Building more Park & Ride is often cited as a “no-brainer” way to get more people using public transport – especially by politicians. This election we’ve got a number of political hopefuls promising to build a lot more of them as a way to get many more people using PT, a stance also echoed by the likes of the AA. In a way it’s positive as it at least shows they recognise that PT, and particularly busway, train and ferry services are useful, popular and there is a demand for them. But is it really a no-brainer or are those promoting the idea perhaps guilty of not engaging their own brain first before making these promises.

According to Auckland Transport’s Parking Strategy, there are currently around 5,500 park & ride spaces across the region with the biggest single facility being Albany with 1,100 spaces – those people parked at the northern end are walking over 300m to get to the platforms.

Albany Park and Ride 2
The Albany Park and Ride’s 1,100 fill up early most work days

AT have also said they want to see another 10,000 P&R spaces across the region by 2046, as shown in the map below.

AT PnR strategy map

Before jumping in and building a lot of carparks we first need to question whether they will be effective. The issues generally fall into two categories, patronage and the cost. So let’s look at those two aspects.


Despite the presence of huge carparks, the number of PT trips generated by P&R is surprisingly small. For the most part these carparks will only ever be filled once day on the approximately 250 working days each year. I would assume there is a higher number of single occupant vehicles than normal but let’s use a fairly standard 1.2 people per vehicle. That means each carpark likely generates about 600 PT trips per year (250 days x 1.2 people per car x 2 PT trips per day).

So a large P&R like the one Albany might account for about 660k trips per year. It might sound like a lot but remember we recently saw the latest station boarding stats and it showed over 1.8 million trips began or ended at Albany. In other words, the P&R accounted for only about 36% of all trips to or from the station. Furthermore, Albany is one of the highest percentages of P&R use, for the busway and train stations for which the number of P&R spaces are available, the average number of trips generated is just 19%. Expanding the calculations, the current 5,500 carparks contribute just 3.3 million trips per year while patronage across the entire PT network was 83 million trips. An extra 10,000 would add only 6 million trips, only an extra 7%

Of course all of this assumes that all users of new park and ride facilities are new users. The provision of more carparking is also likely to have the side effect of encouraging some of those who access stations by other means to change their behaviour so the actual gains in patronage are likely to be much less.

Thinking about the future, improving walking, cycling and bus connections (Simplified Fares and New Network) are likely to have a much greater impact. Further for those that believe autonomous vehicles are just around the corner, one of the biggest areas they’re could have a quick impact is in solving the first/last mile problem, shuttling people to and from stations. Of all ways of accessing PT stations, driving and parking is probably the one with the poorest future.


Even basic P&R’s can be incredibly expensive. the most recent one completed was at Swanson where 136 carparks were added for a cost of $2.5 million. That works out as a cost of $18k per space and that’s just for a seeming simple surface level carpark.

Swanson Park n Ride 1

The extension of the Albany carpark a few years ago cost $5.5 million for 550 carparks, or $10k per space – although that may have excluded the cost of the land. More intensive parking facilities such as multi-storey carparks can cost $25,000 per space or more. Then there are the opex costs for lights, security, cleaning etc. Even at $10k per space we’re looking at a minimum of $100 million to add the 10k carparks AT plan, given the more recent figures $200 million+ seems more appropriate and that’s if we can find the physical space for them.

But it’s not just the physical construction and opex costs that need to be considered but also the land use ones too. As the Albany carpark shows, it a lot of space to hold that many cars and the Albany site is about 37,000m². Last time I looked there simply isn’t masses of vacant land just waiting for a carpark to be built next to stations so adding them will require removing existing buildings. Removing houses (in a housing crisis) to provide carparking for a PT station would look as stupid as sounds. Furthermore, more intensive land use next to the station could encourage just as many PT trips, possibly more plus could have other benefits too, such as housing people.

Another issue and also a potential cost is that large carparks can create localised congestion issues which may require expensive road upgrades to address.

Candidates promising prudent financial management and also massive P&R expansions are contradicting themselves. Yes, we absolutely need to improve access to PT stations but the cost of building a carpark should be weighed up against the cost of improving access by other methods. For example, how many new trips could be achieved by focusing that $200m on great walking and cycling facilities to stations (AT are looking at improving access to two stations as part of the Urban Cycleway Fund programme).

High Density Bike Rack - Akoranga 2
At the Akoranga Busway station it can sometimes be hard to find a park

All of this isn’t to say that P&R isn’t useful in some situations. These can include:

  • On the outsides of the main urban area where land is cheaper, PT feeder services poorer and where it is also serving nearby rural populations.
  • Where the parking can be priced appropriately. This can offset some/all of the subsidy to providing parking, encourage use of more efficient modes for accessing stations and also address those local congestion issues. I’ve written before about how Calgary implemented charging.
  • Particularly where the station is provided ahead of surrounding land use – such as at Albany – it can act as form of a landbanking until a high enough land use intensity becomes viable.

Guess you could sum it all up as park & ride is not quite the ‘no-brainer’ some claim.

While on the topic of P&R, A few weeks ago Auckland Transport put out a press release stating they were looking to expand the Papakura Park & Ride and in the process highlighting they’re bloody expensive.

Auckland Transport (AT) is looking at ways to extend one of its busiest park and rides at Papakura Railway Station. AT is set to issue a tender which could see a significant increase to the 327 parking spaces currently at Papakura.

The extension is to cope with the large jump in numbers of people using the Southern rail line; passenger growth has been 19 percent in the past 6 months.

Auckland Transport’s Group Manager Strategic Development, Chris Morgan, says traditional park and rides are expensive because they rely on buying land. “With Auckland’s high land values, a parking bay can cost $25,000 or more, so we are looking at a number of options including the possibility of using pre-fabricated steel decking.”

He says Auckland Transport is in the early stages of investigating a trial for Papakura, but there are still a number of issues to be worked through like design and traffic assessments for the site.

“We want to look at trialling innovative ways to provide more parking at key locations.”

Barney Irvine from the Automobile Association (AA) says the AA supports moves to expand park and ride facilities. “There’s clear demand from our members for more park and ride, and we see it as an excellent way to increase the appeal of public transport.”

In Auckland, there are currently 5,500 park and rides bays. Chris Morgan says there needs to be almost double that number by 2040 and there are plans to put in 800 more bays within 2 years including 400 at Westgate and new spaces at Silverdale, Pukekohe and Hobsonville.

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  1. We have de facto park and ride in our suburb in Wellington. People drive down off the hills to park on the flat near the bus stop and then bus to town.

    1. I think that is called “hide and ride”. My Kingsland street is parked out every weekday by 7.30am with people driving in and then getting the bus to the CBD.

        1. Nope; zone boundary near me same as old stage boundary; in fact of the two nearby services the 020 stops are City Zone and the only Outer link stop is Isthmus, so costs more to head into the city on there O’Link [I rarely go the other way, which is a shame, as then this situation would be brilliant from a cost perspective].

        2. Actually you’re not the only one whom I heard in the last few weeks that 73 West End Rd should also be in the overlap zone, just like 23 West End Rd. Would it be hard to convince AT to include 73 in it, do you think?

    2. The UK survives on park and ride. Every train station has an all day parking lot for commuters. To suggest that somehow this is a waste or not required makes no sense.

      1. Are they free? That’s more the issue here. If the parking lots pay for themselves, then they aren’t sucking up funding that could be spent elsewhere.

      2. While many (but certainly not all) British stations do have some P&R, it’s nonsense to suggest that that’s what the UK transport network survives on – and the norm is that it is paid, not “free”. Train Operating Companies realise that they have got better things to do with their money than subsidise car use!

  2. Last year Wilson parking used the then vacant yard that was for lease next to the Greenlane Railway Station as a Park n Ride. It was from memory $1 for 24 hrs however at its peak there was about 8 cars in a day which the area could take around 150. It lasted a couple of months before closing.
    I found it strange as the local streets are full of cars using the station. I guess a dollar is a dollar however spending time driving around looking for a park some distance from the station ?
    The yard now has been leased for 8-9 years as a car sales yard which will be opening soon.

    1. New Zealander’s are people who will always try to get things for free, even $1 a day which would save them a considerable amount of time would hardly break the bank.

      Some of the council candidates are promoting park and rides but have not specified how they are going to be funded.

    2. I used to live in that area. I didn’t know there was a parking yard there for the train station. I went past it every day and just assumed it was some business using the land. I used the Remuera station and because there is not a park and ride facility there, we normally used the Jets gym as a pick-up and drop-off zone.

    3. My impression was that it was a temporary operation related to the various special events on over the summer period. Christmas Parade, Christmas in the Park, etc.

    4. The entrance to that site at Greenlane is flat out dangerous…..within a few metres of an extremely busy roundabout that is heavily congested for most of the day. If you could get your car in, good luck getting it out again.

      This highlights how any park & ride is useless if the roads in the surrounding area can’t handle the peak inflows and outflows.

      Why isn’t the park & ride at Albany 6 stories high? With lifts? Then they could fit in 7,000 cars and no one need walk 300m. (If you’re going to do it, do it right.).

  3. All of this isn’t to say that P&R isn’t useful in some situations. These can include … [o]n the outsides of the main urban area where land is cheaper, PT feeder services poorer and where it is also serving nearby rural populations.

    Agreed and this is why the Glen Eden, Sunnyvale and Swanson park and rides out west are important. They serve the Waitakere Ranges Hinterland which is very poorly served by public transport and provide residents with a PT option. In fact the closer to the RUB and the further away from downtown the more they can be justified.

    1. Glen Eden if a stupid place for one as it’s an urban centre that could support much more intensive use. I would bet most who park there are probably just living in the immediately surrounding suburbs rather than up in the hills.

      How much is that new one costing and how many spaces will it have?

      1. It is a bit more complex in that there is a current park and ride which AT pay $160k each year for in rental. The lease on the existing park and ride has expired. The new park and ride is costing in the vicinity of $1 million. It will only provide another 7 car parks although if they can redesign the surrounding area more parks can be constructed. It is also problematic in that users will largely bypass the village. If we could get people to walk through the village this would help local businesses.

        West Coast Road which runs through the middle of Glen Eden serves a large part of the rural area.

        Glen Eden is only 3 or 4 km away from the RUB in a direct line.

        1. I know the area well and the point still stands that most using it will be locals and not from rural areas. While the space isn’t huge, having more vehicles passing along west Coast Rd and then across the tracks is far from ideal for the road network

        2. I also know the area well and it is a bit disappointing to see the new P&R being constructed where it may create more traffic congestion issues.
          Would much prefer to see useful progress at Glen Eden with that level crossing replaced with cut and cover tunnel for the road and some future proofing for a 3rd main.

        3. What’s more, that piece of land has required rather a lot of work to make a flat surface for free storage of private property. One of those things should be different – Can it not need so much work to be so flat, not be free or not be wasted on parking?

      2. Agree the Glen Eden park and ride is stupid. Sadly a lot of ill informed people in the Glen Eden area want it bigger and kick up a stink about anything to do with it. These park and rides just bring more traffic to an already congested area.

        1. Being new to Glen Eden I didn’t know there was a Park & Ride Planned.
          Where is it going and what is it going to cost?
          Personally I am against the idea of one at Glen Eden, I spend walking 15 minutes to the station every morning and love the walk.
          People don’t know what they are missing by walking or cycling.

        2. think it is nestled between the tracks and cemetery. i biked past some works in that spot this morning and it looked suspiciously like a park n ride to me. so frustrating. GE would be an ideal place for bike and ride for all those who live up the long semi-arterials like Glendale and Captain Scott and perhaps even some parts of glendene.

    2. Greg places like GlenEden would function way better for more people if land close to stations are more intensely occupied with people, business, and service, and more effort and AT budget is put into improving the quality, frequency, and span of bus services to the station. Including the quality and proximity of the station stop, bus lanes on the main street. After all AT have now made the bus fare to the station free so that major barrier has gone; it is now time to change policy to supporting that great change with physical and services enhancements.

      If ever there was a time to suggest to train users they try using the bus to the station it’s now.

      Additionally improving cycle access and storage is another useful fix, through often invisible until it’s there.

      I would really hope the LB understood this longer term higher quality target and was working firmly towards it. The status quo means AT spending all goes to one landlord, a few drivers, and is not directed to benefit more of the people more of the time.

  4. Yes to Park and Ride for the outer nodes of the RTN (not because land is cheap but because providing efficient PT for rural and peri-urban areas is relatively expensive) BUT not so much for urban/subuirban stations. There should be many more local feeder bus services – for 20 years I have advocated a service based on the link buses which would continuously orbit each station, collecting passengers from the hinterland and delivering them to the train or bus station and also the local town centre(s) which are not necessarily very close to the rail or line haul bus routes. There are dozens of suburban rail stations to chose from to operate a pilot scheme or two and see how well it works. Potentially each could be run by a different operator (good test for innovation). One difficulty to address is avoiding long delays for outbound passengers having to wait at the station for the next connecting bus so these local buses would need to have their schedule designed around the rail timetable – including an allowance for trains running behind time – better to have the buses dwell for several minutes at the station than have passengers turn up just in time to see their bus pull out.

  5. While anyone looking at Papakura station any weekday morning would think there is a requirement for more parking spaces that demand could be eased by building the Drury railway station with a significant park n ride there. AT needs to look at other things before increasing PnR facilities at Papakura like maybe gating as there are lots of regulars that also enjoy a free train ride while their car is parked (with a security guard from 7 till 7) for free, charging will just increase the already growing problem of cars jamming the surrounding streets.

  6. It’s a no-brainer alright. Just not the type that most people think. I look forward to the day the Albany park and ride is developed to be part of the city centre that is developing there.

  7. The $25,000 per space in multi-storey carparks is the cost of structure and excludes land costs. It can total $45000 per space depending on where you are.

    1. Chances are that multistory car parks will not be built on the expensive land and are more likely on cheaper land at the outer areas of the public transport system.

        1. These places it is just a matter of building up on the existing land so the land cost is irrelevant. Albany probably should have been multi story right from the start, Henderson is not really and outer rim station and Papakura would have the pressure released once Drury is built (with a PnR facility) so why doesn’t AT just get on and build Drury (and even Paerata) instead of waiting for the Pukekohe electrification that is well over a decade (maybe decades) away.

        2. “so the land cost is irrelevant”

          No it isn’t. it’s still a cost, but this time it’s an opportunity cost.

        3. Sailor Boy is right. All land has some other potential use so land costs must be included. Ignoring land costs is one of the things peer reviewers are supposed to look for.

        4. Given they are now building apartments next door to Albany park and ride the land cost just got worse. It wpuld be worth $45k per space now. That’s money ratepayers don’t have for transport or other services because of the parking.

      1. Would it not be the other way round? High land cost would be an incentive to build up rather than out. If we do have to persist with this park and right folly, at least having multi story carparks will take up less valuable space next to transport hubs.

        1. Inner stations (where the land is expensive) should already have good PT feeder services so should not require extensive PnR facilities and any land there already should be used for bus transit facilities allowing for fast easy transfers rather than parking.

        2. Also, high value land stands to gain the most from land banking on future prospects. Investing in a large, but temporary structure in such a location just makes it harder to cash in the banked land when the time comes to convert it to actual value.

    2. $25,000 per park in multi-storey buildings wouldn’t cover much except the construction cost. QV Costbuilder says $19K-$22K per park, as an indicative construction cost.
      Agree with mfwic that you’d be looking at $45K per park, or similar, with all costs included.
      Actually, I wrote a post on this a couple of years ago ( – since then, land prices have gone up substantially…

      1. The part I am now finding interesting is because the Unitary Plan lets people choose the level of parking they want is we have to give clients good advice as to what that level should be. The supply curve is fairly straight forward depending on where the site is and what other activities they can use the land for. But figuring out a reasonable demand curve is trickier. Usually they are not going to price the spaces so it is more of a ‘willingness to pay’ on the part of the owner based on what the marginal benefit of each space is to them in terms of added profit. There is definitely added value if we can get that right.

        1. Interesting! I had an idea a while back for an empirical study of the relationship between local parking supply and retail revenues/rents, on the back of a parking study that some colleagues were doing of a retail area. I would hypothesise that having more on-street parking within close walking distance would be associated with higher retail revenues, but possibly not? Would probably be necessary to control for other factors like bus alightings and population within walking distance, but we have data on all that.

          I definitely agree that this is an area where further empirical work would have high value.

  8. Meadowbank? really? There is no obvious spare space near the station, and building a car park there would mean the users driving through narrow streets to get there. Just highlights the stupidity of such a policy.

  9. Stations in Netherlands hire out bikes so people can go that last mile. Maybe AT should investigate ebikes as a solution here – eg $1 per hour during the day for trips in locality, and $2 overnight (after 4 / before 8). Albany in particular would benefit hugely as it is relatively distant, but easily reachable by e-bike) from local amenities such as shopping centres, campus, beach, and business areas. Likewise many of other stations.

    1. Yes but experience has shown that there is no point in starting a bike share while there is still a bike helmet law.

      The utter failures that are the Melbourne and Brisbane schemes (as opposed to major successes like the Dublin scheme) demonstrate this.

      But if we do one, ebikes are the way to go for Auckland.

  10. Isn’t the real issue that now is the time to introduce charging for park’n’rides because of Fare Integration? This means it is time for AT to move strategically away from providing free p’n’r as it is providing ‘free’ bus rides to stations instead.

    At least I suggest that any expansion of p’n’r is on a full cost recovery basis, and the way to do this is to start to charge small fees for the parking spaces closest to the station if more is added. Which how airports do it; it isn’t rocket surgery.

    Clearly this is location specific, and rural stations are a different matter as they are not served by adequate bus services. In fact on the map above it is clear that the real answer to demand at the Papakura p’n’r is in fact a new station and carpark at Drury, rather than incentivising yet more driving to through Papakura to the station.

    So rather than diverting capital into building carparks, AT needs to use these funds to accelerate Drury station delivery.

    1. I fully agree with you on theses Patrick. If electrification is the hold up it could easily be extended to Drury (it is the motorway bridge south of Drury blocking the electrification to Pukekohe) and the Drury station could be the new shuttle transfer station giving the added advantage of allowing (once Waikato council front with funding) the shuttles to go further south without disrupting the existing timetable.

      1. Yes and it looks like AT have thought ahead a little on this as they have included Drury in the Manukau South Zone, so there will be no cost incentive to driving to Papakura once an electric service, station, and PNR, is offered at Drury.

        A solution that wants fast-tracking, IMO.

    2. Yep, now is the time to start charging for P&R spaces. I can’t believe that motorists have been given this benefit for so long and with so very little attention being given to it. As you say, in combination with a few PT fare system that for most people will make the bus journey effectively “free”, it would tip the balance much more in favour of the feeder buses. Many of the feeder buses currently are woefully supported – I’d have thought this would be of great concern to AT. However, this would require AT to stand up to a strong political lobby which sees P&R as a god-given right. Problem for AT is that “standing up to the political lobby” (publicly, at least) is seen as incompatible with its role as a CCO, notwithstanding that it has its own governance structure.

  11. The one in Sunnyvale fills up quite quickly, a lot of people end up parking on the road. Unfortunately a lot of the people who drive up live within easy walking distance which leaves people driving in from the Waitakere ranges rural areas whom actually need it with nowhere to park.

    There is a feeder in the new network the 152/W23 which may help, but its only local-tier frequency and I imagine much like Hibiscus Coast many won’t even bother with the feeders if theres P&R spots available. Hence continuing the chain of ever expanding P&R carparks…

    1. On the road at the end of the side street is the best parking for Sunnyvale anyway as their is a cut through that goes under the bridge and links goes directly to the station. It’s quicker than walking up the hill to park and ride and there’s hardly any cars parked there. There’s a big turning circle that maybe could be better utilised. Made smaller and added a row of parallel carpark.

  12. Homai Train Station P&R is never full. Although ive seen increase in usage of the P&R over the years, it is never full. Maximum would be 2/3 filled – in a good day.

    This is debunked the theory that parking space will attract more patronage. Majority of Homai Train users either walk, bikes or get dropped off. I was a bit disappointed when the Unitary Plan had very minimal intensification around walkable distance from the station. If this station to grow, it needs more people living close-by to use it, it will not get anyone further away to drive and park. Manurewa and Manukau is eating away the Homai patronage in terms of non-walkable distance.

    1. Homai is not a place i would leave my car parked all day, with Manukau only a short drive away and a slightly quicker train ride to Britomart I (if I were going from Manurewa/Homai to Britomart and parking not using feeder buses) would pick Manukau over Homai any day.

      1. Homai P&R is relatively safer. Its on a busy intersection and pretty open. I have been using this carpark for atleast 6 years, and never had any problem. Sometimes would park until 11pm and would be the only car there.

        Manurewa P&R is too dodgy due to all those people hanging out there who are up to no good. And Manukau does not have free Park&Ride.

  13. Park ‘n Rides are generally used by people from locations not served by PT. Not having Park ‘n Rides will just mean they will drive to their destination, and the same parking spaces will be needed there instead.

    It’s about minimising car use, and keeping them parked in the outer suburbs instead of occupying much more valuable space in inner suburbs.

    The new 60 space Park ‘n Ride at Waitakere seems to have been left off the map. I guess they don’t want to highlight their financial waste created by building it, then months later pulling the services that it was built for? Heads should have rolled that for that one.

    1. Geoff my understanding is that buses now operate via the old Waitakere station to Swanson station so the PnR facility there is still useful.

    2. I know people who will drive less than 800m to park next to a train station when the walk is flat, safe and with no crossings to worry about. As Mike says below, this is common at most P&R facilities

    3. I think PnR is primarily used by those who manage to get there first, which will be a mixture of those who don’t have any alternatives and those who can’t be bothered walking or catching the bus.

    4. Evidence suggests that most park n ride users actually aren’t from areas beyond the reach of the PT network. The busway survey showed most users at constellation and Albany lived between long bay and Campbell’s bay (or at least their cars were registered there).

      Furthermore the surveys showed that around 50% of park n ride users formerly caught the bus before it opened, and 50% were new to PT. they called that a success, I’m not sure if I agree.

  14. I don’t remember park and rides in London. I guess if they are a no-brainer then the TFL (Transport for London) must not have any brains? Or maybe Auckland is different?

    1. JJ: many Tube and other stations in London have car parks (often the old goods yard), but the difference is that they’re not free. You pay for the privilege, which is only right.

    2. The difference is that a 50 minute train ride from inner London gets you right out of London (administratively) and into rural areas. Not so much with Auckland which covers a very large rural area. Chiltern Lines (for example) operates into Marylebone and serves stations with park and ride facilities. I lived in Haddenham in Buckinghamshire and the station (Haddenham and Thame Parkway) had a sizeable carpark, as the name would suggest. Princes Risborough nearby also has a good-sized carpark.

    3. London for the most part is not a suburban city like Auckland. It is a medium-high density city throughout which due to it’s sheer scale has a tube/overground/national rail/DLR station within a very short distance of almost the entire population.
      To have a similar level of rail service in Auckland you would have to have an underground line running from the city-Takapuna and up the Bays (roughly following East Coast Road), you would also need another one running from Takapuna to Glenfield and through to Albany and then up to Silverdale, you would need another line running from the Bays line along Constellation Drive roughly through Greenhithe, Hobsonville and out to Westgate. That line would then continue down the motorway into the city. You would need to have services out on the NAL out to Kumeu and would need to also build the ASL. You would need the full Airport loop (either from Onehunga or Otahuhu to Airport then back to Manukau and through to Botany and back to Pakuranga linking up at Panmure). You would also need a CRL2 (Wynyard-Aotea-Uni-Parnell). The NIMT would also need a 3rd and 4th main and you would have services down to Hamilton.
      Then you might have something approaching the level of service you get in London (however with less frequency and even then still not the same % of coverage and not having the national rail services which can be used within London).

      London is not a very good example to use as it is a global alpha city. Sydney/Perth, Munich are better examples.

      1. Rail everywhere?
        Bring it on!!
        . . .instead just of continuing to bulldoze more traffic-worsening motorways around the city.

    4. The park and rides at London Underground tubes stations are relatively small, usually no more than 100 space (with a few exceptions) they are best used for people travelling in for the day from the neighbouring counties.

      Feeder buses operating at 8-10minutes frequency is the best way to bring people from the boroughs to the underground. One perfect example is Route 114 (Ruislip to Mill Hill) which connects five underground lines in NW London.

  15. GB: the theory is that P&R is about it minimising car use, used by people from locations not served by PT, but the practice tends to be very different. I think it was an NZTA report from a couple of years ago that showed most P&R users actually drove quite short distances, and many of their trips could easily have been done by bus/walking/cycling.

    Find a way of restricting P&R to the sorts of situations that you identify, and you could be onto something. In the meantime, car use is being heavily subsidised, which is perverse.

  16. So let’s get this clear – 10,000 parking spaces, and costs in the range of $20-50,000 per space. Implies a $200-500m capital works programme. That seems like a lot.

      1. Well and every road user; over 60,000 trips are made on AKL’s little train system every weekday, if they were all driving that would be horrible for all road users, and even if they all caught the bus, that’s over 1000 additional completely full bus trips, that would also impact on drivers. There’s no way round it the better and more useful our PT system is the better it is for those who choose or need to drive. Especially on the systems with their own right of way, like rail or seperate bus ways.

    1. Peter assuming the argument is that for every driver that switches to PT another driver takes their place? Well that can be observed for central Auckland: driving volumes have been static all this century, but PT and Active have boomed along with economic activity in the centre. So you could argue that PT doesn’t ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ congestion, in that driving volumes have not fallen, but that would be to wilfully deny the fact that without those modes either driving would be terribly congested now or the economic growth that occurred over this time couldn’t have happened. Most usually the later, because there simple is nowhere for more traffic to go.

      In the US many cities have simply gutted their city centre, and settled for high levels of traffic congestion everywhere, matched to relatively flat levels of economic activity across the wider city. Interestingly a form you can see in Chch and probably now too. Properly understood good PT enables better urban form, more choice and freedom from having to have vast traffic systems. And remember driving only cities spend the most on getting around than those with more choices. It is the least efficient system by itself, but an important component of a balanced modern city.

      1. reducing driving demand in the peaks does not and cannot reduce congestion, what it can do is reduce the length of the congested period, but travel within that period will not be affected

      2. an additional 500 or more P&R spaces at Constellation? insanity

        put that money into proper both direction both peak bus lanes on Constellation Dr and get bus priority through the interchange from the west, then boost bus services; that’s the no-brainer

    2. Induced demand is a daft term. Demand is the function of how much of something people will want to buy or use versus the cost of consuming it. Demand doesn’t change at all when the supply or capacity changes. The ‘quantity demanded’ will change which means we move along the demand curve but demand (the curve itself) doesn’t change. Definitions – 1/ Demand= the curve or function of quantity demanded vs price. 2/ Quantity demanded = the value of the x axis that is demanded at any particular price.
      For traffic there is a demand function. When you increase capacity that demand function tells us what quantity might be demanded at the new capacity. Call it induced quantity if you want. But induced demand is wrong- yes I know transport planners keep using the term but it is still wrong.

      1. +1 well put, shifts the supply curve allowing more demand to be realised is a bit of a mouthful though.

        In the long run roads do probably increase demand though as people choose lifestyles that require more driving.

      2. While I agree with what you say, I think induced demand is a valuable term for communicating this phenomena to a larger audience, something ‘induced quantity’ or ‘shifting the supply curve’ does not. It’s a bit like scientists using the term mass, but the vast majority of us describing the same thing as weight.

      3. “Demand doesn’t change at all when the supply or capacity changes”

        Doesn’t that depend on the good that the demand is for? If it is for transport of people rather than transport of people in personal vehicles then a step change in the capacity of a road (such as by adding an additional lane) leading to a step change in the quality of that supply (by relieving congestion) could lead to a change in the manner in which demand for transportation is met (ie some switch from PT to personal vehicles).

      4. Of course ‘demand’ is the wrong term here. It’s simply induced traffic, or induced use. That it is induced is demonstrably true, but demand is the wrong term. I can demand as many trams rides, or magic carpets trips, or bridges to Devonport as I like; but it doesn’t make them happen. Using demand for projected ridership is to imply a greater urgency to the task; it’s very emphatic.

        I suspect this is a traffic or railway engineers’ invention to further justify some grand scheme, it is demanded! Not just requested, or desired, but demanded. And when you can’t point to this ‘demand’ well then there’s ‘latent demand’. And when you are fighting for even more projects but your mode is already totally dominant you point to current patterns and this is ‘revealed demand’ . It makes shaping of choices appear natural, god-given, and uninfluenceable.

        Whereas of course what systems we build shapes travel choices and habits. That’s one reason why changing infrastructure is so hard. Many will scoff that anyone will use something not already there, and sadly, our evaluation systems are heavily biased to the status quo. It is very hard to change as it is hard to prove demand that isn’t there yet. Demand is the wrong word.

        We need to decide on the best shape and pattern for our cities actively, and start by not using this word which prevents travel provision is a passive and reactive job.

    3. That’s right and as advocates for PT or cycling we should always avoid saying that they will “fix” congestion. The only thing cycling and (at least dedicated ROW) PT do is eliminate congestion for the people using them. That’s a pretty big “only” though.

      It is one of my favourite things about cycling, that I am always 100% sure how long my journey will take as there is no congestion to worry about.

      Only two things will reduce congestion:

      1. your city failing and everybody leaving, a la Detroit
      2. Road pricing as per Stockholm or Singapore.

      In a successful growing city like Auckland, everything else just frees up space for more people to drive in.

  17. Firstly 1) 250 days per year? Most park n rides on the North Shore are at least half full on weekends and often evenings too.
    Plenty of shift workers start around 6/6:30/7am and are done by midday with other people taking their parks in the afternoon for an evening shift in town (or a night out). So you can’t just say 30 odd percent of trips from Albany are by people parking there. You also forget that people park in the nearby streets and empty lots near the park n ride.

    2) At least you did say there are uses for it especially in outer areas – which is very true. This is why the HBC park n ride should be expanded by a lot (and another built on Grand Drive – Orewa) for all the commuters coming down from the likes of Puhoi, Warkworth etc who currently fill up the HBC one in the morning before people that actually live on the HBC have a chance to use it! Same goes for Redvale/Dairy Flat – building a PnR there would take a lot of people out of cars that currently add to that local congestion in Albany since they have limited alternatives.

    3) Yes autonomous vehicles in the future might solve that last mile equation but I think this will still be at least a decade away.
    Yes we can invest in more and better feeder services (and we should) but there will always be a large element that prefer to drive that last mile (be it to get groceries/food etc on their way home etc). In the case of Albany specifically the upper carpark area that is closest to the station should be turned into a multi level carpark building – then in future if autonomous vehicles do come into their own the lower carpark can be redeveloped into apartments/businesses etc (without the need to build their own carpark).

    4) It might cost $25k per carpark space when taking land into account – however in Albany the land is already a carpark so lets say $20k. $20k over 30 years is $666 pa (or using your 250 days per year figure $2.66 per day – in other words not expensive. Using a more realistic vehicle days figure of 300 lowers that even further to $2.22 per day. Yes there is opex which realistically for a carpark shouldn’t be much at all (modern lights last a very long time, cameras are cheap now etc). 30 years is the minimum lifespan expected. In reality these buildings tend to last 50+ years ($400pa = $1.33 per day). Interest? sure pretty minimal these days and if it is higher then that is for one reason: inflation. Inflation higher? eats away at debt.

    1. Bruce land is never free. Even if AT or AC already own it is bogus accounting to not count its value in this sort evaluation. It could always be sold or leased, or just used for a different purpose.

      1. Even leaving AC/AT owned land as bare grass that needs to be mowed frequently forever, would be a cheaper outcome for ratepayers over paving it at $10K a car park space.

      2. Patrick, in Albany the land is already used for parking so it is not bogus as you put it since that is it’s use already. Building a parking structure above it would purely be the cost of that structure.

      1. and how much would that cost to build Sailor Boy? And with what builders? most are already flat tack!
        At what expense when the 600+ drivers that currently use it to then take the bus decide that since they don’t have somewhere to park they will just drive in to the city instead?

        1. I’m not sure what the availability of builders has to do with it. If the land has more value for development it should be sold off, if not then kept as parking. If it is likely to more valuable for development in the future then the last thing it needs is a concrete carpark that would either need to be demolished or be a sub-optimal component of a future development.

        2. Most of the Albany area around the PnR has been sitting vacant for decades with little development occurring. The current level of development there is the fastest it has been and still only involves a small handful of projects.
          At this rate it will take at least another decade or more to develop the area – so the land that the PnR sits on is not in hot demand.
          A carpark structure next to a busy station like Albany is always going to be in demand for several decades at least. If buildings are developed near it and parking demand magically disappears (due to autonomous vehicles most likely) then there will be less (not no) demand for the PnR at that point however as I have already said the space can then be used by the neighbouring properties (AV or not people will still own cars just in smaller numbers than before).
          Remember that Albany is a growing centre that is drawing people from a rapidly growing former Rodney area many of which are commuting to work in the city so unless you want them to drive then they will need somewhere to park.

        3. I wonder if AT/AC could shape the centre by kickstarting an urban community there instead of owning a desolate carpark??

          Surely not?

        4. The problem with sticking up a parking building immediately next to the station is it will almost certainly ensure that no development occurs near the station. I agree that there should be good PNR facilities for people living on the outskirts and further north, however I think somewhere like Redvale or somewhere else away from the future metropolitan centre should be where PNR is built. The same rationale for having Drury as the southern PNR rather than Papakura.

        5. Apartments and shops can be built OVER the railways statio as in many modern cities thus getting best bang for buck out of the land.

        6. “and how much would that cost to build Sailor Boy?”

          Approximately 60% of what it would make when sold.

          “At what expense when the 600+ drivers that currently use it to then take the bus decide that since they don’t have somewhere to park they will just drive in to the city instead?”

          a) Citation needed, it is not at all obvious that the next best choice for those motorists is to drive to the CBD.
          b) Even if we arbitrarily say that all trips from use on that site are additional to trips that would otherwise occur, then:
          b.i) 5,000 apartments would also house 10,000 people,
          bii) assuming that because they live right next to an RTN station they catch PT twice as often as the regional average of 55 trips a year (83m trips over 1.5m people)
          biii) the site supports 1,100,000 trips, which is more than the park and ride did.

    2. Bruce, your financial analysis is wrong on several accounts.

      First, we *have* to take land costs into account. AT’s got a choice about whether to use land for parking or for another purpose, so it is effectively giving up income from other uses when it chooses to build parking. There is a cost for the city as well – land for carparks at rapid transit stations is land that can’t be occupied by dwellings, shops, or offices.

      An average carpark takes up 25-30m2 of space, including room for maneuvering. Costs to build surface parking aren’t that high – perhaps $100-200/m2 – but land costs can easily be 5-10 times that. In other words, excluding land costs isn’t a case of taking $5k off the top of a $25k bill – it’s more like taking $20k off the bill. It would be seriously inappropriate to assume away such a large share of the cost.

      Second, you haven’t accounted for the interest on debt. If AT borrows money to build park-and-ride, and pays it back over a 30-year period, it will have to pay something like 6% interest on the debt. (And as AT has limited money in the present, additional expenditures *almost certainly* require added debts.) Some quick work with a mortgage calculator shows that borrowing $25k and repaying it over a 30-year period at 6% interest will mean paying a total of $54k over that period.

      Third, your point about inflation is a red herring because increases in inflation are typically matched by increases in interest rates – in other words, if inflation rises off the floor, the interest rate that AT will pay on its debt will rise in equal measure.

      Taking all this into account, you’re understanding the cost of providing park-and-ride by at least 50%, and probably more. A more realistic estimate of the per-trip cost of park-and-ride would be in the range of $5-10.

      This may be worth it in some locations, if there is an extremely high certainty that the people using the facility would otherwise be driving long distances on congested roads. But the cost-benefit test is in fact a reasonably hard one to meet.

      1. We do not “have” to take into account the land value at all. We only “have” to do this to suit your argument. For a variety of reasons the council may wish to hold on to this land otherwise we would have no parks, no grass verges on roads, no squares. We would have just the minimum needed to move people around as everything else would “have” to be sold off for development – which is certainly not what happens. This land is a carpark and that is it’s stated purpose. There are no plans to develop it for anything else so why would we need to take the cost of the land into account if we wanted to build a parking structure above an existing carpark??
        Now if there really is some sort of demand for this land to be used for other purposes then build a combined carpark/office/apartment building there. No problem with that provided that overall the number of carparks at the PnR increase to get people off the road and into buses (except for the last mile of course as has already been discussed).

        Second you say I haven’t accounted for interest on debt. I actually have acknowledged there would be debt and interest but did not calculate what that would be as in the grand scheme of things it is minimal (considering that Council debt is at the low end of interest rates and we are currently in a low interest environment (with no signs of inflation going crazy anytime soon).

        I did make a point about inflation (inflation is often seen as an evil when it actually does serve some purposes). Inflation eats away at principle debt faster than pretty much anything else once it gets to a certain rate. Yes high inflation is coupled with high interest (typically to the same proportion). What this means is that while your interest payments when servicing a loan go up, so to does your income (be it wages or in this case bus fares and rates). That $20k per carpark (or whichever number you choose to use) is pretty minimal once you have a decade of decent inflation…. A $100k mortgage taken out in the 80’s on a $125k house looks pretty good now as the house would worth $1M and the total interest costs would have been perhaps $220k. So you would have paid out in total $345k and have $1M asset. Obviously a parking structure is different from a house, however as you have said the land is valuable so in future it could be worthwhile to sell it off – in that case so be it. But in the meantime for the foreseeable future we are going to need more spaces at some of our PnR.

        So no I haven’t understated the cost by at least 50%. Adding on interest costs adds cents to the cost and it would still be far away from your $5-10 per day per carpark figure.

        At least you said this: “This may be worth it in some locations, if there is an extremely high certainty that the people using the facility would otherwise be driving long distances on congested roads.” which is certainly (100% since the next stop is Albany which is quite a distance away) true for HBC and mostly true for Albany (since most are going into the city).

        1. Your failure to include interest on debt *alone* has resulted in an under-statement of costs by 50%. As I have demonstrated, adding interest charges roughly *doubles* the financial cost of providing additional parking spaces. It’s not a “cents on the dollar” issue at all.

          Furthermore, your argument that we should discount the land cost of parking are directly at odds with your argument that AT should invest in parking because land values are going to go up. The only way that makes sense is if AT is willing to sell park-and-ride land for alternative uses at a future date – which is the exact thing that you say we shouldn’t consider in our financial analysis *today*!

          You can’t just arbitrarily exclude land values from an analysis of costs today and include them in an analysis of benefits tomorrow. That’s just nonsensical.

  18. Let’s think about this looking forward 10 years – I can see that driverless electric vehicles (let’s say small urban buses) are circulating the suburbs, are able to take Hop cards for fares and deposit people at the nearest transport hub (train or bus station) – that pretty much eliminates the need for people to even own a commuter car, let alone park it at the transport hub in a Park ‘n Ride facility.
    Even if the driverless EV’s were of an Uber type arrangement, the cost should be minimal to get to the nearest transport hub, so why not start looking into that as a modelling scenario? I think the thinking around driverless vehicles so far by the authorities shows a complete lack of reality focus. People won’t own a DV, they will simply call one when they want one.

        1. I love synonym buns.

          Time for another song (this time a culinary treat from Nina Simone):

          Oh,synonym where you gonna run to?
          Oh, synonym where you gonna run to?
          Oh, synonym where you gonna run to?
          synonym where you gonna run to?

          I said wok what’s the matter with you wok?
          Don’t you see I need you wok?
          Don’t let down
          All on that day

    1. I understand your point (and agree with it) but why look ahead 10yrs and focus on driverless technology?

      Right now people in the main urban center of wider Auckland have (or soon will have) a bus turning up every 7mins at a stop near their house to take them to the nearest train station. And as Patrick has pointed out, it will be free under integrated ticketing. So these changes can be made now and driverless cars will just make it even more efficient by being able to pick people up right outside their house.

  19. Totally agree Matt, sure could use the expense on other better things. Charging would sort out those that don’t really need to use them when put in rural catchment areas. Some of the issue reflects how connecting buses can suck, so perhaps once new networks up and running they should then be downsized or removed in some stations. No matter how big they make them I’m sure they are going to fill up & overflow.

  20. ..oh and has AT or anyone every done a survey of P&R or all station users as to where from & how they got to the station, going to, how they normally commute etc etc, would be very interesting data. Being thinking if something could be handed out where they fill it in online later/while commuting as asking in person when a train just arriving means can’t be done in time, not sure how you can accurately do one capturing most users. Leaflet drop on the parked cars another way just for the park & ride users.

    1. Have someone on the train, surveying people after they get on?

      It would be very interesting data, especially if you surveyed AT’s strategy team for their assumptions beforehand. Like the survey that compared how retailers thought their customers arrived to how they actually arrived.

      1. Easier said than done, it would only be useful information if you were able to get truthful answers (people like to be left alone on the train) and separate it into each station while trying to negotiate a train that is often full making the surveyors jobs harder.

        1. But also will only tell the current situation; ie be used to reinforce the status quo. Not, I hope, the aim for an organisation charged with creating a ‘transformational shift to public transport’.

        2. I was thinking more that it would shake AT out of thinking PnR is a big part of patronage. Could also have a question about distance travelled to the station, to estimate how many PnR-ers live within walking distance or are driving to a different zone to save on fares.

          Bigted: I think most people would be willing to spend a minute answering 2-3 questions on a touchscreen. Maybe I’m too optimistic.

        3. Chris Hop card swipe access to PnR would give the PnR info, Hop cards would have been used on the feeder bus and anyone that has not swiped prior to boarding the train or Nex bus would have been presumed to have walked, cycled or been dropped off. Registered Hop cards have the users address so the distance they traveled would be automatically available. The advantage is that if AT want to charge for PnR the facility is already there to just charge the Hop card and could charge differently if you are driving from and area with good PT links to those who are not.

        4. Chris – I think Bigted is on the money there, I’ve seen surveys on the train before and no-one appears very interested, I usually try and avoid them if I can.

        5. @BigTed, the HOP address is at the time it was registered, is it up to date?

          I know every time I move I don’t update my address, so I would suggest that relying on the address data for HOP wouldn’t be that reliable.

        6. Fair point Nik and I did think about that after typing the comment, it was just an idea in response to doing surveys on packed commuter trains.

        7. AT has the means to find ownership and address details for any registered vehicle. It *could* be as simple as a parking warden scanning all the licence QR codes of cars parked and then having the gurus map the data for each P&R to show from where the vehicle has more than likely been driven. There won’t be a 100% correlation between registered address and actual point of origin, but it could well be a better data set than voluntary surveying. Privacy Act implications might be tough.

        8. James the Privacy Act implications could be easily eliminated by putting it in the conditions of use, if you want to use ATs facilities they have a right to know who’s using them.

        9. It might be acceptable to include data collection provisions in the terms of use, if there were an adequate substitute product. However as most of the services provided by the council are a public good, I don’t see how these works in any case apart from libraries, where the returning of books needs to be secured against something.

          The differentiation between AC and AT isn’t that great in reality, whether it should be is a little more off topic than I want to go into.

        10. The former NSCC did this for the park and ride at the Devonport Wharf in 2006. They looked up car registration addresses and found “82 cars parked all day near the ferry wharf were registered to addresses less than 1km away ­ an easy 10 to 15 minute walk,.. In total, 355 cars were registered to addresses that were either within 1km of the ferry wharf, or within 400m of a ferry feeder bus,”.

          So we’re effectively wasting valuable waterfront land because people can’t be bothered walking, cycling or catching the bus. Plus the myth that non-enclave residents are stealing our carparks is exactly that – a myth.

    2. Would it be practical to set up temporary licence plate readers at PnR exits and say 1km away on relevant arterials? A couple of week’s data on who is driving from within reasonable walking distance (for most, there are some that this would be an issue for) would be handy. Also capacity used throughout the day.

  21. At normal discount rates an upfront capital cost is roughly equivalent to a daily cost of 1/5,000 as much, indefinitely. So for a $20,000 P&R space to break even commercially you would need to charge about $4 per day, or say at least $5 per business day.
    The unquestioning assumption that P&R should be always more, and should be free at the point of use, is regrettable groupthink. We at least need to think about whether those resources could be spent in the public transport network more effectively in other ways. Charging a modest fee for P&R where the market supports that would be a good start, to get a better idea of how much more P&R is warranted.

    1. Yes. P’n’R as it is currently set up is a classic underpriced good; and is clearly classically over bought. The thinking that the unmet demand proves AT must provide more spaces fails kindergarden level economics.

      Having said that, it is pretty clear from the Greenlane example that price tolerance likely is very low, so moving to pricing would be a very interesting experience indeed. And should be carefully managed and communicated.

      But, I repeat, Fare Integration gives the perfect opportunity, and infact introducing payment at some PNRs now would be a great way to alert people to the huge improvement that is Fare Integration.

      1. I imagine it is not so much a price tolerance but a hassle tolerance. I imagine even for $1 if people have to walk to the ticket machine and then go back and put the ticket on the dashboard it will be more trouble than it’s worth. However, if PNR facilities just have a gate with a hop card reader it may well be much more appealing.

        1. GE would be excellent to test this since with one entrance/exit in the new P&R the Hop reader and barrier gate plus cameras, signage etc could be fitted now before it comes into service.

        2. The Greenlane example is a text book case in how not to do it.

          As everyone who used it found – the hassle of accessing the PnR was difficult due to its location right on the Greenlane roundabout, and the cost of $1 clearly reflected that situation.
          You’d have to fight traffic to get near the place. It wasn’t well publicised either.

          But the Greenlane station was not on a fare stage boundary so there were no savings in using it, it cost the same fare as the next station up or down the line.
          And thus did not offer anything better to the end user except an all day car park in a inconvenient place..

          In addition everyone would know or soon find out that the $1 fare to use it required using a messy pay and display machine located at the wrong place and trudging around the carpark to access the machine then back to your car, all the time adding a greater chance you’d miss your train. That $1 fare would also only go up in time as clearly $1 was a loss leader to get you hooked.
          It would soon go up to $1 an hour as it did in the Newmarket backstreets.

          And last of all, to access the station you still had to go up and over the rail lines anyway.

          So why bother. For all that hassle you could catch the bus to a closer station and avoid the car at all.

      2. I’d like to see the 4 rows closest to the station at albany priced to see what effect it actually had. You could actually see how far people are willing to walk to save a dollar too.

        1. That’s an interesting one, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that a lot of people happily circle around for 10 minutes to save $1. It’s one of these cruel experiments exploiting our cognitive bias towards optimism in some situations, in this case it goes along the lines of “surely I’ll find a spot on my next loop”.

        2. As the horrible side effect of an operations research degree I mentally optimist the search function every time and it drives my partners family mad.

  22. For urban park-and-rides like Glen Eden and Meadowbank, it would be interesting to calculate and compare the cost-per-generated-trip of using the land for apartments instead. Much more pleasant for people walking to the station, too – large park-and-rides are horrible to walk through, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a disincentive effect on walk-up trips.

  23. I think any PnR should have a TOD ratio of 10-20%
    Commercial, Retail and Residential built nearest the station, above / between it and the car parks.
    A minimal inflation adjusted daily parking charge.
    Every new PnR has a strong local area bus stop / interchange built between the station and the car parks

  24. Some connector bus services are very impractical. They have very low frequently and slow, as well as not stopping anywhere close to doorstep.

    AT should allow small shuttle business to run a local drop to train station service.

  25. How does that work anyway in Albany? Some 1100 lucky birds get a parking spot early in the morning, what about all the people arriving later, what do they usually do? Park in someone’s front yard?

    Paid parking can be expensive (or still cheap, depending on how you look at it), but free parking is a PITA because it tends to be full quite often, and thus unpredictable.

  26. Are there any pay park and ride locations in the city apart from Matiatia?
    Waiheke people have for many years been told that parking at the wharf is not park and ride and as such a fee is due but at all other suburban wharves it is PNR and is free. The current cost is $6.00 per day – far more than the token payments mentioned above.

      1. The charge for parking at Matiatia was imposed by Auckland City Council in part to pay for the $21 million purchase of the land in the valley from a property investment company. This was in John Banks second term as mayor. The charge has been taken over by AT and recently increased.

  27. You can build park n ride way cheaper, just dig out 500mm of dirt, cloth, and some AP40 compacted in 150mm layers and you’ll have a solid parking base for an absolute fraction of the cost. Employ a parking warden and pack the cars in tight. Its not rocket science.

  28. If people that write articles cared more about writing great material like you, more readers would read their content. It’s refreshing to find such original content in an otherwise copy-cat world. Thank you so much.

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