Auckland Airport Public Transport access is a geometric problem with a two sided solution. There are two immediate sets of catchments, East and North, plus a city-wide overlay then a region-wide one. The Airport is a natural terminus (excuse the pun), because short of looping around there are no destinations beyond the airport. It is a natural end of the line. We addressed this geometry in the Congestion Free Network with the network pattern shown below:

One line east to the catchments of Manukau, Botany, and Howick, and another north to Mangere, the Isthmus, and the City Centre. These lines also intersect with all four current Metro rail services, shown below in their post CRL 2-line pattern. All trains will get you to the planes; via an upgraded connection at Puhinui on the eastern/southern lines, or the CRL stations and Onehunga via Light Rail. This, plus the catchments these two new routes serve directly, vastly increases the accessibility of the airport precinct to the wider city.

We advocate for this pattern because, done well, it will provide the greatest number of people with the highest quality of access to this important destination as part of a whole network, while also offering a high quality access to many other destinations. This is network thinking, not just single route or special journey focus. This pattern enables, at reasonable cost to the city, a full grid of high frequency high quality routes, that serves every kind of rider, to every kind of destination, as well as possible within the constraints of our city’s geometry.

In our current plan we have these as two separate routes, and indeed two different kinds of vehicle, however they could be run as a single service with the same mode, either straight away or in the future. That is partly a operational decision, and partly an investment one. We concluded that the demand and the constraints of the northern route justified Light Rail, but the eastern could be Rapid Bus at least to begin with. This is certainly a decision that is contestable. Regardless, we also don’t see any particular need to through route the service at the Airport. Terminating at the Terminus is logical. Transferring between very frequent, legible, and direct services is at the heart of this network idea.

And it is an idea that is key to all of the world’s great urban transit networks. Each line on Transport for London’s system, for example, is discrete (I know there are a few exceptions to this). The trains stay on their respective lines and the passengers make up each individual journey by transferring between separate services. This network has been built up over more than a century and a half and is made up off all sorts of varying train types and technologies, yet this is irrelevant to the success of the system, because interoperability is achieved though passengers changing routes, not the vehicles. The soon to open Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) trains, for example, cannot and will not run on any Tube line. Clarity, line legibility, and directness of individual services make for the most effective whole network.

Users being individual and all having separate motivations and desires are the best point in a transit system to place flexibility, and perhaps surprisingly that flexibility flourishes best on a fixed and entirely predictable network; one where users can be certain about each route in order to switch between them at will. Or perhaps that is only a surprising idea in a culture dominated by car transport: a system founded on the completely opposite idea where the network is the point of flexibility and vehicle the point of fixity.

The quality of the connection matters enormously in a transfer based network. Firstly the frequency of the lines that make up the network need to be high, at least at 10 minute intervals, ideally better. And the physical ease, safety, and legibility of the transfer points also all need to be very high. So in this case a brand new Puhinui Interchange will be required, one that facilitates switching swiftly and easily between the main rail service and the new east-west one.

Below is a detail from our recently released Regional Rapid Rail proposal (this is a schematic not a map, please don’t fuss about the background) highlighting the potential of this currently very humble point on the Auckland rail network. The Puhinui transfer means that every southern and eastern line train can have an airplane symbol next to it, but it also makes every intercity train from the south is also a; train to the planes. Furthermore, because with the now funded additional track on the Auckland network, new intercity and express services will be possible, reducing journey times from Britomart to Puhinui Station to as short as 16 minutes (non-stop as envisaged on intercity services). From Puhinui Station to the Airport should take about 6 minutes, so allowing a little time for the connection, rail to the airport on this route should routinely take around 30 mins from the city centre. And very very frequent, with a train at most every 5 minutes, and an express (inter-city) at least every 15 (7.5 mins at the peaks).

This is the power offered by connected rapid transit networks: Direct separate routes + high frequency = fast, yet varied journeys, in an affordable network.

The complete Regional Rapid Rail network in stage 3

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195 comments

  1. Patrick, a nicely written summary of the GA case for Airport PT.
    Nothing has really changed from previous airport offerings. The problem is that no matter how often this PT topology and modes is repeated there always is a significant number of people who continue to advocate for a heavy rail solution and worse still they refuse to be convinced the LR and bus solutions GA prefer are in fact the best for the future airport PT.
    Maybe the time has come for GA to seriously look at the airport HR options in a neutral non negative way ie simply not just a list of ‘why nots’

      1. I call you & Matt out on your inclusive crap.
        I wrote a guest post on why I believe heavy rail is better than light rail around 4 months ago and I have been continually ignored since.
        A couple of vague replies from Matt saying he has seen it but not even the respect to reply to me most of the time.
        I used to respect this site but clearly if you have an opposing view you are not allowed any attention and I have become quite annoyed to be honest.
        I understand you do this on your own time, but you can’t keep asking for posts from those who support heavy rail and then keep ignoring them.

        1. Matt does the editorial side and thought he had replied to you if he hasn’t well I will bring it up because he should have.

          The answer to your post is it needs some evidence to back it up. The post was basically just reckons and opinion tbh with no recognition of trade offs.

          I am happy for it to be posted but it does need a little more detail before being posted such as statistics, how you would budget it using ATAP or NLTF classes etc.

          1. Why don’t you publish it with a disclaimer at the start such as; “This is a guest post that is not supported by Greater Auckland editorial team and includes opinion stated as fact, which are corrected or highlighted by editors comments”. Then add editor comments ie:

            Heavy rail is faster [Heavy rail would not be faster Britomart to Airport].
            Trams will have to mix with traffic on Dominion Road [They won’t, LRT will run on a separate rail bed in the centre of the road].
            Heavy Rail has higher capacity [Yes, the ultimate capacity of heavy rail is higher, however, capacity is a function of vehicle capacity and frequency, which is not specified by the author]

          2. Perhaps GreaterAuckland could consider an area dedicated to community generated content.

            This might be curated by interested readers via something like a voting system.

            When a particular “article” reaches a defined maximum or minimum count, the editorial team at Greater Auckland might be notified that either

            A. An article is proving quite popular, you may wish to consider this for promotion to Blog Proper; please be aware of the mob.

            B. An article is proving incredibly unpopular and is about to be deleted from the internet. Please be aware of the mob and that Google Never Forgets.

            Clearly, everything should be automated.

            These articles might live within a section of Greater Auckland itself or via a link to elsewhere, a place that under no circumstances could be mistaken for Greater Auckland.

            I myself am in favour of putting things in reverse and so to use a concept from elsewhwere, an alternative wordpress site such as

            retaergdnalkcua.org.nz (the k is silent)

            Kind regards, keep up the good work etc etc.

        2. @Sailorboy – someone obviously didn’t read the GA post above which states that now funding has been announced for the 3rd main express services can operate that would mean routine airport trips of 30 minutes (which is considerably faster than the Don Rd LR and that’s including transfer time, an actual HR line would save a couple of minutes off that).

          With that all said now that regional rail express trains are in the mix (providing Nats lose the election) then the plan above isn’t so bad as people can take HR most of the way rather than the slow LR trundle along Dominion Rd!

          1. “someone obviously didn’t read the GA post above which states that now funding has been announced for the 3rd main express services can operate that would mean routine airport trips of 30 minutes”

            Don’t worry, no one expected you to read the post.

            At least you’ve figured out that heavy rail is only faster if you skip stops. It’s fine if you want to skip stops, but it means that HR is only faster if you start at Britomart, Aotea, or possibly K Rd. It’s then a trade off about whether you love HR enough to make sure that we still leave half of the city with no good option to the airport.

          2. Still faster from other stops and you could transfer at those stops. It was always faster than LR even with all stops just not as fast as an express service.
            I’m not sure if you have a hatred of HR or of airport passengers (or both).

          3. @SailorBoy doesn’t like his infinite knowledge being queried and he gets very blunt and condescending with those with differing opinions or real world direct life experiences.
            The Jacob report is quite biased. The catchment area stats for Dominion Rd LRT show a table that includes a lot of Sandringham that is more than 800m away, it does not include the Parnell train station or any of its catchment and whilst it describes single seat trips, the Onehunga HR option going via the CRL would have direct single seat trips all the way out to the end of the western line – but none of those people are included in the Jacob’s catchment ares either.
            Queen St is a 30km/h road and Dominion Rd is a 50km/h road, so even with dedicated corridors down the middle of them, the LRT won’t be exceeding those speeds – noting general pedestrian safety, people/bikes/cars needing to cross the road, traffic lights, et al. It’s only after LRT gets to the Mt Roskill motorway that it’ll be able to get up to it’s potential speed.
            It would be great to see some local surveys on where the residents of Favona and Mangere Town Centre actually work or want to travel to and then see if a different route would be most appropriate

          4. “It would be great to see some local surveys on where the residents of Favona and Mangere Town Centre actually work”

            We did that. It was called the census, Greater Auckland actually did a whole post on travel patterns in the Southwest when the LRT proposal first came out and changed most of our minds.

            “@SailorBoy doesn’t like his infinite knowledge being queried and he gets very blunt and condescending with those with differing opinions or real world direct life experiences.”

            If people are going to be deliberately deceptive in their discussion then, frankly, blunt condescension is too good for them.

          5. Sailor boy prefers to use an alias as he doesn’t want people associating his arrogant attitudes here, with his real name. This forum – like many – relies on fake news and opinions that are presented as facts. Sometimes the opinions are plainly wrong and any post that questions the opinion is deleted or attacked. There are many examples. Waterview tunnel was said to be a failure (wrong), cars were going to be redundant due to peak oil (wrong), labour would win the last election (wrong) and on and on.
            Of course many posts are well written and informative, but some are crap. Best to remember this is just a trainspotters blog and not real life.

  2. I over cooked the Britomart to Airport via the Southern Airport Line by 15 minutes, then again I was using standard Southern and Eastern Line services rather than express the third and fourth main would provide.

    But there we have it City to Airport in 30mins via the Southern Airport Line – that is your express service if the Northern Airport Line scares the daylights out of you.

  3. It is not a key idea to all successful transport networks, particularly to airports. Frankfurt Airport in Germany, as well as Zurich Airport in Switzerland have through-services, both local and long-distances. Trains deviate from the most direct route to stop at these airport stations. Amsterdam Schiphol also is a through station. I know that people here are not that keen to look at European transport practice, but at least it can be argued that some Europeans have very successful transport networks, There through-running is a common feature, with routes allowing for many different journeys.
    I guess some of the different solutions advocated for the airport connection, is between people that look to Central Europe as an example, and those that are more wedded to Anglo-Saxon practice, with its more abstract transport theory.

    1. Through routing is off course ideal. But there is nothing beyond the Airport but the Manukau Harbour. Continuing on round to the trains at Puhinui, Manukau City, and beyond, is indeed an option, and should be considered.

    2. An interesting thought experiment. Say we did have regional rapid rail with fast and frequent intercity trains, and say we did have a heavy rail spur from Puhinui to the airport.

      Would we want to run the trains via the airport in that case? Given it would be about five minutes in, three or four minutes dwell and turn around, then five minutes out. That would be thirteen or fourteen minutes added to the trains.

      Is it worth adding that time to every passengers trip to serve the airport directly with a one seat ride, or is it worth avoiding that time on most trips and having the actual airport passengers spend fifteen minutes transferring to the airport.

      That’s the classic ‘direct service vs. connective network’ problem.

          1. Thanks for filling me in; it was interesting to read those old posts. To reallocate road space from cars to PT, I think the step up in space and energy efficiency needs to be bigger than what any individual pod/vehicle /car can provide.

    3. Frankfurt is a bit of a faux ami. Terminal A is within walking distance to the airport bahnhof (though it is a decent walk) but Terminal B requires a bus shuttle to Terminal A and then a long walk. This is the equivalent of taking the bus from Puhinui to the airport. Puhinui has all of the benefits of an dedicated airport station, without the disadvantage of detouring all passengers to the airport.

  4. Agree with most of what you say, except about the desirability of the airport being a terminus rather than on a through line. Sure, to start of with there will be only one line in, but by rotating the platforms 90 degrees you can future-proof it for through-running. Then, on eventual extension, (a) higher patronage from through journeys justifies higher frequency (just like CRL is not just for the CBD, the airport line isn’t just for plane passengers), (b) allows better cost recovery with higher patronage and since less extra vehicles than with second line (b) eventually you could get stations on two parts of the business park both accessible without a transfer if you are coming from the opposite side (transfers are ok but it’s even faster if you don’t need them, and since adding these stations won’t slow service to main station like adding stations to a more convoluted CRL with more stations would have) (c) whole platform is closer to airport terminal (rather than just one end) so less walking distance on average. Is there any downside to this future-proofing?

    1. You can still through run the LRV’s are bi-directional and the dwell is always going to be longer at Airport so can just have a dead stop with a double island platform.

      1. I’m not denying it’s possible, as is done in Newmarket for Westerm line trains. But as is the case in Newmarket, it slows the service down and is suboptimal. There seems to be an opportunity now to future proof for little extra cost if the project is planned accordingly. Why not take this opportunity.

        1. Newmarket is different as it holds up the junction and you want the dwell to be quick.

          Airport you will expect the dwell to be longer anyway and is not holding services up.

          Its less about cost than it is accessibility a terminus can be put right inside the future combined terminal.

        2. SB – I would had thought through running would require a lot more tunneling as the line from Onehunga would have to approach the airport from the west meaning it would have to tunnel under the proposed apron.

          I think we are talking a lot of extra cost, not a little.

        3. While we’re on the subect of tunneling, if through running is so important then taken to the logical extreme wouldn’t you build a spur at Wiri, tunnels under puhinui inlet to a station under the airport to allow it.

  5. Sounds good Patrick. Hope I won’t be too old to see or walk before I can catch a LRT vehicle from say Onehunga to Manukau without, ideally, getting off and on another service. Perhaps seeing family off to overseas without having to worry about parking and when/if I can get an easy ride home. I want to look back at this comment in a number of years and smile, thinking, “funny how we didn’t have a train to the airport back then”.

    1. I always think it funny how backward kiwi cities are with Public Transport compared to overseas where it’s so much easier to get about without a car.

  6. Patrick makes the key point here – one which is unfortunately lost on the standouts still promoting heavy rail via Puhinui – that this is all about the NETWORK, not a discrete one-station branch off an existing line. As a passenger these benefits are self-evident, and to advocate for airport-specific solutions (like, for example, Winston Peters) demonstrates a massive lack of understanding of how PT works and the needs of real passengers.

    The alternative HR extension via Onehunga is better but still fails to deliver on a network vision – step back from this please Mike Lee.

    The transport policies being promoted by the major parties in the current election campaign show two really dramatically different approaches: National is offering a huge spend-up on roads that are not under capacity pressure plus a couple of PT bolt-ons that do little for the network as a whole. Labour and the Greens are offering a vision of a future PT network that really IS a network, with a promise to accelerate projects already on the books, and a regional network in the upper North Island that is long overdue.

    At election time the choices for PT are “Jam today” or “Jam (maybe) at some time in the future. Or maybe not”. Hmmm, let me see . . .

      1. Do you think they’ve been stripped bare by the exposure of political meddling at NZTA and KiwiRail? Or do you think they are frightened that taking the focus from road construction will precipitate a bear market? 🙂 (Just having fun – hope you don’t mind.)

        1. Perhaps they are bearing in mind the pressure that will be brought to bear on them if the barefaced cheek of their road-building programme/trucking socialism is laid bare to the public?

          1. Was “trucking socialism” a bair to trick me into a discussion on socialism? I googled it but I’m still unsure. I guess I can grit my teeth and bear it.

      2. Maybe National think that PT is only votes in Auckland and that the electoral boundaries are gerrymandered enough that they’ll get back in without many Auckland votes?
        Maybe a reduction in road building will free up construction resources for building houses?

  7. I read this thinking ‘that makes sense’ and pleased to see the emphasis on ease of interchange that may be missed by the young enthusiastic fit walkers/cyclist who inhabit this blog but reality is elderly with heavy bags or a couple of small children and a pushchair.

    Why the praise for London’s transport network – living in London the public transport (admittedly averagely efficient) was hell and expensive hell and many times I walked from the theatresin the West End to home in Spitalfields – an hour walking being better than rattled in a series of metal boxes underground. 17 years living and working in London and while most of my fellow Londoners were rendered numb and tolerated being treated like cattle it just became less and less endurable.

    I cannot understand the paragraph that contained “the network is the point of flexibility and vehicle the point of fixity”. Going from one place to another – I think that is what transport is; since between start and finish who knows what obstacles will occur or even what changes of mind you may have flexibility is important – cars, whatever else you think about them, are flexible (or at least they are until you try and park them without costing an arm and leg). Traveling between the CBD and home in verdant Birkdale I have maybe a half dozen choices by public transport with my HOP cards making changes of bus free in Highbury, at the Ferry or in the CBD but by car I have an almost infinite set of choices and given the state of the traffic adjust accordingly (traveling by car is also easier with heavy bags or with the rest of my family).

    1. I had serious surgery this year and have had massive accessibility issues really shouldn’t make assumptions about just because we are young we can’t understand this.

      I have also written many a time regarding getting better accessibility for stations and vehicles on the network.

      1. Harriet: apologies for the dig about ‘youth’; I have family in the prime of their life who had serious surgery last year and she is taking a long time to recover and that has meant more cars and less buses. I should have written something implying not being athletically fit. This blog site certainly seems youth orientated but with a little reflection that could just be the attitude to life – my ninety two year old Aunt is younger in being accepting of new ideas than almost anyone I know. Contributors to this site have one thing in common – they care – and that is not an age related attribute.

      2. The author says “The quality of the connection matters enormously in a transfer based network.” and that is so right – and applies to everyone. Of course not always easy to achieve.

        1. Bob – Are you aware the age of the average Aucklandee is somewhere around 32-35? If anything the make-up of the bloggers is old relative to Aucklands demographics!

    2. As I understand the paragraph, you’re right. The network of roads is flexible, with many options, as you say. Your car is ‘fixed’ for you, ie you remain with your car for the whole journey. Whereas with a pt network, the pt lines are fixed, and you are flexible – you swap between those lines.

      1. You have never been stuck in a London tube train broken down within sight of a station while hearing other tube trains clanking by? That is really fixed. When a car breaks down given a little warning you can abandon it (except once I broke down just where the Onewa flyover meets SH1 and that was not good – the choices: swimming across the harbour, walk back over the flyover which has no footpath or attempt to cross seven lanes of what maybe the busiest road in NZ?)

        1. I know a child who watched as people walked up an exit from a Metro station in Paris, only to find the grill gate down. They had to turn around and push everyone back down. That was pretty ‘fixed’ too. The child refused to use the Metro after that, and the whole family discovered Paris by bus. Just an anecdote, but I do hope we don’t do much more undergrounding of PT for this very reason.

          1. Oh Heidi, you are so wrong. For every 1 bad experience like you mention there are a million journeys that are completed without incident and free from the conflicts of mixed surface-transport.

            Underground transport is free to be rapid. Surface streets without trying to impose “rapid transit” on them, are free to be people-space (or people + slow-transit). This concept has been marvellously proven all over Europe (and elsewhere, but not NZ)and it is continually being expanded upon.

          2. Yeah, maybe… something to do with getting older, having kids, wanting to experience every moment like the observing geek that I am. Yes I can completely see the benefits. Yes there was no alternative to the CRL, apart from putting it in when first mooted nearly a century ago. Yes Toronto’s underground city is pretty cool. But, life’s just so much more pleasant on the surface. There’s a lot of road reallocation to do before we need to go down, I reckon. But am open to persuasion on this… 🙂

          3. Yes,you are right, “life’s just so much more pleasant on the surface”! But I think for many it is more pleasant if it is not trying to share space with the hustle-and-bustle of high-speed, intensive transport – which inevitably can’t be so high-speed or intensive if this compromise is made.

            If transport was an experience to savour rather than a means to an end then I would agree – we should put it where the best views are to be had, and the most sunlight, and the best pubs and cafes. But if its purpose is to enable many people to get around quickly and safely without ruining the very surface-environment that we want to enjoy, then surely (where appropriate) it is better kept unobtrusively underground, while being only an escalator away from the action!

            http://ilyabirman.net/meanwhile/pictures/berlin-u-bahn-DSCF6447.jpg

          4. You’re 100% right, except… There’s just a little devil inside my head saying, “Energy descent, guys! What’s going to happen to all this infrastructure when the city is in decline?” Here we are able to do all sorts of stuff because we’re using fossil carbon as if it’s income when it’s actually capital. How well will history judge our choice of what to spend it on? I would always choose those projects that – from the point of view of a society with way less energy available – will be lowest to maintain. Where do underground transport links fit then? Not something I’ve studied at all. Maybe a little bit of water to pump out is nothing…

          5. Dave B, you know I can’t think of a single city that has extensive underground transport but not also extensive ground level transport too. The cities with the mightiest underground’s all have tinned of buses, cars or trams above ground too.

        2. Bob, what period of time are you referring to here, as regards using the London underground? I grew up in London and used the trains throughout the eighties and nineties. They were pretty bad (always late or breaking down). I was once caught in a tunnel for an hour and a half on my way to an exam! And as we know, they were unsafe too, due to lack of maintenance (e.g. the Kings Cross fire). I read recently that they stopped funding the underground from about the beginning of the sixties (IIRC), expecting it to fall out of favour as people used cars and the new motorways (many of which thankfully never got built: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Ringways). It was only really just before the millennium that they realized it wasn’t going to be superseded by cars after all and really started to pile on the cash to first repair and then extend it. This became a vote winner and more and more work has been done, so it’s gone from first and best in the world, to dire straits, back to being one of the best again. It’s under two-minute frequency on most lines, with all new air-conditioned trains, many more lines, etc. Have you tried it recently? It’s like chalk and cheese to what I grew up with…

          1. I was a regular user from 74 to 84 then abroad for 6 years and simply couldn’t face more of the same – most of that decade was a 25 minute walk to a tube station, fortunately Victoria line and the terminus in Walthamstow where I could get a seat then 5 min wait then 20 min traveling on the tube and then another 15 minutes walking to the office – so about an hour with a reasonable chance of getting soaking wet. The same to return home. Had a child and for 5 days a week he was asleep when I left for work and asleep when I returned from work so only had quality time at weekends.
            Then 6 years in the tropics with eventually 3 min walk to work. So returning to London from 90 to 94 I was then single and found a place just outside the city of London so I could walk to work. In an office with about 500 staff at Aldgate I think I was the only person who walked to work. One colleague came from Brighton – about 4 hours a day commuting and maybe 20% of her salary.
            I’m pleased the tubes have improved – the central line used to be so bumpy you couldn’t even read.
            But the London Underground is my idea of an inner circle of Dante’s Inferno. And I imagine if I was a short or medium woman it would have been much worse. You don’t realise it is hell until you have an extended break from it.
            Of course I do use the tube whenever I’m visiting London but as far as possible I avoid the rush hours and try walking or buses – it is a great city to just walk around especially if you know the back streets and short cuts.
            Fortunately I’m not bothered by crowds and nor am I claustrophobic and maybe ‘hell’ is a little strong but definitely purgatory. You are just killing time until life can start again. And expensive. Not room to give you my experience of traveling on public transport in New York during the early ’80s.

            Thank heaven for Birkenhead Buses and the Ferry.

          2. Fraggle, yes I lived in London during the Tube’s darkest days, the 1980s, almost no investment since before the depression, wooden cars, common breakdowns, hot and scruffy, and I absolutely loved it. It was such a liberation after growing up in totally auto-dependent AKL suburbia, bored stupid.

            But now it’s a revelation, as you say, the quality of the service and stations are back to leading the world. Glorious. Still my second city, shame the lunatics are dismantling the country….

          3. I hope my reply ends up in the right place – looks like the only option is to reply to myself, not to Bob and Patrick’s posts.

            Anyway, thanks to you both for your comments. Back in the day, travel was very often free on the Metropolitan Line, if you filled in the refund application form for a delay exceeding 15 minutes (the Met Line, especially on the outer branches where I lived, had a lower frequency of trains and a timetable, so just one train not arriving meant you would usually qualify). I, like everyone, used to grumble about the underground and it was often miserable. But you could spend your time waiting for the train filling in the form to get your money back, which was somewhat cathartic.

            Not so anymore – you just walk up and jump on to air-conditioned comfort, day and night, even in the outer suburbs, without worrying about timetables, or even hurrying to catch a train if it’s coming in – there’s another just behind. Service announcements are incredible now too. Previously, there was often no information from the drivers or platform staff, even during long delays. Now, they make announcements all the time. They apologize for 10 seconds wait when you haven’t even noticed you’re waiting! Because service is so good now, most service announcements are “there’s a good service operating on all lines”, which is very true. So there’s almost no chance of getting a refund anymore.

            One thing the London Underground doesn’t have, that the Tokyo Metro (actually one of the two companies only) does have, is a screen in the train showing where you are on the train and where that relates to the exits on the platform and where those exits go (which other lines, or which streets above). So, as soon as the train doors open, you’re prepared and heading the right way – no standing around trying to see the signs through the crowd.

            Since I’m comparing London and Tokyo (and Bob mentioned crowds) one thing I noticed in Tokyo is that the vast crowds don’t ever seem to bump into each other, or slow each other down much, they glide around each other. Back on Oxford Street, I couldn’t seem to get down the street without people walking into me, often using their hands to clear a path, or walking across me and stopping dead, etc. I’d never noticed it before, being what I was used to, but traveling back via a few days in Tokyo it was suddenly apparent. Then I noticed it underground too. Somehow people seem to get in each other’s way more in London than in Tokyo!

          4. PS No I don’t specifically remember smoking carriages, though I am old enough to have been using the trains during that time (accompanied by an adult!). I just remember smoke everywhere: At home, at other people’s houses, at people’s workplaces, in the car, in pubs, at gigs, in restaurants, etc. An abiding childhood memory!

            What always staggers me is the thought that the underground was initially operated by steam trains. Imagine the smoke down there!

            Another staggering thought: They had the same frequency of trains that they do now, i.e. 1 to 3 minutes, even with the steam trains.

          5. That sounds almost as bad as Britomart was whe it first opened and the Diesel’s were still running . The classic was as I’m a smoker finishing a cig before going into the station a person moaned about me smoking then they walked into the building to suck u the thick blue muck that engines where emitting which was worst ?

          6. The structural reason the London system can now be both high frequency and very reliable is because it operates on separate lines (mostly). This means, with very little branching, the frequency on any line almost always occurs at every station and that problems on one line don’t cascade to other routes (there are exceptions).

            In contrast to Auckland’s current system which is totally interlined (different services sharing the same track), which both severely limits frequency outside of core routes and is extremely fragile. All services being vulnerable to any problem anywhere.

            This is why the assumption that it’s obviously better that new rail lines in AKL ought to be joined to the existing network is simply wrong. There are considerable disadvantages to only extending the existing network and considerable advantages to adding a second and separate network to work along side the existing one.

            Interoperability is not always a boon. Obviously that is so for resilience and reliability, but also capacity and frequency: Extending the current network anywhere, but let’s say to the airport, means that the frequency and capacity of the whole network must be spilt to accommodate the new riders and destinations. Any new service on the existing network via Onehunga, Otahuhu, or Puhinui to the City Centre, (without also adding additional track all the way to the city), can only run on a proportion of the available train slots on the current network. Therefore competing with existing Metro services, growing freight demand, and future InterCity trains. This actually limits its return on investment; we will never be able to run a new branch line to its capacity.

            Adding a whole new line adds the entirety of that route’s capacity and frequency to that service. Sadly there is very little room to add track on current routes, except where it is already due for freight services (3rd + 4th mains), but the Dominion Rd corridor and the surface running capability of Light Rail offers the opportunity to DOUBLE the track into and through the city centre. All without using existing capacity. And, furthermore, this means we can also bring a rail system to whole new areas, which is an additional benefit. Instead of ever more service to little used stations like Remuera, people in Mt Eden, Balmoral, Mt Roskill, Mt Albert, Mangere, etc all get their PT services upgraded to modern Light Rail.

            It is this understanding that converted me from favouring an extension of the current network to seeing it is the time to start adding our next one. It is time to add a new system, not just a few new services to our existing one, for the benefit of both systems and communities they serve. More is very much more for the whole city.

      2. Yes exactly. Thank-you. This critical difference seems hard for people in auto-dependent places to grasp. And as a result this misconception keeps ruining PT networks by trying to make them work to car logic; prioritising one-seat rides and go everywhere routes. And leads to the even bigger problem that out transport models keep failing to understand PT networks by having huge penalties for transfers, and this in turn also makes it really hard to get good network design funded at all.

        1. I guess it’s one of those iterative processes, which can spiral up or spiral down. Large-scale reallocation of road space and funding of PT means that more and more people will experience the ease of a good PT system, with easy transfers and many options, and they will understand the network approach. This will lead to more good network design, more really accessible parts of Auckland, less A to B thinking.

          On the other hand, only spare pennies being spent on PT mean the transfers are too long and everyone will demand A to B bus routes, which mean that some parts of Auckland will remain as PT deserts and user experience is poor. Which results in more A to B thinking.

          1. Yes, sub-optimal transfers, either though poor or mismatched frequencies or disconnected, unpleasant, or long physical connections, are a perfect way to destroy user trust. An issue that we have got a lot better with but still isn’t quite afforded the importance it should.

            Physical design of new interchanges such as New Lynn, Panmure, and Otahuhu are a huge improvement, but slack off peak rail frequencies are still a problem that needs fixing.

            One great thing is that to some degree this can be a self-curing is safety, in that once the physical improvements are made and the connections have higher utility then more people use the service which in itself improves safety and further adds the opportunity to attract retail services, and fund more official security people etc; it becomes a virtuous circle. Otahuhu for example, what an improvement!, and now there’s a locally staffed cafe, more people about, feels great.

          2. Yes I can see safety being ‘self-curing’ like that. A similar aspect that is regenerative is social enrichment. The visitors to a suburb can be really diverse and enriching. If they arrive for an event by car, they have very little contact with the local people. Public transport can maximise what permaculturalists call “edge” and the interaction can enrich everyone.

            Eg in Pt Chev, if I just list the musical activities (could do the same for sports and cultural endeavours, or the diverse religious communities that come to use our local churches) we have the Auckland Jazz and Blues Club, the Auckland Musical Theatre, the Aotea Youth Symphony, multiple musical studios, concerts at the Zoo and in Coyle Park, top rock bands at Western Springs College. So cool to have opportunities to meet these people as they arrive and depart, but only active modes and PT offers this experience. Coming by car, they simply detract from our suburb by bringing their congestion and pollution and danger.

        2. Patrick: most adults are very susceptible to financial persuasion. The HOP card now permits travelers to move from bus to bus to ferry to train to bus (a journey I did last year) for the cost of a single journey. If I am traveling home I break my bus journey to pick up groceries. I suspect the HOP card is responsible for some of the recent increase in PT use. However most Aucklanders are not using PT and neither are many tourists. Do you think the benefit of HOP card and PT hopping could be better advertised?

          1. I believe HOP was the single biggest positive change to transit use in Auckland. The previous situation, especially with multiple operator bus services along routes, was abysmal.

  8. I’ve been wondering if the Onehunga line should be ripped up and replaced by light rail through to Pakuranga (maybe on the Ellerslie Panmure highway). This would allow light rail from airport to Pakuranga, and significantly improve the transport options from the east and Onehunga.

  9. It all depends what you are trying to do. If you want to thread a light rail line around as many bits that dont have one then by all means go down Dominion Rd and across to Onehunga on to the airport. Just don’t try and sell that to people as ‘trains to the airport’. If you want to get to the airport a direct bus would probably be more convenient. If you want to get a light rail to the airport and pick up lots of other people then put it on Manukau Rd with stops at the showgrounds/Alexandra Park and the observatory/Cornwall Park and Royal Oak. If you want to serve dominion Rd then build one on Dominion Rd, but accept it isn’t going to go very fast and most cities dont squeeze all that into 20m and expect anything other than low safe speed.

    1. Perhaps a network of alternatives? Travel to Heathrow via the tube (Piccadilly Line) is tortuous thanks to the multiple stops and low speed (well over an hour from central London). But, it’s affordable. Demand for a more direct route resulted in the construction of the Heathrow Express, which is only 15 min to Paddington Station. But it’s hideously expensive. The new Crossrail Elizabeth Line will have a terminal branch to Heathrow. Black cabs and minicabs provide motor car alternatives as well. All outer London airports (Gatwick, Standstead and Luton) are served by HR stations and are through routes, operating both express trains and regional trains.

      1. The Piccadilly Line is much maligned as an access route to/from Heathrow. However the beauty of it is its connectivity to other lines and hence the network effect that Patrick mentions. The three Heathrow Piccadilly Line stations have over 20 million passengers a year through them. More than that magic number the whole Auckland network is yet to reach. I will be using it this time next week to go to Clapham North Station – Piccadilly Line from Heathrow T1,2,3 to Barons Court, easy cross platform transfer to District Line to Victoria, onto the Victoria Line to Stockwell, cross platform transfer to Northern Line to Clapham North. Total time 57 to 61 minutes depending on connections. Along the Piccadilly Line route there will be people travelling from the airport getting off at either their final destination or to transfer to other lines. This is why the important first step is to get something to Puhinui Station immediately. It can be a priority bus which could become light rail going to East Auckland eventually.

      2. Bob I work at Heathrow for a large airline and daily have to use the formetioned bus, tube and rail options. The Heathrow connection on the cross rail line is not happening anytime soon. It’s a political play thing in much the same vein as Auckland Airport’s public transport options are.

        1. So, Martin – thanks for the news on CrossRail not connecting to Heathrow. The website still says:
          “The Elizabeth line will significantly improve links between Heathrow and a number of central London destinations, including the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.
          The new Elizabeth line service will replace Heathrow Connect trains. Heathrow Express will continue to provide a non-stop service between Heathrow and Paddington.
          When the service is fully operational in December 2019, Elizabeth line trains will run from the airport through the new tunnels, providing a direct link to central London destinations including Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.”

          Seeing as this was a major selling point when they were planning CrossRail, and that million of people will be using it, what are they expecting people to do now? Take their bags off the plane and get a cab from Ealing Broadway?

          1. Correction – not Ealing Broadway (miles away!) – but either Hayes and Harlington or West Drayton (both also miles away!). Sounds like a cock-up to me!

          2. “What are they expecting people to do now?” They’re expecting them to be able to use the Elizabeth line to access all terminals from 2019, as the Crossrail website says. That may not be “anytime soon” for Martin, but it’s a solid commitment, with all the necessary construction well under way and trains being delivered – nothing like the continuing debate over Auckland airport public transport options.

    2. So what you are saying is that if they do put light rail to the airport, people will still prefer to use the Skybus and the light rail will be empty? I highly doubt that…

      1. No I didn’t say that. But I am saying if you are flying you would probably be better served by a direct bus than a tram along Dominion Rd. The tram along Dominion Rd is still a good idea for people who want to go to or from Dominion Rd. It is always a mistake to oversell and under deliver. Remember how electrification was going to give a faster service?

        1. A LRT service will still be faster than the bus most times because it runs on its own corridor and will have priority at the lights. The level of service offered by the Skybus has reduced considerably of late with having to transfer buses in town if you are coming from downtown (where the train, bus and ferry terminals are) plus they have removed most of the stops along the route. I wonder sometimes how they make money on that service.

          1. But LRT won’t have its “own corridor” along Dominion Road. Only its own lanes, interspersed with at-grade intersections, pedestrian-crossings and the whole residential-street environment.

            “Own corridor” implies active measures to keep others out – e.g. fencing, and either grade-separation of intersections or at least full railway-type priority at barriered level-crossings. This is not the plan however.

            As mfwic says, claims that it will be ‘fast’ are an optimistic oversell.

          2. Dave, rail in Auckland doesn’t match your high-church definition of quality right of way, it is littered with level crossings, mixes with freight, and suffers other complications which slow the train paths down considerably. The Northern Busway is only separated for some 40% of its route. And yes we would like to see both services enjoy freer right of ways, yet both have sufficient advantage over other modes that demand is proving hard to keep up with on them.

            So what is the lesson here? It is that the 80/20 rule applies; get enough priority and frequency and the service will be a huge success. And separate centre running, intersection priority, and intelligent stop spacing on Dominion Rd, plus total grade separation (better than our current rail system, i.e. no level crossings, no freighters) for long parts of the route will more than compensate for the slow section in Queen St. Light Rail will be more than competitive with our current trains.

            Beware opposing the good for want of the perfect.

          3. I refer you once again to this interesting comparison from LA, between street-running (albeit with own lanes) and own-corridor:

            https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2016/01/13/perhaps-light-rail-is-fast-enough-afterall/#comment-194917

            And with regard to the constraints on AK’s heavy rail network, bear in mind that it is in-the-plan to progressively eliminate these. But here we are proposing new rapid transit that has the same constraints in spades, and assuming it will still be “rapid” . . .??

          4. “As mfwic says, claims that it will be ‘fast’ are an optimistic oversell.”

            And claims that HR via Onehunga will be fast are also optimistic oversell, yet you don’t seem keen on criticizing yourself for repeatedly claiming exactly that.

            The point isn’t that either are ‘fast’ the point is that they achieve a similar total time end to end and I’m starting to wonder whether Hanlon’s razor applies when people seem to be deliberately disingenuous about this.

        2. I think LR would be very tempting for people who are flying as it will likely have a more reliable time, even if longer on average. This is particularly important for people catching a flight.

          1. Well obviously LR to the Airport will be absolutely compelling for everyone living on the Isthmus and Mangere. People in the City have the option of either mode, people in south and east AKL will be sitters for the Airport-Howick line… there are many many more users than downtown to check in. And remember the worker who uses these services twice a working day are a more important market to serve well than you on your holiday to Rarotonga or the GC once a year!

    3. That’s a valid point Miffy, and to be fair the people planning and evaluating the line have been doing so based on it’s overall benefits, not the sigular goal of getting people from downtown to the airport terminals. In fact they are more focussed on getting people from Mount Roskill and Mangere to their jobs in the airport precinct.

      In that case a train to the airport is exactly appropriate, and that is what they are doing. Maximising the number of people that can get a train to the airport, rather than making a fast trip from downtown. You can probably count the number of airport workers who live downtown on one hand.

      It’s unfortunate the whole debate has been swept up by assumptions that the sole purpose of this project is to express businessmen from CBD hotels to the check in counters. It’s no more about quick trips to the airport as the Eastern Line is about quick trips to Manukau central.

  10. I see your “Picadilly Line” but where is your “Heathrow Express”? Your network provides a good way to get from Dominion Rd to the airport, but a fast connection from the centre (Britomart) would connect the airport to all the other lines with greater speed than putting them on to a tram with multiple stops. I suggest the Airport-Puhinui link should be not a busway, not light rail, but a heavy rail spur (probably requiring flyovers) for fast heavy rail trains to/from town and to/from the Waikato (in that respect more like Stansted and Manchester airport lines for the Anglophiles out there). Although many trains to/from Waikato would be direct down the main line, some would divert to sideways to the Airport then reverse to continue their main line journey. I agree that a loop through the Airport is unwise; trains can change direction quite promptly so there’s no need.

    1. Peter. We know most travel demand to the Airport is not from the city centre, it is from south and east Auckland. All of these systems are more for people working at the Airport and its environs than flying to Fiji from Queen St.

      And, with all due respect, Auckland Airport is not Heathrow, it requires Rapid Transit yes, but pro-rata to its scale, its city’s scale, and its region’s scale. I think with two high quality routes we have that pretty well covered. And well connected to both whole city and wider region (via Regional Rapid Rail and a new high standard multitrack interchange at Puhinui.

    2. On peak Heathrow Express trains cost $44 each way, off peak $39. I don’t think there would be much of an appetite for that in NZ.

      1. London can be expensive sure but what’s the price of a cab to Heathrow? It’s all relative. You won’t get a taxi to (from) the airport here or in Welly for under $40 from the central city, and the bus is ridiculously expensive if there’s more than one of you. No way will a rail fare to AKL be anything like the price of the Heathrow trip.

      2. I dunno. The Skybus is $18 each way – so, a bit less than half. But last time I had to catch a cab from the Airport to the CBD (which, curiously, a lot of people still do), it was over $100. Forty bucks on a train doesn’t sound too bad then. Train (for me) much preferable to a taxi, which stops and starts and gets stuck in traffic and you have to talk t the driver etc. I’d prefer a nice, smooth, well-maintained, swift, train, on which i can check my emails and know will arrive every ten minutes on a regular timetable. Preferably, not having to change on route.

      3. @ Grant:For Heathrow staff it’s heavily reduced. Just a tad bit more then the tube but 45 minutes quicker. I use it daily for that reason.

        I used to work at Auckland Int., with a long car commute and would put in a long, physical 12+ hours a day, 5-6 days a week. I’m sure most airport staff would want the “quickest” possible journey time whether they are commenting from Mangere, Onehunga, Manucau, the North Shore or Hamilton should so levitate towards a heavy rail/metro option.

        My experience of all rail based options listed here in Europe (U.K. and the Continent) and well as North America is that trams are the poor cousin option of metro and heavy rail systems outside of a citie’s CBD and only benefit those living/working/staying closest to the airport or their desired destination.

        Take Berlin. Has heavy rail, trams S and U Bahn (Metro) everywhere but no plans to ever link its trams to its two current and 1 future airports, one of which is very close to its CBD (Tegel (although it’s overdue to close).

    3. Heathrow is a much bigger airport than Auckland, I can’t see the expense of a single station line with flyovers being warranted for the premium market in Auckland.

      It would more likely be served by a comfortable coach that runs direct using the Waterview tunnel off-peak and Manukau Rd bus lanes during peak hour.

    4. I’m pretty sure that the Picadilly Line was in for a few years before the Heathrow Express was built.

      So I believe that the first step is the LR option and that a more direct HR option will follow, potentially even using the Mangere/Otahuhu alignment to maximise the catchment and provide redundancy and mode to chose in more places.

  11. Having read through this again, what you are really trying to argue is that public transport networks in Central Europe should not work, particularly rail networks. In Germany, high speed trains mix it with light rail on the same track and across the same platform. In Central Europe you have a mixture of express trains, regional trains, urban trains etc, with clearly defined stop policy, but all operating on the same line. It is not assumed that people will go from the terminus of the line to the other terminus; rather routes are linked together to give good through-services. Trains (and trams and buses) do deviate in certain instances from the most direct route to connect to a particularly important traffic generator.
    I think that there is plenty of evidence that such a system does work, although improvements can be made. I agree that any system requires good connectivity and easy transfers. In Switzerland that is often achieved by timing and opposite platform connections for the most in-demand transfers.

    1. No, you must have misread the post. I make no such claim. In fact I explicitly propose adding higher speed intercity trains to our current network that function as express trains to the Airport via Puhinui in the post. Perhaps you should have another read.

      1. Maybe I overstated one of your underlying assumptions. But I think much of what you are saying could not be applied to the situation in Central Europe – and these transport networks are successful. For someone used to the tube in London, these systems may be somewhat hard to navigate, because they rely more on timetables and different train categories.

        1. Central European train systems certainly don’t rely on adherence to a timetable! Turn up, catch train, swap train, arrive. No waiting, no checking the timetable.

          1. The Swiss even plan their big investment by the timetable. That is, they make the timetable first and then spend (or don’t spend) the money accordingly.
            The timing of connections is even discussed in reports to the minister.
            Most of the S-Bahn trains in Germany and Switzerland have quarter or half-hour frequencies, so best to use a timetable there..

          2. In Auckland the Southern and Eastern lines are equivalent the U-Bahn and Regional Rapid Rail is S-Bahn, so we match pretty well. This is also similar to overground/underground in London and PER/metro in Paris.

    2. Why not put in what best for our time now, that suits our particular geography, density etc, not copy system that has quite likely evolved over many decades in Europe.

      1. Yes. Exactly. We all study many other places, and they are all both specific and run to universal principles. The principles, like network thinking, like the power of frequency and connections, are the key ideas to import. The local quirks and accumulated infrastructure and patterns are much less so. And, it must be stressed these individual differences are what make places specific and interesting. Vive la difference!

  12. When I am in an unfamiliar city (and carless) I always prefer travelling on a fixed rail transport system and especially in non English speaking countries. This is because if you make a mistake and find your are heading off in the wrong direction, you can always get off at the next stop, cross over the line and easily make your way back to where you started.

    Take no notice of those bus advocates who promote the flexibility of buses and bus routes because that can be their curse – it is much easier to get lost on an unfamiliar bus route than than a fixed rail system.

    1. Quite.

      You don’t even have to be from somewhere else, just anywhere you’re not so familiar. Look at Journey Planner and how it describes where to get off: street addresses. This is fairly useful but I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Auckland (and NZ as a whole) is actually really bad with street signs, and not everyone has visible numbers on their mail boxes. Google Street View can help but there’s a lot of room for error when you’re not going from terminating stop to terminating stop… what if you realise your stop is next too late for the driver to stop given traffic conditions? And when you realise many bus stops are, at best, just grassed slopes…

      I was lucky the last time I was in such a situation: I was going somewhere I’d been before on foot. Perhaps even more fortunately, I’d got a bit lost that day too and was only set back on my merry way by a fortunate encounter with some schoolgirls who appeared to be wagging. (There was a dearth of other pedestrians.) Point is, if I had overshot I knew the way from there too.

  13. I got thinking about the question of airport access when the regional rapid rail document was released. These are a few of the thoughts I had:

    The frequent (15 minutes, 7.5 in peak) and non stop nature of the regional rapid rail service means it can be a good complement to the light rail service (which would have a longer journey time), effectively the “Heathrow Express” to the “Piccadilly Line”. Perhaps a premium could be charged for Airport to city via regional rapid rail compared to light rail? One question would be whether there would be sufficient space on the regional rail services, or if they’d be so full as to not offer much to those going from the airport to the city. Also, would it make more sense for these trains to be be connected to the airport via Puhinui, or to run directly through the airport.

    I thought about what it would look like if the regional rapid rail service actually routed by the airport (needing a new line from Wiri-ish through to the airport and then north, presumably parallel to the motorway and the light rail, then connecting to the Onehunga line, rejoining the main line at Penrose. This would be a distance of approximately 20 km by my back of the envelope calculation, compared to approximately 11km from Wiri to Penrose, which would impact the journey time from Hamilton to Auckland (but if most of that 20km were designed for higher speed running, the impact may not be that great, and would likely be less than the impact of a suggestion made above, of diverting some regional rapid rail trains down a branch from Puhinui to the airport, then back up the same branch to Puhinui to continue their journey north- or south-bound). If we were eliminating the Puhinui stop on favour of a direct route through the Airport and Onehunga, that would likely mean needing to add in an extra stop (Papakura) to retain connectivity with the southern line services, so again this would add time to the journey between Auckland and points south. There would also be the cost of 16.5km of new heavy rail line including a Manukau Harbour crossing, plus any upgrades needed for the Onehunga Line.

    The other option, proposed in the regional rapid rail discussion and the Congeston Free Network 2, is a connection at Puhinui to the airport, which initially is proposed as a frequent bus service from the airport to Manukau and beyond via Puhinui, potentially able to be upgraded to light rail. If we are seeing Puhinui as an airport station (let’s call it Airport East/Puhinui) and major interchange, then I think the link between Airport East/Puhinui and the airport should be looked at in its own right. It may be that bus or light rail from elsewhere coming through Airport East/Puhinui and on to the airport proper (the yellow line on CFN2) is the best way of making this connection, but it may equally be that a dedicated link between the airport proper and Airport East/Puhinui would make sense, with the yellow line in the CFN2 diagram terminating at Puhinui.

    In this scenario of a dedicated link between Airport East/Puhinui and the airport proper, this could potentially be a driverless light metro system, similar to Vancouver’s SkyTrain system, which has received positive coverage on this blog, and which itself uses the same technology (Bombardier Innovia) as the AirTrain at New York’s JFK, which serves a similar purpose of connecting the airport with the heavy rail Long Island Railroad at Jamaica Station. Alternatively a smaller automated people-mover type system, some of which can reach similar speeds, could be an option. Whichever specific mode is chosen, it would ideally be able to run at a decent speed (100km/h or thereabouts), enabling the approximately 7km between the terminal building and Airport East/Puhinui to be covered in ~5 minutes. If we retain the Airport Business Park station (which probably makes sense for this sort of thing), that would add perhaps 2 more minutes, accounting for dwell time and deceleration/acceleration. I would suggest the stop at Manukau Memorial Gardens would not make sense for this mode, instead being better served by a bus service passing through Airport East/Puhinui.

    The advantage of this dedicated link using driverless metro or APM technology is that it can provide a frequent (perhaps every 2 minutes) service between the airport and the rail network, without the cost of crew that would be required for bus or light rail options. At the airport terminal end it could effectively terminate inside the building, providing an easy connection to the rail network. Electronic displays could display which services can be connected to if you were to board the next automated metro/people mover, allowing users to make an informed choice between the Rail and Light Rail options. The obvious disadvantage is introducing another type of system compared with just using existing buses or light rail. The various options (Bus, Light Rail, APM, Driverless Metro) would obviously need to be weighed up against each other to determine which makes the most sense in terms of making an Airport East/Puhinui station work well.

    Overall, the option of making connections at Puhinui instead of running regional rapid rail right through the airport terminal requires anyone using the heavy rail option to make a connection instead of a one-seat ride to the city, but does bring the benefit of connecting not just the regional rapid rail but all southern line services to the airport in a consistent manner. These “last mile” (ok, last few miles really) connections, while maybe not ideal, are not uncommon at major airports: New York JFK and Paris Orly are two that jump to mind immediately.

    1. Puhinui to the airport isn’t a ‘last mile’ solution. It’s a southern cross town line, that intersects with other RTN lines and has the airport at one end.

    2. Shuttles at Airports to rapid transit are in fact common, eg LA, and anyway we are not Frankfurt, in scale or wealth, and nor do I accept that a transfer is so onerous. It would only be so by design.

      At the airport signs would be To Light Rail, and To Trains. The user would select, and if Train, then take a very frequent vehicle, mostly likely an electric (please) bus for around six minutes, then transfer via a brand new interchange at Puhinui seamlessly onto a choice of EMUs and RRR services north or south. That is high qual, brother.

      There is no advantage in delaying all southern line or intercity travellers by sending them on a detour to the airport to save this transfer. The cost to the many for the few doesn’t stack. Anyway, we are, for all the reasons I outline above, building a connected network, not privileging one small group of special people over the majority. People who want to feel special can still drive, or be driven, if that does it for them, that network will still be there, and will be functioning better because of these options.

      1. Patrick, you talk glibly about “the few” and “one small group” with reference to airport rapid-transit demand. Do you know what the likely figures are, and is “few” really an apt descriptor?

        The golden rule of interchanging which it would be good to see folk here acknowledge, is that you don’t impose it on arterial flows if you can possibly avoid it.

        Given that the airport is considered an important-enough destination to build a motorway to, I suspect that there is likely to be a large flow of people using PT if an appropriate service is provided.

        Agreed that a high-frequency interchange at Puhinui would be far better than what we have now, but subjecting several thousand passengers per hour (if that’s what it amounts to) to a forced interchange seems a bit half-baked, and what you might expect of a temporary phase only, while the proper solution is very-much being worked on.

      2. “There is no advantage in delaying all southern line or intercity travellers by sending them on a detour to the airport”

        Which is why some trains departing Papakura will have “City” on their destination board, and others will have “Airport”. Those airport travellers coming off long distance trains will transfer to an Airport service at Papakura, whilst the train will continue to the city.

        So we have six or seven rail service routes, that’s not exactly complicated by international standards where some cities have dozens.

        BTW, the lines seem to have blurred between GA, AT and the Labour Party, all now pushing the above, with yourself as the common denominator. Are you trying to tie them all together for a consensus Patrick?

        1. I don’t see the value in sending half the southern line to a one station airport branch line. If you want to get to the actual airport that way, why not transfer at Puhinui to or from the southern line, like AT have planned? That way you’d have half the waiting time and twice as many trains.

          As for ‘blurred lines’ and consensus, do you not realise there is already consensus? AT went through three years of investigation and design and arrived at the preferred solution. AT actually tried very hard to to make heavy rail options stack up, and that is where they started with their preferred option. But unfortunately good intentions can’t bend the reality of feasibility, cost, operability and outcomes. You should be glad that Auckland Transport had enough integrity to move through the process and arrive at the best outcome, rather than the one they wanted.

          As for GA, we were initially skeptical (a quick view of the archives will show that), but after reviewing the facts and understanding the constraints we agreed they have the best answer.

          The same then went through the Alignment Project, and Auckland Council and the Government reviewed and also agreed the process delivered the best option. So yes, thats the National Party in agreement of the right option also (although they have very long timeframes in mind).

          So lets recap, those who have made an impartial assessment of facts regardless of their personal preferences to get a working solution underway, and who agree on the programme: Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, National, Labour, Greens (and Greater Auckland).

          1. “I don’t see the value in sending half the southern line to a one station airport branch line” Except that it needn’t be a ‘one station branch’.
            Integrating an upgraded CFN3 with the regional train network, there could be loop so that every 2nd or 3rd north bound train from Pukekohe (or further south) could loop from Wiri, through the airport, to Montgomerie Rd, Mangere Town Centre, Favona and back on to the main line at Otahuhu. And ditto in reverse for south bound. Similar to how from Otahuhu trains split and alternate via Glen Innes or Newmarket to get into the city.
            Instead of the congested Puhinui, Wiri could be the junction station as there is much more room there and Wiri could become the start point for the eastern line (bus/LRT/other), via Manukau, Flat Bush, et al, out to Botany and Howick. Manukau would only be on this branch line so as to simplify and maximise the north/south trains.
            Puhinui, Papatoetoe & Middlemore would lose a service or 2 per hour, but Mangere and Favona would become much better connected, and more likely connected to their destinations of interest.
            And the isthmus LRT could go back to what it was originally promoted as last year – quality mass transit along the key isthmus corridors (Sandringham, Dominion, Mt Eden, Manukau Rds) which would decongest the CBD & Symonds St of the excessive buses. This LRT could still, later, continue through to the North Shore, as per CFN2.

          2. Agree but the trouble is AT might not do it as it poorer area of Auckland just look at the areas where the stations are now and the ones that have been clsed over the years

    3. If you were to catch the RRR from Britomart to Puhinui as a defacto airport express, they would probably have to charge a fare equivalent to the minimum RRR fare to avoid crowding out the trains with low revenue short distance trips. So in effect to get to the airport on a regional train would have to cost the same as getting down to Huntly or so…. meaning it would have a defacto premium fare for airport users.

      Given that both the airport line and regular suburban trains run on the same route (but a bit slower), there’s no problem with having the equivalent of a premium fast service at that point.

      I had a quick look at automated peoplemover, cable liner etc systems, doesn’t seem to be any out there that do more than about 3km. So seven k’s would be the longest in the world by over double. Not to say that is impossible, but it hasn’t been done before.

      1. That’s assuming the peak demands from Britomart to the airport are in the same direction at the same time as general regional travel from Auckland to points south, and vice versa.

        If there was spare capacity in the counterpeak direction on the regional trains, they could offer cheap express seats to Puhinui to fill up empty carriages.

      2. Looking just at the Bombardier Innovia based systems, Miami’s Metromover and Singapore’s Bukit Panjang LRT system both run systems of ~7km in length using the Innovia APM 100, so Airport to Puhinui implemented as an APM wouldn’t be breaking new ground in regards to length. I would note that the two systems I mention both have a number of intermediate stops, whereas Airport to Puhinui as I had proposed would have just one (at the airport business park).

        There are of course longer systems (such as Toronto’s SkyRail, and New York’s AirTrain JFK, among others) using Bombardier’s Innovia Metro system, as well as others (such as Paris’s Orlyval and Toulouse’s Metro) using Siemens’s VAL system.

        As I said in the earlier comment, thinking about moving people between the airport terminal and an Airport East/Puhinui station, I think it would be interesting to compare some automated options:

        • Bombardier’s Innovia systems:
        •• APM;
        •• Monorail;
        •• Metro;
        • Siemens’s VAL system;

        to other options

        • continuing a Botany-Puhinui bus rapid transit to the airport;
        • dedicated bus rapid transit between terminal and Puhinui;
        • continuing a Botany-Puhinui light rail to the airport;
        • dedicated light rail between terminal and Puhinui;
        • running heavy rail to the airport via Puhinui;
        • running heavy rail to the airport via Onehunga;
        • running heavy rail through the airport via Onehunga and Puhinui or Wiri.

        I’ve probably missed a few options on both sides of the ledger there too.

        1. Sorry above I was talking about airport style cableliner systems, you are right about regular self powered automated metros and the like, they can obviously go much much futher and there are whole metro networks using those systems.

  14. This is a comment replying to Bob’s query re advertising. It’s gone in the wrong place.

    Yes! Anyone know what advertising budget AT have for PT and active modes? Similarly NZTA’s advertising budget for their roads? I wish someone had the money to do a good Post-Opening Project Evaluation on some of the traffic-inducing roads and advertise the immediate travel time reductions, the subsequent travel time increases, PLUS the negative social, environmental and economic effects.

    Also wish AT could put some advertising dollar into what customers actually need near shops, to help retailers use their energy in pushing for improvements that would increase footfall. Tip: good pedestrian amenity, not parking immediately outside.

  15. It is important to note that many many people are already transferring to get to the airport, and under fairly onerous conditions. Here I am talking about people how drive almost all the way to the airport, often through the worst congestion, only to stop short. Park, and then take a shuttle bus for the last leg. With all their luggage. Not only this but they pay an absolute fortune for the privilege!

    This is a kind of transfer that is generally avoided in Transit design wherever possible; a forced near destination transfer. And to also charge $40 $60 $80 for the experience is unheard off in PT. We are so stuck in our cars in AKL that we routinely do this!

    So the option of a direct Light Rail service or a shuttle from a very fast train, on standard HOP rates, is clearly a vast improvement, even if it also includes an Uber or drop off at one of any number stations on either rail network (or a ferry ride to Britomart Queen/Customs LR stop). Perhaps the RRR train will cost a bit more, but there will always be the Metro options.

    What’s not to like? Especially as both the Puhinui and Onehunga interchanges will be vertical (step in a lift, or on an escalator), all weather, and safe.

  16. thanks Patrick.. Sounds sound. 🙂 I still love choo choo trains not matter what… I propose one interesting thing about rail to the North shore Orewa – the line comes to within a few miles from the Northern Trunk line at Orewa. Would that be useful for future rapid rail North one day?

  17. Great write up and as a Franklin resident I see the benefit of a LR or HR link from Puhinui to the airport.
    The reason is that I see it getting built quicker than the proposed Dominion Road Busway/Tramway proposal.
    I know Mt Eden, and when those locals find out that Dominion Road will become a PT corridor restricting their vehicle movements NIMBYISM will block planning for years.
    So bring on the Puhinui plan NOW.

  18. Seriously, please tell us what you proposal is, in it’s entirety. It’s incredibly disingenuous for you to keep replaying this cycle:

    Describe HR service
    Told it’s far more expensive than LRT
    Describe other HR service
    Told that it would be slower than LRT
    Describe other HR service
    Told that there isn’t capacity on lines
    Describe other HR service
    Told that it’s far more expensive than LRT

    Greater Auckland have developed a track alignment, approximate rolling stock, running pattern and capacity. I can think of an HR service that is faster, I can think of one that is cheaper, I can think of one that is higher capacity. I can think of one that is as fast and as cheap but lower capacity and so on and so on. However, no one has articulated a proposal that is better than the LRT overall.

    If HR advocates want to be taken seriously they need to write a post of their own on how they would run it and what needs to be built. Post it on any medium you like, at least then you could engage honestly.

      1. Nobody is banging on about HR being better, but there have been many questions asking why HR is not being considered.
        From what others have posted concerning possible RT to the airport there have been concerns that LR is the_only_ solution and anyone not accepting this is somehow not qualified to have an opinion. Unless of course they have detailed performance and economic information backed up by a database of introvertible facts.
        Dammed is anyone who dare think an LR down the middle of Dom would not be a great RT mode that everyone will celebrate in place of busses, residents will just love it, eh?
        Agree with opinion above that we should get on with the Puhinui to Airport link no matter what mode it is.

        1. The problem is your comments are tantamount to “citation trolling” where you expect everyone else to do all the analytical donkeywork so you can cherrypick the bits that support your view. It’s time for Heavier Auckland to either invest the effort to come up with a coherent proposal backed by robust evidence-based modelling, or ease up on the continual opining.

          1. ok, good point, I realise those that favour airport HR will need to do the research and present a coherent case, it still intrigues me why there is such a persistent demand for an HR based solution..

          2. which is exactly what Sailor Boy does on an almost daily basis – he actively dismisses anyone who doesn’t share his opinion and when they make a suggestion he goes full nuclear and asks them to produce a 50,000 page report from an expensive consulting firm to give any weight to their suggestion. /sarcasm off.
            The height of citation trolling.

          3. “which is exactly what Sailor Boy does on an almost daily basis – he actively dismisses anyone who doesn’t share his opinion and when they make a suggestion he goes full nuclear and asks them to produce a 50,000 page report from an expensive consulting firm to give any weight to their suggestion. /sarcasm off.
            The height of citation trolling.”

            You seem to be confused. You claim that I am citation trolling, which was defined as “where you expect everyone else to do all the analytical donkeywork so you can cherrypick the bits that support your view”. I am the one who has produced evidence and citations, which you are cherrypicking to support your view. Me expecting you to provide evidence to counter my citations is quite clearly different to you expecting me to provide the evidence to disprove my own citations. It is different again from you refusing to read, or deliberately misquoting my citations and then getting upset that I’m dismissive of such lazy intellectual engagement.

            Also, describing what lines you would build and what services you would operate and writing down any errors that you think exist in my citation should take 0.5 pages, not 50,000. That you are unable to do this leaves everyone else to believe one of three things: You’re too lazy to write half a page, you’re trolling, or you have tried and failed to do so and simply don’t want to admit that HR is the wrong choice.

            Other commenters show saintly patience to ignore you or walk you through this every time, my patience has run out.

          4. Don’t think I’ve ever seen you produce actual evidence or your own research Sailor boy. Do recall you constantly asking many posters for evidence or citations etc.

          1. I think the Otahuhu HR connection has been dismissed too soon.
            The running pattern that AT have described post-CRL has trains terminating at Otahuhu. They could just as easily terminate an extra 5km down the track at the airport. It would also help provide the rapid transit to Mangere, Mangere East and Favona South areas which are poorly served now. And the areas around the new stations could be transformed with TOD to increase overall amount of housing to make up for the single story houses that are currently built in the transit right of way and would be lost.

          2. Also if they did right they could have it coming out at puhunui and continuing to the south similar to the eastern line as a loop

  19. I think the airport stations should be through running.
    The duplication of light rail and heavy rail between Puhinui and Manukau is untidy. Manukau-Puhinui-Airport could be run just as easily in heavy rail

    1. In my eyes, it’s Airport-Puhinui-Manukau-Botany. Which is to say, it gives people who live in a fairly underserved area* a decent connection with the southernly parts of the Eastern and Southern lines. A HR link between Manukau and the Airport using the existing station and its existing tracks would also create capacity problems

      *And a bizarrely served area. I caught a bus from town to Botany a few months ago and was most surprised to find myself rolling by a fish and chips shop off Market Road!

  20. I have a question is the track guage the same for both HR and LTR ? If so they should then lay the track down as for HR use light rail to start with and as everything finally gets up and running change over to HR and then it will able to go anywhere in the goden triangle

    1. I think light rail can do a multitude of gauges, certainly ive seen very narrow light rail in lisbon and much wider in melbourne. If the two systems are going to remain seperate I suspect gauge synchronisation is irrelevant.

    2. The gauge is not really the issue – there are many other things to consider and differences to take care of. Such as:
      Heavy gauge rails may need to be different from light rail (i.e. taking more load, so a different cross section rail may be used)
      Heavy rail needs a flatter roadway (i.e. cannot climb the gradients that a light rail system can climb)
      Heavy rail needs wider curves (i.e. light rail can take a tighter corner than heavy rail, hence light rail is more often used in urban streets)
      Heavy rail takes longer to start and stop (heavy rail is far more cumbersome with much more inertia, than the relatively lighter and easier to stop alternative of light rail)
      Power supply quite likely to be different. Light rail draws less power, hence wiring may be different.
      Signalling systems are likely to be different.

      So – hopefully you can see it is not a simple “swap heavy for light” sort of issue. They need to design and plan for whatever system now, and stick to that decision.

    3. The light rail will almost certainly be standard gauge, anything else just adds costs and limits the potential suppliers and product lines. Light rail and heavy rail track is different anyway, there would be a lot more to it than simply matching up the track gauges.

      If you did want to future proof for one or the other, the best way would be to leave enough space alongside the corridor to build a second set of tracks.

  21. I am interested in peoples thoughts if we did start with buses.
    +ve Less capital outlay,
    more flexible start/stop places
    -ve Buses less easy to board/alight than trains,
    buses smaller than trains

    Next steps if continues with buses- add in bus lanes, make stop more accessible

    Everyday Frequency of 10 minutes 0530-0930, 20 minutes 0930-1530,10 minute 1530-2200
    Any one else thoughts?

  22. Just thinking about the plans shown here, with a transfer at Puhinui. Certainly makes lots of sense in the graphic, and also when you look at satellite photos – it really is soooo simple. Run the new link to the airport either above or below the existing southbound lines, crossing over at 90 degrees, and the job is done.

    But it would be good to drill down a little on exactly how those passengers would transfer. In my experience, the best transfers are those in Hong Kong’s MTR, where a blue train stops on one side of the platform, and the red train stops on the other side of the platform – you simply get off one train and wheel your luggage across the platform and onto the other train. The crucial importance is that for disabled passengers and people with luggage, the transfer is simple and easy and 100% stress free, as it is all completely level. So different from transfers between lines in London, where you often have to walk for miles and certainly have to go up and down many stairs. In Hong Kong they have even got the lines to work so that if you are going north you change seamlessly between lines at Station A, and if you are going south, you can also change seamlessly, but at Station B. God only knows how this is managed, but it is magic (actually: it is good planning).

    This is more difficult to achieve when lines cross each other at 90 degrees, on different levels. To get uptake from people transferring lines, especially on an airport-bound line, with lots of baggage, the planners of the station at Puhinui will want it avoid stairs (which is cheap and simple). They could install lifts, but these are expensive, subject to vandalism, and almost always break down. A better solution would be escalators, but this adds cost and also breaks down. A clever system (used in Schipol Airport) is travelators, but again: expensive, prone to breakdowns etc. I seem to recall that Madrid rail stations use a lot of long ramps – cheap, don’t break down, but uses a lot of land and a pain to use as you have to walk so far.

    So, for my $20 train ticket from the airport to the CBD, as a typical regular tourist arrival into Auckland, I have a choice of a $18 bus ride (get on once, uncomfortable struggling with luggage, relatively comfortable trip into Auckland, stopping and starting in traffic, but basically OK) – with the train, it needs to offer a better service. I’d prefer not to have to transfer at Puhinui at all, but if I had to, then it wants to be free from the vagaries of Auckland’s changeable weather, level and simple if at all possible, avoiding all stairs because stairs, luggage and tired limbs don’t mix well, etc and then – want to be guaranteed a seat on the next train into Auckland.

    Solve all that and you’ve got me.

    1. I think that due to the amount of people who will be transferring with large amounts of luggage, the best solution would be a 90 degree cross over but with a prominent bank of high capacity elevators, similar to at Dubai Airport. I think the elevators were proposed to be the primary means for reaching the now canceled Newton Station, as well.

    2. Most importantly with a transfer like this is for total platform rain cover. The last thing people waiting for a train will want (especially with luggage) will be to have to wait exposed to the elements.

      1. +1, it’s going to be a major transfer station too. Lines from the North (City Centre, North Shore, eastern isthmus, West Auckland), East (Botany, Manukau city centre, Howick, Pakuranga, Flat Bush), South (Papakura, Franklin, Waikato, Bay of Plnty), and West (Airport, Mangere, central isthmus).

        All platforms would need to effectively be in a building.

          1. +1, I still don’t trust AT to actually cover the platforms. After all, this is the organization who saved 0.4% of the CRL cost by removing the best access to K Road station.

    1. Wonderful to come home to a little challenge, Patrick.

      I proclaim ’tis strange, this game. Birdbrains who reign feign gains from road lanes. I’d abstain from blame but it’s plain to my brain that the reigning selfsame have drained our veins, slain the trains and constrained the mains. While Danes gain fame and acclaim for bike lanes, we suffer in pain on a network that’s lame. I offer champagne and chow-mein (but not cocaine) to any Jane or Blayne who arraigns in the name of a more sane campaign.

  23. Are AT considering any other routes for light rail in Central Auckland? My thinking is that a manukau rd light rail line would be much more direct to the airport and probably beat heavy rail for time. it could take a sliver off cornwall park to miss traffic for a bit and head down onehunga mall. and the city end cross the newmarket, the hospital and grafton bridge.

    Dominion rd seems a little indirect to the airport. Dominion rd is obviously busier but maybe we are rushing to be an airport connection from an indirect route instead of waiting to build a more direct route.

    1. Their original plan was Sandringham, Dominion, Mt Eden and Manukau Rds over time. However, it has been dialed back for now. Dominion Rd was 1st priority as it has the highest volume and it was the only route that allowed LRVs to run all the way into the CBD without conflicting with other bus routes.

      Manukau Rd makes a lot of sense though, although I think the length of 50kmh running would be longer than Dominion Rd. Also it would have to share the stretch through Newmarket with buses.

  24. Just something to think about…

    Would a train and a tram line terminating at the airport not lead to the same future dead-end throughput limitations as we currently have at Britomart?

    Passenger numbers to the airport are expected to be huge, possibly it would become the third or fourth largest station in the network. Not ideal for an end-station. Better to end somewhere far out, where there are less passengers and there is more space to buffer trains.

    So would it not be better to plan for the train go from puhinui via the airport and on to onehunga? Initially it could of course terminate at the airport, but at least plan ahead to allow for it to continue on in the future….

    1. Puhinui – Airport – Otahuhu would offer direct Pukekohe (or Waikato) to the airport as well as the airport business precinct/Kirkbride Rd area/Mangere (but not Mangere Bridge) to the city.

  25. A HR dedicated airport line with ability for passengers with luggage to get a seat on a train with at maximum two stops between the airport and downtown Auckland is the expectation of the international air traveler.

    Dedicated HR would be even more desirable if check-in is made available at the downtown station. The examples I know are Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Being able to check your luggage at Hong Kong terminal, go and do a few hours shopping then take a train to the airport in about 15 minutes is a pleasure compared to Auckland at present.

    My experience of London’s underground, Sydney’s train network and Singapore’s MTR from their respective international airports which are part of the local networks is that if you have spent 10 or more hours on a plane, keeping your eyes on your luggage and the stations is stressful. Light rail to the airport may help staff and will therefore assist buses to transport air travelers to the airport, but a dedicated HR line to the city centre should be the objective of both local and central government.

    1. There must be a lot of disappointed travelers out there in that case. The majority of airports around the world don’t meet those expectations, even Sydney has four stops to the CBD. The majority of North American cities of 1 million or more don’t even have a rail network. Only one of the UK’s cities with 1 million or more (London with around 10 million people) meets your expectations.

      I agree it would be great but we are not London or HK or KL and we have to meet the needs of commuters within our budgets as well.

      1. Agree. Tokyo, Barcelona, Dublin, Helsinki, Paris… I don’t think these cities have missed out on international tourists because they don’t meet such a high connection standard.

    2. I don’t think there is enough space in Britomart for check in counters and bag handling. On the topic of bag handling, a way would have to be devised to transport the checked bags from the CBD to the airport, a truck could be used, but there would be serious problems if it got stuck in traffic. Loading the bags onto the train seems impractical as I don’t think the trains would have a baggage car.

      1. I remember when I first went overseas Air NZ use to have a baggage check in in downtown for Domestic passengers Auckland on the corner of Albert and Quay st’s where the airport buses use to leave from , but they closed it if my memory serves me right they didn’t have the customers to maake it viable . The building was the one next to the Travelodge Hotel . And this was 35-40 years ago

  26. I’ve read and participated in most the the LR vs HR debate that keeps coming up & I’m pretty convinced the LR Dominion Rd northern line & the Botany/Howick southern one via Puhinui as well for Auckland is the best solution. My only real reservation would be LR vehicles tend to have less seats and provides more standing. Airport worker (see Martin’s comment higher above) or traveler going the whole or big part of the length I would hope to have a seat at least for half of the way I would expect or it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience apart from the very young perhaps. I guess only peak this could be an issue but it would probably work out as you leave the populated areas seats would clear. Not too convinced by that theory though, would depend on frequency and how popular it turns out to be as a short distance mode to travel.

    1. Further to that, so would these lines in Auckland better suite vehicles with more seating than perhaps what is normally seen in other countries? Also think, North Shore all the way to Airport.

      1. Anyone coming from the shore will either be going off peak or counter peak to the CBD (gets a seat) or off peak or counter peak to the airport (gets a seat).

    2. The solution to people not having enough seats it to run either longer or more frequent LR vehicles. Does anyone know how long the platforms will be? And how many vehicles per hour would Dominion Road be able to handle?

      I know some people are advocating for longitudinal seating on trains and light rail, but I feel that it is worthwhile running enough services to ensure that seats are available for most passengers.

      1. Based on CFN2 the LR capacity for the airport would be 15tph and the AT plan is 33m vehicles, which could be coupled together to create a 66m or possibly even 99m train.

        Like you I think we should seat as many people as possible, and only when things are at capacity in 30 – 40 years time should we be looking at taking seats out.

        1. +1, 15tph on Dominion Road and 99m vehicles would give over 100,000 pax/hour to the airport. Going to three stops on Queen Street has also enable us to use 9 car sets.

          1. Thanks for the info. The politicians and Journalists will have to stop calling them ‘trams’ when they 99m long!

  27. So many people seem to focusing way too much on baggage, yes it is a very minor detail, but not something that should be the crux of a major transport decision.
    Yes of course it would be nice for a large seat with a luggage rack for bags – however, I’ve noticed in most other airports with a rail type service to them, a lot of people will still take a taxi, no matter ‘how good’ the train service is. So therefore, planning an entire public transport service for this potential user is very foolish IMO.
    I’ve struggled onto to Tokyo trains and Vancouver trains with a snowboard bag and suitcase before, transferred to Buses and other trains too. – yeh it’s not the best, and it’s probably not going to work for everyone, but it was awesome to have that option of a decent public transport connection to the airport.

    1. +1 and the argument applies equally to both modes. HR and LRT will both have level boarding and similar internal dimensions, just as easy to take luggage on either

    2. I’m one of those “focusing way too much on baggage” – and I think you miss my point 01ant. It is not the crux of a major transport decision – but it is still a major point, made possible very simply, but adequately, by positioning of seating etc to have a luggage rack area – much as the SkyBus have now. Not hard – but important not to forget it.

      I think this blog has been through it all before – about 50% of the passengers at the Airport are Domestic, another 50% are International. Of the passengers on the train, roughly half will apparently work there (or nearby) and half will be passengers. So you’ve got possibly 25-50% with luggage, a not-dismissable amount. If AT stuff up the baggage provision, less people will use the rail line, and will take a taxi instead, hence cluttering up the road.

      My way of thinking is: make the rail connection so damn good that anyone wanting to take their car would have to be mad.

      1. Except Guy, most users won’t even be travellers… workers, learners, visitors, because on an Isthmus and Mangere line most won’t eve be going to the airport. Relax about luggage. A few racks, done.

        1. Besides, if public transport doesn’t encourage people to apply self-regulation to their packing skills, not sure what will. And that has knock-on benefits for weight on aeroplanes, (Speaking as someone who travelled as a family of four for most of a year with just one bag of clothes, one small bag of books, and two violins… )

      2. Sydney trains don’t have luggage racks, neither does the Piccadilly line and I doubt our LR will either. It will be running to Orewa at some point so the last thing it needs is specific luggage racks taking up valuable space.

        1. Sydney trains are huge. They have lots of space near the doors. Also the airport train isn’t particularly busy.
          For the Piccadilly line that is one of the biggest issues on it. If you’ve ever spent much time on it (like I have going to Heathrow on a weekly basis for years) then you’ll understand what an issue it is. The other thing is that London also has the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect HR trains and that the Piccadilly runs every 3-5 mins.
          You say it will be running to Orewa. This is exactly why an HR solution would be better as HR has more physical space (since there are more seats rather than mostly standing room only to get capacity) which allows for people to keep their baggage with them.
          As others have said I still think an HR option from either Onehunga/Otahuhu/Puhinui would make sense. The other link could be LR.

  28. Saturday it was day for sunshine – whole day. Today, wet – whole day. None of this four seasons in one day Crowded House stuff down here matey! Its all or nothing.

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