Tomorrow the Auckland Transport board have their next meeting and here’s the information from the reports that caught my attention. As usual I’ve started with the items on the closed session items for approval/decision that look interesting.

  • Northern Busway – Presumably this is talking about the latest plans for the busway. The NZTA should be building the busway but it will be AT who build stations and obviously run services on it. Of note, the NZTA said on Friday that one of the clear themes from their recent consultation was related to the busway

Strong recognition that the Northern Busway extension would help improve not only bus service speed and reliability, but also reduce motorway congestion further. The majority of feedback supported the idea of an additional bus station being considered on the extension, and many people talked about the importance of car parking at the stations.

  • LRT Alignment – This was also on the agenda at the last meeting.
  • Corporate Accommodation – Long Term Strategy – AT are currently spread out across numerous buildings across the city. Many functions are based in the city but they also have a decent presence in Henderson, Smales Farm and Manukau. Could they be looking to combine staff into a single building?
  • Masterbrands – AT seem to be splitting off different parts of the organisation into separate brands. One of those is AT Metro which is their public transport brand and another is AT HOP which is currently only used for PT but will eventually be used for other payments.
  • CRL Update

It would be interesting to know what was being discussed. Moving on to the main business report.

It appears that AT will get a decent saving on their insurance for trains which I’m gathering is due to the electrics being safer. It also sounds like they’re close to selling the old diesel rolling stock

Rolling stock insurance is due for renewal at 31 October 2015. Initial market quotes indicate that a saving of approximately $100,000 is likely to be achieved on the 2014/15 premium for a similar loss limit.

Further progress on the diesel train sale process was achieved during the month with a visit from representatives of the prospective purchaser and further discussions on shipping and payment arrangements.

AT are obviously impacted a lot by the growth that is or will be happening across the region. They say they are working with the NZTA on business cases to identify what transport infrastructure is needed over 30 years for the large greenfield development areas in the North West and South. They also say

A number of business cases are also being developed on the rapid transit network. These include the Northwestern Busway and a business case for the addition of a station(s) along the proposed Northern Busway Extension. A business case is also progressing for improvements to Fanshawe Street in the vicinity of the Wynyard Quarter.

AT have outlined a few consultation/public information days that will be coming up soon.

  • Consultation for the New Network covering the Isthmus and East Auckland starts 1 October
  • Consultation for the Quay St cycleway between Hobson St and Tapora St starts in October
  • AT’s Community Liaison Group on the Franklin Rd Rd upgrade starts later in October and is made up of representatives from Franklin Road, CAA, utility companies, the Waitemata Local Board and AT.
  • AT have outlined the changes to the city centre for Phase 2 of the CRL enabling works. There are open days in the council chambers at the Town Hall on Saturday 3 October from 11am to 2pm; Tuesday 6 October from 4pm to 7pm. The changes include bus lanes on Queen St north of Victoria St.

CRL City Changes Phase 2

AT are launching a series of short videos this week with the aim of reducing trips by single occupant vehicles during peak times. They say the theme is “cool the love affair with your car”. The posters below show.

Cool your love affair with car posters

See it here

For specific project updates:

  • The Te Atatu Rd project is now underway
  • Work at Parnell continues – The platforms are well advanced and work is focused on the connecting ramps and paths as well as the works for the old Newmarket Station building. Train passengers might also have noticed that the old Mainline Steam sheds are now completely gone as you can see from the image below from a reader.

  • The concept design for the new Manukau Bus-Train interchange is nearly complete and will go to the local board prior to public feedback. It is now not due to be completed till August 2017.
  • The architectural and structural design for the fixed walkway for the new Half Moon Bay Ferry wharf has been completed. There are also some new images of what is proposed

On progress towards their key PT priorities

  • AT say the software upgrade to deliver integrated fares is due in September with handover to testing by AT in November
  • AT are reviewing low patronage bus routes to see if they can free up any resources that could instead be used for highly patronised routes. They want this in place for the busy months of February and March next year.
  • AT have signed a contract Ambient Advertising (NZ) Limited. They say “This strategic media partnership will see outdoor assets progressively consolidate under a single advertising platform to leverage improved third party revenue from public transport and other assets.
  • They are going to start installing LED lights at train stations. Ranui was the first one completed and the next stations on the list are Henderson, Glen Eden, Orakei, Manurewa and Glen Innes
  • The increase in service to Gulf Harbour a year ago has seen patronage growth by a greater amount that predicted with recent months seeing over a 100% improvement. They are now looking to add more capacity.
  • A new ferry is under construction to improve capacity on services to Pine Harbour.
  • On safety and security they say “Strategy discussions are progressing with Police around an enhanced joint approach to Metro security and fare enforcement. This will be reported back to the Board by the end of the year.” It will be interesting to see if this relates in any way to an announcement being made tomorrow by Simon Bridges on new measures to combat Fare Evasion
  • Finally you may recall that AT published a table of all the changes that were intended to be made by CAF, Kiwirail, Transdev and themselves to improve the reliability and speed of the trains. There is an update at the end of the report highlighting what’s been achieved, what is a work in progress and in some case where the changes haven’t or can’t be made. For example they intended to increase the speed of the Onehunga line saving around 15 seconds per trip however they’ve found it would cost more than $100,000 to make the changes needed so they’ve put the changes on hold.
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  1. $100,000 for a permanent 15s time saving on the Onehunga line that won’t be lost in 1 year to induced demand sounds like a bargain.

    Very pleased to see bus lanes on Queen Street, I’m hoping they put a bus phase into the traffic lights with Victoria Street such that buses could turn right from the left lane, otherwise any time saving from the bus lane will be wiped out by having to merge into the cars to turn right.

    1. I’m curious about that 15s time saving as well. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation for 15s saved per trip and approx 1,000,000 trips per year (based off latest patronage data) yields about $90,000 per year in time savings. A very rough assessment (not all trips would get the full time saving, etc), but with continuing growth in rail patronage it’s bound to be a worthwhile improvement.

      Many roading projects would be promptly approved with economic figures like that!

      1. And what about the 15 minute delay added to pukekohe? Having to leave that much earlier and arriving that much later in the evening is really annoying

      2. The time saving is only worth anything if you can translate it to the end of the trip and throughout the day. If you get to Penrose Platform 3 15 seconds earlier, but then have to wait an extra 15 seconds for the Papakura service to clear the junction, you’ve gained nothing.

  2. And why do they persist with these ridiculous advertising campaigns, people will switch to PT if and when it is reliable and frequent, which for most of Auckland it currently isn’t. It’s not for a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of investment.

    I would love to see AT finally complete bus lanes that run right through the intersections at Beach Rd/Anazac Ave/Waterloo Crescent and at Anzac Ave/Beach Rd/Customs Street – these are two quick fixes which on some days could save 5 mins of travel time for people one buses easily. It’s also good to see some east bound bus lanes on Customs St, but again buses turning left from Beach Rd onto Customs St, first have to deal with cars turning left (large numbers of which fill up the bus lane) but then congestion from SOVs along the entire length of Custom Street. I sometimes wonder with AT are actually analysing the HOP data and looking for these quick wins because they’re such simple fixes yet remain unchanged since years.

    1. I think their marketing is very good, unfortunately the product they are marketing is pretty bad (except for trains and possibly NEX). The old phrase ‘polishing a turd’ comes to mind…

      1. Funny how people see things differently – I reckon the product is OK, but really, really don’t rate the ads. The ones pictured above just look cutesy and unfunny to me.

      1. How can Auckland Transport say that when they are no longer interesting in buying anymore Electric sets? 🙁
        Also probably needs about a 100 double deckers! haha.

    2. It’s currently the worst for the NorthStar buses, as they crawl around the block via Quay Street to a stop on Lower Albert Street. That easily adds 10 minutes to your journey time. But I understand those buses will soon go via Wellesley Street.

    1. Nail on head Bryce. I wouldn’t be surprised if the deciding factor on location depends on where the manager lives.
      Having said that, there are probably few central locations that could accommodate several hundred staff at the price they want.

  3. Well Jimbo, reliability is improving, punctuality is improving, patronage is increasing, new bus and bike lanes are being built .. a good job is being done across the board by AT it seems.

    I’d like to have seen more visibility on progress with integrated fares, especially on how they plan to integrate ferry fares before going live in the new year, and hopefully we’ll see some outcomes on that reported next month. But looking at this report I think we should give AT some credit where they have earned it.

    1. We don’t even know whether it’s more than enough to buy a hot breakfast from. Those are old, clapped-out trains, as we noticed all too well.

          1. The SA carriages themselves are both fine and not inherently diesel powered (except the SD car, which can be converted), and I’d agree with Geoff that the interiors are nicer than those in the EMUs. The seats, for example, are more comfortable, and for someone of my height the straps hang at a better height – i.e. they don’t hit me in the face when I stand up.

            However, you need to haul carriages with something, and obviously we’re not going to use the old diesel locomotives for suburban services. Nor is there much point in buying new electric locomotives that can’t go through the CRL, and mean having two different types of rolling stock on the same lines. Better to buy new EMUs.

            But someone will want the SAs. It would be nice if they could go somewhere in New Zealand, but I don’t think there’s much opportunity there. In any case, they should be worth at least a little money.

        1. The SA/SDs were rebuilt in the 2000s, but they were built in the 1970s (I was there!) so their basics are certainly old, and no amount of rebuilding will change that fundamental fact..

  4. So nothing on the agenda about the dreadful reliability of untimeliness of the existing network? Nothing about the most pressing issue in Auckland transport – decreasing train dwell times?

    Instead we have an agenda full of fantasy projects. This is a council organisation that has no idea what it’s core responsibilities are and has even less focus on them. It is clear that there is a lack of leadership in this organisation, as there is with council as a whole.

    And don’t start me on the new dire advertising campaign. All AT needs to do is provide people with facts, not produce an advertising campaign that treats adults like children and provides no useful information whatsoever.

    AT has to be one of New Zealand’s most frustratingly stupid organisations.

    1. From the end of the blog post:

      “Finally you may recall that AT published a table of all the changes that were intended to be made by CAF, Kiwirail, Transdev and themselves to improve the reliability and speed of the trains. There is an update at the end of the report highlighting what’s been achieved, what is a work in progress and in some case where the changes haven’t or can’t be made.”

      Seems to cover it off eh? Will be interesting to see what comes out of that item, for sure.

    2. Yes there’s a section on reliability but I covered some of that in the patronage post the other day. Further dwell times come under the last point in my post.

      What fantasy projects are you referring to?

      1. Apologies Matt I thought the contents of the agenda were Bolded and that was the extent of the agenda.

        The projects I refer to are Light Rail and the bizarre Masterbrands Strategy

    3. To quote/paraphrase Simon Sinek (
      “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

      So I’d have thought an emotion based approach would win out over a fact based approach in most if not all circumstances, particularly when product being promoted involves behavioral change, which can be tricky at the best of times.

  5. Was hoping to see a sneak peak of the central new network in here but no, stuck with the low res unfinalized version until Thursday 🙁

      1. Thanks for that. The southern network roll out was delayed for otahuhu I heard so I was wondering manukau would delay things as well. As it is supposedly a central interchange

        1. I’m not sure they’ll do that but it seems feasible given the need to roll out the network. I think once the Otahuhu interchange is open, the southern network will be all go.

    1. Andy and co
      I LGOIMA’ed Auckland Transport on the delays to Manukau and as Matt said the Interchange will not be ready until 2017. So in the meantime here is the Interim Solution: (in the embedded document)

      AT have also delayed an OIA request into moving inter-city bus operations to Manukau probably so they can brief the Local Board next month.
      At the same time a full workshop to the Auckland Development Committee on the Interchange is due in November or December.

      In short? Buggers Muddle

  6. The bolded items are just ones on the closed agenda and are bolded took differentiate between the item and my commentary.

    I’m not a fan of AT developing lots of different brands, seems like a good way of creating unnecessary silos in the organisation

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