Back in May Auckland Transport launched a short consultation to update their Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) on four specific areas to reflect the work and thinking they’ve undertaken since the RPTP was released in 2013. The consultation was limited to four areas:

  • The proposed introduction of simplified zone fares
  • Proposals for a new light rail transit (LRT) network on some major arterial routes
  • Service and infrastructure changes arising from the Ferry Development Plan which was approved by the AT Board in December 2014
  • Revised service descriptions arising from community consultation on the new bus network

AT haven’t formally announced the outcomes of that consultation however a paper on them went to the confidential session of the AT board and that has quietly been released publicly. In total they say 1,251 submissions were received however over 1,000 of those were about SuperGold concessions. Below are the main issues and some of the key recommendations staff have made.

Simplified zone fares

AT say there were 107 submissions referring to the simplified zone fares and that people were mostly supportive of the proposal. There was some concern about specific aspects though such the exact boundaries and what happens for short trips that cross them. One example they give is Orakei where some people want it in the city zone. In addition people wanted a number of other areas considered including

  • integrating ferries into the zone system
  • the time available for transfers along with the number of transfers allowed.
  • improved education and work to get HOP n the hands of more people,
  • fare caps

In response AT have made minor changes to the document or are undertaking more research. They note that it is desirable to have ferries also integrated but that they are limited in their ability to do so due to the current exempt services that are enshrined in legislation. In the case of fare caps AT say they will look at them once the new zonal system has settled in.

Light Rail

RPTP potential LRT + RTN Map

There were 97 submissions about light rail and AT say the majority were positive however five key groups have said there isn’t enough information yet for AT to be including it now. Of these the big and most interesting one is the NZTA who I would have thought AT would have been talking to about it much more. Others with a similar view were AA, NZCID, Bus & Coach Association and the Mangere-Otahuhu local board.

One aspect I predicted would happen with Light Rail has come through with a number of submitters and local boards now also wanting Light Rail in their areas. This includes

  • replacement for the Inner Link bus route
  • connections to the North Shore
  • along the North-western Motorway
  • Panmure-Botany
  • Tamaki Drive
  • Pakuranga Highway to Howick

The main recommendation is to start releasing more intimation about the project.

Ferry development plan

AT say that overall the majority of people supported their ferry development plan although some people were also calling for new services. Other than a few wording changes, it doesn’t appear this will change much which seems reasonable.

New Network service descriptions

Most of the feedback related to the new network was actually about issues such as the SuperGold card concessions for which AT say they will improve the wording to make it clearer nothing is changing.

For the actual topic of the new network service descriptions it was raised that there is no set span of times services will run from/to. In response AT say they will add a policy looking at the issue of span of services and in the next version of the RPTP look at developing that in more detail. The policy the hearings panel recommended be included now is below.

New Network Service Span

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  1. Another ‘wrong thread’ comment. I’ve been complaining to AT for a while now about not receiving text alerts when trains are late/cancelled. Apparently it is now policy not to send any text alerts during peak services, or something, according to the email I have from Transdev: “On 27th May, changes were made to the text messaging alert system. During peak services, individual service delay or cancellation texts are no longer be sent as there is a higher frequency of services operating. As the services in these three cases we all during peak, no text alerts would have been sent.”

    So having a train cancelled and having to wait up to half an hour during peak services doesn’t warrant a text alert.

  2. So they acknowledged the issue of Orakei station but decided to do nothing about it:

    “On all of the other criteria, however, Option 1 is preferred. It will enable a simpler and more equitable fare system, with mainly positive impacts on travel behaviour, and will retain system revenues”

    ..because they’re worried about people driving to Orakei and then ‘exploiting’ a cheaper fare. They note:

    “The negative fare impacts are on a relatively small number of existing passengers (about 400 per weekday), approximately half of whom use the park and ride facility to take advantage of the low rail fare, which is an anomaly in the current system.”

    Actually, it impacts every user of services along Tamaki Drive. There is literally nothing (with the exceptions of the baths) within the Central Zone to the East on Tamaki Drive. The first real meaningful stop is Kelly T’s. Now compare how many attractions or places of interest to the South and West are within the Central Zone. I suggested the zone go out to Mission Bay, where a lot of the bus traffic passes through before splitting off into different branches. You know, a meaningful destination. I thought it might be nice to have one heading out of the City towards the East, but clearly AT doesn’t.

    The message is clear from the Council and CCOs: If you’re in Central East, pay your rates and don’t expect much in return.

    1. Also the map they use to show the zones are equal is ridiculous – instead of centering it around Britomart (where the services terminate) they’ve centered it around…something? The Skytower? K Road?

      Either way, it has the illusory effect of making it appear that the zone is equidistant from the South to the East, which it is not in terms of the actual service destination, time taken or stops. Disgraceful and duplicitous.

      1. many North Shore and Central Isthmus bus services terminate uptown, so that location may well indicate a terminating “centre of gravity”

        1. It just very conveniently allows for a much larger population base to be included to the south in the Central Zone than to the East. It doesn’t add up in terms of distance, journey time or where the services you can actually get along Tamaki Drive/Eastern Line actually go. Great for those who happen to live in Mt Eden!

          1. Actually Mt Eden village is exactly the same as Orakei, currently one stage but will become two zones from the city.

    2. Yes there is nothing to the east in the central zone, not after Quay Park and apt Erin at least. But that’s because there is nothing central to the east, it’s water. Exactly the same to the north, there is nothing to the north in the central zone because you know what, there isn’t anything there, its harbour!

      I don’t see why Orakei should be in the inner city zone if the likes or Remuera and Balmoral and Northcote Point aren’t.

      Your suggestion the central zone should go out to Mission Bay seems a little crazy to me. It’s 8km away, hardly central. That’s the same distance from town as Mt Roskill, Birkenhead and Mt Albert. You’d be asking for one massive central zone which would defeat the purpose of having a central zone in the first place: you’d have to double the single zone fare.

      FYI the central zone is centred in the centre of the central city because that’s where the centre is. Believe it or not, not everything is a conspiracy to cheat the residents of the Eastern Bays. Have you considered that maybe your suburb deserves just the same as everyone else, and maybe shouldn’t get special treatment to extend the city zone 8km out to Mission Bay? Sheesh.

      1. I asked for the Central Zone to be greatly expanded, otherwise it seemed relatively pointless to even have one out to the East if you’re not going to capture any actual transport users. All the way out to Remuera, along Balmoral Rd and St Johns, actually, not just Mission Bay, in fact, because I felt you could make huge inroads in those who currently use cars for transport within the area and get a bunch of cars off the road that are taking relatively short journeys.

        And for what it’s worth, I might be a little sore about things out East because we don’t get proper bus lanes or busways or Link services or late services like other places do – incidentally, places that are within a Central Zone but still take longer to get to than getting along the Waterfront. I know it’s fun to paint the Central East as all being people who drive because PT is below them, but I don’t see many posts or comments about the buses caught in the tailbacks at Kelly Tarltons from the Mission Bay lights each night here either.

        1. Dude, I think you are missing the point with the central zone. All zones will have a single fare to travel in one zone regardless of which particular zone that is. Adding in an extra little central zone over the CBD basically clips the ticket on commuters heading downtown… so that all other single zone fares can be cheaper. It keeps things cheap for local travel and crosstown travel.

          The exact point of the central zone is to be small so that it captures few users as relatively few people can travel entirely within it, it is designed so that almost all trips to the CBD cross over two zones. Ok sure people in Parnell, Ponsonby and Eden Terrace get it sweet, but they are right next to the city. If you make the central zone too big then it captures too many trips entirely within it, which means that the single zone fare would have to be much higher to avoid AT losing a lot of money.

          People in the Eastern Bays can travel all over the isthmus on a single zone fare, and to the city centre and all over outer east auckland and manukau and all of west Auckland on a two zone fare. Keep that in mind.

          The real people that get screwed are the North Shore. The lower north shore has a three zone fare to get to the likes of Remuera or St Lukes, despite that being a shorter trip than say Mission Bay to New Lynn which would be a one zone fare.

          I think there is a structural problem there in that the ithsmus and lower north shore should actually be the same zone that encircles the central zone entirely. That would be quite fare. ahem.

  3. Submissions don’t seem to have made enough of the 10pm last weekend service. This is unfortunate as I feel it could go a long way to making responsible users consider PT for their night out. Late night transport on weekends is a real problem for some of us.

  4. So so disappointing to see no movement on ferry fares, which are currently about double the equivalent train fare. This could be fixed before day one of integrated fares without any Fullers negotiation, and still AT would have better fare-box recovery than for their beloved trains.

    Integrated fares were supposed to make fares equivalent rather than selectively subsidising some modes at the expense of others. Why does AT acknowledge the inequity and then do nothing about it?

  5. Depressing, that those in charge appear so uninterested in providing the very best service for the customer, particularly when it comes to off-peak. They have a different agenda which all too often seems to be to provide the minimum they can get away with. There is no vision or enthusiasm for agressively pursuing those often little aspects that would maximise value to passengers. Only a seemingly fawning desire to appease the paymasters by being as bland as possible with spending priorities. We notice the same trend in Wellington also.

    Officialdom needs a good kick-up-the-pants from higher up. But “higher up” is a distintereted National government at the present juncture, so not holding out too much hope for change while they are still in charge. Typical kiwi attitudes pervade: Can’t do it mate; Nah. Won’t work here; She’ll be right; No worries.

  6. That 7am to 11pm nonsense just furthers the temporal prejudice that runs rampant through our public thinkers.

    Midday is 12. This 7-11 gives only 5 hours earlier and 11 after – more than 100% prejudiced. Adjusting it to 5am and 9pm would still make it prejudiced by 15% but would be a lot fairer.

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