Today is the latest Auckland Transport Board meeting and it appears to be a big one with a lot of items to cover. I’ve gone through the documents to highlight the parts I’ve found interesting.

Closed Session

The closed session in particular has a number of interesting topics on the agenda, these are some of them up for approval/decision

  • Matakana Link Road – this is the road that is planned from roughly the end of the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway across to Matakana Rd so all those using the motorway to get to their holiday homes at Christmas don’t have to travel through the Hill St intersection. I’ve heard suggestions the NZTA and AT are looking to have this built at the same time as the motorway even though it hasn’t been budgeted for and that they might try to include it as part of the motorway PPP. The link road is shown below in green and extends past Matakana Rd to a Quarry I believe they want to source material for the motorway from.

Matakana Link Rd location

  • North Western Rapid Transport Corridor – Otherwise known as the Northwest Busway, AT currently have a tender out for an Indicative Business Case for this which includes confirming the preferred mode and alignment.
  • AMETI – While most items are listed as being confidential due to commercial sensitivity, this one oddly states: “To prevent disclosure or use of official information for improper gain or improper advantage
  • Rail Operations Procurement – AT extended Transdev’s contract to run trains in Auckland a year or so ago, presumably this is about extending it again or restarting the process to put it out to tender
  • South Western Multi Modal Airport Rapid Transit (SMART) – We’ve heard before that the Airport company has said that a decision was needed fairly soon on whether heavy or light rail was preferred option for rail to the airport so they can finalise their development plans. I assume AT are making that decision. (Edit: appears I was right. AT have for me they’ll get send me a copy of the report this afternoon)

  • CRL Procurement

And for noting

  • Deep Dive – Enforcement – I assume this includes information about both road and PT enforcement.

Business Report

Rapid Transit – Perhaps as a response to the issue of the AWHC we raised a month ago, AT say

AT and NZ Transport Agency are working together to ensure a future Additional Waitematā Harbour Crossing (AWHC) is delivered as a multimodal transport solution providing more options for moving people and freight across the harbour while supporting growth and resilience. Both organisations are currently investigating which modes of rapid transit will best service the growing needs of the city along with future roading requirements. This information will feed into the AWHC project and ensure the protected route enables and is fully integrated with a future public transport network.

Parnell Station – AT say planning work is still in progress “to complete the station ready for initial timetabled operations by second quarter 2017 in line with wider passenger rail timetable improvements.” Last I remember timetable improvements were planned for around Feb so this suggests they may have been pushed back too. If so this would be disappointing, particularly in the south where the new bus network will be implemented without the rail network being improved to support it.

Street Lighting – You may recall that last year AT started replacing around 44,000 high pressure sodium streets lights across the region with LEDs that over a 20 year period were expected to have net savings of about $32 million. They say so far around 10,000 have been installed which is about 9% of all street lights in Auckland. Positively they say both the technical performance is improving and cost of the lights is reducing so more will be able to be done within the funding allocated.

Bus Lanes – On bus lanes AT have this comment which perhaps suggests they weren’t going to have enough money to roll out the Gt North Rd bus lane which is meant to go in when Waterview opens “We are working with NZ Transport Agency on options to manage the funding of Great North Road Bus lane to alleviate a potential compromise of next year’s work programme“.

New Network Central - Bus Lanes

Red Light running – Back in May, AT announced that in conjunction with the police they were doing a blitz on four intersections on the North Shore for red light running. They say around 400 warnings/infringements were issued over the two-week period.

Integrated Fares – go live 31 July but we are yet to have prices or details of it confirmed which I assume will be a focus in July. The other day I mentioned that Monthly Passes were changing. After that post went up the details went up on AT’s website. From Friday, instead of three different monthly pass options there will only be one covering the entire region which will normally be $200, but for July AT are running it at an “introductory price” of $140 for July. If you make a lot of trips or normally have a fairly long PT commute and don’t normally use a monthly pass it might be worth picking one up and as a tip, once one has been bought and activated you can buy and load up another one. I already use the $200 monthly pass so this should save me around $120 which is nice.

Station Gating – We already knew AT were looking at gating a number of train stations but it appears they could be doing it fairly soon, saying “Electronic gating designs are underway for Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Middlemore, Glen Innes, Henderson and Papakura Stations; electronic gates have been ordered“.

Draft Statement of Intent

Another item at the board meeting is AT’s draft statement of intent for the 2016/17 financial year. The SOI is refreshed is a three-year work plan but is refreshed annually and so combined with other council/AT documents shouldn’t present too much of a surprise. What is interesting is seeing some of the changes that have been made following feedback from the Council. Some of the interesting changes/issues raised seem to be:

  • The council has asked AT to improve train travel times – we know some work has been done on this but we are still waiting for the next timetable change to actually see any improvement.
  • AT have a history of trying to downgrade their PT patronage targets and obviously they tried to again but the council have said they have no intention change them without a very good case for doing so. This means that AT are going to need to put a lot more effort in to ensuring that patronage grows over the next few years so it will be vitally important they get changes like the new network rolled out as soon as possible.
  • The PT patronage target is for all PT so the council have requested a rail specific target be added which AT have done and which gives a hint of where they think patronage will be in the next three years. Rail patronage is at 16.6 million to the end of May and the future targets are 2016/17: 19.5 million, 2017/18: 20.7 million, 2018/19: 21.6 million. That suggests they expect another significant jump in ridership over the next year before tapering off before the CRL is built which is what I would expect to see.
  • AT wanted to focus their cycling targets on the counts from around the city centre to reflect where most of the current cycle spending will impact however the council have said they want to keep the monitoring at a regional level

Not changing the targets does have some benefits for AT though, especially when it comes to PT farebox recovery. As of the end of April they remain ahead of the target set for 2018/19 of greater than 50%.

Is there anything else you’ve seen in the reports you’ve found interesting?

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    1. The idea was to focus the counting on where infra is being built. Might as well count the busiest motorways to support building more motorways elsewhere otherwise, if count and investment not aligned. This way,less check on whether (and which)city centre investment value for money. That’s not good.

      1. I don’t need counts to tell you where to put cycling infra. We already know, based on local and overseas best practice, what works and what doesn’t.

        1. Unfortunately the NZTA EEM is based on NZ counts, we therefore have no idea of network effect, which we need to measure.

          1. We can count bikes already in neighborhoods. Places like Te Atatu have plenty of bikes about but not counted except at commuter times once a year. Rubbish data as it completely ignores local trips, which as Dutch figures show us, are the most common trips.

  1. Lots of interesting things. Does anybody know, why do the new fares discriminate against shorter distance commuters? They are dropping the single zone monthly pass. For those of who use transit more than 22.5 days/month, the single zone pass represents a genuine saving, which is completely wiped out by the new 200$ pass. The passes are really not very generous, but why drop it completely? The reason is obviously not technical as the system currently supports multiple passes. Is it just that that they don’t believe that some of us wish to commute more than 6 days/week, or that within isthmus commuting is not seen as important?

    1. Actually where this is most unfair, is for the carless suburban poor who actually use buses to shop locally and do other essential local travel. Tony Randle has been crusading against this in Wellington region. The long trips are mostly in to the CBD; subsidising these trips is a subsidy to the CBD (property owners).

    1. Roading engineers (which is what NZTA are) should not be making this decision. Unfortunately there is complete dearth of appreciation of the potential role of rail transport among the current leadership of NZ.

    1. I would very much doubt it,
      AT are doing every thing they can to get HOP cards into the minds ( and hands) of as many people as possible.
      I don’t think they want to muddy the water by saying, well you can just use you paywave cards now…..
      + there would be unending carping from the carmudgeons saying that AT are profitering from all the $10 they had to fork over for their HOP cards, that they did not have to buy

    2. Contactless paywave requires quite a lot of expense to set up what is effectively a parallel backend system working off the same card readers and equipment, it could end up costing a lot for relatively few users. Somewhere like London has the scale to spread those costs around a lot of customers, plus they have the fairly drastic step of having no cash at all on buses which is something Auckland is pretty far away from yet.

      Also there is some suggestion that paywave might be something of a dead end betamax technology.

    3. When we were introducing AT Hop, London was introducing contactless. Contactless is far superior to the prepay on-card value system we have and it allows so much more flexibility for the customer (aka. daily and weekly capping), and it removes the card issue and maintenance and liability off Auckland Transport. It’s really hard to comprehend why it wasn’t introduced back then. They still could’ve had a prepaid product without needing a credit card (people without credit card, supergold, children, students etc…), but still, something is really wrong with the way things like that get done here. See this explanation how it works in London: – saying all that, AT could still introduce this system, as our current Thales system supports it – the current backend might not…

    1. Is John Key for real ? “Mr Key, who also holds the Tourism portfolio, said while many large international cities had a direct city-to-airport rail link many were historic and not retrofitted.”

      What Key says here is patently not true. Very few international cities built their airports on established rail routes (only one I can think of is London Gatwick). Most have had to retrofit rail-connections and have seen the value in doing so.

      Key is spouting a falsehood to bolster some agenda, which is definitely not to secure the best long-term option for Auckland or New Zealand. I sincerely hope someone with some clues and some clout calls him out on this, if such a person exists in Aotearoada..

      1. John Key obviously didn’t look very far when commenting about cities retrofitting rail. Perth is currently building a heavy rail link to the airport which will also service some eastern suburbs Just more shortsighted thinking that reminds me of the missed opportunity of not building an RTN corridor down the centre of the NW motorway as part of the motorway upgrade.

        1. Perth has heavy rail already running so close to their airport (any closer the trains would be running on the runway) it would be dirt cheap to run a line to the terminal. Auckland already has heavy rail less then 6 km from the international terminal as well but AT won’t have any of it for whatever reason.
          Perth also already has a motorway link to their airport.

          1. It’s my understanding that putting down rails to the east of the airport (along SH20B) and joining up to the southern line near Puhinui Station would increase the time to get to the city (compared to the times compared above), and is therefore less desirable for users and hence written off as a possibility for heavy rail. Even though it would be millions and millions of dollars cheaper as it would be a straight line mostly over greenfields plus a bridge.

          2. Jonty are you saying that it will be that much quicker going via Onehunga than Puhinui. Britomart to Puhinui is currently 36 minutes add 6 kms with no extra stops, Britomart to Onehunga is currently 28 minutes and it is and extra 15 kms with one possibly two stops (at 60 seconds each). Any time saved going via Onehunga and Mangere will be so minor (compared to the cost) it will not make the slightest difference.

    1. Yes is an old decision. But no; AT are the chief promotors of LRT. It’s the Wellington based agencies that hate steel wheels and always imagine buses are fine.

      Some in gov feel they were trapped or tricked into CRL and smell the same trick again with LR. Also really don’t want WGTN and CHCH to see AKL get LRT and start lobbying for some too. They (esp Treasury) are pleased with how they’ve slapped down those two cities’ desire for LRT in recent years and are determined to keep it at bay. For some reason stopping any sort of rail is a cornerstone of faith for a particular kind and generation of state apparatchik.

      1. I think AT wanted it gone too, as they greatly blew the project all out of proportion over the past 12 months. Why did they elevate heavy rail, but not light rail, when the EMU’s are capable of LR gradients? Why did they decide to demolish the EXISTING road/rail grade separation at Neilson Street, only to then say “we’ll need grade separation there for airport rail” then propose a massive new rail bridge?

        I’m quite certain AT are as anti-heavy rail to the airport, as the transport agency. They massively built up the cost for heavy rail, while keeping it simple for light rail or a busway. I also understand they wanted buses to Pukekohe, but decided it would be too politically untenable to replace the trains there with buses.

        Of course a much cheaper heavy rail link could be built from Wiri, across mostly greenfields. If AT really are committed to airport heavy rail, they’ll get on with that relatively straight forward option of getting rail to the airport (and accessing both south and north instead of just north).

        1. I’m sorry but it’s completely wrong that EMUs are capable of LR gradients. The EMUs can go up to 3.5% grade. Light rail can do 6-8% grade standard depending on the supplier, or over 10% if you specify a model with extra traction.

          That’s literally three times steeper than the EMUs can handle. Regardless of the rest of the comparison, LRT absolutely does have a huge advantage on grades and curves.

          1. As I have said repeatedly before, heavy rail can tackle much steeper grades without special provision other than sufficient powered-axles and traction-system power, which the CAF EMUs undoubtedly have. (Though probably not the capability for an empty unit to push a failed full unit up that grade, which is a current design criterion, but hardly so crucial over short sections of ramp etc). The fact that NZ’s current steepest grade is 3% or the CRL is to be a sustained 3.5% is irrelevant in the context of airport rail. Stop throwing up this red herring.

            Examples abound of adhesion-worked heavy rail going steeper than this. Here are a few:

            • 1 in 28 (3.6%) – LGV Sud-Est high-speed line, France
            • 1 in 25 (4.0%) – Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line
            • 1 in 20 (5.0%) – SOB Rapperswil – Samstagern, Switzerland
            • 1 in 18 (5.5%) – Flåmsbanen, Norway
            • 1 in 14.2 (7.0%) – Bernina Pass, Switzerland

          2. Nick, I’m referring to the airport line. EMU’s can operate along the proposed LR alignment. Since the space is available for LR at ground level, there’s no reason the same space can’t be occupied by heavy rail. There’s no grades there the EMU’s can’t handle. The line doesn’t need to be built with standard railway grades designed for freight trains.

          3. There’s also not a lot of hills on the route from Onehunga to the airport. No hills = no need for steep gradients. Or is this just a consequence of all the white-anting?

          4. Yes there are Geoff: things like Bader Drive and the Kirbride Rd trench and going under the runway, as you can see in the video above. HR can’t duck down and up like LRT can, which means it requires long viaducts and tunnels.

          5. Dave B, that’s a lovely list of intercity high speed trains, any of them do it on a suburban railway from a standing start out of a station? Also even the most exceptional of you list just achieves what LR can do out of the box, and none of them come close to what a special LRB can do.

            Also see my comment above, the grade is very important when it comes to bridges, viaducts and tunnels. HR needs about 200m to transition from ground level to elevated, LR needs 80. That means your LR can pass under or over things and pop back to surface level quite easily while your HR has to stay elevated or in tunnel.

            Consider this, how much cheaper would the CRL have been if it wasn’t constrained to a 3.5% ruling grade but could do 8 or 10% instead? We wouldn’t be building stations 40m underground that’s for sure.

          6. Nick, the 1 in 20 (5.0%) SOB Rapperswil – Samstagern section carries the stopping service to Einsiedeln as well as intercity trains.

            Sure, any ramp-up or ramp-down for heavy rail will be gentler and longer than what is possible with light rail, but given that Airport rail would not be catering for heavy freight trains this would hardly be a show-stopper. EMU’s climb quite happily onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge (the steepest bit of rail in NSW as I understand it, not sure of the gradient).

            The advantages of heavy rail (or light rail with full segregation) are undisputable, in terms of capacity and performance.
            The advantage of heavy rail is also full compatibility with what we already have.

        2. Rail to the airport from Onehunga would have been relatively cheap if the council had got its act together and protected an at grade corridor. Remember SH20 was shifted east at Rimu Rd so that rail could fit on the west side.
          Why hasn’t the same thing been allowed for through Kirkbride and the rest of the route?
          This really annoys me, and smells of Auckland Airport (and by default their owners Auckland Council) protecting their (carparking) business.
          There is no way I will take a bus or tram to the airport.

          1. SH20 was moved to the east when?
            It was widened from 4 lanes (2 each way) to 6 (3 each way) and future proofed to allow room for 8 but this is the first I’ve heard of the motorway moving east to allow rail to run on the western side.

      2. Well spoken Patrick. The rail hate; although certainly with some supporters within the Nats; has IMO been driven largely by a certain era of bureaucrats now in influential positions within Treasury, MOT and NZTA. They perhaps bought into Thatcherism at an impressionable age. They may even have done their OEs in London at that time – when British Rail reached a low point in public perception and funding. Of course the UK has moved on and the rail and public transport network has been transformed in a process which is ongoing.

        Meanwhile these bureaucrats continue to peddle a very peculiar view of the world cosseted in their corporate office towers, their dinner parties, their golf courses and their late model European SUVs. The destruction of the heavy rail airport option was done in a haphazard and opportunistic manner. There was never a grand plan, but any roading design decisions which at the same time compromised rail were certainly grabbed with an element of enthusiasm and mischief. Don’t expect anything other than a long hard fight for LRT. For the moment, AT’s future other than CRL is a double decker bus. Which it has to be admitted do look good and feel good to travel in when the traffic is flowing smoothly.

      3. Unfortunately I fear the current push for light rail is acting detrimentally to the case for any rail. The huge successes of existing (“heavy”) rail in Auckland and Wellington is of itself a strong indication that this mode works, and is effective, and should be strongly considered for wider roll-out. LRT, while having a role of its own, is simply muddying the waters here and confusing the picture for the many who have no real clue about any sort of rail.

        Existing rail is what we have. It is a known quantity and it is daily proving itself in the limited areas in which it operates. Extending its coverage would seem to be a no-brainer, if only we could get past the absurd Kiwi hang-up that major transport-spending is only for roads. Light rail is largely unknown here in NZ. It is a separate system that cannot readily mesh with what we already have and what is already working. Light rail advocates need to be a lot more considered in their suggestions that LRT and HRT are an either-or thing for arterial applications such as the Airport or North Shore line.

        There needs to be a clear spelling-out of the capacity- and performance-disparity between the cheaper, on-street LRT operation and the more-expensive fully-segregated right-of-way. This is the crux. A rail artery to the airport should not run down Dominion Road, any more than the Southern Line should run down Great South Road. For LRT to perform such an arterial function requires that it be segregated just like heavy rail, and I venture that the cost would be pretty-much the same (still far less than a motorway of course!).

        So why light rail? To replace buses on Dominion Road, yes. To usurp heavy rail over major arterial routes, no!

        1. Unfortunately that is something that too many people don’t understand, just like those that are advocating driverless LRV for the north shore (something that can only happen on a segregated corridor like the current busway) but that just adds an extra mode so you will end up with heavy rail, light driverless rail and light rail with a driver and will end up adding cost.

          1. No you aren’t, we will have LRT by this time whether we use it to the airport or not.

      4. Why must this country be held to ransom by these road-loving nut cases in central government bureaucracy?. Rail takes cars off the roads and eases congestion. It is as simple as that.

        35mins to the airport vs 47mins and these clowns would rather 47mins or an hour by road. It boggles the mind how these people make their decisions.

        1. What percentage of trips happen to go to the one destination to which time is thereby saved? And who is talking about the social justice of subsidies being paid by everyone, to benefit the owners of property in a single square kilometer in Auckland central (and a few en-route locations)? There should be, as part of any proposals, compulsory acquisitions and integration of the sites served by the rail system, into the rail enterprise, which is the secret of what makes Japan’s systems so effective. Advocates who do not understand the inter-relationship between fixed-route PT and property values, are just setting us up for costly failure (while someone laughs all the way to the bank with capital gains).

          1. So you want some form of betterment tax, well that’s kind of what rates are but if you want something more explicit then you should talk to the govt, that doesn’t change the need for projects.

            Oh and those city property owners pay a lot due to higher land values

          2. Phil you just don’t understand the purpose of transport subsidies. Perhaps it is the name which seems so perforative to you, which I guess is why you always fail to mention those subsidiseto your pet mode; the private car, and obsess about PT ones alone?

            Subsidies are financial transfers to express economic benefit. That’s why we use rates to pay for roads and for around 25% of PT services, because society as a whole benefits from the economic good of better connectivity and property owners are a good proxy for society. This is also why we use some money gathered by transport taxes to transfer to all transport, small amounts going to PT; because all road users benefit from others getting out of their cars and taking the alternative more spatially efficient modes, PT of Active.

            Of course it is important for all transport costs, including transfers, to be as efficient as possible. But that is not that same as not spending any. When it comes to PT we have been schooled very very clearly in Auckland recently that two ways of running particularly inefficient urban transport systems is to 1. offer such poor alternatives to driving that few take them up, and 2. charge the direct user so much that that also limits uptake.

            It turns out higher value is being achieved through running better services for more people at lower per capita cost. This creates much higher benefits for society as a whole [stronger economy] and private vehicle road users in particular [lower congestion]. Everyday 60k and rising trips are taken on the AKL rail network, drivers benefit indirectly from that, and therefore not is fair they pay something towards its appeal [currently half of what the user pays, and falling].

  2. “AT wanted to focus their cycling targets on the counts from around the city centre to reflect where most of the current cycle spending will impact”. That’s for sure. We on the lower Shore look wistfully over the Harbour to where all the big spend on cycling infrastructure is taking place, and ask, “What about us?”. Urban Cycling Fund? Not on our patch. Cycle laning Glenfield Rd – a key ACN route? Only if the Kaipatiki Local Board stumps up funding from their discretionary fund because it’s not on AT’s radar.

    Yes we’ve been promised SkyPath, SeaPath, the Northcote Safe Cycle Route – but it’s always “next year”. Perhaps we should take our cue from the renegades who knitted themselves a pedestrian crossing in Kumeu and do our own handiwork with a can or two of green paint.

    Meanwhile – see ya on the ferry!

    1. I’ve heard some in govt are keen to extend the urban cycleway fund after the current 3 years and the north shore based MPs are keen for their side of the harbour to get some love

    1. Cycle lanes and bus lanes combined on both sides of the road are about $1m/km.

      ie. the EW truckway could fund 1800km of them.

      1. That is quite funny ‘the east west truckway’, if you want more freight on rail you need to free up Neilson st so it can be transferred easily from road to rail.

        1. We can free up Neilson by four laning that road, we don’t need to drop almost 2 billion on a near motorway.

      2. So cheap indeed. What is the prioritisation process at AT where a few million can’t be spared for a bus lane?

  3. I’m still hoping for heavy rail to the Airport. Any chance we can still get it? Anyone know where the mayorall candidates and council candidates stand?

    Also good to see progress on more stations getting barrier gates

    1. I fear only a change of government can get rid of official attitudes that perpetually hold rail back. The last 7¾ years under National have done nothing but entrench backward thinking regarding the role of urban rail. Rail’s success during this time has been very much in spite of government policy, not because of it.

      1. It takes between 7 & 8 years for the effect of any government infrastructure policy to become reality (we are currently still building the infrastructure as per the policy of the last Labour government), so there will be another change of government before it happens anyway.

      2. Does it not count that the subsidy cost is around 40 cents per person-km of travel in perpetuity, whereas once you have built the road / highway, the cost amortises over mounting person-kms of travel, converging on a fraction of one cent? If you have spent a million dollars on arterial lane-miles, over a century that will have enabled 100 million person-kms of travel, and will continue to do so for centuries. The same million dollars spent subsidising PT, will have enabled 2.5 million person-kms of travel and the same money will need to be spent again, moving people around.

        This is why US cities of comparable population to Wellington and Auckland beat us hands down for movement of people and freight, and its public cost-effectiveness. If PT is so good, how come cities that make do with much less of it, serve their populations so vastly better – for access to jobs and everything else, and housing affordability is maximised by the way land supply is enabled. This makes the entire urban area more efficient – rather than adding to travel distances, housing is more affordable everywhere, increasing co-location efficiency gains. If you want a CBD apartment, you don’t have to pay rip-off rents for it.

        Governments are not ideologically opposed to rail, it is just that anything that “runs out of other people’s money” before long, is not sustainable whether politicians, activists, the media and the voters, like it or not – or even understand it.

        1. Where do you get 40c per passenger km from, Auckland is already lower than than and falling like a stone since electrification and the rapidly increasing patronage. Also fuel taxes don’t count the billions of investment from rates, but you knew that already didn’t you?

          1. He quoted that figure as coming from Todd Litmann (in a letter he had published in the Dominion Post a year or so back). Todd Litman picked up on this and wrote to the DomPost himself, claiming Phil had completely misrepresented him and totally misconstrued the figure. It was quite amusing to read.
            Unfortunately it doesn’t stop Phil continuing to regurgitate that particular piece of falsehood to bolster his favourite argument.

          2. CORRECTION 29/06/16: I am wrong above.

            Phil Hayward did not claim to get his figure of “around 40 cents per person-km of travel in perpetuity” as the subsidy to rail, from Todd Litman.

            What he claimed to get from Todd Litman, and what was subsequently refuted by Todd, was corroboration of his low figure (“. . converging on a fraction of one cent”) for the on-going per-km subsidy to cars. Todd’s response was that his research suggested the subsidy to cars could be as high as 44c per Km.

            So, other end of the same argument. Phil claims that cars bring only sweetness-and-light for very little public cost, while trains achieve very little for a very high public cost. Todd Litman called him out on this, after Phil cited Todd’s research as somehow confirming it.

            My apologies to you, Phil, for mis-attributing the source of the rail-subsidy figure you quote. Perhaps you would be good enough to cite the real source, and explain how you can be sure that it applies to both Auckland and Wellington, “in perpetuity”, regardless of steadily-growing patronage.

            Be good if you could also comment on the link I posted to refute your claim that Sydney’s Airport rail-line continues to be poorly-used and make a loss.


        2. It is entirely possible that Auckland’s electric rail network will get operating ratios of 70% or higher on direct operating costs following CRL. Especially in combination with property development adjacent and over the rail corridor air space. And all this on a rail network still emerging from decades of neglect. There is also the reality of competition with a road network that has gazillion times the amount of productivity boosting CAPEX spent on it compared to rail.

  4. Is anyone else like legitimately disappointed with this? It seems like all the talk of the PT shift we need to make is basically gone and now everything is dead in the water. There’s no chance you’ll get rail to the Shore in an AWHC now, nor is a NW busway (let alone a rail loop to Albany which is what should have been built).

    It’s disappointing that with all the other shit Aucklanders have to deal with on a daily basis, there’s now no real hope that things will ever be any different.

    1. Well, actually I actually think the reverse of this is the case. An LR line that stops downtown would make sending it across the harbour and up the Busway the much cheaper option than the useless road tunnels.

      1. Assuming we even get that though. Like don’t get me wrong, I really hope that happens, but this shows that there is always going to be a preferred outcome, and future-proofing or ambition doesn’t even come into it.

      2. Can we get this straight, you want to remove two lanes (one line in each direction) of traffic off the bridge that is already at peak capacity (the reason for the extra crossing) to put LR on it? You will not get that past even the most staunch rail supporters anyone smart enough will know that would cripple the city and effectively close of the shore.

          1. No one with any sense proposes LR on the existing harbour bridge; it’s a road bridge, leave it as a road bridge,

            The Shore Line is only possible with a new crossing. Would be way cheaper than the useless road crossing currently proposed.

        1. Who mentioned putting LR on the Harbour Bridge apart from you? Or are you engaging in some dramatic tongue-in-cheek advocacy here?

          1. What other bridge can Patrick be talking about as there is no other bridge over the harbour?

          2. buttwizard69420 Duh you think, the point I was trying to make is that there is only one bridge currently and the AWHC intends to include provision for rail (unless that has been changed again) so why build one without the other.

          3. Bigted, If you look again you will see that Patrick did not mention the word ‘bridge’. He is suggesting sending rail to the North Shore by the AWHC, which many of us believe should be a rail tunnel, not a far-more-costly and unnecessarily-duplicative road-tunnel.

            But even if one lane each way of the existing bridge was used for PT (which it should be in the short-term, for the North Shore busway), I think you are being a tad over-dramatic in suggesting that this would “cripple the city and effectively close off the shore”. Already buses carry 40% of peak people-numbers across the bridge. It is NOT having dedicated PT lanes that is dragging-down efficiency.

          4. Yes Dave but there is only two ways across the harbour at present and I don’t think the LRV will be taking the ferry. He also mentioned “much cheaper option than the useless road tunnels” the road tunnels that are (at least there originally were meant to) to include rail to the shore, whether that is light or heavy is still to be seen. The people of the north shore are to posh for common heavy rail and want their own LR option and some of them don’t even want drivers to drive them.

          5. Oh, bigted is talking about me! Yay I’ve been heard!!!! Bring on the common driverless metro 😉

          1. There is a lot of freight moved over that bridge (metro freight can be delivered on rail, light or heavy) and there are a lot of north shore workers that make up the in excess of 70% that do not work in or around the CBD so will not travel to Britomart by whatever mode is offered to them.

          2. Freight and other road traffic is about to get the entire Western Ring Route. That’s 13 traffic lanes across two bridges. [after Skypath] The next crossing needs to be Rapid Transit. This is the missing mode on this route.

            Modelling shows the road crossing makes traffic congestion to worse than doing nothing! This is why it is worse than useless.

            A dedicated RTN crossing and no additional road lanes is with the best outcome and at a lower cost.

  5. There is upside to this decision. Now the pressure is on AT/NZTA and the government [who do really control the funding] to get on and deliver the chosen mode.

    There is serious public desire for a good and timely solution on this route. We get more interest in this than any other issue.

  6. The public want a fast rail service to the airport. If the public were constantly talking about an 8 lane motorway somewhere the Govt delivers pronto.

    Seems like with rail we may need to take some decisions away from AT who have not at all been transparent about the process. Did AT has for any public consultation on airport rail?

    Did anyone see Dr Lester Levy on One News ? Todd Nial from Radio NZ asked him what are airport users supposed to do over the next 10 years until something “might” happen. He had no answer and looked like a fool.

    Enjoy your bus driverless buses to the airport. So much superior to fast heavy rail trains on a mostly already built right of way.

    1. Buses on a busway can of course split off to numerous different destinations, avoiding transfers (to buses anyway). It has always been illogical to have the buses anyway, and vastly increase capital costs to have another completely fixed route mode for the main trunk. Auckland could have had a 100% bus system to die for, for the cost of doubling down on trains. Even Wellington should abandon its trains in favour of a 100% bus based system; it is absurd for an urban area of 500,000 in the Anglo new world to have heavy commuter rail at all.

      1. Yep a 100% bus based system, until such time as they have move about on city streets which is why AT are looking at other options in the first place. We know treasury are desperate to find a bus alternative but so far none have been found that don’t have higher costs due to the need to tunnel etc. to get anywhere near the same level of capacity while also still being a city that people can walk (and some can even drive) around.

    2. Yeah that’s right Jon. There’s two things people travelling to and from airports by any type of rail want: Fast and with few stops. Hence the vast majority of major airports around the world use heavy rail. Unfortunately for the umpteenth time Auckland has chosen to ignore all this overseas experience. i’ve been on some very mod LR systems in different parts of the world but I wouldn’t use any of them for a fast, limited stop airport service. I DO NOT want to stop many times down the length of Dominion Rd while on the way to or way back from Auckland Airport.

  7. Hop monthly pass not covering Waiheke ferry (only the Waiheke bus). Thank you, parliament, for granting Fullers legal exemption. Now fix that glaring hole in city-wide, all-mode integrated PT, asap please.

  8. That video about rail to the airport is weird. It declares that rail (including LRT) provides reliable travel times relative to bus. It does when you build an exclusive LRT right of way but not one for bus! But that is a strange argument.

  9. With regards to your throw away line

    “…Matakana Link Road – this is the road that is planned from roughly the end of the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway across to Matakana Rd so all those using the motorway to get to their holiday homes at Christmas don’t have to travel through the Hill St intersection…”

    There are a lot of not very rich people who live permanently in the Warkworth/Snells Beach/Leigh area that are very seriously affected by the congestion at Hill Street junction. This problem has been building for many years with very little being done and it is seriously hampering communities to the extent that volunteer fireman can’t get to the station in time and ambulances are finding it difficult to get past the traffic.

    Building the Matakana Link road will provide an alternative route to the coast and significantly reduce the congestion from the choke point at Hill Street. Yes I know – building a new road – is trash talk here but it would be nice to see a bit of support for solving what is really quite a large problem for the community in the Warkworth area.

  10. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do the gating for Henderson. This was discussed on another forum a few years ago and Rob Mayo who sometimes posts on here and myself went out to Henderson to take a look ourselves. We thought there was enough room on the concourse for gates.

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