Today is the final day for submissions on the draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). You can read our first post on it here. Below is our submission on the RPTP (although there may be some tweaks today before we hit send).

Reflections on the 2015 RPTP

We would like to congratulate Auckland Transport on the recent successful rollout of the new bus network. It has been a significant undertaking and combined with other improvements in recent years, such as integrated fares and new electric trains, represents a step-change in the usability and quality of public transport in Auckland. This step-change has been reflected in the significant increase in ridership that Auckland has experienced.

Notably, the new bus network and the zonal integrated fares structure were first proposed in the 2013 RPTP which helps to highlight the importance this new version should have on future development of our public transport network.

Focus Area 1: Expanding and enhancing rapid and frequent networks

One often underappreciated aspect to the improvements we have seen is that it has shown Aucklanders will respond to improved public transport in the same way as residents in other cities all over the world. While there is still much we can learn from other cities, we are now able to look at ourselves to see what works. We can be confident that improving the quality and usefulness of public transport will result in improved usage, both in total and at a ‘per capita’ level.

Increasing services

We support the aspiration to increase service levels on the rapid and frequent network, both through having more frequent services and more routes meeting the frequent status. Frequency is the single most important driver of public transport usage. This observation is supported by ATs customer surveys, international experts and importantly Auckland’s own experiences.

Services every 15 minutes are considered the minimum possible for ‘turn up and go’ frequencies but is at a level that many users will still depend on timetables to ensure they’re not waiting for long periods of time. This is even more so if a transfer is involved. Improving frequent services to being a minimum of every 10 minutes (or higher) may not seem like a lot on paper but represents a significant improvement to user experience.

Improved frequency can also help improve safety as:

  • More vulnerable members of society are not waiting as long. For example, an online survey by for the NZTA found that “40% of people felt very unsafe walking and waiting (whether on buses or trains) but only 10-15% of people felt very unsafe when travelling”
  • Knowing that the next service isn’t as far away means public transport users are less likely to feel the need to ‘rush’ and potentially dangerously crossing roads to ensure they catch their service.

Improved frequent span – as well as the improvements to frequencies we’d also like to see the span of hours the frequent networks run at increased. Ideally this would extend till at least 8pm but 9pm would be preferred.

Rail network rapid only in name – A key driver in the new network was to remove duplication between our rail and bus networks. Rail, like the Northern Busway, was to become a backbone to our public transport network. However, Auckland Transport have failed to deliver the improved services needed for the rail network to act as that backbone resulted in some ‘feeder buses’ operating more frequently than the trains they feed into. The draft 2018 RPTP not only continues this trend but represents are reduction in future service from previous RPTPs

The 2013 RPTP proposed the following frequencies

This was improved upon in the 2015 RPTP with explicit differentiation between pre and post CRL services.

The 2018 RPTP suggests a significant downgrade in proposed future services that

  1. Do not meet ATs proposed criteria for rapid or frequent services of services every 10 minutes throughout the day, every day of the week.
  2. Suggests no improvements on current services till 2028 which;
  3. Takes not account of the significant investment being made in the rail network, primarily in the form of the City Rail Link.

Reduced Peak Focus – We have observed in recent years an increasing focus on peak commuter trips, often in response to increasing demand. While servicing peak demand is clearly important, it needs to be recognised that adding capacity at peak times can be very costly as it requires additional buses and drivers.

We would like to see AT given attention to encouraging trips on off-peak services to help spread the demand and avoid costly extra peak services. This would also help AT achieve its service frequency improvement aspirations. Some examples of options for doing this could include:

  • Offering off-peak discounts
  • Extending bus priority – we’ve heard of students who travel at peak times simply because off peak buses take longer due to a lack of priority.

An example of how peaky our public transport can be is shown below, tracking the number of active buses from ATs data feeds.

The RPTP mentions the challenge in achieving a balance between services focused on coverage and ridership. It suggests that as a general principle that 80% of resource is focused on supporting high-patronage, frequent services. We’d like to see that ratio set as a formal target or policy to ensure there is a balance across the PT network.

Regular timetabling

Along with improving services, it is important that the ‘base’ timetables (before additional peak only services are added) are consistent throughout the week and throughout the day. This means services depart at the same time regardless of the day of the week and they depart at the same intervals throughout the day i.e. so there aren’t a number of services in quick succession but then long gaps with frequency ‘averaged out’ to achieve the target thresholds.

We note that some recent changes to/from West Auckland now have different departures on weekends to weekdays which adds to customer illegibility.

Integrated Corridor Priority Programme

We support the aims of the integrated corridor programme to provide whole of route priority to public transport services as well as improvements to walking, cycling and safety. We would like to see and indication of other routes that would need similar treatment in future tranches of the programme, such as on the North Shore and in West Auckland.

Focus area 2: Improving customer access to public transport

We support Auckland Transport’s intention to improve how people access public transport. Being able to easily access public transport is critical for more people being able to use it however to date, access to and from public transport has largely felt like an afterthought.

As well as the improvements listed in the RPTP, we’d like to see a number of other improvements, some of which will benefit not just public transport users. These include:

  • Improving the quality of existing footpaths and creating new ones where they don’t currently exist.
  • Improved lighting
  • Looking at options to create new links to stations or stops. This may include new bridge or even links through what may currently be private property.
  • Improving safety with new pedestrian crossings.
  • Improving shelter – many bus stops still lack any shelter and many train stations have insufficient amounts.
  • Easier access to purchase and top up HOP cards
  • Train stations need more HOP machines, at least in the peak direction
  • Train stations need more HOP tag posts – at many stations long queues can form in the afternoon peak while people wait to tag off.
  • Improved amenities at train/bus stations
  • Implementing all door boarding on buses – this has been successful in many cities at improving dwell times thereby speeding up services and attracting more passengers.

Improved marketing

The rollout of the new network has been successful, but many people seem unaware of how much public transport has improved in recent years. We’d like to see more emphasis put on marketing the public transport network.

Better understanding the customer experience

Auckland Transport appear to have started to look more closely at the overall customer experience but that isn’t represented very well in the RPTP. We’d like to see more explicit indication as to what AT expect the customer experience to be, what known pain points are and what they plan to do to address those.

Focus area 4: Harnessing emerging technologies

Technology has an important role to plan in improving the public transport experience. AT should focus its efforts on technology solutions that have a proven benefit rather than trying to be at the forefront of new ideas, such as with trials of on-demand services and mobility as a service. There are plenty of improvements that can be made to improve the quality of our public transport system without diverting funding and attention to concepts that have not been successfully proven to work in other international cities.

Other comments about the draft RPTP

Farebox recovery – The government have indicated a review of the current farebox recovery rules and reasonable to assume that this will be concluded in 2019. Auckland Transport at least how they’ll review or change plans depending on the outcome of the national farebox recovery rules and funding assistance rates.

The value of public transport – Public transport has a significant and growing impact on how Auckland performs. We support the initiative to better understand the full impacts it has and that will likely be important for feeding into the outcome of the farebox recover policy review. It is noted that even the draft RPTP doesn’t do this well, talking about the costs and subsidies associated with PT but not the benefits, like would happen for any other transport investment.

Expected results don’t align – The RPTP suggests that with the proposed changes Auckland will reach about 150 million trips by 2028. This represents a big improvement on the 95 million we have now however this is notably smaller than the 170 million trips as suggested in the 2018 Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). Auckland Transport need to look at improving the RPTP so that the ATAP forecast can be achieved as not achieving it may have flow on affects to other strategic initiatives.

Unambitious targets – Many of the proposed targets/expected results seem to lack ambition. For example, only reaching just under 105 million by 2021. Given current trends we’re likely to hit that target a year or two early.

Low emission buses – ATs Low Emission Bus strategy does not give sufficient weight to the passenger (and pedestrian) benefits from having low emission buses. AT need to include that in the RPTP and also look at opportunities to get more low emission buses rolled out sooner.

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  1. Those 2028 rail frequencies are totally mad. What’s going on there? Setting a really low bar so that they can up them later to look good? Or setting a really low bar so that funds don’t have to be channelled there? Very disappointing.

  2. I’m going to add some stuff about good access for cycles and scooters to stations and bus stops, too. There should be storage available, and safe, direct access for these modes (and for people walking) needs to be prioritised over park and ride, with favourable traffic phasing.

    1. Yes, my submission had detail on this. Many train stations provide free park and rides with plenty of car parks, but no where safe nor secure for scooter / bike storage at all. Very mode bias in my opinion.

  3. Nothing about AT using PT to help implement AC’s publicly stated aspirations for a less car-centric central city? Surely there should be something in there supporting bus only access to Queen St, bus corridor on Wellesley St, taking buses off Victoria St so it can become a linear park etc etc…

  4. I understand the testing for new train drivers is very very difficult, using the “Devon” testing system for hand eye co-ordination amongst other things and the usual go to psychometric tests that employers rush to lately. Yes they need to vet suitable people but I have found that these tests are great in academia and theory but quite misplaced in practice in the real world and disregard perfectly suitable candidates. And of course the suppliers of these testing regimes bottom line is to make money from it anyway they can. This is apparently eliminating nearly all applicants and I can imagine any upgrade in services on the trains is not only held back by this but probably stopped dead. Given attrition and the difficulty to replace drivers and attracting those even interested in doing such a job, this self imposed hurdle means upgrading services is not likely.

    1. Ive been a Train Driver for 16 years and those psychometric tests have stopped me going to Australia as I cant get past them. Basically stuck thanks to HR boffins

        1. Ok, how would you suggest within the context of public transport RTPT that Maori responsiveness can be improved?

        2. Transport impacts most areas of our lives, including access, financial burden, privacy, personal security, opportunities, physical activity levels, social health, mental health, housing affordability, ecological outcomes particularly stream health, landuse, resource use. We often discuss the differing outcomes for different age groups, mobility levels, modes, and the difference in needs for people commuting to a job at a single location, people doing errands, people with an occupation that has them moving around the city more, people who assist others, etc, but there’s also plenty of scope for discussion in terms of different ethnic and cultural groups.

        3. Thanks Heidi for that informative generic reply.
          However, I’d still like to know how specifically Maori responsiveness can be improved.

        4. I’m no expert, Mike. Here’s a couple of issues:

          1/ Portland’s Department of Transportation: “Another challenge we face is the reality of racial profiling on our streets. We have to acknowledge that inundating our streets with traffic police would almost certainly have disproportionate negative impacts on people of colour… That’s why our Vision Zero Action Plan committed to not resulting in racial profiling and to limit use of enforcement. It’s also why we emphasise the use of street design, education, and automated enforcement as tools to support safe driving speeds.”

          Racial profiling is a known problem in policing in Auckland, too.

          2/ Is there an intention within AT to even up the quality of pedestrian amenity, personal security while walking and waiting, and public transport access in the suburbs which have more Maori with those that have more pakeha? I imagine there’s very little focus, or the decision to try a rideshare service would never have resulted in it being implemented in Devonport.

        5. Another thing to think about is the use of smart technology. While people like to talk about how ‘everyone’ has a smart phone these days, what I’m hearing from teachers is that kids with professional parents or family friends get hand-me-down recent model phones, whereas the poorer kids with parents out of work or in less IT-focused jobs have older phones with broken screens that they’ve had to buy at inflated prices second hand. I haven’t seen a study yet detailing numbers of days of the year people have a functioning phone with data and able to use the recent apps at a speed that works… and how this pans out for different demographic groups. I imagine there’d be huge variance.

          The whole concept of MaaS and Smart Technology should only be approached from the starting point that we do not have an equitable society, and that technology should only be used in a way that evens things up.

  5. The integrated ticketing is definitely a great achievement and I know the difficulty the ARC and AT faced thanks to one very established bus company who much like Chorus, behaved in a monopolistic way. So well done AT.

    I still think however we are fiddling around with PT. There has to be genuine progress made to rapid PT as this is what attracts passengers the most and it certainly is an incentive for me. And this is where buses fall over.

    Using PT around Wellington on the weekend solely I was reminded how mid 20th century bus transport is. Noisy, jerky, slow, poorly ventilated, tagged and etched seats and windows, uncomfortable, the odor of diesel toward the rear on a Euro 3 bus, hot toward the rear because of the engine. None of this was pleasant and all of it was as is from the 50’s, (we still had early 1950’s buses in the 80’s) less the ventilation ironically because the older buses were better. This is what we are using to try and encourage people of of their cars and its not really doing it like we want. The trains on the other hand, excellent.

    And you are quite right about safety walking the streets at night waiting for or after using PT or waiting on one of those deserted platforms anywhere in the network. This cannot compete with a car but I am unsure what can be done there.

    1. I thought this one was quite interesting, Waspman:

      “So it’s possible that some people just love trains more than buses. But it’s equally likely, in many cases, that people have just used “trains” to mean “good transit” and “buses” to mean “bad transit.” If that’s the case, then marketing better buses as something like trains (or, at least, something other than buses) should weaken this automatic association. But such efforts will fall flat without meaningful investments in well-designed service: dedicated lanes, reliable peak and off-peak service, off-board fare payments, comfortable stations or enhanced shelters, or reconfigured routes, to start the list. A pretty picture alone isn’t enough.”

      1. Personally having used PT for a long time bus based PT is the one mode where the actual method of delivery, the bus, has barely changed. I say this as I bounce around in a near new bus as I write.

        Transit Lanes help but crawling through streets off peak where transit lanes make no difference, sitting at certain stops to allow the timetable to catch up in a hard riding commercial vehicle with grabby brakes is not fun.

        There are better quicker better smoother options, it’s just the bus is the cheap option they always default to.

        I guess it depends what AT want, a truly attractive alternative the cars or this current take it or leave it poor cousin.

      2. The reason that PT users prefer trains, as they have the perception that trains a quicker than buses. As a person who use PT alot, I agree. If I had the option to travel by train or bus from A to B, I would use the train, especially if my travel is going to be more that 30 minutes in duration.

        I do agree with your comment, that buses being used for travel over 30 minutes need to have have more space between seats for passenger comfort. Some of the 3 axle buses in Hamilton that are used on frequent regional routes like Hamilton to Cambridge, Raglan and Huntly do have more space between seats that are located after the rear door.

      3. Totally agree Heidi, it isn’t so much the type of vehicle that’s the problem, its mainly all of the other factors. Trains would be pretty naff with single door boarding, no stations, indirect routes, stops every few metres, shared corridors, etc. Buses don’t need to have any of those features (and it wouldn’t cost that much to eliminate all of them).
        In saying that, the worst part about buses is the fumes / engine heat / noise. Electric buses would be a big improvement.

        1. +1

          Air quality INSIDE the buses is a major put-off. This week 6/8 of my bus trips have had that hot engine-block stink of VOCs, local heating and excessive noise. All NZ Bus services on one of Auckland’s busiest bus routes.

          Does anyone have a handheld air-quality meter for indicative testing? I would expect high PM2.5, VOC, NOx and maybe high CO too.

  6. Another note about technology, the private sector WILL develop these technologies and WILL pay to test them, so there is no need for public agencies to divert funding to pay for trials when there are many obviously uses of that funding now. The trials will get done with or without the public money.

  7. Agree with all items listed under Improving customer access. Please let me again put in a plug for indoor seating at Panmure station. There is not one seat inside. The bus shelters outside get strong cold winds blowing through and those passengers who are forced to wait out there for up to 30 minutes would surely appreciate indoor seating inside the building. There is plenty of room for a couple of bench seats. Let’s do it before next winter.

  8. With Conspiracy hat fully cocked could that no improvement in train frequency 2018 to 2028 mean that the CRL is not expected to be operational before 2028. Or worse still is this advance hint that the CRL may actually be cancelled or deferred for many years?

      1. Conspiracy theories are almost always completely nutso, and you haven’t disappointed here, kelvin.

        AT has no need to ‘sell’ LR, it’s not even an AT project. Anyway how is it ‘killing’ HR; AT have just ordered 20 more HR trains!, FFS. And how would killing the core of the Rapid Transit Network help it ‘sell’ another route?

        We are building a full citywide Rapid Transit Network, made up of Rail, Busways, Light Rail, and Ferries. Each is part of the whole and ‘killing’ one part does not help another part. Each part in fact feeds the others…

        How some think building two railway systems for Auckland is somehow a trick or something I have no idea. Also do you not understand how incredibly common it is all over the world to have two or more different railways and railway systems in one city?

        1. Stay calm Patrick, he was just making humour, nobody really takes conspiracies seriously but they do serve a purpose of highlighting an anomaly that has not been properly explained
          So being serious why do you think AT see no difference in train frequency before and after CRL? Doesn’t make sense does it?

    1. My conspiracy theory is that they don’t expect opening CRL to increase demand for rail services. Because in the minds of transport agencies, demand for infrastructure is completely unrelated to the quality of that infrastructure. That’s why there’s no point building more cycleways because there aren’t many cyclists. And building more roads will solve congestion because the number of journeys is constant.

    2. I’m starting to think that may be the case. The tender thing is a bit weird – if one party pulls out, why not just choose one of the other parties rather than start again and delay for a year or more. My guess is that all the other tenders were significantly higher than expected.

      1. Only two parties were involved in the final stage, the other companies who missed out would not have invested resources into developing a final bid. It is quite reasonable that the process is delayed to allow the new company to put together a competitive tender.

        In saying that I also expect to see the tenders coming in quite a lot higher than originally expected. This project will go ahead, but if there are cost blowouts it could impact future PT projects.

        1. If the tenders are a lot higher (lets say 6 billion) I hope they reassess the business case. There may well be better things to do with that money.

        2. I think CRL costs blowouts are a certainty rather than a likelihood and this faffing about over the C3 bids and introducing new applicants has everything to do with desperation to attract a low ball bidder.
          So what if all the serious bids are way over budget? Will some pared down version of CRL be realistic to deliver? Perhaps just get the Aotea station built, forget K Rd station and make Mt Eden a simpler surface level junction station.
          A basis for future expansion if and when the money is available.

        3. You’ll never expand the CRL once it is operational. There is no feasible way anyone would every be able to the fund extra billion + to add in extra stations or junctions, only to shut down the core of the rail network for two or three years to build it.

          That was the big fiction about ‘future proofing’ for the second K Road entrance: there is no practical way the city would ever be able to come back and build it. You either do it up front, or not at all.

          The CRL we build now is the CRL we get for ever. If anything, the next will be a second CRL on a different or parallel alignment. Best approach will be to leave the first doing what it’s doing and do another elsewhere.

        4. Do you even understand what the CRL is Bogle? The whole point of it is to through-route the system, not just move to a new terminus a little further into the city. Stopping at Aotea is the stupidest idea yet…. It will be completed: I never cease to be amazed at the gloom some commenters here love to express…

        5. I’m pretty sure they added in extra stations on the London Underground without shutting the service down. Not recommending this though.
          My concern is that the CRL specification is falling victim to modern safety requirements which are far in excess of what many legacy underground rail projects had to face. Demanding absolute perfection from rail and killing it in the process simply drives us all to more-dangerous alternatives. But the regulatory machine that is driving this cannot see the folly.

        6. I didnt mean stopping the CRL at Aotea but complete the tunnels up to Mt Eden . Sure I really prefer the complete CRL asdesigned now but was just commenting on a scenario where CRL money gets cut back.

        7. Yeah not saying it’s technically impossible to do, but totally infeasible for Auckland. With adding to the tube I wouldn’t be surprised if they built a new section of tunnel and the new station in parallel, then switched over in the night and left the old bit abandoned.

  9. I reckon the new bus network fails to deliver for those who live and work ‘locally’ rather than the CBD commuter. Either needing to take 2 buses to go relatively short distances and/or circuitous routes (that slavishly fit the busway stations linkages) means materially longer journey times than previously without necessarily better frequency than we previously had. And issues of reliability still abound with regular service cancellations. ,Even the promise of frequency was misleading in my view because some routes with the same number are actually different (and you don’t know this if you read the sign), so not more frequent at all unless you are going to a busway station or major destination. e.g. 82 bus often terminates in Takapuna, not Milford.

    1. That’s not been my experience in Pt Chev. My trips to places other than the centre have been vastly improved. But definitely could be where you are. I guess at some stage an analysis of which areas support local trips and which don’t would be good, perhaps linked to urban form and bus priority measures in those places.

      1. Yeah I think this is a north shore issue primarily because a) there is no busway for other routes to feel the need to detour/hub to (I suspect the hubs elsewhere are effectively the CBD or local town centres themselves; and ) b) and the geography of the shore itself being narrow routes and hilly. Anyway, after 8 years of bus taking I will probably be driving come winter time, which is sad.

        1. ACB
          The bus way is the hub or spine. It certainly makes sense to connect to that spine and fill the direct buses to the city, or north rather than running many half empty buses the 9km across the bridge to the city.

          I am amazed that the 82 might terminate in Takapuna, because it is certainly not intended that way.

          Should services be better on the Shore? Absolutely. The planning for light rail should be starting right now and Shore road commuters should be funding it.

  10. Unimpressed with the low train frequency, even after CRL is built.

    Internationally most successful metro service has frequency less than 5 minutes. Auckland targeting a 15 min frequency off peak is just a total lack of ambition.

    The AT train department always has a lack of ambition and try to get away with minimal progress. We have been patiently waited years, but the improvements are just so trivial and lack any real progress.

    I am surprised how come the restructure hasn’t fired off those managements who under-performed.

    1. I’ve noticed the station dwell times are still around 45 sec even with only a handful of passengers. Still no driver-only operation?

    2. Kelvin, train frequency is entirely in keeping with AT’s low expectation for growth on the networks. What might patronage on the Eastern line look like for example, if say Sylvia Park had to pay a carbon tax / parking tax / call it what you like, for the carbon emission inducing effects of all their car parks

  11. Glad to see everybody is on the same page when it comes to PT to Auckland Airport.

    Pity somebody didn’t tell Waikato Regional Council who said this to Stuff in relation to funding Regional Rail –

    ‘Once the service is running, the Waikato Regional Council wants to explore pushing the service further into Auckland, including the airport’.

    1. Think we’ll see those bus lanes along Puhinui Rd to the airport before next Christmas, Vance? And what a Merry Christmas it’ll be.

      1. That sounds a bit optimistic. I’d say we will have heard plenty of excuses by next Christmas but not any implementation.

      2. I hope so Heidi. Better than that cycle lane which nobody uses.
        You’ll also be pleased to know that I have used the 380 to the airport from time to time.

        1. There drilling to take cores at Puhinui station right now. On the western side always helps to know what your building on. I was surprised the cores I saw look pretty muddy sandy.
          . I wonder if its too late to design in a dock platform either on the eastern or western side for the Waikato trains. I can’t imagine that it would be too difficult to run those trains through to Puhinui unless Kiwirail is intent on extracting maximum funds.

        2. Running RR trains through to Puhinui means finding paths through the busy busy section from Wiri to Puhinui.
          RR trains could be kept away from Southern and Eastern trains around the Manakau junction if the missing bits of the 3rd main from just north of Homai then around the Wiri emu deport were laid. Relatively easy to do as track bed is extant and its only a few hundred metres of track and one crossover to complete
          Then a dock platorm on west side of Puhinui station does the job.
          I would also make a 3rd main to up line junction and crossovers just north of Puhinui station then empty RR train could head north for Westfield depot stabling, cleaning and maintenance of the diesel locos.

    2. I took that to mean Puhinui, but yes if they mean the actual airport then they are on completely different pages and will remain that way for a long time.

  12. Anyone notice AT completely omitted any reference to Hamilton – Auckland Commuter Trains, or extending commuter rail to north Waikato whilst they do mention AT bus services into North Waikato towns.

    Should be mentioned as that area has an increasing impact in Southern Auckland transport congestion.

    1. Scotsman, a good point. Many countries including smaller countries in Europe have realised the benefits of high speed rail. It seems that many travellers believe that a journey of up to four hours is just as efficient by train; given the time for the trip to and from airports, check-in times, and that airport charges and baggage costs are becoming so significant, particularly in Europe. (I note that Jetstar is about to introduce charging above 7kg for all carry on and the limit for other luggage is 15kg.)

      A bus to Hamilton in 90 minutes is an ok option, but a train in less than 60 minutes is a very real alternative. It is a real shame that the Hamilton Expressway was never tolled to recover the cost of its use.

    2. Waikato Regional Council (WRC) in its 10 year transport plan wants Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland rail services but AT is not interested citing there is currently no train slots available for regional rail services pass Papakura.

      Currently, WRC funds a twice monthly bus service that operates on a Thursday between Hamilton and Pukehoe as ’44 Pukekohe’ –

      WRC wants to fund it to 2 daily services Sunday to Friday and 1 daily service on Saturday but InterCity Group is opposing it, as they say, they already providing up to 13 daily InterCity and 3 Skip Travel brand bus services. The problem is InterCity/Skip services don’t go to Te Kauwhata which is growing with new housing development.

      Pokeno comes under WRC jurisdiction and Pukekohe is under Auckland Council jurisdiction.

  13. “Expected results don’t align – The RPTP suggests that with the proposed changes Auckland will reach about 150 million trips by 2028. This represents a big improvement on the 95 million we have now however this is notably smaller than the 170 million trips as suggested in the 2018 Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). Auckland Transport need to look at improving the RPTP so that the ATAP forecast can be achieved as not achieving it may have flow on affects to other strategic initiatives.”

    For me this is the guts of it. How is AT going to achieve those targets? Many routes have great frequency, reliability and quality, but the reality though is that growth is at a miserable 4%. Yes it is miserable, and we can thank AT for showing this in figure 11 of the report, that the percentage of those who drive compared to those who use PT is widening. But we knew that because congestion is getting worse, motorways are being widened and huge extra amounts of money are being spent by AT on capital expenditure – new roads and re-surfacing.

    Respectfully Matt the answer to having a whole lot more people using PT is not better frequency, or cheaper off peak fares. That might be a part of the answer, or an answer to another question (how do we make our PT more economic?) At the risk of playing the same record the Vienna solution has achieved phenomenal patronage.

    I can’t wait for the nay sayers who say, “it won’t work here”, because we don’t ride PT or we don’t have the density. As we are seeing around Auckland density is coming very quickly on our PT and planned public transport corridors.

    Geoff Cooper, the PWC economist who wrote that excellent piece on the economic effects of view shafts, has said only today that we are reaching a crisis point with emissions. He argues that we have to be doing things quickly to avert disaster.

    Can we afford to wait for the CRL completion at least 6 years away, and goodness knows how long for the light rail and hope that because there is huge additional capacity Aucklanders will suddenly use it?

    Many parts of Auckland are a low wage economy and movement to PT will be driven by price and the stick approach. Given that AT don’t have a stick, and if they do have a stick they are not prepared to use it, we are left with price as a mechanism to increase patronage.

    Some of the answer may lay with the government and farebox recovery, but AT could re-prioritise their spending. There is a lazy $160 million that has gone to additional capital expenditure – new roads and re-surfacing, in just the last two years. That additional amount is most like to remain. Do the maths – if this is redirected into PT each PT trip (92 million) could be $1.50 cheaper. It would make sense to target any reduction of fares and suddenly a huge number of longer PT trips could be $2 cheaper, or $4 per day. Suddenly for many using the bus or train might be way more compelling.

    My submission to AT is deal to the big stuff, like you say 80% of the issue, and forget stuff like shuttles to Devonport that are just wasting money, time and energy.

    1. Great article, thanks. We’re mostly agreed this is a serious matter, but we’re mostly not taking it seriously! Bumbling on with as little change as we can get away with, is not the way to deal with this.

      1. Dave B, What was the feeling in Petone when they learnt they were going under water? Started crowd funding to buy some pumps?

        Facetious perhaps, but parts of the North Shore are under threat and NZTA / AT are still widening motorways, turning bus lanes into T3’s, building car park buildings etc; while at the same time doing precious little for public transport.

        It’s hard to see where the impetus for change will come from.

        1. The impetus for change comes from politicians who are concerned and motivated about these issues, when they can get themselves into positions of sufficient power to act.

          Although it may still seem woefully inadequate, our present government’s attitude is vastly better than what preceded it.

  14. Great submission. My impression of some of this plan was just drag out the old one and find and replace a few dates and numbers just so the box “it’s done” can be ticked. Even the pictures are the same or pretty much the same, old trains and all.

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