The last Auckland Transport board meeting of the year is today. It also happens to be outgoing CEO David Warburton’s last one too with his replacement, Shane Ellison, starting on Monday next week. Here’s what I found interesting in the papers.
There are quite a few interesting items on the agenda. These are all listed under Items for Approval/Decision.
- Wayfarer Pod Evaluation – I have no idea what it is but Wayfarer is a brand of bus ticketing console, I wonder if it relates to that?
- Hammerhead Land Purchase – This is land next to the Gulf Harbour ferry terminal.
- City Rail Link Update
- AMETI EB1
- EMU / IPEMU Update – I wonder if there will still be a push for battery powered trains
- AT Metro Bus PTOM Procurement Update
- Smarter Transport Pricing Project Phase 1 – This is the road pricing study that came out of the ATAP process.
- National Ticketing Update – Some of the the system behind HOP was always intended to be rolled out nationally, there have been discussions of other regions combining to implement a system.
There’s a bumper crop of interesting updates in the business report this month. They’re generally listed below in the order they appeared in the report.
Warburton’s farewell – The report starts with some farewell comments by Warburton.
New AT office – As part of a note about the move to ATs new office on Fanshawe St they note that workplace efficiencies have already been noticed. This is something I’ve heard from some staff too. Perhaps a good case study for the benefits of agglomeration.
Diversity and Inclusion – They say they now have vision, communications plans and policy about this. This is great to see.
Funding Approvals – As one of the approved funding approvals, it’s noted that $9.8 million has been approved for System Enhancements – AT HOP Capacity (Construction). I wonder if that’s just to cope with the growth of PT or will include other enhancements too.
Airport MAAS (Mobility as a Service) – The NZTA are going to launch an app on Friday that is meant to be about helping people get to and from the airport called RideMate.
The NZTA service aims to provide customers with choices of linking various transport options (e.g. taxi, bus, cycle) in order to get to and from the airport. The initial scope is limited to the tourist market and does not include booking or payment functionality which is planned for 2018 as part of the NZTA MaaS initiatives
This appears to be the same thing they launched in Queenstown some months ago called Choice.
Rapid Transit projects – AT make the below comments about some
Northwestern Busway – AT make the below comment. Hopefully the government will provide some guidance soon.
AT and NZTA have continued to hold off on commencing public engagement on the proposed Northwestern Busway, whilst awaiting confirmation of new government policy direction. Work continues however on the business case for the project, which will be necessary regardless of the policy direction. AT continues to work with NZTA regarding their emerging plans for a future additional Waitemata harbour crossing and how this integrates with AT’s planning for the development of the North Shore rapid transit network.
AT will shortly commence procurement for business case for developing the Airport to Botany mass transit corridor as part of improving access to the airport.
The business case will also focus on developing a staged upgrade of the Puhinui rail station to a full bus/rail interchange by 2020. AT is also continuing to progress a business case for the route protection of the Airport to City mass transit corridor.
Hobson/Nelson Street Upgrade – ATs engineers and planners tend to have an unhealthy (for the city) reliance on traffic modelling to make decisions and that already appears to be on show with this project.
The initial traffic modelling results show that the current cycleway upgrade on Nelson Street restricts the potential to further reduce the number of traffic lanes and traffic capacity along the corridor. Traffic modelling on Hobson Street shows that queuing would increase due to the proposed lane reduction outside the NZ International Convention Centre block. The project team is working to review and refine the model, and to consider mitigation options.
Given ATs often cagey nature about what they’re up to, it also seems odd that this was included in the report given they say they’ve only just awarded a pre-concept study. Staff trying to frame the narrative to the board?
Ferry Futures Strategy – AT say they’re coming up with 30-year strategy for ferries to “explore a new vision for ferries and to make more use of the harbour“. Maybe I’m wrong but I thought this was done just a few years ago.
Rail development – It appears AT and Kiwirail are pushing for a many of the much-needed rail infrastructure project in Auckland and are hoping for funding from the new government.
AT continue to work with KiwiRail to secure funding for capacity and resilience upgrades to the heavy rail network. KiwiRail submitted funding bids for Budget 18 in November which included: Electrification Papakura to Pukekohe; 3rd Main (Wiri to Westfield, Westfield Jcn and Quay Park); Network Renewals; Additional Power Feed; and the Northern Train Control Centre. We are currently awaiting feedback on these bids.
Rail pedestrian crossings – AT suddenly seem quite keen on improving safety at pedestrian level crossings on the rail network. The first two to be upgraded are Metcalfe Rd and Glenview Rd which will happen over the Christmas rail shutdown. They say five more will be upgraded between February and June next year and another four later next year as part of the Avondale to New Lynn cycleway project.
Takanini and Te Mahia Station Upgrades – These are the only two stations that have never been upgraded. AT now say they’re working through the designs, although given Te Mahia’s super low usage, it should really be closed (like was initially intended).
New Network – As part of the roll out of the new network on the isthmus, AT is introducing a new Link branded bus that will run along Tamaki Dr (and then to Glen Innes). The report says that this service will be blue and called TāmakiLink. On Sunday the new network in East Auckland rolls out. The report lays out results for South and West Auckland with both showing good growth in usage.
Bus Fleet Stats – As part of the new network we’ve seen a lot of new buses hitting the streets. The table below breaks down the fleet by age and emissions standards.
Devonport Shuttle – AT are going to trial a door-to-door service in Devonport connected to the ferry. I plan to write more about this but overall I’m not sure this is a great idea or use of ratepayer money. My guess is that if anything, it will only serve to change how existing ferry users access the station, not do anything to actually drive greater ridership.
That’s all for this month.