You may recall the new bus network to be implemented for West Auckland will see the removal of service to Waiatarua and many other parts of the Waitakere Ranges have never had any public transport service. If you live out in the Waitakere Ranges you may want to take part in a current consultation Auckland Transport are running looking at options for PT in the area.

Waitakere Ranges residents are invited to submit their feedback on what public transport services they may require or use, in a public transport survey open from 18 March to 29 April 2016.

Potential destinations, routes, and frequencies are being explored, as well as how popular any services are likely to be.

“Working with the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, this survey is the first step in investigating the level of demand for low-density west coast communities such as Piha, Karekare, and Te Henga (Bethells), as well as the urban fringe areas beyond Green Bay, Titirangi and Glen Eden” says Anthony Cross, Public Transport Network Manager.

“It will help us to understand if a tailor-made solution, such as the Kowhai Connection service which currently serves Warkworth, may be a viable possibility.”

Aimed at residents of areas that currently have no scheduled public transport, have limited service, or that will have services removed when the new West Auckland bus network is introduced in early 2017, the residents’ survey follows on from a survey targeted at visitors to the west coast beaches and the Arataki Visitors Centre, undertaken by the Waitakere Ranges Local Board over summer.

Sandra Coney, Chair of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, says “We’re pleased with the level of feedback we received from the visitors’ survey, which ran during late January and early February, and obtained 541 submissions. This next stage of research will give us an overall picture of what the community’s needs are.”

Mr. Cross adds, “Although we’re starting the conversation now, due to the implementation of the New Network for the urban and suburban areas of Auckland, any new public transport services for the Waitakere Ranges are unlikely to be submitted for funding before 2018. Starting the process early gives us time to work through what might be multiple options for an area such as the Waitakere Ranges.

“We want to thank the community in advance to those who participate and send us their feedback,” says Mr. Cross.

The results of the survey will be made publicly available once feedback has been analysed, and the next steps have been clarified.

Go here for a little more information and a link to the survey.

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  1. I’ve always liked the idea of a bus service to Piha. Especially during the summer months. The service wouldn’t have to be that frequent either.

    1. Unfortunately, as a potential visitor / PT customer you’re not invited to contribute your views. Daft, eh.

      I’m all for people becoming YIMBYs when it comes to PT, but I think the highly selective consultation filter – residents only – is really not appropriate.

      I assume this framing of who has a right to a voice is due to pressure from outside of AT, when the last round of consultation failed to deliver the answers some people wanted….

      This is becoming a habit in Auckland it seems. Well done AT for patiently engaging in the face of this, but please, Auckland, can we collectively learn to treat “consultation” as more meaningful?

      1. There is an “other location” option in the survey. But yeah not sure why they are so fixated on property owners in this survey. As visitors will make up a lot of the PT use. Especially to the west coast beaches.

        1. From the posting:

          “the residents’ survey follows on from a survey targeted at visitors to the west coast beaches and the Arataki Visitors Centre, undertaken by the Waitakere Ranges Local Board over summer.”

          That said, this is the first I’ve heard of the visitors’ survey, which is disappointing because I would have submitted. Did anyone see publicity for it?

  2. It begs the question of why are these new routes having to be investigated independent of the New Bus Network? Would have surely been easier to get it all right at the same time? The New Bus Network should have focussed on expansion from day 1, not retraction, but it would appear its designers were influenced by the compact city concept, and designed it accordingly, with little regard for ratepayer equity. The residents of Riverhead, Piha and many other Auckland region settlements deserve a service for the money they pay just as much as anyone.

    1. Yeah I was also very disappointed to see no expansion. North still limited to Waiwera with Dairy Flat &
      Albany Village getting a severe reduction in service. East didn’t even consult on beachlands services, but it is now being done seperately. South no improvement to the expansive services there mostly thanks to the magical border, nice improvement for Waiuku though. West cut backs galore, majority of Henderson Valley and upper Sturges gone, waiatarua and oratia gone, and same rubbish 2 hour frequency off peak service for Helensville and Waimauku, with no Riverhead service either.

      1. I think you’re possibly missing a few tricks here. That is, there is an interdependency between network planning and bus contracting to consider.

        When undertaking a newtwork redesign, the usual objective is to maximise patronage subject to constraints on 1) budget and 2) coverage.

        Basically, you first re-design the network with the budget you have, before then considering how you might increase/expand service. This injects some trade-offs into the network design process, to ensure that the proposed network is comparable (in terms of budget) to what we currently have.

        This leads to the following (paraphrased) process 1) design new network; 2) consult on new network and make refinements; 3) go out to tender for services; and 4) refine network in light of tender results. If you get good contract prices from 3) then in 4) you can often expand service beyond what was originally planned.

        The south is a case in point. The new network was originally designed to be more or less fiscally neutral. This was then refined in light of public consultation and then put out to tender. As the tender prices that AT received was quite sharp, they were then able to deliver more service than what was initially planned.

        Basically there is a reasonable tendency to start network redesigns as being fiscally neutral and then expand service later in the process once efficiencies and budget details become clearer. Not a good idea to start the process by promising more service from the outset, when you don’t know if you can afford to deliver it later on.

        That’s my two cents worth anyway!

    2. Hang on, you are asking for expansion of bus services across huge swathes of rural fringe at the same time as asking for ratepayer equity. Do you realise those two things are incompatible?

      Running buses through rural populations often requires taking them ten times as far to serve one tenth the number of ratepayers, so this can cost literally 100 times as much per resident as in the suburbs!

      No way is it equitable to spend one hundred times as much per person serving one group of ratepayers just because they choose to live in a rural setting.

      1. Nick, those rural residents are paying for PT, so they should either have a service provided, or they should stop being charged for one.

        I disagree the cost is as high as you claim. It depends on the type of vehicle being used. The Kowhai Connection fares are very cheap, so clearly their costs are not much different from buses in a fully urban environment.

        1. there’s not many residents out that way and they’re not paying very much – certainly not enough collectively to cover the costs of existing investment that they benefit from. Consider 1,000 households paying $100 p.a.. = $100k p.a. The Swanson park and ride and associated service improvements would cost substantially more than that.

          It’s important to keep in mind that PT rates in Auckland vary based on location, so locations downtown pay much more than locations in the burbs, who pay more than those based in rural areas.

        2. Those residents don’t even cover the costs of their roads, let alone pay for any PT. Their transport is already being subsidised by suburban ratepayers. That’s the simple fact of geometry, with few people spread across a large area even maintaining roads is a huge cost per property served.

          Funny you bring up the Kowhai Connection, it is a perfect example of how serving such areas is fundamentally impossible to do cost effectively. The Kowhai Connection is an abject failure, and always was going to be. The only reason it still runs, and the reason the fares a cheap, is the fact it is almost 100% subsidised by ratepayers.

          It carries about 800 people a month, that’s an average of about two passengers per trip, and given the length of the trips it boils down to just under one user for every hour of operation. Given a bus costs around $40-$50 an hour all up, and the fares are $3, each of those passengers are being subsidised by some forty bucks a trip.

  3. It is confusing Waitakere are cut off the old network because its under utilised. And now they are proposing an extension of the same service?. I would like to know what the options are? I like the rural bus on demand minibus type option being used overseas, where like an airport taxi you book in for a once a day pick up from your house and they create the route based on who’s booked. It would be more useful especially for elderly and you wouldn’t have buses running empty as it only goes if booked.. Second school kids would be one fo the biggest users. We ran full buses for primary kids. But There’s no buses running to Piha/Oratia from G.E. intermediate the largest local school.. Could we do Piha, Oratia/Waitarua, and HValley run from the GE train station , that does a pick up at the school and drops at the door like a school bus? Anyway no costs on the proposals so hard to know what the options are.

  4. I like Penny’s suggestion. And it would be good for all if elderly are able to use the same buses as school children.

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