November which has attributed to less university and secondary school students using services due to exam breaks.

HOP ticketing usage Nov 2014

AT have a special day pass for use during the NRL 9s in late January which includes discounts to some tourist attractions. They can only be purchased from Ticketek, are $25 and as yet don’t say how discount from the attractions purchasers will actually get.

HOP NRL 9s HOP daypass

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24 comments

  1. A bit worrying they’re making a decision on CCFAS2 without the slightest bit of public information made available on what it might be.

    1. When the bus network is up and very fa st, regular,extending out why would you want to create these facilities even if you are living rural park at the outer most part of the bus network closest to you. Why setup something to duplicate traffic and use prime land.

  2. Well I hope the board look at the message of rapid transit in the November patronage. Also hope they consider what is going to have the next biggest impact in the network which is the bus network. and the opportunity cost to all modes and the economy of not a citywide implementation sooner with or without some interchanges being ready. I think all of their projects at large until they do this as the uptake will be massive.Think there can be some short term fixes to this problem which outweigh waiting.

    1. I would really like to know why this network can’t launch. If congestion is costing us $1.25 billion per annum and unnecessary roading projects are being expended,planned due to a clogged one mode network. Isn’t firing up the next level in network capacity with priority in the grid and a regular,smart network a fundamental solution to help corrrect the imbalance. Can’t something be negotiated? as this has potential to be the best transport investment for a very long time especially since the road is already there.

      1. Interchanges are needed, along with other hard infra like bus stops and crossings in place, but also the private operators have to be ‘on board’ and they are starting to kvetch about PTOM so perhaps that is not going as smoothly as it should…?

        1. Sounds to me like Auckland would be better off spending $1.24b per annum on hybrid buses at least we can change routes for a tray of lion red and be cleaner running.

          1. But hang on 1000 buses at $300k ? each is $300 million ie 3 months congestion.Is that worth thinking about? Hasn’t it taken 3 years already? Probably a safer investment than all the roading capex this year apart from CRL and the interchanges. At least it isn’t wasted pavement and can take away future complications and holding city to ransom.

          2. Control, efficiencies, constant flexibility to fill gaps if issue with rail, or other network demand, moving balance between rapid transit and network, controlling emmisions, a rejuvenating fleet that attracts customers and keeping up with efficient, green technology, bus management constantly looking at better performance not profit. I think with what we need this mode to do the buses need to be public domain again and sooner the better.

          3. I guess being realistic we can’t buy 1000 hybrid buses today and get them on the road tomorrow. Can’t something like phasing in the electric trains be done? Don’t these have the potential to carry the most passengers in the network and based on Nov patronage I would say sooner than ever dreamed when the network tap turned.

          4. If the bus network speed is not rapid yet on key links and this baby does make a hyperthrust upwards with a mode shift do we need more buses anyway? Or is this really going into unknown space?

  3. Recents stats suggest a growing dissonance between what is actually happening in terms of travel choices and what the AT Board is hearing from its management and NZTA. Sounds as if the board needs to pull finger and start directing, rather than being subjected to the direction of traffic engineers with vested interests in pushing the focus on roads option.

  4. Apparently there is talk of opening a Glenora Road Station or Tironui Road Station once Te Mahia is closed. I think Tironui would be preferred as there is currently a Pedestrian level crossing there and it is more centered between Takanini and Papakura, Glenora is really close to Takanini station.

  5. It’s great to see a fare review on the agenda. As noted, HOP fares were reduced for buses and trains in July. Now we should also see ferry fares reduced to align with the other modes (ferry fares are currently double the other modes).

    We might also see a much-needed family pass introduced so that PT becomes affordable for families taking kids to museums, beaches etc. With summer holidays starting the timing would be perfect.

    1. Unlikely to see ferry fares drop. The Devonport and Waiheke ferries are commercial so rates are set by Fullers. The other ferries are contracted but have very poor returns e.g. found it Hobsonville ferry has a farebox recovery of just 16%.

      Family passes and any major fare reforms are unlikely until integrated fares which are a year away.

  6. $2.5m for 136 more carparks paving a huge chunk of Swanson. That would go a long way towards subsidising a diesel shuttle to Waitakere and Huapai and seriously reduce the need for the land wasted on those carparks as the potential car parkers could catch the shuttle.

  7. I agree the Upper Harbour Dr/Albany Highway intersection is profoundly dangerous for cycling and really needs to be a priority fix. It’s almost singlehandedly put me off riding to the North Shore altogether, since there are few or no other options coming from the Upper Harbour Bridge.
    A bold contender for worst cycling intersection might also be turning right on to Patiki Road from the NW cycleway entrance, where one has to cross into traffic coming directly onto a motorway on-ramp and directly from an off-ramp. Of course, what kind of idiot would be riding from a cycleway on a BICYCLE? We should use the footpath, like the morons that we are.

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