Words like transformational and step-change get thrown around far too often when talking about transport announcements. But I think yesterday’s release of the updated Auckland Transport Alignment Project is one announcement that certainly qualifies.

At $28 billion over the next decade, the plan the biggest we’ve seen and for the first time it’s fully funded too – although there are a couple of caveats on that¹. Furthermore, of that, about $16.7 billion is for capital projects with almost two thirds dedicated to public transport, walking/cycling and safety. That’s a significant change on Auckland’s history and means we can invest towards a much more balanced and transport system. Even some of the remaining spend, on roads, greenfield projects and network optimisation will likely have some benefits for PT and active modes. The funding breakdown is below.

The $8.4 billion for Rapid Transit really is the star of the show. As a result of this package, by 2028 our nascent rapid transit network will have been developed into something Aucklanders can start to be really proud of. Based on this, by 2028 we should have the following projects completed:


  • City Rail Link
  • Electrification to Pukekohe
  • 3rd Main from Otahuhu to Wiri
  • Electric trains (at least two tranches)
  • Other network improvements

Light Rail

  • City to Airport
  • Northwest (possibly as far as Kumeu).


  • Northern Busway extension
  • Eastern Busway from Panmure to Botany
  • Airport to Puhinui

These are shown in the map below.

Of course, this will be supported by significant investments in more bus lanes, other bus infrastructure, the downtown ferry terminal and a range of other things. The cycling investment will further help in connecting people to the network. Oh and did we mention Skypath was coming.

We’re used to getting one of those sized projects every 5-10 years so to get that much improvement over the next decade will make Auckland look and feel like another city. This will be further enhanced as the network is developed post 2028 and the full future map is also remarkably similar to our CFN. This is exciting for us as it is one of the reasons we created the CFN in the first place.

During his speech, as he has at other events, Phil Twyford repeatedly referred to the CFN including this quote from yesterday: “It is government policy to have a congestion free network“. One comment I’ve made to the minister is that while this announcement is great, he needs to get the various agencies to work out how to effectively communicate what is planned. One such example I gave was to ensure a network map showing the planned works were in all trains and buses, like I discussed here.

Some of the potential post 2028 projects get a mention in the report. These projects include:

  • Further rail network upgrades to enable express and inter-city trains
    • Fourth main rail line between Westfield and Wiri
    • Third and ultimately Fourth Main between Wiri and Papakura
    • Third Main between Papakura and Pukekohe
  • North Shore (Orewa to City, including Takapuna connection, upgrade of the Northern Busway and new harbour crossing)
  • Upper Harbour (Westgate to Albany)
  • Cross Isthmus (New Lynn to Onehunga)

As part of this, the report makes some interesting comments about the North Shore upgrade to light rail too, which I’ve bolded.

The North Shore corridor is being enhanced over the next decade through committed projects extending the Northern Busway from Constellation to Albany improvements, providing bus shoulder lanes between Albany and Orewa and making bus priority improvements on Fanshawe Street in the city centre. Projected future demand on this corridor is high and detailed investigation by Auckland Transport suggests upgrading the Northern Busway to a higher capacity mode (likely to be light rail) may be required by the mid-2030s, earlier than previously anticipated. This would require a new rapid transit crossing of the Waitematā Harbour on an alignment that connects with the City-Airport light rail corridor at Wynyard Quarter. There is an urgent need to confirm the rapid transit corridor’s future mode and alignment, including how it integrates with a potential future road crossing.

And in a separate section it also notes

Further development of this project should ultimately enable delivery of a multi-modal corridor across the harbour, with flexibility for rapid transit and road to potentially be delivered in separate tunnels at separate times.

This seems to be one of the first steps to separate out any future PT crossing from the road crossing and build it first. We fully support this.

Overall, we’re really happy with how this version of ATAP has turned out, and that it will actually happen. It’s also an announcement we’ve been advocating for over the last 10 years of the blogs existence. Well done to the Minister, Mayor and all others involved.

Finally, some of the responses from other organisations have been interesting

  • As you’d expect, National have been upset and put out a press release that I’m not sure contained a single true statement.
  • The AA focused on congestion, saying the report/project doesn’t go far enough to reduce congestion – the report says congestion will be at 2016 levels. This ignores that the whole point of investing in rapid transit like the government are, is not to reduce congestion but to allow more people to ‘opt out’ of congestion
  • The Chamber of Commerce appear relatively happy and focused primarily on wanting to see the projects delivered on time and budget
  • Infrastructure NZ, the lobby group for people that build and finance infrastructure say they’re happy but also want many of the projects, especially the road projects, to be bigger.
  • National Road Carriers – a truck lobby, appear happy with the roads that were included, although want some to be bigger.

¹ The $1.8b for Light Rail is considered seed funding to help the project get moving and they’ll be looking at how to fund the full programme which is estimated at up to $6 billion. Penlink will be a PPP.

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  1. Does anyone know if electrification to Pukekohe includes construction of the new stations (Paerata, Drury, forgot the other one). I’m guessing a lot of those areas will be developed as planned by then?

    1. I doubt it, but I would imagine they will want developer contributions.

      Also I don’t see this as all encompassing – remember they will want future PR stories, election breadcrumbs and so forth.

      A lot of the rolling stock announcements (also in WLG) were more generous than expected.

      I would imagine that may be the case for the busways in the south/east to become LR, and the work on Third Mains to just continue on (especially electrification) – as it becomes more expensive to park it and revisit a year later, and that the business case becomes silly to have so many modes… so I would anticipate a lot of things here to slightly evolve for the better.

    2. I’d like to hear about plans for extending the electrification beyond Pukekohe.
      Will services run to Tuakau?
      Will electric freight locos be used between Auckland and Te Rapa?

      1. Hopefully it’ll lessen the case for the diesel loco lunacy if more is under the wires, overall… especially once it heads towards Hamilton.

        1. Is there any update on the diesel loco lunacy now that the govt has changed?
          Perhaps GA could do a piece on it again now that it’s well known and the govt often follows its advice.

        2. Doubt it as there is just no feasible alternative to the DL locos. Unless the govt decide to fund overhead electric all the way from Papakura to Hamilton and purchase new electric locomotives then the cleanest and most efficient solution is the DL diesels.
          However the real lunacy is nothing to do with Kiwirail locos, it’s the continuing use of diesel cars, SUVs and trucks of all types on our roads and motorways. If you notice the plethora of tv ads for SUVs recently they continue to push diesel power and in one ad for a ‘Cross’ they even state it is good for the environment and its diesel powered!!!

  2. Hopefully we can find a few $$$ spare to throw at research as to ways project delivery can be sped up. The current AT method of ‘quote three months, deliver over two years’ is not going to work in a climate with that much work being done at once across Auckland.

  3. Will construction of any of the rail projects actually commence during this govt’s term?
    I can easily imagine a new National govt in 2021 resurrecting the gold plated E-W link, 4 lane Penlink and moar Rons to suck up all the $bn being targetted to the LRTs and HR.
    Does $1.8bn LR seeding finance actually get LR infra built up Queen St and Dom Rd or at least construction well underway before next election?

    1. According to the announcement, a 2 lane Penlink will be built to allow expansion to 4 lanes in the future, (what in effect that means, especially for the the Bridge is unclear)

    2. I think that is going to be key. This government has got transport priorities right for the first time ever. Unfortunately most people don’t see the light like those on this blog and there is a risk that the Nats are back in in 2020 and undo all the hard work. Ideally we’d have spades in the ground so that ‘committed projects’ are left to continue.

    3. Penlink was not in the 10 year plan under national.
      It’s a dumb spend unless the penninsula is rezoned high density

  4. If there is any silver lining to losing an election is that the former government can review its policies. Unfortunately, National are not quite ready to do that in regards to transport, however, have moved a long way since 2008 (but so has Labour). I read their press release and while it is true that many of these projects are not new the timing and funding is. And perhaps that’s the most important part. However, it is also true that the funding for LR isn’t fully in place and Penlink needs a private partner – how easy will be that to find we will see. Overall the plan is good but now comes delivery which is of course a lot harder.

  5. One of the best bits that has been largely ignored in the commentary is a commitment to grade separating the heavy rail network. I haven’t seen a timetable or a budget but I hope that work on this long needed project has begun yesterday. If there’s one sure move that will speed up the trains it is the removal of level crossings.

    1. Level Crossing Grade Separations has got 2 major buckets of funding – have not seen the detail of yesterdays announcement but I was told a week ago that there was $170 million dedicated to the Takanini Straight (currently has 4 level crossings) and about $180 million for the Western Line. Assuming a FAR of 50% that is $700 million over a decade which should take care of most existing crossings within the suburban network. Given that the only level crossings removed since 2004 have been incidental to other projects (e.g. New Lynn trench, Newmarket Station) it is refreshing to finally have a dedicated fund to enable a programme of level crossing removals.

      1. Takanini Straight is parallel to the rail line. The four crossings, Walters Rd, Taka St, Manuroa Rd and Spartan Rd (which is not on Takanini St) are on side roads

    1. How about a crossing from either Pigeon Mountain Rd/Bucklands Beach Peninsula through to Roberta Reserve, by the corner of Roberta Road/Riddell Road.
      Nice and flat and would remove a lot of the congestion from all of the Eastern Suburbs that currently travel along Pakuranga Highway.

      1. And to what end?
        Simply funnel your wall to wall SOV traffic onto another “peninsula” aka GI/Kohi/St Heliers Bay with the same or even less arterial road space, and what there is is already deluged with SOVs!

        So you’re not going to see a lot of road space [or likely welcome either] for former Manukau City area, hoist by that regions former councils “cars first” petard.

        Your idea is little better than throwing your rubbish over your neighbours fence.

        Its time for you to have a rethink.
        May be its like, you know, time to start thinking about not driving at peak time if you live there ?

        Yeah I know the PT sucks right now, but for less than the cost or the time it wil ltake to plan build or deliver your “Penlink south”, you can duplicate Panmure bridge for safer cycling/walking and buses and put a “Eastern Busway” Busways down Pakuranga road.

        I think thats already on the horizon here. And way more do-able. and AT is doing the prep work.

        1. Sheesh, no need to be snippy in your comments.
          I’m only throwing up ideas however random and farfetched they may be.

          Like a West Auckland-Penrose Rd-Sylvia Park-Pakuranga LRT along Waipuna Bridge.

          I only commute from Sylvia Park to Station Rd/Penrose area. In peak times travel for me is only 5mins.
          Sleep in until 8am, get up watch tv, muck around for 10mins, leave for work at 8:30-8:45am

        2. This isn’t “Stuff off” or those other un-moderateded sites masquerading as two-way discourse sites. Your comments are welcome here.

          This is a place for communal discussions about Auckland urban and transport.

          So, when you have an idea and present it, but don’t present much of your thinking behind it as to why it will work or is better etc – then expect it to be critiqued.

          Read it as snippy if you want, its not intended that way.
          Its just criticism for what is an, at best, poor idea.

          Your suggestion, has been considered and rejected more times by many people over the many years before now. It doesn’t really solve anything and only makes things worse.

          its great you have a short commute to your work from where you live. Not everyone has that luxury. I am sure your PT to anywhere else is not perfect though given where you live and could do with improved links to other parts of the city. Your bridge idea would not deliver there either for you or most other folks.

          But for the many who choose to live our Pakuranga way [or further out again], have consciously traded off the obvious travel congestion issues for other benefits [such as perceived “cheaper” housing or a “house with land”].

          Giving them [and other folks living in similar car dependant suburbs/situations elsewhere in Auckland] yet more reasons to continue drive their vehicles with single occupants everywhere any time they choose regardless of the consequences, by building a bridge to the wrong end of any peninsula is not going to solve the problems that ATAP 2.0 seeks to start to solve.

          And far, far, worse, than just making things worse, which is bad enough, it actually diverts the limited money stream away from the cost effective and many and much better projects that will deliver solutions for the folks living out that way. Like the Busway/BRT can and will.

          I’m also critical of the Penlink bridge for the same reason, [solutions looking for a problem]. In the case of Penlink it will now it seems be a fully tolled link, so has to stack up financially, at least partially. We will see how many of the folks living down that peninsula will want to stump up the toll to drive their cars over it when push comes to shove.

          I suspect that PPP’s business case will collapse the project under its own costs when the level of toll-paying support for the bridge is finally revealed when the true toll rate required for it to stack up is actually made public. Which may mean they have to leave the Private part of the PPP behind.

          The only good thing likely about Penlink is that is might allow AT to deliver some better PT options for folks living out that way. But again, its a lot of money to spend on improving the lot of the relatively small, and static pool of residents who will benefit.

          In both cases – the needs of the many Aucklanders stuck with poor or no PT clearly outweigh the needs of the few [invariably car drivers], who will benefit.

        3. “Relatively static” Have you driven through Silverdale with your eyes closed? Literally an entire suburb with no mass transit options has popped up in the last five years. Lots of development (apartments, even) going in on the Coast proper too.

          This is classic stuff, wait until a region has been developed and the rate of development slows and then say they shouldn’t get anything because there’s “not much growth here” despite the fact that the current levels of service are woefully abysmal and not fit for purpose.

          Maybe some of the inner city suburbs who refuse to intensify should lose their transport services to places that are prepared to expand.

        4. Forgot to add – Make it PT only crossings, no private vehicles allowed or face minimum $250 fine. Make it an incentive to have LRT or trambuses take the crossing in order to alleviate Pakuranga highway congestion. Could even have Te Irirangi/Botany PT use the same route as an alternative route into CBD rather than along Pak Highway & AMETI

        5. Or how about putting emergency lights and sirens onto LRT/Bus/Bustrams, so that they get treated like any other emergency vehicle where people have to pull over to allow them priority access.

          A very cheap fix and tinkering with some NZTA rules.

        6. ButtWizard69420,

          Check the census data for Whangaparoa peninsula, you’ll see the net change in residents there is pretty near zero for the last few census. Population is basically as big as its going to get. And also why the Auckland Unitary Plan didn’t upzone that land for more density so the number of future residents who will live there is about the same as it is today.

          Thats what relatively static means. Also means a small and fixed pool of people who will be asked to pay the toll (and thus the bridge across the water). Which means its economics might never fly.

          Silverdale is a different suburb, not stuck down a peninsula with zero growth options as per the Unitary Plan.

          But then they don’t need a special bridge [or a toll road] either to get access or good PT or connections to the motorway. And they might not want to pay a toll either to have better motorway access since they don’t need the expensive bridge to do so.

        7. Sounds to me like a good case for an entirely private bridge. Or an entirely public PT-only bridge, with good intensification of the peninsula. Why would we be investing in a PPP road bridge for a population that won’t intensify? Presumably lots of people would like to live by the beach if the transport was good?

        8. Buttwizard, “Maybe some of the inner city suburbs who refuse to intensify should lose their transport services to places that are prepared to expand.” Would also probably need road reallocation in those inner city suburbs, to rapid transit and cycleways, given the geometry of cities. Maybe stops on the rapid transit lines would only be included where the surrounding catchment area is rezoned to higher-intensity? A race to see which neighbourhood becomes YIMBY first, as they’re the one that’ll get the stop. 🙂

  6. Congratulations Auckland. And congratulations Greater Auckland -no small part od this is due to your superb influencing and informing over the years. Bravo!

    We at the other end of the isle are waiting and watching to see what our (rather stunted and myopic) cousin-of-ATAP brings. Will they go “to get better PT we’ll build bigger roads first”? Theres a high risk of this – plenty of Wellington pollies seem to think so.

    But this in your piece re North Shore is a beacon of hope “This seems to be one of the first steps to ***separate out any future PT crossing from the road crossing and build it first. We fully support this.***” – stars added for emphasis and excitement. Hope our pollies and officials can see this light.

    Fingers crossed for us at the Head of the Fish!

  7. The $640m for walking and cycling, do you think that will be used for the $600m cycling programme that the AT Cycling team came up with? That programme was really great but it seemed that AT hadn’t prioritised spending on it. If this $640m could be used for that and SkyPath then that would be perfect!

  8. It’s great idealistic news but no way we will see this many projects happen so soon. Light rail to Kumeu by 2028? Pft. Didn’t they say the New Network for Auckland would be in place by mid-2015? When the first pile of dirt was dug up for the CRL didn’t they say it would done by 2021? How’s that tracking?

    1. NN will be finished 2018; two years late — largely due to desire to integrate with PTOM contracts.

      CRL is due to be delivered circa 2023; also two years late — largely due to delays by the last Government.

      I’d suggest these timelines are on the optimistic side, but that most of these projects could be well-underway (i.e. being implemented/constructed) by 2028.

      Remember that political support and funding for PT improvements in Auckland has, hitherto, been limited. ATAP2.0 goes a long way towards addressing both.

      The main risk to overall timelines are political: We will need (1) continuity in central and local government and (2) local government seeing through plans in the face of local opposition. LRT is probably most sensitive to being de-railed by political risks, given the need for new corridors in busy urban environments.

      But hey, you can’t make a sustainable transport/land use omelette without cracking some NIMBY eggs.

      1. What worries me about timelines is the oft-repeated scenario that the roading part gets completed, the PT part just goes into the next round of discussion. I think the intention here is very different but still, I wonder how quickly the roads will progress comparatively.

  9. Any idea why the Onehunga-Penrose link is HR and not BRT?

    I don’t really care either way, being mode agnostic. Just seemed more logical (looking at the map, anyway), for it to be an extension of the New Lynn-Onehunga BRT line.

    Still a great cross-town option, regardless.

    1. Why would they rip up a rail line and replace it with a busway? I can see the argument for making that section part of a cross-town light rail line, but ripping it up for a busway would surely be going in the wrong direction.

        1. It is a fair point though on multiple modes – I would argue that LR for both sections would be better, with Onehunga as a hub for four directions.

          It might also allow one-seat rides from New Lynn or Penrose/Panmure to the Airport – and multiple lines/a true network.

          And the short-formed Onehunga trains taken out of CRL, to be replaced by 6 car frequencies elsewhere. More simple for operations. Even if Otahuhu short-turns, once that station is enlarged.

    2. Because the corridor is owned by the HR operator and it was originally proposed be the main route for HR to the airport

  10. Will be interesting to see the timeline/priorities.

    I assume first cabs off the rank will be city-airport LRT, busways and the active modes. Possibly NW LRT too.

  11. I wonder if there is any plan to grade separate the awful Glenview road intersection in Glen Eden and to start unpicking that whole horrid piece of road design?

    1. Yes, the pedestrian and cycling amenity there is awful. Way too much road given over to the private car. Some parts of the main crossing don’t even have a pedestrian way across at all. Cycle lanes needed, starting with good cycling infra at the intersection.

  12. Most of this will be scrapped if National get back into government in 2020 because they hate the idea of a fuel tax to pay for things like ATAP 2.0 and they are totally against funding public transport from the National Land Transport Fund where 80% of ATAP 2.0 is funded from. Even Mill Road and Penlink were not confirmed.

    1. I think its all fine and well making all these 10 year goals but like you I suspect it will all be meaningless if National gets elected in 2020.
      By all means do the LRT planning and construction scheduling but there needs some urgency in starting construction this year or 2019.
      I can’t understand why the Phils didn’t fund the 3rd and 4th mains as these cost almost peanuts $ yet open so many improvement options for AT metro and kiwirail freight. An easy pr victory and completable by 2020 – at least Westfield to almost Manurewa.

  13. I don’t know why they didn’t build light rail sooner. According to the Herald, its only going to cost $6. I can’t even buy a McDonalds combo for that. However, I’m surprised they’re investing in rail when the whole of Auckland only take 20 trips a year. The trains must be completely empty half the year!


    Twyford was confident the package would double public transport, which has risen sharply in recent years to more than 60 million bus trips and 20 rail trips a year.

    On the Government’s ambitious plans to build modern trams from the CBD, via Dominion Rd, to the airport and from the CBD to Westgate in West Auckland, Twyford said the Government would provide seed funding of $1.8 billion.

    The rest of the $6 tram cost would come from long-term borrowing or forms of partnerships with the private sector and “I will have more to say about this in the next few weeks” Twyford said.

  14. Electrification to Pukekohe?
    Is this really necessary or a good idea at this early stage?

    Now as I understand it; it currently has a shuttle service to Papakura and that’s pretty unattractive.

    But once the third main is finished; the DMU shuttle can cease and the DMU’s can go directly to Britomart (via stops at major interchanges of course) and that should attract a lot more commuters.

    This DMU service could itself be used as the basis of much more. Once established it could be extended southwards into the Waikato to Drury via Whangarata. And once that’s established; stations could be reestablished at Drury, Tuakau, Pokeno and Buckland. And beyond that; it could be further extended even southwards to Huntly and eventually be a great springboard for eventual commuter trains to Hamilton. It’s at that stage that extending electrification to Pukekohe should be looked into.
    The ADL DMU’s are sitting there and have at least a decade’s worth of service life left in them.

    But by extending electrification; that potential for establishing further extensions and services is lost. Because extending services southwards would also require the extra high cost of extending electrification. Constructing the third main makes any benefits from extending electrification to Pukekohe redundant.
    And in any case is it a good idea to offer the regular EMU service with all its intermediate stops to Pukekohe anyway? Surely it’s better to have its own express service anyway?

    I am really shaking my head over whoever it is in the government (whether it’s Auckland or the nation’s government) who is behind these dingbat decisions. They’re clearly not competent.

    1. The ADL DMUs are noisy, suck diesel fumes into the passenger areas via the aircon, require constant maintenance and refuelling and generally are as bad as you would expect from an outdated 35 vehicle which has had a very hard life. Also DMUs are not allowed into Britomart any more. Pukekohe is an obvious candidate for electrification. Certainly DMUs would be suitable for any services south of Pukekohe but I don’t think the money is there ATM.

      1. How is it that DMU’s “would be suitable for any services south of Pukekohe” but not to Pukekohe?

        I can’t speak for this aircon issue you allege (which could be easily remedied with a refurbishment); But I know for a fact that the actual ADL units themselves have plenty of life left in them. And exactly what do you mean by “outdated”? They’re newer & more advanced than the trains the Wairarapa connection has used for years.

        And can you provide any evidence that DMU’s can no longer access Britomart? I find it a bit hard to believe given that the station was built with ventilation systems (which is why it ran exclusively Diesel units for almost its first 15 years). Even if it’s true; surely it’s just a regulations thing that can be conveniently changed back? I mean why would you not allow commuter trains into Britomart?!

        The fact remains; extending electrification will restrict any further growth of the network and offer a service less attractive than a dedicated DMU express service that the third main would allow. So no I strongly think Pukekohe is NOT a candidate for electrification.

        1. New DMUs, with comfort, performance, reliability, low cost operation etc typical of modern rail vehicles, would be suitable for operation south of Pukekohe but that’s unlikely due to financial constraints. Probably the best that can be hoped for is refurbished SASD cars using ancient locomotives of dubious reliability.
          I would have thought it’s obvious the ADLs are outdated, they first entered service in 1982, 36 years ago!! You may be able to eke out a few more years of use with ever declining standards of reliability and passenger appeal but so what. Next you’ll be suggesting they drag a Silver Fern out of a museum.

        2. So buying new DMU’s is too expensive but electrification isn’t?

          And you make claims that make the most obvious solution, refurbishing the ADL’s, out of the question. Well actually; they’ve only seen about 30 years service and unless they have some design flaw; they should have at least another decade left in their bogies and power plants. Once again; they’re newer and more advanced than the rolling stock that the Wairarapa connection used for all those years. Wellington had some of its DM/D class EMU’s give more than 50 years service, some gave almost 60 years. They are after-all good enough for the current shuttle service 😉
          “Outdated” isn’t even a relevant term to use in this discussion. What matters is if they can do the actual job.

          As for the Silver Fern railcars; they’re not in any museum and one’s leased and seeing frequent services with a tourist operator. I’m pretty sure that Kiwirail has one of the other ones on its active units roster. They haven’t had much wear & tear since the mid 1990s. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what they’re intending to initiate these Auckland-Tauranga commuter services with.

        3. It wasn’t that long ago that some were advocating for a return of the mothballed Waikato Connection using Silver Fern railcars.

        4. The ADL frames may have 10 years left in them, but the engines are worn out. It would require an expensive mechanical refurbishment to give them another 10 years life – new EMUs will be more cost-effective, as Wellington learnt with the 2nd batch of Matangis. Would also require installation of ERTMS for the ADLs to operate beyond Papakura. Using Britomart would require an expensive upgrade of the ventilation system.

          Extending electrification gives so many advantages over DMUs – fleet standardisation, better safety, improved customer experience, lower operating costs. The third main will allow an express EMU service, a win/win for Northern Waikato commuters. 🙂

        5. I would like some actual sources for these claims about the ADL’s condition. They are after-all being used for the shuttle service.
          And I refuse to believe that refurbishing the ADL’s would cost anywhere near as much as using more brand new EMU’s. The reason why Wellington bought more Matangis was because the number of GANZ-Mavag EM’s that needed refurbishing was more than 20 units. There’s only 12 ADL’s to refurbish and probably wouldn’t even need to use & refurbish all of them for a commuter service.

          And why would Britomart need its ventilation upgraded? Did Britomart’s ventilation not cope fine for all those years when it only operated diesel units?

          Extending electrification and EMU services to Pukekohe would be a lose/lose situation for Northern Waikato commuters because it would rob them of any prospect of a Pukekohe commuter rail service being extended to where they actually are due to the unjustifiable cost of also needing electrification extended.
          I saw in the comments section of the “improvement” article from last week many people stating that the AM EMU’s are less comfortable than the ADL’s were so how would it be an “improved customer service”? And how would there be any difference in safety? And I doubt there there would be much if any improvements in operating costs and certainly nothing that would offset the cost of electrification. Furthermore; I doubt that fleet standardisation is up for consideration given the small number of units and the fact that it could become the nucleus of a cross-regional commuter service anyway.
          I cannot see a single advantage over extending electrification to Pukekohe and frankly a disastrous disadvantage.

        6. Daniel,

          AT undertook detailed economic analysis of the costs of various options and concluded electrification to Pukekohe was the most effective. I have some confidence in this analysis / finding, as do others here.

          If you doubt the analysis, however, then I suggest the onus is on *you* to dig out the report (it is available somewhere) and make your case. Rather than challenging others to justify what seems reasonable to many.

        7. Hmm when I get the time (this weekend maybe) I’ll do just that.

          To be honest: I’m feeling a lot of reasons to be suspicious of any reports from Auckland Transport from the last few years. In my opinion; the business case recommended LRT to the airport is dubious, the desire for BEMU units instead of new DMU’s makes no sense and I think that abandoning Western services beyond Swanson was an error.

        8. Daniel,
          I echo what Stu said, so yes, go do your homework then come back and argue your case with some research and facts.

          As an example of the obvious holes in your argument is shown by this comment:

          “I cannot see a single advantage over extending electrification to Pukekohe”

          There is one huge and very obvious advantage with electrifying to Pukekohe.

          And that is, that doing so means any one of the existing 57 EMU sets (whether in single 3 car sets or 6 car pairs), and any of the new round of additional EMUs just ordered last year, and any of the yet to be ordered, future EMU sets [such as to be ordered post CRL opening] will, as of right/design and at no additional effort or cost, be able to travel to and from Pukekohe and also then travel anywhere on the existing electrified Auckland rail network without hindrance or restriction.

          This single thing will give AT infinite flexibility to service the Pukekohe district and surrounds and all stops in between to Papakura and everywhere else, far more flexibility than the existing smaller fleet of 12 DMUs does.

          Thats one obvious and very good advantage.


          It also gives AT the ability to offer single seat rides from Pukekohe to Britomart. Which some Pukekohe people regard as important.

          Just as importantly, on economic grounds, electrification also reduces the running costs for services to/from Pukekohe significantly. EMUs cost far less per km just in “fuel costs” alone [and thus paseenger costs per km travelled] than any DMU will.

          On top of that, a single driver [+TM for now] can deliver or pickup many more passengers – over 750 people at normal loading levels – when a 6 car EMU is used.

          And all for either the same, or more likely, a much lower overall cost per passenger than any DMU can manage.

          I think these reasons alone singularly, and together make a compelling case for electrification to Pukekohe.

          There is one downside, and that is it will take time to deliver electrification to Pukekohe. Which is why AT were looking at deploying some EMUs with Batteries in them to avoid the need to keep the DMUs on that line until electrification is complete.
          The economics of doing that will stack up as the marginal cost of BEMUs over EMUs is slight and even if the batteries only last 7 years they will have done their job.

          But if you have found/can show good evidence otherwise why it isn’t, lets see it.

          Note: Ongoing use of, and delivery of services using DMUs [refurbed or not] for people living south of the Franklin ward southern boundary [basically south of Pukekohe proper] is a different argument totally, as they are outside the Auckland Region so fall into the province of Waikato Regional Council to organise and pay for. Its not Auckland Councils job, or ATAP 2.0’s job to deliver commuter services for those non-Aucklanders.

        9. Greg, Good points you make.
          Before AC would get involved in bemu or dmu services south of Pukekohe it would be good to see the south west sorted out with some services to Waiuku. Infra is there, just need a few dmus to get going. Same for dmus to Kumeu and Helensville

        10. But Greg…
          Given the distance between Pukekohe and Britomart; is the current Southern line EMU service suitable?
          You’d be looking at transit times in excess of an hour. How long does it take to drive the same journey? And this is in the AM units with their hard uncomfortable seats, floors with no carpet and no toilets. They would have to stop at all of these intermediate stations.
          Surely for services covering such a distance; it would be better to serve it with an express commuter train model? That is independent and only stops (within the Southern line) at Papakura, (possibly) Puhinui, Otahuhu, Newmarket and then terminates at the soon to be free terminal platforms at Britomart? And in units with much more comforts for such seated, long-distance transit such as the ADL’s?
          Yeah I know that many Pukekohe commuters would want to get to stations like Middlemore or a future station in the CRL and would need a transfer. But this would still be quicker and more desirable than having to sit through every stop on the Southern line.
          I don’t know what you’re trying to say with this “single seat” stuff, as the ADL’s have individual seating (and more comfortable than that on the AM EMU’s). Nor is this “flexibility” any issue, becuase we all know that extending electrification to Pukekohe will just incorporate it into the existing Southern line anyway and not going “anywhere on the network”.

          So sorry but your supposed advantage does not stack up at all. Hardly surprising given that the DMU’s are more flexible than power supply requiring EMU’s anyway.
          And as I keep repeating; that flexibility allows services to be extended southwards to Mercer etc.

          What is the actual current patronage of the DMU shuttle? Does it come close to justifying regular services from even 3 car AM sets? I would not expect a dedicated express commuter service to fill a 2 car ADL set for some time, and if it did; they could just couple two sets together.

          And are you trying to claim savings in EMU operation over DMU operation that not only offsets the horrendous cost of electrification (which to be frank alone sound like bollocks) and then talk about operating some VERY expensive BEMU’s for only seven years of operation, which is appalling value for money?
          I honestly don’t know why BEMU’s are even up for consideration anyway. Do people have some weird aversion to Deisel traction or something? For long range commuter services; it’s no big deal to have them terminate at a major transport node like Britomart.

          Exactly what evidence would you like me to provide? Operating costs of DMU’s or costs of BEMU’s?

          Finally: I find this parochialism of disregarding anything beyond Pukekohe as not relevant to Auckland is very ill-considered. Pukekohe may be within th Auckland regional boundaries but it is nonetheless some distance from Auckland and providing those nearby towns to Pukekohe in Franklin with rail transport would only add to the benefits and economic case for providing rail to Pukekohe.
          Why not just recognise that Pukekohe’s distance from Auckland means that it’s better served by a different service model and that that service model can be even better still when extended southwards instead of forcing an service model poorly suited to Pukekohe on the weak basis that it happens to sit within the regional borders of Auckland?

        11. The DMUs don’t have toilets on them so any perceived issues for spending over an hour on a EMU from Pukekohe also apply to DMUs now.

          The EMU seats may be less comfortable than the DMUs, and AT could upgrade the seating on the BEMUs if they wanted I am sure. But thats not a showstopper if they don’t.

          The cost of electrification is not something the existing EMUs have to pay for directly, or soon, that is an intergenerational investment that could be in use 100 years from now – how do you put a value in todays dollars on that sort of long life asset?

          Whether the current end of network to Britomart services are too long, I think with the need to change trains in Papakura as you do now, there is a forced delay that could be removed with single seat journeys from Pukekohe. But West Auckland trains users face similar end to end journey times now if you remove the waiting at Papakura [56 minutes from Swanson v 72 or so minutes with waiting from Pukekohe to Britomart]. Its not perfect, and it could be much better.

          But its usually going to be faster than the car journey on SH16 at peak. The same will apply for a trip from Pukekohe to the CBD at peak time. You might do it quicker if you leave in the car at 5:30am but not at 7am most days of the week.

          Either service can be made to operate as a limited stops express from any station once the third/fourth mains are done – if AT desires, to speed up the end to end transit time. But its not an option now, so there is no intrinsic DMU advantage present there as you insist.

          For services south of Pukekohe both DMUs and BEMUs could do the same job.

          But note that AT is not funded to provide services that far south. Its outside of its boundary and jurisdiction to do so. Therefore its up the Waikato and NZTA to decide how and when that works as to funding and frequency etc. AT will be involved as it may impact its service delivery to Aucklanders if such trains clog Auckland rail lines or stations.

          I doubt Auckland rate payers want to fully or part fund or provide trains on a service for folks living in Hamilton, Tauranga or Pokeno to travel north.

          But this is not at all relevant to our discussion on ATAP 2.0 or EMUs on the Auckland network.

          The only other place that DMUs can allegedly go on the network is out west through to the tunnels out there. But even then there is advice from KR that neither DMU or EMU is safe enough to use them as they need “end of train” egress capability in case of fire or other issue. AT have also banned DMUs and diesel locos from entering Britomart for ventilation system reasons. So yet again the vaunted and hallowed DMUs “can’t deliver” on your promises of what they can do.

          So, for all your words otherwise there is actually nothing really that much superior about the DMUs over a BEMU.

          Other than the fact we have the DMUs here now and don’t have the BEMUs here now.

          And then when you look at it we don’t have a 3rd main for a limited stops express to anywhere from Pukekohe, or ability to take passengers out west through the tunnels or Britomart, nor is AT funded to do services south of Pukekohe.

          All things that the DMUs could do at some point, if only. If only.

          My Kingdom for a Horse!

          And of course, the continual elephant in the room is that the DMUs ARE end of life, they have way less life ahead of them even if you spend money to have them refurbed than they have delivered.

          Yes they can be repurposed elsewhere outside of Aucklands network e.g. to Jumpstart a Christchurch commuter network.

          But they are basically end of life as far as Auckland network usage goes right now.
          hopefully they’ll last until the BEMUs come on stream, if they don’t AT could have a problem until they do.

        12. Daniel, which of the zero available slots at Britomart would you use for the Pukekohe DMU services or do you plan to get rid of some existing services? Also why on the earth would you throw good money after bad recommissioning the ventilation system at Britomart when the DMUs are going to replaced at some stage anyway?

        13. Daniel, I love how the diesel trains are good to go for however many years… except when you electrify to Pukekohe. At that point the diesel trains just all refuse to work because???

          Go read this blog’s posts on regional rail.

        1. Well let Kiwirail run it until some point that a dedicated joint Auckland-Waikato authority can be formed.
          Please answer this: Who’re they expecting to run these train services to Hamilton and Tauranga that they’re supposedly planning?

        2. I suspect they’ll tender the contract for services and accept the best offer. May be KR, but could also be someone else.

        3. Yeah but the issue is that once a service goes beyond Pukekohe it begins serving the Waikato. Auckland won’t want to solely administer & fund something that the Waikato benefits from, even if it makes a profit. They’ll (quite rightly) want the Waikato to contribute too. There’s a chance that the Waikato may not initially see the benefits of this and just say no thanks.

          That’s why nationally-funded Kiwirail would be a good candidate for the responsibility of running and administrating such a service for a few years until the Waikato sees the benefit of it and agrees to form a joint administration & funding authority with Auckland.

        4. 1h10m from Pukekohe to Britomart at the moment including the 4 minute transfer at Papakura.

          With the proposed travel time improvements planned Pukekohe to Britomart should be an hour or slightly less.

          Compare that to up to 70 minutes by car.

    2. Are you serious about the DMUs? Have you ever taken one? They have zero passenger appeal, you can be absolutely deafened if you sit in some parts of the unit, and it surprises me that the Pukekohe shuttle is doing as well as it does.

      I did have to laugh, though – the most progressive and far-reaching PT announcement in Auckland’s entire history, one which ticks almost all the boxes that so many advocates and PT users have been seeking to be ticked over so many years, and you write the outcome off as “dingbat”, while proposing to use smoke-belching, deafening diesels for a major southward expansion of the network and clogging the tracks with them in the inner city. Classic!

      1. And I’m laughing back at you using the word “progressive”. Oh and contradicting yourself by stating that they have “zero passenger appeal” yet then conceding that they do in fact attract passengers.

        Here’s a video of the existing ADL’s Pukekohe shuttle from 2 and a half years ago:

        “you can be absolutely deafened if you sit in some parts of the unit”? “smoke-belching, deafening diesels”? Ahahahaha ah no. Somehow I don’t think so.

        Constructing the third main allows this Pukekohe shuttle to become a proper Pukekohe commuter service. And that commuter service could be the basis of something with so much more potential by being extended southwards.
        But hey; you not only want to also extend electrification which will effectively limit this service from anywhere south of Pukekohe but are even declaring it “the most progressive and far-reaching PT announcement in Auckland’s entire history, one which ticks almost all the boxes that so many advocates and PT users have been seeking to be ticked over so many year”. That’s classic to me…

        1. Seriously, I HAVE been absolutely deafened when sitting in some parts of an ADL. For me, not at all a pleasant ride.

        2. You’re the same person who tried to tell me yesterday (with similar “seriousness”) that the Avondale-Southdown link was merely drawn on the map and that the route had somehow been safeguarded without any previous plans of exactly how tracks & their curvatures & gradients would be and the the alignment’s “not practical for heavy rail without serious, serious earthworks/tunnelling”.

          First you told me it was your mere suspicion. But then you told me it’s your understanding because it was what you’ve “heard”.

          So I offer no apology when I treat what you post on here with a grain of salt.

        3. Hey can you please keep the comments calm/civil please? Daniel your aggressive/emotive tone is detracting from the comment thread.

        4. David, I travel to Pukekohe on dmu a few times every month and have never once had diesel fumes in the car. They are not excessively noisy, you can easily talk to other passengers. I would say the diesel noise is no more than you get on a bus.
          It is loudest when hard accellerating and you are in the power car just above a powered bogie. But not excessive.
          A positive is that the seats are way more comfy than the emu seats, they are fast often making over 90km/hr speed almost all the way to Papakura. They also appear quite popular and during holidays can be packed out with squads of teens making their way to Manakau.
          Maybe the emus will be quieter but those hard seats will be a bad tradeoff for the dmu comfy seats.
          I hope they send the dmus to west Auckland to give us a henderson haupai shuttle.

        5. To Stu Donovan:
          I don’t know what passes for social graces in your circles; But have you read the second paragraph of DavidByrne’s initial reply to me?
          You should be directing this request to “tone it down” to him!

          And yes thank you Bogle for confirming the overwhelming impression I’ve got. Of course the ADL’s can’t that bad…

        6. Daniel, wasn’t one advantage of the bemus now ordered that emu services could extend further south of Pukekohe? To Pokeno etc..

        7. Are you sure they’re actually ordered them yet?
          I was under the impression that they’ve merely declared a desire for them. They might change their minds if they put a tender out and get the price quotes back.

        8. The extra EMUs were ordered last year.

          AT stated they had been given a date in December 2017 by which they had to confirm with CAF if the Battery option was to be added or not to the EMUs on that order.

          Whether they have actually done so I do not personally know. It may be that whether it was done or not was subsequently confirmed in the confidential part of the AT board meeting minutes – so that may not be public knowledge yet.

        9. Hi Greg.

          I think you’re getting the prospect of BEMU’s to Pukekohe confused with the order for extra AM EMU’s.

        10. Nope. You’re wrong.
          The extra EMUs and the BEMUs are the one and the same.
          And appears they ordered all17 of them late last year.

          See this post from December 2017 for the backstory of what happened.

          Detailed cost analysis can be seen in this picture from that post.

          Long and short, AT voted extra money to order 17 EMUs [up from 15 originally approved mid 2017] and AT also voted extra money to convert them all to Battery Emus – BEMUs are called IPEMUs in AT’s parlance, but they are EMUs that have batteries in them.

          Cost per BEMU/IPEMU to have the EMUs upgraded to battery operation for interim Pukekohe operation is $20m in total for 17, or $1.2m per EMU to make it a BEMU.
          Note: AT only pay half that cost, or $10m, NZTA the other half.
          AT voted money for the full $20m to cover the case where NZTA refused to pay for the IP upgrade to IPEMUs.

          $20m to enable the replacement of the DMUs to Pukekohe sooner than later is chickenfeed. I doubt refurbishing the 12 DMUs to a similar level of capability and functionality, will be lower than at least that much. But even if you did refurb the DMUs you’d still have 40 year old trains on your hands.

          Putting fresh lipstick on a pig doesn’t stop it being a pig.

          The batteries in the BEMUs will wear out, but that $20m “battery” cost when amortised to a per passenger level, over their warranted lifetime has been estimated at, worst case [for ATs part] at 50 cents a passenger. NZTA pay the other 50 cents [their half] of that. But its still a cost effective outcome. We spend more money for outcomes for a smaller number of people all the time on other transport projects. So this is not good money after bad.

          When the BEMU batteries die, they can be replaced with newer ones – for a likely much reduced cost given how this stuff gets cheaper over time.
          Or ripped out turning the BEMU back into a normal, regular EMU.

        11. On what basis do you declare the ADL’s any “pig”? Have they not given good service since the early 1990s?

          At the end of the day; they’ve spent this 171 million dollars on units that are not well fitted for the long journey and with the only dubious advantage that they will be able to run up the CRL. Even using the ADL’s without any refurbishment would’ve offered a service no worse in terms of timekeeping and with more comfortable furniture for long commutes and no worse with the exception of it having to terminate at Britomart (which is no big deal).

          I hope these batteries are up to the task….

        12. Face facts, the ADLs have had their day.

          They served well and have lasted as long as they did because we got them from Perth while they were still relatively new [as compared to the older ADKs].

          But they are now 38 or so years old, worn, in need of upgrading and even once upgraded still can’t carry as many passengers as a BEMU can, even if you lash them together to make double DMUs. Which when doing so – halves your fleet availability to at best 6 “sets” – unless you want to run mixed sets of 2 and 4 car DMU sets which still leaves gaps in capacity and coverage.

          Lashing two DMUs together doesn’t reduce your diesel fuel bill one jot. They’re twice as expensive to run per passenger km than a EMU or BEMU is/will be and carry less people than a 6 car EMU set. AT found out this out the hard way when the kept the old SA trains around for too long until the electric trains were operational and the locos started breaking down and costing a fortune to operate. They’d be stupid to double down in the same way on the ADLs.

          The only money that might be wasted on the EMUs is the $20m spent to add the batteries to them. Thats small potatoes. Putting money into a short term “patch up” job on the ADLs. Especially as they cannot now enter Britomart station their ability to deliver a single seat journey into Britomart is not there. So doing any upgrades Is fruitless effort.

          Even if the batteries on the BEMUs are total junk and don’t work from day 1, the EMUs are still usable on the entire electrified network as is. So its not $171 down the drain. And thats pretty unlikely to be the case, more likely they’ll work but wear out less than the warranted period, but then thats the manufacturers/suppliers problem to deal with not ATs.

          In a few years we may equally need to kiss goodbye to the Battery EMUs, thats what you do – you buy assets, use then and then assets wear out and are retired or junked. You can’t avoid that no matter how much you spend pretending otherwise.

          In any case if you assert the current EMUs are not suitable for 1 hour length journeys from Pukekohe then you’re also saying they are unsuitable for use out west too. Where it takes 56 minutes end to end [pre-CRL]. Yet they seem to manage. So what is so super duper special about Pukekohe trains that makes EMUs poor choices on that run but DMUs are better?

          I see no evidence other than your “say so” so far.

        13. You’ve clearly never used these trains once.

          You cannot go near these ones (what we used to call the old bangers to distinguish from the other kind of diesel train that used to operate… and they all went Pukekohe to Britomart at least some of the time) without noticing the noise or the smell. And they smell on the inside too.

          I remember one used to have this most disconcerting electrical buzzing. I don’t use the shuttle much (say, twice every four months or whatever) so I’m not sure if it’s still operating.

          But, yeah, the seats are more comfy. They have more legroom. Whoop-de-do.

          p.s. no more posts from me; I’m done for, say, two weeks

    3. The electrification is to support all the new housing areas between papakura and pukekohe. Especially at Drury. Mill Road upgrade also supports the new housing areas north of papakura at Alfriston @ Ranfurly.

      1. That’s not any justification for electrification. Once the third main’s built (which will probably be before this electrification would be finished): They would get the same service if they used the ADL’s or some other diesel rolling stock.

        Especially given how there hasn’t been a station at Drury since the 70’s. See if they run a commuter DMU express service between Pukekohe and Britomart; once that’s established they can then justify building another, new Drury Station (most easily at the same site as the old one) for the same express service. Over time it can get more frequent services as the services get more and more established and get more patronage.
        With electrification; they’re committing to a project that is certain to be expensive for something that’s not necessary. There may not be any more money for a Drury station for a long time.

        1. There was some excellent discussion here recently concerning the station at Drury. Basically the suggestion was an interchange station so that some motorway traffic could divert to a P&R or dropoff and pax proceed into Ak on an emu, perhaps express. This would need Electrification to Drury. This would reduce motorway congestion and also useful as a coach interchange for intercity services hence getting them out of the motorway system and CBD
          Drury is also where the NIMT would have a junction for the lines through new Bombay tunnel/diversion. This would obviate need for a third/fourth main to Pukekohe.

        2. Well Drury’s old station (whose site I’m assuming they’re using for any future station) was pretty close to Papakura anyway so making it the new terminus for the Southern line wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

          Pukekohe however is some further distance away.

        3. There are now 8 operational ADLs, two have been removed from service to strip for spares

    4. Dude, what the actual hell?

      The Pukekohe Shuttle has to go. It doesn’t work for the people who use it. And it doesn’t even work for people who catch the train at Papakura.

      The idea that you could extend the shuttle into a whole network thing is just insane? We’re talking two carriages which get absolutely packed. We’re talking about services that used to be packed (back in the day before the disaster that are the EMUs started) with four or more carriages from Britomart to Papakura. Twice the capacity (or more) than the shuttle.. and still packed. With vastly more carriages available.

      Oh, and I’ve heard Britomart can’t even take the Diesels any more. I’m not sure that’s true. It seems like it’d be fairly expensive to achieve, But it’s certainly not true that you can run the faster diesels and the EMUs on the same network effectively.

      The only options are battery trains or electrified lines.

      Bro, do you even Auckland?

      1. Re: diesels cannot enter Britomart any more. When EMUs took over all suburban routes in 2014, the Northern Explorer (between Auckland and Wellington) became the only diesel service still using Britomart. AT asked the operator, KiwiRail, to fund an upgrade of the diesel fume extraction fans. KiwiRail decided that it was more cost effective to cease serving Britomart and simply move the Northern Explorer terminus to The Strand Station, which is still its terminus today. It would be an expensive undertaking to refurbish the fans.

        As to why electrification is being extended to Pukekohe: this is a step towards establishing a commuter service between Hamilton and Auckland, which would be extended to Tauranga. This is all part of Green Party policy.

      2. The diesels are only faster because they don’t have ETCS and don’t have the same excessive level of control applied to their door opening process. I don’t see why we would have them back on the core network without ETCS, it was brought in to make things safer.

  15. How about this for an out of the box idea.

    Put emergency lights and sirens onto LRT/Bus/Bustrams, so that they get treated like any other emergency vehicle where people have to pull over to allow them priority access. Forces private vehicle users to pull over making PT that much more efficient. Eventually we’d all just get fed up with having to pull over all the time that we’d change our mindset and take PT instead.

    A rather cost-effective fix in comparison and a bit of tinkering with some NZTA rules.

  16. The vast improvements envisaged surely must mean the Public Transport Operating Model had to be consigned to the dust bin of history.

    Drivers must be paid a reasonable wage to recruit and retain rather than the current exploitative model where the bus companies compete to see who can be the fastest to the bottom.

    In other words, not having a model where companies like Ritchie’s are begging the government for changes to immigration rules so they can pay immigrant drivers crap money in order to win tenders!

    1. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater: yes, the PTOM model as it stands has led to a race to the bottom for driver wages. That could be fixed with a line or two in the tender documents that specified some kind of “fair wage” criteria. But the model itself is surely a vast improvement over what existed before, where individual companies held the public authorities to ransom and only did their bidding if it suited them. This way, Council and AT are in firm control and are able to strategically shape and tactically tweak the network as needed. Has to be a plus.

  17. The political presentation is light years in front of the terrible framing from the previous transport announcement with the fuel tax. Good optics.

    But this is a set of reforms reliant entirely on just two groups of people: AT and NZTA.

    The Minister will need to show that he has the executive muscle to completely alter the direction and capacity of NZTA. What he has done is change the Chairman, but that in reality is one person. There is nothing in the current structure of NZTA – certainly not in its tier 1 or 2 or 3 management layers – that show they can or will do this programme.

    Similarly with Auckland Transport. The Mayor has not replaced the Chair, is taking a long time to replace any other Board member, and their Tier 2 and 3 management of delivery are in chaos because they are being restructured.

    Both Mayor Goff and Minister Twyford need to show that they have the ability to transform their agencies to deliver at speed, use all the capital allocated per year when they rarely do (can they really spend $2.8 billion per year every year on delivery?), completely synchronise their programmes together (when they almost never do projects together let alone programmes), and integrate all of that with Kiwirail who run to entirely different commercial and policy drivers.

    Evidence so far is thin for the above.

    After that they are going to need massive and bold procurement processes the likes of which Auckland has never seen, to get the construction industry on board. For example, as of this year, the only ppp Auckland Council has ever done is for the Americas Cup, and that was formed just one month ago and hasn’t even started.

    Smile and wave all you like politicians.
    But it’s all you will ever do with your schemes unless you muscle up and transform the public sector tasked with delivering it – so far there’s no evidence they are going to get their hands dirty on that front.

    1. So are you coming to the realisation that the announcement of $28bn for transport was nothing more than spin. Esp the parts about LRT for which funding looks like comitted monopoly money, the private sector has $4.2bn available or are those ‘loans’ going to be repaid by future taxation on Auckland ratepayers or more car/fuel/congestion charges tax.
      I suspect that the govt knows they will never have to find the $1.2bn LRT seeding as it will become someone elses fault for not coming to the party with $4.2bn.

      1. I would think that $1.8 billion would get LR most of the way to the airport. Light rail is probably the only project likely to be cancelled if the Nats come back in 2020. The government and council need to get moving asap.

  18. With just the W to W third main missing sections funded and constructed by 2028 does this include Middlemore rebuild? Will no progress be made with RRR for whatever number of years it takes to get this bit of 3rd main done? Didn’t RRR need more 3rd to Papakura? Is this pushing any practical form of RRR out to the 2030s or 2040s?

    1. RRR could always show up in the near future in the Jones Fund? That’s my pick anyway, given the low cost of the stage one implementation I’d expect it could be funded from that with plenty left from the $3b for everyone else.

      1. Has any Jones funded NAL upgrade started yet or branch to Northport?
        Or is it all still with comittees and expert panels awaiting reports?

    2. To start with RRR only needs the third track between Manukau Junction and Westfield Junction, that would allow you to sneak a couple of trains an hour through the congested part of the southern line to reach the eastern line to get to downtown. That’s a bit arbitrary because there is no where central to receive them though. If you stopped at Otahuhu or Puhinui you only need the third there. If you stopped at Manukau you might not need it at all to start with.

  19. Don’t expect AT to pour money into anything south of Pukekohe simply because basically it is in the Waikato and it is up to the Waikato local authorities to fund public transport within its area. (Waikato starts at the top of the Bombay Hills).

    1. Except Pokeno is adding to congestion in Auckland. Just saying it’s “Waikato” doesn’t change that fact.

  20. “Words like transformational and step-change get thrown around far too often when talking about transport announcements. But I think yesterday’s release of the updated Auckland Transport Alignment Project is one announcement that certainly qualifies.”

    Respectfully Matt, just simply not true. The PT ridership growth over 10 years will be at 7% per year – the current rate – and we aren’t crowing about that. Let me repeat my posting of yesterday.

    I believe that a continuation of the current PT growth rate of 7% to take ridership from 93 million to 170 million will not make much of a difference. It certainly isn’t fixing the problem at the moment. This increase sounds great until you dissect the numbers.

    Say for example we take the current annual immigration increase of 60,000 per year and we apply the Mayor’s figure that 55% of growth is in Auckland.. That is an Auckland increase of 33,000 per year and 330,000 for 10 years. Let us assume that only half of those travel to and from work each day (probably a very conservative assumption).

    So at year 10 there are 165,000 people x 240 working days x 2 trips per day = 79.2 million extra public transport trips. Compare this with the target of an extra 73 million trips. On just a quick analysis this supposedly grandiose plan is probably likely to fail. It is completely without ambition.

    Or if we look at it another way, that in ten years time it is predicted that the average Aucklander will make 85 PT trips per year. Or if we reframe that, only 18% of Aucklanders will travel to an from work five days per week. And that assumes no other PT, no school trips, no concert trips, sports games etc. No transformation there.

    The thing that amazes me is why it has been sold as a massive leap forward for PT. i can picture Mike Hosking, even now, still choking on his brunch of organic rye toast with chia seeds and goji berries pontificating to anyone who can be bothered listening that he is still going to drive his Ferrari anywhere he wants, at anytime he wants and screw those who have built a cycleway that impedes his enjoyment.

    I do however want to acknowledge the great work of the team at Greater Auckland. They have helped take others to where we are now. For better PT we have arrived at the start of the beginning.

    1. So by your calculation over the next ten year the net effect is that practically all extra work trips are taken by public transport, and none by driving, despite very strong population growth?

      Sounds great!

      1. Of course, Nick. That’s hardly a fantasy. After all, what did Matt report back in December:


        Longer term view: Seattle grew 21.3% in population since 2006, traffic volumes decreased by 3.3%, and transit ridership increased by 41.8%

        So not just the new work trips, but some of the old ones too. And the shopping trips, and recreation trips, and the visiting the grandparents, and…. 🙂

  21. Nick R
    Exactly my point. If trips are made by other means than by PT, and they are certainly likely to be, then there will be more congestion and presumably a demand for more roads. In short the predicted PT ridership increase (to 170 million) could simply be due to the population increase with no diminution of current congestion. That is why I am very critical of it and may be even more so when the detail is revealed e.g. does the new AT budget actually reverse the trend of more being spent on roads? Until that trend is reversed we are likely to have more traffic due to induced demand regardless of whether PT ridership is increasing.

    I am enormously sceptical because despite AT having targets to reduce fuel usage they have not even got close. The excuse seems to be that they were caught out by the huge surge in immigration, but despite seeing the trend never reacted.

  22. It was good to see quite an emphasis on the southern rail connections, lot of growth and capacity needed through this pinch point of both freight & passengers.

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