Yesterday was the latest AT board meeting. Here are the items from the reports that caught my attention.

Closed Agenda

There’s only one item that is of interest, Downtown Works Package. I assume it relates to this comment in the main business report

Within the city centre work is focussing on the optimal staging programme for various overlapping projects in the Downtown area ahead of the America’s Cup as well as the commencement of the procurement to develop a more detailed business case for the Wellesley Street bus improvements project.

Business Report

Technology

The HOP website is a pretty awful experience and AT have been working on rebuilding it for some time but then they went quiet again after encountering issues. It’s back on the reports again now. Hopefully meaning it is getting close

Testing for all three technical core components is well underway and is making steady progress. An agile delivery approach is being taken to expedite the customer-facing website changes, and design and build is well underway. Training, communications updates, and legal review will take place in early March after technical readiness has been confirmed. Public go-live will then follow. In parallel, surfacing the HOP balance is being developed and is expected to be available on the AT Mobile Beta test site in March for user feedback. Once this is complete, this can be pushed to the public version.

AT also now say they’re working on upgrading the AT website which is very much needed. Some areas, like the PT section, are a confusing mess, for example, that HOP and Fares are treated as two different things. There are many other examples I could cite but here’s what the report says about it.

Customer Central is applying a human-centred design process to inform the AT website strategy, assessing the website against user experience best practice, industry norms, and in relation to specific business outcomes. Within the scope of this initiative is a tactical review of a select few features for immediate re-design. Report-A-Problem is the first priority for tactical re-design. This feature will enable customers and staff to report problems that they observe and experience across the network and then channel their feedback via CRM to front line response teams. Rapid prototyping and testing has been undertaken, with customers and parking officers.

Manukau Bus Interchange

The opening of the new bus station is now less than a month away with it planned for 8-April. Work has also started on making Putney Way outside of the station a shared space for Panuku. Here’s the impression of what it will look like.

Rail Pedestrian Level Crossings

AT have been upgrading a number of rail pedestrian crossings with automatic gates. Some have already been completed and Fruitvale Rd, Asquith Ave and Rossgrove Tce will start this month with Lloyd Ave and Woodward Rd in May/June. It also confirms that there will be rail shutdowns during Easter and Queens Birthday weekends.

Eastern Busway (AMETI)

AT were expecting the decision back on the Panmure to Pakuranga section in Mid-Feb but as far as I’m aware they still haven’t got it yet. A few days ago they did announce a series of information sessions for the overall project which may also be related to the future sections from Pakurana to Botany.

Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP)

The RPTP is the plan that sets out how AT will run and develop PT and is being refreshed to take into account all the changes going on from things like ATAP, the new Government Policy Statement and funding levels. We don’t yet know what that will include but consultation for it is being targeted for August/September.

Rail Development

It appears that discussions on inter-regional trains is occurring

Staff are participating in the Auckland-Hamilton Connections Working Group that has been established by Waikato councils to review the strategic case for improved connections between Auckland and the Waikato. We also expect to be engaged in parallel discussions regarding the reestablishment of a commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland. Infrastructure requirements to integrate a proposed service with current and planned Metro and Freight services without detriment to performance will need careful consideration.

New Network

In December, AT increased the frequency of the 380 service that runs from Manukau to Onehunga via the airport. Initial results are looking great.

Following the service increase on 10 December 2017 compared to 2016 was +34% and for January 2018 compared to 2017 was +32%.

March Madness

AT highlight how much extra bus capacity has been added to cope with March

Significant additional capacity was provided on key corridors prior to March 2017 of 56 more city-bound bus trips each morning peak (~5,400 spaces) compared to last March, equivalent to 5 percent more capacity and up to 34 percent on some corridors. This along with greater capacity provided in June and December 2017 as part of full service network upgrades in West and East Auckland provide a good base for March 2018 annual transport demand peak

They also say that there are now 99 double deckers in operation, up from 70 last year and out of a total bus fleet of 1300.

Station Gates

AT are continuing their rollout of gates to a number of stations. This table shows the timelines for them, including a station I haven’t heard of before.

Let me know if you have looked through the papers and see any interesting items I missed.

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69 comments

  1. With Station Gates, I would argue that anyone who can find the Parnell Station deserves a free ride, and it surprises me that Glen Issues has remained ungated for up until now. I have heard some concerning things.

      1. I’m thinking either “damn you autocorrect!” or someone running Spell Check in too much of a hurry. Must have given the keener-eyed board members a bit of a giggle.

  2. Some grade separation is provided for in the draft LTP – though this is still being refined. Not as much money as the level crossings team were recommending but very pleasing to see some real money (a 9 figure number) is being proposed versus nothing in the last 14 years that I have been campaigning – I do not count the New Lynn grade separations which were really a consequential benefit of putting the new station in a trench, or the much delayed Sarawia Street project which has always been treated as a one-off. By my understanding, the funding being proposed for the 2018-28 decade is about $0.25 billion which will for the first time enable a grade-separation programme to get underway – but this will only be enough to make a start. From what I hear priority will be given to the Takanini-Papakura area which presently has 4 level crossings – the plan is to replace these with 2 grade separated (road bridge over rail) crossings. The balance of the funding will be sufficient to do several crossings on the Western Line but it is hard to extract anything more definite from AT (how many and where). Some supportive submissions would help ensure that this funding is kept above the cut-off line.

  3. We have had a week of some very good news.
    Wellington council to spend $10 million on bike paths in Evans Bay, etc.
    Auckland council approves opening of tunnels under Albert Park.
    The first electric bus starts service in Auckland.
    Construction of the bike path at Newton.
    Council about to decide on contractor to build the $1.2billion waste water pipe line from Western Springs to Mangere.
    And i predict. The all land based option, rather than obtrusive and costly added wharves option, Americas Cup venue should be announced soon.

    1. It’s a bit of a legal mess. Technically the council gives consent, but it has to be a credible process that stands up to the RMA, so is probably being heard in the environment court, where a judge will grant or decline consent.

    2. They give consent to themselves. As I understand it they did it as a Notice of Requirement. They follow a process that gives the appearance of fairness but AT gets to give themselves an approval. People have appeal rights but that means taking AT to court.

  4. People in artist’s impressions of new projects always look creepy. That is just a thing. But that one above takes it to a whole new level by putting yellow highlighter around the people. Even the shadows have yellow outlines. Where is this strange universe where the usual rules of physics no longer apply?

        1. Notice it’s only the people outside, not those in the cafeteria. I think it’s either pollen from the monocultural tree plantings or else it’s some strange UV effect we’re to expect when climate change moves up another notch.

  5. Replying to Jim R – there has been no decision on the contractor for the Central Interceptor. The EOI (Expression of Interest) phase has yet to occur, though they have already drawn up a short list of preferred bidders. The award of Contract will be either very late this year or early 1919 – construction should be underway by end of 1919. Good things take time.

  6. A little nugget I found reading through the reports yesterday was with regards to March Madness. Auckland Transport have said that they provided extra services on the 625 and 299 bus routes.
    What interested me was how specific this was. Clearly AT have ways to monitor how much a bus route is used and know where to add more capacity.
    However I am a regular catcher of the 299 bus and unfortunately I don’t feel like any extra capacity was added. Also, AT should have advertised this as well.
    The 299 bus route is too often ignored and neglected. It does not have a single bus lane on the route (until it gets to the city) and is stuck in the nightmare of cars queuing for Gillies Ave on ramp. It’s also infrequent (every half hour in the off-peak) and buses are always smelly. If the 299 was a better service it could rival the 274/277 and provide commuters with an alternative option to the Gillies Ave on ramp.
    I have a few ideas for installing bus lanes on Gillies Ave – if anyone is interested please ask me for my ideas.

  7. On the Technology section, they advise that they’re going to do much needed work on the HOP website. That’s good, but…

    I know that for a long time now, Agile development principles have been the “in thing”. What frustrates me though, is that agile is very often poorly understood by managers, resulting in agile becoming a synonym for poor quality output. Do we really want an organisation with questionable managers, pushing for rapid updates with known errors still present instead of getting something out there that actually works?

    Also, “Auckland Transport said it would join a national ticketing system, termed GRETS, that will plug 11 other public transport authorities into one ticketing network stretching the length and breadth of New Zealand” – https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/101827505/one-bus-card-to-rule-them-all-auckland-joins-national-ticketing-system

    Honestly, WTF? I thought that the whole idea of HOP, was that it was to be the nationwide card. Now the idea is to adapt HOP (yeah, right) to work with another system?

    Other tidbits:
    Originally conceived as a system for the Wellington region, GRETS turned into the lead project for a national ticketing system after the capital’s transport authority resisted pressure from NZTA to replace its Snapper card with AT’s HOP system in 2016.

    Again, WTF?

    1. First time I’ve heard HOP was going to be nationwide. I thought that was the Snapper card by NZ bus, but AT shut that idea down in Auckland.

        1. Completely wrong. Snapper will be on all buses in the Wellington Region when new contracts start around the middle of the year (as interim solution).

      1. I noticed that story and just expected that somebody here would pick it up, so never mentioned it.

        It’s an important issue that deserves not only a serious look, but also sternly worded emails sent to certain elected officials. The Transport Minister needs to shut GWRC down, fast.

        Whilst I’ve not researched who won the GRETS tender, I think that it’s safe to say there wouldn’t have been a very long list of potentials.

        Even more concerning is AT publishing this (confidential) memo from 05/12/2017 – https://at.govt.nz/media/1975931/item-113-national-ticketing-update.pdf

        From that PDF:
        2. Some Board members will recall that the HOP system was originally intended as the Auckland instance of a national ticketing system. The Transport Agency funded not only the normal 51% share of development but also fully owned $30 million of central hub. An entity known as NZ Transport Ticketing Limited (NZTTL) was expected to own and operate the central system.
        3. For a number of reasons, this model was discontinued and NZTTL was disestablished.

        A quick Google for NZTTL reveals a lot of questionable decisions.

    2. Won’t be HOP going nationwide, more like HOP [backend] will accommodate this new card via some hand-wavery technology.

      Seems all like another set of pipe dreams driven by Greater Wellington Regional Council. to create their own “HOP”.

      Its already running late, and AT won’t be using it before 2024 they predict.

      Also of note that NZTA’s own board noted that there is not apparently a Business Case or RFP for the project so it makes you wonder why are NZTA at board level getting so behind it?
      Maybe they think they can treat this like another RoNS, won’t need a BCR or Business Case as the Ministers will just sign it off regardless.

      Might have been the case when Bridges was MoT, not anymore under Twyford/Genter/Jones.

      And in case it’ll be another 6+ years before we see it in Auckland.

      Meanwhile, that stuff story has this snippet of information:

      “Auckland Transport’s HOP card is now the third largest payment card in New Zealand. Only VISA and Mastercard are more frequently used.”

      So why would we as a country be aiming to replace the third most popular payment system in the country with some yet to exist system for an unknown cost, for an unknown benefit besides a nebulous benefit of a common payment card?

      Especially when as is noted, Visa and Mastercard already have that part in the bag. Although their speed of payment when paying as you board as you do on buses is questionable.
      So whether they can replace HOP on buses is unproven.

      1. From the PDF I posted a few minutes after your comment, it would appear that AT has rolled over. GRETS is a fait accompli.

        When AT spend damn good money on a project, on the understanding that the outcome of the project will be used nationally, it seems incomprehensible that GWRC will not only tender for (and select) their own system (I’d guess Snapper), but would succeed in having NZTA “encourage” AT to join up…

    3. I thought that HOP was supposed to be the precursor of a national system that NZTA would “curate”. So why has GWRC set up its own initiative? And is that also with NZTA support? Seems weird to me. Or is this GRETS initiative the fulfilment of the expansion of the HOP-like system nationwide?

      1. HOP was meant to be basis for a Nationwide but Wellington refused to accept it, probably an anti Auckland thing, and decided they needed to do their own thing. NZTA backed down and now it appears they’re treating it as the national system and Auckland is going to have to change to it. Such a mess, been planning a post about it all

        1. Heard it was partly about wanting to use contactless credit/debit cards, which HOP apparently can’t do.
          Overly optimistic time frame (was meant to be ready for beginning of new contracts) has turned it into the latest episode in the Wellington Integrated Ticketing farce which has been running since at least the late 1980s (due to stupidity and/or PT loathing of successive councils & governments).
          So will have Snapper on all buses (but not trains) as an interim measure from the beginning of the new contracts.

          1. Well that makes it even stupider on part of GWRC & NZTA, sounds like a complete waste of money and makes Wellington Integrated Ticketing saga even worse than I thought.
            There was a very strong implication that HOP couldn’t do credit cards etc when GW announced this a few years back. From Stuff at the time:
            “Wellington was looking for “account-based” tech that would let people use everything from swipe cards to phones to credit cards to pay for public transport, Swain said. The world was “moving on” from Hop’s card-based system, he said.” https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/76835659/Snapper-not-dead-in-water-as-NZTA-backs-down-on-sending-Hop-system-south
            Very misleading …
            Look foward to your post on the matter

  8. Yes, “It appears that discussions on inter-regional trains is occurring”. Waikato’s Long term Plan, about to go to consultation, will propose “Two daily return commuter services on weekdays, leaving Hamilton at 6.00am and 6.40am and returning at 5.10pm and 6.00pm. A single return inter-peak service on weekend days and public holidays.” The journey times are estimated as “Hamilton to Papakura (interim rail shuttle service) – 1 hour 30 mins. Papakura to Britomart (Auckland rail services) – 50 mins. Total journey time from Hamilton to Britomart – 2 hours 20 mins (incl. wait/transfer time at Papakura)”. (see Table One of https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/assets/WRC/Community/Council-Meetings-and-Agendas/Item-11-Inclusion-of-an-Interim-Hamilton-to-Auckland-Passenger-Rail-Service-in-the-2018-2028-Long-Term-Plan.pdf)

    With such a slow and infrequent service I wonder how many will use it. The running cost is shown as $7,159,424 pa and capital cost $1,555,380 pa (spread over 6 years). At the same time, a package of bus improvements is also planned at a cost of $1,009,350 (page 228 of https://wdcsitefinity.blob.core.windows.net/sitefinity-storage/docs/default-source/meetings/agendas-2017/171128-inf-agenda-open.pdf?sfvrsn=1a45bcc9_0), including a Hamilton-Papakura bus, 10 min faster than the train (page 232).

    Until a better train service can be provided, it seems to me that a faster and much more frequent bus connection would be a better way to spend that money to build up passenger numbers.

    1. The bigger issue there is going to all of the effort to refurbish trains and build station and then running a ‘grand’ total of 24 services in a week. They really need to be running at least an hourly service all day, which would only take 3 trains for a 3 hour return trip.

      The bus won’t reliably make it to Papakura in 80 minutes, I’m lucky to manage that in a car with only one stop. Let alone a bus stopping at least 5 times.

    2. Yeah John this looks quite risky to me. The danger of going with such an infrequent, slow, and short (Frankton to Papakura) service is that it may attract weak ridership yet not tell us anything about how a fuller more frequent service may be received. It could be particularly misleading and unhelpful. The question is what is the minimum viable product? This is certainly minimum, but is it viable?

      I understand the enthusiasm for something soon, but there is a risk inherent in that.

      I think a number of things should be considered:

      1. Hamilton stations. Frankton is horrible. It is literally nowhere, only accessible by car which is extremely suboptimal. There is, with small investment, the possibility of a new city passenger station and siding parallel to Bryce St, in lieu of a new or expanded underground one adjacent to the bus station. Both these locations are a short and pleasant walk not only to the city centre and buses, but also both the cricket and rugby grounds, great for special event services.
      Te Rapa and Ruakura (with Uni bus service) stations should be considered too.

      2. AKL terminus. If pre 3rd and 4th mains yes Papakura is the only real option, even for so few services, this is how badly starved the AKL NIMT is of track. Come 2020 the Puhinui Interchange and Airport shuttle will be operating and this could make all the difference in service viability. As well as the possibility of Onehunga or Strand terminus (though The Strand is not unlike Frankton in its terrible location).Transfers to not only the Airport service but both the Southern and Eastern Lines and buses east to Botany will make Puhinui at least twice as desirable as Papakura, and will be brand spanking new and flash.

      For me, both these: a true Hamilton City Station, and a much more valuable Auckland Interchange, look like real opportunities to balance the much harder to fix slow speed. Add more frequencies than above and it looks marketable. Viable.

      Is the the cost of waiting to launch in 2020 greater than launching a bare minimum serve sooner and for less?

      So long as any skinny bare bones service is never ever described as a trial. And also called interim, perhaps this risk is reduced, though if it underperforms that will make launching something better all the harder…

      Thoughts?

      1. The new cycle track, Hamilton Western Rail Trail, goes past the station, so has improved its accessibility from the south and CBD. Otherwise I agree.

        That last 35km from Papakura taking 50mins doesn’t help. Is there no way to fit a semi fast just ahead of a southern line train, then just ahead of an eastern line train?

        1. Completely gree with your comments about the current Frankton station in Hamilton – this should be demolished and replaced with a new Frankton station on the loop siding on nearby High Street opposite Commerce Street.

          There is plenty of unused rail land along High Street which a park and ride car park could be built on.

          With the current Frankton station removed, a new direct east to south link could be reinstated to create a triangle at the junction again to create a direct link for freight traffic between Taranaki and Tauranga (which would be further improved with reopening the Stratford-Okahukura Line and building a direct north connection to the NIMT at Okahukura).

          The central city underground station in Hamilton should also be reopened along with building the proposed station and park and ride at The Base at Te Rapa.

          Terminating the service at Papakura station in Auckland is the only likely option until the NIMT is quadruple tracked between Papakura and Westfield.

          Papakura will be OK in the interim as this allows connections to both Britomart and Pukekohe services here, as well as all stations north of Papakura, together with a number of local bus services across South Auckland (and in reverse for people in Auckland wishing to travel to Hamilton and The Base).

          Do it right from the start and it will be a success.

      2. Completely agree with everything you have said. Especially about calling it an ‘interim’ service rather than a ‘trial’ service. It sends a very different message that allows people to actually build their lives around the service.

        If the choice is the proposed service or wait until 2020, then I’d rather wait.

        Surely we can get to the Hamilton CBD, or even a new ‘Frankton’ station actually in Frankton at the end of Commerce Street.

      3. The current Hamilton station is rundown but it’s not “in the middle of nowhere”. With the new Western Rail Trail it is 1.5km walk to the Hamilton central business deadzone, 7 minutes on a bike, The station exists now and has platforms on sidings so the passenger trains can sit there and not get in the way. Your suggestion about the possibility of a new city passenger station and siding parallel to Bryce St is pure fantasy and a waste of money better spent elsewhere like the new station planned near The Base.

      4. Yes risky I think. Initially no stops apart from the two end points too. That report says: “Based on the feedback from KiwiRail and Auckland Transport, the interim option is operationally feasible and can be implemented within the next 12-18 months, subject to appropriate rolling stock being secured.” We are pretty much into 2020 by then anyway.

        Interesting comparing the CAPEX with the GA RRR proposal. More carriages & a loco for 4.6M but no extra stations $8.2M.

        Think we need some serious government expenditure on it & get it done properly for it to work. Do we need to go straight to stage 2, tilting trains, more stations etc of RRR but without the Tauranga line or just newer rolling stock from the outset but including the BOP line but at the slower speed?

        1. Seems to me that the fast, cheap, interim option should be a 20-min interval express bus from Hamilton to Auckland CBD, with the centre lanes of the motorway bus-only from Papakura to Auckland, and other local buses from all along the motorway. After that should come a diesel 160kph train, such as in Queensland, and, after that, a 350kph high speed line from Auckland to Tauranga (rather cheaper per km than the Expressway extensions still being supported by Waikato Regional Council).

          1. I’m not sure commandeering a lane from each direction of the Southern Motorway would be palatable for an interim bus solution.

            While a 350kmh line might be cheaper than the expressway extensions, it is not a great comparison as the high speed line will have to be built from scratch for the whole length. It would burn up a huge chunk of NZs transport budget, when the RRR proposal can give a significant proportion of the benefits for a fraction of the cost.

          2. Giving public transport priority isn’t ‘palatable’, which is why Auckland, and now most other cities, have so many traffic jams. But it’s much quicker and cheaper than any other solution to those jams.

          3. A full bus every 20 mins would mean probably 150 passengers per hour. I don’t have the numbers but I imagine a lane on the Southern Motorway would move significantly more people in vehicles per hour during peak.

            Inconveniencing a large number of Aucklanders who don’t have any other option just for a few people commuting from Hamilton doesn’t make any sense. It needs to be a rail solution from the beginning.

          4. but I said “and other local buses from all along the motorway”. Just those from Hamilton would be inefficient, but for buses from local points between Ngaruawahia and Mt Wellington wouldn’t be and would relieve other overcrowded buses and trains, as well as reducing traffic jams.

          5. So we are going to clog the CBD with express buses from different parts of the South, when the CBD is already jammed with buses!? The whole point of the new network was to make better use of the rail corridor and have less buses running long routes in parallel.

          6. Short of flattening the CBD to build motorways, the only solution to congestion must be getting significantly more car drivers onto public transport. The problem is that, even at this time of day, Google says it’s only taking 5 min longer than the train to drive from Papakura to the CBD. So the slow train is unlikely to attract any significant numbers. The CBD is more clogged by cars than buses. Buses on a motorway lane could offer a much faster journey than the train and without the inconvenience of a change. I agree it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s quick and cheap and would prepare the way for better longer term solutions.

          7. I agree. However, the majority of car trips on the Southern Motorway are not going to the CBD. All your solution does is creates extra pain for them while not actually offering them an alternative.

            The solution is an increasingly connected PT network that allows people to easily transfer thus making non-CBD work journeys more viable with PT. We’ve made significant steps towards this in the last 15 years but there is a long way to go.

            The solution is definitely not an express bus system on an already good PT corridor to the CBD. You are right though, we definitely need to get some more speed out of the trains.

          8. I agree, it’s not only the Southern Motorway in need of that solution, but it’d also be a quick solution to the lack of a North Western Busway and on other multi-lane roads. Until public transport becomes significantly faster than driving, Auckland is going to keep its congestion problems.

  9. re AMETI – I think decision was made, got an email:

    A. Decision on Resource Consent application by Hearing Commissioners
    After consideration of the processing officers’ report and the evidence of the applicant and submitters, the Hearing Commissioners have resolved that this resource consent application be granted with conditions.
    This decision was issued on 23 February 2018 and can be accessed in the Auckland Council website: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

  10. I think the increase use of the 380 airporter bus is pretty good. Also great they finally have an opening date for the Manukau Bus Station.

    Got me thinking about the regional buses not being able to SkyCity bus terminal soon. I think it won’t be too bad and maybe a good thing to terminate at Manukau. Having done it myself with the old stop way out the front of the shopping centre, would be so much better right there. With the CBD congestion & awkward stops located currently in the city (Mana Bus stop is now 115 Mayoral Drive!) and motorway congestion, a nice transfer to train would be good. Key is upping the frequency of the trains off-peak etc. Post CRL train station access/frequency & coverage by rail would be further enhanced. So short of an expensive central interchange I think it’s not bad, also means less buses travelling into the city.

    Northshore not so great I guess but still very good span and coverage of the NEX buses etc already to/from Akoranga.

    1. A central city long distance bus terminal for all coach operators to use is very much needed. Perhaps a new combined decent long distance train and coach terminal could be developed at The Strand station site.

      Alternatively in the meantime, perhaps long distance coaches could use Te Tauo Crescent outside the old Auckland Railway Station on Beach Road, which was previously used by InterCity / Railways Road Services.

      1. Moving the long distance buses back to the old railway station is a crazy idea. Mayoral Drive is far more convenient.

        1. Queens Wharf next to the ferry terminal could be another option – good central location close to all the main transport hubs and plenty of space for coaches.

  11. Out of interest, does anyone know if we have ever had a serious incident on the Sarawia St level crossing. Obviously this project is to speed things up through here anyway.

  12. I just love the BS re the AT website:
    “Customer Central is applying a human-centred design process to inform the AT website strategy, assessing the website against user experience best practice, industry norms, and in relation to specific business outcomes.”
    Translation: we’re reviewing our website.
    “Within the scope of this initiative is a tactical review of a select few features for immediate re-design. Report-A-Problem is the first priority for tactical re-design. This feature will enable customers and staff to report problems that they observe and experience across the network and then channel their feedback via CRM to front line response teams.”
    Translation: we’re going to let people contact us.
    The whole 99 word spiel could be reduced to 5: “Our website upgrade is progressing”.

    1. PR fail. Not due to verbosity though, they used a technical term: CRM! 😉

      Hmm. I wonder how much money is spent on spin doctors?

      1. “Hmm. I wonder how much money is spent on spin doctors?”
        However much it is, they need to spend more because almost everyone on this blog is able to pick it as either spin, or bullshit.

  13. As far as gating is concerned I feel that AT have ignored the needs of the elderly/infirm/disabled, particularly at Papatoetoe.

    If the passenger lives in the Middlemore direction but ends up at the rear of a southbound train they have to walk/hobble the full length of a really long platform get up and down the ramp and walk back parallel to where they started before they even start on their way home.

    Not very good when we have legislation that is supposed to make PT more accessible.

    1. Agree, we shouldn’t be gating stations if it reduces the number of entrances to a station. Even for those of us who are fully able it makes no sense to add maybe 200m to everyone’s journeys.

  14. In reply to Grant – Sarawia Street may not have an accident history, but it does cause delays on Western, Central and Onehunga services which all cross over Sarawia Street (although one of the least busy crossings for car movements as it only serves about 40 households – it is the busiest in the country for train movements). It is also probably the cheapest to deal to because the train tracks are already in a trench so the over bridge will not require substantial approach ramps like most of the other candidates for grade separation.

    1. Are those forty households paying a proportion of the cost, above and beyond their normal council rates, or is the rest of Auckland ratepayers funding this new road bridge?

  15. With the significant increase in patronage reported on the 380 bus service between Onehunga-Airport-Manukau since it the service was created and recently had its frequency increased, this is even more justification that a heavy rail loop line should be built between Onehunga-Airport-Puhinui (to Manukau).

    This service could then become part of a much bigger loop line route via the current Eastern Line and Onehunga Line and future CRL line, which would serve and link far more people across central, east and south Auckland with the airport than a light rail line from the CBD to the airport via Dominion Road.

    The proposed new Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail service (likely to be run with refurbished SA trains) and any new Tauranga / Mt Maunganui service (which could possibly be run with fully refurbished Silver Fern railcars), could also run via a airport heavy rail loop line between Puhinui and Onehunga. A new much needed long distance passenger rail terminal for Auckland could also possibly be built at the airport.

  16. “Following the service increase on 10 December 2017 compared to 2016 was +34% and for January 2018 compared to 2017 was +32%.”

    This is a good result but it would be useful to know, 30% of what.

    What would be even more useful to know is the increase in patronage in relation to the extra cost of the service increase; and to compare this with the cost of building a $40 million park and ride at Albany and the consequential increase in bus numbers; and further to compare this with the $40 million to be spent on the Takapuna gasometer car park and the likely bus patronage decrease on Takapuna routes.

    Damn it, I’ll send another OIA and see what the answer is.

    My guess is that the answer will be, we are not required to answer this question because we have done no work on this matter. (We have however done lots of work on 10 seater electric bus shuttles and we hope that these will be enormously successful for us, and the trial passengers loved them, and said they would ride them even though we couldn’t tell them what they cost, and Simon Bridges will be brimming with pride,and we grudgingly concede we still run a crap bus service between Devonport and Takapuna, and if you good people of Takapuna are patient we will turn Esmonde Road into a T3 and give you the level of service the good people of Birkenhead don’t deserve.)

  17. “AT highlight how much extra bus capacity has been added to cope with March

    Significant additional capacity was provided on key corridors prior to March 2017 of 56 more city-bound bus trips each morning peak (~5,400 spaces) compared to last March, equivalent to 5 percent more capacity and up to 34 percent on some corridors. This along with greater capacity provided in June and December 2017 as part of full service network upgrades in West and East Auckland provide a good base for March 2018 annual transport demand peak”

    Wouldn’t we be expecting AT to be constantly adding capacity to our networks? If PT ridership is growing at 6 or 7% annually, it is likely that some peak services, which may already be close to capacity, are growing at 10-15% and this will require additional services from time to time. I am not giving AT any pats on the back for recognising March madness because for roading and car parking they are all too willing to use a predict and provide model. Unfortunately in those two cases it hasn’t helped any.

    Where are the monthly ridership tables we used to see? I suspect that AT has stopped this as the story has changed from a purely positive one to one that is much less rosy. Let’s utililise that huge communications department and have comprehensive monthly reporting. It’s a public entity and we can expect better transparency than their version of how well they are doing.

    You might guess that I have lost patience with AT – I have. I am one of the over 50% of people who travel to the city daily by bus. In 8 years that service hasn’t improved any. Where are the extra bus lanes, or as some have suggested streets like Wellesley being bus only; or better light phasing at choke points, or a host of other measures to improve journey times.

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