Back in March, Auckland Transport announced a special shuttle to link a Park n Ride at Lloyd Elsmore Park to the Half Moon Bay Ferry Terminal. At the time it was announced I thought it was a silly idea but said that at least AT were trying things.
A LGOIMA request from reader Felix Lee has discovered just how silly the idea is.
- For the 5 trips being operated each day, can you tell me the average passenger number for each trip?
- Can you tell me the cost to operate this service?
The response from AT is below. It covers the period from 21 March when the service started to 21 May, a total of 42 working days (which is only when the service runs).
So a grand total of just 23 trips and it would seem that about 9 people didn’t even make the return journey. That seems like an abysmal failure to me.
But then we also need to consider the cost. AT say:
So over the 42 days covered above it cost about $7650 to run services on which just 23 trips were made so just over $330 per trip. Based on a quick search, at $175 for a 12 minute flight, it would have been almost half the cost to helicopter them directly to the city.
As I’ve said a number of times before, I believe that park n rides are often over-rated and clearly this example shows that parking then taking a shuttle to catch another PT service just isn’t attractive.
As I also said when this was announced, I think using the park as a park n ride is not a terrible idea but it should really be linked to bus services along Pakuranga Rd which AT have confirmed needs bus lanes in the recent information released about the Reeves Rd Flyover.
One other thing this episode highlights is the arguments over the bus colours recently. If you recall, those opposing the changes baulked at the suggestion that it might cost $9,000 to paint a bus and claimed that money could be better spent on new services instead. Here we have a service that runs just five times a day over ~2.6km for two months costing almost the same amount. This suggests that any meaningful addition to services on other routes will cost a lot more in a year than painting a few buses, the cost of which can be spread out over multi-year contract.
Coming back to the shuttle, the whole thing seems to have been a thoroughly predictable outcome. I guess the only real question is how much longer will AT keep the service running before they finally pull the plug on it?