Perhaps the most frustrating part of the Herald’s silly Park and Ride campaign last week was the poor quality communications from Auckland Transport. Instead of explaining clearly what their plans are and why they have adopted this approach, all we got was somewhat mindless chanting:

AT chairman Lester Levy and chief executive Shane Ellison say the council’s transport body is continuing to invest in park and rides, but their focus is on getting people out of cars and into public transport.

Now it’s possible ATs full response wasn’t included in the articles but this is hardly the first time we’ve seen similar comments across many mediums. It feels more like this is just poor messaging from AT and it really plays into the hands of those who think any efforts to improve travel options is tantamount to social engineering. It’s not even true either, if they were really trying to get people out of their cars we wouldn’t be having to constantly fight to get already delayed bus or bike lanes built.

There are lots of key points that Auckland Transport should have made. Things like:

  • It can cost more than $40,000 per parking space to expand park and ride facilities, so this is a very expensive way of growing PT ridership.
  • Spending that kind of money on other ways of getting people to public transport, like feeder buses or improved walking and cycling connections, is likely to be much more effective in the long term.
  • Park and ride plays a small (but important) part in the public transport network. Around 165,000 Aucklanders use PT each weekday (there are around 330,000 daily trips and presumably most people make two trips a day). There are also just under 6,000 park and ride spaces and most of them used just once a day. This means that around 4% of the people using public transport rely on park & ride – or put another way, doubling Auckland’s park and ride will only give a small, one-off boost to ridership (and this is assuming all users of the new spaces were used not currently using PT).
  • There are places where park and ride makes good sense, like on the edge of the urban area. Auckland Transport are building new, or expanding, facilities in these locations.
  • Introducing pricing might help fund more park and ride spaces and more importantly, manage demand. Although it wouldn’t fund too much unless the charge was $10 a day or more. Auckland Transport are (or should be!) investigating this.

What’s most frustrating is that AT have always seemed to struggle to get across key messages. One example of this is with the City Rail Link where we basically did the strategic communications for them for many years by coming up with diagrams like this, which they later copied:

A lot of the time Auckland Transport’s communications focuses solely on the what and very little on the why. Auckland is still a city in transition, essentially recovering from the disastrous transport decision-making of the late 20th century that Patrick detailed so well in his post last week. While there is good support from the public for improving public transport and making our streets safer, most Aucklanders are still dependent on their cars for getting around and probably need frequent reminding about why their fuel taxes and rates are being (rightly) spent on things other than road widening.

Key messages about the benefits and importance of creating safe and healthy streets, improving people’s travel choices and getting more out of our existing streets and roads should sit at the heart of a comprehensive communications strategy for Auckland Transport. They don’t need to start from scratch, as most of this already exists, tucked away in a multitude of plans, policies and strategies, such as ATAP, the Auckland Plan, ATs Parking Strategy or the recently released National Land Transport Programme. The Regional Land Transport Plan could have been a great way of pulling it all together, but that turned into a bit of a debacle.

Most of all, Auckland Transport needs to stop hiding behind meaningless statements like “getting people out of their cars” and focus their messaging on what they’re actually trying to balance when making their decisions. “Getting people out of their cars” isn’t the core reason why they aren’t rushing off to build thousands of park and ride spaces. Instead, it’s that park and ride is a really expensive way to attract relatively few extra people onto public transport and in most cases it’s better to spend the money elsewhere. This messaging would mean they’re more likely to come across as “careful guardians of public money” rather than “ideological social engineers.”

With strong Council and Government agreement on the direction for transport and a big increase in funding, Auckland Transport needs to up its game (and they’ve been given this message loud and clear by the Council). This includes a far more effective approach to communications.

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    1. Picking up on one of the core messages of this article where you suggest AT are not or should not be ‘idealogical social engineers.’

      There is clear evidence that they are, or they think they are.

      I was involved in production of the Construction Tender documents for AMETI Stage 2A – the busway and corridor improvements from Panmure roundabout to Pakaranga shops.

      The non-price attributes questions for the tender documents requires contractors to answer several questions over about 40 pages about how they will delivery the works. This includes sequencing, managing utilities, managing stakeholders etc.

      There is an attributes section called ‘Social Outcomes’ requiring about 3 pages of answer. One of the questions in it is, word for word:

      Outline how you plan to deliver targeted employment opportunities for new entrants, including wage and development requirements. e.g.: People from local board areas with concentrations of deciles eight to ten deprivation; those exiting correctional facilities and ex-offenders; Lone parents; Māori; Pasifika; people with disabilities, people with enduring mental health challenges or illness; Women; young people (16-25yrs); People who are not in employment, education or training (NEET); and/or Refugees. Include the level of performance you will target for the number of recruits, wages and development.

      After reading that, the questions of AT are:

      1. What has this really got to do with a contractor’s ability to build bus lanes and bridges safely and on time and on budget?

      2. What do AT think their role in Auckland is? Shouldn’t they focus on and prove their ability to advance our transport infrastructure before embarking on a role as social engineers?

      3. Does AT think clearly about what it’s trying to achieve? The above jumbled and hard to read question sounds like it’s coming from a confused and unfocused place. It’s like it’s been thrown together from a list of people AT assume to be in need of help from AT

      All this says to me is that AT can’t focus on what they are there to do.

      And that they do think they are social engineers

      1. Yet AT also gets stick for the fact that the PTOM tendering process has resulted in bus drivers’ wages being squeezed to as low as the tendering companies can get them. On that issue there were public calls for AT to have specified certain social criteria to ensure that drivers were paid a decent wage for their efforts.

        Seems to me that they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Personally, AT being “owned” by the public through Council, I think it’s appropriate for some social criteria to be applied to tendering processes. Looking at the list quoted above, and having some knowledge of how AT works from the inside, I think it’s far more likely that the “fingerprints” in this case belong to Auckland Council, not AT, in any event. I never encountered any of this social concern within AT, of that I can assure you!

  1. Love your work, Matt. It’s very clear what you do and why you do it so the comms above comes easily to you. The reason it doesn’t come easily and clearly from AT prompts me to ask AT’s senior team & Board, at a very personal level, why they do what they do. If their answer is couched in vague (and negative) terms as in ‘get people out of their cars’ I think they have cause to question whether they might be able to make a more fulfilling contribution in another field. It can’t be fun having to deal with NZH’s on-going niggling, watch your organisation’s ineffective response then see a bunch of amateurs slank dunk it. Well done keep up the good work! You are playing a vital role in our democracy speaking truth to power.

    1. Thanks but I’d dispute that comms (in general) come naturally to me. I’m a numbers person but I guess that even more highlights the seriousness of this

      1. I think you do have a communications skill since many of your posts succeed in bringing clarity to official obfuscated publications. What I admire most is your dedication to this task with very regular mostly interesting posts. When we get govt recognising GA as influential then that’s success.
        Please keep doing this

      2. You are undervaluing your obvious skills Matt. Conveying complex information in an easy way is one of the most important skills, especially in our modern age where there is so much information available.

  2. “getting people out of cars and into public transport”

    Is a really poor message, it has all the negative connotations of Soviet Style central planning and explains none of the positive benefits or reasoning why its necessary or a good idea to do so.

    No wonder people don’t listen. No one likes to be told how to live their lives. They’ll argue its their right If they want to buy a big arsed SUV, live in the wops on a lifestyle block and drive it into the CBD, park it all day and drive it home at night, who are AT [or the Government] to tell me I can’t do that. Right?

    Most people will use PT when its there, it works for them and is better than the alternatives.
    They won’t need to be told then “to use PT not your car”, as in some cases, simply walking or cycling is a better alternative than any car, bus or train.

    Given choices and some knowledge on journey times and such, people will vote with their feet and use whatever method works. Alter all, having parked your car at the park and ride, no one calls an Uber to take them to the bus station do they? Most just walk there – they work out its quicker, cheaper and convenient to do so. So they do. AT doesn’t have to tell them that. They figure it out. Just don’t give them mixed message to confuse the picture.

    And clearly the “getting out of cars” goal is focusing on the wrong things, cars don’t drive themselves around [not yet in NZ anyway].

    Cars are not the problem here, its the people in the cars behaviours and the lack of alternatives they are given that is.

    So using “getting people out of cars” as the proxy to a better transport system is never, ever going to work. Short of it being North Kkorea or some other dictatorship.

    And in any case, AT doesn’t really believe that statement – because NZTA engineers have taught them its all about “flow”. Neither NZTA or AT want fewer cars on the roads [Why? well their jobs depend on it], AT just basically don’t want them in the CBD.

    So they’re quite happy to let people drive round the ‘burbs, or to an expensively provisioned park and ride, ‘cos in their mind that solves the problem of “cars in the CBD”.

    Yes, “cars in the CBD” (especially single occupant ones, that stay around all day in parking buildings nearby to the driver who works in the CBD) are a problem, but a part of the problem, and not just in the CBD either, all over Auckland in fact.

    As is the letting them rush to and fro on any whim at any time for zero cost.

    Time for a much better message than this one.
    Time for a much better comms team than this one too.

    1. Agree. The only thing I’d comment on is: “Most people will use PT when its there, it works for them and is better than the alternatives.”

      I live in a suburb where PT is really great (three frequent routes going different places, crossing with many other frequent routes, and it’s absolutely possible to live without a car). The PT is much nicer than the alternative of sitting in congestion. Yet most people are still saying (I had this at a meeting last night): “The buses are crap. So that’s not an option.” They haven’t tried them recently, but they’re still willing to resist progress in our suburb on the uninformed basis that “the buses are crap”.

      These people have one of the carrots – the other they need is a nicer walking and cycling environment. And they need to be paying for the costs associated with their choice to drive. Silly to even call it a stick – it’s just being adult about the costs they’re imposing on others.

      1. Maybe they’ll try but they won’t try it every few months. Maybe they got that impression in some random area before they moved. Just 5 years ago you couldn’t get around by bus on Sunday at all without a back up plan in case you got stranded.

        For anyone wondering why people call buses “crap”, an useful exercise to do is: where can I get within 30 minutes from “right now”. You can compare walking only, bus, cycling, cars… The term right now is a bit nebulous, but assume you can’t choose down to the minute when you’re leaving the house (ask anyone with kids, but also for others, you don’t want to arrive a lot later just because you left a few minutes late).

        This question is more or less equivalent to: I’ve an appointment in 30 minutes, can I still make it in time if I leave right now?

        Walking is easy, but covers only a small area. You may or may not have a lot of meaningful destinations within that area. And this is Auckland, often unpleasant enough on foot to make even a 5 minute walk feel like forever (the CBD is especially hostile).

        For cycling, you’re not allowed to nearly die underway. So you can ignore that one for now (and cross your fingers that one day it doesn’t require a near suicidal level of recklessness).

        Buses on a 30 minute headway have no impact on the outcome of this exercise at all. You need a pretty high frequency to reliably get anywhere further out on a bus. 15 minutes will barely make a dent.

        Cars — this one is really, really difficult to figure out. You’ve got congestion, finding a parking spot, and an unknown amount of walking on the other end. But by enough trial and error you’ll figure this one out.

        But even if you spend only 15 minutes driving, it is quite likely you can get to every single spot within a 10 km radius during at least part of the week. If you’re used to that kind of flexibility, then just walking and buses will be incredibly limiting.

        Perhaps that’s what people mean by “buses are crap”. “To make my appointment I have to leave more than an hour before, while it’s only a 10 minute drive.”

        I am quite curious about what the outcome of that little exercise is in Pt Chevalier. From where I’ve lived recently — on Hobson Street and in Birkdale, it was downright depressing, with the bus barely covering extra area compared to walking all the way.

        1. Yeah, great question. And Pt Chev comes up roses. I just put in the three stops I use into the real time board, and there was a 650, a 66 and an outer link in 7,8 and 14 minutes. I could get any one of them if I was ready to go. My walks would range from 5 minutes to 9 minutes depending on stop. I forgot to put in the outer link going the other way, so that’s one more. Furthermore, three of these buses would then link with the buses on GNR – so every 4-6 minutes along there.

          This means I think the range of places I can get to within 30 minutes is at least on a par with driving. Probably better access to the congested parking-limited parts of the city, and worse access to the less congested areas. Unfortunately by the stage the comment was made last night I had retreated into a “only speak if necessary” state.

        2. As I said Heidi .

          “Given choices and some knowledge on journey times and such, people will vote with their feet and use whatever method works”

          First comes the choice, then the knowledge of whats journeys and times are out there.

          If AT comms is that poorly done that people only know about the crap bus service from 5 years ago in some other suburb.

          Then as they say: “Well, there’s your problem. Right there.”

          The 30 minute test works fine, and except for your discussion last night, they’d likely pull up the extreme example of “But I need to get to Pukekohe to yada yada yada”

          How many people really need to actually do that even once in a few years? And no one would expect to be able to drive there in 30 minutes from there, yet they’d expect PT to deliver that sort of ability. Maybe a helicopter could.

          One day yes, PT will manage that. Today? its not possible.

        3. Wish I lived in your suburb. Thirty minutes! Wish my Dominion Road bus would get me there in 55 minutes (and then there is the problem of the non-connecting CityLink to take me down Queen St).
          I have discovered since the new buses started and wrecked my commuting time that if I drive down the southwestern motorway to Onehunga (five minutes) and park a street away from the park and ride (always full when I get there) I can get into Britomart – near where I work – in considerably less time. I have met one or two former Dominion Rd bus users also doing this in recent weeks.
          Talking to other Dominion Rd users who have given up because of the new slowed down buses ( neighbours), they are driving to Mt Eden Rd and parking on the part of the road without a bus lane just after the Mt Eden shops and catching the infinitely more comfortable double decker buses. And, yes, that means they get down to Britomart so far much faster..
          I see in the Central Leader that the local board has been told AT will be reviewing the buses in a few months. No need, I suspect, those of us who need to get to work on time have given up catching those buses. I caught a 252 the other day and there was hardly anyone on it until we were past Balmoral. And still no one has taken into account that a tram is due to start running down Dominion Road from the Mt Roskill shops in two years time. I think I’m lucky to have an alternative.

        4. AT, if the situation Deborah and the south Dominion Rd community have experienced with the New Network was the result of not ordering double deckers required for the NN, who’s responsible? The reduction of service, and loss in goodwill and patronage, was surely not worth any savings by delaying ordering.

          Are there any little surprises in store for the North Shore NN like this?

        5. Wow it is amazing to me how dangerous people think cycling is. It really isn’t that dangerous. I cycle every day and never have any issues.

          Frankly I feel more exposed in a car where I have nowhere to go.

          But that is why we need separated cycle infrastructure – not to make it safe, but to make it look safe.

        6. The definition of “issues” varies from person to person. I dare to go out on my bicycle. Most other people do not. Apply observational skills and empathy.

          Maybe statistics show cycling is objectively speaking not that dangerous, but those statistics are skewed because people only cycle in safe areas. And even though the absolute numbers are low, you are, each and every day, one small mishap away from dying or getting badly injured. The absolute numbers of DSI are low, but still many times higher than the numbers for car drivers.

          Add to this the driving culture. Cyclists getting killed is not considered a negative over here. It’s just “those people”, so what. Maybe my car insurance can still go after the dead guy’s family. The life of cyclists is completely worthless and is happily sacrificed for saving a few seconds for car drivers.

        7. “The absolute numbers of DSI are low, but still many times higher than the numbers for car drivers” – actually not really. Per capita the safety of cycling is not that much worse than driving. Certainly not double. Considering the billions spent on making driving safer, that is a sad indictment on how dangerous driving really is.

          “Cyclists getting killed is not considered a negative over here.” – I really don’t agree with that. I think the average motorist would hate to be involved in any incident with a cyclist. There may be a small minority who are blase but I am sure their attitude would change if it actually happened.

        8. Maybe they’d hate getting into an accident, but there’s not a lot of effort to avoid it. Observe how fast people back out of their driveways, right across footpaths and the odd shared path. Basically as fast as their car allows.

          For statistics, I don’t now where to get the good ones. MOT has a factsheet which indicates even per unit of time cycling is more dangerous than driving (*), and you then have to correct for slower speed on a bicycle. I’d say about 10 times worse. But ideally you’d have finer granularity. Auckland is not a homogeneous area. An area with very high risk but low cycling numbers will not skew that average by much.

          On the positive side, newspapers seem to have stopped printing articles about how a cyclist got killed, and how it was his own fault for not wearing a high-vis jacket (or whatever the stupid excuse was back then).

          (*) That’s probably ignoring the higher probability of getting someone else killed. Good luck making people care about that though.

        9. On the negative side, NZTA just took in submissions for doubling how far away a bicycle headlamp must be visible, from 100m to 200m, ignoring the issues around batteries and around how unpleasant a full-strength headlamp can be for oncoming cyclists and even drivers. If that’s not ignoring Vision Zero (which wouldn’t put people cycling near vehicles anyway) and finding a way to blame a hit victim, while exonerating the road network planners and inattentive drivers, I don’t know what is.

          A rough measure of how safe the system is for cycling is to look at the number of children who cycle. Numbers dropped drastically between 1970 and 2010. Are children cycling more yet? I don’t think so.

          This is why statements like “road travel has become far safer over the last 25 years” are false. It has only become safer for car occupants. The reduced active mode share is a sign that it has become both less safe and pleasant for people walking and cycling.

          In any case, the cost of this reduced active mode share is massive.

        10. That is a very odd rule. That distance is very dependent on where you are and when. Red flag: I can’t find a rule like that in the Netherlands. OTOH they have a rule that it can’t be bright enough to blind other people.

        11. Hi Roeland, great comment. Your description of “what can I get to in x minutes across different modes” is a really good measure of transport outcomes. We used this a lot in the different versions of ATAP.

          Generally once you have taken walking time into account it seems like you generally need a 60 minute PT trip to reach as much as you can get to in 30 minutes by car. Getting this huge difference down requires effort across the whole PT system: greater coverage to reduce walk times, more frequency to reduce wait times and faster vehicle speeds (meaning rapid transit and bus lanes) to reduce in vehicle travel times.

          Often there’s a lot of hand wringing about “why don’t more people use PT?” When you compare how much you can currently reach by car and PT within certain travel times, it’s arguably pretty amazing how many people actually use it. Obviously factors like avoiding parking costs must play a big role.

        12. And puzzling why more people don’t cycle when you look at how far you can get in an hour. With no congestion and no costs.

          Perceptions of safety is the main reason.

    2. Excellent post.
      I don’t need a bunch of leftie do-gooders dictating to me what form of transport I should use.
      I use the train occasionally to go into the city because it’s quick and convenient and far less stressful than being on the Southern Motorway and because I want to.
      And if AT and the police sorted out the feral behaviour by some people there would be even more incentive to use PT.

        1. National slashing their enforcement budget had a huge effect on the safety of our roads – or did you not bother reading the Road Safety Business Improvement Review?

      1. “leftie do-gooders”

        Needless, petty political point scoring. Why do you so often cheapen your comments like this?

        Where is your criticism of National dictating how many people travel by failing to onvest in alternatives?

        1. The Manawatu area is on track for its worst road toll in five years (on Labour’s watch) leaving the area’s top traffic cop vexed at what is causing it – as reported in Stuff on Sept. 4.

          If the top cop doesn’t know what’s causing it, I’m not sure greater enforcement (as you suggest Heidi) will reduce it.

        2. From the Road Safety Business Improvement Review (you can go and read the details that lead to this summary):

          “It is difficult to imagine a less supportive framework to enable Police to reduce speeding than the current New Zealand regulatory settings. It is not known why this baffling situation exists, but current arrangements are costing the lives of New Zealanders, not only of those who wish to break the law, but often of those road users who are not speeding.”

          There was a lack of evidence-based decision-making from National when setting policies, funding levels and making legislation. Their “common sense” approach has brought us to where we are now. Let’s see if Labour can do better.

  3. “…Love your work, Matt. It’s very clear what you do and why you do it so the comms above comes easily to you….”


    AT don’t seem to have much of a clue as why they exist, what their broader mission is. I get the impression that deep down they believe they are primarily a transport business offering a second class cattle service for commuters who can’t afford to drive.

    Sloppy comms is just symptomatic of a lack of belief in their goals, just like their sloppy attention to detail betrays a fundamental belief that PT is a second class option for second class people.

  4. I know I bang on about specifics, but the new train timetables as they impact on me are great example of AT’s sloppy attention to detail and appallingly bad communications.

    Anyone who catches a 5.33am or 5.53am train from West Auckland (I use Sunnyvale normally) to then change at Newmarket to go south should, in theory, now have a much better time of it with these new timetables. Except, the train now arrives at Newmarket at platform 1, while the Southern line train arrives almost simultaneously at platform 4, necessitating people running up the escalator (which was not working this morning, joining the electronic signage which never works on the repair list) to get to platform 4 and hoping the train manager holds the doors for them.

    Now, what part of bad customer service being passengers anxiously clock watching on the Western line service and having to engage in a mad dash in their work clothes to get two platform across lest they are left stranded for 20 minutes until the next service do AT not understand? Do they even care? Do they even bother to find out? Where is the communication if they do? No one has ever said anything, posted a sign or a message anywhere I have seen saying the Southern line service will wait for connecting service passengers in this vital early morning connection. I have started using my car again, at least I know it will wait for me.

    1. FFS, this is a real gob smacker. After the excellent 2016/2017 posts from Harriet outlining the stupidity of the western to southern transfers at Newmarket, here the madness has returned. Is some f**kwit at AT taking the Mickey?
      The likely $ millions cost with all the advertising, NM platform reassignments and getting both sides doors opening on western trains arriving at platforms 2/3 – hence facilitating easy peasy transfers to southern trains at platform 4, we now have all this effort completely invalidated by having city bound western trains arrive at NM platform 1.
      Transfers now require the rush/panic up and down escalators to effect western to southern transfer.
      Can the AT f**kwit responsible for this be indentified then suitable hung drawn and quartered? ie sacked

        1. Jezza, because of Britomarts one line in one line out access. If a Manukau train leaves on anything but the down line (Platform 1) it has to cross back over outside the tunnel. That stops any other movements temporarily which in turn has that domino effect. Everything I believe has been looked at over and over to get the most our of Britomart and the way they have the platforms laid out with their destinations gets the most of of a poor system of exits from the station.

          The quite restrictions of two lines only by going cheap when Briotmart was built (classic Auckland planning) and the fact there is a junction right at the end of the tunnel has been a constant problem.

        2. Just to clarify, I was talking about Newmarket platforms in my comment above.

          But on the topic of Britomart, while it is early days, the team that worked on the current timetable deserve some real credit. Whatever they have done with the new arrangement it works, I have yet to have to wait on a train while approaching Britomart.

    2. This is a clear example of why Transfers and Wayfinding needs a whole team of its own at AT, probably sitting in seniority, um, somewhere above Strategy 🙂

      1. All that is needed to fix this – at least as long as the off-peak 20 minute frequencies are running – is for AT to put up a few signs telling passengers on citybound Western line trains arriving at Newmarket platform 1 that Southbound services on platform 4 will dwell a few minutes longer, inform the driver and train mangers of this requirement to wait for transferring passengers and if they must catch up the timetable go just a little bit faster. It isn’t like train manager are not already holding the door, because they are nice people, just formalise this practice AND LET THE PUBLIC KNOW!

        To sum up, the problem isn’t the platform change itself, it is the utter lack of communication that the Southern service will or will not wait for the transferring punters.

    3. I see the timetabled difference between these two services at this time is 1 minute which in theory is OK for the able bodied if they are perfectly on time & they have confidence in the train manager. Is this just at this time of the day?

  5. Getting people out of their cars is requires lot more thinking outside the square than extra bus services, car parks and the odd bike lane.

    Although for the past 30 years governments have been in awe/in fear and a slave to “the market” and “business”, both fail miserably to deliver good outcomes for a place like Auckland, especially in transport. And the “market” and “business” are not at all interested in Climate Change and having increasing numbers of oil burning internal combustion engines driving the length and breadth of the greater Auckland area is terrible.

    Couple that with unbridled stupidity like allowing houses to become chips in the investment casino means more and more people are moving further and further away from their work places just to afford to live.

    Suggestion; Why does local and central government not buy commercial property and build industry hubs, lease and or rent it out where rent is cheap to reasonable, where business big and small can make a go of things with some certainty over costs. You know, assist ‘business” with their “confidence”! Do the same with housing. Place them strategically in all parts of Auckland and mitigate the need for travel from all points of the compass converging on a few centrally located places.

    Honestly, trying to stem the bleeding that is Auckland’s traffic woes is not going to happen by adding an extended chassis bus to a route and adding 5 more services. Nor is another bike lane competing with cars.

    1. I’m not sure council or government buying land and leasing to businesses is going to achieve much. If the location was viable for a business to operate then someone would likely have set up there already.

      I think the problem you describe actually comes from having too many rules, which makes it hard for commercial and residential to be in the same area. In addition very restrictive planning rules in the inner suburbs mean we have a small and dense CBD, which means we have long and very peaky PT routes.

      1. “Someone” does not have the economies scale of government, hence the “market”: has failed, as it does repetitively.

        So as an alternative because we are one dimensional, government spends shit loads of everyone’s money trying to assist Aucklanders criss cross Auckland with some alternatives to cars to accommodate the markets failure. In the process and from what I have seen in my lifetime they never really hit the mark and in fact don’t come close. lots of money subsidising a mega slow bus system, is it.

        The most success in trying to bring a million Mohammed’s to the various molehills that make up our industrial mountains, is the Northern busway (circa very early 2000’s) and the revived rail network that has simply dusted off the three and a bit freight lines established in Auckland in the 19th and 20th century’s. That is it. There has not been in recent year and currently is not the will, vision or drive to do much better than tinker. Yep, there’s all the talk of light rail, but I think it will never advance beyond that fantasy.

        We know National, who will return to government at some point, have no interest in alternatives to roads, excepting a sop to bike lanes. And so we will go on adding buses here, taking them from there, adding a train service or two before running out of EMU’s and doing a wonderful job or fiddling while Rome burns trying to join the 10000 dots that is our unplanned city and our nonchalance toward climate change..

        We must factor in climate change, and it is then a far more radical look at the way we move people and why is needed!

        1. The good news, Waspman, is that the Statement of Intent says they will: “Continue embedding Auckland Transport’s Sustainability Framework into Auckland Transport business-as-usual”

          Business as usual would mean we’d be seeing the Sustainability Framework in all the projects on the ground, yeah? And we’d be seeing evidence, in each and every project, of:

          “Using the planning processes to ensure that land use zoning is integrated with improvements to sustainable modes,” and

          “Auckland is part of the C40 (Cities Climate Leadership Group), a network of the world’s cities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase their resilience to climate change impact”

          Went to bed grumpy with AT, but the absurdity of their hollow statements can only make me laugh. Ha ha ha ha ha.

        2. Disagree, many commercial property operators are a large businesses who will own a whole complex, leasing to a variety of smaller businesses who use the premises. Scale is not an issue here, zoning and economics is.

          It is logical that a business will want to be as close to the centre of its customer base and employee base as possible. We currently zone to ensure businesses cannot be right beside either of these, which adds to travel. We also zone to ensure the CBD is compressed into a relatively small area, which doesn’t with the peaky single direction nature of PT.

          I’m not as pessimistic as you about the next National government, they tend to try and stay pretty close to the centre and will generally keep anything the previous Labour government has implemented. The best example is probably Working for Families, which they were very critical of in opposition.

    2. Can you come up with an example anywhere in the world where your idea has worked? I don’t of any.

      However, I can name you a number of cities which have created a better transport system by building cycle lanes (even ones that compete with cars) and good public transport.

      1. You dont think we need to think a little bigger than bike lanes and bus timetable ammendments, vis a vis, the status quo?

        I don’t think cycle lanes are going to save us, given they are not subscribed to by many owing to Aucklands crap weather, hilly terrain, distances travelled and bikes inherent lethality.

        1. Sounds like a comment from someone who doesn’t cycle and doesn’t know how many DO cycle nowadays.

          Auckland is only hilly in parts – eastern suburbs and North shore. It is relatively flat in many areas and there is usually a flatter route to choose.
          With ebike use growing hills are not an issue.

          As for crappy weather, having worked as a postie, Auckland tends to have shorter bursts of rain and then clear rather than rain continuously all day like elsewhere. So it’s easy to predict or avoid .

        2. OK let’s take them one by one:

          crap weather – You mean as opposed to tropical Denmark or the Netherlands?

          hilly terrain – Many good hilly cycling cities in Italy and Switzerland. Also begs the question why hilly Isthmus has lots of cyclists and flat Manukau has almost none (hint: look at the separated cycle infrastructure). And yeah, ebikes.

          distances travelled – the average journey in Auckland is not particularly long. There may be more “super commutes” but they don’t budge the average. Aucklanders on average make about the same length of journey as the Dutch, they just choose a different mode of transport.

          bikes inherent lethality – just have no idea where you got this from. As peter says below you obviously don’t cycle yourself or look at any stats on cycling vs driving. Considering the billion and billions of dollars spent to make driving safe (as opposed to a few millions for cycling) it is astounding how dangerous driving is. If a fraction of that amount had been spent on cycling, we would have a far safer city to get around.

          The same arguments that always get rolled out, and as always none of them stand up to even the slightest analysis.

  6. Good post, Matt. AT’s communications and parking. Big topic. I went to bed pretty depressed after having to be at the front line of communications about local parking issues with car dependent retailers last night. AT should have been the ones doing it, or at least I should have been supported by strong AT messaging.

    These are some of the things AT could do that would really help to keep vulnerable users safer in my area:
    – manage the shoppers’ carpark and off street carparking with dynamic pricing
    – communicate why they are doing this, to the retail operators and the public.
    – monitor the parking situation now and after the Grey Lynn’s residential parking scheme starts.

    It kind of pisses me off that I’m having to fight to get tiny changes to mitigate the problems AT have caused by not following their own strategy.

  7. how is building more/bigger roads getting people out of there cars? I realise new roads are popular with stuff comments but are they really popular with the general population?

    1. Yes. Those roads just make it harder for people to get out of their cars: by spreading things further apart if they’re new roads, and by worsening the severance if they’re widened roads. And they cost a lot of money. Money that should be being spent on measures that actually will encourage people out of their cars, such as improved pedestrian and cycling amenity and better public transport.

      AT says they’re working on “getting people out of the cars” but they’re doing the opposite with their multi-billion dollar road expansion programme.

    2. I think if you drive a car regularly, as many in Auckland do, you naturally tend towards thinking if they just build that new bit of road or widen this bit then my trip will be so much easier. Also most people are not doing a Benefit Cost Analysis when they are thinking this.

      There is definitely a growing awareness that we can’t build our way out of congestion and that PT is vital to a functioning city, but it is hard to get past the mindset that just a couple more improvements to the road network will make my trip so much easier.

      1. from what I can tell they are rabbidly pro new roads and hate cyclists or paying the living wage. I wonder if some of them log in multiple times to downvote things.

  8. I think the problem with communications probably stems from the fact that there is poor understanding within AT (at a senior strategic level) of the reasons when and where Park and Ride is desirable. It’s actually broader than that and comes from a poor understanding and clear articualtion of AT’s role in providing parking. Until the latter is clarified, the comms are always going to be deficient.

    1. Yes, as an example, AT’s Park and Ride sections of its Parking Strategy and its road-building RLTP on the one hand, and its Sustainability Framework and some aspects of the Statement of Intent on the other, are quite incompatible.

  9. Great post Matt, thank you. Communications are a disaster and then everyone gets angry and then people stuck in the middle like Heidi end up feeling harassed and so some planners are disinclined to consult at all because it is all so unpleasant which then makes people feel even more left in the dark and angry. It was interesting one comment that people wouldn’t take an uber to the bus station. I don’t think I would take a feeder bus either. I absolutely hate changing. Walking/cycling, waiting a little bit, sitting on transit reading my book, then walking/cycling to where I want to go is actually a very pleasant way to start the day. Walking, waiting, not being on transit long, getting off, walking to other transit stop, waiting up to twenty minutes, hoping for a seat, going another stretch, getting off, walking to where I need to go is in contrast not fun at all. I didn’t mind changing in London from one underground train to another because at least I knew they arrived every few minutes, but when the wait could be twenty minutes then it becomes a nightmare. SO, it would be lovely if AT would consider somewhere to put your bike on transit, but who knows? My husband still calls the bus the loser cruiser which irritates me but it is an attitude that seems to be held by AT – as was noted in another comment too. I don’t fancy bendy buses either, 40 minutes standing (and there is a much greater chance you will end up standing on them in contrast to double deckers) is not fun at all.

    1. Alex, a note about transfers: They could be really fine, and part of a great transport choice.

      If you’re you’re in a far-flung suburb, the transfer might be where you get your paper / morning coffee / top up your card / let the kids play on their favourite swings for 10 minutes, having already connected with some locals on the feeder bus.

      If you’re in a closer suburb and have to transfer somewhere reasonably central, the network now often offers a variety of possible routes. So one day you might transfer where you can drop off your shoes for repair, on another where you can pick up the best ethnic food ingredients, and on a third day manage to get to the drum shop to buy a replacement piece of equipment for a family member. Or swap the refillable ink cartridges for the printer, etc.

      I say ‘might’ when I actually mean, this is how it works for me as a mum onto whose shoulders so many errands fall. It’s not the transfers that are a problem – it’s the quality of the transfers. That’s a wayfinding and placemaking issue, and it requires AT to:
      – prioritise following its Roads and Streets Framework
      – improve pedestrian amenity near transfer points
      – take on board local placemaking goals
      – fund and support a wayfinding and transfer team who are allowed to prioritise the positions of bus stops over the flow of traffic.

    2. Alex
      “It was interesting one comment that people wouldn’t take an uber to the bus station”

      I said that and it was in the context of you wouldn’t catch an Uber from the “Park and Ride” carpark [adjacent] to the bus station. Most people in that situation would walk, because by the time the Uber got to you and then dropped you off next to the buses – it would take longer than if it did.

      As for feed buses they’re important services to avoid Park and Rides – but they’re poorly executed especially on the North Shore. But they need prioritisation and bus lanes on the road or they are no better than any SOV or Taxi or car in the same traffic.

      1. Sorry Greg, I misunderstood. Do you or have you ever used a good feeder bus service? You are absolutely right about gay bus lanes. As soon as the bus is faster than the other traffic then it becomes the best choice. (If you usually get a seat).

        1. Well the old 625 bus along Remuera Road was an example of both good and bad feeder services to Newmarket in general and the trains (at Newmarket) and other locations.

          Several [well, 2] parts of it have peak bus lanes (well, they’re T3 lanes but they mostly work ok as bus lanes – most of the time), and some parts of it don’t.

          And in fact the AT COP manual clearly shows that the route is actually busy enough with buses and numbers of people on the buses to have proper Bus only lanes and not the hokey T3 (or worse: T2) lanes.

          But AT caves to the local board because every time it comes up, as their constituents continuously lobby to have their driving privileges maintained over “all those losers from Glen Innes” who use these bus services. And AT doesn’t have the balls to say, “no its too busy to be other than a bus lane guys”. So they fudge the figures and end up “demanding” the local board put up with a T3 designation. Which they grudgingly do. But they really want no more than a T2 lane, or no bus lanes at all.

          Anyway, care to guess were the most time gets taken up when using the buses? Yep, the section (about 1.5km long) with no Bus lanes on it leading into and from Remuera centre proper. Where the bus mixes with nose to tail SOVs that slowly crawl along that stretch.

          Wonder why there are no bus lanes there? Well the Remuera Business Association has had the local board in its back pocket for years and years mainly over not taking away any on street parking or the outer [kerbside] lane from SOV traffic at peak times. As these Remuera folks they have to be able to drive where the hell they like in their SOV SUVs especially when its part of the school run.

          But once you hit the bus lanes, your bus journey times improve markedly.

          So as weird as it may seem, that one route in a nutshell is the perfect example of everything that good or almost good and proper with AT and simultaneously almost totally wrong with AT and its comms about getting folks out of cars.

  10. “get people out of car” sounds like make driving difficult but not providing better alternative.

    With only a stick with no carrot just backfires.

  11. The purpose of communications within AT is to inform, just enough, about what is the next change.

    It is not to engage, co-decide, link Council-wide initiatives together, join up local comms with government comms, make sense of the whole, invite discussion, or anything wider.

    Once you accept that limitation, you will get on with them fine.

    GA should start billing them.

    1. Sure, but if they did that better, with perhaps an explanation why, as Matt says, then a lot of the rest of the discussion would become redundant.

  12. Matt, the article by Tim Murphy that you link to at the end is very good. Council’s Finance and Performance Committee Chair Desley Simpson:

    “the committee was keen to provide Auckland Transport with further direction”.

    It appears AT is reviewing the financial implications of everything good they produce or commit to.

  13. There is an unacknowledged problem with the constraints of the fare recovery policy which has limited the provision of bus feeder services to those stations or the infrastructure involved in making them user friendly. I’m sure that if the parking at “P&R” were charged for (at least as much as the single section bus fare plus 20%) and the feeder services better catered for at the links then the “P&R” will diminish. Furthermore, City wide, all parking that is in demand should be charged for at a rate that is sufficient to ensure that at least 15% of spaces are free at any time.

    The situation that I’m most familiar with is the Takanini Station, it’s feeder bus services and the shelters for those bus services and the distance and obstacle course between the bus service and the station which mitigate against the use of feeder service in wintery conditions. The idea is a good one and with the increase in housing on the routes of the feeder service there needs to be more shelters at least on the routes that service both Papakura and Takanini stations before any consideration is given to spending money on the parking facilities at Takanini. As for Papakura the park and ride should be replaced with parking facilities at Te Hihi and Clevedon with frequent bus services to Papakura rather than expanding the parking in Papakura.

  14. Picking up on one of the core messages of this article where you suggest AT are not or should not be ‘idealogical social engineers.’

    There is clear evidence that they are, or they think they are.

    I was involved in production of the Construction Tender documents for AMETI Stage 2A – the busway and corridor improvements from Panmure roundabout to Pakaranga shops.

    The non-price attributes questions for the tender documents requires contractors to answer several questions over about 40 pages about how they will delivery the works. This includes sequencing, managing utilities, managing stakeholders etc.

    There is an attributes section called ‘Social Outcomes’ requiring about 3 pages of answer. One of the questions in it is, word for word:

    Outline how you plan to deliver targeted employment opportunities for new entrants, including wage and development requirements. e.g.: People from local board areas with concentrations of deciles eight to ten deprivation; those exiting correctional facilities and ex-offenders; Lone parents; Māori; Pasifika; people with disabilities, people with enduring mental health challenges or illness; Women; young people (16-25yrs); People who are not in employment, education or training (NEET); and/or Refugees. Include the level of performance you will target for the number of recruits, wages and development.

    The questions of AT are:

    1. What has this really got to do with a contractor’s ability to build bus lanes and bridges safely and on time and on budget?

    2. What do AT think their role in Auckland is? Shouldn’t they focus on and prove their ability to advance our transport infrastructure before embarking on a role as social engineers?

    3. Does AT think clearly about what it’s trying to achieve? The above jumbled and hard to read question sounds like it’s coming from a confused and unfocused place. It’s like it’s been thrown together from a list of people AT assume to be in need of help from AT

    All this says to me is that AT can’t focus on what they are there to do.

    And that they do think they are social engineers.

    1. I was involved in handling one of the implementation requirement from AT.

      The spec is hundred pages having a lot of non functional requirements to handle rare occurring concerns that are impractical/expensive to implement.

      No wonder their contracts are so expensive because only a small number of companies with big legal teams are dare to bid.

  15. AT’s comms team have been woeful for way too many years. Nothing personal but I would fire them from the top down until performance improves. It’s crucial for the whole region’s future.

  16. Great post Matt. So much more communication improvement is needed in so many areas from AT.

    IIRC even the mayor has used this phrase a few times in news bites I’ve seen.

    PS I’ve been preparing for & on holiday via Northern Express Train to Wellington, busy with other things & then sick so been reading the blog in catchup mode & as a result haven’t quite got around to commenting for much for a week or so.

    One thing I noticed having installed the useless Wellington Metlink app is that at least the notifications you get from it are good and timely regarding train delays etc even one specific line if its 15 mins late etc

    Random off topic thoughts from time away:
    The post the day we went down to Wellington was the guest post on the Wellington affordable housing funnily enough.

    I sure appreciate the Auckland integrated fares, but Wellington’s new off-peak fares are good & we seemed to be able to navigate their new network easy enough & tall street display boards are good.

    Buses were well used, could justify more frequency I feel in general. Didn’t have time to try a metro train line in the end but fares seemed pretty steep.

    The geography & subsequently bus main routes through the CBD are so weird compared to our layout; so apparent flying back to Auckland is our wider expansive city.

    Their silly airport express bus is not worth paying for if more than one person, cost us $1 more for two people in an Urber ($20 bus with Snapper), I guess has an airport charge.

    We were right above the tunnel where the fatal accident happened that morning, interesting no central barrier in it.

    I saw more cyclists than I expected in the CBD since last visit, often on electric power.

    Coffee at the Te Papa Museum cafe is pretty good.

      1. Yes pretty good, the out door viewing car was pretty full for experiencing that spiral, hard to see what’s going on with that and the bush obstructing view of track but you got the idea of the crazy route. I liked the very smooth winding section coming into the King Country area somewhere with great views of the rolling green farmland. Also the high up viaducts, getting glimpses of huge height we were on. Certainly an amazing engineering feat through that middle section of the North Island. Coming into Wellington was more late sunset time so couldn’t see so much…. though realised later should of braved the outdoor viewing carriage again at that point. Thought it funny the headphone commentary had talk of historic rail disasters and such along the way, bit like watching airline disaster movies in an airplane!

  17. Matt, you are absolutely right that repeating, “getting people out of cars” is not a communications strategy. The really worrying thing is that it is not even a strategy. A strategy is defined as, “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.”

    Herein lies the problem I think. AT have an aim with absolutely no idea how to get there. And if they do have an idea then it’s the wrong one (park and rides are wrong on so many levels). If they do have the right ideas then they are dismal at communicating them.

    I am strongly in the camp that they just have no ideas and that is evidenced by their abject failure in trying to make any progress toward their major goal of reducing fuel use in Auckland. Forget that traffic might be flowing better on Lincoln or Wairau Road. This may actually be counter productive to achieving the major goal.

    There are some clues that AT might pick up on. A recent survey by Auckland Council (I think it was a Peoples Panel) said that the main encouragement for people to use public transport was high parking charges at their intended destination. (No it wasn’t frequent services, flash new double deckers or adequate bus shelters). So instead of lavishing millions on park and rides what about starting with something that costs them nothing? What about raising their car park prices to commercial rates? What if they tried this in the city first? Eliminate the $2 per hour weekend parking to just see whether that might move some people to the trains or buses.

    And why if the commercial park and ride at Albany is $3 are AT at nothing. They are surely taking the urine.

    It is long overdue for AT to do much, much better.

  18. AT got in touch with me about this post and provided me with what they sent to the Herald for their Park & Ride series. It is below

    There are 5863 park and ride spaces.

    On average it costs $18,000 per space to build an open-air park and ride, and $24,000 per space to build a multi-story park and ride.

    Park and rides are an essential part of the public transport system, particularly for those in the outer parts of the region where people don’t have easy access to local bus services that would take them to the busway or train station.

    While we have been investing in park and rides, AT’s primary focus has been on improving the actual public transport network; on 30 September the final part of the new bus network will roll out on the North Shore, providing much simpler and more frequent services that link to rapid transport, this will make getting to train or busway stations much easier meaning that for some people who currently drive to the station, they will be able to leave the car at home.

    Before the New Network 215,500 Aucklanders lived within 500 metres of a frequent or rapid network route stop; from 30 September there will be 527,600 people within 500m of a frequent or rapid stop (a 144% increase).

    Before the New Network buses on the frequent and rapid network covered 1.92 million in-service hours a year, on 30 September they will cover 2.7m in-service hours.

    Before the New Network buses travelled 44.6 million kilometres a year on the frequent and rapid network, on 30 September they will cover 59.1m km.

    Regional Fuel Tax:

    One of the projects the regional fuel tax will pay for is more park and rides, which is expected to add 1900 spaces.

    The specific location and timing of the new or expanded park and rides have not been finalised as business cases are still to be written.

    A number of sites are under consideration with a more regional focus. These include but are not limited to:

    North – Hibiscus coast area
    Northwest – Westgate/Kumeu area
    South – Drury and or Paerata areas

    Other areas that may be delivered after further prioritisation include:

    East – Pine Harbour or Highland park/Howick

    New or expanded facilities along the south rail line – Pukekohe/Puhinui


    As part of the RLTP we are currently working on delivery of additional park and ride capacity at;

    Takanini – 200-220 additional spaces with construction starting by the end of this year
    Albany – 135 additional spaces with construction starting in 4th quarter of this year
    Silverdale – 90 additional spaces in 2019

    In the 2018-28 RLTP, there is $78 million for park and rides, which includes $11.7m for Papakura.

    We’re currently writing the business case for the Papakura park and ride, and we are aiming for construction to begin in May next year, which will potentially build another 300 spaces.

    Rodney targeted rate:

    In May a targeted rate for Rodney was passed by Auckland Council, some of which will be used for park and ride facilities at Warkworth and Huapai. We are in the very early planning stages of these park and rides.

    In the past year:

    481 new spaces at Hibiscus Coast Busway Station opened at the end of last year. This cost $10.25m.
    87 spaces opened at Pukekohe which was built as part of the $15.4m station upgrade.


    There are a number of preconditions that have to be taken into account before we can decide to charge for using a park and ride. One of those is the level of feeder bus services to the station, and once the new network is complete on 30 September that condition will be met so we can then review the other preconditions, and see if drivers should pay to park at park and rides.

      1. Good response from AT, I thought. There’s no need to charge people who don’t have access to frequent feeder services and it would be unfair to do so.

        1. “There’s no need to charge people who don’t have access to frequent feeder services and it would be unfair to do so.”
          What rationale do you have for that statement? Why should all rate payers have to pay the cost of car parking for someone who chooses to live more than 500m from a public transport stop? This is one of the reasons that we have sprawl, because there is little cost for choosing to live a lifestyle that may put additional cost on others due to greater carbon emissions and all the other factors Heidi refers too. I also suspect the cost of inner city public transport is more expensive because it is subsidising far flung routes.

          Park and ride is just another example of AT adopting unfocused decision making. Let’s look at the premise, “Park and rides are an essential part of the public transport system, particularly for those in the outer parts of the region where people don’t have easy access to local bus services.”
          AT has no idea whether they are essential. It may well be that in the absence of park and rides, or with priced park and rides, people are able to find their way to public transport stations perfectly adequately.
          AT has no idea of who uses the park and rides, much less any control over who uses them; and so they simply don’t know whether they are being used by people who “don’t have easy access to public bus services.”
          Maybe without park and rides people would make decisions that have a better economic outcome for the city as they may find it more beneficial to work locally rather than half way across the city.

          If those in say the Rodney area want to pay for their park and rides by way of a targeted rate let them go ahead. Otherwise, any additional park and ride should be a last resort and the users should expect to pay a reasonable price for it.

        2. “What rationale do you have for that statement? Why should all rate payers have to pay the cost of car parking for someone who chooses to live more than 500m from a public transport stop?” Fair point – I’ll have a go at providing another perspective on that:

          i) They are still part of Auckland – not by choice necessarily. Auckland Council takes rates and fuel tax from them on the proviso that they deliver public transport in return. In the absence of a rebate, Council has a responsibility to deliver.

          ii) Be aware that most people who live more than 500m from a public transport stop do so not by choice but because Auckland Council chooses not to provide public transport to them. Worse, this even happens inside the urban boundary.

          iii) It won’t often make sense to provide frequent feeder services outside of the urban boundary. In this case, the only way to access public transport is through a combination of private vehicle and park-and-ride. But is this not a better option than providing more motorway capacity and inner city parking?

          Lastly, ask why the park-and-rides are filling up so fast? Is it because there aren’t enough feeder buses? Yes. Is it because we have built transit stations too far away from our urban centres? Absolutely yes. Let’s fix these two issues before throwing more taxes at people, and accept that park-and-rides might be a perfectly viable long-term option for commuters from outside the city.

        3. i) They are presumably better off in Auckland, which is why they are here. Auckland Council has a responsibility to provide lots of services. What is clear is that people driving are being subsidised heavily for the pollution, climate change, ill health, severance, reduction in activity within the population their driving causes and the space their mode occupies. The fuel taxes don’t even skim the surface.
          ii) Auckland has to rationalise public transport provision or the rates and fuel taxes will rise further. Yes, trying to get as many people living within the walk-up and cycle-up catchment of public transport hubs is the goals. That is why wasting the space on park and rides is stupid planning, and inequitable.
          iii) Park and ride spots are appropriate on the edge of the urban area, priced appropriately and competing with priced parking throughout the city so that no-one is tempted to drive in to save money. That’s not what we’re talking about here – most of these park and ride spots are within the city, where Transit Oriented Development should be prioritised. Park and Ride prevents this.

        4. David – I’m not sure free park and ride is that beneficial for those who don’t live near a frequent connector route. The people who benefit most from free PNR are those who start early, this will include people who do live near a frequent connector.

          I imagine there would be a number that start later that would be quite happy to see a charge as that would mean they could be guaranteed a park.

    1. They have talked about the average costs to build those rides, but do not include the land costs. They also do not include the lost opportunity costs for this poor development next to transit hubs and the induced traffic that keeping people in the mindset of “I’m dependent on my car to get anywhere from my house”. Many of the locations they have listed are well within areas that should not be being served by park and ride, as they are not on the extremities of the city.

      The true cost of each park and ride is thus quite a bit higher than these figures, as induced traffic and car dependency quickly adds up, leading to carbon emissions and public health costs. Then there’s the heat effect and the runoff / waterway problems of all that asphalt.

      If parents are needing to drive to the park and ride to get anywhere, what are their children going to do once they’re old enough to be independent in the city? The answer is that they’ll be dependent on taxi-driver parents until they’re old enough to drive. Then, as a friend said of her daughter to me on Saturday: “We’ll get her her own car because otherwise we all worry about her dinging our cars which means she doesn’t even want to practise in front of us.”

      Lester Levy said in the SOI: “However, simply providing a range of effective modal options will not be sufficient to break the deeply ingrained habit of car dependency, perhaps Auckland’s most ominous and least confronted problem from a transport perspective. Car dependency is mainly a result of a mindset, whereby people have become hardwired to use private cars (in the main one person per car) for most trips.”

      Levy, provision of Park and Rides within the city is a sign that AT is still working in a car dependent mindset. Why don’t you confront this most ominous problem?

    1. And for the land, well, 3 Cornerstone Drive Albany sold for $2,566,000 on 15 August 2015, as a bare piece of land. Three years later, for the land adjacent to the station, the park and ride land will be worth much more per m2. But going with the lesser amount, the known sale of number 3, that means $1300 per m2. And going with the smaller area per park that miffy reference in the “Getting smarter about park and ride” post of 25 m2, this is still $32,500 per park for land value. Added to the $18,000 AT have given here for construction costs, that’s over $50,000…

      AT, for heaven’s sake. We’re subsidising a few people to park and ride when this level of subsidy should be being spent instead on improving the feeder buses, at the very least, to improve the access for all the people who cannot drive, as well as for the people who cannot.

      Which part of priority for access in the GPS do you not understand? People past driving age, and twelve year olds, cannot drive to the park and ride. You are failing them, and you are failing the rate payers who are having to subsidise the small group of drivers you are favouring.

  19. Heidi, Yes absolutely right.

    I think that there is a real risk for AT that they go into an irretrievable tail spin. There is obviously bad feeling from many Councillors and I was at my local board meeting last night and adverse comments were also passed there. There is a danger that adverse comments tend to breed adverse comments and that any respect soon disappears.

    There is a real disconnect between their Statement of Intent and their actions and they need to address this if they want to preserve their credibility.

    I think some of the problem started with the recruitment of the current ceo. The Board is reported as saying they wanted to appoint someone without an ego. I think that they needed exactly the opposite. I believe that they needed someone who would embrace the vision; talk the vision; and pull Aucklanders in to also embrace it. At present we seem to have an organisation stumbling along with big fails on many key issues: safety, greenhouse emissions and a rapidly falling PT ridership.

    You and I have a different opinion as to why AT is failing, but seldom does change come unless it is driven from the top.

    1. I like people without egos. He’s probably very clever, and I’d like to give him time. If he isn’t going to be the one to lead the PR exercise, we just need someone in another position to be that. Most of all we need someone – probably the board? – to step and remove the influence of the people who

      -slashed the cycling budget
      -put the RASF under review
      -refused to put road reallocation into the SOI
      -tried to stop the safety review
      -tried to avoid adopting Vision Zero this year by insisting on “Working Towards Vision Zero” instead.

      I mean, if this the same person / same small group each time, it should be clear to the board that they must be removed for the transformational change that is required to even have a chance. I wonder what their background(s) is in?

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