When it comes to public transport patronage, June is always important as it represents the end of the financial year and so also gives up the official annual results for the year. The June results are now available and the result was fairly similar to what we’ve been seeing for a few months now, continued strong growth on the rail network, decent growth on the ferries but with bus numbers relatively stagnant, even after some fairly great growth on the busway services.

All up patronage grew by 4.6% to 82.9 million and I’ve heard that only one other region in NZ experienced growth over the 2015/16 year, which I assume to be Wellington based on the numbers up to May. That’s the highest patronage has been since 1956 – although we obviously had a much lower population then.

1920-2016 Auckland Patronage

The breakdown of the June results is shown below. A couple of things that stand out in particular include:

  • The busway continues to show great growth, good thing we have all of those double deckers on it but perhaps more will be needed soon.
  • Other buses are performing poorly, some more details of which are below.
  • Rail is still performing strongly and the western line is clearly benefiting from the increased peak frequency.

2016-06 - Patronage Table

For a bit more detail, here are some comments from AT’s business paper on the results

Bus 

Bus patronage has grown by a modest +0.7% which is contrary to the general downward trends experienced across New Zealand where Auckland is only one of two systems (18 in total) that have experienced growth. The comparison found after allowing for population changes, the total New Zealand boardings /capita in 2015 declined by 3.2%. This may be compared with increases in 2013 (+1.0%) and in 2014 (+0.4%). The main reasons cited for the 3.2% decline include a real reduction in fuel prices impacting boardings by (-1.5%) and car ownership increase as a result of real price reduction in cars of (-0.8% reduction in boardings). Specifically in Auckland fare elasticity on a single service resulted in (-1.1%) reduction in boardings. In addition there were some unique events affecting Auckland, including disruptions as a result of CRL works and a bus strike earlier in the financial year

2016-06 - Bus Patronage

Rail

Train services totalled 16.8 million passenger trips for the 12-months to June, an increase of +20.6% on the previous year. Patronage for June was 1.5 million, an increase of +17.3% on June 2015. June normalised adjustment ~ 15.5% accounting for special event patronage, with the same number of business days and weekend days/public holiday. Rail patronage during FY16 has continued to grow in line with extra capacity provided by way of a homogenous EMU fleet, improving passenger comfort, punctuality and reliability. An increase in western line peak frequency in May 2016 with timetable improvements in February 2017 should see continued growth in this mode.

2016-06 - Rail Patronage

Ferry

Ferry services totalled 5.9 million passenger trips for the 12-months to June, an increase of +6.2% on the previous year. Patronage for June was 0.41 million, an increase of +9.6% on June 2015. June normalised adjustment ~ 9.6% accounting for special event patronage, with the same number of business days and weekend days/public holiday. Ferry patronage growth of +6.2% has been strong, with Gulf Harbour, Hobsonville and Pine Harbour showing strong growth in line with increased residential development in these areas. Additional sailings by two competing companies on the Waiheke route also saw strong growth both in terms of service trips and patronage. Continued expansion of capacity and further development in these areas

2016-06 - Ferry Patronage

It will be a few months before we see any results but it is going to be fascinating to see just what impact the introduction of Simplified Fares will have on the numbers. Also likely to be having an impact soon will be the introduction of the New Network to South Auckland, due on 30 October.

The recent changes to SuperGold is likely driving some of the changes with HOP usage, as of the end of June AT say 78.2% of all trips used HOP while I understand some days are now seeing well over 80% HOP usage which puts it on par with systems like Brisbane which has had integrated ticketing and fares for about a decade.

2016-06 - HOP Uptake

One area AT have been doing particularly well on has been farebox recovery which has now stormed above 51% to the end of May (it is always two months behind). This is a great result considering that the NZTA require AT to reach a 50% farebox recovery by the end of June 2018, so the recent results should have given them a bit of breathing space. One of the biggest factors has been the significant improvement in the rail result thanks to electrification lowering costs and encouraging more people to use the system. In the coming year a number of things will be impacting this including:

  • Simplified Fares which will see a lot of trips get cheaper, the question is just how much impact it will have, perhaps it will drive enough additional people to use the system to offset some of the costs.
  • The New Network in South Auckland which will considerably improve services while seeing AT also save around $3 million a year in costs.
  • Additional rail service improvements, likely to come early next year should see better off peak and weekend services to tie in with the new network.

2016-06 - Farebox

With a lot of the improvements on the way it’s going to be another interesting year ahead.

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84 comments

  1. The bus outcome is no surprise. At peak times on key routes they are over crowded and unreliable. And that is of course where much of the potential extra growth is. In contrast the trains still have more capacity even at peak, are not delayed by congestion, and hey don’t swerve or belch 8-). All round wonderful!

    The price of petrol is way too low. Major mistake and we are seeing it already in crash rates

  2. No surprise the western line is seeing growth. I caught it from work the first time recently for an appointment. In such scenarios when you can’t change your travel times to suit the train, the extra frequencies effectively make the train trip 10 minutes quicker which now makes it time competitive with other options for that particular trip.

  3. I don’t really see normal bus services (outside of north shore busway) improving until more bus lanes are added. I took the bus from Manukau to Papakura last week in the pm peak, as the train was delayed. Should have waited for the delayed train, as the bus was painfully slow sitting in crawling traffic. The bus driver was even being overly considerate to other motorists, by stopping and slowing down to let cars in … had to laugh (and shake my head) at the irony of that.

  4. Great to see the sudden spike in farebox recovery for the trains, they had been stubbornly low at around 30 % for a long time, shows the benefit of growing patronage and lower costs of running.

  5. I think at least one of the new South Auckland operators with fail within 12 – 18 months or ask to re-negoticiate the tender with AT. Just trying to decide which one is the weakest link. Murphys with no experience in high quality urban bus operations, Ritchies or Go Bus?

    All I know is all three have not been able to find enough drivers one the extremely low pay rates offered, so have had to increase, slightly, their offers. Given the low tender pricing which was based on terrible pay rates and an axe through penal rates and the fact they have brought a load of Chinese (inferior) buses… Quality is going to be low out south.

      1. In fairness to NZ Bus, when you knew the tender was coming up to replace all the bus routes in the South why would you invest in loads of new buses? But just wait for the Chinese rattlers coming to the south.

          1. Sounds like Jon is just making fear mongering again. At have some fairly strict bus requirements that companies have to adhere to and the quality of buses to be used was one of the tender considerations.

            From memory all of the new double deckers on the NEX were built in China and they’re great bits of kit.

  6. Disappointing slow bus results but not surprising with people switching to active modes & to train. Given other systems have dropped, it points to car purchase prices are cheap, fuel dropped in price & also car yearly licence “rego” has really dropped. As others have said will be great to see what effect the new networks & fares have on this. It probably is also really about the unreliable nature of the slow connector etc buses on the old/existing network system. Interesting frequent buses have dropped more which points to using the train instead I guess?

  7. Frequent bus patronage has probably dropped largely due to 1) introduction of fares for non-HOP trips on city link and 2) reclassification of some frequent routes.

    1. Yes there are some services to the Hibiscus Coast that have been reduced as NEX services have increased…so a bit of cannibalisation happening there.
      Likewise with other bus routes where trains are cannibalising some bus patronage (which is fine as trains are the best method of mass transportation).
      Still I am surprised that bus patronage has been so flat when you consider that extra buses have been put on key routes and the introduction of DDs.

      Regarding farebox recovery, this will pay for the mostly reduced fares for people once integrated ticketing comes in. Overall cheaper fares should drive increased patronage. Petrol prices really are probably only going to go in one direction from here. I think for every $0.01 rise in petrol prices you probably have around 200-400 (200 at lower prices, 400 once you get over $2) less cars driving daily on the road in Auckland. So if prices creep up from around $1.78 now towards $2 then AT better be ready for it by March Madness!

  8. More priority to bus lanes are needed. The Northern Busyway is working. The same approach needs to be made in other parts of the city where rail is not available, especially if light rail is a long way off. Removal of parking on arterial routes 24/7 to provide priority lanes for buses would improve transport dramatically.

  9. Good to see the increase in patronage resulting in improved farebox recovery ratios. My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that next month a new system of integrated ticketing will be introduced so one can make up to 5 trips in two zones within two hours and only pay a single 2 zone fare. Will we still recieve monthly patronage reports and farebox recovery data for modes after this happens?

    Also I think the goal should be post CRL for rail to have a farebox recovery ratio of over 100% (i.e. the money from ticket sales to more than cover the cost of operating the rail system), and an overall farebox recovery ratio of more than 66%, with the goal to raise money for more capital improvements to the system (such as rail to the airport and the isthmus light rail system). Anyone know how feasible this is?

      1. Those show a mix of transit system, including many whole networks which always have poor performing coverage routes. Take Vancouver for example, the skytrain runs at cost recovery even if the whole network with local granny buses doesn’t.

        Auckland rail could run at 100% cost recovery, we would only need to double the patronage across the day with the same service levels. That might not be so absurd if you realise we’ve designed a bus network that completely reconfigures everything to feed into rail… And we’re just about to deploy it.

    1. If you want rail to run at a profit then simply hold onto the extra land around CRL stations required for construction, redevelop it intensively and lease it out ala HK MTR.

      1. There is a word for what you suggest, it’s “theft”.

        The state can’t compulsory purchase land for the purpose of public works when it doesn’t need it then use it at a profit. The law simply doesn’t, and shouldn’t, allow it.

        1. that’s ridiculous.

          If the land is acquired by the government agency via a voluntary negotiation and sales process then it’s not theft at all. From memory AT’s powers of compulsory acquisition were used very sparingly on the CRL route for only a handful of properties.

    2. The answer to high fare-box recovery is to boost off-peak travel, such that trains and buses are being used productively for more of the time, rather than sitting around doing nothing between peaks or outside of peaks.

      New Zealand cities tend to have a big disparity between peak and off-peak, meaning that utilisation of fleets (and roads) is not very efficient. They tend to be much ‘peakier’ than comparable overseas cities and generally have sparse off-peak service offerings.

      Start by dropping off-peak fares as a loss-leader in order to stimulate the latent off-peak market. Promote and grow this market. Increase frequencies. Promise regular new initiatives. Engage with the market.

      Even try a small-scale test somewhere if initial nervousness precludes a wider roll-out.

      1. +1, I think the northern busway is a really good example of this working, and would be a really good showcase to get it working further.

        1. I think the Otahuhu and manukau interchanges have a great chance of being major catalysts in off peak train use, along with increased use away from the hot region in the centre of the network. In other words, making use of spare capacity in both time and space.

    3. Farebox recovery of 100% would be tricky unless the trains became autonomous and so you drop the train driving engineer’s wages from the mix. Not sure if that’ll happen in the mixed passenger/freight environment? Although it’s a much more controlled situation than on the roads or motorways with AVs.

      If we end up with a Vancouver skytrain autonomous type system for the north shore line, I think it’s farebox recovery could easily get above 100%.

      One pleasing note is the PT subsidy per pax km. At current trends, the rail subsidy will drop below the bus pax subsidy in the next 6 months by the looks.

      1. Yes 100% farebox recovery on rail would be difficult with current technologies and policy settings.

        But a combination of growth and CRL should push us towards 60-80% in say 10 years’ time. Our ability to close the final 30-40% gap really depends on the degree to which we remove subsidies for private vehicles, most notably parking and road pricing.

        It’s possible that AKL could get very close to 100% cost recovery with some enlightened capital investment and policy changes.

    4. Right now land transportation, particularly at peak, is subsidised across the board. So if you bring in road pricing and remove that subsidy for private vehicle travel, you will have a much better chance of removing it for PT without ending up with perverse consequences (and indeed this is what should happen).

      Of course fare box recovery for rail is not that meaningful a concept. You really have to include capital costs if you want a proper measure. Sure from an annual budget cycle POV maybe it makes short term sense, but you need to at least account for depreciation if you want things to hold constant over the medium term.

    5. Might need to ditch TM’s as well. We are basically paying people to increase dwell times. The CAF engineers laugh that we still use them, there is cameras on the side of the trains so the drivers can see people boarding, and the CCTV systems can be connected for live viewing. Actually they don’t laugh they think Kiwirail and Transdev make such a f’up of their trains and they don’t like getting blamed for it.

      Hopefully this can be sorted in the next tender, hopefully with the UP, LRT and CRL we may be able to tempt MTR.

        1. Ditch TMs = True
          Paying people to increase dwell times = True
          CAF engineers laugh that we still use them = True
          Kiwirail and TransDev f’up trains = debatable.

          From what I can tell everything about Harriet’s statement is reasonable if debatable, with the most subjective statement in relation to MTR. I doubt the latter are interested in running heavy rail passenger services on a small mixed network where they don’t also have control over signals.

          1. What does a TM make compared to a train driver? I think there’s an opportunity here – given that (hopefully) we’ll be radically increasing frequency with the CRL and/or we’ll be getting light rail.

            Give TMs the option of going to train-driver-school and getting up-skilled, we get the extra train drivers we’re going to need, TMs stay employed and get a promotion of sorts, everyone wins.

          2. TMs already have that option, it takes close to a year from anew driver starting school to being let loose on the network alone so there is no quick fix for more drivers.

          3. Might need to ditch TMs to what? Save time? At what cost? As I’ve argued before, the average saving of 3 seconds per stop comes with some pretty steep costs. Directly in that some 20-30% of stops end up taking substantially longer. That’s a disaster for network fluency when one passenger, one fault, one weather event can so easily turn something that a TM would have handled in a few seconds into something that requires the driver to remove their key, and leave the cab. One of the in service observations this morning with a 6-car to Swanson, there were at least three stops that would have required the driver to leave the cab if working alone. At a guess, that would have delayed the train something like 6 minutes and the train behind by 2 minutes and give or take, doubled the down-time of most of the level crossings from Woodward Rd out. This tiresome nag of blaming TMs for the dwell time is cherry picking the times that the TM is holding the train exactly as the driver alone would still be required to, without acknowledgement of the legitimate reasons, or even acknowledging that a passenger on board simply can’t know the reason without being privy to the signal aspect, running sheet and further instructions. Yes, the TM door procedure under common circumstances appears to take 7-9 seconds longer than simply closing the doors all at once, but if the T-car doors have been opened, the difference is really only 4-6 seconds. If the train is at a timed station, the TM process is 3 seconds quicker than the DOO process as the T-car doors can be closed before departure time. Meanwhile, the 20 second array of built-in delays and mechanical slowness is still there at every single stop, whether you like it or not. Guess who’s to blame for that. Yes, it’s CAF. Somehow Hyundai Rotem Mitsui have managed to produce EMUs that operate under exactly the same rules and procedures with taking 20 seconds extra to do the job. Anyone want to explain how that’s the TM’s fault? Or indeed how that’s KR and TD’s fault? The haters are welcome to keep banging on blaming the TMs for dwell times, but please come up with some actual evidence or data or something other than unsubstantiated bias.

          4. Next up: CAF engineers can yuck it up all the like about TMs, but we’re hardly unique in that. As BT says, they might want to sort their own shit out before giggling at TMs. The last CAF engineer I talked to was looking incredulously at the maintenance screen of an EMU shaking his head as the faults clicked past one by one. “This system is a joke” were his exact words, not about KR or TD or TMs, but regarding their own display and camera system. “There is no way to reset”. “You have to shut down the train and re-start it, but I still wouldn’t recommend taking it out”. Hilarious. Same crowd that designed an ETCS train that couldn’t read the ETCS balise under power because of the interference produced by the traction motors at one end. That’s why you still see some trains permanently coupled AMA-to-AMA. Genius. I would go on, but to be fair, these things are slowly being rectified after 3 years, the trains are “within spec” and mostly getting better all the time.

          5. James – do you know how Melbourne and Perth deal with those issues you described where the driver has to leave his/her cab? From my limited observation Melbourne seems to be able to keep things running reasonably quickly, but that’s just me as a passenger.

            I agree with you that in reality TMs are a bit of a red herring in our door dwell time issues. However, it is still a wider and legitimate debate over the value of the TM role given like all roles they cost money and in many other jurisdictions have been deemed not vital to running an effective service. It’s similar to the removal of guards and 2nd drivers from freight trains in the 1980s, and few people would see any issue with that now.

          6. The cameras and cab monitor are all but useless for performing a safe DOO departure procedure. The “station view” shows three images measuring approximately 30mm by 45mm (try it at home!) and the cameras are usually at least partially (sometimes completely) blurred by dirt or rain or interference from some likely lad with a sticker or marker pen. On a six-car unit you still only get the 3 views at a time and have to wait for it to switch the the cameras on the other unit, hopefully note before, you’re done looking at the first set. You can switch manually and look at individual enlarged images, but that takes MUCH longer than a TM does. If you need to see inside the train, same applies. Burn a few seconds fighting with the touch screen to get the image you want, then fight a bit more if you need it slightly bigger than a commemorative postage stamp. Then if all is clear and looking like staying clear, the driver closes the doors and hopes that in the ensuing 9 unnecessarily long CAF mandated seconds, no-one touches the sensitive edge or stands within the gaze of the proximity sensor, because if they do, they have to get out and close the door locally. Goodbye two minutes.

          7. So you are saying that our facilities for the driver to be able to safely do the door close are inferior to what other drivers have overseas?

            What happens currently with the TM if someone touches the sensitive edge or stands close to the proximity sensor?

            Sounds like there are some issues with these trains, hopefully they are solvable, rather than we are stuck with them for the next 30 years.

          8. And finally, exactly what part have KR and TD to play in the f-ing up of the trains? Does the source have any detail, please? I can think of a very, very long list of teething troubles that have absolutely nothing to do with either party, but perhaps only a couple of debateable things that do, like whether the track condition really matches up to the surveyed state that the trains were expected to encounter, and whether crew training adequately covered the myriad of potential faults and quirks the AMs can deliver. That said, teething is to be expected, I don’t begrudge any of the relevant parties the opportunity to make and then correct mistakes – but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so fess up with some detail to be debated, or leave it to those who can. That’s the very least to be expected from published contributors here, surely?

          9. Jezza – In most places with DOO the on-board views are bigger, clearer, better laid out, much more readily switched and also include views transmitted from platform mounted cameras. Some places also have platform mounted monitors and mirrors. They also tend to have transit police and many more platform staff with authority and experience in keeping things going safely. These are all presumably reasonably do-able things here too, but they are real capex and opex costs that count against the change and that are rarely acknowledged in the debate. The enormous obfuscation and chain-dragging regarding the rectification of existing faults in the same on-board system gives me no confidence that a satisfactory DOO system will be forthcoming for quite some time. As I’ve said in other threads, it will happen eventually, but it’s still just SO far away from satisfying the basic functional requirements without a very concerning compromise to the safety of the people using the service.

          10. Kiwirail sets the low speeds on the network which drivers used to ignore but now can’t with ETCS. Ask why the EMU’s are so slow over level crossings & on OBL etc., is it because they are slower, not spec wise, it’s because that’s the speeds Kiwirail made CAF put in.

            The TM’s don’t respond that well to events, they can’t even speak into the mic properly so people understand what is going on. I was on a western line train where there was an incident the other day. The ticket inspector did most of the work. The TM’s can’t deal with threats either, I have watched TM’s being beaten up by young girls and basically ignore issues. Most TM’s don’t even know what is going on themselves and don’t talk to patrons. Remember when Western services were cancelled at Newmarket with children on the platform worried they wouldn’t be able to get home, the TM’s was hiding on the train trying to not be seen or around the corner having a laugh.

            We would also be able to afford more security, platform staff, ticket inspectors & transit police if we used the money saved from not having TM’s

            Enjoyed the tirade btw

          11. Wrong again, Harriet. The ETCS governed speeds are a function of the ETCS algorithms and a set of parameters decided by the ERTMS. They take into account the line geometry, line features, vehicle capabilities and the distance to critical locations. Kiwirail’s set line speeds are now irrelevant to ETCS governed operation. Case in point – Vector curves, KR line/curve speed is 25km/h, ETCS allows 30km/h. Judges bay, KR: 60km/h, ETCS: 70km/h. Gladstone Rd, KR 40km/h, ETCS 60km/h. Plenty more examples exist. Further changes are programmed to be added including the temporary/introductory buffer that makes it all seem so over-cautious. Once that happens, the inability of the trains to maintain traction on a cold, damp day will be where all the fingers are pointing.

            I encourage you to re-examine all of your anti-TM examples and consider how those scenarios would play out differently without a TM present. Keeping in mind of course, that your isolated examples do not actually reflect the real performance of the majority of on board crew, and that contracted security guards cost about the same per hour as TMs, have no customer service obligations and are no better authorised to actively deal with threats. Transit police would be paid substantially more than TMs to get that authority, but be far more thinly spread. I strongly doubt that the value for money offering would change that much, but the compromises would degrade the overall travelling experience and worsen with time.

      1. Harriet did a TM hurt your feelings?
        The difference in dwell time between a train with a TM and without is so small it makes no difference, the train itself is the biggest delay.
        CAF are the second biggest issue the trains have with punctuality and reliability behind on Kiwi rail, so if they are going to laugh they may want to sort their own sh*t out first.

          1. + 1 Sailor Boy.
            And they do what exactly? Open and close doors that can be automatic (or just as easily done by the driver).
            They certainly don’t do anything for security or safety. Purely a job welfare scheme/union hangover (I don’t have an issue with unions having been in a couple over the years but this is just a joke).
            Would be better to pay a less “qualified” person to be at each station platform if needed than to have a TM sitting in a nice warm seat at the front of a train doing diddly-squat earning big $$
            As others have mentioned they should be given the option to train up to be drivers or given the flick and save a few million each year in the process.

          2. Bruce how is it you think removing the TM will “save a few million each year”? There will need to be someone on the train to replace them or the low lives will run more rampant on the trains than they do already, the drivers will all end up being paid extra for the added responsibility (or did you think they would do it for free out of the kindness of their hearts?), add in the extra costs of increased damage and security you will find the cost increase not decrease.
            I’m sure the passenger that had a seizure on the western line late last week will prefer that there was a first aid trained TM on board instead of just a driver.

          3. Sailor boy at 3 second per station (15 of them between Papakura and Britomart) is 45 seconds (not really that close to a minute), there would be more than triple that waiting at timed stations and 3 times per hour for the Onehunga train to cross in front at Penrose nothing to do with there being a TM on board or not.

          4. @Bigted. It will save millions by not having to pay them in this job creation scheme.
            TM’s don’t do diddly squat to prevent “low lifes running rampant” on the trains (and legally they can’t either – this is why we need transit police).
            The increased cost of damage? More like reduced costs if we actually get security and transit police. As mentioned TM’s don’t do anything to prevent damage so having security will only reduce the incidence of damage. That and gating more stations to prevent freeloaders who are more likely to be the kinds of people who do the damage due to their lack of respect for the rules.

          5. Bruce as transit police are not allowed under current New Zealand laws they are not an option at this time. Security can legally do nothing more than a TM or anyone for that matter to stop the low lives running rampant, having someone on every train deters them a little. Contract security is more expensive than a TM but have customer service role that TMs do. AT have no plans to gate the 37 stations currently ungated so there will be plenty of free loaders riding the trains for some time yet.

            TMs will be on the trains for many more years until the operation is able to do without them, the trains do not allow the operation to go any faster than it already does. TMs will one day be removed from the trains just like drivers but it will be many, many years before that starts to happen.

          6. Bigted, I think that you’re missing some key points:

            a) dedicated security/revenue protection/customer service staff can concentrate on doing just that, whereas TMs have to interrupt/drop those tasks to operate the doors and undertake despatching duties;
            b) a TM is currently required on every train, but provided suitable door/despatch arrangements exist trains can run with just the driver (as many trains overseas do), reducing costs and simplifying rostering;
            c) gates are not essential for revenue control, as many operations overseas demonstrate – but in their absence putting the onus on passengers to pay, with the consequent ability to fine for ticketless travel, would help, and I believe I’ve read that AT has been promoting this approach to the government.

            As you say, TMs will be on the trains until the operation is able to do without them – and (as, once again, many overseas operators demonstrate) technically that time could be pretty close, not the “many more years” that you predict.

          7. Mike these overseas operators have infrastructure and personnel in place that Auckland could only dream about, like proper CCTV for the drivers to use along with added platform based personnel and tech available to them.

          8. Bigted: Auckland has a railway network that people wouldn’t even have dreamed was possible not that many years ago, and just look at it now, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and rolling stock.

            Those many overseas operators that have moved to driver-only operation have done so because the savings and efficiencies more than offset any investment that they needed to make – and as the number of trains operated increases, those savings will become more and more enticing. I can’t think of any reason why Auckland should be different from the modern norm.

            When AT goes out to tender for the new rail contract, I would expect that one of the options that they would ask to be priced would be driver-only operation.

          9. It won’t take long after the removal of TMs for AT to be spending way more than they ever did on TMs.

          10. If the removal of TMs will cost more in the long run, why do other operators do it, and why have they not switched back to TMs after seeing unexpected cost increases due to their removal?

            If you think an increase in frequency wouldn’t drive more patronage, then i guess you do not place a value on your time? One of the key selection criteria when you are choosing a mode of transport is how long it takes.

          11. Mike the ‘I hate TMs’ crowd fall into a few categories
            -Those that mistakenly think they cause extended dwell times.
            -Those who think that some how there will be money saved by removing them.
            -Those that just don’t like TMs as most aren’t what they would call ‘real New Zealanders’.
            -Some other reason.

          12. Bigted, I’m trying to have a rational discussion on why TMs are a disappearing species on urban and suburban railways all over the world, and what that means for Auckland. I’m afraid that emotional (and irrelevant) comments about “hating TMs” or “real New Zealanders” just don’t cut it in a serious debate, nor do denying such well-demonstrated facts as properly implemented DOO increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

            There are of course technical issues – and potentially political ones too, as with the current Thameslink/Southern position in Britain (though that is about much, much more than DOO) – but none of these are any evidence that the jobs that TMs do couldn’t be performed better in other ways, given the investment and the will.

          13. Mike the two biggest reasons that people come up with to dump TMs is that they somehow extend dwell times and their cost. The trains themselves are the biggest obstacle to reducing dwell times, the cost of TMs is small in comparison to cost (including the drivers being paid substantially more due to the added work as they won’t be doing extra stuff for free) of not having onboard staff. Some use the reason that they can’t understand the TM when they make announcements (if you listen to the TC radio and hear some of the drivers talk that isn’t going to change by not having a TM) but most of the passengers can’t hear the announcements anyway.

          14. If you run the numbers on the timetable and wages, TMs cost about 70 grand a week.

            I’d much rather that money be spent on more drivers to run higher frequencies across the day and weekend.

          15. Nick there is no point running a greater extra frequency of under used trains off peak. The $70k per week will be eaten up so quickly by added security, station personnel, increased drivers wages and damages that the costs of a TMs wages will appear to be a bargain.

          16. Have you ever considered that trains during the day are under-utilised because the service levels are so poor?

          17. Nick 20 minute intervals during the day (except Onehunga that runs at 30 minutes but that is also the peak frequency) is not a bad service that will not to effect patronage.

        1. No, I would rather not have taxpayer money wasted on redundant positions.

          The savings could mean a) Reduced Fares, b) More Drivers, c) Hiring more ticket inspectors/decent security

          1. 1. it is not taxpayers money.
            2. there will be no reduces fares.
            3. TMs can already apply to become drivers.
            4. TIs work in twos and security in threes so increasing the costs not reducing them.

          2. Patrick TMs don’t slow the trains, they have a timetable to run to and there are several timed stations that trains must wait at and if they do get ahead they are also likely to be slowed by catching up to a train that crosses them.

          3. Bigted, the timetable including timed stations etc is designed around operation with TMs. Remove that constraint, and the timetable can be redesigned to reflect snappier non-TM operation – provided, of course, that safe and effective alternatives for TMs are available (as they are in many places round the world), particularly with respect to door operation and despatching.

  10. A central bus terminal is badly needed as the current mess makes transferring a bad joke. Where do you catch a bus to Mt Roskill again, is it near the Birkenhead buses?

        1. Nope, never had less than three bus terminals in Auckland. The downtown one never took North Shore or much of the isthmus and west buses.

          1. Surely the lesson from the old railway station, old bus stations, Britomart and the CRL is that central+terminal=bad. Terminals are for the ends of routes, not the centre, unless you want the centre to choke and die.

        2. You realise that the decision isn’t binary between a roadworks affected mess and a single terminal right? We could for example have 2 east west corridors such as Customs and Wellesley and 2 north south such as Symonds and Albert and like 5-6 interchange points such as Wynyard, Britomart, Aotea, K Road, and the Universities. Where you can change directly from every service to every other service, just not in the same space right? Actually, that sounds really familiar….

      1. Well something or anything that makes transferance easier than the randomness of a dart board arrangement that exists at the moment

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