Whether to run express services or not is an age-old debate when it comes to public transport. Speed and coverage/accessibility are some of the many variables that need to be traded off against each other when designing a network.

In Auckland, the most notable place this debate is currently occurring is in regard to the airport. As part of the many discussions here and elsewhere about how we serve the airport with high-quality public transport, a common refrain is that current proposals are too slow and that instead we need fast dedicated services Britomart to the airport via Puhinui.

The current plans would see two new high-quality connections built

  1. Light Rail from the city to the airport via Dominion Rd. This is has been estimated to take about 42 minutes from the middle of town and I was able to back this number up earlier this year when I built my own model to calculate travel times.
  2. A busway from the airport initially to a significantly upgraded Puhinui station and then Manukau but eventually all the way to Botany, a project now given the appropriate title of A2B. Using the same model, it suggested the option of a train from town to Puhinui and then a bus to the airport would take about the same time as the light rail option.

With an express service it has been suggested airport travellers could reach the airport in just over 30 minutes. But as the title of the post says, an express is not always the best. Here’s a few reasons why.

Think about the whole network

In an excellent piece on airport transit that came about following the failure of a dedicated airport express train in Toronto, Human Transit author Jarrett Walker sums up the issue well:

Do you think that specialized airport express trains are the key to high transit mode share to an airport? Think again. What matters is not just the train to downtown, but the whole transit network and the airport’s position in it. Where can you get to on that network, and how soon? (A true assessment of this issue would have included bus services too, of course.) London’s Heathrow, for example, has a high-fare express train very much like Toronto’s, but it also has a slower train that makes more stops for a lower fare, and a subway line that makes even more stops and serves even more places. Those lines connect to more services, and are therefore more useful to far more people.

Basic math: 1000 airport employees using an airport service every day are more ridership than 100,000 air travelers using it, on average, maybe a couple of times a year.

This is the simple reason that airport transit politics are so frustrating. Everyone wants to believe in transit to the airport, because they might ride it a few times a year. But to create a great airport train (or bus) for air travelers, you have to make it useful to airport employees too That generally means a service that’s an integral part of the regional transit network, not a specialized airport train.

Below is Auckland’s proposed rapid transit network from ATAP. Think about how it would compare to the express train only option some suggest which consists of a spur off the southern line at Puhinui. In particular, think about how many travellers or staff want to travel from the airport to Britomart, or vice versa. Then think about how many other people there are in Auckland who may want/need to travel to the airport for travel or work. Under such a plan would they need to make their way to Britomart first even if that meant travelling in the wrong direction for a time? For example, how would someone in Mt Roskill get to the airport by PT, would they need to catch a bus or Light Rail (on Dominion Rd only) to the city first? How about someone from Papakura, or Botany or any other location in Auckland.

Walk before we can run

To add further to the points above, it is hard to justify dedicated services that only serve a small segment of the total journeys. This means that it would be unlikely we’d be able to justify running it at any serious frequency and so it’s likely it wouldn’t run more than half hourly. That would be more than sufficient to make it not able to be relied upon for regular travel and use. In essence, pushing for an express service would be copying Toronto in trying to run before we can walk.

In this regard, Jarrett’s post mentioned above also includes this table from a Toronto study on airport lines. As you can see, all other airports listed that have express services also have metro/rapid services. It’s also interesting to note the air passenger share which is quite low, even for locations with significant PT infrastructure.

Faster trips without a dedicated express service

Finally, there are a few ways we can get some of the benefits of an express service without building a dedicated express train.

The Limited Stop Southern Line

At peak times there is already a train heading in each direction every five minutes. The City Rail Link will allow for higher frequencies and link the Southern and Eastern lines together. Where the two lines overlap, one option could be to still serve all stations on trains originating from Manukau but have the Papakura/Pukekohe originating trains skip a few stations. They could also do this on the inner southern line where they overlap with the Western line trains. With the increased frequencies this could still provide five minute frequency services to the stations skipped while also benefiting those travelling from south of Manukau to points further north. This is something we included in our Congestion Free Network map.

In total this would skip Remuera, Greenlane, Middlemore and Papatoetoe. By my calculations this option would save approximately six minutes on a trip from Aotea to Puhinui for a 26 minute journey time.

The Regional Rapid Rail express

There is growing support for inter-regional rail services. An important factor in developing these successfully will be on being able to get those services through the Auckland urban area in a timely manner. Once infrastructure such as the third, and eventually fourth, main south of Otahuhu are built, it could allow these inter-regional services to express from Britomart all the way to the upgraded Puhinui station on it’s way to Hamilton. This would allow even faster journey times and passengers could then transfer to a frequent airport connection. It should take about 20 minutes to get from Britomart to Puhinui non-stop and could allow for a trip from the city to the airport in under 30 minutes.

The option would be of use for those travelling to/from the Britomart area, such as those transferring from ferries. Of course, this would need to be priced correctly to ensure those doing longer distance travel weren’t crowded out but could provide some additional benefit for those services.

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  1. I agree with all of this. It’s about a network for a diverse, polycentric metro region – catering for local journeys as well as commuters and visitors. Express services will have their time when capacity is there, but dedicated airport expresses are pointless.

    A point not-made, but palpable from the chart, is that Auckland airport is in traffic terms much smaller than the likes of Heathrow and Frankfurt. So it wouldn’t wash its face without another purpose.

    That said, and if heavy rail is dead from airport to Puhinui – I do believe that the light rail line should continue to there and Manukau/Botany. How they run it operationally is another thing (different lines, layovers etc) but a bus will feel inferior. And light rail to the south and east makes sense without the airport.

    Shown on the same map as rail lines, colour coded, branding etc, it’s little more than a different type of rolling stock for a different line. People will use both as part of a cohesive network. The Swiss don’t differentiate modes too much, for instance. Nor with the DLR in London.

    1. Agree with most of what you say.

      Exception being that I don’t agree that a bus will feel inferior to LRT. Or at least not to the degree that it would warrant running LRT all the way to Puhinui.

      Even in Amsterdam they run direct buses from the city to Schiphol. And one airport that is not on the list, but which has higher PT mode share than all on that list, is Edinburgh, which for many decades was served only by a frequent, limited stop double-decker bus service.

      Instead, I would suggest that people travelling from further east would actually prefer the direct BRT line shown in the map, rather than having to connect to LRT at Puhinui.

      1. Not necessarily
        Can run LRT from the Airport right out to Botany and even Howick without much of an issue (probably going to be the case if Dominion Road continues to play up).
        Remember as it was said in the main post – it is about the catchments and A2B takes up a massive catchment once the Southern Line and RRR are added in. Not to mention Southern Auckland is growing faster in terms of employment and population than the Isthmus according to the ATAP.

        1. LR to Botany (and beyond) is the dream. I doubt that it’d take very long to overtake Dom Rd ridership, assuming that it links from Botany’ish to Panmure…

          LR out East makes more sense to me than the other LR line that the govt has planned.

        2. Why would it overtake Dominion road LRT? It is really just a cross town route. I doubt it will ever have enough patronage to support LRT.
          Try the bus route first and see if that gets more patronage than current Dom Road buses do…

        3. 1.
          Airport, Wiri, Penrose, Mt Wgtn, and Highbrook are major employment zones.

          I think many of the people who work in these areas do not live in or around town. They tend to live West, East or South.

          I see the traffic westbound in the evening via Onehunga. I’ve also seen the PM traffic thru Otahuhu. This is all East-West traffic.

          Mangere and Manukau are high growth residential zone. Particular since the metro core of the city refuses to intensify (Grey Lynn, Mt Eden etc.)

          One of the problem with the LRT plan focusing on the city center is that it provides a major benefit spatially to limited amount of people who live in the city core.

        4. They might be major employment centres but they pale in comparison with the CBD in terms of employment density. This is why the routes into the CBD are by far the most successful in terms of patronage, there is a huge catchment of employment within a short walk of the bus or train route.

        5. Airport-Botany will grow, but it will be many years before any route not including the City Centre requires LR capacity vehicles. It’s just simple math; there isn’t the density and there isn’t the restrictions on driving.

          Start with buses, secure the Right of Way, build ridership, get the frequency up to 5 mins, then go to higher capacity buses at 5 min frequencies, then if it’s so successful it needs even more capacity; fantastic!

        6. That it does with LRT. I have always felt LRT should start from the Airport and go north to Onehunga and East out to Manukau and eventually Botany. Yes the Line could snake around and head down the Eastern Busway to Panmure with a branch going all the way up to Pakuranga Road to Howick.

          As for ridership – love to see the modelling

        7. Ben you would not love to see the modelling. Your enthusiasm about the south is great, and the wider area is certainly growing. But like most of Auckland except the city centre that growth, both in employment and residents, is still on the old auto-dependent model. So, not only are raw numbers lower than the Centre, the concentration is also lower, and access to and utility of driving will remain higher. Therefore justification for going straight to higher capacity vehicles on new routes is just not there yet.

          And your feelings about starting LR at fringe are similarly misplaced; again insufficient ridership to make this a success without connection to the high demand Centre…

        8. Patrick,

          That’s the thing Mangere doesn’t have PT or access at the moment. And it’s a socially deprived area which is a focused for urban intensification.

          Building the Mangere LRT section first is about removing that autodependacy.

          Not all outcome choices are about economics.

          Anyway, I think building the Mangere LRT section first will not slow down the Dominion Road section. In fact I think it will support and accelerate development of the whole network.

        9. Enourmous risk in opening the first bit of modern LR in the country to anything less that full machines. Ok if the rest is actually underway, but if there’s any chance of it being reassessed after first leg it would be nuts to start at the fringe.

        10. If the Super fund+UDA get the job. I think it’s a low risk for a part network.

          A National government would have a challenge to break a contract with the Superfund.

          UDA may have wider planning powers which may help force the issue on Dom Rd. But I think it will still be a battle up Dom Rd.

          Establishing the long term depot location in Mangere naturally leads to this being a good start location.

          It’s not a fringe disconnected network either. It will connect to the existing network at both Onehunga and Puhinui/Manukau.

          Building back up Dom Rd also gets Roskill connected faster to the RTN via Onehunga.

          So this all still feeds the central city.

          Bus capacity will still exist on Dom Rd. So it’s not Win/Lose.

          I actually think Dom Rd first is Lose/Lose. You make it harder for bus traffic on Dom Rd – reduces network capacity. Compete for construction space in the central city with the CRL. Don’t have a long term depot location – duplication of costs.

          Where is the win?

          Furthermore, the Onehunga/Mangere Bridge crossing needs to be started sooner. It’s important to focus on delivering an excellent outcome for the city in this space. Part of doing this in the first stage is getting this priority right.

        11. Sorry it’s complete bullshit to say Mangere doesn’t have any PT or access at the moment. It has three frequent bus lines going in four directions, which is three times the PT that most neighbourhoods in Auckland.

        12. Wow, that sparked a few comments!

          Why I think that an East-Central LR route makes sense: The massive growth in places like Flat Bush, the massive numbers of people traversing Ti Rakau Rd, East Tamaki Rd, Te Irirangi Dr each day. The fact that Howick area also contains a lot of people.

          With regard to places like Flat Bush, I’ve seen massive change there in the last five years. That place is booming. The PT out there isn’t great, but a lot of the population appear to be gen 0 Kiwis coming from nations where PT is good – Yes I know that’s racial profiling, but considering I’ve been visiting family friends there and they don’t speak much English I’ll ask for a pass on that one.

          Flat Bush is feeding car dependency. Having a few meandering bus routes won’t change that. The area needs proper BRT to concentrators. Initially of course that means a busway from somewhere like Botany Junction area (don’t forget to say hi to the Howick & Eastern depot on the way past) to Panmure, but if you get these “new” developments serviced with bus lanes and clearways on their nice big new roads, you’re setting an expectation of both driver behaviour and future servicing.

        13. Can’t disagree with you, Jon, about how much better it would be if the East had a LRT put in now, (and oh! if we had spent our money more wisely even over the last decade!) but I’m still not sure what you’ve done to compare East with West… Those poor people stuck in marriage-breaking, don’t-get-to-spend-time-with-the-kids congestion is pretty obvious out west too…

      2. I’m afraid that buses are always inferior by a long way. If I flew into Amsterdam I would be much less likely to catch the crappy bus into town than if there was a train. This also applies to Auckland.
        But in this case I don’t think LRT could be justified to Puhinui based on patronage. I guess if the bus is really successful then maybe it could be upgraded to LRT later.

        1. Maybe you are right but with plans to intensify Manukau will create demand. I think if you signal that you would build LRT A2B plus allow residential development at Manukau/ increase AUT/MIT campuses plus have the southern heavy rail link to Manukau/bus lanes GSR/Redoubt Rd. Then you would have the basis of a good network and it would induce demand. The population there and it is only auto-dependant because the PT options are so poor.
          I remember a lot of people saying that PT would not work in Auckland and rail should be pulled out.

          Investment in LR needs to happen in other areas besides the isthmus.

      3. The road the bus travels on will make a huge difference. There is bus routes and there is bus routes. This one from Puhinui would be quite straight and smooth. In saying that LRT all the way to Botany would be nice.

        As an aside, anyone know how well the new Albany Ctr to Airport SkyBus service is been used or tried it out?

      4. The Edinburgh tram to city centre is very slow, bus and taxi are both significantly faster.

        A much better airport to compare with Auckland is Gardermoen, they have a highspeed express line and metro rail lines to the airport along with buses.

        1. Gardermoan was purpose built for high PT mode share in the 1990s though. It’s also very rural most of the way. It’s as far from Oslo Central as Drury is from Britomart with its suburban edge petering out before Otahuhu.

          AKL is surrounded by suburbia, so much harder to retrofit with rapid PT. The Nordic countries have put in an impressive effort with their largest airports.

          Helsinki’s airport has a greater similarity to AKL and has a rail loop linking two suburban lines… This was retrofitted to a 1950s airport in 2015…

          Just stirring 😛

        2. The metro line to Gardermoen was already there before the airport was built. The Gardermoen Express line was built at the same time as the airport was enlarged to become what it is today. Before it became Oslo’s main airport it was a charter airport.

          Auckland and Edinburgh Airports parallel each other quite nicely, both are built on the outskirts of the city, Edinburgh was supposed to get a heavy rail line, which was cancelled by the SNP as part of there public spending cuts manifesto. Just like Auckland was supposed to have a heavy rail line, but changed in favour of a slow tram and rebranded as “not an airport service, but a transport link to Mangere”, stupidly many in Auckland and this blog have bought into this charade. Edinburgh got a tram line which ended up costing more than the rail link, it was years late, I feel Auckland will suffer the same fate a slow and almost pointless airport service. I’m in edinburgh a lot, I find the bus it cheaper and faster but I prefer to use a taxi since they can drop me off at my hotels front entrance and its faster than the tram.

        3. There is not metro to Gardemoen, only the new high(er) speed rail line that was built with the airport and opened at the same time, along with a six lane motorway.

          There is a local train line that runs up the villages of the valley, but this does not stop at the airport.

          Perhaps quite telling that they didn’t extend the existing local train line, but built a new one instead.

          If a bus or taxi is cheaper and easier, use a bus or a taxi. I caught the bus from Gardemoen to Oslo because it took me straight to where I was staying, so be it. The point of transport investment is transport, not beating some other mode on one metric because you think that’s important.

        4. Come on Nick R, I’ve used this airport by my reckoning over 400 times in the past 12 years, I know what trains are available. NSB run the commuter and regional trains to Gardermoen, the Flytorget (Gardermoen Express) is a different train. Both services use the same track from the airport until they reach Lilliestrom, the Flytorget goes through the Romerike Tunnel, the NSB trains don’t.

          The Gardermoen Line is like a spur of the Hoved Line, the tracks merge at Eidsvoll. Before Gardermoen was rebuilt as the main Olso airport you caught the train to Jessheim and then a short hop on a bus to the terminal.

          How to get from Oslo to Gardermoen with NSB?

          There are 2 alternatives to get to Gardermoen from Oslo with NSB trains.

          Alternative 1 is to take the regional railway; Dovrebanen. Alternative 2 is to take a local train. Both alternatives stop at both Lillestrøm and Oslo Airport Gardermoen, and the journey is still just 23 mins.

          Departures from Oslo to Oslo Airport Gardermoen every 10 and 20 mins, between 05:54am until 11:54pm.

  2. Bus might “feel” inferior but at the likely levels of demand for that Airport to Botany corridor, bus is definitely the most appropriate mode. Light rail is massive overkill.

    1. Might find given the corridor A2B runs LRT for it would be able meet demand within a decade given intensification in Southern Auckland.

      Remember as it was said in the main post – it is about the catchments and A2B takes up a massive catchment once the Southern Line and RRR are added in. Not to mention Southern Auckland is growing faster in terms of employment and population than the Isthmus according to the ATAP.

    2. This has been the mindset with all Auckland improvements all along, including Britomart. All proven wrong.

      Deliver something appealing and impressive, and people will use it.

      Buses are hugely inferior to light rail. The existence of LR and demand for it are innate proof of this.

      1. Then what is the existence of our Northern Busway carrying 40,000 people a day innate proof of? Or the 200,000 boardings a day carried on the regular bus network? Surely that is innate proof they are very successful in the right places.

        Buses aren’t always the best mode for a particular set of conditions, but they are only hugely inferior if you make them that way?

        1. Proof that corridor desperately needed grade separated transport, of any mode. There aren’t many other examples which can even come close.

          But constant talk of upgrading it to LR in future proves this point. It is ostensibly a (very effective) placeholder and immediate solution for a superior mode to come in time. It’s great, not knocking it, but nobody considers it ‘complete’ as yet.

  3. Like all things PT, reliability and predictability are the key: whether it is a bus or rail matters less to me so long as the price is sufficiently cheaper than the next alternative (Super Shuttle).

    I have become a regular user of the Albany Skybus. It is a tiny bit more expensive than NEX-City Skybus, but faster (~50 minutes and a single seat trip). More importantly, even in peak traffic (barring accidents) it is consistent in its travel time. Now the major uncertainty is just the flights…

    But that certainty has huge benefits, not least in my case of being able to red-eye with confidence of making it to the Shore on time for a normal working day and save one night’s accommodation costs, but also in having a predictable wedge of time to prep for meetings, clear email, whatever. Knowing you have most of an hour for that sort of stuff is a definite feature.

    So far, though, I haven’t seen much demand. While that may just be when I travel, of course, I have yet to be on any Skybus, at any time of day, that was more than half full.

  4. That all makes sense to me, Matt. Are the BRT plans going to be robust in the case of extreme congestion or gridlock, or is there the possibility we are going to suddenly see the police directing cars onto it to ‘clear an area’?

    The other question I have is what sort of buses would be used on the A2B? I realise it will still be a minority of passengers travelling with luggage, but if the number is still reasonable:
    – can they ensure no double deckers are used? Having to go upstairs because there are no seats available downstairs would present quite a danger for passengers with luggage. A school boy I know who travels daily on double deckers with his trombone has had a few falls due to having to go upstairs with it.
    – there’s a possibility of the lovely tall coaches with luggage storage underneath? (I think these on a BRT route probably provide a superior ride to the LRT.)

      1. I don’t think we would even need them perhaps if we run buses just like the 380 service ones frequently enough,say every 5 mins. Then again save on driver wages I guess.

    1. What’s wrong with double decker airport buses, you have the luggage racks downstairs and the passengers upstairs. Coaches are an even better choice, luggage under the floor and passengers in the cabin.

      Why would anyone favour articulated buses which take up more space on the roads over a double decker for the same capacity?

      1. I did like the double deckers, but they aren’t suiting my (tall to very tall) extended family members because the ceilings are quite low downstairs, and the stairs are so steep that carrying heavy things on them is dangerous… Maybe for A2B it depends on how they are laid out?

        I like coaches, too. Although I know elderly people who don’t like to climb up into them but can cope with regular buses… so I guess those are the advantages of the articulated ones. Less climbing, higher ceilings, but bigger capacity.

      2. Coaches are great for long trips where taking 5 minutes to load luggage doesn’t matter. They’re awful for urban routes. Buses used on this route should be low floor articulated buses with longitudinal seating and luggage racks in the front section such that passengers can carry their own luggage on at a platform with level boarding and passengers can circulate freely in a wide central corridor. There is a reason that the buses that operate *inside* airport look like this.

        1. I have made a typo, I meant to say ‘There is a reason that the buses that operate *inside* airports look like this’.

          However, your response is incorrect anyway. The terminal shuttle operates within the airport and looks very similar to what I described.

        2. Double deckers have less hight downstairs also, I can’t stand up on either level.

          And yeah the airport buses that shuttle people from the terminal to the planes are single deck, with multiple big doors and a big open flat floor.

  5. Really interesting article Matt. I always make the mistake of thinking of PT for airports in terms of air passengers but as you’ve made clear if we can help a large number of airport employees on to PT this will have a much greater impact

  6. A regional rapid rail connection to Auckland airport will be great. Hamilton and Tauranga are so poorly served by their airports* that people from these cities already often drive to Auckland to fly. Such a route should see decent patronage.

    [ * I think that’s mostly a problem of the cities being too small to attract better services, this might improve as they grow.]

  7. Yep – a half hourly express train is going to end up slower for most users than a 5 minute all stops. I doubt the airport would support much more than a half hourly service. Even the Heathrow Express only runs every 15 minutes…

    1. Piccadilly Line to Heathrow runs every 5 minutes with a massive catchment all within a 1-seat ride. Heathrow Express/Heathrow Connect services are restrictive in that you have to go to Paddington and transfer in order to use them.

      I would simply like to see Auckland Airport brought into the existing rail network. Like Sydney and Brisbane. Not a special express to the city. Just part of the metro system.

      1. And that’s exactly the plan; with a 5 min prioritised bus shuttle from Puhinui Station which already has 5 min rail frequencies at the peaks. And is served 2/3 of rail service with no change to current system (will improve further with Pukekohe electrification)

        Any branch off the line will have to have a much lower frequency; and the Airport is not on the main line. So to connect the rail network, at high frequency, is best achieved by transfer.

        An infrequent point to point one seat ride is simply not as good as a high quality networked high frequency transfer. Anyway, it will be a one-seat ride for those out east, a two-seater for those anyway on the Southern and Eastern lines.

        Add Light Rail from the north two and catchment expands further. We are building a network, not a route.

        1. Actually not true Patrick. You could have 3TPH going to the airport and you could also operate a 3TPH shuttle service between airport and Puhinui. Results in 6TPH (10 minute frequency) while only “affecting” Southern Services by 3TPH. It’s unlikely they will want to run all services to Pukekohe anyway so works out well.

        2. Right, so still with a transfer, and at half the current frequency, and with less frequency and lower capacity south, yet demand there is growing. Sorry, that’s no improvement, and at far greater cost, and many more years away

        3. I think we’re getting all hung up about mode again. The important thing is that the airport is fully integrated into the RTN and that transfers between lines of whatever motive power are as seamless as possible. Don’t think “existing rail network” – think “future RTN network”!

        4. Any solution that takes trains away from the south is a certain disaster. As it is, it’s often standing room only from Manurewa north in morning peak and the same the other way during the afternoon school/peak period.

      2. I think most of us would. However, when the question gets re-framed from how can we connect the airport to the HR network to how can we build the best rapid transit network that allows good connectivity across the city including to and from the airport we get a slightly different answer.

      3. Er Dave most people who will use the Piccadilly line will likewise change as most live outside of zones 1/2.

        By the way I work at Heathrow and am counting the days until Crossrail opens. London’s version of the proposed AKL heavy rail option. You could also look at the various rail options heading to Stansted or Gatwick. The bus options are terrible.

  8. This is the first time I have heard anyone suggest a non-stop or one-stop Express service. So to do so to try to discredit HR to the airport is ridiculous.
    Previous proposals have been about an all stops service which would be fast than LR. Alternatively an Express service stopping at perhaps 4 stations would be faster and still serve everyone on the network.

    1. Correction: Previous proposals have been about an all stops service which would be slightly faster than LR but without providing any benefit to the majority of Aucklander’s who are not travelling to the airport.

      1. Correction definitely faster.
        Provides access for the majority of airport workers who live in South Auckland (something LR won’t do) and also provides a better connection for travellers heading south once RRR is running.
        The costs of HR from Puhinui + LR along Queen st and Dom Rd is less than building LR all the way to the airport and would benefit more people than LR. The only people to miss out from HR+LR option above would be Mangere residents (which do have bus lanes over the bridge to Onehunga where they can connect with the HR network, or they could connect in Otahuhu or travel to the airport if heading south).

        1. HR to the airport is of no more benefit to people living south of Puhinui than the proposed BRT as it would still require a transfer.

        2. But the BRT is an additional cost of hundreds of millions. Not saying it doesn’t have merit but if you are comparing costs of LR vs HR that has to be factored in.

        3. Agree. However, the benefits of LR approaching from the north and BRT from the east cater for a much larger variety of movements than an HR spur from Puhinui.

        4. Given the likely impacts of having to accommodate yet another terminating stop (competing with the existing two) I stand by my previous comments that a heavy rail spur is a net loss for people like me who live south of Puhinui and are not going to the Airport.

          In fact, transferring to the 380 at the moment is pretty good. The stop is pretty close to Papatoetoe (maybe could be closer and bigger, and I am sure A2B would involve bigger at Puhinui at least) but with the amount of luggage we had (not that much but not that little either) it was fine. When you add in the potential to take A2B or a LRT version even further than Botany but the completely fixed nature of the spur it’s a bit of a no brainer.

          And that’s before we talk about all the South Aucklanders who live around Managere who get completely shafted by a Spur option without even having to think about it. And they lose out with other Heavy Rail versions (even people close to both proposed heavy and light rail stations since they get the same length journey to Town but fewer connections within their immediate city).

          Heavy rail just doesn’t stack up. The more you look at it, the less sense it makes. Although, frankly, seeing this post as a criticism of Heavy Rail to the Airport is ignoring that it’s also obviously (a) a defence of the limited stops proposal for the CFN 2 and (b) part of GA’s longstanding scepticism of express services. In fact, I would say it is both of these things first and that’s why it doesn’t dive deep into the nature of the various HR proposals rather fixating on the potential to run a express services.

        5. HR through the isthmus is also twice the cost of LRT. For less benefit.

          I wish those with the HR-mode bias would push the spur from Puhinui instead of trying to sabotage a SW transit line which just happens to have the airport at one end.

        6. Its only ‘definitely faster’ if you turn up at the scheduled time. The frequency of HR would be a lot less than LR, so for turn up and go HR would probably be slower on average.
          LR would add 22 new train stations to the network (~50% increase). HR would add 2. LR will definitely benefit more people by a long long way.

        7. HR could have 6TPH (10 minute frequency no problem) 3TPH off the Southern line and 3TPH operating as a shuttle between airport and Puhinui. Even with a 5 minute transfer at Puhinui would still be faster than LR (especially if they ever get around to the planned dwell/speed improvements to HR which should shave about 4 minutes off the journey).

        8. So you would take the southern line down to 3tph at peak times? And what about across the day where it’s already only 3tph?! No trains on the southern, or none on the airport branch. Sounds like for 17 hours of the day you’d be left with transferring to the 3tph shuttle from Puhinui.

    2. The all stops train to Puhinui currently takes around 32-34 mins, so we are likely talking close to 40 mins for HR to the airport anyway, it’s not that much faster. The Skybus beats this quite comfortably off-peak.

      For a small time saving for the relatively small number of people going from the Airport to the CBD we would loose a new rapid transit route for Mangere and Hillsborough, and a quicker trip to the airport from the isthmus.

    3. AKLDUDE: “So to do so to try to discredit HR to the airport is ridiculous.”

      Back in May, Auckland Councillor (& modal fanatic) Mike Lee had this to say:

      “The latest plan I have seen for a heavy rail connection from the airport via Puhinui to Britomart (journey time 30 minutes and costed at $750m) has it stopping at only two stations…”
      Source: http://www.mikelee.co.nz/2018/05/trams-to-auckland-airport-is-this-really-a-super-idea/

      Granted he was talking about two intermediate stops rather than one or none, but that is somewhat different from previous all stops proposals.

      So, claims of some kind of limited stops service being proposed were not just invented by GA to make HR look bad (and your info is out of date).

  9. Don’t we already have an express service to the airport?
    It’s called Skybus.
    I’m more than happy to get the train to Papatoetoe and Airporter bus from there. It rarely takes me much longer than the more expensive Skybus.

      1. I think you’re misinterpreting that stat from the table. I read it as “what percentage of the people using airport transit are passengers?” In which case, the percentage of SkyBus users who are passengers is probably quite high, because there are cheaper options for many regular commuters to the airport (eg train + 380, or just drive)

        1. Workers get a special discounted fare on the skybus, that’s not publicized obviously but daily users don’t pay the retail price.

        2. Yes, it’s $5 for staff and Skybus are reasonably liberal with the definition of staff. I do some work for a couple of organisations out there, and even though I am not based there, they are happy with my ID as proof.

  10. Has AT ever told us how they intend squeezing light rail into Dominion Road without road widening? Presumably they are planning on narrow footpaths and no cyclelanes. They seem to like images where there are no shops so they can show everything fitting in.

    1. I imagine they will use the space which is currently allocated to bus lanes and the median strip. That may be enough room for a cycle lane, I’m not sure. I doubt they will decrease footpath width.

      1. I think cycles use the bus lane at the moment. Both light rail scheme Auckland City did in the 1990’s had Dominion Road being widened on one side. So something will have to be left out.

        1. Are you certain they won’t widen it? Except for a couple of sections in the old town Centre, I’m pretty sure there is a road widening designation along 80% of the corridor.

        2. Miffy it all fits once you take the traffic out…. Dom Rd is no longer needed as an arterial, remember we built Waterview for all your long distance driving needs in this area, thank-you.

        3. All traffic Patrick? How will people access their house? I guess you will say by light rail. But I don’t think anyone is allowed to remove all vehicle access unless you go through the road stopping process. Good luck with that.
          Nick R there is a passenger transport designation on all the bits not already widened. Are they planning on taking the land and widening prior to light rail? That is the sensible thing to do but i haven’t seen any mention of them doing that so far.

        4. Ok so we’ve established they can widen most of it, the bits with peoples houses, if they need to. But you’ve said it’s already been widened so I guess the don’t?

          That leaves a couple of blocks in the town centre strips where I imagine there is no desire to demolish old shop fronts, even if they could. So that’s where you remove the traffic if you actually need too, there aren’t any houses or driveways there anyway, so it’s only through traffic you’d be inconveniencing.

        5. No Nick R. The widening to date has occurred at random locations as buildings were developed. Some of the widening was in response to the previous road widening designations put on when the Central Motorway was dropped. That means some of the widening is actually on the wrong side of the road to be much use. If you look at the planning map you will see the bits not yet widened include all the old buildings and anything that looks like it might have some historic value. They are not all at intersections. Some blocks have a few new buildings set back. My question is are they taking the land to put in light rail and cycle lanes and complying footpaths or are they going to squeeze it in and not have cycle lanes? Is the intention to close the shopping areas to all traffic? At some point they will have to say one way or the other.

        6. Well none of the designs shown by AT so far have cycle lanes on Dominion Road, so apparently they are dealing with the issue by not adding them to the mix.

          Max had that post the other week which showed a tight, but feasible, cross section with cycle lanes. If I recall correctly that included closes those few blocks with the old shops to traffic.

        7. If they squeeze it in without cycle lanes then that would cause problems for the designation. It is for ‘Passenger Transport’ so using it later to get the width for cycle lanes probably wouldn’t be possible. But I haven’t seen any commitment to do the job properly.

  11. Good post, like the idea of skipping stations even though a lot of those skipped stations are frequently used by my family with high enough frequency and simple transfer would be fine or we often have the choice of using the Eastern line instead anyway.

  12. The 100,000 flight passengers taking that service once or twice a year should not be so quickly dismissed.

    I’m about to make an argument that some passengers matter more than others.

    There needs to be an express (no stops) service that means you are getting to the airport for your flight on time. And it would be fine to pay a premium for that.

    The other one can pick up at all stops and get you to and from work around the airport.

    Do Shanghai Pudong, Heathrow, or Amsterdam Schiphol operate dual express+slow trains as a single concession with a single operator? The answer is important because that single build+operate model of concession is what is going to happen here.

    Also, which of those services in y our table is subsidised, and to what rate?

    I’d be interested if for example there’s a downtown-airport bus competing against any of those services.

    The simple argument is this: tourists affect our global reputation more than workers. So they need to be offered a better service, which is reflected in the price of the ticket.

    If the ticket for the non-stop service is less than $90 and gets me there guaranteed, it will prize even the most anxious out of their cars.

    1. Auckland has about 1/4th of the passenger volume of those airports you mention. The patronage is not likely to be enough for a frequent premium express service, and if it only runs every say 30 or 60 mins then it undermines the premium value. At the same time it takes up a valuable CRL slot from a busier more frequent route.

      You don’t need an express to give certainty of catching your flight on time, all you need is a dedicated route so the service is reliable. My guess is the majority of tourists are either getting dropped of by their hotel transfer, their tour bus or are dropping their rental car off.

      1. About 200,000 people visit the City Centre each weekday (excluding those that already live there). Assuming two trips a day per visitor, and adjusting a bit for weekends and holidays gets you around 120,000,000 person-movements a year to town.

        1. How do those numbers compare when you break it down into modes? PT, bike, walking, car.

          Does it include internal trips from local residents?

        2. There is 1.45-1.5 million sqm of office space in the city with a 5% vacancy rate. So about 1.4 million sqm.

          What percentage of that 200,000 is office/retailer/workers/students? What percentage is visitors or meetings?

          It is hard to compare. The industrial areas have logistics/cargo flows. But this means even more reason to move people out of cars and into PT for these areas.

    2. I don’t think no stops means the service would be any more reliable. In fact it would probably be more likely to be late as it cant make up time easily. It would also be incredibly infrequent
      I doubt a tourist is going to care that much whether their trip takes 45 minutes or 30 minutes.
      If you look at the Heathrow Express, the cost is ~$40 each way. I doubt many people in NZ would pay that to save 15 minutes compared to light rail.

      1. Yes, and if anything expresses tend to have less travel time reliability because they usually rely on everything else lining up properly.

        Also expresses have poor frequency because they serve only a small specific demand, half hourly at best if not hourly. So there is a bigger risk, just miss an express train and you have half a hour wait until the next, maybe worse. Just miss a regular one and you are only five or ten minutes delayed until the next one.

  13. I think that the proposed rail running pattern in the CFN 2.0 is flawed.

    The red line is supposed to express past Middlemore and Papatoetoe; however, this will be very difficult as the third main from Wiri to Westfield will be needed for freight and regional services. To archive meaningful time savings on this section, 5 tracks would be required: 1 for freight, 2 for the Southern Line Manukau-Sylvia Park and 2 for Homai – Ellerslie Middlemore and Papatoetoe are also not ideal stations to skip, as they have quite high patronage and are also destinations in their own right.

    Instead I think that the additional capacity of the CRL should be used to run a peak direction only 6TPH express service Pukekohe-Paerata-Drury-Papakura-Puhinui-Papatoetoe-Middlemore-Otahuhu-Panmure-Britomart-Aotea-Karangahape. Running on a third main between Papakura and Wiri, it should save 10 or 11 minutes over the current services, and another 6 or 7 minutes should be able to be saved between Otahuhu and Britomart without additional tracks.

    The third main Papakura-Puhinui is planned and was actually Labour Party policy. It is not essential for freight, unlike Wiri-Westfield. Regional trains heading in peak direction would also be able to benefit from this track.

    The reality is that doubling the frequency of the Southern Line will only reduce the average waiting time by 2.5 minutes; from 5 min to 2.5 min. Additional frequency on the southern line should instead be allocated to express services.

    1. It’s not flawed, it’s actually pretty clever. The red line runs express through Papatoetoe and middlemore simply by skipping those two stations. It runs on the same two tracks as the other end of the red line. With each line running every ten minutes, you can easily schedule them offset (every five minutes total), so simply not stopping at those two stations will save three or four minutes without catching up to the train in front.

      Then it does the same with the green line on the next section, and saves another three or four minutes. This takes advantage of the fact the other two lines branch on and off, so all going normally the move off the main line just before the southern express catches up.

      So six to eight minutes saved off every single southern line trip at all times. Papakura to Newmarket in 32 minutes, anytime, any direction.

      1. Are you proposing that each line runs at 10 minute frequencies once the CRL is in operation? That would mean no increase in capacity south of Penrose.

        You are talking about saving 6-8 minutes at the expense of many one seat trips and lower frequencies for some highly used stations. I think that peak express trains are a much more efficient method of handling highly directional demand. Express trains as I have proposed could achieve savings of around 17 minutes, that would make a huge difference for the many commuters from Papakura and further south.

        1. Yes base network at ten minutes at all times, with extra trains at peak where needed for capacity. That will naturally be on the inner parts of the network, staged from Otahuhu I presume. With twelve trains an hour from Puhinui inwards that’s probably sufficient for a very long time.

          A seventeen minute saving for peak extras sounds great, but I’m not sure how you’d run that pattern without quad tracking the whole way and buying a bunch of extra trains that only get used at peak times on weekdays. I’m not sure I would call that efficient.

          The CFN pattern can work with the existing two tracks, and the base timetable and fleet without any extras. In fact it would increase utilisation if the fleet by having faster cycle times. That sounds more efficient to me.

          The basic rationale is that you need to overlap the southern line with the other two lines anyway, so you might as well use that overlap to your advantage. Yes it means a slightly longer trip for people going to or from those five expressed stations, but that would be more than made up for by the savings going to or from every other station on the line.

          And because it’s on the base timetable at all times you could still add extra peak expresses as you describe, that doesn’t change.

        2. I didn’t realize that the CFN2 rail operating pattern was only a base layout, with scope remaining for different patterns at peak. That makes much more sense.

          The reality is that there will always be extra trains needed at peak hour, and some of these won’t be utilized outside of this time. Its just a matter of how best to use them.

          I think that the pattern that I described could be run with just one extra main from Papakura-Wiri as the expresses only need to operate in one direction.

  14. I think the key point that Matt makes is the network consequence of the adopted LR solution. We have in this the makings of a real network where connectivity across the region starts to become possible. The HR promoters just don’t have an answer to this. Or to the inefficiency that using a branched HR line will bring for the capacity on the rest of the HR network.

    My other argument against the HR advocates relates to the perception that HR will give a faster ride, by a few minutes, into the city. My response: so what? I’m currently in Europe, using several airport rail systems in my travels. Do I really care if my journey takes three or five minutes longer by LR? Not at all – as a visitor, my main anxiety is that I will be able to find my way from the train/metro/tram stop to my accommodation without getting lost. Time is almost immaterial.

    Also to the LR doubters: try the excellent LR system serving Edinburgh and the city centre. It even has luggage racks, despite also serving as a commuter rail system. Yes, it’s true – it can be done!

    Off to Sofia Airport in a few minutes – on the metro, of course.

    1. The comparison of times between Airport and CDB is largely a misguided one, given that only a minority of users will actually be making this journey. For probably 90% (if not more) of users, that measure is irrelevant.

      We simply shouldn’t be using that benchmark. Instead it should be about cost, connectivity and potential for new catchment.

      LR, hands down.

      1. Perhaps you could give us some examples of airports anywhere with rail freight to airfreight transfer facilities. I suggest you will struggle as there is a basic incompatibility between the air freight and rail freight markets.

        1. See railway-technology.com and rail-air freight transfers. Seems air containers can be railed to airports for direct transfer to planes and European airports are implementing suitable transfer facilities
          There are no reasons why this is not feasible for AIA if an HR link was available.

        2. I think the reality is that in transport planning, it’s enough work to just get public and active mode transport and safety on the agenda when the biases of 60 years of bad planning trip you up at every stage. To try to also overlay improvements to our incredibly poor freight logistics planning runs the risk of losing it all.

          Airport passengers are really lucky that the public are stepping in to provide the transport links the airport should have provided themselves when they stuffed the access to the airport up with their poor land use planning. I don’t think rail-air freight transfers is even in NZ’s Overton Window. European rational decision-making in a regulated, environmental policy-driven environment is irrelevant to NZ’s heavily road freight-biased private sector: European’s are just different, and our situation is unique.

        3. Airfreight in NZ is typically high value low volume cargo that is time sensitive. It is pretty much the opposite of what rail is good at moving. It is unlikely much freight would leave or arrive at the airport by rail even if the option were available, certainly not a reason to change any passenger rail decisions.

        4. But what of the land surrounding the airport, Jezza? Is that not full of freight logistics warehouses containing goods that mainly arrived through the port?

          I’m not saying they’re easy to serve by rail when the infrastructure has been set up for road, but I will say the whole decision making around land use and transport in the area has been a cluster intercourse.

        5. Heidi – I worked in logistics for a number years and even then never really understood why so many firms are located near the airport even though there major trade by tonnage comes in through the sea port.

          They should move towards rail rather than rail coming to them though.

          Cluster intercourse – Lol!

        6. ‘Tis a truly delightful phrase I picked up from Waspman.

          Was there a need for these freight logistics companies to be near each other? That would be the only missing element in why they all moved to the newly available land near the airport. Some needed to be near the airport; most didn’t, but none wanted to miss out on the agglomeration benefits?

        7. It should be noted that the bulk of freight/warehousing related activity in close proximity to the airport is to the north of the airport, not to the east, where any heavy rail connection would go. Talk of rail freight to the airport is a red herring, not just for the modal and economic incompatibility, but that it’s simply not going to the right place.

      2. Where would put? What freight would it carry? What volumes suitable for transport in bulk by rail are there in that area? You don’t bother with any argument or evidence …

        Oh and a couple of further questions: As a National supporter, do you see your preferred political party having anything to do with it?
        And, is this just low grade concern trolling? Because your postings here have a certain pattern …

        1. No gk, you are the troll, same belligerent demanding others satisfy your need for argument and evidence yet you never offer any facts or reasoned points to disprove others’ comments. D**kh**d

        2. The irony coming from you ….

          Some facts in this case:
          Air freight in an NZ context is typically low volume/high value/time sensitive cargo.
          Rail, in a current NZ context is about higher volumes of typically bulky cargo.
          South Auckland already has various points for concentrating rail freight (for various different purposes) e.g. KR, Toll, MetroPort at Southdown, PoA at Wiri, Mainfreight at Otahuhu.

          A further fact: even with the change in government, funding for rail is hard to come.

          My opinion is that limited resources need to be used carefully, at that in an Auckland context this means focusing on projects such as 3rd & 4th main for railfreight and future regional passenger services. Clearing the NAL for high cubes so that it could get more freight use outside peak times would also be something I’d support.

          I view calls for things like freight lines to the Airport as a distraction and diversion from making real progress on improving NZ’s rail and public transport networks.

          Other facts I believe I’ve mentioned in the context of LR/HR argument out west are facts to do with geography: there is no way that a service via the western line can service the catchment along the NW motorway such as Te Atatu. It can never be direct as the NW route. Further facts are that trying to run an express service on a 2 track railway with a stopping frequent stopping service is not going to work without cutting that frequent service or accepting a very slow express stuck behind an all stopper. In case you’re thinking Wellington does it, why can’t Auckland: the low frequency allows to an extent (there another fact).

          My opinion is that prioritising service to the outer more sparsely populated areas at the expense of the existing more densely populated areas is not a good idea.

          I also would point out the your campaign of dislike/doubt against LR/Trams has somewhat devoid of facts (e.g. modern trams/LRVs cannot handle steep grades such as the top of Queen – which I provided a counter example to). You are, by your own argument, a troll that demands a lot from others and do not back your points.

          Finally, have you noticed Vance’s sneering, smearing comments bagging “lefties”: sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant that has been ongoing for sometime. This is partly why I doubt his sincerity in this case. Take a good look at who you are aligning yourself with.

      3. Most of the cargo volume to the airport not FCL scale. It will mostly get sent to/arrive from the Mangere industry zone for processing.

        Looking at the numbers AIA processes 187,306 tonnes annual.

        Assuming a 12 tonne truck and 260 working days per year. That is 60 truck movements if fully loaded. Handy enough to justify HRT.

        You could rail the cargo to another location for processing (build a complex in Takanini), but then you’d push the truck movements onto SH1.

        POA does annually 5(import)+2=7 million tonnes and 950k TEU. Using the 260 working days per year, that is 3600 truck movements per day.

        Just noticed the annual tonnes for POT is 4(import)+12 million.


        1. I don’t know where gk gets the idea about a ‘freight line’ from. I’ve never suggested that.
          A HR line to the airport can service passengers and freight.
          Maybe we could even have a ‘regional rail’ terminal there as well, to maximise the benefits.?

        2. Vance: Fair enough – I should have said freight terminal.

          I still believe it to be a distraction from other projects. While the current network is mixed freight and passenger, I don’t believe adding new shared sections is a good idea. For reliability reasons there should be more separation of freight and metro passengers (not more sharing). This also allows increased frequency of both, which will important as Auckland grows.

          As for regional pax services, I don’t see why it would worth the time penalty for a jaunt off the main line from Puhinui to the Airport and back (~13km). Such a diversion would delay anyone going to/from Central Auckland for what is likely a relatively small number of Airport passengers. As a regional service would be limited stop, likely having only one southern stop, this would also disadvantage Manukau with backtracking connections from the Airport.

          IMO, the Airport plus the rest of South Auckland is important enough for a stop on the mainline (at planned Puhinui Interchange Station) for frequent connecting services (by whatever mode – don’t care as long as it is reliable) to Airport, Manukau, etc.

  15. Instead of spending obscene amounts of money on heavy rail to save time for airline passengers on a journey from Auckland CBD to and from their destination it would actually be more cost effective to subsidise the airlines, airport security, and the government agencies for the resources needed to reduce the passenger processing times. Passenger processing has become an increasing portion of total transit time and is probably the cheapest area to achieve time savings.

    1. I think the whole air travel industry is externalising most of its costs as it is, Don… to be paid for by future generations. I can see your point about processing times, but subsidies aren’t the solution.

  16. We don’t need to look too far to see an airport rail system that works – Sydney’s train via Green Square at the city end, and Wolli Creek to the south, works well despite initially being dismissed as a 2000 Olympic Games white elephant.

    What matters to people lugging bags is not having to drag them between modes, which is why train to bus transfers at Puhinui will be a serious disincentive to passenger use, the way we build things for passengers getting on and off buses – clamber in from road level. Airport workers may not care – and they constitute most of the cars clogging the two routes right now at peak hours – but an airport transit system that fails passengers on planes is a nonsense. Really, the train needs to stop within covered, escalator/travellator distance of each terminal – or maybe at a station halfway between Domestic and International.

    Light rail or heavy rail? We clearly need both.

    1. If well integrated, the light rail at the airport will be seen as rail full stop. One direction to Mangere and the City, the other to Manukau and Botany – with another route to the city at Puhinui.

      Those for K Road will take the former, those for Newmarket, the latter. It’s a network. Continue from Botany to Panmure and cover that off.

      Perhaps even head back to Ellerslie and Penrose, and take over Onehunga, and up to New Lynn. Bang, a full network with so many routing opportunities. Indistinguishable from the rail network.

      1. In my fantasy moments I consider a Rosebank to Sylvia Park RTN line which could eventually become LR. This would be a real network-creator: linking the NW LR line at Rosebank, the Western Line at Avondale, the DomRd line at Roskill, using the LR corridor from there through to Onehunga and then taking over the Onehunga spur to Penrose for the Southern Line and then linking through to Sylvia Park or Panmure to connect to the Eastern Line. Potentially extending it even further to Botany to connect with the Eastern busway and the Botany-Airport RTN Line.

        I appreciate that something like this would be decades away if LR, but something of this nature is what is required to bring true crosstown connectivity to Auckland PT – a real network. An RTN bus along these lines is surely not fantasy.

        1. I’m sure its been mentioned before, but converting the Onehunga Branch to LR would allow an increase in frequency to “turn up and go” levels without all the grade separation of level crossings.

          Would it be a good starting point for a crosstown LR, but would mean losing the single seat journey. Would also require there being space on HR units stopping at Penrose.

        2. In the CFN 2.0 the HRT green line is Onehunga/Henderson.

          So I’m not sure switching to LRT for just the Onehunga section would add capacity to the whole network.

          That section would also need to be double tracked for a decent LRT level of frequency – every 5/10 mins?

          I agree though, New Lynn to Botany via Onehunga/Penrose is a good cross town route.

    2. I was under the impression that the train-bus interchange at Puhinui was going to be something quite a bit more sophisticated than your average train-bus interchange – presumably to address the exact concerns Peter has. Having said that, I’ve seen no plans etc so it may be all hot air. Does anyone have any info on this?

      1. There is a business case underway and designs are well developed, it’s not finished just yet and there are stakeholder negotiations to be done, but expect something soon. This is a high priority, ‘quick win’ project.

    3. Lots of things are great if you are not one of the people who had to pay for them. Visitors to the Dunedin stadium are always impressed with the facility, ratepayers covering the cost of servicing its debt not so much.

      I think most people would prefer a no transfer trip by train from the airport to wherever they are going, but that’s not possible even with and airport to CBD HR line. What is much more important is an integrated rapid transit system that allows for as many different movements as possible.

      1. “most people would prefer a no transfer trip by train from the airport to wherever they are going”

        Yep, that’s one of the problems with PT: everyone wants a “turn up and go” level of service with no congestion from where they are to where they are going…

        The trade off’s between single seat journey and frequent connective services are still not well understood by the general public – perhaps communication/education strategies need improving.

    4. “What matters to people lugging bags is not having to drag them between modes”

      Lol, every single person lugging bags is already changing modes. From plane to whatever they choose next. What matters is easy transfers: short, level walks, and generous elevators. What matters to people building PT lines is most users who are residents or employees along the line, not airport passengers.

      1. Yes, and more airport employees live closer to one of the 40 already built rail stations in Auckland than the proposed slow trams to the airport.

        1. Oh wow, so does that mean the PTUA scheme has trains direct from every train station to the airport. That would be awesome!

          I’m confused tho, wouldn’ that mean like *four* new airport trains lines! Wow!!

          Or do you mean people just transfer from the normal trains to the airport train? Hmmm, that sounds the same as what the council is building anyway.

  17. If its going to get built there should be a single heavy rail line:
    1) from CBD to Puhinui – its a strategic link
    2) larger stations spacings
    3) congestion tolls
    4) removal of land use zoning density limitations around the stations.

  18. I’m beginning to despair that we are going to change the oil based transport. This doesn’t seem to be a factor in the planning of AT or TNZ. Surely we should be considering a reduction of single occupancy cars now or in the near future as a result of our carbon reduction goaIs and we are to meet the ambitions of a carbon neutral environment by 2050 we need to be considering how we are going to meet our transport needs and talk about them and preparing for them.

    Most air travellers are able to cope with a journey time of more than an hour and a change of transport mode. Those that find that inconvenient are those who would e able to afford other means. the greatest numbers using the services are likely to be those travelling to and from work.

    All the negativity regarding the cycling provisions really gets to me.
    When i started work in 1951 I was cycling up to 20 miles a day to and from work. There is no reason we cannot return to those days of many cyclists.

  19. The article mentions the regional express rail proposal. Regional rail is more in tune with what premium airport users want. Coach seats and plenty of luggage space rather than strap hanging. I think integrating an airport express with regional rail might be clever, even if it all happens at But maybe a Puhinui spur should turn the other way, so all regional trains end up at the airport, just like regional planes. Then the regional rail passengers can go anywhere in the metropolis from a well connected airport, or catch a olane. Is it any more logical to assume Waikato folk need only to go directly to the cbd than to assume airport users do?

    1. The CBD has a much greater concentration of jobs than anywhere in Auckland (or the country) and it is also where connections are available for other parts of Auckland (e.g. North Shore, out West).

      I don’t think it is justified to place serving the airport directly over the CBD. Why force a transfer + ~13km diversion out of the way on city bound passengers?

      A regional express service would have a South Auckland stop at Puhinui for connections to the Airport & Manukau, so does not assume Waikato people only want to go to the CBD.

      1. Also stops at Ellerslie & Newmarket. Puhinui sure is set to become an important interchange with commuter rail connections to both Southern & Eastern lines, busway or light rail to airport Manukau & onto Botany. Otahuhu should also perhaps be considered for a regional rail stop as per the CFN2 stop giving you a quicker connection to Mangere or Otahuhu industrial areas.

  20. If you have an open mind and love transport see you at the airport trains public meeting.

    Tuesday 9 Oct, Mt Eden War Memorial Hall
    Dominion Rd. 7pm.

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