Tomorrow, Auckland Transport will formally open the Manukau Bus Station, followed by a public open day from 10am-2pm.

The station itself looks great but I have long had some serious concerns about its functional design. It feels like it was designed by people who don’t use or understand how PT works. It’s more like an airport lounge where people are expected to be waiting for long periods of time instead of just passing though on their way to a frequent bus. One of my main concerns, about the sawtooth bus stops not being practical for through routed services, is also now being borne out with the operational plan showing that some key bus routes won’t even stop at the station but use nearby streets instead. It’s like no one bothered to ask (or listen to) the people tasked with running the buses.

But the real reason for this post is that the open day has once again highlighted why so few people use public transport in Auckland, it’s just too hard and too slow. For the event, AT state this (which is good)

Parking will be limited. Take a bus, train or bike to the event, the venue is just a short one minute walk from Manukau Train Station.

So, I thought I’d have a look at how I could get to the station by 10am. To start with, I live relatively close to the Sturges Rd train station so plugging that and the Manukau Station into a journey planner the recommended route that arrives at Manukau at 9:52.

The arrival time is perfect for what I want but the real kicker is how long the overall journey will take. To get there by 9:52 I’ll need to catch a train from my local station at 8:15. Add in the time to walk to it and I’m looking at a 1:45 trip. It’s worth noting that there’s even only a 10 minute wait at Britomart so most of the reason for the travel time is due to other reasons.

The alternative is of course to drive, although as a PT advocate it would be weird to turn up to a PT event by car. Google tells me at that time of day would take 28-40 minutes.

So why is the PT option so much slower? I think it’s a combination of our services being unnecessarily slow and a poor network structure requiring a trip all the way to the city.

Slow Trains

Our trains (and many of our buses) are horrendously slow. This makes them only time competitive with other options during the busiest peak hours, and even then only for certain trips like to the city. The Western Line suffers the most on this due to closer station spacing, frequent level crossings, a greater number of curves and hills, all meaning trains from Swanson to Britomart is 27.2km and is timetabled to take 55 minutes, an average of just 30km/h. By comparison, the Eastern Line is our fastest with the 26.3km being covered in 38 minutes, an average of 42km/h. For reference, the Southern Line from Papakura is 31.1km and takes 51 minutes for an average of 37km/h.

In my view, AT should be looking at how they could shave 10-20% off journey times. That would put the travel times much closer to the modelling by train maker CAF during the tender process that I have a copy of. A big part of achieving that would be through a significant reduction in dwell times but other improvements will be needed too.

You may recall that speeding up trains was one of the items included in Mayor Phil Goff’s letter of expectation to AT shortly after taking office as a key focus.

ensuring full value is obtained from council’s very large investment in rail electrification by reducing journey times, particularly through shorter dwell times at stations and more efficient rail operations

It’s also worth noting that in their latest board report, AT are promising improvements in the next timetable due to be implemented in August. They say journey times along the Southern, Eastern and Western lines will improve, including further reduced dwell times. They also say they’re considering another new timetable in early 2019 with even more improvements.

Network Structure

People catching PT not only have to put up with not only slow trains but also take a much longer route, as can easily bee seen in the images above. A train user from my station has to cover over 49km while a car only 33km. Reducing how far people have to travel though an improved network that isn’t just about the city centre could go a long way forward in making PT more useful. Notably the (former) Auckland Transport Alignment Project calls for a crosstown mass transit option

One such option for providing that could be Harriets idea of a crosstown light rail line.

Crosstown LRT option – Stage 2

Of course, it’s not just about me getting to Manukau on Saturday. Every day thousands of people descend on Manukau from all over Auckland, including many from West Auckland. For example, Stats NZ Commuter View, which looks at journey to work data from the 2013 census shows that while most workers in the Manukau area come from nearby, a lot are coming from other parts of Auckland.

Ultimately, if we want PT to be used by a lot more people, which we do, then we have to make it more competitive with driving. That doesn’t mean it needs to be exactly as fast as driving off-peak, but it shouldn’t be three times slower either.

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168 comments

  1. That bus station reminds me a lot of intercity coach stations that you see overseas (could be a new home for those services?). Definitely not a place for frequent through running bus services. I think AT’s biggest issue is frequency. There is very little turn up and go freedom, which I really miss after living in/visiting other countries.

    1. It reminds me of the new Christchurch bus station. That also has a departure-lounge environment and saw-tooth berthing. And when I arrived there recently on an Intercity bus it just dropped everyone outside in the street.

      Matt, I suspect you are right that these places are designed by people who have no idea of the nuances of public transport operation and usage. That’s the problem with NZ being a country with a very atrophied culture of public transport use.

      1. Jeez, it probably adds 10 seconds to a bus journey. So far the Christchurch Interchange seems to be working just fine. More importantly it allows considerably more buses to be efficiently located and accessed within a limited space; try accessing (and transferring between) 16 buses easily otherwise, while still keeping people out of live bus lanes.

    2. My thoughts as well. It looks like where you might wait for a Greyhound bus. Or where you wait for coach tours in Brisbane.

  2. One of my main concerns, about the sawtooth bus stops not being practical for through routed services, is also now being borne out with the operational plan showing that some key bus routes won’t even stop at the station but use nearby streets instead. It’s like no one bothered to ask (or listen to) the people tasked with running the buses.

    That is because AT never listened to 67% of submitters who were either negative or neutral to the designs saying
    1) Poor layout
    2) Poor functionality

    And they were right with two of the busses stopping on Davis Avenue rather than the bus station itself as the station can not handle through busses

    Vanity over functionality

      1. Define works?

        You could say it works if you don’t mind (1) passengers being delayed by 5mins every time they travel past the station and (2) increasing your OPEX for these routes by 5-10%.

        Fewer passengers and higher opex = win?!?

        1. 5 minutes? We’re talking about seconds of extra time to reverse out, while allowing for a much smaller footprint for the same number of bus stops.

      2. Christchurch before the earthquake was drive through a building. Soon after the earthquake it was drive through a central block.

        1. Christchurch now is sawtooth, which I think is stupid.

          The old bus exchange was a better design but the new one is nicer in appearance.

          1. Chch previously had nine stops in the Exchange, and a bus couldn’t leave if the bus in front was still there (or access a front stop if a bus behind was still there). They also couldn’t accommodate bikes on racks out front – no spare room. And if you had to transfer between buses on different platforms you had to go upstairs over the bus lanes and come back downstairs.

            The new Interchange has 16 stops in an efficient footprint. It is minimal distance to walk from one bus to another (including mobility impaired). All for extra seconds to back out (and there is room for this away from other circulating buses).

    1. Sawtooth works in Hamilton and Hamburg…is that just some smart ass at AT with alliterative imagination? I assume Hamburg Central is the central station so plenty of dead end bus routes, and Hamilton is a dead end as far as most JAFAs are concerned; but Manukau, while perhaps being the southernmost “hub”, seems to have Auckland in all directions. Even the pathetic excuse for an intercity terminal at sky city doesn’t have sawtooth bays, which make far more sense in a regional setup. Is this actually a sneaky way of moving the intercity terminal to Manukau?

      1. Well, Hamburg’s Central Bus Station is only for long distance coaches. I’ve never seen a sawtooth design for urban bus stations anywhere in Germany.

  3. Shades of Parnell train station. Glad to hear dwell times have been targeted for improvement but cross-town services are going to be a major component of the ‘turn up and go’ door to door service if we want it to be a serious option for people.

    1. Yes. When it takes over 2 hours to get from a fairly central suburb (Pt Chev) to a fairly important venue (Manukau Sports Bowl) for a city-wide event (Polyfest) that’s the sign of a poorly-planned city. Presumably similar PT times for people living in Manukau to visit Pasifika at Western Springs Park.

      Meanwhile Council turns a blind eye to parking provided by the local schools for all these sorts of events, as if the damage done to those school fields is just part and parcel of what we have to do to allow people to drive when PT isn’t good enough. (Schools are in general permitted only to provide parking for their own events.)

  4. We had a couple of weeks in Christchurch last month and found their central bus station very useful and pleasant. If you are changing buses, or waiting for a bus, it is nice to have somewhere to sit in a safe environment. The station was clean and well lt. It had toilets, security, and a cafe. With a supermarket adjacent, you could break your journey, do a bit of light Quaxing, and hop back on the next bus. Also, we do that Western Line to Manukau journey intermittently and we don’t go via Britomart. Change at Newmarket and again at Puhinui.

      1. They do if you want to fit 16 bays in the same space and allow easy access to all of them without crossing live bus lanes.

  5. It’s going to be very interesting to watch how the sawtooth design works in practice.
    I was in favour of extending the sawtooth design to making at least most of the bays being drive through with the “waiting” area above the platforms with escalators etc connecting the platforms to the “waiting” area.
    I guess time will tell just how back it is in operation, but I feeling it’s going to be an insurance company’s nightmare.

    1. I can see that being mighty efficient if you’re rushing to transfer between buses, especially if you are less mobile…

    2. It’s nice for the waiting area/access aspect. Of course especially today there was a lot of staff directing drivers & cautiously slow reversing bus movements going on. They would hold some back while others were reversing nearby.

  6. Matt, a basic premise of ATs customer focus plan is the assumption, that no one in Te Atatu will ever visit Manukau. You are expected to be Britomart centric, travelling to downtown Auckland. That is why many of us in the south find the public transport planning a shambles. Tough luck you want to go elsewhere mate, say cross town. And Ben is right the consultation process is a sham. I have no confidence that Phil Twyford will make any major changes….

  7. Someone should build a motorway connecting Onehunga with the southern motorway at Mt Wellington. That would speed things up.

    1. Got some well-modelled travel time estimates to show it would? 🙂 I guess the idea might make a bit of money for those in road construction… and for those in bad transport analysis…

  8. What I really don’t understand about the Manukau bus station is the fact that it has a signalised road severing the connection to the train station. Surely if you are promoting an integrated network you don’t slap a road between the two different modes? I guess I’ll never understand AT’s silo mentality or their obsession with prioritising motorised transport.

    1. You can thank Len Brown for that. He didn’t want to stump up the extra money to take the line under Davies Ave.
      Check out the piddly glass canopy over the street that’s supposed to shelter commuters from the rain – it’s absolutely useless.

      1. LOL hardly a Len Brown decision on that one – More like a Quax and other councillors continuously trying to cut funding from it

        1. It was Len Brown who said “so it makes sense to have the station stop at Davies Ave and not spend an extra $10 million”.

  9. How did the buslanes around the Manukau Station pan out, Matt? Did the differences between Walking and Cycling and Traffic Engineering get resolved?

  10. Train speeds and dwell times are embarrassing!
    Recently visited Vancouver and timed the dwell times on the Skytrain to 20 seconds or less. There was no rush and 20 seconds even seemed like a long time.
    Even more sarc/ **astonishing** was that everyone travelled comfortably and safely with no train managers on board. Hell it doesn’t even have a driver!!

    Our trains need to operate faster, accelerate faster, and dwell shorter. The aim should be to cut 5 minutes off each line.

    1. +1

      Skytrain in Vancouver is fully driverless.

      It can auto scale to use only one carriage at off peak but keeping high frequency.
      At peak it can use more carriages.

      This is the best system for mid population cities. If our train can be semi-autonomous we may be able to achieve that.

  11. How is it not faster to change to a southern line train at New Market? Is it because the southern line does not go to Manukau?

    1. That is correct. Southern line stations travel south from Puhinui and do not go to Manukau. However, the fastest route from the west would have been to get off at Newmarket, take the next southbound Southern Line train, get off and transfer to an Eastern Line service at Otahuhu or Puhinui.

      The original poster’s decision to go via Britomart is a time waster. Get to know the PT system and you’ll soon discover the quickest ways.

      1. Unfortunately that still involves very long PT trips. My son takes 1.5 hours by PT to get from North Shore Music Theatre home to Pt Chev after shows in the evening. That’s a 22 minute journey by car.

      2. That’s not true. The trains only run every half hour on Saturday, and, as mentioned, the Eastern line is faster than the Southern.

        He would have had to spend about 20 minutes longer waiting for trains, and would have arrived more than half an hour later than going through Britomart.

        If you want to discover the quickest ways, try using the Journey Planner.

          1. Yep – Saturday / Sunday services – miserable if you are on a direct route from A to B, made even worse if you do have to transfer!
            I’m surprised it’s opening on a weekend that train services are actually running!

        1. I agree. And you can’t expect people making trips that are unusual to them to “get to know the network”. Perfectly reasonable to use the planner route in this instance, which i think 99% of people would do in the same situation.

          1. And there’s something to be said for making sure the fastest route during a weekday is also the fastest route you’d take during the weekend or in the evening. For this, of course, we’d need much better frequency in the evenings and weekends.

        2. I just looked for a weekday at *peak* service time doing that journey and it’s 1:26 at best with the two transfers (via Newmarket) not much better surprisingly. Interestingly the return trip on the *weekend* is virtually the same 1:27 via Newmarket.

    2. This is where journey planners fall short. I frequently travel between Manukau and Fruitvale Road taking only around 1h03m including transfers somewhere on the Southern Line (e.g. Papatoeoe) and Newmarket. I typically take the 0700 ex Manukau, changing at Puhinui and Newmarket, for arrival at Fruitvale Road at 0803. However the journey planner often omit this option, preferring to suggest travelling all the way to Britomart and transferring to the Western Line there. I’ve tried various planning softwares (Google, etc) and they’re all pretty bad at working our the best connections. Even AT’s own journey planner doesn’t handle this very well either. I suspect the journey planner softwares avoids transfers where the time between trains is only a few minutes in favour of ‘safer’ transfers. AT should add in some sort of exception to their journey planner to recommend better connections (bypassing the horrid suggestions the engine often comes up with).

  12. Hence why I only use PT during commuting hours where I dont need to transfer and is close to my destination. Outside of those conditions, it is mostly useless.

  13. AT are a joke in terms of improving travel times. I live in Half Moon Bay and used to bus to work in Newmarket. It used to take around 45-50 minutes each day on a direct bus 3 minutes walk from my house, however they rejigged the routes this year so now it takes at least 1 1/2 hours! I need to walk 25 minutes to the nearest bus stop(!!), catch a bus to Panmure, then transfer to another bus to Newmarket. Suffice to say I now drive.

    1. When I lived in Pakuranga a few years back it would often take me 60-90 mins on the bus to the CBD (and I lived closer to the CBD than you in Half Moon Bay!). The current service where people can bus a short route only as far as Panmure and transfer on to a fast train to town seems a big improvement for CBD-bound passengers (which I assume makes up the bulk of passengers). For Newmarket-bound passengers, I wonder if busing to Ellerslie and transferring to the train would be quicker?

  14. For so long I have been reading articles that refer to Auckland’s “rapid” transport. This article supports my view that while we do have an improving PT system, it certainly isn’t rapid. A combination of rail gauge, tight corners and other engineering features mean that Auckland rail is unlikely to ever be rapid. If memory serves me right even Robbies much vaunted rapid rail called for a gauge change and didn’t include the chicanes approaching Britomart.
    Even with so called rapid buses, the Northern Busway runs into the regular road at Onewa Road, so must crawl across the harbour bridge with all other traffic.
    Ferries are the other component of the PT trifecta. But their frequency and costs (e.g. it is cheaper to bus from Birkenhead via Onewa Road and harbour bridge to downtown than ferry across the uncluttered harbour) mean that on many routes they are not competitive as currently set up.
    We do have an improving PT system, I expect that the CRL will further improve it, I am yet to be convinced about trams down Dominion Rd, but rapid it certainly isn’t.

    1. Graham, I was about to add a comment but reading yours there is no need. +1.
      I would have thanked Matt for an honest article. I wish there was a magic bullet to solve this issue but short of a time machine I can’t think of one.

    2. Rail gauge is irrelevant. A hypothetical increase in gauge would do nothing to make the trains more rapid.
      Decreasing the duration and frequency of stops, improving the signalling system, decreasing conflicting movements and improving turnout geometry will make the trains more rapid.

  15. Just goes to show our transit systems are not built from the ground up to be fast or upgradable.
    For example the busway extension to albany is slapped on the side of a new motorway connection between 18 and 1.
    Buses will need to chug up a hill to get to a bridge to cross the motorway to get to the park n ride on the other side….
    I think the busway should cross the motorway at Greville Rd.

    1. Buses already do 80km/h up that hill now, why would it be any different if the hill is a busway instead of a motorway?

      1. Yes but this is the kind of thinking that that gets us s*** transit in Auckland.
        I came up that hill from oteha valley on ramp, I had the window down and I tell you what, it stinks.
        To get up to 80kmph before the motorway I had my foot planted, the truck and most other cars also. You can see the smoke pluming.
        You can’t help but think that this bit of motorway produces more pollution then a small coal fired plant or any heavy industry factory.
        Those new double decker buses are still new and will happily climb that hill, give it a few years.
        I would like to see any future bus or light rail rapidly accelerate to 100 or 120km h from Albany station and quickly stop at constellation station and so on.

        1. The speed limit on the actual busway is only 80km/h. To speed up PT I’d like to see this increased to 100km/h and for buses to be allowed to travel this fast on the busway. Give a capacity increase for next to no cost (possibly a saving in wages).

  16. Yes travel times for me are a massive issue. Most the time I would rather use PT as it can be less hassle but when its normally 3 to 4 times slower than taking a car it makes no sense. PT generally the moment seems to suit people who work/ study in the CBD, are time rich eg pensioners or have no car. It needs a far more wider appeal than that.

      1. Yes. Bus lanes, bus stops where routes intersect not hundreds of metres apart, road closures to the private car, removal of car parks. And that’s before we start on the actual timetabling and number of bus and train services…

        1. The sad thing is that even though the bus lanes can significantly help with reliability and frequency (by reducing the time bus takes to cover the route) it takes forever to get them installed. AT is absolutely terrified of removing even 1 parking spot, not to mention installing a bus lane where multiple general traffic lanes exist.

          1. And parking is the only thing they will usually consider taking. Not flush medians, or traffic lanes, or creating a one-way network. Sometimes the parking is the better thing to retain because it co-exists with street trees. Bow to the Traffic God.

          2. Ha. They can try, but an angry mob will appear out of the woodworks with pitchforks and torches, and will make short work of any such plan.

            The last time I remember a major proposal which would cut back on parking on the Shore was at what will be the terminus of Skypath.

            It didn’t end well: https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/takes-safe-northcote-safe-cycle-route/

            If you read the related stories it will become clear that a large amount of time and money was spent fighting off these plans.

          3. What do you think is required, Roeland, to get AT to take consistent steps to improve PT? Is it a charismatic leader, legislative mandate, public education, tactical urbanism beyond the legal limits, or international pressure on climate change commitments? Or something else I haven’t thought of?

            The longer we leave the situation this dire, the more misery our kids will suffer. I’m kind of over being polite.

          4. Good question, and I have to admit I really don’t know.

            In this example there was this thing called the “Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society”. Who are they? What do they have to gain? Are they astroturfing for someone? One of the voices opposing the improved design for that street was the Health Minister himself.

            These stories are so strange I don’t know what to make of it. I suspect part of the answer is to be more like a democracy, rather than the plutocracy we have now.

  17. One other thing this highlights – we do NOT want Auckland to get any physically larger. It is hard enough to service with PT the land footprint we have now. We should have some sort of rule that all new major trip attractors (say employment > 500) or big residential developments, must be built within 500 metres of rapid transit. Such rules have been implemented in Toronto, and it leads to developers lobbying for transit funding, a major shift for the better in the politics of this issue.

    And yes, we should make PT faster! Train dwell times should be public enemy no1.

    1. +1 But we’ve lost that one, Puppet. Same old mindset has ensured that Auckland and car dependency can just keep on growing. Loss of biodiversity is now as big a threat to our survival as climate change is, and yet our planning is exacerbating both.

    2. Good luck convincing Phil “Chinese Sounding Names” Twyford to do that. Dude’s only concern is to build houses and stop certain people from buying them. How, where and at what cost that happens? Not Twyford’s problem. We don’t need onions, Paerata is for sure within 45 minutes of Auckland’s CBD and sprawl is only bad when National creates it.

      Twyford’s got to go. How people think and the conclusions they have in one area, very rarely fail to lend insights to how they think about other problems.

    3. “What do you think is required, Roeland, to get AT to take consistent steps to improve PT”
      Here are my thoughts. While it is useful to voice you thoughts on this blog largely you are speaking to the converted. Write to your local board and councilors showing them that there is a different view to what they often hear. Ask things using the OIA. Join a political party. Write to your MP or the Minister concerned. People take notice. I have never had so many hits on Linked In as I do currently.
      There is much to be learned from the actions of Penny Bright, the squeaky wheel gets some oil. (I am even thinking of changing my name by deed poll to Penny Slightymore-Bright.)
      This week I informed AT that I would make a complaint to the Ombudsman about AT’s lack of adherence to their operating procedures. Within hours I had a response and the offer of a meeting within days.
      Use the processes that are there to try and make a difference.

  18. I had a meeting in Manukau yesterday. I thought about biking to Penrose and taking the train, but realised that there was only one line servicing Manukau. The closest stop for the Southern in Puhunui.

    Is not ways it’s not logically as Manukau is and will be a major metro location for it to be a spur/deadend line.

    I ended up driving as I didn’t have the time window to bike+train or just bike direct. Both would taken about the same time. Parking is still relatively easy in downtown Manukau, so that’s not a time factor consideration.

  19. “AT are promising improvements in the next timetable due to be implemented in August.”

    Improvement… By how much?

    I remembered the last timetable improvement is 1-3 minutes over the whole hour journey… Such a lackluster progress…

  20. You are bang on. Unless you have a direct link with public transport, it is slow. I recently sacrificed a domestic flight to get my wife and baby on it, and with some spare time decided to ride the 380 back to Onehunga, then train into the city. It took near enough to two hours. The 380 is a famously roundabout route so that is why sensible people use the skybus, but $4 versus $18 sometimes on a tight budget can be a factor. I work at place where everybody drives, and my argument to use public transport is weak given that most commutes would be 1.5 hours plus. The airport lines are urgent as is the Onehunga Avondale. How much not with your family, not at work time is lost in a commute? You cannot put a value on that, but it is GAZILLIONS. These projects need to start now. Long term is not good enough.

      1. Growing up in south central and now living central means the thought did not cross my mind. But thank you for suggestion, I imagine it would be!

  21. That’s to be expected after investing a couple of billions in a cross-town motorway, but not investing in cross-town rapid transit.

    A few thoughts when looking a bit closer:

    On that map with strategic PT, this journey will have 3 transfers: New Lynn, Penrose and Puhinui, so I don’t think it will be much faster. PT to Manukau will be forever crippled for not being “on the way”.

    Our trains may be slow, but not “horrendously slow”. 30 to 40 km/h is on par with metro systems overseas.

    And anyway, parking will be limited, in Manukau? How is that possible, I thought literally half of Manukau is parking?

    1. “30 to 40 km/h is on par with metro systems overseas.”

      In city centre where stations are 300m apart… yes

      For suburban lines, this is not the case. In Tokyo it is much faster.

      We should aim to benchmark our-self to the best system.
      Otherwise we just give our self excuse for poor performance.

      1. Nope, London achieves those sort of average speeds on must of the tube, where stops are typically a mile apart. Very few metros have stops anything like 300m apart.

    2. Half of Manukau is indeed parking but the problem is that it is often full because it is so damn cheap. And why is it so damn cheap? Because AT built the huge Ronwood Avenue car park; most likely in contravention of the requirements of their parking strategy (although I am not sure what that was then); but absolutely ahead of any current demand at the time. The result is that they had to slash car park prices and as a consequence so too probably did every other car park owner in Manukau.

      $14m empty carpark – that you paid for – NZ Herald
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz › New Zealand
      Nov 13, 2012 – The building has been called a “dog” by councillor Dick Quax and lauded by Mayor Len Brown as a transformational project for the Manukau community – few of whom are using it. When the Herald visited yesterday, the top two levels of the seven-storey Ronwood Ave carpark were empty and there were …

      And as Matt has said, now that Ronwood is consistently full AT is required to lift prices (yes, required, because that’s what there Parking Strategy says).

      And even though Ronwood was an absolutely rubbish idea (currently a 0.6% return on assets – yep better off never to have built it and derived the same revenue from the empty piece of dirt) AT are about to embark on the same lunacy on the gasometer site in Takapuna. What am I missing?

      1. Confidentiality. But I tell you what, Taka-ite. I was about to give up on something and you’ve inspired me. AT, “confidentiality” is not a good enough answer when you’re just not following your own Parking Strategy. You’ll be hearing from me.

  22. I have just spent over a week in Tokyo and used their fantastic metro system every day.
    Most of the Tokyo lines actually use the same gauge as NZ (1067mm) but still seem to manage much higher speeds than us. I occasionally rode behind the drivers cab where I could see the speedo – typically up to 70km/h reached between stops with very fast acceleration and deceleration at stations. Interestingly, the dwell times were often around 45 seconds.

    1. Top speed ≠ average speed. I think the main difference is that journeys typically are a lot shorter over there. How often did you need to go somewhere 30 km away?

    2. In Tokyo, when I use google map and compare driving and using train. The train sometimes is faster than driving.

      I have noticed Tokyo suburban train routes generally have very high average speed. They travel 80kmh-110kmh and dwell time is minimal. Some express train stops every 5 stations and travel non-stop for 100kmh for 5-10km

      Train in japan is so much faster than Auckland, even faster than driving on Motoway.

  23. The issue here is the distance. Even if there was a New Lynn – Onehunga -Penrose (or via the Airport) link to Manukau that was rapit – in our context rapid means reaching about 40km/h on average the distance is still about 33km. Plus some transfer times (assuming 2 transfers, with 5 minutes wait times) that’s already 1h.

    So that’s the theory. In practice it’s much worse due to general lack of ‘rapit’ options on most routes. My daily commute is about 17.5km one way (Te Atatu Peninsula to Newmarket). In absolutely perfect conditions, with minimal traffic this trip takes (on 2 buses) about 45minutes (which means that the average speed is around 23km/h). On average is anywhere between 1h and 1h15min, which means that the speed is about 14-17.5km/h). On a bad day – 1h30m and above which means that the average speed is about 11.5km/h.

    That’s why most people see PT as slow. And on top of that it’s really unreliable and infrequent (for Te Atatu Peninsula that means a bus every hour past 7pm)

    Those things can be addressed but the key is to have a network of truly rapid (ie. with complete right of way) intersecting PT corridors. At this stage even CFN 2.0 doesn’t give us anything near useful.

  24. Many many improvements needed for the ‘rapid’ rail services.
    1: Dwell times
    2: Approaching station speed / exiting speeds
    3: Track repairs
    4: Frequencies esp off peak/weekend
    5: 3rd and 4th mainline

  25. If you think that’s slow, my Dominion road bus from 143 May Road Mt Roskill to Civic Centre takes 44 minutes to travel 8.1km at 11km/hr. Mostly on dedicated bus lanes (and where it isn’t, it damn well should be). Probably the second busiest bus route in the country, could do better couldn’t it?

  26. Agree with Manukau being over the top look wise & precludes development over the top of it.

    On the positive it may attract non PT users to start using PT. If we didn’t use the sawtooth design, then it would certainly take a lot more footprint up or allows for less use in the future. Perhaps these higher frequency buses were always intended to be running through close to the train station. I think it will be a pleasant place to wait in, especially in bad or hot weather with the slower frequency buses. It will have natural ventilation & light.
    Way finding will be easy for newer users also – just find your bay number.

    Interestingly I think the regional buses will be mainly using outside with a waiting area near the east entrance…I can see the panic of people running out to catch buses now. This is the opposite of what we would want if you ask me with bigger wait times etc. Double deckers (a lot of Mana and some Intercity) would not fit in the bays either it seems, what if we wanted to upgrade some routes in the future to double decker runs?

    Also be interesting to see how much cycle parking is provided, old plans didn’t show the detail on that from what I could tell.

    Anyway that’s my 2c worth on the station. Agree we just need faster PT across the region. I’ll be catching, (from Mt Wellington) with some of my family, a southern train via car P&R somewhere & transfering to get there considering local PT on weekend in central is still the old putty system & you are not really meant to P&R at Sylvia Park (plus super horrible carwise most weekends). I could drive & park somewhere near the back of the Otahuhu station is another option & save on one fare zone! Can’t quite bring myself to drive all the way even though it would probably be cheaper & pretty much faster

    1. I had an email from Mana Bus tkis morning stating that they will be moving from outside Manukau town centre to the new Bus Terminal from Sunday and tey will be using Bays 1-7 so there is one of the 1st Intercity to be using it

    2. OK yes, thanks (visited at peak this morning & talked to someone from AT etc) and seems double deckers will fit under as they are not as high as I was thinking (lower floors are set lower etc). Watched a couple of Mana buses use it. If I listened correctly apparently Intercity will be soon be using those bays also once they modify the gates as some of their newer buses have the luggage doors in a different position than other models & the Mana ones. I was looking at some old out of date blurry plan which showed Naked buses differently.

      Other impressions were that at that morning time the sun glare was pretty bad coming into the station so made things a bit harder to see etc. Way finding was all pretty good bar the extra smaller entrance closest to the train station had the door out of action.

      Coffee good at Jamaica Blue, though think only offer a takeaway cup 😉

      I suspect they may need more toilets in the future at the train station side, especially given they are all single occupant ones & it’s near the cafe!

      Crossing phase to and from train station seems pretty quick for peds.

  27. Simple solution really, have a car and use public transport at the same time. Auckland Public Transport has been so bad I haven’t seen any improvements in the past 20 years. But the previous National Government did a really good job with their roads and I wish they were still in power now to push through some more cross town projects e.g. the EW link rather than putting $2 billion towards PT, the effects of which we will never see because they are spend on building a rail line from Hutt South to Nelson or something ridiculously regional like that.

    1. Well a lot of Aucklanders have seen a big improvement in the past 20 years even if you haven’t. Check out the PT usage graphs trending inexorably upwards. 20 million rail passengers reached last year, up from 1 million or so in the 1990s. Where have you been all this time?

      And that’s in spite of PT being held back by the slowness issues raised in this post.

      1. Playing devil’s advocate here a bit.
        Don’t get me wrong those are great things to have, but there are vast areas of the city where none of those things made an ounce of difference. Only from my personal experiences:
        – NW Auckland – New network introduced more direct routes, but with no interchanges, no bus lanes. Traffic has increased significantly over the last few years making the whole idea of using PT a joke
        – Dominion road – should be a prime PT corridor, yet you can almost walk faster (I wouldn’t dare to cycle here) at peak
        – East Auckland – Same as NW, lack of bus priority is really killing it.

        If you have a second look at those graphs showing growth you’ll see that it’s only happening on the ‘rapid’ corridors. The ‘regular’ buses stagnated. Those not lucky enough to live near a rapid corridor are left with no choice – driving is only getting worse by the day, but the PT is yet even worse, as it’s unreliable and more indirect.
        Clearly people are capable of making good choices for themselves and given and actual alternative they quickly choose it en-masse, but for many areas there’s simply no choice at all.

        1. That’s entirely fair. I think Labour have also done a really poor job of communicating that they will be spreading rapid transit to areas that don’t currently have it (East, NW, SW, central isthmus/the void).

  28. “Auckland Public Transport has been so bad I haven’t seen any improvements in the past 20 years.”

    Double tracking;
    Electrification;
    Britomart;
    The Northern Busway;
    Panmure and Otahuhu interchanges;
    The new network;
    Integrated fares and ticketing;
    Double deckers;
    Almost all of the city’s bus lanes;

    Theproblem is that National poured all of our money into wasteful motorways for the last ten years so we are still chasing our tail and, like you said, still forced to spend thousands of dollars a year on a car.

    1. And spending all that money on roads simply continued the sprawl and the car dependency, resulting in areas without good PT, as Pshem describes.

      What’s totally mad is allowing any growth of the city’s footprint, which will make the whole situation worse, with more areas too sparsely developed to support good PT.

      Casper, our children can’t afford more roads. I would hope that even National would do differently when they are next in power. Forlorn hope, perhaps…

      1. Don’t agree. Spending money on roads and continuing sprawl is exactly the way to go. If 3 bed homes on quarter acre sections is what people prefer then so be it. Car ownership is independance from inconvenient and slow PT, more so when getting snywhere involves multiple transfers and stations/terminals distances away from start and destination points.
        Although, I’d ban diesel engined ptivate transport, require buses trucks vans etc to become hybrid or electric within a few years and cars soon thereafter. Also get the rail system all electric and make rail priority for bulk freight movement between regions.

        1. Hmmm… even if such a move has meant that our children will have commute times that research shows lead to higher suicide rates and higher marriage breakdown rates? Even if such a move has meant that the city is so spread apart you often have to use a car even if you don’t want to? And if you can’t – because you’re too young, say, or disabled in some way – then sod off, you can just have a limited life? Even if it means our harbours are more polluted from road runoff and our climate is changing even faster from all the emissions? And even if the consequences of such planning has now caught up with the majority of Aucklanders, who see the congestion growing, and want PT?

          Mike, I don’t want you deciding for my kids, because it looks like you’re focused on the quarter acre paradise myth and the car is independence myth. Listen to what the young people are saying; they want PT, they want quality apartments, close amenities, and an accessible and sustainable city. Sprawl doesn’t, and can’t provide that. People who want a house on a quarter acre have plenty of places to choose, and plenty of sleepy towns to move to if they want. They can stop filling my lungs with their emissions and making my neighbourhood too dangerous for my kids to cycle.

          1. But the point of this post is that car transport doesn’t havea monopoly on hugely ridiculous commute times. If we just tax the only alternative to a shit public transport system into oblivion, you haven’t improved anyone’s life. This post is one of the best posts on Greater Auckland in a while; PT isn’t really a serious option for a lot of trips and I’m not sure how a 2 hour commute on PT is any better mentally for you than a 2 hour commute in car.

          2. I don’t disagree. The point is that from where we’re at, the solution involves intensification and road reallocation to PT. There is no solution to be found in building more roads and sprawl.

          3. I think we have broader social problems which will mean sprawl is inevitable even if not ideal. So then the conversation becomes “if we have to have sprawl, how do we fix it so it can still mean fewer SOV kilometres travelled”. The Mt Albert development shows what level of transport infra is needed to make a development have a legitimately transport free option, so let’s not accept anything less across the whole city. Then we can have our intensification cake and eat it too, and probably get far more buy-in from Nimbys once they can see the visible new services in their area.

          4. In the 40’s the housing shortage had both short term and long term solutions. Then, the short term solutions included tent cities. With more resources at our disposal today (there should be, anyway, after the fossil party we’ve had in the interim) we should be able to set up good quality temporary housing at a massive scale. Tiny houses, caravans, with great shared amenities, etc. Then the longer term solutions can be approached with less haste, and without playing into the hands of the road construction lobby.

            More buy-in from Nimbys is definitely an ideal outcome of doing intense development well. Fingers crossed about Unitec. Very concerned to hear people suggesting Carrington Rd should be widened, for example, when the answer might be actually reducing general traffic amenity along there.

          5. Heidi, agree that emissions from cars/trucks etc are a serious issue that needs resolving now. Good news is that we seem to be slowly moving towards electric power. Those electric huses now operating between university campus are hopefully the way all PT buses will go. Its the SOV diesels that are the worst, those SUV monsters. I’m amused by that Mitsubishi Cross SUV ad on TV that is obviously a diesel polluter when they state its good for the environment as it more efficient. Sort of sounds like a pop being betterfor your health because it has only 13 teaspoons of sugar perdrink instead of 14.
            I believe your children and mine should not be condemmed to a future city housing consisting of high density, small area, boxy apartments just because that suits transport availability.
            Choice is what I want. Sprawl is ok, it provides a housing option.

          6. The question what about children in apartments is a good one, anyone who thinks otherwise can go to Victoria park and walk to the place where the Sugartree apartments are being built. Try not to get killed on Cook Street.

            Not that it can’t be solved, one can walk few blocks to Myers Park and look around.

        2. Urban sprawl is a demerit good which represents a serious threat to economic and ecological sustainability. In the shorter term it creates negative environmental. economic, health and financial outcomes. There are massive harms associated with urban sprawl and its track record at solving housing crises is… not good.

          (To clarify, sprawl creates run-off, spreads people apart so the same level of provision requires more provision nodes, eats up land which should be used better than as housing, ultimately creates high priced homes, creates unhealthily long commutes, lowers quality of life measures through traffic inducement, etc. etc. etc.)

          Public transport can be very, very slow. I had to go into town on the full strike day and between the 33 and the 321 (even ignoring the cop car which blocked the entrance to Manurewa to pull over some random mum) took forever. And that’s a straight line journey where I was lucky enough to not have to wait for the next 321 (it could have gone either way). But look at the reason that journey took forever.

          Effectively no-where in South Auckland has serious bus lanes. There are probably some but I don’t recall any. There aren’t T3 lanes either which in practice are quasi-bus lanes because the idea of three people in a vehicle is absurd in practice. As a consequence, you’re exposed to traffic for the entire run along main roads (the 33 is pretty exclusively on the Great South Road, for instance). But is this an inherent part of catching public transport? No, it’s not. We know bus lanes generally work. We know trips exposed to congestion are slowed.

          Naturally, having to stop to pick up passengers slowed us down as well. I mean, obviously, one usually doesn’t stop every couple of minutes to pick up passengers when driving, right? This is always going to add in some time… even if the driver zoomed by anywhere which had several people at the bus stop (there wasn’t room as you may have guessed). Which is to say, full services effectively make a journey slower… for some people it forces them to wait until the next service adding in an effective transfer time of whatever frequency +/- traffic effects.

          How about the things which didn’t make the journey slow? I live within an easy walk of a 33 stop so getting to the station was a cinch. It was all very convenient, actually. And the transfer between the 33 and the 321 was not so long (provided you went to Otahuhu Train Station… you made your transfer longer by piling off at the Town Centre, and I think some of these people couldn’t get on the 321).

          So, what are some generalisable lessons from all this?

          * Infrastructure provision affects travel time (execution, not concept, i.e. enc).
          * Network provision factors can induce effective transfer times (enc) as well as service-level congestion (low resilience forces an auxiliary service like the 321 to do grunt work; enc).
          * Proximity to public transport options enhances the viability of public transport (this is enc but due to the level of integration between urban form and public transport).
          * Passenger behaviour’s influence over perception can hasten or slow their experience of the network (this is enc because it’s ultimately a customer service issue even though it stems from things feeling longer when you’re aimlessly waiting).
          * Having to stop to pick up others induces time costs which a private transport option typically lacks (concept, not execution).

          I see nothing here which necessarily robs public transport of independence. Ignoring that car dependency is a thing really isn’t helpful and just conceals deeper truths. Independence is about not being beholden to how city planners want you to experience the city. It’s not about driving yourself. It’s not even about isolation from other city-users (clearly city-users exist if sprawl is a demerit good). Let’s use an analogy from a seriously over-rated company:

          Waiting for an Uber driver is like waiting for a bus… you’re waiting for it to get to the stop. The difference is that the stop is chosen specifically by you for your maximum convenience… and the route the bus is travelling on before it gets to your stop is not pre-planned and publicised. I often say Uber’s a taxi company, but the way it thinks about itself (and uses exogenous funding to subsidise trips) is actually very bus company.

        3. People don’t want quarter acre sections. Show me a subdivision in Auckland that is delivering quarter acre sections?

          The market has done the opposite and removed all the existing quarter acre sections.

          1. Yes, and we haven’t been given enough different environments to be able to say that the market is reflecting people’s choices. There’s been no opportunity to buy in a suburb with the transport infrastructure that I want, so there’s been no opportunity to vote with my money.

          2. Ok, maybe not quarter acre but some space for garden or at home property outdoor activities. Likely that everyone has a different home preference, many may prefer the high density housing tower in city or apartment flat or room next to rapid PT.
            But to have proximity to PT as a main plank in deciding housing type and density is only taking account of those who see commuting to a business district or the CBD as essential to their lifestyle. I can see that many more families, dinkies up will prefer more than a teeny 40sqM concrete box in CBD or striding RT.
            The sprawled 400 to 1000sqM section with single/2 level dwelling with garden etc appeals to many. There is something naturally good about cooking in kitchen while watching kiddiwinkles happy play outside in fenced safe section getting fresh air amongst greenery and exposed to nature…
            Isn’t that betterer than in the xth floor of a dense vertical housing project?

          3. Plenty of houses available in that size range, Mike. Often filled with people who would prefer to move out, leave the too-large garden to someone who wants it, and move into an apartment in the midst of a walkable neighbourhood.

            Keep providing suburban houses on the outskirts, and no-one gets what they want – the walkable neighbourhoods can’t develop, because there’s not enough density and there are too many commuters driving through them, and the suburban dream home myth turns to nightmare because the commute is too long, and there aren’t enough things to do locally without having to drive.

            This weekend my littlest kiddiwinkle has spent hours up trees, either harvesting olives or retrieving a lost budgie several times until eventual success. Of course, “getting fresh air amongst greenery and exposed to nature” is even better if it’s in a community garden or park, where there is company and the work is shared.

            I tried valium last year. Wouldn’t want to be a 50’s housewife if that’s all they had instead of social connection… 🙂

          4. Heidi, I think that long before your utopia of high density walkable neighbourhoods become the norm there will be significant changes in the need for suburb commuting to a city centre. This rush hour mania may eventually become less significant as work patterns change away from the 9 to 5 norm. ! I often wonder what the future for city street retail will be as now we see online shopping is forcing closures. Perhaps downtowns will become entertainment places, perhaps workplaces will become distributed, more from home telecommuting if even only or one or two days per week.
            Now if we could get some laws to remove banks, insurance companies, lawyers and associated bloodsuckers all removed from Cbd, also corporate HQs and as much local govt as possible to outlier zones then I’d bet the traffic congestion would reduce. That’s part of my utopia, a city centre for people to live in, be entertained in, enjoy

    1. It’s a Saturday with poor frequencies so it would be no faster and less convenient than going to Britomart.

      Out of interest, I just had a look at how long it takes at weekday peak with 10 min frequencies by going to Newmarket and then transferring again at Puhinui. All up it would take 1:18 on the train but includes a tight transfer at Newmarket so any small delay on the Western line would cause you to miss a southern line one.

  29. There should be a sister post to this one titled Our planning just doesn’t make any sense for PT.

    Examples include: having Manukau away from the southern line, whatever reason there was to have the weird bend in the Botany to Manukau bus line, having SHZ around the proposed Dominion Road line, SHZ in the inner suburbs, and so on.

    On a smaller scale, Smales Farm is hopelessly botched up, with both the NEX station and the hospital unreachable for PT without time-consuming detours.

  30. Why would anyone wanting to take the train from west to south, go into Britomart? Newmarket is designed as a transfer point.

    This is precisely why I criticized the decision to run all Manukau trains via GI.

    Manukau should be a 50/50 split between the Eastern and the Southern, as should Papakura. Practical travel choice should always be prioritised over trying to make services look tidy on a transit map.

    1. If we had that it would effectively reduce the frequencies on both lines, you could transfer past Otahuhu, but that’s yet another transfer and delay. Having clearly identifiable routes (and destination) is important, as it makes the system easier to use. You don’t have to think about which way the train’s going to go, or where you should transfer.

      1. Pshem, I think AT propose using one colour to represent both the Southern and the Eastern lines, post-CRL, so it would look the same on a map with or without the 50/50 split. Manukau should be identified as a Southern Line station anyway, as it’s south of four other Southern stations.

        Waiting times at Newmarket are not going to be much of an issue if they just get frequencies up to 10 minutes on all lines on all days, like they should have done ages ago. Something that hasn’t happened because neither Transdev or AT want to pay for staff training to get the staff numbers up high enough. Their budget only covers training enough staff to keep up with staff who are leaving. Makes me wonder how they expect to ever boost services post-CRL

    2. with a 50/50 split of a line that only runs every half hour in total, you’d be looking at up to an hour wait to transfer at Newmarket. That would only make a slow trip even slower.

      1. I don’t see how? You would blue line to literally any red line station… and from there it would just be a matter of how far you wanted to travel. Alternatively you would blue line to red line to red line, which is only two transfers?

        1. Going by by the map Matt would have to change trains between Newmarket and Penrose then go change again between Otahuhu and Puhinui to get the link to Manukau

          1. The Red Line is one continuous and very, very long line. He would catch a blue line train to K Road, Aotea or Britomart… and then hop on a red line train to Manukau.

            Whether or not this would work out to be faster than a /two/ transfer service would depend on the specific timetable. He can even purple line to Grafton and then catch a Manukau bound red-line train, as well as red-lining to Puhinui and getting off there.

    3. Why not run Southern to West (and vice versa) trains direct via Newmarket?

      Are we that inflexible with service planning?

      1. Thats a good suggestion. Then western to city services just miss out the NM stop and reversal, instead using the west to north curve to go on to Britomart. Western to Southern stop at NM. That should reduce west to Britomart journey time by at least 10 minutes.. asap please

        1. That’s a terrible suggestion. For a number of reasons:
          – it reduces frequency on Western line for all those going to/from Britomart
          – it takes available slots away from Souther and Eastern Lines
          – transfer at Newmarket is a perfectly viable option for those that travel on that route

          1. Ok, but isn’t this similar to what CRL will do? West to NM will be on less frequent crosstown service

          2. No, with the CRL west to Newmarket will be best done with a connection between the high frequency western and southern lines.

          3. There was once a suggestion that a shuttle service operate between New Lynn and Otahuhu.
            As for a reduction of service on the Western Line, people would still be able to transfer at Newmarket to continue to Britomart.
            But I guess a lot of those changes will happen as part of the CRL

          4. Robert, what services would they transfer to? Southern line services are often reasonably full at Newmarket, they wouldn’t necessary have the room for most people to transfer from a Western line train.

            Why would we inconvenience a large number of people who go to Britomart so the relatively small number going south don’t have to transfer? What problem is it going to solve?

          5. NOt to mention the huge inconvenience for those going from the west to Newmarket, who would have their service levels slashed.

        2. Which EMUs do you propose using for this service? Are you planning on taking units from well patronised services that currently run to and from Britomart?

        3. Given there are two other services, Southern and Onehunga, that pass through Newmarket, then very few people would be inconvenienced by such a change.

    4. As a regular Newmarket/Puninui transfer passenger I reluctantly support the decision to run all Manukau trains via GI. Doing it the way AT has adopted means I make the same journey (transferring at the same stations) the same way regardless of what time I start my journey. When there are missed connections due to delays or cancellations I can always take the next connection in 10 mins. Your model has more risk (especially with missed connections—a Manukau cancellation would require a 20 minute wait rather than 10 under the AT implementation) and is more complicated to explain to new users/tourists. The only downside of the AT implementation is a few minutes wait which I don’t mind considering the overall benefits.

  31. Who remembers the old Britomart bus station where just about all outer suburban buses arrived and departed from – NZRRS to South Auckland, Passenger Transport to Otahuhu, Howick and Eastern Buses before they amalgamated, Suburban Buses and Whenuapai Buses to west Auckland, etc. It had a waiting room, toilets and rest rooms, book stalls and a host of other features, (I think there was also a shoe shop in there) and in its heyday was well kept and well used. Maybe the planners have realised that it is time to reinvent the wheel.

    1. No, I’m afraid retail and more cafes than anywhere else in a square km in Auckland was far more important than a silly bus station.

      Besides, having buses depart all over the CBD is a far more inconvenient way of doing it for the traveling public.

      Go AT!

  32. Sawtooth clearly prioritises saving kms of bus stops on public streets. Guessing there was local opposition?

    PT users don’t care how direct the route is as long as the trip is short and services are frequent, and I have my doubts that Avondale-Penrose would be popular enough to ever warrant a high frequency service.

  33. Dwell times. Since the first EMU’s went into service dwell times have been the consistent bugbear, the useless feature spoken about so often holding these machines back.

    We all know they take 5 seconds to actually be allowed to open, once the driver hits open.

    We know the trailer car doors take twice as long at least.

    And then to close takes all that time, again.

    Combine that with the mega ultra cautious ETCS that has the train crawl in and OUT of most platforms, that in turn has turned these Ferraris into nanas old Demio, you’ve got an epic fail.

    When the Onehunga service was far quicker under diesel power, you know you’ve got a problem.

    When the diesel SA’s were held up by the EMU’s (its true), you know you’ve got a problem

    But what do AT do, knowing all of this, year in year out…….Nothing. FFS!!

    1. Yes compared with the Vancouver sky train where they only slow immediately before the station (still gives about 100m+ to stop in). The doors open within 1 second of the wheels stopping. The doors are open for less than 20 seconds and about 2 seconds later the train is zooming away. For each stop this probably saves about 1 minute compared to Auckland. So in total probably saves about 15 minutes on each journey.

    2. And the reason AT does nothing about dwell times is because they are not accountable to anyone. They ignore the council, mayor and public opinion.i

    3. It feels like AT presumes people stupid / unfortunate / whatever enough to use PT are indeed stupid and require slow services so as not to be too overwhelmed or miss their stops.
      Give us the enlivening G-forces (and related efficiency) of the U-Bahn!

  34. So there are lots reasons why trains are slow and it appears it will take time, years?, for these to get sorted. What about taking another look at express services with limited stops, that can slot inbetween metro trains and use overtaking loops/wrong line running to offer, at least, a few speedy rush hour and daytime fast times.

  35. I was going to say the western line needs to be blown up and made as completely straight as possible. However, in Perth, the Fremantle line is similarly not straight but their trains are still fast.

    I reckon, as suggested by someone, all new housing developments must to be tied to new rail lines or be within 500m of existing lines. That’ll prevent urban sprawl creating new motorways as they do now.

    1. I would expect it to be closer to five minutes faster, even at 10 mins we’re probably talking about freeing up two EMUs. This would allow us to run a service every hour between Henderson and Manukau. What would be the point of that? Unless you happened to time if perfectly it would do nothing to solve the problem of getting from west to south quickly.

      In reality these EMUs would be prioritised towards existing peak services that currently only have 3-cars and are becoming overcrowded.

      1. yes I think you may be correct, any spares would get used up. Although the situation may change when the next tranche of emus that get delivered next year
        Were they not planned for the very purpose of making most 3car trains into 6car trains.? I timed a western to Britomart, the section emerging from under the newmarket road bridge to passing the points south of the triangle and it was 8 minutes 46 seconds. So I guess at least 8 minutes would be saved allowing for a west to Britomart using the north triangle curve (10 seconds?) and not stopping at Newmarket.

        1. Yes, the new tranche will allow all services to be run as 6-car units, I think they are being rolled out between 2019 and 2021.

          The saving will be less the 8 mins as you also need to account for delays as these trains will still be crossing a flat junction north of Newmarket station. If the saving is less than 10 mins then at best you will get two EMUs freed up, which would probably only allow an hourly crosstown service. This would benefit so few people it simply would not be worth running.

          1. So saving two six car units or possibly three units would be four or six 3car emus. Just nice to do a 20 minute crosstown that could slot in between some of the 10 minute western to Britomart services..

  36. For a fast PT, 7 levels are required.

    1) “True Public Transport” must include a “full coverage” network of services (on-demand, fixed route, rapid) with minimum 30min headways running 24/7 so that those without other transport alternatives can get between any origin and destination

    2) Main PT network should only run hub to hub at high frequency (Rapid PT).

    3) There will be some O-D movements that require express services over top of the rapid transit services, and that miss some hubs, eg some express services direct to CBD.

    4) Park N Ride needs to be available at the main hubs

    5) Last mile(s) PT trips need to be by on-demand transit between origin & station or destination & station. This can be Uber or similar based – whoever bids the lowest – needs the freedom to be non-fixed route.

    6) There will need to be an underlying fixed route all stops services to ensure full network coverage where the coverage area is > efficient on-demand coverage area

    7) There needs to be congestion tolling to boost PT ridership and reduce the subsidy

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