Fresh from saying that there is no solution for congestion, the NZTA are now saying that people from the north of Christchurch should start carpooling to make things better.

Christchurch =- Morning congestion on Christchurch Northern-Motorway

Carpooling is the best option to help alleviate morning commuter congestion on Christchurch’s Northern Motorway according to the results of a new commuter survey.

Eighty percent of those surveyed indicated they would be open to the idea of carpooling or already carpool.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Southern Regional Director Jim Harland, who is leading the team working on short-term solutions to ease congestion, says there will always be peak-hour congestion on the Northern Motorway, even when the new Western Corridor and Northern Arterial are built, because of the continual growth in traffic volumes from the north.

“What everyone needs to do is start thinking about how they travel and consider using alternative transport options to their private car, such as carpooling, which provides more capacity on the network and more predictable journey times.

“Carpooling and public transport are all parts of the transport network and greater use of these will help reduce congestion.”

Those surveyed said they wanted incentives, such as carpooling lanes, to make carpooling easier.

My first thoughts when reading this were, why would anyone bother using PT with the transport situation in Christchurch as it stands currently. That’s because on the whole, people will make a rational choice based on what the options are. Unless you can’t drive or you’re prepared to sacrifice your commute so others can drive there is probably almost no reason to catch a bus. That’s because the buses are going to be caught in exactly the same congestion as everyone else and be slower once stops are taken into account, something those involved in the survey suspected.

Respondents’ perceived public transport as slower than driving and also inconvenient. Only 3% were regular bus users, compared with 90% who drove.

Mr Harland says motorists will continue to experience delays and frustrations if they do not change their travel behaviour, looking at alternative options and travelling at alternative times. 

Environment Canterbury public transport manager David Stenhouse said the northern motorway research provided an interesting insight into commuter behaviour.  “It’s great to get people thinking about how they travel and how their choices affect congestion.

“We’re improving the public transport services in the Waimakariri area to encourage more people to catch a bus to help ease congestion on the Northern Motorway. By catching the bus you can do your bit to reduce congestion.”

Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers encourages North Canterbury road users to consider the options available for travelling into the city during peak hours.

“We still have very high numbers of vehicles, around 85%, with only one person in them travelling into Christchurch in the morning peak hour.

“If more people share their ride or catch a bus, even if it’s only one or two days a week, this will make a difference.”

It seems to me Christchurch really needs to be having a discussion about a future rapid transit network. It seems to be a glaring gap in discussion for the city and the experience from Auckland shows that if we want the people from in and around Christchurch to use PT to avoid congestion then it’s vital they have some high quality services that are realistic options. That means dedicated PT infrastructure so the PT doesn’t get stuck in traffic.

If only there was a transport corridor to the north that could be used to provide an alternative.

Christchurch Northern Rail

You may recall that the regional council along with the NZTA decided to look at a rail option a few years back but they ruled it out because it would cost $10 million, a tiny amount compared to what’s being spent on motorways. There was also a risk that a short term service might prove too popular and people would demand it stay and be improved. Of course if rail continues not to go ahead, as the image at the top of the page shows, there appears to be a huge median in some places along the motorway that could be better utilised.

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  1. Do they have T2 or T3 lanes? If not, it’s absurd suggesting people carpool. It’s no more than wishful thinking, trying to get people to inconvenience themselves for no individual benefit. RTN sounds good. It looks to me like they need to start thinking about road pricing – that would incentivise car pooling.

    1. Exactly. Why would people go out of their way to do something that benefits them in no way at all? They system has been set up to incentivise inefficient low occupancy journeys and people have responded rationally

  2. I guess one of the problems with a rail only solution is that Christchurch currently has no real CBD. Maybe in the future it will, but because of the earthquake lots of business are spread out over a wider area of the city. However, for $10 million capex and $$$$ opex rail option will probably provide excellent value for money.

    However by itself I think it isn’t going work by itself. I think bus lanes/expressways are needed. It is a shame that there is no PToNS projects (maybe it’s is something that the next government can launch). It is not only Auckland that needs better public transport, our other major cities need the investment as well.

    I know that quiet a few of my colleagues in our CHCH office bike to work. So maybe cycling is an alternative for people who live closer to the centre of CHCH. I know I saw lots of plans for the rebuild of CHCH to include cycle ways. However, I am not sure if these have been scaled back (or quietly dropped) or not. The proposal for light rail to the airport was dropped (which I thought was very short sighted- particularly when it could also be used by students going to UC.

    That lack of priority of PT projects in NZ is frustrating. I had a discussion with a local board member who was saying that cycle ways were a waste of space and money. I get the feeling this attitude is wide spread throughout elected officials in NZ. Perhaps we need a political outsider to shake things up in NZ government (local and central). (But not someone as extreme as Mr Trump).

    Anyway that is my 2 cents used up

    1. I didn’t say it had to be a rail only solution, a busway could be good too but seems a waste when an underdeveloped corridor if just sitting right there.

    2. There are already bus lanes for much of the route from the north into the CBD, although extending these further north may be worthwhile. One issue is still the quantity of roadworks around the city, which make some buslanes unuseable.

      The cycleways projects are still alive and well. Regular updates here if you’re interested:

    3. It might be an accident but its interesting that a lot of the growth/development of Chch has happened around the existing rail corridor Addington, Riccarton and Woolston as well as more developments to the north. Brownlie and the unelected regional council are likely to be blocks to a rail comeback, even if the idea was popular.

      Before the earthquakes there was ECAN discussion of creating a rail link between moorhouse ave and papanui, a proposal that would have given Chch one of the best public transport systems in NZ. It was rejected as too expensive, but not considered again despite potential project costs substantially dropping if built as part of a rebuilt CBD.

      1. Yes, if ever there was an opportunity to get a trial rail service running it is now while the “centre of gravity” of Chch is currently in Riccarton and Addington (i.e. exactly where the railway line runs past). Then you can worry about how you might extend that service into town somehow (or provide a related connection – additional bikeshare stations?). The pull back to the central city is starting to happen as new buildings get built downtown, thus supporting the naysayers who say that the railway line is too far away from town to be viable.

        1. I agree -get a commuter rail up and running -then sort out a loop or something to make it efficient. In the meantime feeder bus services and good bike lanes would naturally work in with commuter rail.

          1. Looking at that map of the rail line, there are some pretty good work/life balance results there. Live near those north east beaches, short walk/cycle/connecting bus to the local train station, short rail commute into the city.

            Even the option of living in a satellite suburb (e.g. Kaiapoi), where houses are (typically) bigger and cheaper, with a walk-up rail line taking you directly the regions central employment and recreational hub. These are the options other countries move heaven and earth to create. Its sitting there waiting to be implemented and for an upfront cost of $10m its deemed not worth it.

            Visiting urban and transport planners must think we have rocks in our head.

    4. Christchurch used to be the second biggest cycle city in the world after Copenhagen. It can be again with a minimum of expense and effort.

      It could easily have a 20% mode share which would be huge and the biggest outside of Europe.

      When I was a kid there in the 1980s everyone cycled so there is no culture problem, only an infrastructure problem.

  3. There are still people in NZ who argue that the solutions to the problems in our cities are:
    1. Dispersal from crowded centres
    2. More motorways and further private vehicle spending (alternatives are ‘waste’)
    This very call was heard at a recent business focussed rally for a certain mayoral candidate in Auckland this week.

    Well the science is in, people, we have a live experiment of the dispersal/low rise/sprawl/ drive only city; Christchurch. A perfect chance to look at this theory in real time and at scale.

    Remember Chch has around a quarter of AKL’s population, and is without its geographical constrictions, and there is currently huge amounts of additional free parking especially in the centre on cleared sites. Yet what is everyone’s experience; of a city with the traffic conditions of a place with many times the population.

    And once the exogenous rebuild money stops arriving and the stimulus from this work is done, what will the economy be like? It’s seems pretty clear it will suffer the inefficiencies of this dispersal and congestion; the need for people and business to constantly be driving across the wider city to connect the various parts of their activities together, congesting each other’s tasks more than ever before.

    To anyone who says it ‘just makes sense’ and ‘obviously’ the answer is more sprawl, keep those dispersal enforcing planning regs, stop the waste of investing in the city centre and quality PT and bike amenity, the kids can move to a detached house and garage in Pokeno or Wellsford, I say; move your business to Chch. Let us know how you get on.

    1. The question is this? If PT is doomed to failure in Auckland because of its “long, thin nature” and the constraints of its geography presumably ChCh would be perfect for it. So, what excuse will they come up with to argue that its just not suitable?

      1. A long thin city with pinch-points on all key corridors is actually the *perfect* situation for public transport. It’s hard to provide enough capacity for cars (due to pinchpoints) and easy to serve a large share of the population with PT (due to the thin-ness).

        Of course, flat radial cities also have their advantages. For one thing, they tend to have more space for PT corridors. And it’s easier to design a connective network where all the transfer points aren’t in the centre.

        Basically, geography doesn’t make cities unsuitable for PT, human decisions do.

        1. Personally I don’t believe long thin cities are inappropriate for PT, but it’s an argument I’ve heard.

          Hmmm… Maybe I should try a build like that in Cities: Skylines.

          1. I’ve heard before that Auckland’s geography, with all the pinch points, makes it ideally suitable for cars.

            (and yes that was dead serious. In a certain newspaper)

    2. Patrick I think both the Auckland and Christchurch are flawed urban development models.

      Auckland because it is too restrictive -both up and out. This has created a speculative land banking and hoarding of up zoning potential dynamic. So housing price inflation is ridiculous and the build rate (per 1000 pop) is still below historic averages.

      Christchurch because it is restrictive for building up/intensifying but less restrictive for building out -especially in neighbouring LG jurisdictions. There has been no new PT projects to encourage density and aid the recovery of commercial centres. But because of the ease of building out the speculative dynamic is less and therefore house price inflation is contained and the build rate is greater than historic averages. The biggest flaw in this development model is what Patrick alludes to -in that Greater christchurch seems to be making all the mistakes that Greater Auckland did in the post WW2 period -with its unplanned, car-based urban sprawl.

    3. There’s some sort of experiment going on in CHCH but I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as a “dispersal/low rise/sprawl/ drive only city”. A lot of the problems are still to do with massive changes in landuse, which transport infrastructure is still trying to adjust to. Looking to the future the most exciting experiment for me will be whether the city-wide network of physically-separated cycleways impacts the transport scene as much as some people think it will.

      1. It’s likely to make quite a notable difference (already the first few cycleway sections are seeing great improvement in numbers), but it certainly doesn’t address the inherent structural problem of a city spreading out too far. If you have many people living 10/15/20/+ km away from where they work, then not many of them will entertain the thought of cycling that distance, even if you build a beautiful cycleway all the way door-to-door. They might consider taking a rapid transit system though and cycling the first/last mile at each end…

        1. Is Christchurch really that dispersed? Despite recent changes, the vast majority of Christchurchians do still live less than 10km of the CBD, a cyclable distance for most people on flat terrain. It’d be interesting to calculate how many people in Auckland and Wellington live within a 10km bike ride of the CBD, I suspect there wouldn’t be that many more than there are in Christchurch.

          Perhaps a rapid transit corridor could be a good option for the satellite towns, but I think other changes closer in to the city are the things having a bigger impact on determining how Christchurch works.

          1. You’re right that 10km is a perfectly cyclable distance for an experienced rider; only half an hour without barely breaking a sweat. However, to new people thinking about taking up cycling, 10km sounds like a LOOOONNGG way to ride (heck, even 5km sounds too far for many people). So to encourage more people to bike we need to ensure that their target destinations (work, shops, school, etc) are mostly close to home e.g. <5km.

            That requires creating community hubs across Chch where the local shops, schools, libraries, doctors, commercial centres, etc are all reasonably closely clustered in the same neighbourhoods where people live (witness the numerous dormitory subdivisions we create that are entirely houses so you have to go somewhere else to do anything). Then some people will think "perhaps I'll bike there; it's only ten minutes away". Once you have people trying biking for short trips (and realising how quick it was to do them on a bike), then they might be comfortable trying further and further distances away from home. But starting with the assumption that someone will hop straight on your brand new 10km cycleway and go most of its length for their first bike trip will limit your long-term audience.

  4. We talk about railway stations having a 1km walking catchment, and I think the challenge with commuter rail for CHC locating a station that provides a good catchment for the CBD. An Addington station is 3km from Catherdral Square; Riccarton is 2.5km. If some expense were made and the other arm of the triangle junction was put in then a station at Colombo St would get that down to 1.3km, and there’s probably enough business in that area to increase the value, or the trains could ‘Newmarket’ it and reverse somewhere.

  5. I was thinking about this yesterday and I would honestly do 15+ stops Rolleston to Ashley and Lyttelton.

    1. I would go as far North as Waipara -so add two more stops. At the same time develop/market the whole Waipara wine valley, with projects like a polytechnic -cooking school. A Lincoln University wine research institute. Limestone gravel bike lanes -connecting to the train stations……

  6. A couple of years ago KiwiRail management in Christchurch were opposed to any suburban rail passenger services in Christchurch being established because of potential conflicts with growing freight volumes esp to/ from Lyttleton and the Rolleston area. I don’t know what their current position is.

  7. You’re unlikely to dig heavy rail under the CBD. So I would say the best options are light rail or bus. Manchester, UK is a good example of light rail that has dedicated corridors (most of them former heavy rail line) and then street running through the CBD. The newer lines are on corridors down arterials. I could see this option working well in ChCh, but could equally see a bus based solution of the same nature working depending on capacity requirements.

  8. “as the image at the top of the page shows, there appears to be a huge median in some places along the motorway that could be better utilised.”

    Except that the many overbridges that cross over the motorway use that central median for the overbridge supports, making about 1.5 lanes of usable space under those bridges between the central bridge supports and the motorway edge bridge supports. As This Streetview link shows.

    Also, the problem there is not so much the lack of motorway lanes, its that there is a simple lack of lanes on the existing 2 bridges that cross the wide braided (Waimakariri) river north of Christchurch – there are 2 lanes each way on the Motorway bridges that cross that river and 1 each way on the non-motorway bridge.

    So 3 lanes in each direction is your lot.

    And even if you added lanes, before of after the river crossing, sooner or later they’ll have to merge – until you add more bridges or add more lanes on the existing bridges.

    All doable, but not anytime soon.

      1. The biggest peak/congestion in the AM, not PM so don’t see how adding a 3rd northbound (PM peak) lane to a motorway helps relieve that. All it does is allow 2000 more [mostly] SOV’s to travel north per hour.
        Like that will solve this problem.

        But the kicker is that in meantime til its actually built, NZTA is using the mere fact that a motorway [bridge] lane is being added at some point, to deflect and deny all reasonable demands for a proper PT corridor through there (because you know, it won’t be needed once the new lane is added).

        Further fixing the “solution” back to the mid 20th century cars for everything mentality that existed when this route was first designated.

      2. The proposed Northern arterial starts south of the Waimak bridge. So no it doesn’t mean an extra lane for the bridge further north.

          1. You are right -I missed this bit -“the addition of a third northbound lane on the Waimakariri
            Motorway Bridge through to Tram Road”.

            This is really stupid. Tram road leads to lifestyle blocks and eventually Oxford. The extra lanes on the motorway bridge (it has extra wide footings so I think it can be widened quite easily) should be for bus lanes. That way any future urban developments north of the Waimak and away from the railway line can access a bus rapid transit network.

    1. Without an additional motorway lane I’m pretty sure you could squeeze tracks on either side, although there’d be no inner shoulder on the motorway. You might need to move the road out a little, but it’s not impossible or that expensive in the scheme of things.

  9. The Press recently ran an article “Commuters slate hour-long commute into Christchurch”. because commutes into Christchurch central take 57 min.

    The stupid thing is that the places like Rangiora and Kaiapoi used to have a commuter rail service up until the 1960s, which I believe took about 30 to 35 minutes. I haven’t been able to source an old timetable -if anyone finds one can they send it into Transportblog -who could forward me a copy?

    So a simple solution which we know is doable and would provide a good service for many people is being avoided because of political/ideological reasons.

  10. As the Public Transport Users Association pointed out, the CHCH rail study was flawed. All costings were based around the operationally expensive SX carriages which require 2 locos. They should have used SA/SD or ADB’s for costings. They also had priced rail platforms at around 4 times the costs to build than those build by ARTA at Huapai and at Waimauku.

  11. To add some more information to the discussion. North of the Waimakariri river is the Waimak Council. It has a faster growing population, which currently is about 50,000 people. So 4 times the population of Devonport. This is spread across several towns and quite a few lifestyle blocks (often around old rural schools). Three of the four main towns are satellite towns of Greater Christchurch -Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Woodend/Pegasus. Two of the towns could get a commuter rail service re-established -Kaiapoi and Rangiora. The third town Woodend/Pegasus could get a bus rapid transit service if the Northern Arterial motorway upgrade includes a dedicated bus lane.

    Similar bus rapid service and rail options exist for the south-west corridor too. Also the Woolston/Lyttleton corridor has a lot of potential to convert old working class industrial areas to newer residential areas as industry moves out to Hornby/Rolleston and Belfast areas.

    As Peter Nunns says -it is human decisions not geography which determines whether public transport exists or not. Establishing a rapid transit system for Greater Christchurch would encourage a more compact and cohesive region. The region would be faster in the sense more people could access more areas in a given travelling time.

    My final point is that even though the residential rebuild is over -Canterbury is still consenting 500+ homes a month (two-thirds of Auckland’s figure) yet none of those are going to transit orientated developments. Even though a 100,000 submitters to CCC “share an idea” campaign indicated they wanted a green, cycle friendly, public transport providing city.

    1. Yes. This is the point. The problem is much less with the dispersed habitation model than with the transport options being provided, or rather not being provided, for that pattern.

      In other words, they just aren’t doing dispersal well. ‘Dispersal done well’ could be a good corollary to the ‘density done well’ slogan. Both the appeal and viability of the country town or lifestyle block living is greatly improved with efficient options for all people to reach the regional education and employment centre.

      The drive only model currently offered will of course suffer the same fate as everywhere else in the world and infarct not just the commuter routes; which NZTA will supersize, but most disastrously the city itself. This is obvious, everyone with the slightest understanding of cities knows this. Brownlee, tragically, perhaps excepted.

      It seems NZTA intends to deal with this with videos. Videos that 1. Urge people do things they aren’t incentivising (PT use, rideshare) and 2. Absolve them of any role in the matter (‘we can’t solve congestion’).

      They can’t solve congestion because the only tool they grant themselves is building and expanding statehighways, which of course generate more driving, solidifying autodependency; essentially creating and sustaining traffic congestion. Combine this with a ‘patch’ mentality that basically means they care disportionately too much for the efficiency of those statehighways and insufficiently for impacts of this work on other roads and transport systems, the economy, the environment, and communities. All in the most well meaning way, of course.

      1. Patrick how would you word the slogan?

        Urban development should be density done well and dispersal done well.

        Something like that?

          1. The concept is right Patrick. We just need to work on how to communicate it clearly.

  12. A rail link between Rolleston and Rangiora with free transfers between trains and buses at key points like Riccarton rd would be a good start.

    Unfortunately some track duplication on the North Line (and reinstated south of Islington) would probably be required if the frequencies required of a transfer based system was going to work.

  13. The powers that be in Christchurch sound even dumber than those in Auckland. Now that’s something…

    1. This administration/the National Party has allowed Brownlee to run Canterbury as his personal fiefdom. If you track back all the key decisions regarding transport and urban planning for the last 8 years you get to Brownlee, especially post Sept 2010 earthquakes. All the international disaster experts find it bizarre how centralised the rebuild has been and how little real input from local communities there is. In particular putting one government ministry and minister from 100s of km away and from another island in charge of rebuilding a city is without precedent.

      The new model -Regenerate Christchurch of a board appointed jointly by CCC and the government is a better model, which should have happened from the get-go. The damage is done now though….

      I think it will take a change in government in Wellington to get new thinking re urban development in Christchurch/Canterbury.

  14. It’s such a shame one of our other cities hadn’t just retired a bunch of rolling stock that could help with short term lift.

    1. Lol, darkly. However if you are ideologically opposed to a mode then you wouldn’t want to allow the ‘Auckland disease’ to repeat; allowing a cheap and cheerful re-introduction that’ll just go on to prove popular and successful, leading to irresistible calls for a proper service…. before you know it your once in a lifetime dream to make the blandest most conforming conurbation in the country is missed!

  15. They should build a railway right down the middle of that motorway (on the grassy strip) in the picture above.

  16. Pfft. I thought that discussion was closed since forever. If carpooling could possibly work in any way, then people would have figured it out by now. And companies like Uber would have figure it out by now.

    Or maybe we are waiting for driverless cars going to figure it out?

  17. Yes might as well make use of rail infrastructure that’s there. Connectivity into the CBD may be problematic but CHC buses already have free transfers so shouldn’t be hard to extend to trains. Could also look at a station in the Colombo / Moorhouse are.

    Longer term, depending on CBD growth patterns could look at some sort of hybrid tram-train vehicle. The idea being they could run on-street light rail through the CBD and then onto the existing heavy rail lines.

  18. We need rail, and the government’s refusal to consider rail for Christchurch will just be another case of the Auckland CRL – how long can you ignore the obvious before the entire population realises how stupid you’re being?

  19. One strong reason for catching PT is that it removes car-hassle: no finding carparks, no tickets, no fines, no maintenace or WOFs, no wing-mirrors kicked off by louts, very little chance of crashes. Provided you’re prepared to take taxis or hire a car occasionally, a car-free life is considerably less stressful.

  20. So let me get this straight.
    – NZTA arrange for a self-selected survey of commuting practices, then immediately (para3.2) discount all responses which are “limited “. Strangely, these categories include all responses which aren’t single occupant vehicles (passenger, bus, motorcycle, cyclist)
    – expected travel times were 57 minutes ( ignoring, obviously, anything with low response rates. And yet in around 25% of the time, travel time was longer or much longer (3.23).
    – between 50-69% of (self-selected, car driving ) respondents were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their commutes (4.1) as a result of congestion (4.3, 4.4)
    – But of the (self selected, car driving) respondents, 66% felt other options were inadequate (5.1). And 5.2 assesses improvements which could be made( more convenient routes, better timer sling/reliability). 14% suggested improvements to PT and rail options as their final comment, compared with 16% suggesting improved roaring/ infrastructure (more lanes) (their brackets)

    And yet the key message is ‘car pooling’.

  21. Relocate Christchurch Station in Addington to just north of the Raceway and Stadium.

    Run trains Rolleston – Lyttelton and Addington – Rangiora,
    both lines c.30-32km (c.35-40min per line @ 50kph incl stops.)

    Run light rail Addington – Cathedral Square.
    via Hagley Ave, Hospital, Oxford Tce, Lichfield St and the Christchurch Bus Interchange (c. 5-6min with priority @ 40kph incl stops.)

    You now have regional PT access to the CBD, Hospital, Hagley Oval (Cricket) and AMI Stadium (Rugby) with 3.5km of Light Rail integrating the already efficient radial cross-town high frequency Buslines and Heavy Rail.

    Park and Rides at Rangiora, Kaiapoi and Rolleston.
    Major Interchanges at Kaiapoi, Belfast, Papanui and Hornby, Woolston.

    Rail, Transfer and LRT:
    Rolleston to CBD – 30-35min
    Lyttelton to CBD – 25-30min
    Rangiora to CBD – c.45min


  22. There’s a lot of good comments in the thread, but few appear to be aware of the on-the-ground situation. Some facts and opinions:
    – The Old CBD is dead except for Government-funded entities and their appendages. Business may eventually come back, but not quickly, as rental rates (at $600-1000 per square per year) are 2-3 times suburban and smaller-centre rates. ECON101 rules.
    – The New CBD is much more dispersed – a ‘doughnut city’. The rough area is from Sydenham/Addington, through Middleton and Riccarton. Plus the health complex around Belaey Ave/Merivale. All are (dimly, barely) walkable from rail. But some localised business hot-spots aren’t: Airport, Lincoln
    – Planners in general have failed to keep up with dispersed business and residential populations, and their interdependent commuting flows. Their main focus still seems to be reviving the Old CBD. Locals have lost faith in the planners, their Council, and have made their own choices. Planner-led initiatives are now largely anathema because of these failures.
    – Rail is not at all suited now to pax. It’s freight-oriented. Examples: no functional stations, no crossing loops, no PR space, signalling density and location optimised for few, long freight consists, zero current interaction with local PT, little to no double-tracking. Nothing that a lot of time and money cannot fix, but even such simple (to the customer) notions as an Oyster card which works across rail, bus and ferry (yes, ferry, to Diamond Harbour) is a major rock in the path.
    – everything has to come into being at once to actually deliver shorter ride times. There’s no point in skipping across the Waimak in a short time, only to be faced with a 15 minute wait for a bus which then goes to the CBD interchange (15 mins) before heading out to the airport where you actually work (15 mins). Delivering all the missing elements at once is a daunting prospect, which is largely why it has not been attempted. Deliver a few small bits in a start-up or spasmodic way (as some appear to have suggested) runs the high risk of alienating potential rail users because of such an unsatisfactory or disjointed experience.
    – in practice, localisation of businesses is happening anyway: Rolleston and IZone are good examples. IZone takes advantage of its location (junction of north, south, west rail links) for businesses such as logistics and processing bulk goods (Warehouse distribution centre, Westand Dairy milk drier) and with a substantial residential population literally across the road. A real walkable city. This shift will likely intensify, and by definition, walkable centres remove the need for PT at all for the immediate area. Commuting to Christchurch, of course, yes.
    – advocates of LR need to recall the per-km cost is of the order of $30-100m. Not gonna happen.
    – a shift back to the 1950’s would of course reinstate rail (light and heavy), so perhaps some time-machine funding could help here. But seriously, ya has to start from where ya stand, and that’s far away from those halcyon days.

  23. I’ll take a friendly bite Wayne…

    Let’s be as cheap as we can be. We build no new track, only bare minimum stations and no light rail.

    – Rangiora to Christchurch station (existing)
    This is c.30km in length, at 10km you have Kaiapoi, at 20km you have Belfast, two places that need stations on the line.
    These 2 station’s platforms can double as passing loops and Rangiora station already currently has double track.
    Trains terminate at Christchurch station and can be forwarded on to the Addington rail yard to be kept off the line.
    – Rolleston to Lyttelton
    This is c.32km in length, there is c.9km NE of Rolleston and SW of Islington and 3km Heathcote to Lyttelton (the tunnel) that is single track.
    c.20km of existing double track through the centre / core, Rolleston station already currently has double track and Lyttleton has a rail yard.
    Ferrymead also has an existing siding / spur too if you wanted to short run the line to Woolston / Ferrymead.
    So the terminal stations Rangiora and Rolleston have double track, and Christchurch and Lyttelton are right next to rail yards.
    Rangiora – Christchurch is single track with 2 evenly spaced stations that can act as passing loops.
    Rolleston – Lyttelton is 2/3 double tracked and fully double tracked through its core, Islington – Heathcote.
    This should mean freight movements can quite easily move through a PT timetable service.

    What kind of service pattern?
    7am – 8:20am 5 trains every 20mins, 9am – 4pm 1 train per hour, 4:40pm – 6pm 5 trains every 20mins, 7pm – 10pm 1 train per hour each way.
    22 services each way on the 2 lines between 7am and 10pm weekdays, maybe no weekend service to begin with or a limited hourly / 2 hourly service until demand is in place.

    Stations to be built – essentially platforms with a “bus shelter” on them not counting the existing terminal stations:
    (Rangiora) Kaiapoi, Belfast (Christchurch) and (Rolleston) Hornby, Addington, Woolston and provide shelter / access at Lyttelton from Oxford St.

    Addington station to be built between Matipo St and Whiteleigh Ave.
    Pedestrian access SW from Christchurch station and E from Addington station to Whiteleigh Ave rail crossing, c.200m from either station.
    The Orbiter bus line already runs through this intersection.
    Run a new major (colour) bus line:
    Airport – University – Regional Train Interchange (Whiteleigh Ave) – Hospital – City Bus Interchange – CBD, essentially the .29 but Airport-City via Riccarton not Fendalton.

    For the cost of 6 train station platforms with 6 train “bus shelter” stations, pedestrian access at Oxford St Lyttelton, 400-500m of pedestrian access to Whiteleigh Ave and a new / redirected Airport-City via Riccarton bus line / route at 10-15min peak feq you have Regional PT access:
    Rangiora, Rolleston, Lyttelton – CBD via Addington / Airport via Riccarton.
    12 trains with 3 cars could service both lines and future long term growth with 4 trains (12 cars) in reserve.
    36-48 cars, 12-16 trains.

    Second stage you remove Christchurch station and upgrade Addington station into the major interchange station between the 2 lines and you add more stations, possible – Redwood, Papanui, Fendalton. Templeton, Waltham, Ferrymead / Heathcote.

    Third stage you run Light Rail Addington station to the CBD.


  24. Sure, John, but let’s look at some unit costs and omissions in the El Cheapo suggestion:
    – those stations are unlikely to come in at much under $3m each, so say $20m for the 6. At a WACC of 6% and a 50 year term, calculated annually, that’s $1.269m in repayments per annum.
    – No PR – let’s say 3 stations, 3000 sq metres (allowing 1/3 for manoeuvring, that’s 200 cars @ 10 sq m each), say $1m per PR, that’s $3m or $190K per annum
    – No $ allowance for operation (e.g. signalling) adjustments
    – No $ allowance for staffing, ticketing, extension of existing bus lines.
    – No $ allowance for loco and stock hire
    – No $ allowance for crossing loops, so that 3 per hour frequency is gonna run into line congestion issues immediately given that a 30km journey needs around 45-50 minutes to complete

    So we see $1.5m in cost of capital alone, no opex allowed for.

    Now let’s divide that amongst likely patronage on say Rangiora and points north generally, to Christchurch: some assumptions:

    Single-lane road carriageway capacity 2000/hr

    2 lanes at the main bottlenecks, say 2.5 hours at capacity. 2 x 2000 x 2.5 = 10,000 vehicle movements

    Of those, assume 1/3 are tradies, trucks, company or other tied vehicles, so no hope for rail pax. 6,667 potential vehicles to persuade onto rail.

    Assume a clever campaign can persuade 50% onto rail: 3,333 vehicles avoided, at occupancy of an optimistic 1.5 per vehicle, that’s 5,000 pax.

    5,000 pax, twice a day, over a standard 230 working day year is 2.3m trips.

    Assume opex = cost of capital, so the total cost of the trips to the operator is $3m. That’s $1.30 per pax per trip, but excludes:

    – GST at 15%
    – cost to pax to get to a rail station
    – cost to pax to get from rail station to place of work

    Start to fiddle with these wildly optimistic assumptions (especially WACC, term of repayment, opex, number of pax trips) and that cost-per-pax goes inexorably up.

    Plus, we still haven’t addressed the total trip (home to place of work) time taken: the real determinant of the incentive to change.

    It does not look like a business case to me, especially given that the pax estimate is over-estimated, and the costs under-estimated…..

    So subsidies would be needed to jump-start the whole shebang, and check the mirror to see whose pocket They will come from.

  25. Yeah of course there are sunk costs and a subsidy, it is Public Transport!!

    It is fairly common / standard to subsidise OPEX at what $4-8 per passenger in NZ?
    2.3m would certainly be optimistic initially, but easily doable in the future and obviously as that patronage grows and the network becomes a backbone all day RTN away from just solely a commuter setup the OPEX efficiency increases.

    I am not putting up a business case Wayne, it is a vision / idea. Your initial post seemed to put it squarely in the too hard basket.
    So ballpark (let me know if you agree / add your costs):
    – CAPEX $30-40m
    $15m stations / $15m track work
    – OPEX $25m
    $15m OPEX subsidy $8 per passenger (1.8-2m), $10m fare revenue (both rising with patronage.)

    I guess from what I read, $30-40m is 3-4 times the level of investment Chch is willing to invest as a $10m plan was rejected right?

    But seriously how little is acceptable? Or how much is being spent elsewhere? Roading? Bus and Active modes?

    I think NZTA could / should certainly help with PnR at Kaiapoi and Rolleston as they are on / feed the Chch motorway system.

    “– No $ allowance for crossing loops, so that 3 per hour frequency is gonna run into line congestion issues immediately given that a 30km journey needs around 45-50 minutes to complete”
    I see the 2 lines as separate initially, and I suggest 1 hour freq (outside of peak) and using the stations themselves as crossing / passing loops.
    Rangiora (0km) and Christchurch (30km) stations both have double track, build 2 (island?) stations at Kaiapoi (10km) and Belfast (20km), passing trains meet / wait at the stations (eg Jville line Wellington) what would be the issue?
    Rolleston to Lyttelton is 2/3 double track 20km through its core, so absolutely no issue with loops / freq.

    Some more envelope math:
    2 lines, 22 services each way, 250 days of the year – 90 passengers/service, 2m trips. Doable? Plenty of capacity.

    There is an element of “build it and they will…” and how much is a Roading alternative?

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