You’re a public agency tasked with coming up with a 10-year transport budget. The new government, the council, the public and even your own strategies call for a significant shift in investment towards public transport, walking and cycling. What do you do? Well if you’re Auckland Transport it seems you do the exact opposite of that.

Yesterday AT published the draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) as one of the items for approval at their board meeting next week. The RLTP is perhaps the single most important document produced by Auckland Transport. It is required to do the following:

  • Outline the key transport issues facing Auckland over the next decade.
  • Identify key priorities and policies to address these issues.
  • Detail a 10-year programme of capital and operational expenditure.

The RLTP is essentially the transport budget for Auckland, including all transport investment in Auckland and not just projects delivered by Auckland Transport. It goes to the Council, NZTA and the Government for actual funding. The plan is reviewed every three years.

The money is not where their mouth is

Reading through the document, much of the text actually sounds fantastic and exactly what we’d hope to see. For example, in the ‘Introduction from the Chairman’ it notes

In the short-term it is imperative that we move ahead with re-prioritising the public space we call roads. We need to be more ambitious than we have been previously in introducing many more bus lanes and giving a higher priority to cycling, walking and service vehicles.

Auckland is on the cusp of transformational change. This Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) sets out a plan for delivering on the huge potential the region has – quite simply decisions need to be made and executed more quickly.

These kinds of comments are repeated a number of times throughout the document. The problem is that there’s stark disconnect between the text and the prioritised project list, and therefore what will actually happen on the ground. The funding details are summarised in the table below and there is a ranked project list at the back of the document.

Here are some of some of the most egregious we see with the financial details.

No train coming

Investment in our rail network has resulted in a boom in rail use. In just over four years, ridership has doubled from 10 to 20 million trips annually. This is well ahead of predictions, despite AT still not running them to the frequencies required as part of their New Network. The growth has also resulted in AT needing to buy additional trains. Those extra trains should start arriving next year and will help ridership to grow even further.

Yet at the same time as they plan to run more trains, AT are proposing to slash the budget for rail operations. Dropping from $130 million in the next financial year to $118 million in 2020/21. It’s even worse for the rest of the decade with an average of just $81 million per year allocated between 2021 and 2028. Of course during that time we’ll see the opening of the City Rail Link which will further increase demand and the need for additional services.

By slashing the budget it means that AT will either need to find a way to make trains run a lot more efficiently or by cut services. The second one is the most likely.

As a comparison, here’s what the 2015-18 RLTP says on rail services funding. The 2018/19 to 2024/25 averages out at $150 million for those seven years.

Light Rail Abandoned

In 2015, on the eve of discussions about the 2015-18 RLTP, AT revealed they were investigating light rail. They did so because they needed it included in that RLTP to be able to fund more detailed investigations and design. They even had hopes of having the first vehicles running within 2-3 years.

The former mayor was sceptical and the government were actively hostile of the plans. Over following 3 years they’ve spent, and continue to spend, tens of millions on business cases, design and land acquisition.

In 2016, Phil Goff was elected as Mayor of Auckland with building Light Rail as one of his top priorities. Around the same time, the previous government started to warm to the need for mass transit on the isthmus within the next 10-years and eventually agreed that Light Rail is the best long term option.

In 2017 a new government is formed with light rail as a core policy. In their agreement, Labour and the Greens have included the clause that by 2020 “Work will begin on light rail from the city to the airport in Auckland

In this draft there is barely any mention of light rail. It is in the priority list but only at 83rd, well below the funding level cut off at 40. Even without that cut off, there is no investment planned in the next three years.

Back to the bike dark ages

The main area that has caught attention of the media is the crazy 90% cut to cycling funding, which goes down from $65 million next year to barely $6.5 million the following year. This is an absolutely bizarre decision by Auckland Transport for so many reasons, but let’s just run through a few:

  • Current investment in cycling is leading to record numbers of Aucklanders cycling.
  • There’s a strong business case supporting a $600 million 10 year investment programme (essentially a continuation of current funding levels for the next decade).
  • The new government wants a greater focus of investment on walking and cycling, and is likely to extent the Urban Cycleway Fund.
The proposed areas for cycling investment.

Generation Zero added some further key points in their media release:

“This budget doesn’t reflect an inclusive approach to designing transport networks. It ignores the increased demand from children who wish to walk, scooter or cycle safely to schools instead of being dependant on cars. It neglects the diverse population of Tāmaki Makaurau, people of all ages and abilities, who want and need alternatives to the private vehicle.”

“It does not reflect the desires of the Council or Government. Nor does it reflect the will of the people who elected them and who the Auckland Transport Board are supposed to serve.”

“The number of people on bikes has skyrocketed thanks to the small investment made over the past few years. This budget would leave a half built network, undo that growth and compromise the safety of Aucklanders.”

“Feeling unsafe is the main reason people do not bike in the city. The only way to change that is by building infrastructure that protects them. We have seen that when we build safe bike lanes and paths in Auckland, people use them. Te Ara I Whiti, Quay Street, the North Western cycleway have all been major successes. All for a fraction of the cost of roading projects.”

How did it get to this point?

This kind of mess shouldn’t happen. There has been a huge amount of transport planning that’s happened in Auckland over past few years, through ATAP and the updated Auckland Plan. After being at loggerheads for years on transport, the Council and the Government are finally strongly aligned in this critical area. They both want a stronger focus on public transport, walking and cycling; they both want to accelerate the rapid transit network and introduce light-rail as soon as possible; and they both realise that you can’t build you way out of congestion through more roads.

Therefore the RLTP should be pretty easy, linking up this aligned direction with all the detailed projects, identifying where the trade-offs need to be made. Yet somehow Auckland Transport has managed to come up with a transport programme that is straight out of the 1960s – even the previous government would have been embarrassed by the pathetic cycling budget.

This mess does raise some questions about Auckland Transport more generally:

  • The work behind this document has been going on for months. They’ve surely had time to adjust it to better reflect the governments stated priorities.
  • Where’s was the oversight from senior managers to make sure they don’t come up with plans that are completely out of whack with their political masters?
  • Did those involved in creating this document think they could slip it though unnoticed and did they really not foresee a swift and angry response from groups like us?
  • What concerns were raised and were they ignored? If so, by who?
  • Where to from here? How easy is it to fix up the transport programme and bring it out of the 1960s and into the 21st century?
  • Why do these plans keep resetting back to as if the last 10-15 years never happened? We’re not afraid to fight for a better city but it can be disheartening when we have to have the same argument every three years.

Light at the end of the tunnel

After we first raised the issue on twitter yesterday morning it was quickly picked up by many of our followers and the media. In the afternoon, AT put out this statement highlighting that the plan will be “subject to further deliberation and debate by Auckland Council’s Governing Body before being released for formal public consultation“.

They also claimed that the cuts are not the recommended programme. This is despite the very first point on the list of recommendations for the accompanying board paper saying


That the Regional Transport Committee:
i. Approve the draft 2018-2028 Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan for public consultation from 28 February to 28 March;

While this is a draft and there will almost certainly be changes in the coming weeks and months. AT has an obligation to consult on their proposals in good faith and by submitting this to the board for approval, staff clearly thought this was an appropriate plan to talk to the wider community about.

Late last night Transport Minister Phil Tywford tweeted this response

It’s good to see AT realise they’ve made a huge mistake. It doesn’t really matter if it was an internal document or not, it should never have been suggested internally when it so blatantly ignores so many other strategies and plans. However, I’m not convinced this was just an internal document made public by mistake for a couple of reasons.

  1. An earlier draft without the financials went to the board in December 2017. It too was in the session open to the public.
  2. Back in December 2014 a draft of the current 2015-18 RLTP went to the board in the open session. It included financials and project priorities like this does. There were updates to it in the open sessions if the March 2015 and April 2015 meetings. The final version of the 2015-18 RLTP was signed off in July-2015, also in public.

The good news is there’s quite a bit of water to go under the bridge before this is signed off. I’m betting the final version will look nothing like this document.

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  1. Agreed. Why does this even exist? Why were resources that could have been poured into a better ATAP/new ATAP friendly doc put into this?

  2. $600million on cycling is ridiculous. Removing road capacity when it is badly needed in auckland is bringing the cbd and surrounding suburbs to a stand still. Even london is strating to think they messed up with the cycle super highway and are starting to look at removing a number of cycleways, predominently because the additional congestion they are creating is now starting to impede on the public transport buses which are sat in traffic whilst the cycleways are empty.

    1. Gael of Clayton Greenies of Grey Lynn, the CBD is already in gridlock, the only way to build more roads is to start knocking down buildings. Quay Street cycle lane recorded just under 300k trips in 2017. Hardly unused.

        1. It’s used by plenty of illegally parked vehicles. So what if one isolated cycle lane is empty? Roads in the Long Bay development are empty too, mostly because they aren’t connected to other useful roads.

        2. Surprise: You put one cycle lane somewhere, put no protection on it, have lots of people park on it, and then it ends and you are spat out into a mix of cars speeding around you again.

          How much would YOU use roads in your car if on your drive to work, about 25% of the route you would be given a “non-tank lane” (but only separated with paint) – but for the rest of the route, you would share the traffic lanes with 50 ton heavy battle tanks. Whose drivers are often on the phone,

          And every couple of days or weeks you’d see a newspaper article that said “Another driver squashed by a tank crushing his car. Driver’s car should have been more visible, say police”.

          You ony get good use, high use, with *connected* and *protected* cycle lanes (or extensive slow-speed zones). Having a single piece of cycle lane somewhere not be heavily used is as much of a logical argument against cycling as saying that a ladder with only three steps really isn’t liked by the tradies and therefore ladders are useless.

        3. 1.
          Network only have value if it’s connected. I work in Wiri and live in Onehunga. One reason I’m not biking because I worry about safety on the route.

          It’s a narrow route near were I work. I’d hardly call it a bike lane. Maybe a verge or gutter for the road.

        4. That’s strange. When I lived in Auckland, a year ago, hundreds of cyclists used Puhinui Rd every weekend morning, and most weekdays too. I know because I was one of them.

          Maybe it’s not that it’s hardly used, but that you’re not looking at high traffic times?

      1. The road reserve is for the movement of people and goods. So lets ensure that is available for all those wishing to move on it safely. How to achieve that.
        1 Shared use roads to have a speed limit of 30kph
        2 If the road is considered to be arterial (eg Puhinui) then the cycle lane needs to be physically separated for increasing the speed limit to 50kph. (Having ridden on Puhinui and quite a few of the roads in that area I can vouch for feeling vulnerable and at the mercy of inconsiderate motorists)
        3 Remove car parking from these roads that are considered arterial.
        4 All other streets to be 30kph and all road users should be considerate of others.
        5 In the case of accident there should be a hierarchy of responsibility with the least bulky/weighty (most Vulnerable) getting the greatest consideration. being the least

        1. Hi Ted
          I am one of the lucky ones who get to travel NZ working on Roads .Each and every time we work on roads is night time so that means i put mine and my crews lives on the line .People seem to think we are nothing in their world .the speed through work sites like we are not their .The citys are the worst place to work .firstly you have the young ones doing everything but keeping to the road rues .Then you have the drunks .You might get to my point where we think its a good thing doing this BUT sadly we wont see the end of this speeding happening in the citys .

    2. As someone living in London who uses the cycle superhighways every day, there is no suggestion they are going to remove any of them. The notion is absurd

    3. Ok then Gayle would you also supply your citations and references, and of course any relevant links please.

    4. Most cycle lanes in Auckland haven’t taken any lanes at all from cars. I guess some have limited the ability to jump a few cars by squeeze along the inside at the traffic lights. Cycle lanes on the other hand save lives… I know which I support.

      And who in London is having second thoughts about cycle lanes?

        1. True. And I think having sleeves adds quite a bit. I just have a vest; might look at changing that.

        2. At 12 min there’s some grass!!! First bit of colour apart from the cyclists’ jackets and occasional blue truck or red van. So dreary. Aren’t we lucky with our evergreens?

        3. London is bluudy cold. If you watch the following you-tube clip in summer you see a lot less fluoro jackets. You almost never need typical London commuter cycling gear in Auckland. Cycling without gloves for three months of the year in London threatens you with frostbite or chillblains.

          I think the cycle path past the House of Parliament is brilliant. Traffic used to scare me when I cycled here in the mid-eighties, unlike much of central London where the average motorist travels slower than the average cyclist.

          There were a LOT less cyclists here at peak times in the eighties..

    5. Have you got any source for your assertion that London is looking to rip up cycleways? I follow cycle news from the UK pretty closely and I’ve seen nothing about this.

      1. TfL are consulting on expanding and introducing additional cycle superhighways and are also in early investigations of a new tranche of 25 high priority cycle routes identified in the Mayors Transport Strategy 2017

    6. I do think AT”s integration of cycleways through intersections has been very poor, needlessly holding up peak traffic in the CBD in places like Nelson St quite badly in one example.

      However it is AT’s truly, almost legendary, hopeless traffic light coordination that afflicts most of Auckland more to blame than bikes per se.

      1. I would like to say that the poor traffic light coordination for vehicles is to discourage drivers from using the city centre streets, however I’m not sure if I can be so generous towards AT. Either way it would seem as though it isn’t necessarily working – other than to maybe perpetuate the angsty driving that we see.

    7. This argument gets tiresome and the term alternative facts isn’t even adequate. People sitting in congestion in spatially inefficient cars are being held up by people on bicycles because a very small percentage of the public realm has been allocated to their use to protect their safety. What makes a person in a cars journey so much more worthy, that it justifies so much space and resource? Is it because someone in a car has been financially successful that they’ve been able to purchase a car? Does that make them so special? Grey Lynn’s shame.

      1. But then on the other hand, critics say that it is only wealthy white people using bikes in Auckland. The contradictions are huge.

        BTW Bruce, did you notice how full the bike racks are at Les Mills now? Today I took the last space available at 6.50am.

    8. Gael, using your logic, most roads and footpaths are also a waste of money. Look on any footpath or road and there will be times they are completely empty. It’s hardly surprising people don’t want to engage with your Occupy Garnet Road group when you hold views that don’t make any logical sense.

  3. wasn’t it always thus with AT? Incredibly political organisation with internecine war between competing silo’s Too many engineers in love with roads …

  4. Clearly they need to shift Auckland Transport HQ to a high rise building near a train station with zero parking provision, loads of bike racks, and financial incentives for public transport and active transport use. Give it a few months and the number of morons driving a metal box to work will shrink or they’ll quit, along with budget documents like the abovementioned.

      1. I think we’ve already seen that when AT has a problem with public transport not working for their staff, they put on shuttles rather than look any deeper.

    1. Funnily enough AT almost had that out at Henderson although they also had a massive car park; and then a dedicated shuttle bus because trains were too infrequent and you don’t want to mix executives (genuflect) with the common herd. Then the ‘executive leadership team’ (triple genuflection) moved in next to NZTA in Quay Street. Then, reflecting AT’s barely concealed aspiration to be a private company, they moved everything (consolidation) into the former Vodafone HQ in Viaduct Basin where views of Fanshawe Street congestion brings joy to the grim little hearts of all those traffic engineers who run the joint. Meanwhile the board leant over backwards to accommodate the ‘executive leadership team’, telling gentle little fibs to the politicians supposedly overseeing the CCO on our behalf. A sad story but do encourage your children to become traffic engineers with aspirations to ‘executive leadership teams’ because that way they’ll be able to do anything they like.

      1. I think its absolutely appropriate that the organisation leading our transport system should be downtown, in a PT dominated, easily cycleable location. The shift to Viaduct was the right thing, and if anything, gives them even fewer car parks.

        As for the “consolidation” – another key AT issue is the silo style operation, where one part of their organisation does stuff without coordinating with the others. As we have seen from decades of “remote working” and “remote meetings” failing to work, that needs in-person contact. And that’s hard to do efficiently when half your org is scattered across a big city. Again, as an outsider to AT who does a lot of work with them however, I fully support that particular consolidation.

        No question on the “exec leadership” aspect. They do really believe they know best, and don’t even have to take strategic direction from Council, because hey, roads must flow.

        1. Is there an authoritarian culture within the the place? Surely plenty of people knew that this plan was way off course. Were they afraid to speak out?
          Dare we speculate just how much time and money has been wasted to produce this defunct document.

  5. “I’m betting the final version will look nothing like this document.”

    Let’s just hope this isn’t softening us up for a smaller shock. A 40% cut would look nothing like this and we might all breath a sigh of relief, but it’s still moving in the wrong direction.

  6. This is worrying, I have been living in the CBD for most of the past decade, and commuting to New Lynn for the past three years. In the time the Lightpath has opened, the St Lukes detour on the NW fixed, Quay Street has opened and Nelson Street has been completed. These fantastic pieces of infrastructure give me the safe option of biking to work, and car people need to realise that a cyclist is one less car in front of you and your very important life. Yes the CBD can be a little slow with cars, but that is the point, cars should not be in a CBD, Town Centre or other intensification of residential and social life. Does Auckland Transport enjoy being evil? Are they actually not interested in currying favour with the growing cycling community and exploding public transport neighbourhood. One throws ones hand about in a despairing gesture.

    1. How can you assume every cycle represents one fewer car? It’s just as likely that a cyclist is one fewer bus/train passenger.

      $600 million spent on real PT infrastructure would benefit significantly more people than if spent on cycling.

      The health benefits of cycling (btw much less with the increasingly popular e-bikes) should attract funding from the health and recreation budgets, not transport.

      1. “$600 million spent on real PT infrastructure would benefit significantly more people than if spent on cycling”

        That’s an outrageous blanket statement. For $600m we get about 1/2 of a NW busway, or we get a decent cycling network in about 1/4 of the city. Those are of comparable transport value and the health and social bebefits of cycling are far better.

      2. It’s 600 million over 10 years. In that same time, the PT spend is several times that just for the CRL alone. A resilient effective system allows multiple modes – and cycling and walking SUPPORT public transport, because they make it easier to get to stations, and make it easier to not have a car (or no second car) in the family.

        Sometimes you use PT, some days you use bikes. It’s a totally different environment than “Every day you use cars”. PT and bikes don’t cannibalise each other, they complement each other.

        1. My observation is that the majority of the cycling spend to date has replicated PT options, with high profile, glory projects. Very little has been spent to enable greater access to PT (or schools for that matter). Funding priority should be where it delivers the best overall bang-for-buck.

        2. They could not search for this new improve heavy rail and what it looks like till it be put into service

      3. My assumption is that if you could convince drivers that this was the case, they might not be so hostile toward cycling infrastructure. It may not be true but it is arguably more true than most of the fallacies that surround the mode of transport debate. I would love more money for Public Transport, light rail, more rapid services, the third and forth main, regional rail etc. As it happens it is summer so I am on my bike and that may influence my scribbling. And do you really want more bureaucracy involved in cycleways and PT, mixing health and recreating in with AT and NZTA may make sense at a philosophical level but given the inefficiences that even only AT seems to have within itself, it is hard to imagine that throwing other budgetary heavyweights into the mix will move things along any quicker.

        1. It’ not entirely about current drivers either, it’s also about:

          1. New person to the transport network – young people or migrants.

          2. Providing choice.

          The later is important as it also affects urban form. A city is the continuing sum of it’s shared vision for the future.

          Were we live and work now is based on decisions people made 10,20,30,40,50,… years ago.

      4. Also the health benefits of eBikes are not “much less”. The few articles I read have indicated maybe a 20% drop in effort.

        Furthermore, if you walk 1-2km for a 40min commute with walking (15min)+PT vs 15km for a 45min bike. Then the later is obviously more effort.

        1. Also, ebikes are getting people onto bikes who would previously not have cycled at all, and they are encouraging people who would previously have cycled only the shorter distances, to cycle the longer ones as well.

      5. In addition to all the remarks everyone else said, I’m not sure why it’s a bad thing that cyclists are former public transport users… if trains and busses don’t make people feel like sardines they’re more likely to keep using them and report positive word of mouth experiences to people in their lives.

        It’s a system not a model railway.

      6. Looking at the number of scooters and cycles in the hands of passengers waiting at 8am on Panmure Station, I suspect a good number of the CBD cyclists are also mixed-mode rail passengers. (They also may have driven to Panmure, because cycling from Pakuranga takes a very brave cyclist. – please AT – forget about Ameti, but build a cycle-friendly bridge between Panmure and Pakuranga – preferably yesterday).

  7. “What concerns were raised and were they ignored? If so, by who?”

    The OIA responses should help the new CEO decide which senior managers to fire. That is sadly what it will take, judging by this regressive performance.

    1. As someone on Twitter pointed out, the new CEO *signed off* on this “accidentally released” document. So either he’s not all that sympathetic of cycling and PT at all, or he’s really not got AT under his watch yet, which is worrying. Even if you are new in the job, signing off the 3 year funding plan (and 10 year forecast) should make you pull some all nighters to check you are signing off on the correct thing.

  8. I am simply gobsmacked by that document – one has to wonder where it has come from – I think somebody’s head should roll for this, it’s an outrage.

    1. Most of the work was done before he got on board – but he signed it off, which is disappointing to say the least.

  9. This is a systemic failure. A disconnect between financial and operational planning and a complete alternate universe from strategy. The rhetoric and the numbers look like they have come from completely different organisations.

    1. Yes. I was hoping the project designs might also start to align with the rhetoric, especially with the fantastic Transport Design Guide. Sadly, this document has dashed my hopes.

  10. This is ridiculous. People who cycle shouldn’t have to fight for their right to safe roads every election, every budget, every plan, every project.

    The council need to take a stand on this and actually sack someone at AT. This is complete incompetence. Even if most of this was done before the CEO joined he should be refusing to sign this off.

    1. “The doc certainly doesn’t reflect my conversations with @phil_goff and @AklTransport board and our shared commitment to building a modern transport system for Auckland.”
      No private company would allow senior management to take the company in a completely different direction to the desire of the board and shareholders. Heads would most definitely roll.

  11. Personally I don’t think AT should spend a cent on new roads or road improvements in the next three years. We already have plenty of roads, I don’t think we need any more (except in new subdivisions which I assume the developer pays for).

    1. I guess that counts out the bus lane along Puhinui Road to the airport as the road will need to be widened from SH 20 to the airport.

    2. New roads are paid by the developer through AT. I disagree that we want no road upgrades. Dairy Flat Highway needs a massive safety upgrade with three barrier system and roundabouts at major intersections, Albany Highway needs safety upgrades too, as does Ellerslie Panmure Highway.

      No new road capacity please, but plenty of road upgrades.

      1. OK, allocate a few hundred bucks for some new speed limit signs to be installed.
        Keep in mind I was only talking about the next three years, not eternity.

        1. I completely disagree there. People are dying. We have spent a lot of time and money developing strategies for speed management; let’s follow them. Dairy Flat Highway justifies a safety transformation including a large scale treatment that might cost $20m, we should be building that.

      2. Dairy Flat Highway needs a lower speed limit and roundabouts (as does East Coast Road from Silverdale). 100km/h along there is ridiculous and overkill considering the parallel motorway.

        1. +1, and when the traffic flow is that high, we need three barrier systems too. It’s going to become a ring road, let’s treat it like that.

      3. Any safety improvements on the Ellerslie Panmure Highway could start by reducing it to one-lane each way, with a wide cycle lane. Cost would be mainly paint – and put it in the cycleway budget,

        1. i am sure the people of this area wont like reducing this road to one lane each way .your comment is nothing but a jole

        2. I think that is pretty unrealistic. This will continue to be a major bus route. improvements there are likely to be a solid median with the occasional turning pocket and protected cycle lanes

        3. West of Lunn Ave I think you have merit. This road would have to be one of the most over-capacity in Auckland, it was designed for the days before the South-Eastern Highway when it took most of the traffic from out east.

          As a resident I’d love to see protected cycle lanes along there.

    3. Absolutely agree to no new roads Jimbo. Let’s start building public transport infrastructure; or because there is no pipeline of projects let’s subsidise PT even more and bring on buses to cope with the induced demand.

  12. The story that ‘its just for consultation\draft so don’t worry about it ‘is utter bullshit – AT has presented here what they believe is the best way forward and it is their baseline for consultation. They didn’t just randomly assign numbers to things.

    This is what AT actually believes with no regard for council objectives, no regards for travel investment preference survey findings and a complete lack of any mention of the city centre master plan.

    AT is not run by the smiling face with a vision statement and is not controlled by the council.

    1. What you want them to spend more money of consultation .this will only be ignored as to the people of Auckland have been totally walked over on a number of projects .Take the rail link the people dont want this but we are forced to have it and pay for it .

      1. “Take the rail link the people dont want this but we are forced to have it and pay for it .”

        Which rail link is that? The only one we are currently building was the primary policy platform of the winner in three mayoral elections.

        1. HI David it has long been known that 90 % of Auckland’s don’t like the rail link .If this was put to a vote the answer would be NO dont build it

        2. Citation needed. The enormous majority of Aucklanders voted for the candidates running on platforms of building the CRL. Aucklanders have repeatedly expressed their desire for more PT spending in surveys.

        3. you are going by what was voted in at that time we all did not know that we had signed over the expenditure of over 3 billion dollars to build the rail tunnel and then another almost billion to get new trains to run in the tunnel .AT have not Evan told Auckland what the running costs are going to be when finished .Have a good look at what is happening now things are getting pushed aside to pay the bills from said tunnel

        4. Even if true that things are getting pushed aside to pay for the CRL, that is still a long way from proving “it has long been known that 90 % of Auckland’s don’t like the rail link”

        5. The best money At could spend is to have a vote on the subject it could save the city from the direction it is heading

        6. Each to there own is right What AT are doing is pushing for more money we are not IDIOTS .just another push to get what they require .Have a look at this year alone AT wanted 10 cents a lt on fuel then they tried pushing that up . What AT dont know is they are the cause of more poverty and it has to stop sometime real soon

        7. “The best money At could spend is to have a vote on the subject it could save the city from the direction it is heading”

          We did; in October 2016.

        8. Oh god not this ‘tard again. He’s just bitter because his paving business went bankrupt and he blames AT for picking his competitors product.

          For the record 18% of Aucklanders don’t want the rail tunnel, 64% do want it and the remaining 18% don’t know or undecided. See the link below.

          But of course your one mate down teh pub was moaning about pants down browns loopy loop so of course that’s more important than any market research.

        9. For the record Nick R Your talking bullshit my company is doing great thank you .Now for what you have just said Please stop telling bullshit storys as we all can see you have just done here .Everyone who reads this DONT TRUST A WORD NICK SAYS he thinks no one has a right to say the facts as they see them

        10. and this comes from someone who publicly lies to everyone i don’t think i need to say any more to you as I don’t trust a lair

        11. My apologies I shouldn’t have used the word bankrupt, I have no idea if you went technically bankrupt. But you did spend a lot of time online saying how the business wasn’t doing well and complaining that AT kept choosing your competitors products which you considered inferior.

          Now as for your assertion that 90% of people don’t want the rail tunnel, that is wrong. I wouldn’t call it a lie because you seem to believe your own thumbsuck reckons with honest intent. But it is very wrong, proven wrong.

        12. NICK you Lied and in a public arena .Which shows both me and everyone here what type of person you are .then you seem to make up more story’s to cover your self i would quite before things get worse for you buddy

        13. Hi Nicholas lee .Baiting no that’s not what i am doing As for a long weekend some have one but me and my staff sadly have a weekend fixing issues that AT have created yet again

        14. why is that Nick now your going to make out i am the liar good luck i dont go to the extent you go to to put people down sorry

  13. It almost feels like an attempt to force central government to fund more non-roading infrastructure – new government priorities, new negotiating tactics?

    1. Yes, that is my suspicion. Also, I think there’s an element of getting the cycling community outraged so that they stand up and demand better. AT have been dragged through the mud this last year, and want to deflect that anger onto the cycling community in the hope that AT receive an overt mandate from the public. Unfortunately AT don’t see that the consultation process has been one of the creators of the anger, and that the cycling communities have been dragged through the mud too…

      1. “AT don’t see that the consultation process has been one of the creators of the anger”

        If consultation on Grey Lynn has contributed to the anger then the only lesson is that we shouldn’t consult the public on cycle lanes. No matter how much we do, the same, small angry group will be angry.

        1. Certainly there shouldn’t be consultation on whether to have a cycleway or not; that’s a city-wide conversation. It should just be about what the local considerations are, and the route.

          I don’t even put the consultation process errors down to the Walking and Cycling team but to the constraints the rest of AT puts them under. Having to maintain the same level of service for traffic flow while adding a cycleway, for example.

      2. Its just so exhausting though isn’t it? I got a such a sinking feeling of ‘here we go, again’ reading this. Better dust off my letter/email writing skills and start writing to those with influence / power and making submissions. You just can’t relax for a second if you want better cycling and walking infrastructure for Auckland than the crappy, dangerous status quo.

  14. Reducing spending on cycling is an absurd notion and completely goes against the government, council and general public preference on urban transport.

    The amount of inconsistency in Auckland Transport planning as of late has been disgraceful.

  15. One thought (If I was to think the best of them, and not knowing much about this): it’s perhaps they are changing to bring most cycling & walking capital expenditure under the local roads category. When you think about it, it’s must more holistic to not even have the walking & cycling breakdown but be a given that a corridor would have perfect bike & walking infrastructure built into it. Of course I don’t really believe they are doing that & doesn’t fit with the renewals expenditure being quite consistent across the year columns. Worst case scenario is that it just means green paint on roads everywhere & no proper expenditure on infrastructure!

  16. I suspect that AT have not realised that they are on the wrong side of this argument. A “plastic bag moment” has arrived and influential thinkers have realised that car focused transport solutions don’t fit with environmental and climate change concerns.
    Climate change is the PM’S next priority after child poverty!
    Write to the PM. Express your concern. A focus in Auckland on preventing climate change starting with AT is very possible. We can and we will do this.

  17. I am going to speculate that this was a real budget formed by real people (who may or may not be rogue) and it was leaked to see the public reaction, and quite possibly as a shot across the bows of the people who are setting finance priories (ie internal directions are “don’t spend any more money on bikes and PT”, and someone created this and leaked it to show how big of a mistake it was.

    Of course it could be the AT doesn’t really know its a from its elbow as well though.

  18. I have been saying for many years that AT are largely (ok then, completely) ineffective when it comes to public transport, but others have said, give them credit for what they are doing. Constantly though I see reminders to demonstrate just how appalling they are. e.g. near the Akoranga Station, parked cares are an impediment to AT buses. Six months on they are starting, yes starting, to address the issue. So bus passengers have been inconvenienced for all this period while AT have thought about it,or not. Totally unacceptable!

    If I had time I would talk about the shambles that Halsey St is for buses. I suspect AT don’t give a …

    But a way forward has emerged. AT are currently calling for members for a feedback panel. I have signed up and am more than prepared to deliver inconvenient truths.

  19. Is this a stunt by AT because they got a funding shortfall? I remember there been talks over the last couple of years that AT needs more money, one way to get everyone attention is pick the most popular things AT do and say there is no money to fund it.

    I do wonder if this is part of the plan by AT, telling the council and government, they need more money

  20. Auckland Transport have issued a ‘clarification ‘ on the cycling numbers.
    It includes this:

    “This $64.9 million was co-funded by the Government by the Urban Cycleway Fund. Beyond 2018/2019 the $6.5 million per annum sum reflects a base level prior to any Council or Government decision to invest further – it is not a recommended programme as has been suggested.”

    I find the clarification problematic. It seems to say that Auckland Transport doesn’t see its role as funding cycling infrastructure, beyond a nominal $6.5m a year. Basically, “Any more than that has to come from central govt or council.” Are they supposed to be a transport agency, or a cars and trucks agency? So put money towards successful modes of *transport*.

    1. Extending this further; the Urban Cycleway Programme was funded approximately 2:1 Govt:Local. And normal cycleway funding is still subsidised roughly 1:1. So $64m should only scale down to about $42m without UCP (or $21m if you want no Govt subsidy at all)…

  21. Lester Levy’s apology to Phil Twyford is not for how his organisation is planning on departing from published council and central government transport objectives, but for accidentally releasing information to the public, council and government of it’s intentions to scale back public transport, and cycling in favour of further improving the lot for motorists.

  22. A lot of people seem to be thinking that this is some sort of false flag operation to ensure PT/cycle advocates submit or to pressure the government for funding. We know from multiple sources this is absolutely not the case.

    This was a genuine plan that someone thought was acceptable based on the prioritisation process they came up with

    1. OK, I’ll take your word for it. But it is also true that AT want to get cycle advocates to stand up and make a stronger case for cycling while AT staff attain the level of protection they need to function in their jobs.

      1. We know is leading the work but we won’t name names as more senior managers should have stepped in before it got to this point so they’re as responsible. However, if you knew said person’s history you wouldn’t at all be surprised by this budget

      1. Isn’t it why he gets to sign it and he more money than everybody else? Take some responsibility FFS, even if you just started. Or do you work for free the first few months?

  23. Is it possible that they have had a secret conversation with the government to fund these instead of AT?
    LRT and cycleways are the types of things that could very easily be funded by central government (a lot of the present cycleways were for example).
    I know doubtful but with AT you never know. I’m still amazed at some of the stupidity that goes on there.
    They must have spent around $100,000 installing pointless traffic lights on Apollo Drive and Rosedale Road to restrict access to a roundabout rather than just replacing the roundabout with a signalised intersection that is better and safer for cyclists and pedestrians as well as cars.

  24. AT need to have a good look at what they are spending money on .Have a good look at the profit margins of the company’s who have maintenance contracts .You might get a shock to see these are getting bigger each year .I see a lot of work getting done on roads that don’t need any work what so Eva .And of course the money been spent putting the rail tunnel in .all this has lead us to where we are today .There is a gross amount of spending money on projects that are not needed or wanted . AT have over the years said they don’t have the money .Then the next thing they are spending on think big projects come on what is going to happen next

      1. Last week we have had our road chip sealed over the top of first class AC as to did a number of roads in this area .these roads where in great condition nothing wrong with them .Why did AT chip seal these roads one expense which should never have been completed .(total wast of money ) the rail tunnel , and numbers of other which have not been asked for or needed .

      2. Rail link .The redo of said pink cycle way which was under warranty which cost the rate payers 117 thousand dollars to recolour after a failed product issue and many more which have cost the rate payer come on buddy you know a number yorself

    1. “all this has lead us to where we are today”

      What has led us to where we are today is car-centric design with sprawl- and traffic-inducing motorway and road expansion.

    2. I can tell you first hand that maintenance contractors don’t make big margins. In fact a good number lose money.

      1. Hi Damian .Rhat strange when most publicly announce what they are making. the last one stated they made just over 700 million profit last year. dont you read these when they are in the news paper

        1. mike, since when has proof been necessary? People can make any statement (“it has long been known that 90 % of Auckland’s don’t like the rail link”), no proof required.


        3. It would probably be illegal for me to get the internal documents from companies that I don’t work for….

        4. Like i have said prove it each 1/4 some company’s publish there profit you should start at that is amazing how much money is getting made in the maintenance area of Auckland




        7. Look, this can go on forever. Can you please give us links? Then we can read all about it in lower case.

  25. When the Mayor wasn’t into light rail AT bush-wacked him with it. Now the Mayor is into light rail and it seems to be gone. AT is like some problem 3 year old kid. The best way to get light rail would be if the Mayor started saying publicly “I don’t mind what AT do so long as they don’t build light rail!” in the manner of Brer Rabbit.

    1. “I was bred and born on a light rail platform, Brer Silo, bred and born!” And with that he skipped out just as lively as a cricket in the embers.

  26. “You might get a shock to see these are getting bigger each year .”

    No way, a construction company has increasing profits in a building boom?

  27. I think this situation is sufficiently bad that the government should be looking at changing how AT is governed asap.

    1. Fully agree. This is well overdue and very much needed.

      The Government needs to restructure AT and make AT more accountable to councillors and the public – the people who actually fund AT.

      A full enquiry also needs to be made into AT and how they are spending and wasting public money. The recent large scale corruption case involving AT managers should have been the catalyst for this to have already happened.

      The rail operations of AT should be transferred to KiwiRail, including the proposed light rail projects, with the Government funding this.

  28. The proposed massive cuts to rail operational ecpenditure is most likely planned around AT’s plans for massive rail staff lay offs with their UnSAFE project plans to get rid of the Train Managers and Ticket Inspectors off the trains.

    Negotiation talks have fallen down between AT’s rail operator Transdev and the rail union RMTU, so more industrial action looming.

    There has even been talk that AT are planning to shut down the ADL diesel rail shuttle service to Pukekohe and replace with buses until electrification arrives, which may also be a part of the planned massive reduction in the rail operating budget.

    This would be a very short sighted and foolish plan if it is true, which will turn away a lot of Pukekohe (and beyond) commuters who will revert back to driving their cars on the same congested roads as the buses would run on.

    Better for AT to use the half share of funding from the council earmarked for Battery EMUs (which are unlikely to get NZTA funding), to go into fully refurbishing the ADL DMUs until full electrification is completed, which is likely to be 5 years away.

    Alternatively, the Government could take responsibility for all rail operations in Auckland from AT and transfer to KiwiRail along with purchasing all the remaining SA carriages and the ADL DMUs and refurbish them themselves, with the ADLs reployed to start a new suburban service within Tauranga once the electrfication is completed to Pukekohe. The SA/SD carriages could be refurbished and used to start a new Hamilton-Auckland service and new suburban service within Christchurch, run by KiwiRail and funded by the Government.

      1. KiwiRail were doing OK with the Tranz Metro Wellington passenger-operation before they had it taken away from them.

    1. Had to laugh at the PR person for the union saying the majority of the public support their stance. Not sure where he got that information from but even if it is true I doubt it will still be that way if there is another strike.

      1. I have yet to meet a regular Auckland train commuter who does not want the train managers to remain as a safety, convenience and vehicle security asset to their use of the trains.

        1. I suspect the majority of commuters wouldn’t care either way. I imagine you could take the train managers away for a couple of weeks and few people would notice, especially given they don’t really do anything.

          Saw a TM on Wednesday that despite not having anything else to do, did nothing about the guy who was sitting on the steps blocking access to the door. Making their job look worthwhile would be much more effective than pissing people off by striking.

  29. That demonstrated a large part of AT’s culture is still build more road road roads, and only roads.

    Perhaps some ‘senior’ staff within AT is still living in last century thinking.

    They should retire and let the younger generation with more vision to step in.

  30. If progressive people from AT are reading, would you please confirm whether you’re kind of hoping tactical urbanism will rise up to show the way?

  31. Reset with a clean out of the Board and then let’s get going with the new program. There’s no need to drag this lot along. Lester and his mates can keep driving their cars while the new management get on with improving public transport, cycling and walking in the city. Lisa Pragar, I hope you’re keeping a good watch on the welfare of those trees!

  32. Don’t know what you’re all so pissed about. Still likely 6 times the seal extension budget.
    Thank fuck I moved away from that shit.

  33. Heidi, do you have any thoughts on what this better case looks like? We have astonishing good usage data, we have ebike sales hitting 20,000, we have stories of people loving cycling…
    I’m just feeling a little lost as to what bike advocacy needs to look like if this isn’t working.

    1. We also have ongoing pleas from children wanting to cycle to school, ongoing pleas from parents wanting the infrastructure to be safe. We have frequent stories from people who’ve tried out an onzo bike and are excitedly purchasing their own bike (latest person telling me this was my local librarian, last week, asking me for advice on bikes). We have cyclists choosing between boycotting anti-cyclist businesses or politely asking them for better. We have local groups organising rides to show people the new cycleways, or teaching the local school children to ride, or organising Cycling Without Age events, or helping parents get organised to cycle with babies.

      Worse, we have people who felt engaged in their local communities before suddenly finding that the mood has turned toxic, and even avoid regular events because friends are being attacked for cycling advocacy, or because they don’t feel safe speaking against some bikelash they witness.

      I don’t know either, Anthony. What I do know is that friends who I would have thought were open to the needs of all in society have closed their mind to cycleways or even wider footpaths in places like Mt Albert, because “AT is getting it all wrong…”

      Is this fragmentation of society worse than before, or am I just experiencing it differently?

      What I will do is print out your specific question and take it to the next meeting I have with the AT staff member who said this.

      1. Right?! That’s an amazing list! No one is organising groups to show new SUV drivers the ropes, or how to how to drive an SUV at any age. There is a genuine community around cycling-for-transport types, quite separate from the sports cyclists. What else needs to be done to make the case?

        I guess the other question for the AT staff member you have in mind is – who does this “better case” need to be made to convince? Is it the wider public, or is it the AT senior management?

        1. Suspect this is a result of zero transparency, no accountability and the death of local democracy.
          Everybody is competing against everybody else and nobody is happy.

  34. Seems a lot of heat here, missing some of the basic issues.
    1) Govt tells NZTA how much money to give local authorities, roughly which parts of the country to spend it in, and roughly what on.
    2) Councils, including AC/AT, decide how much ratepayer money they can spend on transport.
    3) RLTP is used to figure out how the Council funding can be paired to NZTA funding (following NZTA’s investment rules) to put together a programme.
    4) People look at it and don’t like it – probably for good reasons.
    5) Election. Govt press the Rest button.
    6) Go to Step 1. The faster the better.

  35. Every one did not want rail to every where and did not wanting heavy rail to deal with every thing and take more cars and have more roads to add more traffic and seen the traffic on Friday night it was a mess no one cares about public transport and less cars on the road so they be more efficient 24/7 and would of keep old sa and SD running with upgrade 21st century stuff would safe lots of money whey should busses run if no one gets on it and not used them and its empty like today bus could not pull in the bus stop in town because stupid person decide to stopped there while the bus had to drop off they should put new sign up at all bus stop is move it or lose it u try get from the Mount to Auckland Daly and see how long it takes with out rail

    1. Surprised you didn’t run out of breath – learn what a full stop (or at least, a comma or semi-colon) is. Then I might be able to work out if you’re supporting more public transport or less… 🙂

  36. Dear Minister of Transport, Auckland Transport.

    Auckland has it wrong on transport.

    1) Peak period congestion tolls must be implemented now and setup and dynamically managed like Singapore. (More complex gps based systems can wait) We build expensive road upgrades just for peak capacity. The tolls will delay/defer the need for this additional expensive infrastructure freeing up funding for PT, cycling & walking, and safety. The tolls will improve productivity through the reduction in congestion.

    2) The demand for PT will increase reducing the subsidy needed for existing service levels.

    3) The demand for cycling and walking will increase with an increase in health benefits.

    4) A shift to transit will reduce the overall crash rate and reduce actual real deaths & help move us towards vision zero.

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