A Herald article yesterday bemoaned the apparent lack of emphasis being placed on expanding Auckland’s Park & Rides over the next decade:

Auckland Transport (AT) is planning to add 1900 parking spaces across its park and ride stations, but the Automobile Association says it is still a “long way short” of what’s needed…

…AA spokesman Barney Irvine said the level of park and ride supply in Auckland was “a joke” compared to Wellington, and cities in Australia and America.

“We’re missing out on the opportunity to generate piles of new public transport users,” Irvine said.

“AT has to start taking it more seriously … we need to see a commitment made to delivering far more parking spaces – that means multi-storey buildings.”

Park and Rides for the Northern Busway are frequently filled up pretty early in the morning, despite the Albany site being expanded on multiple occasions over the last few years.

Park and Rides perform two useful roles in the public transport system:

  1. They enable people who live in areas beyond the edge of the city, where feeder buses, walking or cycling would be impractical or inefficient, to access core public transport routes.
  2. They are a useful “gateway” to public transport to support immediate ridership on new routes or encourage new people onto PT.

However, they obviously come with a lot of trade-offs. For one, as you can see in the picture above, the Albany Park and Ride uses up a huge amount of pretty prime land in a metropolitan centre right next to rapid transit. This is a big chunk of land that could provide a lot of housing or other activity in a location right next to really high quality rapid transit. Secondly (and obviously related), Park and Rides cost a lot of money. A surface level parking space generally can be costed at $20-30k while each space in a parking building usually averages out at a cost of $50-60k.

To put some context around those numbers, a space in a parking building would need to charge $8 a day to cover its costs, if you assumed no interest or operational costs. If you add those in, alongside a reasonable rate of return to reflect that you’re not able to use the land for something else, this number balloons to around $25 a day. There are clearly some benefits to the public that could warrant a bit of subsidy, but ultimately Park and Rides are a very expensive way to build ridership. Only one-sixth of Albany station’s daily boardings are from people using the park and ride, while out of the whole 5.5 million annual trips along the busway, my calculations (1500 spaces between Albany and Constellation stations, 2 trips a day per space, 250 days a year of full use) suggest that only 750,000 of these 5.5 million annual trips comes from Park and Ride.

Clearly Park and Ride does have a role to play in the public transport system, where land is relatively cheap and where providing other ways for people to access public transport are less viable. Another important consideration is bringing in a daily charge for people using the facilities, to both help cover their costs but also to provide a bit of choice for people who would pay a bit to ensure they had a space available at the time they wished to travel. The Herald article picks up some of the huge “time cost” the current “first in, first served” creates for commuters:

Commuter Nikki Te Huia, 29, a sales executive, said she has to leave two hours early because of the lack of parking in Albany.

Her work day starts at 9am, but she has to be at the bus station about 7am to ensure she gets a park.

“The express bus service is fantastic, but honestly the lack of parking sucks,” Te Huia said.

“The time I save from sitting in motorway traffic is transferred into me finding somewhere to sit around for two hours until work starts.”

If half the Albany Park and Ride moved to a dynamic pricing system, priced to a level that there were still a few spots available up until 9am, people like Nikki wouldn’t need to waste hours of their lives. This seems like a no brainer next step to do at Albany, and also at other places where the facilities are filled up early in the morning.

Share this

156 comments

  1. The Automobile Association have this all wrong. The solution most definitely isn’t to building more monolithic parking lots to accommodate more cars, it’s to remove the requirement for any public transport journey to need a car at all. The Albany park and ride is already so big and dysfunctional, making it larger wouldn’t improve the situation, it would only add more to demand as well as landing Auckland ratepayers with a huge financial burden (at a minimum $20,000 per extra space).

    The parking should be paid. It’s unreasonable to allow storage of private vehicles at full cost to the rate payer where the stage of ones journey which is actually public (the bus ride) is subsidised by approximate 50% farebox. If park & ride users had to pay even $1-2 per day, it would go a bit further in reducing demand but also that money could go into improving the facilities. Also more enforcement should be in place to stop illegal parking and other freeloaders.

    More feeder services are needed. If thousands of vehicles are using the facility before 7am then there is obviously a catchment in the area that could transport many commuters from their homes by another bus service which could drop them off metres from the NEX bus stop. This would be much easier than having to spend many more minutes driving on a congested road to the park & ride, locating an unoccupied parking bay and walking a longer distance to catch their next service. Having looked at the New Network for the North Shore, there still aren’t enough feeders serving Albany station.

    The AA need to move with the times and support more efficient travel rather than continuing advocating the freedom for people to continue using their cars when they shouldn’t need to.

    1. To be fair, when this was on TV3 last night, AT did actually point out that the answer is to take the feeder and that building more parking will never meet demand.

      The TV reporter seemed very sceptical that people should transfer to a transit station. That’s bias, intentional or not.

      Pricing, whilst a tricky beast, should be examined as an option. Permit parking for reduced parking fees should be another – Come from outside the permit zone and get charged a higher rate. Only requires paying by HOP. Sure, you could use a friend’s address to reg your hop card, but that’s fraud.

  2. It would be fascinating to know what % of the Albany Park n Ride customers do have feeder bus options or other PT options. Then I wonder how many would potentially change their Park n Ride behaviour if frequency was better closer to their homes.

    I understand a large portion of people come from the Hibiscus Coast which have plenty of options from Silverdale, Orewa and Whangaparaoa.

    I wonder how much growth could be achieved by vastly improving the feeder buses from the East Coast Bays areas to the busway. Some areas have poor frequency (e.g. Long Bay/Torbay) when customers are probably seeking 10 mins for feeder buses with the 2 minute transfer at the busway stations. More efficient use of peak buses and bus kilometres also.

    1. Yes, and if we find that these areas are not dense enough to support feeder buses: who allowed them to be built like that? And who is allowing continued growth of too-low density areas? If these areas are so car dependent that people can’t get to work without hopping in their cars, why is that sort of development allowed? It’s not socially healthy – htf are teenagers and other people who don’t drive supposed to get access to their city from their homes? Utterly insane car dependent planning. But on top of this, to expect ratepayers to pay for storage of all those cars when our money needs to go into improving sustainable modes!

      1. Agree with all of the above. Feeder buses are ok less frequently than the NEX so long as you’re not waiting that long for the feeder bus to take you on the final leg home. I reckon 5 minutes tops. If too long a wait, it kind of makes more frequent services pointless overall and could be counterproductive i.e. I’d rather hang around at work for an extra 15 minutes for a less frequent but direct service than getting a more frequent NEX only to have wait 15 minutes in the Smales Farm/Albany/Constellation bus terminal waiting in hope that your connector is on time. I’ll guess we’ll find out shortly.

    2. I park at Albany and live in the hibicus coast in a densely populated area. When the new improved service starts in September it will take me three buses to get to work. One to hibicus coast station, then one to the northern bus way, finally one to Auckland hospital where I work. I know a lot of people who will be in the same situation as me. It’s a catch 22. AT can’t run enough feeder/ direct buses for people to use them in preference to driving to the park and ride. But if they don’t run enough people won’t use the feeder buses because they are not frequent enough. Many people travelling from the hibicus coast already have a long journey each way. Mine normally takes 1 hour 15 minutes in the evening. I don’t want to make it longer by waiting for feeder buses.

      1. Christine, I understand that you have chosen to live where you do in relation to your work; but maybe its not reasonable for others to pay the cost for you to do that such as heavily subsidised park and rides?

        1. Moving out to the Coast isn’t just a lifestyle choice anymore it also comes down to cost of housing, maybe Christine can’t afford to live closer to where she works. A lot of people can’t these days, cheap inner city housing went at leat 20 years ago.

          1. I don’t mind subsidising people to make good choices. Paying for park and ride isn’t how I choose to do so. Subsidising public transport and housing closer to town supports a better urban form and social fabric.

      2. The loss of the 881 past Auckland Hospital is unfortunate but there is the formerly named NEX3 coming that will leave from Albany station and go past Auckland Hospital via Ponsonby Road. Let’s get onto AT to get that going asap.

      3. “…AT did actually point out that the answer is to take the feeder and that building more parking will never meet demand…”

        The problem is AT are talking out of their hat half the time. The OP’s story strikes me as a wearily familiar one with AT. They simply don’t seem to have much of a clue as to how their own network operates at a human level. I am convinced that this is because the people who do the timetable planning seldom if ever use PT to get to work and never consider it part of their job description to try out all the various components of their network for a week.

        A example in point is the new train timetable. I catch the new 5.33am from Sunnyvale go to Ellerslie via Newmarket. Conveniently, a Southern Service train arrives at Newmarket at 6.08am, around the same time the Western line service arrives. Miss the 6.08am to Papakura and you’ve got a 20 minute wait on a cold, dreary and windswept platform. Therefore the connection is fabulous.

        Except there appears to be no comprehension of this from AT. This morning for example the Western line service for no apparent reason decided to use platform one, just as the Papakura service arrived on Platform four. Cue a mad dash by a good 30-40 people to the escalator to go up and down, yet the Papakura Train had already closed it’s doors – it was only by the good graces of the train manager who kept her door open a dozen people were not left stranded for 20 minutes, looking on in mute frustration and anger as the train pulled out. Now, as I said the next Southern line train is 20 minutes later. There is no reason this 6.08am train can’t wait a couple of minutes for transferring passengers. But instead of formalising this, AT have kept it a lottery.

        They simply don’t know or don’t care enough to make these sorts of small changes.

  3. Charging for park’n’rides is the only answer. Also the only payment method they should accept is Hop card. This shouldn’t matter to bus users but it’ll be a nudge in the right direction.
    I wish the AA would stop being treated by the media and politicians as a legitimate advocacy group. They don’t consult their members on what they should be advocating for so it’s not like they really represent their members views.

    1. As an AA member I’ve had several surveys sent to me in order to help them decide on what to advocate.

    2. logarithmicbear
      Yes so easy as you say just to charge for the park and ride. Maybe start with $3 or $4 per day. If AT is concerned that this will cause more people to drive because some will find the difference between their bus trip plus the park and ride cost more comparable to the cost of parking in the city then increase city parking by $3 or $4 to restore the margin. A win -win!

      And there should be greater benefits from such a move because a recent survey by Auckland Council said the the greatest factor in people choosing to use public transport was high parking prices. Another three or four dollars is likely to push some others towards trains or buses.

      Hopefully we can bring AT kicking and screaming to a more rational economic approach. I suspect it will be us doing the kicking.

  4. I loved the comment along the lines of “how are people meant to use public transport when there aren’t enough car parks”.

    1. Yes, and the one that tickled my fancy was the lady who “felt the flower beds were a waste of space, and could be paved over to create additional car parks” What was that about nuclear weapons grade ugly transport infrastructure…

        1. Haha, yes it’s madness. And I feel like via a slice of my rates I’m complicit in paying for this dysfunctional destruction. I hate that.

          All those comments in the Herald, and they represent 14% of the users, according to Matt’s stats (hat tip to you sir).

          The other 86% who weren’t quoted meanwhile incur a dis-benefit from all those car parks from… the lack of any more valuable facilities at the bus station… the extra costs of the infrastructure which their bus fares have to pay for… etc etc.. and, yes, the lack of trees…

  5. There was another article in the Herald today about the Glen Innes PnR. There was a guy complaining that he has to leave even earlier now to get to the gym and then get a decent car park at the station, if he is too late he has to walk a bit further. I think he was serious.

    1. Well the GI Park n Ride has been full since well before 7am on weekdays ever since the old Auckland City Council [with ARTA’s help] upgraded the station and extended the PnR parks. All some 10+ years ago.

      Hardly a “new(s)” story that some dude has to walk to the GI station ‘cos he can’t park in the Park N Ride parks these days. Change the name from GI PNR and you could say the exact same things about the Orakei and Meadowbank Park n Rides too over the same time frames.

      Agree it is ironic that he is complaining about having to take some free exercise given he is on his way to the (presumably paid for) gym to exercise some more.

      He might find once we have the GI to Tamaki cycleway in place, he can walk to work from home, skip the gym completely and still get some good exercise.

      1. While I agree with the thrust of your argument, I’ll be a bit pedantic – Walking, cycling or running do not equal a gym workout. I’m not saying that one is better or worse than the other, but the active transit modes do not replace a workout.

          1. I didn’t get 18 inch biceps walking to the train station. They took a lot of hard work and heavy lifting in the gym to get. Walking and cycling also have a place but if you really want to change your body diet and lifting are they way to go.

          2. And if you really want to improve the health of society at large, providing walking and cycling amenity is the way to go. Any specific sport or gym workout is a bonus on top of that, which tends to be dropped as people get older. Having a lifestyle that includes walking and cycling is most important for keeping active. I recommend you watch the videos of the Healthy Streets talk, posted 22 August.

          3. Never implied that anaerobic was the only “good exercise”. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise are both required on a good fitness regime.

            If I didn’t do resistance training, I’d probably injure myself on some of the photo missions I set myself. Sure walking built my endurance for walking kilometers of funky tracks in rural China near the end of winter, but it didn’t build my ability to carry 10KG of camera gear and accessories.

            10KG doesn’t sound like much until you have to carry it for 4-6 hours. You try holding a DSLR and 70-200mm/f2.8 lens (combined ~3KG) with good technique and slow shutter speeds for more than a few minutes and you’ll see that yeah – You need resistance training.

            At the end of the day, nobody knows what the gym goer was doing at the gym – Keeping fit in general or training for something in particular…

            @ Heidi – You should see my gym. ~5% retirement age in the early morning. Also, walking at a casual pace does little for general fitness. With walking you need to exert yourself for 20-30mins – That means elevate your heart rate by a fair bit more than a few beats per minute.

          4. All good, Jon, but I’m just going by the stats. Walking amenity is very important for elderly people, and thus for a healthy society and a healthy health budget, because walking forms an increasingly larger proportion of people’s exercise as they age.

        1. Meh, I live out West, where the council seems to regard decent (or any) footpaths for walking on anywhere as a wildly decadent luxury fit only for the latte sipping louche-bags of the inner city.

          1. Have some fun, Sanctuary. Where you really need some footpaths put in for safety, ask AT to do it. They might let you know how many hundreds of outstanding requests there are.

    2. People look at me askance when I say that I always walk 20 min to get to my gym and then 20 min back. Even the gym management are surprised that I don’t drive to get there. Bizarre!

  6. Clearly we need minimum parking rules. I suggest 3 spaces per bus stopping at a busway station, 1 space per five people a cross-harbour cycleway is designed for and 1 park and ride space for every 1000sqm of office space approved in the CBD.

    1. Yes Auckland councils planning department should have been all over this. What is the minimum number of car parks for a pub again?

      1. Isn’t it 100 spaces per complaint from the public that gets published in the Herald? And 1000 spaces per farm that asked to have its zoning changed to residential in the AUP?

  7. Many years ago, I caught the Washington DC metro from Virginia into Washington DC. In the outer areas, the metro stations had parking buildings where people swiped their metro cards to get into. I think it was free parking with a metro card. I thought that was kind of neat.

    Isn’t the idea to get more people on public transport? Insisting that people use feeder services or cycle or walk isn’t always practical, especially when the feeder services are infrequent, slow and out of sync with the main service.

    1. ‘Isn’t the idea to get more people on public transport?’. Only if it is cost effective.

      There are more than enough carparks for those that don’t have viable connector buses, all we need to do is charge to manage the demand at the PnR so these people can be sure of getting a park.

      1. Sure, but cost effectiveness is more than recovering the cost of parking. Holistically, you have to consider how much it will reduce in congestion and, road damage and people’s time, amongst other things, with the risk of people deciding to drive into the city instead of park and ride.

        I’m not saying having free park and ride is necessarily the right model for Auckland, but trying to get full cost recovery would be counter productive. And telling people to use impractical alternatives isn’t helpful either.

        1. At $20,000 – $30,000 per car park I suspect we would get better value from putting this money into improving feeder bus services.

          I’m not suggesting full cost recovery, I don’t think anyone is. I’m thinking of charging at a rate that means there will be parking available if you are willing to pay, rather than the first in first served approach at the moment.

          Sure some will drive as they don’t want to pay, but others who used to drive as they couldn’t find a park will then pay and use the bus.

          1. Probably not. Some people need to use their car to drop kids at daycare and or school and then need to go to work. Park and Ride is an ideal way to get them onto the bus for the most congested part of their trip. Tipping all the money into feeder buses assumes that everyone is a single person making one trip.

          2. Yes because people with kids should be punished by having to get a bus with them to daycare, then you get another bus to the bus station, then a bus to work. then when the ring and say your kid is sick please come an get them they should use three more buses.

          3. Yes, so people who do need to take childen to daycare on the way to work, and who chose to not use a daycare near where they live, or near where the work, might have to take two buses.

          4. Well you can either try and make public transport attractive to everyone, or you can make it impossible for some people as you are suggesting.

          5. LOL. So many children are sent out of zone, via school buses, to approved schools that taking buses obviously isn’t an issue for many people.

          6. Why would you try and make public transport attractive to everyone? A fools errand doomed to failure, like trying to make everyone drive at the same time, or trying to make living in an apartment attractive to everyone.

          7. Clearly you have no idea about kids. Maybe just maybe it’s doable with a single child but I have three. Then there are afterschool activities to sort out, I didn’t have kids so that I could push them out the door to the nearest bus station, I want to spend time with them.

          8. In a car? Poor quality time, that. After I gave up my car, and told the kids they could choose any activities we could bus, walk or drive to, they loved it because they had my full attention busing and walking, with lots to see and discuss. Cycling was just fun because cycling is fun. Taking buses without me and with their friends as they got older, and later by themselves, was a important step of independence.

          9. Yes, you ‘just’ need to buy your 1.5 million dollar house in an area where this type of lifestyle is possible…

          10. Some people will use their car for the difficult first bits regardless of what you spend on feeder services. Park and ride gets those people out of their car for the part of their trip where capacity is actually constrained. We can either provide for them with park and ride and we all enjoy the benefits or you can ignore them and they will use their car the whole way. It comes down to whether you are a numpty limited by your own stupidity or whether you can actually have some empathy for others who live a different life to you.

          11. Roeland, as I’ve said before, when I gave my car up, my area had poor bus services. Infrequent services into and out of town, full stop. The cycling amenity is still lacking where I actually needed it within the nearby suburbs, we are still taking our life in our hands – and just one activity we chose on the NW cycleway because of its location. What I chose to do was radical here, as it would probably be where you are. It was a values judgment, imposing limits on our choices, meaning we spent much more time here in our house and community, and involving more time in transport. The benefits were worth it.

            My starting point was: “Do I want to move out to a rural permaculture commune and live entirely within a small community of people, without a car?” It could have been great, it probably would have been stifling. But with that as a starting point, any ability to connect with community and culture through sustainable transport means is a bonus.

          12. miffy, there’s good research into the importance of the first leg. If parents can take the children by bike, they continue by bike. If they can do it by bus, they continue by bus. If they have to do it by car, then tend to continue by car.

            Park and ride taking up the catchment around a transit stop is stupid planning. Requiring the rest of the city to subsidise that park and ride is putting money in the wrong places. It’s just one of the many, many costs of greenfields development that are externalised.

          13. I see. Maximum respect for being a pioneer there, Heidi.

            But, as you said, it’s pretty radical. You can safely assume that most people will not take such radical decisions.

          14. Thanks, and I appreciate everyone’s (including your) contributions to the campaign to improve sustainable modes and urban form throughout the city. I’m certainly not just focusing on my area, which as we both know, is now better than most.

          15. Heidi it makes sense to use the area around a station as retail or TOD or whatever except in the case of the North Shore due to their shit planning they put didn’t put any of the busway stations in a Town Centre. So the areas around Constellation Dr and Albany were wasteland. In that case it makes sense to put a good level of park and ride there. Albany is a Metro centre but not anywhere near the station. Constellation Dr has always had limits on any retail, same with Smales Farm but at least they got a Business Park through. The irony is they have done the best job of integration and they did it despite the planners.
            At the moment we have parking at Albany and Constellation and it is allocated free to anyone who gets up early. That means we are subsidising parking for people who are not even travelling in the morning peak. WTF? (I have always thought people who get up early have a character flaw and this proves it, they only do it to privatise a public good).
            If you want more people using the busway then the quickest way to get it is with parking. 100% of those parking will use the bus. If you put housing there then some of them will use the bus, if you put retail there then some of their staff will use the bus. If you put offices there then the staff will use the bus but only if it suits them at the other end of their trip.
            For people making multi-leg trips park and ride is the only way to get them onto public transport.

          16. miffy, I guess you’re essentially saying that Albany’s ‘urban form’ is that of a car park in the midst of a car dependent area. In my eyes, it is thus a highly subsidised waste of farmland. Perhaps in yours it’s a pragmatic solution in the face of stupid planning decisions all round. Smart parking management will certainly only go so far to righting the many ills in the situation.

            The early nerd gets the worm.

          17. I do a childcare drop-off and I disagree the PnR is vital. There is no reason for needing catch two connecting buses, most connecting routes have plenty of street parking in their vicinity. Just drop the kids off and park somewhere next to the frequent connecting route, then you can do the whole trip with two buses and a quick connection.

            There is no plan to get rid of PnR. It will still be available for those who find it most convenient, it just should be charged so it is used by those that value it the most, not those who get there first.

        2. “but trying to get full cost recovery would be counter productive”
          Really? What if Auckland City car park pricing was as high as Sydney? I am almost certain that cost recovery would be achievable.

          One of the huge impediments that exist to AT having commercially profitable parking is the Strategy provision, “charge the lowest rates possible to achieve occupancy targets”.

          1. Wouldn’t it be good if they even did that! 🙂 They prefer to leave cars driving around and around looking for cars in carparks way over occupancy targets, endangering anyone not in a car, just so they can avoid charging.

      2. Why not build 1.6 million carparks, enough for everyone. At a cost of $60k per park, that’s only $96 billion. They would be pretty big though; would need feeder buses to get from your park to the station.

        1. That is ridiculous.

          You’d only need enough parking spots for the students and working population, which I estimate would be a little under 1 million people. Probably a fair bit less with people sharing rides to the stations. And there are what, 50ish stations? Allowing for growth, let’s go with 1 million parks, so that’s only 20,000 parks per station on average. With maybe 40 (I dunno, I don’t drive) parks per level, that’s only 500 levels of parking buildings over one or many parking buildings per station. Then all you need is an elevator.

    2. 6,000 people a day catch a bus from Albany Station. There are 1,100 car parks. Clearly parking is not necessary for the vast majority of users.

      About the same at Constellation but half as many carparks. And no carparks at Smales, Sunnynook or Akoranga.

      Also since the busway opened ten years ago there has been only 500 carparks added to the system, but thousands of new users each year. So yeah…

      1. What does “6,000 people a day catch a bus from Albany station” mean? Does it include those transferring from NEX services to an 880, 957, 891 or other service that goes past the mall so they can get off there? Does it include people who came on one of those buses from the mall who then catch an NEX?

        A huge number of these mall visitors don’t have cars.

        1. It means across the whole day there are 6,000 tag-ons or tickets sold for buses departing Albany station, of all kinds. I don’t know where they are coming from or going to, but yes that figures includes the boarding on the second bus of a transfer. Doesn’t include people passing through without getting off or on tho.

    3. Agreed, I think quite a few people that use some of the PnR are not even catching the bus / train. They should all require a Hop card, and then if you continue on PT, parking is only $1-$2 per day, if not, charge at commercial rates.

      1. I like your idea much more than my one.

        My idea was to require a hop card and charge differential rates based upon if there’s a feeder within 500m of the registered address or not.

        Your idea is much easier to implement.

    1. According to the parking strategy AT will be investigating adding 101-300 park and ride places at Takanini, between 2015 and 2045.

    2. Hopefully secure bike shelters are provided as part of that. There are plenty of feeder buses to Takanini train station also.

    3. I’d be happy just to have decent pedestrian access to Takanini Station. The pathway from Taka Street is a muddy track leading to a rutted and potholed car park where you run the gauntlet with departing and arriving cars – and only then leading to a formed path. I just love it on a cold wet and windy winter’s night. Absolutely shameful.

      1. Thank you David, also shelters at the bus stops and it would be even nicer if the bus could be closer to the station crossing than the parked cars instead of playing dodge the driver in the rain.
        I have made several submissions to this effect to AT.

  8. Clearly additional feeder services and an extension to the busway are required. Hopefully addresses from HOP card data are sufficient to plan this. I’d question why the situation has got so bad, and the carpark so big, without the council acting. They need to put monthly leases on parks and raise day rates. Beyond that, the monthly leases should be prioritised toward people who don’t live near a feeder

    1. You ask a good question: “why the situation has got so bad, and the carpark so big, without the council acting?” Here’s what AT say about park and rides:

      “Pricing Park and Ride at AT managed facilities will influence how people travel to stations and terminals especially if there are good alternative travel options available. Pricing can lead to more riders using alternative means to access public transport stations and terminals where alternative options are available such as frequent feeder buses and there are good walking and cycling options within defined catchments… Introduce pricing once demand consistently exceeds the 85 percent occupancy threshold capacity during the morning peak and viable alternative options for accessing the stations are in place, such as frequent bus feeders and good cycle parking, walking connections… It is proposed that even if pricing is introduced a tiered pricing model (ranging from free to premium, based on space utility) be implemented. Free parking would still be available for commuters at all times including weekends.”

      If AT have provided good frequent feeder buses and good walking and cycling options, they should be pricing the parking as per their strategy, to ensure the occupancy is 85% or lower at peak times.

      If they haven’t, WHY NOT? Probably because the urban form of sprawl doesn’t allow it. And somehow, that’s something that is a cost to borne by everyone, even if they do battle the traffic on a bicycle to get to the station, or if they do buy a more expensive or a tinier house than they felt comfortable doing in order to be closer to good public transport.

      1. Once park and ride rationing is required, charges need to be set at 20% more than the bus fare to the station. The invalid spaces need to be considered and the covered cycle facilities priced in a similar fashion. The likes of Papakura and Takanini should have the park and rides moved to say Clevedon and Te Hihi and the bus service from them to the station on a frequent basis to meet the services.
        The valuable land near the station should be used for commercial purposes and the feeder services delivering close to the platform and the lift service to the platforms.
        We should be aiming to ration the parking available with charges so that 15% are vacant at any time. This should be done with time differential charges to ensure that turnover is there as well. (Not a flat charge per/day)

        1. “covered cycle facilities priced in a similar fashion” – Why would you price bike parking? Each person riding a bike is actually saving the city and our society money. People biking anywhere is the ideal outcome.

      2. This isn’t a bad thing clearly more people are using the Northern Busway. I also disagree with the comment that the land around around the station is attractive for housing, maybe slum housig but living beside a motorway isn’t my idea of an attractive environment. I’ve done that and I also live beside a main trunk rail line, neither were nice environments, I certainly would choose to live beside either long term.

        1. Motorways are one of the foulest outcomes of a motorvehicle transport system, and the people who drive cars should certainly be required to be the ones who live near them. Our rapid transit lines should be required to go on routes away from motorways (as should our cyclelanes). However, motorways are seen as the cheap option for both those modes, to their detriment.

          However, the whole point of transit-oriented development is that the each station on a rapid transit line should be the centre of a walk up and cycle up catchment. By definition of being around the busway station, that land is valuable.

          Luckily some people don’t mind being next to a motorway. Long term, there’ll be a better solution for what the motorway land is used for.

          1. This is one of the dafter comments you’ve ever made, motorway’s make driving better, they make it safer and they keep cars from clogging up residential streets. Imagine Auckland with the same number of cars and no motorways, it would be a nightmare. I’ve been in a few cities with limited or no motorways, they are not nice places.

          1. Those houses are not the sort of place most people would aspire to live in. A friend of mine rented one of those townhouse’s, they were built without double glazing, all you could hear was the motorway.

            There’s nothing nice about living next to a motorway, you can try dressing it up as much as you like but it will always be low cost housing for people who can’t afford to live in better suburbs.

        2. Yes the people in Northcote Point really seem to suffer from living next to a motorway. Or the people in Eden Terrace/Newton.

          We really have to drop these “slum” comments every time someone suggest an apartment development. It is very 20th century.

          1. The people of Northcote Point did fight against the bridge when it was originally planned and built. Compared to Albany Northcote point is desirable, it’s on the water with views, it’s mostly in demand period housing, those dumps near the motorway in Albany don’t have views, it’s not a desirable seaside location and the properties were cheaply built with little of no sound insulation or double glazing, they are IMO pretty close to being slums.

          2. Well your opinion is invalid in this case as no one is forcing you to live there. Stop denying other people cheaper housing choices just because of your narrow preference.

            Living in apartment is great if you are more of an urban person. Rural people struggle.

  9. I wonder how much people like those interviewed think park and rides cost. They certainly talk as if AT could meet demand with the pocket change from their lunchroom sofas. Or maybe it’s the old equation where money spent on cars is always good value, and money spent on anything else is always wasteful…

  10. Park and ride carparks should not be free. Each car park should be costed and then operated to at least recover the same percentage of costs as the transit services they serve. Are the car parks currently independantly funded from the provision of transit or do their costs become part of the farebox recovery equation? The true market driven economy advocates are strangly silent about this costly distortion of the market by local government. Car parking provision is in fact, a valid commercial use of land and should be left to them to supply without them suffering from unfair competition from publicly provided parking.

  11. “Commuter Nikki Te Huia, 29, a sales executive, said she has to leave two hours early because of the lack of parking ”
    Seriously? In 2 hours you could ride 60km on an ebike, no trouble. Screw PnR, we should be building decent cycleways to the big bus stations, and undercover bike parking at them. Showers too, why not? Way cheaper than building acres of tarmac.

        1. I’ve tried an ebike, but cycling isn’t fun when it’s raining and windy, on a cold winter’s morning it would be downright miserable. Plus I can’t get my kids to school on an ebike.

          1. I guess I am just more of an outdoors person. I cycle rain wind or shine – summer or winter. I guess for more indoors kind of people that might be off putting.

            Check out Viking Cycling on Google to see what Northern Europeans deal with. I guess they are a lot tougher than the average molly coddled Kiwi.

            I take my kids to school all the time on my electric cargo bike or in a seat on the back of my other ebike. They love it and always choose it over the car.

  12. I’m not sure how effective charging will be if there’s no good alternative. You have to pay $6 for the Waiheke Park and Ride and it still fills up early every day. It would be nice (and would make a difference) if the car park money was ring-fenced to pay to improve feeder buses.

    1. How much carpooling to the ferry happens at $6 per day? I also wonder what ratio of people take the bus to the ferry compared to the Albany PnR.

      1. There are quite a few people using alternatives, such as buses, bicycles, scooters, parking further up the road in the free gravel carpark and walking down, getting dropped off, and hitching. I’m not sure just how much influence the fee has on that.

        There’s not a lot of carpooling as far as I can see…or at least not as a regular thing. People may take the opportunities when they arise. I would guess that it’s a bit restrictive for driver and passenger to have to catch the same ferry, possibly both ways. It definitely happens that people replace their bus ride home with a lift home with someone they caught up with on the ferry.

        I’d be interested to know how it compares to other PnR locations in terms of ratios too…

      2. PS some personal experience here: AT removed the bus service which ran past my house two years ago, because the road is too dangerous for the little buses they used to run on it (but not the much bigger trucks that they still allow to use it, of course). Now as part of the new network consultation they want to move the next nearest bus stop, from being 1.1km from my house, to being 2km away. And it’s a pretty slow ride on the bus from there to the ferry. That’s what I mean about the $6 not being enough of a deterrent, given the alternatives. I know I have to expect a lower level of service, being in the wops, but one wouldn’t expect the level of service to continually decline, given the increase in building and occupancy along the route.

          1. Agreed. I’ve cycled to the ferry, then from downtown to four stops in central Auckland, plus a trip to Oratia, then back (OK, I took the bike on the train for a bit of the way). I even got from a meeting in Newton to the return ferry in a very few minutes, that could not have been achieved in any other way. All on my e-bike in one day, with quite a bit of heavy luggage. And the battery was still showing full bars when I got home!

            But most days I amble twenty paces to my home office.

  13. Has there ever been any analysis done by Greater Auckland, or anyone else, on whether a subsidisation scheme for Uber or Zoomy could be used in place of a park and ride?

    If a single park costs the council $25 per day to own and operate, a subsidy of $6.50 (Uber min fare) for all trips that start or end at the bus station would be a net benefit for the council, not to mention it’s easily scalable.

    1. Wouldn’t it make more sense to charge for the carpark at a level where there are always a few parks free. I thought this was AT’s parking strategy anyway?

      1. That doesn’t provide any increased supply. Sure it forces people out of car parks where they don’t want to, or cant afford to, pay, but ultimately those people have to go somewhere.

        If we don’t have effective feeder networks (pretty much impossible in suburban areas due to the terrible street layout), then these people have little or no alternative but to drive. Uber/Zoomy subsidy would expand the catchment and therefore supply of access.

        1. It will stop people using the PnR as free parking for the nearby businesses, which posts elsewhere on this thread suggest is a significant problem, and therefore either free up parks for bus passengers, or at least raise some money to fund better solutions.

        2. Lots of research that shows free PnR doesn’t increase ridership on the rapid transit, it just cannibalises the feeder buses to get to the station for rapid transit.

  14. In my view some of the numbers listed in this article are absolute b-shit.
    For example the cost of building a multi storey car park is put at $40 – $60 k per car park.
    Using the higher figure that puts the cost of a 12 cubic meter car park at $5,000 per cubic metre.
    This is higher than the CURRENT build cost of an average HIGH RISE apartment, that is fitted out with a laundry, kitchen and bathroom.
    The fit out in an average car park comprises lighting, automatic ticket machines and safety barriers.
    They are not designed to look pretty, apart from the ADHB car park adjacent to Auckland Domain entrance, at the insistence of one John Banks .

    if all 1900 extra car parks were multi storey the total construction cost would exceed $95 million, using your numbers.

    i assume that someone with a specific crass point of view, has given you these loaded numbers to prove their case.

    I also assume you are including the current value of the land under the car park in these costs, which is plainly irrelevant given that it is a sunk cost incurred over 10 years ago (in the case of most of the northern busway facilities.

    So where did YOU get YOUR figures from???
    And what costs do they include???

    Assume that, at Albany, 4,000 car parks were built in a multi storey facility and were charged out at $2 per day to each hop card the annual revenue could exceed $12 million, if the car park was full each 5 day week. That would pay back all its current construction costs in 2-3 years. To minimise disruption to passengers such a large facility would have to be built in 2 stages, but the current Oteha valley road site would accommodate this.
    In addition the land usage set aside for car parking would shrink as more effective use of multi storey parks are built.

    We might then begin to see proper usage of the busway because at present it looks like an under used white elephant.

    1. White Elephant? Oh where have we heard that before – oh yeah the ignorant.
      The Busway has patronage that now exceeds some of our heavy rail lines (pre CRL) and is experiencing good solid growth month in month out.

      Busses ply that corridor every 3 minutes on peak and a bit less in offpeak which again is better than our rail system pre CRL.

      So what yard stick are you using to gauge the Busway as a white elephant.

      In any case what is a more efficient use of land next to a bus station in a Metropolitan Centre? A car park that stores cars which are parked 95% of the time or high density mixed use residential and commercial where they can walk to the station and not need a car nor trying to find a park and ride park in the first place.

        1. Why do you get to decide what other people want? I am sure many people would prefer that to being forced to live miles away from the city with a painful commute.

          1. IMO a lot of people live in those places because they can’t afford anywhere better, there’s a reason why they are cheap. You’re also deciding on what other people want, so why do you get to decide and I don’t?

          2. Well again that’s only your opinion. Apartments and terraced housing is selling like hotcakes in Auckland, so there is a desire to live in that kind of housing.

            And so what if people are choosing it because it is cheap? I don’t know if you read in the paper, but apparently there is a an affordability problem in Auckland. People choose to buy a 2005 Toyota over a 2018 Mercedes because it is cheaper. Is that a problem? Are they being oppressed?

            And how am I deciding what other people want? I am saying don’t interfere in a land owners right to build what they want on their land or interfere to distort the market to produce the housing you think people should want. I am doing the opposite of deciding what people want.

            If you prefer single storey housing in quiet suburbs, I have some good news – Auckland is full of it. But some people don’t want that.

    2. Each carspace uses up about 25sqm of space when you include the aisle and access. In some buildings it is closer to 30sqm per space. If land is free you can build surface spaces for $5000 each. If it isn’t free and you need to build a structure it quickly gets up to $40k to$60k per space or higher. In part it depends how you value the land. I have put in open parking where the land is free because the owner wants to keep it as a future building platform. Most high parking structures go in places where land is incredibly expensive.

      In the case of the Northern Busway if the land is to be used for parking anyway then the land is a sunk cost. All it needs is a single level deck right over the top or a four level building in one corner. That could easily be funded with a nominal charge like $6 to $8 a day stuck in a fund and saved until there is a enough to do some or all of the job. They were supposed to do this at the start but chickened out as they were worried nobody would use the busway. Constellation Dr already has the islands for the barrier arms.

    3. ‘We might then begin to see proper usage of the busway because at present it looks like an under used white elephant.’

      Funniest thing I’ve read all day, thank you for that! 🙂

    4. Also, mathematics. You will not find a lot of cars which fit in 12 cubic metres. Or, in case you’re mixing up square metres and cubic metres, 12 would still be very tight and would not account for any manoeuvring space (look again at that aerial image above and look at the space between cars).

      Parking really is that expensive. Sorry.

    5. Actually Alan, they may not be that far out. Carparks themselves are a minimum of 13.75m2 each (5.5 x 2.5), but with associated aisles and ramps etc, the area needed for each carpark is usually around 27m2 each, so that will affect your numbers.

      Building with concrete is expensive, and building of apartments in Auckland is often way higher than $5,000/m2 (square metres, not cubic metres).

      Figures I’ve used in Wellington indicate that the construction cost of a carpark can often outweigh the value of the finished product. If it costs you $50k to build a carpark, and want to pay it off in 10 years, assuming parking for only 5 days a week, is going to mean you need to charge $19 a day. Otherwise you’re just throwing good money after bad.

    6. Alan, not sure what is up but your maths are wrong. In fact everything you say is wrong.

      4,000 carparks at $2 a day is $8,000 a day. Five days a week it’s $40,000 a week. 52 weeks a year that’s $2,080,000 a year. Assuming it’s full every weekday that’s two million, not twelve. That wouldn’t pay back construction costs, it wouldn’t even cover the interest.

      And a 12 cubic metre car park, well a single space is actually about 15 square metres, but you need another 10 to 15 m2 for the aisles, ramps and manoeuvring. So it’s more like 30 m2 per space in a building.

      And really, the ‘proper usage’ of the busway does just fine. It is used by over 20,000 people every day, hardly a white elephant.

    7. Imagine the congestion around Albany as 4,000 cars tried to enter and leave said carpark at around the same time. What problem are we trying to solve again?

    8. Alan M
      You may not believe the figures for the car parks, but they are reality. For example, the 450 space high rise fiasco proposed for Takapuna is estimated at $24 million plus at least $6m for the land. That sits above the $60k per park. (https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2018/03/13/takapuna-carpark/ – Matt’s reporting is correct)

      So $2 a day – no, you’re dreaming! The price would have to be closer to $20 per day because at that price occupancy is likely to be much reduced. I suspect that suddenly people would find that they could walk, bike, scooter, electric bike, car pool, take feeder buses or kiss and ride to the bus station. It always amazes me how pricing causes people to do the sorts of things that they vowed it was impossible for them to achieve.

      1. Yes – turns out the invisible hand of the market actually works when things are priced correctly.

        Transport economics are a great mini-study in showing how capitalism can function correctly.

  15. The easy solution is make a proportion (50%) of car parks pay and display and charge reasonable amounts. So people who has money but no time doesn’t want to wake up can use them.

    Another way is to put a guard on the gate and have a HOP machine ready to collect money, depending on the entry hours it charges different money, during weekends, off peak and at night the guard can go and make it free.

  16. Actually, the big point here that the Herald article fails to understand, is the importance of building the infrastructure first – way before the houses. Build the bus route (or rail route). Build the station. Then build the houses, connecting within easy walking distance to the station. Finally, build some roads.

    That’s the way that intelligent, transport-oriented development has occurred all across the world for the last couple of hundred years. Auckland (especially Albany) has got it all arse about face.

      1. You can’t build the station and the housing before you build the roads, you need site access to get all the materials and builders to the site to build the station and the housing and the shops and all the rest, that’s the reason why the roads come first.

  17. Its just a waste – if you don’t live near a feeder bus, why not park along one of the many feeder bus routes to get to the station, no extra cost and a guaranteed park. With New Network North this will become an even more practical option. Albany having a PnR at all just baffles me. Prime development land…

  18. The local Business Association surveyed users of the Albany PnR a couple of years ago and found that a high minority of cars parked there don’t use the Busway. There are thousands of employees in Albany Mall and the office park and very poor PT into those areas coupled with negligible on street parking so workers use the all day free car parking at the PnR and walk to their offices from there

  19. Under the recently reviewed Auckland Plan Albany is to be of the top four Metro Centres (after the CBD) so apparently there is to be a substantial review of its layout and functionality. For example the existing counter-intuitive road layout is to be slightly rejigged (not practical to make too many changes, but now is the time to get it right). Hopefully the space allocated to parking will be part of that exercise.

    1. It’s a chance for transformational change for Albany, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope that they’d actually take the steps required.

  20. Another way is Panuku get Wilson parking to build a multi Storey Carpark with retail on first floor, and charge ‘market rate’.

  21. Just took a quick measurement via Google Maps,

    Seems the Albany Park n Ride is +-4 Hectares / 10 Acres.

    Never realised what a behemoth it already is. Imagine a day when they decide to do away with it, and build some housing 🙂

      1. Support – yes, are they building apartments in Albany? Not really. Just have to look at the picture at the top, there is land already available for housing all around the carparking, heaps of it, until someone develops that and leads the way how can we sell turning the car parks into apartments? We need to surround those car parks with apartments so that it becomes the obvious choice to sell the land and build more. In the same time those Rose Gardens apartments have gone up, Hobsonville has pretty much been built! I don’t know much about the land, who owns it or when it will be developed but could the Government not do something about it?

        Sadly in Auckland, It’s hard to sell building apartments around Transport nodes as the only examples are those horrid stumpy blocks in Newmarket and the somewhat better one in New Lynn.

        When we look at the Development tracker on this page, take a look at Mt Eden station, K Road station and Dominion Road…hardly any developments around these nodes 🙁 despite the CRL only being 6 years away. The latest proposal for 5 story apartments on Dominion Road by Panuku just got denied due to the ‘special character’ Dominion Road has!!!! Luckily Avondale is leading the way in building around a Central suburb transport node..

        1. I’m a bit late to a long and interesting thread, but I wouldn’t worry too much about Mt Eden, K Road and Dominion Road. They’ll definitely see development and lots of it in the years to come. For Mt Eden: the council/ CRL Ltd own heaps of land to the north, that will create plenty of potential to redevelop and intensify as the station moves a bit north and becomes an important hub. And there’s already quite a bit to the east, around Enfield/ Normanby Rd. Plus the CRL is still quite a few years from opening!

          K Road is probably less developable, but will still get a real injection of life and upgrades in the next few years. I’m excited about it.

          Dominion Road hasn’t seen much development yet, but again it’s got huge potential. I think we’ll see a whole bunch of yellow dots (and other colours) along the light rail line as it gets closer to becoming a reality.

        2. Quite right though, Albany has been slow going. There have been lots of ‘concept plans’ and schemes for apartments, but only a small number have gotten underway. Rose Garden talked up their plans for 800 apartments, but have only done 200 so far; the Ramada development included a few but was mainly accommodation (‘serviced apartments’). Encouraging to hear that a third one, OKLA, is now underway.

          There will be lots more to come, but the question is how long it’ll take.

  22. A few things:
    1) While a parking space might cost that much, those are pretty much fixed costs which buy an asset which will last for 50+ years.
    2) Building up from existing PnR you need to deduct the land cost as this is already owned.
    3) Nothing stopping development above a PnR. You could cover the top 1/4 of Albany PnR with a 5 level parking building (doubling the capacity of the entire parking lot) and then above it you could build a 15 level apartment complex. By doing so you get the much needed housing (in a great location), you bring the costs of that down by using existing infrastructure and land, you gain a lot of carparks for minimal cost which will allow for much greater patronage of the NEX. You will still need feeder services but from experience and knowing others, there are a lot of PnR users that don’t have access to feeder services – the alternative is for them to drive the whole way.
    If I’m the future the parking is no longer needed then simply convert it into more apartments.

    1. It’s important to consider opportunity cost. Throughout the years that the land is just being used for asphalt, AT/ the council need to consider what else the land could be used for (or why they’re retaining it and not getting a return). They need to understand how a commercial or for-profit landowner would behave. The council doesn’t necessarily need to do the same thing as what a for-profit landowner would do, but they should at least understand it and know the tradeoffs involved.

      And the reality is that almost no for-profit landowners in NZ are developing parking buildings, because it doesn’t make sense financially. Sure, they’re developing other types of building that include parking, but there are very few examples where parking is the main use.

      You certainly can’t deduct the land cost; once you choose to build parking above ground then you’re making it much harder to do anything else there.

      1. Unless said parking structure is designed to have a building above it like I proposed…
        5 levels of parking with 15 levels of apartments on top. No longer wasted space, you get residents right next to a major bus station and walking distance to a big mall etc. Get extra space for parking for a bus station on the border of the urban boundary meaning local buses aren’t going to be cost effective in servicing much of the catchment area.

        1. I absolutely agree. There are so many commercial developments around Auckland close to rapid transit that could have had apartments built above. Then the shops would have guaranteed local customers.

          This stupid idea of separating commercial from residential has to die. I understand industrial may need to be separate because of noise and discharge pollution, but commercial needs foot traffic to thrive.

          1. +1.

            Fun fact: the 2013 census counted 9 residents in the centre of Takapuna. Nine!. That’s counting the 3 meshblocks between Anzac Street, Lake Road and The strand.

          2. I mean when you look at population density, you have a 250 by 300 metre hole with virtually zero density, right where your town centre is supposedly is.

  23. Not loing ago there was a post on the economics of the Council car park at Manukau city. Those costs are still valikd and should be referenced here. (I am not able to find it to post the link0

    1. Yes Ted, six years on the Ronwood park has just started to make a small surplus. It returns 0.8% on the value of the building – stunning!

      That surplus is not enough to pay for the upgrade of the lighting to LED. l

      1. That’s because people free load on the shoppers’ carpark provided by Scentre. Had the Council required owners like the Dept of Justice to provide parking for their customers then Ronwood probably wouldn’t have been needed.

  24. I know this is a pipe dream but its not impossible, well at least in the medium term.

    Encourage automated ride sharing where the last mile for people outside of feeder buses is via automated ride sharing. And don’t forget about biking either!

    Where there is a high enough density neighbourhood they could even have their own suitable automated vehicle on site to take them to the bus or train station.

    Eg Stonefields is a area that is close enough to GI station that this would be great for connectivity to the train network but there are other opportunities like that as well.

    Also, I can imagine in a few years people will drive their car to drop them off the at park and ride and then take itself home, should they not take it the entire journey but I think given the impact to traffic I think there will be tolls etc in place to stop that happening by then.

    Its very possible that technology will superceed to need for having extensive park and rides soon anyway so it makes no sense to really spend a whole lot of it when it could be used for housing instead.

    1. Whilst I agree that technology will superceed the need, unfortunately and as has been discussed before, the uptake on Automated vehicles, as in a full 2nd hand market allowing middle and lower earners the ability to afford one could be some 40 years off. Much like everything in the world (Transport, Climate etc) Governments and Councils have to see if happening before planning it, forward planning isn’t in their vocab.

      I’m not sure why the private market hasn’t developed further than dudes in 2nd hand Prius’ doing single pickups for Uber. Why have we not filled the void by commuting with Minibuses etc? Like you suggest, multiple pickups and drop offs to stations morning and afternoon.

  25. Park and riders make up like what? 2% of all trips on the network? Why the heck should we be wasting stupid amounts of money trying to increase that number. Spend your money to improve the service for ALL your customers, not just a tiny minority. Madness.

Leave a Reply