Panmure Interchange

We often talk about the big projects, networks, as well as game changing best practice regulations. However what about the small things, low hanging fruit where for cheaply i.e. not for 100s of millions of dollars we can achieve with a “Small Step” a “Great Leap” for the people the project & area it effects, part 3 is about the difficultly of transfers in the off peak.

During the peak, transfers are not to bad, lots of bus routes have 10-15 frequencies, as well as the trains. However during the offpeak transfers become difficult, because of timings. Here are 3 examples

  1. The Southbound Southern Line service on the Weekend departs Newmarket the same time the Westbound Western Line is scheduled to come into Newmarket, meaning a 30 min transfer wait is required as you always miss the transfer.
  2. The Eastbound service from Britomart leaves 1 min after the Western Line arrives on the Weekend, if you know this, putting yourself strategically in right carriage, and know to run, you can just make it if Eastern TM is onto it, however if not you will usually miss the service which means 30min transfer wait.
  3. A person I knew wanted to head to the Airport from Avondale, the original plan was they would catch 008 to Onehunga & then 380 to Airport, however the 380 left one min they said before 008 was timetabled to arrive. Again 30min transfer wait.

These types of events really put people off, and make people not want to use PT on off peak except for direct to destination services. While in the long run Auckland Transport should fix these issues through the introduction of the New Network with many routes including the trains having a service every 15mins 7-7, Monday to Sunday. However the New Network won’t go live until later next year for Central, East & the North Shore, the 380 also is still only has a 30 min frequency service in the New Network. I also can’t see how they can run a train every 15 mins Monday-Sunday 7-7 due to the Eastern & Southern Lines sharing the tracks between Westfield to Wiri, this would mean in this section 8TPH would be running each way, now this is fine for passenger services we run 12TPH each way during weekday peaks on that section, but the question would be when &  how easily would KiwiRail fit in it’s freight services without a third main in that section?

While it was good to see the Westfield-Wiri third main in the indicative projects lists in the first decade, we still have no idea if this means it will funded tomorrow, 2018, or even 2028, it is an ATAP ASAP for me, but whether it is for AT & Government I am not sure.

In the meantime, we could make peoples lives easier if in the next timetable adjustments, we tweaked a few off peak services to better connect to each other like the examples above.

So what do you think?

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  1. Off Topic.Kinda

    But does anyone know if the Southern Line is getting a new timetable coinciding with the new southern network and the closure of Westfield (Are they closing it still or are they doing another Te Mahia uturn)? Also any update of the additional possible service on the southern line due to the faster than expected turn around at Papakura?

    1. Last I heard was Train Timetable Change (capturing time savings improvements) in March/April next year (2017). Would they close Westfield then pehaps? They may wait to Central New Network perhaps?

    2. The faster turn arounds at Papakura starting Tuesday do nothing to the timetable, the trains still leave Papakura at :06, :18, :28, :36, :48, :58 past the hour during peak and they still take 54 minutes to Britomart. The only difference is trains from 7:12 to 8:58 and 16:30 to 18:48 will all use platform 3 and only have a 6-8 minute turn around, currently one arrives on platform 2 then the train leaves platform 3 and vice versa all day. The freeing up of one 3EMU set doesn’t even increase the southern line capacity as it is not used there, I understand there will be an extra 6EMU (currently a 3EMU) on the western line. Late running services will result in express running (station skipping) between Homai and Papakura and at worst Papakura to as far as Penrose, so clearly only Britomart matters as there is the potential for less services not more on the southern line.

      1. That’s a concern if late running services are going to skip stops. TBH, having a train sit at Papakura for 16 – 18 mins is a waste of an expensive train, when they are running at peak frequencies they should just be left to run late. The impact on punctuality should sharpen AT’s focus on getting the trains running quicker.

          1. It’s a bit odd, they have trains sitting at Swanson for 12 minutes (when 5 would suffice), yet have recently introduced a policy that any train from Swanson running more than 5 minutes late is to bypass Newmarket, with Newmarket passengers required to alight at Grafton instead. They seem happy to have the train sitting doing nothing for 12 minutes, then all of a sudden they become hellbent on getting it to Britomart on time to the extent they are willing to skip the most important stop (and transfer point) along the way.

          2. Ted – sounds like there are another couple of units that could be freed up if that is the case.

            Geoff – completely agree, passengers should be confident before they board that it will stop where they want.

          3. jezza all you see is the advantages of short turnarounds but there are those in the real world that see many potential disadvantages like express running and skip stops (eg Newmarket on the western line as Geoff has already said) so that the train makes it assigned slot into Britomart. Express running or skipping stops to make Britomart on time wrongly assumes that everyone is going to Britomart and that those going to or waiting at the skipped stops don’t matter. There is no point having some extra capacity if having that requires trains to ignore those going to or coming from certain places.

          4. Ted – that’s not correct. If you read my response to Geoff in the comment above I clearly do not support skipping stops. My concern is having $8 million trains sitting idle and building significant fat into timetables so AT can claim 95 % punctuality the easy way. Every one of these trains sitting idle results in another packed 3-car train running somewhere else on the network.

            Those operating in the real world who are paid to solve complex problems appear to have just taken the easy cop-out solution.

  2. Ideally both trains should be timed to arrive at exactly same time and wait a minute until passengers can board the other train.

    AT should invest a mounted tablet for the drivers so that they can see timing of the other transfer services.

    For example a bus driver can see whether the approaching train is on time or not, and the bus driver can adjust their speed to catch up or slow down.

      1. Train controllers are the only ones that can have a train wait (unless it ahead of time) to make a connection with a late running service.

    1. I absolutely agree that buses should wait a for an amount of time if a train has arrived at the station if they are there. it doesn’t even have to be complicate. All they need is a couple of lights on the bus platform that go on as trains arrive for certain services for buses to know to wait. When the lights go out the buses know that its good to go. It doesn’t have to be complicated IT.

      At places like Panmure its annoying having only one escalator up to the bus platforms. If there is a bus waiting and you know that its probably going to leave and you can’t get there because of the people on the escalator its really frustrating. A “wait light” on the platform could help that. Panmure doesn’t even have writing on the sides of the escalators telling people to stand left like Newmarket to let others pass. Its not as though people have other options to get to the bus or wait for the lift unless you take a really indirect route but you would have to run.

  3. You should try going from the city to wattle downs. Peak service for 456 is only twice per hour and off peak is once per hour. If u leave the city or Newmarket after 5:30 you have a good chance of waiting for over 30 minutes for a bus connection. Why can’t peak extend to 7 pm? In the consultation document for the southern network it was propose to have 20 minute service.

    The new network will not add any new frequency but rather reduce services to this area. Before a number of 456 services went to manukau and 556 services use to go to wattle downs. 556 has been canned so the new network delivers only half the services.

    1. Hmm yes seems a loss for that area but cleaner, simpler & more reliable are the only advantages it seems, quite a short loop it’s doing just to Manurewa. Does the 361 help at all, more frequent.

      1. Can’t see why that is that bad? It’s quite a long way with two or three water crossings. Everything connects pretty good at Britomart & Panmure but may take 3 transfers. Of course should be a lot better with the new networks for north shore, central & east.

        1. I’m fine with making transfers, but the bus from Glenfield misses the train to Panmure, the train at Panmure misses the bus to Botany.

  4. Reasonably frequent services are required if transfers are to be an option. While I agree with the slight changes to timing helping in the examples in this blog it is the long waits through infrequent services which are the problem. I have commented on the lack of frequency for the 380 service, mentioned above, a number of times and the much vaunted New Network in South Auckland ignored the need to improve it both in frequency and route. I caught it three weeks ago at about 1230pm going to Manukau on a weekday and I connected well to the train to Auckland at Papatoetoe because one comes every 10 minutes at that time. However I felt sorry for the 5 passengers off international flights going to Manukau bus station to change to Intercity services. The 1200 380 service had not shown up and as a consequence they were going to miss their 1245 connections to Rotorua and Tauranga. They even called the intercity bus company to see if the buses could be held for 5 minutes but got nowhere. They were going to have to wait two or three hours for their next bus. What an introduction to New Zealand! A reliable 15 minute service for the 380 going direct to Puhinui and then Manukau would make a huge difference.

    And who would take the chance going to the airport by train and the 380. Miss the connection at Papatoetoe station by a minute, wait 29 minutes for the next 380 if you are lucky and then be too late for check-in for your flight!

    1. While frequency is important, there will always be periods when frequencies are quite low – Sunday mornings, weekday evenings for example. These are also times of relatively low congestion so bus journeys are more reliable. It is this time when it is vital that train to train and train to bus connections are good.

  5. Yes can’t believe the Airport 380 was left pretty much the same as before the new network. Too long and so unreliable (not that I’ve used it myself yet).
    Sylvia Park train to bus transfers will be interesting with the new southern network before they move (if they do) the bus station adjacent to the train as it’s quite a walk through the cars, obstacles & shopping ctr at the mo. Weekend & even weekday currently sucks for 5 series buses normally, but they are going to shorten the 502 (now 505) buse to just run to & from Sylvia instead of Otahuhu & the city (be quite different once central new network kicks in).

    Onehunga & Southern line trains more evenly spaced might be good if that’s possible too.

    1. In thinking about it the 380 airport bus perhaps should be kept as a long running route due to the fact of luggage, where a “one seat ride” is more important for travellers. It should be split at the airport end though, so made into two routes (one from Onehunga, the other Manukau) terminating at the terminals. Should definitely have frequency increased either way.

    2. My overall thought on this idea of timed transfers is if it’s not an like an obvious one like the south to west transfer at Newmarket. Can it be possible to time one at an interchange/transfer point but not muck it up for another? Sometimes this could be achieved I guess by lucky timing differences. Without slowing something down it can’t always be done obviously. Key thing is frequency especially on the backbone rail network & NEX to be on outside peak/weekday hours.

      1. Yes, I agree. I’ve lost track (no pun intended) of the number of times I’ve arrived into Newmarket on the Western line and while waiting on the painfully slow doors to open, the Southern Line train just leaves. If that Sthn Line train waited only another 10 seconds it would cut my journey by 10 minutes (or longer off peak). Surely it can’t be that hard to wait just a little bit if another train is just arriving. Similar issues with buses at Middlemore. The unpredictable and wasted transfer times are what really kills PT. Because of this it’s 1:10 hr train bus/combo Vs 25 mins in the car 🙁

  6. I use the 380/Train combo to from the airport to CBD regularly. It’s an easy, relatively convenient, and now low cost ($4.80) combo from CBD to Airport and v.v – The main issue to ‘turn up and go’, is the 30 min 380 service at either Papatoetoe or Airport, so I emailed AT and got a reply stating the 380 is a candidate for being upgraded to a frequent service, to match the frequencies via train to city from Papatoetoe. If you make the connections its 55mins. Comparable with SkyBus.

    1. And $6.00 all the way to Constellation Station so a bargain the day I took it – or free for our Gold Card holders after 9am. Increase the frequency of the 380 and promote it as the economical public transport link to/from the airport from/to much of Auckland. (as opposed to the expensive Skybus just to midtown!)

        1. Yes but: “Between 7am and 7pm a complimentary shuttle service operates between the Downtown stop on Customs St East (Mercure Hotel) and 380 Queen St (Town Hall stop)”. ie A smaller version bus to fit around streets easier (I think) due to CRL works etc & due to more traffic around at those times.

      1. One step that would be a big gain would be to allow buses to travel at 100km/h on the motorway/NEX. Currently they are limited on any road to 90km/h and only 80km/h on the NEX. This would save approximately 1 minute in each direction on the NEX and a further 3 minutes through to Silverdale. This would mean that on a daily basis each bus could operate an extra service if needed with the productivity gains (or 1 less bus needed). This would lower the operating costs of the service with the potential to improve the farebox recovery too.
        The main benefit would of course be to passengers themselves who would save up to 8 minutes travel time each day (and make buses even more appealing compared to cars).

        1. Agree with 90kph anyway. Not sure why the Northern Busway has a 80kph speed limit when it is completely separated and the heavy vehicle speed limit is generally 90 on the open road.

      1. In my opinion, the 380 is a stand out candidate for at least 15, if not 10 minute frequencies 6am – 9pm. Even Getting airport users (both workers on the airpark and travellers) used to high quality PT options (including bus lanes and traffic light prirorty) and getting them from the airport into the rest of the PT network at Mangere, Onehunga and Papatoetoe.

  7. One step that would be a big gain would be to allow buses to travel at 100km/h on the motorway/NEX. Currently they are limited on any road to 90km/h and only 80km/h on the NEX. This would save approximately 1 minute in each direction on the NEX and a further 3 minutes through to Silverdale. This would mean that on a daily basis each bus could operate an extra service if needed with the productivity gains (or 1 less bus needed). This would lower the operating costs of the service with the potential to improve the farebox recovery too.
    The main benefit would of course be to passengers themselves who would save up to 8 minutes travel time each day (and make buses even more appealing compared to cars).

      1. The busway is 8-10m wide without a central median or other separation barrier, where buses pass each other head on about a metre apart. I think 80km/h is appropriate!

        1. I think either 80 or 90 kph would be pretty grisly in terms of a head on collision. If that is really the concern then it needs to be lowered to around 50 kph.

    1. No. We should not let tall, heavy, wide, long vehicles travel at 100kph. We shouldn’t allow them to travel more than 80 without a full central barrier either.

  8. Early running really screws up transfers, so many times especially off-peak: trains leave 2-3 minutes early, buses leave 3-15 early… especially mid-or near the end of route… its just ridiculous. Why can’t they just wait for the timetable, passengers already on-board don’t expect to be there until the timetabled time anyway.

    The other thing I have noticed is there seems to be no difference in timetable between peak and off-peak on a lot of routes. Most notably trains, surely running a 3-car EMU off-peak will be quicker than a loaded 6-car at peak, yet the timetable is exactly the same?

    1. Yes running a 3EMU is quicker than a 6EMU but all the timetable ‘tests’ are run with 3EMUs and either no passengers or very light loadings. The worst performing trains are constantly 6EMUs on the eastern line due to the time table being quite tight, speed restrictions around the waterfront and having to run behind the southern train from Westfield to Puhinui, while the southern trains that aren’t held up by Onehunga trains arrive at Penrose too early and end up waiting.

  9. Got so slacked off with this with trying to transfer from the southern line to the western that I took the drastic move of selling up and moving to the city a few years ago so I could have a direct trip. Haven’t regretted the city move, mind. I guess the ten minute frequencies with the electric trains have helped but transfers don’t seem to be a big part of the scheduling.

  10. I agree that anything to integrate connectivity – especially at relatively major interchanges like New Lynn. The main problem here is low bus frequency like route 701 requires a minimum 15 minute wait each way and up to 50 minutes wait from New Lynn (depending on the train arrival which is much more frequent).

    I am no logistics planner, but I wonder if bus feeder services at (New Lynn) could be arranged to coincide with train frequency by running more frequent round-trips to a closer terminus, where certainly passengers then need to change buses, but for a bus that is endlessly running round-trips on the same or similar route that carries them the remainder of the journey. One such possible alteration might be New Lynn Titirangi Village. Then change for one of several routes to South Titirangi Rd or other 7xx.

    This may achieve a higher patronage as well as improving the trip time for most commuters. As I see it, such a system uses about 20% more buses to achieve less than half the “maximum” journey time for all. The concept is simple enough – MAX-MED-MIN for patronage.

      1. Oops! I did indeed. Sorry – that was not a typo. It was me trusting to rusting memory. And I was on that bus twice last week…

  11. No actual comment, but thank you Transport Blog and Harriet. To highlight the basic stuff, and continue your focus on big deals is quality. As a transport nerd and transport user, I see both views and it is excellent to see the simple things given the same prominence as the big ones.

    Kudos, you are not doing yourselves a disservice with posts like these.

  12. Transfers would have been easier at Manukau Station if the bus station and the train station were on the same site.
    Thanks to Len Brown’s short sightedness we won’t be able to get off the bus and take the escalator down to the trains.
    Instead we’ll have to walk a couple of hundred metres before reaching the trains.

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