This post is a collection of thoughts about a few recent things that have caught my attention.
Penrose platform 3 extension
On Wednesday, AT announced a $1.95 million project to upgrade platform 3 at Penrose. This is the single platform on the Onehunga Branch Line. The works include extending the platform to allow for 6-car trains as well as a few other improvements. These will allow for more capacity and thus a better experience for people attending special events.
Improving the experience for people leaving special events is certainly a worthy goal and there’s a hope that some people trying PT for an event might then go and try it more regularly for their commute. Bad experiences on the other hand can put people off using PT and tend to have a way of getting coverage in the media and on social media.
Where I do have a concern though is if that’s the most pressing use of limited funds. What happens when that person who had a good experience during an event turns up to their local train station to try commuting for the first time, only to get soaked due to a lack of shelter?
A lack of shelter at stations has long been a bugbear of mine and has been highlighted again earlier this week with the weather we’ve been having. The often quite small shelters on many stations may have been considered acceptable for the volumes using them when they were initially rebuilt 5-10 years ago, but they’re insufficient now. At my local station (Sturges Rd), I’ve often counted 80+ people on the platform, and that’s when a train that was coming every 10 minutes. There’s no way those 80+ people can fit under the measly 12m of shelter provided. My guess is that providing proper shelter at stations for everyday users would, over time, drive more PT usage. Everyday users getting soaked don’t make the news though.
While we’re on the topic of stations, if you live out west you may have noticed some concrete pads that have appeared on platforms, like at Glen Eden below.
I was wondering what they were for, so I asked AT, who confirmed that they’re for vending machines that will be installed soon. AT first installed vending machines at a few stations some time ago as a trial and a quick google found the tender page for this new rollout, which notes the trial was successful.
One of the biggest single opportunities to create an immediate valued customer amenity not previously offered across the network is the deployment of appropriate convenience vending machines to vend food and beverage offerings in line with the ‘AT Metro Food and Beverage Policy for Vending’.
AT conducted a successful trial in nine stations around the network. The trials proved successful with strong customer use and no operational interference for AT Metro, as well as generating a promising value of additional non-fare revenue.
As a result of the successful outcomes of the trial a widespread ‘network’ deployment has been approved by the AT Senior Leadership.
Auckland Transport has identified approximately 50 locations throughout the public transport network (plus a few additional AT asset locations) suitable for vending.
The desired outcome of this process is to identify a suitable partner or partners to deploy vending machines at each location establishing a ‘side by side’ paired machine configuration with compatible food and beverage offerings suitable for AT’s customer “on the move”. This will result in over 100 machines as the total deployment.
I appreciate AT are trying to find more money, but perhaps a trade is in order, vending machines for some shelter.
Filed under ‘Finally’, the first stages of work on the Eastern Busway are now underway. It’s not the project itself but what AT say is pre-construction work and involves demolishing some houses to allow for archaeological investigations. AT Say
The archaeological work is particularly important on this project due to the unique history and culturally significant nature of the area, including the site of the historic Mokoia Pā. This site is located near the eastern end of Lagoon Drive and of major significance to Mana Whenua. It was the site of the Ngāti Paoa pā settlement throughout the 18th century and an important area of trade and commerce.
The last AT board report noted that the decision on the resource consent for the wider project is due mid-February so could be any day now.
The 881 service, which travels from Albany to Newmarket via Symonds St, has been a fantastic PT success story. Initially fairly infrequent, lobbying by one of our readers many years ago saw the service increased, and as soon as that happened, it slipped into a virtuous cycle. Soon more and more services were added to cope with the growing demand and more recently many of those buses were upgraded to double deckers. The usage of the service keeps growing though and last year I heard stories of AT having staff at Busway stations encouraging people not to use it, to catch a NEX instead and walk or catch another bus up Symonds St.
Starting from this week, they’ve taken a new step to encourage people not to use it. Services will now not be stopping along Fanshawe, Sturdee or Customs St meaning that after Akoranga, the first stop will be Anzac Ave.
I can understand why AT have done this but at the same time it seems like they should at least be stopping it at Victoria Park. That would help provide otherwise non-existent connections between the University and Wynyard.
Hobsonville Ferry full
The Hobsonville ferry has been in place for just over five years now and over that time the number of houses and people in Hobsonville has grown significantly. The growth has meant a lot more people are catching the ferry but the number of services hasn’t changed. There remain just two services in the morning and three in the evening. There are also no weekend services. That’s now causing issues with customers getting this notification.
— Tim (@Zoltuger) February 7, 2018
If you miss the 8am ferry there’s nothing to worry about, the next one is only 7.5 hours away at 3:30. This will essentially render the ferry unusable by many and they’re much more likely to then join the traffic on either the Northern or Northwestern motorways.
It’s also worth noting that as part of the New Network in West Auckland, there are two services that head to the ferry terminal, the 112 and 114. The 112 has been conveniently timed to arrive at the wharf at 8am, right as the ferry is departing. Did no one at AT think this through?