On Saturday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford held a public meeting in Henderson about transport in West Auckland and I was one of the speakers. At the event there was lot of discussion about rapid transit on the SH16 corridor where the government policy is for light rail to be built. That is currently meant to be being investigated by the NZTA but as Twyford explained at the event, cabinet have decided that the City Centre to Mangere project is the highest priority due to it serving both a greater population and more employment areas.

Because of this, the outcome of that procurement process could end up impacting the Northwest line and that led to a slightly sensationalist article in the Herald yesterday and later another one claiming the project was being scrapped. The key part though are these quotes form the minister.

“It’s only a contingency. If we weren’t able to fund and finance it, there are many, many calls on the transport purse, then with that corridor (to west Auckland) we would need to look at some other options. It could be bus rapid transit or other things,” he said.

“Obviously money does not grow on trees,” Twyford told the Herald.

I think part of the problem with all of this is that Light Rail is the best long term solution but in a bid to a) not spend a lot of money on infrastrucutre that will need to be replaced in a decade, and b) trying to deliver the project under a single PPP style contract has meant the project has become an all or nothing prospect.

At the same time, the Northwest simply can’t afford to wait for the rails to extend out from the city. It needs improvements urgently.

Auckland’s history has shown us that breaking projects down into stages that build upon each other is the likely to be the most successful way to deliver large projects. For example building Britomart boosted usage enough that gave officials/politicians the confidence to upgrade the rest of the network. That in turn helped lead to electrification which helped make the case for the City Rail Link.

With that in mind, in this post I thought I’d look at how improvements could be built and staged over time to give us some quick wins but lead ultimately to light rail in the corridor. Of note, this plan is essentially the same as what is proposed in the Indicative Business Case (IBC) that was completed for Auckland Transport in 2017. But just quickly before that, a quick reminder of why light rail is needed in the corridor.

  • There is huge growth planned for the Northwest with tens of thousand more people expected to be living in the area in the future. This growth and areas such as Massey and Te Atatu are not served by the Western Line
  • The IBC recommended a busway however crucially, it stopped short of working out how all these extra buses would operate in the city centre. Even without these Northwest buses we’re struggling to find space for all the buses we need in the city and that’s been a key driver for the City Centre to Mangere light rail project. There’s an opportunity to make more use of the city centre light rail infrastructure that’s planned to also serve the Northwest.
  • Light rail would provide a faster journey time than buses and would even be faster than buses from Albany to the city along the Northern Busway.

  • One thing that’s interesting to note is the capital cost of a busway and light rail corridor are actually very similar. The advantages busways have is that they can be more easily staged and compromised, such as chucking buses back on to local roads instead of building the most difficult bits but to build things properly costs about the same.

So here’s how the rollout could happen.

1. Build the Interchange stations

It’s clear we should have built a rapid transit corridor as part of the SH16 upgrade. Not doing so will go down as one of Aucklands major transport mistakes. However, while not perfect, the upgrade of SH16 did include building of some bus shoulder lanes. Getting better use out of these lanes would be a good first step.

When Auckland Transport rolled out the new bus network, one thing that seriously compromised the network in the west was that there was no ability to run buses along the motorway corridor while also allowing people to access it. This has meant that AT have had to run a number of infrequent buses along congested local streets before making use of the lanes east of Te Atatu. It also means there is no ability for someone from say Te Atatu, to catch a bus to Westgate.

As a first step in fixing the northwest, building the interchanges needed at Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, as well as a proper interchange at Westgate would allow a frequent bus route to start operating using the bus shoulder lanes. That frequent route should probably be extended to Huapai too. This is shown below in a diagram AT created at the time of the new network consultation.

It may also be advantageous to build a short section of busway double back too much at interchanges but both that and the interchanges themselves could be designed for an easy upgrade once light rail reached this point in the future.

It’s worth noting that this is not to dissimilar to the approach taken with the Northern busway over a decade ago. Northern Express services started running over two years in advance of the busway opening to help start building ridership.

2. Start extending Light Rail from the city

Improving buses from the Northwest is critical but we expect those buses will be busy. This is going to put pressure on existing bus services at a time when there is also expected to be a lot of development in the area, even with the likes of the 18 route.

Getting a route started is often hard than extending an existing one and so building the line alongside SH16 from the city to at least Pt Chevalier would help kick things off. It would also provide benefit to the massive proposed Unitec development and others and only require about 4-5km of track.

3. Extend Light Rail from Pt Chev to Westgate

The hardest part about building a full rapid transit corridor along SH16, either busway or rail, is how you get it over the causeway. It’s likely to be very difficult to consent to widen again and the NZTA are likely to preciously guard their existing traffic lanes. By focusing design efforts on on the first two aspects mentioned, it can give others time to come up with solutions to the causeway as well as extending the line further towards Huapai/Kumeu.

As the light rail reached the already built interchanges and possible short section of busway, they could then be upgraded relatively quickly and easily. Assuming the interchanges are also built properly and have separate mainline and local bus stops, this would mean no disruption to the local bus routes while this upgrade occurred.

What’s frustrating is that so much of the thinking for this has already been done by the likes of the IBC but it seems like so many projects, the NZTA are trying to reinvent the wheel.

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208 comments

  1. Really need to see more details of whats proposed. Does anyone know the costs difference between say putting light rail in the air, on the ground and on land? Dominion road would be great underground and the northwestern in the air.

    1. Neither is good idea. It is a feature not a bug of the Dom Rd line that it reduces through traffic on Dom Rd by taking two lanes. And on SH 16 NZTA’s recent anti-Transit proofing is excessively land hungry as well as shortsighted.

      To force transit to expensively make its way around excessive driving space is to transfer cost from the inefficient mode to the efficient one, and at a project stopping scale.

      1. Yeah I mean look how blooming wide SH16 is out there by Waterview and Western Springs – it’s utterly awful and looks like Dubai. I am all in favour of providing alternatives while at the same time reducing traffic capacity.

    2. The rul of thumb is that elevated costs four or five times as much as ground level, and tunnel costs ten or fifteen times as much.

      Obviously varies greatly on the conditions, I would say Dominion Road underground would be insanely expensive because of the number of stations, each one could easily be a couple hundred million so it would add billions to the cost. I can’t see the value in that, just to squeeze an extra traffic lane in each way.

      1. I guess it depends on what the purpose is. If it is to add more car lanes over the top I agree it is not worth it. But if the purpose is to give more space to people, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as allowing faster light rail journey times, wouldn’t that be simple cut and cover to just over tram height depth? In that case stations could even be just a basic trench with escalators.

        1. There’s enough space for light rail, and for people enjoying the space, walking and cycling, and for trees. It will be lovely. The only thing there’s not room for is through-traffic. Why would you go to any expense to cut and cover in order to leave room for that?

          1. Why are you deleting comments you just don’t agree with Heidi? Would be nice if you explained your censorship.

        2. There is nothing simple about tunneling of any kind.

          Cut and cover means moving every water, gas, sewer pipe, power line and data cable out of the road corridor. Even without a concourse you still need a box about six metres deep, waterproofed, fireproof and structurally sound. Two tracks, two platforms and escalators/stairs and lifts (must have step free access) either side means an absolute minimum width of around 18m, so you are right up against the building line on both sides. So you’d be underpinning all the buildings in the town centre stops.

          That’s after you shut down the whole length of the town centre for two years to build it.

          They have one of these planned at K Road. I’d say doing six or eight more would blow the budget big time.

  2. As NZTA did with the North Shore Sh1-SH18 new interchange, NZTA should stop the AT Lincoln Road job and redesign it to integrate the Lincoln Interchange with it, then re-let it so that the job is completed as a modally integrated package.

    Pretty late in the day to turn that around, but still possible.

    Beggars belief why the west of Auckland has to fight so hard for so long, see billions of dollars spent on it year after year, and all we get is the same congested time-wasting SH16 every damn day.

    1. to be fair, west Auckland has benefitted from:
      — double-tracking Western Line
      — New Lynn rail trench
      — CRL

      If you tot up the amounts associated with those projects then I don’t think the west has–all things considered–done too bad out of Auckland’s recent PT spend on a per capita basis.

      That said, (1) the north-west is a major growth area and (2) the Western line serves a different catchment from SH16. But let’s make investment in NW rapid transport about realising public transport potential, rather than delivering on a sense of sub-regional entitlement.

      1. I think what we can safely say is that the commutes these Aucklanders are stuck in are unhealthy, and their children are growing up car dependent. The NW may be in the same boat as some other areas of Auckland, but that simply makes obvious that the enormous spend on transport we’ve seen has not produced the outcomes that investment should have seen.

      2. The west will benefit from CRL in 6 years’ time. That takes a child through high school with no improvement.

        The rail upgrades have not benefited any of the growth areas. And they were all over a decade ago.

        In the east, south, centre, and north, there are advanced projects for large scale capex projects that will accelerate high-volume public transport use.

        Nothing for the west – except a Cabinet decision that says let’s redesign the entire political promise and push it out for at least two more terms.

        In the last decade all the west’s upgrades to infrastructure have been to motorways. The only PT advance for the west since 2008 was in the bus network.

        The per capita bases is not relevant – particularly when the motorways and their ramps are the primary source of we sties’ Auckland trips.

        The neglect of public transportation investment may nor be unique, but the neglect is very long and very deep.

        1. “The only PT advance for the west since 2008 was in the bus network.”

          And double tracking the western line, new Lynn interchange, station upgrades, and electrification with new trains, and the schedule upping to every ten minutes. But apart from that, and the rollout of the bus network, and the Hobsonville ferry. Nothing for the west.

          1. North West then. Next to nothing but we are going to get a Kumeu sh16 Road Gyratory – Yay!

          2. Given that Kumeu and Huapai are less than 1% of the region’s population, how much investment were you expecting?

          3. The investment in Kumeu PT, HR, LR or bus RT will induce pax from way wider area than just the 1% population of Kumeu.
            Just look at NW congested sh16 through Kumeu, these are vehicles from way more than Kumeu residents.

          4. My estimate of 1% was for Kumeu *and* Huapai. Only 4% of Aucklanders live in all of Rodney, including Helensville, Warkworth, Wellsford, and the Algies Bay area. In 2013, Kumeu-Huapai’s population was 0.2% of Auckland’s. The city centre has roughly as many residents as all of Rodney.

            I know that people out that way like to think that there is a massive growth, but tripling a tiny number just leaves you a very small number.

          5. Ad – you have a very interesting definition of 10 years. Double tracking was completed in 2010, nine years ago. Electrification was completed in 2015, four years ago. Six trains per hour was introduced in 2016, three years ago. I can’t recall when the Hobsonville ferry started but it was certainly more recent than 10 years ago.

        2. What you call “the existing urban area” is itself a major growth area to rival any of the greenfields areas. Specifically, all the stations on the Western line between Avondale and Swanson have benefited from ongoing investment in services, if not infrastructure, over the last 10-15 years.

          And they will benefit even more when the CRL opens.

          And that’s just PT. The west has been a major beneficiary of investment in the NW cycleway and billion dollar highway upgrades like Waterview, SH16, and SH18. There’s no neglect of the west.

          Yes, there’s a gap in the rapid transit network to Westgate which everyone agrees is deserving of another 1-2 billion dollars.

          Cry me a frickin river of tarmac.

        3. And before anyone replies to shed more crocodile tears about how the west has supposedly “missed out”, can you have a think about how much PT investment the south received in the same period?

          I note the south is about the same number of people, if not more, than the west, and it will accommodate more of AKL’s growth.

          From what I can tell, in the last 10-15 years the South has basically just had (1) rail frequency improvements; (2) the Manukau branch line; and (3) the Otahuhu train station upgrade. The combined cost of those three projects is about the same that spent undergrounding rail through New Lynn.

          So if any sub-region in Auckland has missed out on PT investment, then I’d suggest it’s the south and after that probably the east (latter is currently being rectified by AMETI).

          THE WEST HAS NOT BEEN LEFT OUT YOU ENTITLED BUNCH OF PAROCHIAL NUMPTIES.

          1. SD and SB, just in case you two missed it the title of this post is “Getting Light Rail to the North West in three easy steps”
            But don’t let that get in the way of your rant that West Auckland has had its fair share, or more, of public transport.
            As you rightly pointed out we have had billions invested in SH16. So any desire now for PT in the north west must be just the greedy complaining from ‘Numpties’
            Thanks for clearing that up

          2. The West and the North West are two different route. The West has had a lot, is getting more, the NW has been stiffed, in particular by NZTA in their appalling monomodal development of SH16.

          3. Yes road building, especially without a little bit of green paint. That’s all they would of needed really from out that far in Kumeu & Huapai etc, probably would save money on buses as they would get into the city so much quicker in peak. That would more likely match the population base.

          4. SB — when I wrote manukau branch I meant that to mean manukau station as well. Apologies if that wasn’t clear.

            Others: while many don’t think road-building is strategically wise, I’d argue it still benefits some people at least in short-run. And when you’re talking political economy, which “the west misses out” people are doing, then that’s relevant.

          5. Bogle: My comments are in response to the suggestion the west has missed out. No more no less.

            More specifically, the west has, in general, received more than it’s fair share of transport spending. That said I still support spending billions more on rapid transit to NW. The two positions are not mutually exclusive.

            Heidi: i agree more should have been spent on PT. But it hasnt. I’m focused on what *was* rather than what *should have been*, especially when discussing which parts of Auckland have been favoured the most in terms of historical transport investment decisions.

            I’d suggest that of late the west has received far higher per capita spend than the south, when the latter had transport problems that are arguably far more pressing.

  3. Great post Matt. I can’t help but think we are now so desperate for this to happen that we need to consider just cannibalizing a centre lane each way and using that as our Light Rail Corridor on SH16 until we reach the end of the causeway.

    I also suspect the Royal Road bridge might cause some headaches as current work there seems to be taking much longer than initially planned. But Triangle Road is absolutely the best place for the stop; I would hope the land by the Islamic Centre is already route-protected at the least.

    I feel like AT/NZTA could do get some real PR out of setting up a ‘station’ at Northwest on some of the empty land currently serving as a parking lot at North West, with some information about how long it would take to get to the city and what the route would look like. Currently it just looks like there’s going to be more and more big-box out there and it’s hard to picture Light Rail fitting in somewhere, which is hardly going to inspire local support.

      1. Ah, cool. That’s effectively both traffic flash points close to the motorway served with direct access to rapid transit then.

  4. Biting and accurate last paragraph. The interchange at Te Atatu should have been started as soon as the drafet new network for the west was agreed. AT/NZTA are spending far too long letting perfect be the enemy of better.

    1. Long before light rail was considered, I recall there was a plan for a bus interchange at Titoki Street, Te Atatu Peninsula, on the northern edge of the motorway. However, when AT went to consultation with local residents there was such an outcry that AT backed off and didn’t have the balls to push it through. Of course, whether that site would have been suitable for a light rail design is another matter – I have no idea.

      1. That is not actually what happened – housing was taken away for the widening and upgrading of the motorway, local residents agreed an MOU with NZTA on the landscaping and remediation work- out of nowhere ( all local politicans knew nothing of it) AT then came along and said they would use this land for an interchange ( actually not an interchange but a supersized bus stop with no direct access to mway) – even though their rep said it was not an elegant solution but it is what you are getting. The proposal would have meant buses leaving the motorway and having to cross busy traffic to enter and exit the interchange ( adding considerable time to bus journeys) The local politicans hearing this, and yes the opposition form locals who had signed an agreement but then getting told something else, asked AT to go back and come up with a better solution.

        1. So problem started because NZTA ignored that this was an RTN route and planned for gardening instead of a station as an easier sell to locals.

          Agree station design was not optimal, but talk about a lack of alignment from NZTA highway gods.

  5. What’s really apparent here is that despite placing all that growth on NW Auckland years ago there is still not even a plan as how to solve the horrendous car-depedency problem there. Neither AT or NZTA seems to be capable of grasping the severity of the situation with all those new developments past Westgate. Those travel times under ‘do nothing’ seems to be awfully optimistic. It can take 20mins for a bus to actually get to the motorway from Westgate. I realise that once the roadworks are over this might improve, but ultimately that traffic will get bottled up on the causeway (causing even more issues for buses joining from Te Atatu Rd). And there’s not even a bus shoulder along the whole length of the causeway.
    Frankly I think that reusing the motorway lanes for LR (or even busway to start with) is the only reasonable solution. A dedicated PT lane can move many times more people than a general traffic lane.

    1. Yes. The only possible silver lining to the delay is that when finally implemented, the inherited supremacy that the motorway network has – in which nothing is allowed to impact on its operations – might have finally been toppled, and a good design for light rail might finally be possible, which puts all the available width to its best use.

  6. The whole too many buses in the CBD thing was just bollocks wasn’t it? I had assumed AT came up with that to try and justify a big project for their then CEO who liked big projects.

    1. No Miffy it’s a very real issue that is occupying a lot of the industry trying to find functional solutions. We’ve been slowly increasing the number of buses into town for the last 20 years straight, almost doubling the number of people carried (all growth has come from public transport since the late 1990s)… and now the corridors, terminals and staging/layover are now full, and any attempt to deliver more comes up against the opportunity cost of a skyscraper building site, an arterial coming off the motorway, or a downtown waterfront plaza (refer to the Britomart East saga).

      It can’t hardly work today, let alone double again, which is what it is projected to require in the next twenty years.

      1. If private car movements on the cc streets are reduced down to, say, 20% of what they are, what does this free up in terms of buses, Nick? Does this really only provide space for the wider footpaths, and the scooter / cycle lanes that are needed, leaving buses pretty much where they are? Or will it add a bit more capacity?

        1. Heidi this is happening now cos it has to. Wellesley, Queen, Symonds, Customs, Albert, Fanshawe are to be either all or mostly bus. Driving inCC is about to be all but over. But still way too many bus are coming, esp if LR is even further delayed…

        2. We’re also at the limit with bus emissions ruining air quality in the city.

          Diesel causing 66% of pm2.5.

          Drop off at the edge and make the city link better.

        3. Heidi the real capacity issue is they simply haven’t got enough space for bus drivers to park in a bus stop for 10mins with their engine idling belching fumes.
          Bus stops make up a minor part of kerbside controls on the wider roads in the CBD. There is plenty of scope to provide more and plenty of scope to reduce the number of cars in the cbd.
          But facts and AT mix like oil and water. these are the people who think it is alright to run buses on Queens wharf on the western side of The Cloud and squeeze pedestrians into a narrow footpath.

          1. Parents are preparing their children for their working life in the city by arriving to pick them up 20 minutes early – in order to get a park – and then sitting idling to keep the aircon on. So all the little preschoolers coming to pick up big brother or sister get to walk through fumes. It seems to be 2019’s big thing.

          2. Very easy to dismissively say that miffy, but perhaps you’d like to elaborate on where these extra bus stops can actually go?

            Please articulate also how the buses arrive and depart, how they can move without getting stuck behind queues of traffic, how they circulate from staging and layover, note the appropriate tracking on the corners, etc.

            It’s about as valid as saying “there’s plenty of scope to provide more parking and plenty of scope for more traffic lanes”.

            You’re second comment is telling, AT are forced to run buses up the side of a wharf to manage a construction distruption. That says something about how much spare space for bus stops they have.

          3. how bout not even sending buses to the city. run them up to pt chev, where they drop off passengers to LRT, then turn around and head back west on the oversized st lukes road bridge and back out the motorway (with dedicated lanes of course).

          4. Nick R it is just bizarre to claim there is no space left for buses but at the same time think there is space for light rail. Take a good look at Queen St, some parts have no stopping along the kerb to provide for four traffic lanes. Why is it ok to remove a lane for light rail but not for bus stops? Take a look at customs St. It has four lanes for general traffic and five at intersections yet no proper bus lanes. the bits marked as bus lanes get blocked by stopped buses. Look at all of Hobson St. I can park there and walk in. There are short left turn lanes all over the CBD that actually make it harder for buses. Where is the bus preemption, where is there any sort of bus priority? Yet light rail assumes it will be needed for that mode. Bus snake is a fairly amateurish way of assuming the do minimum is buggered to justify a pet scheme. And then they are not even consistent with their own claim.

          5. Nick R the buses up beside The cloud are to pick up cruise ship passengers not because of a shortage of space for buses. They are their because POA are being as stubborn as all of the Council owned organisations are. AT are trying to squeeze ferry passengers into what is left after Panuku and Ports of Auckland called dibs.

          6. Miffy LR fits easily because it takes up way yes space per passenger: 1 x LRV = 10 x buses. So they come less frequently. From both lines one every two mins each way (4mins on each route). Also they don’t need to turnaround. Stops are obviously concentrated. And they displace cars on Queen as well as buses. It’s not hard to understand really.

          7. Not sure I understand what you meant Patrick. But I agree Light rail requires fewer buses and cars along its route. That is a positive of the project. But the justification for LRT is capacity of passengers and improved amenity not some half arsed piece of advocacy about buses in the CBD. Hell LRT will require space and time at signals that probably has as many negatives for the remaining buses as it has advantages through bus reduction. Secondly they can’t claim bus snake requires the Dominion Rd line be built but isn’t an issue with the Northwestern busway. They are just making this shit up as they go along.

          8. That’s exactly the point miffy. Queen Street is the last viable corridor left. Something with buses or light rail can fit, but with light rail you can get several times the passenger capacity out of the same space.

            Using smaller frequency of much larger LRT vehicles (say 20 an hour with 500 pax in each) also means they can turn and do timekeeping stops in the two track station itself, you don’t need a separate terminal facility.

            With the same capacity with buses you’d need to move 100 double decker buses an hour. That might be feasible to run up and down but at the intersections and terminals that would become very difficult. Downtown you’d need to turn and stage 100 buses an hour to match LRT. Based on the NX1 operations that would require a full twelve staging bays in addition to passenger stops that could handle three double deckers at a time, and a bus lane loop to send them around the block.

            That simply can’t fit in addition to what is already planned. What fits for Queen Street is about what they already run with the link buses, about 20 an hour at peak times.

            TLDR: you can fit both the NW and mangere lines on Queen St with LRT. With buses you’d be lucky to fit one of them.

          9. Ok Nick R. Now I understand. Light rail systems are planned based on an assumed theoretical maximum capacity that just assumes demand will equal the highest possible supply. Busways on the other hand are planned on the basis of a realistic demand. Thank you for sorting that out for me. Yes quite clearly bus snake justifies the Dominion Rd light rail but will never be an issue for the expected number of actual buses on a northwestern busway.

          10. Miff. Stop digging. The Northern Busway will be converted to rail too as capacity constraints bite (soon)… but obvs building a partial Busway on any route extends that date, as it will always have more capacity than Dom Rd (cos building demolition is not happening), unless entirely cleared of other traffic.

            The plan above to start building LR and as part of that run some buses on what will be the LR route and stations is one option, and not a bad one, we think. It may be that it’ll be LR from the start, we dont know.

            However I struggle to make any sense of your catastrophising… and you’ve lost your usual jocular tone…

          11. Do you always have to be so cynical miffy? Where have I spoken about theoretical maximum capacity? I’ve only discussed what can practically fit in the actual Queen Street corridor. If I was taking about theoretical maximum capacity I’d say that light rail can operate a thousand seater train at 70 seconds headways like they do in Tokyo, and buses could move 350 an hour like they do in the lincoln tunnel in New York.

            Have a look at the demand predictions from the northwestern case that is linked above. Translate that into buses, and then translate it into LRT. Then look at the same for the mangere line. Then add up the net number of buses you’d need to add to the city, and the net number of LRVs.

            Then tell me where you are going to put them.

          12. Patrick usually I don’t care much and comment to amuse myself. But this one matters. The Northern busway wasn’t a light rail because they couldn’t steal two lanes on the harbour bridge based on the forecasts they had. Looking back it was the wrong decision but people didn’t know that even 10 years ago. The Northwestern has fewer constraints, the causeway will need to be widened anyway so it may as well be for LRT. An interim bus system will add as many costs later as it saves now so there is not a lot of point to it. Queen St needs LRT regardless of which one you do first and Dominion Rd needs it as well. The only part of that I am genuinely not clear on is if it can truly be shoe-horned in without widening. That widening was based on advice in the 1990’s that it was required for a safe and effective system. Even then it left Dominion Rd as two lanes not four for cars. AT seems to have made a point of not giving much away about that except for a few artist’s drawings which are just PR.
            Stages can be in series but don’t work very well in parallel. As Matt says you can build the Pt Chev to Queen St section and extend later but converting a busway into a rail line is not straight forward and wasteful if it has to happen within 15 years of opening. Why repeat the Northern busway mistake if you don’t have to? What ever happens we need it justified on actual benefits not cbd bus stop nonsense.

      2. OK so it means Dominion Road gets a light rail system just to replace some buses but somehow the Northwestern can be either a busway or light rail because buses from the north and west don’t take up as much space as real buses do. Very creative thinking at AT which I am sure has nothing at all to do with the fact the last CEO was a civil engineer with a passion for big ticket projects.
        Cards on the table here, I like the idea of a light rail system but bullshitting probably isn’t going to get it done.
        If we were choosing rationally we would probably do the northwestern first as it serves new centres and people who might change from a car rather than cannibalising existing PT. But Dominion Rd will get it because the airport link has popular appeal and politicians do what is popular rather than what is right.

        1. I wouldn’t have described LR to the airport as popular. Your analysis seems to be conveniently forgetting a couple of things.

          LR will more than just replace existing buses as it will go much further south than the current Dominion Rd bus services go.

          The existing demand for PT on Dominion Rd means there is much more scope for reducing the number of buses in the CBD.

          1. Your analysis completely ignores everything that the isthmus line actually does, you’ve commented on multiple topics on that line on here, you know why its proposed and its not to do with just removing some buses on Dominion Road…but it’s fun to throw political conspiracy theories around.

            I don’t have the figures but can anyone say if the planned growth in Mt Roskill and Mangere (Brownfield, where we should be growing) is larger than near future growth for North West within LRT catchment?

            Government are wanting to do both, but they are prioritising the one they clearly have already prioritised when they created initially the policy and was elected on it…shouldn’t be any surprises are conspiracies

          2. OK, not sure what political conspiracies I have mentioned? Most of my comment is largely in agreement with what you say.

          3. Anyone have an answer for @Joe? Would be interested too. I think the Dominion Rd, Onehunga & Mangere areas would be pretty high growth. The old Jacobs report of Airport LRT uses different criteria compared to the NW indicative business case upon having a quick look. Perhaps even just current census numbers now would be interesting to compare.

        2. AT knows the west has the same problems and tried to deal with it the same way. But the old NZTA told them to piss off and make it a busway or they wouldn’t fund the next business case. So AT took out any reference to the CBD and made it a busway.

          New government not so mode biased.

          1. Dorian, given light rail and buses are safer than private cars, and given we have a serious safety problem… NZTA’s actions here impacting on safety considerably. Lots of people are impacted by this.

            And given that the code of ethics for professional engineers require them to take reasonable steps to safeguard safety, and to report adverse consequences (which is defined in the code as “significant harm, or an unacceptable likelihood of significant harm, to the health or safety of people”), and to act competently (which the decision to not put a busway on the SH16 was not!)…

            I’d say that NZTA’s engineers are breaching their code of conduct in multiple ways. Would you agree, Dorian?

    2. Miffy I do tend agree. Dominion road buses terminate at the civic centre – they could very easily take Upper Queen Street to get there instead of Symonds, that would surely have the same effect as LRT. Free up even more space by making Sandringham and New North Road buses take Upper Queen too. Considering the number of buses that terminate in the CBD, spending billions on LRT to just get rid of Dominion Road buses (a few measly percent) seems crazy. (Not saying that Dominion Road LRT is a bad project – but lets not pretend its going to free up the CBD of buses).

      1. One big difference is Dominion Rd buses are numerous but is virtually one main simple route. The NW buses are many but from various departing locations so would mean another transfer to LRT or competing on the same corridors. Also Mangere is lacking any decent PT offerings also.

      2. Of course it is not going to free the CBD of buses, but it will remove 35 buses that currently arrive in the CBD between 7am and 9am, it will certainly make a dent.

      3. It’s not just about current bus volumes but also growth… many routes, including Symonds St are over limits, are inefficient, tripping over each other. And are facing large and constant growth rates. This can’t go on. We have to both electrify and reduce all buses in the CC.

        It is never a good idea to terminate a service just short of the high demand destination, ie the CC, but we can run an attractive, high capacity and direct service on a busy spine and people will transfer to it from suburban buses. Which will reduce the number running all the way in.

      4. @Jimbo “Dominion road buses terminate at the civic centre – they could very easily take Upper Queen Street to get there instead of Symonds, that would surely have the same effect as LRT. Free up even more space by making Sandringham and New North Road buses take Upper Queen too”.
        Where would you bring them across to get to Upper Queen & would they all then have to terminate outside The Civic? Coming down Symonds allows terminating across the other side of Queen ready for the return journey up hill. You also have the SkyBus, City Link & Onehunga origin buses currently using top of Queen the latter turning right from K’Rd.

    3. I share your scepticism. Having in lived in Sydney for many years the buses at wynyard got filled up as soon as they arrived, never seemed to be a problem with too many buses in the CBD. Too many cars though.

  7. Light rail is such a major opportunity for making better streets, and creating liveable density. This rendering tells a completely different story, so much so it almost hurts.

  8. Do you know from travel demand stats how many people from the NW will need to transfer from those station locations to another bus route? It’s important that if they take this staged approach, that all measures are used to improve the door-to-door journey times for the NW residents and that it doesn’t become something that just serves inner west residents well.

  9. Bus priority into the City Centre needs sorting.

    On a gridlocked morning (and there’s a lot in Auckland), all of those express buses trying desperately to get back to schedule leave the motorway at Great North Rd and ratrun through Williamson Ave and Hopetoun St into the city like everyone else.

    Totally inappropriate functions of these ‘urban arterial’ DLC-fucked streets which are inducing demand all over.
    Hopetoun St is a key walking and cyclng route acknowledged in all plans, but the speed environment at the moment means we’d have a 95% death rate in an accident.
    AT wasn’t aware it was occurring.

    The K Rd bus lanes are gna be 2 years away at this point, and there’s no indication yet for prioritization past Pitt St CRL construction.

    Can’t we paint more on the motorway?

    1. The transformation required is massive and AT and NZTA are losing reputation and goodwill by stuffing around with inaction like this. Working withing the existing protocols is failing. Professionals need to step outside the box and take responsibility for the safety and access implications of 60 years of bad planning, and turn things around fast.

      Otherwise, they’re puppets to the road construction / automotive / highway consultant gravy train.

  10. With West LRT looking dead, the much vaunted Airport 2 Botany line is a gone burger in that case too. Buses yay ; (

    1. I’m not dead yet. I can dance and I can sing.

      Just need to cancel a few stupid road capacity projects and we’ll be fine…

      1. Wow! I’d love to see that – that is, the dancing and singing, although seeing some road projects cancelled would be a good second best.

    2. I’m not sure Airport to Botany LR was really alive. This route seems much better to be served by buses to me. It would allow a split between services that go direct Botany to Airport and those that go via Manukau. Also without entering the CBD it is unlikely to face the same space and capacity constraints as other lines.

    1. Some how I find this letter bizarre.

      The letter is very important, but the very fact our City Councillors need to send this letter to a CCO is too odd.

      1. Yep at least good to see action from elected members.
        We’re all still waiting for AT’s ‘culture change’ to reach truly proactive status rather than just responding to external pressure (sometimes).

  11. We will see rapid progress on the NW rail link once the Lincoln-Westgate motorway three laning opens. Congestion will get much worse once the inflow of cars currently restricted by the two lanes at Royal Road flood onto the motorway.

    That will lead to complaining of slow journeys upstream on the motorway, and expedition of a public transport alternative.

    1. Or the more likely response will be people asking for more lanes to be added (to solve the congestion, of course).

  12. You’d at least be analysing, protecting a route and purchasing land from Westgate to Kumeu – Huapai (and beyond). The level of development out there will mean that by the time anyone gets to LRT (or busway), the locations for route and station will be built over and therefore be more expensive to retrofit (but that’s the New Zealand way).

  13. A section of busway from Te Atatu to Lincoln Road (as a stop gap and only if it can be built fairly quickly) is a good idea. Precast LRT sections can enable vehicles to be driven on them so ensures future proofing for not a lot of extra upfront cost. Stick to single lane (each way) stations without passing bays to keep the station footprint down. There won’t be as many buses as Northern motorway (well, not for a long time anyway). Opportunity to utilise shoulder lane between Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd so only 2.5m or so of additional corridor required. Stopped / broken down or crashed vehicles can stay in the vehicle lane as per VPT / Harbour Bridge / Waterview Tunnel until pushed clear or towed.

  14. Great, paint on the motorway and busses. Can the busses at least be electric busses like the 380?. If some new busway roads need making out west then can the LR rail lines be slipped into the tarmac since they don’t protrude like normal railway?

  15. I wonder if extending the NEX to continue out west would be a good solution. Surely having buses go through the city takes up less space than having them turn around in the city and go back again? And this would mean people going from shore->west and vice versa would not need to transfer.

      1. Yeah, why not run them in a loop around the harbour. That would probably resolve Patrick’s Asymmetrical issue.

      1. Maybe the buses need to GO somewhere cool then, eg connect Muriwai to the northern busway via Waimauku-Huapai-Kumeu-Riverhead-Coatesville?
        Noone goes to Huapai on a day trip, but the coast? Now you’re talking “all-day, two-way, diverse traffic.”
        Muriwai is struggling with big coaches of tourists at the gannet colony, it’s not such a mad idea when we consider access in the context of leisure, recreation & tourism too. Other cities do this eg Sydney’s blue line & Vancouver’s buses to the mountains.

        1. ‘Muriwai is struggling with big coaches of tourists at the gannet colony’.

          I don’t think and NEX double decker turning up every few minutes is going to help with that!

        2. The answer to that is to rebuild the walkway and decks further back from the birds which will make it less of a tourist spectacle. I am not sure why the numbers of birds have increased so much, maybe it is better management of commercial fishing, but things are getting crowed there and sooner or later the birds will need more space. It will be a pity for people who like going there but the colony should come first. We will just have to buy longer lenses for our cameras.

      2. Surely the operational costs of inefficient bus usage are minuscule in comparison to the capital costs of LRT?

  16. Also if bus way and light rail cost similar money, it is no brainier to go straight to light rail.

    NZ always have the bad habit to save some money now, but end up costing more eventually.

      1. Fine guidance yes, but the primary benefit of steel rails is that you only use 20% of the energy that a rubber tyred vehicle of similar capacity will use.

          1. If you run lots of heavy vehicles in a narrow lane with little or no variation in exact path you’re going to have problems with a ordinary road surface…

          2. Gk, I have seen this road surface problem mentioned many times on GA posts. However, it is just not true because the guidance systems do NOT have vehicles running the _exact_ same road position hence wearing out a track or rutting the road equivalent. The computer controlled guidance will actually spread the contact pathway over a predestined track width for the road lane. The only exact and repetitive positioning of vehicle wheels will be at passenger pickup and drop off locations. Steel rails in road surface do need more roadway reinforcing compared to wider rubber wheels that have a tracking spread over a designated pathway. Computers can adjust exact running position for each vehicle so that rut wear is minimised.
            I worked on such a smaller scale road guidance system in Scotland UK.
            More interesting is the inroad use of switched inductive power that is used by the trams/light rail vehicles when a road section is only energised just before a vehicle enters. Hopefully that’s what Aucklands LRsystem willuse instead of overhead wires.

          3. Bogle, you are correct, however that requires a wider road to allow that to happen effectively, which of course adds its own costs to a project.

            Guidance systems that work in all weather and give less problems than steel rails are of course very expensive.

          4. Bogle:
            It is true for narrow lanes & does not just apply to guided systems.

            Wellington’s Manner Street (ex-mall section) is a NZ example of where a section of road was constructed with a thick heavily reinforced concrete slab under the seal to avoid this very problem.

            I agree where lanes are wide enough that a degree of wander can be programmed in to spread the load (which is why I mentioned narrow lanes). All depends on how constrained your corridor is (& what else you want to have in it). What sort of lane widths were they using in Scotland?

            Inductive or other ground level power systems are nice aesthetically, but I wonder whether they are worth the complexity compared with battery + opportunity charge at stops.

        1. Is that difference that much? Did the Paris Metro units with rubber tyres use 5 times the energy of the steel tyres?

    1. I think by the time this gets started you will be right.
      I caught one of the fancy new Dominion Road double deckers the other day, it was very impressive. If it was electric, had self guidance and 24×7 dedicated bus lanes it would be almost as good as a train. Bus technology is going to move fast IMO.

    1. I should have said the same. It is a good post and an important debate. The risk is that we will get a crappy system to the Northwest that makes it harder to get a high quality light rail system in later rather than easier. The risk is that will occur so that a gold plated route to the airport can be built that doesn’t really offer as much for the growth of Auckland.

      1. yeah, I’m fairly sanguine about the issue at the moment, mainly because (1) the corridor is quite flexible and (2) LRT plans and timelines are still evolving.

        In terms of corridor flexibility, if you start by extending LRT from the city centre, then it’s possible for buses to exit SH16 at Pt Chev to access city via GNR so as to avoid construction effects. That makes it easier to offer BRT-lite now and transition to LRT later.

        And in terms of LRT programming, what matters to NW LRT is the Queen Street section, rather than the Airport connection. It may be that a future government revisits LRT priorities and agrees with you, deciding to develop Dom Rd LRT to Onehunga, for example, and then invest in NW LRT prior to extending LRT to the Airport.

        So basically I think it’s too early to know how the LRT project will shake out and I don’t think BRT-lite would thwart LRT to a great extent.

        Yet in the interim, I do think the NW area and SH16 corridor could benefit from some BRT-lite treatments.

        1. GNR is supposed to be going under the blade within a few years for AT’s first round of ‘Corridor Management’ schemes, to ensure it’s meeting multimodal goals/not such a placewrecking hazard.

          NZTA pulling finger/not spitting dummy on some real prioritization, done w existing infra, would help the NW, AT’s, and Auckland’s plans, massively.

          1. Yeah but what’s the chance? Are there any examples of a properly multimodal streetscape redesign on a congested road in Auckland?

          2. @ Heidi K rd actually a massively brave and milestone project to restore modal fairness by reducing induced traffic. Funny that a placemaking sidewalk furniture project ended up here, credit to gen zero especially… The first set of ‘ cmp’s’ include gnr and Ponsonby rd, and college hill at the other end.
            This is the opportunity to address the inner west DLC ratfuck arterial highways, create a meaningful pt alternative, enable active modes in city fringe, supporting city centre . I agree delivery seems unbelievable and there is inconclusive evidence
            AT can ensure these needs are not sacrificed for existing ‘flow’ pattern or the idea cars=retail.

      2. Miffy, I agree with you about a crappy system. I have just had an answer from NZTA that says they will have spent a billion dollars post introduction of the Northern bus way on that section of SH1. Sure a portion of that is for the bus way extension, but how much could have been saved by a future proofed system built initially?

  17. I think it’s safe to say we will not see light rail to Kumeu within 10 years, and there’s a good chance not within 20 years. Even if it proceeds, it will be to Westgate.

    Time to revisit looking for a short and medium term solution to the Kumeu-Westgate congestion, which AT have said is now the worst in Auckland.

    Tie in with the government’s railway upgrade project for the line beyond Swanson and get a basic rail service in place, that enables nor-westers to catch a train from Kumeu. They’ll be in the CBD in 75 minutes, or 55 minutes post-CRL.

    Then in 2040 or whenever light rail finally reaches Kumeu, revisit again whether to have both, or do away with the railway service.

    It’s commonsense stuff, and the railway upgrade now being planned is the perfect opportunity to get something done.

    1. I think you are probably right regarding the timeframe for LR to Kumeu. However, the BRT proposal that Matt has proposed (and I suspect is part of the NW business case) could be up and running much quicker and would be probably be able to get to the CBD just as quick as the train post-CRL.

    2. This obsession with Kumeu is bizarre, it’s rural-urban fringe, yes it deserves quality PT, but is hardly a priority for high capacity urban Rapid Transit compared with higher population, higher density places currently without it. It isn’t even proposed to grow that much compared to other places.

      A high frequency bus service with a decent spread of stops to try to reach the dispersed population connecting to Western Rail and NW Light Rail, and across to the North Shore RT looks the most likely.

      If the rail line gets the big freight upgrade, with electrification, then eventually extending a few Metro services further would be good, likewise the NW RTN beyond Westgate… But however you look at it Kumeu or other small fringe villages are not the urgent Rapid Transit task.

      1. “But however you look at it Kumeu or other small fringe villages are not the urgent Rapid Transit task”

        Light Rail from Westgate to Kumeu is a much bigger, much more expensive project than a railway upgrade between Swanson and Kumeu, so based on your comment I have to assume you don’t support light rail to Kumeu.

        It would also be helpful if you hired a car and went out there so you could develop an informed opinion because right now you clearly don’t understand the area.

        Kumeu hasn’t been a small fringe village for many years. It now has the worst arterial traffic congestion in the entire Auckland region. 40,000 vehicles per day from Kumeu and west of there, via both SH16 and Inland Rd, more than Pukekohe-Auckland generates.

        The large scale urban development underway there is 100% road-orientated. And that’s precisely because the transit-orientated developers lost interest after the rail plan was ditched.

        The SHA was designated beside the railway station for a reason, but hasn’t evolved as intended. It’s just houses, driveways and thousands of cars.

        By refusing to back rail now, you are essentially saying ok to the construction of the biggest car dependent development zone Auckland has seen for quite a few years.

        Nor-westers are tired of crap transport planning. They even had to plan and pay for their own new bus service, because AT can’t fathom the need for PT in the greater Auckland region. This blog hasn’t mentioned it yet, but Helensville now has two bus routes. Since February 2019 there has been a bus service from Helensville to Silverdale, connecting with the Northern Busway. It’s actually faster to take a bus from Helensville to Auckland via Silverdale, because the Kumeu-Westgate area is so congested it takes hours to get through.

        Whether you want to admit it or not, rail is the best bet for bypassing the congestion in the short to medium term. Buses are not going to avoid the congestion on the Kumeu-Westgate section without a big roading spend up and several years of construction.

      2. Have you seen the shit fest that is traffic to and from this area. It kilometers long on week days crawling bumper to bumper.

        Waitakere Road is wearing the overflow, totally unsuited, and has two fatal crashes in the past 6 months.

        This is no sleepy village.

        Still they could bulldoze inner city suburban Auckland and start whacking up 30 floor apartment blocks everywhere to relieve areas like this having to have transport options!

        1. So a tiny population is creating a traffic shitfest? The tiny population might want to reflect on their choices of living in satellite towns and lifestyle blocks and stop asking the rest of Auckland to pay to solve this problem.

          A targeted rate might be called for, although I guess this will see people loose interest in solutions relatively quickly.

    3. Needless to say I completely agree with your thinking that LR to Kumeu is probably not within the next 10 year timeframe.
      I actually thought the rapid bus idea had been rejected and it was all LR or nothing as costs were about the same. Interesting to see it resurrected although doing either LR or bus RT by piecemeal bits, seems like almost a guerilla approach to get either done.
      Now it’s time to revisit the exact costs and business case for the HR to Kumeu.

      1. Patrick, ok you see it as an obsession but I and others see it just as an additional useful PT option alternative to the mind numbing congestion on sh16.
        If as you say Kumeu ‘is hardly a priority for high capacity urban Rapid Transit’ then that may be one reason why the LR to Kumeu will not proceed this coming 10 years.
        So is the HR line not now looking like a useful option if the capex and open are reasonable?
        Has anyone actually costed HR to Kumeu? And if AT/AC/govt don’t want to finance it then perhaps some private funding would be an option.
        I can’t see the cost of a couple of AM bemus being beyond the possibility of raising funding privately plus whatever is needed for sprucing up already extant stations and car parks. The Waitakere tunnel seems to be the only unknown as maintained track and signalling already exist.

        1. Boggle it’s all been analysed but is all a huge conspiracy you see, everyone knows trains on old lines to small dispersed communities run on nostalgia and fantasy, not actual money.

          Look, I get you live there, you like trains. I like trains too and I live in Grey Lynn. However I am not advocating for any kind of rail to Grey Lynn because, sadly, I can see that there really isnt any reasonable RT pattern for Auckland, or value for money, in which that makes sense. And there used to trams on Richmond Rd.

          Perhaps if we had the great fire of Grey a Lynn and rebuilt the place to a proper urban density then it could be so, in the meantime, if having a local rail service is the most important thing to either you or I we probably should move location…

          1. Again you misunderstand me. I don’t care in the slightest what the PT type is so long as I get out of this daily time wasting soul destroying sh16 congestion. Preference is star trek style transporter but we don’t have it. Next is flying vehicle but don’t have those, next is tube train, maglev, electric surface tracked train, electric bus..etc.
            Also important to me is I want something soonish, preferably before I die on sh16. I think I am realistic and don’t expect an instant solution. 30 years NO, 10 years barely tolerable, 5 years is ok but 2to3 years would be much much more acceptable.
            So when I look around at what looks realistic, guess what? No LR for 10 years, unlikely BRT for 5+years, maybe patchy multiple seat changing ordinary busses in a year or two but depends on paint job on sh16.
            But wait a moment, there is a railway line right through the area I live in. Would any rational intelligent person not see that this could be used to provide at least some relief to the sh16 madness?
            What about you? You have accused me of being a foamer whatever that is (I’m really a Trekkie), you ridicule my views and disparage my suggestions to utilise this HR and now you suggest I’m a conspiracy theorist who thinks quaint steam trains on old rail lines are what I like. Frankly you may have hit on something here because a blue Thomas the tank engine with his two carriages, Annie and clarabelle running on the line from Huapai to Swanson would be a major improvement on the non existent PT we have now.
            I am now seeing you more as an anti-HR rightfighter, you appear so enamoured by the thoughts of LR that any suggestion whatever of any type of HR solution seems to annoy you.
            Every day I sit in this Carpark called sh16 and see the unused rail line I am more determined to see this rail used for commuters

          2. Just in case I have missed some point about all of this. Am I really some sort of evil selfish numptie because I want a PT solution for Kumeu.
            My realistic preference is to board an AM EMU at Huapai station. Relax and enjoy a stress free trip into Britomart station. I don’t care that it takes an hour or more, I can occupy myself with sleep, snoozing, listening to music, doing gainful work using my IPad, or IPad entertainment, or even firing up the laptop. Internet connecting using 4g but nice if wifi and USB power on emu.
            What I have now is an hour in traffic congestion, illegal to use any devices or phone, no distractions allowed, stop start crawling demands full attention, it’s stressful, no way to rest or pull over and rest. It’s just bloody awful.

          3. +1 Bogle. It beggars belief that this blog which is supposed to be very pro PT is dismissing a relatively cost effective option that can be running in the shortest amount of time using existing under-utilised infrastructure! Yes LR probably is the best medium-long term solution but it is almost certainly going to take more than 10 years to reach Kumeu etc. similarly BRT will take almost as long and plain old bus lanes aren’t possible without widening the road (which will be expensive and take a long time).
            As Bogle says eventually the service can be canned when LRT finally reaches there. The population of the area is now substantial and rapidly growing on a daily basis.

          4. Fill your boots guys. Go off and make it happen then. Don’t just sit here and whinge that someone else doesn’t agree and isn’t doing it for you.

          5. It’s not really that big, it still makes Ashburton look big, which isn’t an easy achievement.

          6. Nice one NickR, sorta confirms that you (GA?) are not interested in PT for Kumeu unless it fits in with your 10 year or further away Light Rail proposal.

          7. Or confirms that GA have had a pretty good look already and would need new evidence to convince them that they were wrong the first time.

          8. SB, I’d agree with you, it’s obvious that the GA solution is to not support PT to NW for 10 years thereby accepting car commuting via sh16 is the best solution until LR is eventually, if ever, built.

          9. Bogle, do you realise you made that comment on a post where GA calls for immediate expansion of public transport for the northwest, followed by two more stages of more public transport for the northwest?

            But no, keep whinging about how GA wants nothing because they do support your particular idea as a priority.

            If you want it, do something about it (other that complain that others don’t do something for you).

          10. NickR, you are right and I’m wasting my time here.
            I need to just accept that there will be no meaningful PT in NW for the near or medium future and be patient for LR in 10 years

          11. If you frame it as a black or white choice between an hourly shuttle train to Swanson and “no meaningful PT possible in the near or medium future”, then yes you are wasting your time.

          12. “trains on old lines to small dispersed communities”

            Soon to be new lines, if the NAL upgrade proceeds.

            But if you could answer the question please Patrick. Given that you have chosen to write-off Kumeu as a small dispersed community, do you or do you not support light rail to Kumeu, which is a project far more expensive than getting trains to Kumeu?

            And, will you commit to updating your understanding of the area by actually getting out there to witness first hand that it is no longer the small village you are falsely portraying it as?

            Right now you are displaying significant ignorance of the issue. You are also showing disrespect for what the people of the area support. How can you have a role in transport planning from such a misguided stance that doesn’t represent the communities you speak of?

            And again, what is now underway in Kumeu is large-scale road-orientated development because the transit-orientated developers including those who looked at the SHA walked away after the rail plan was ditched. Why are you ok with this?

          13. Kumeu is a small village with a small subdivision underway. Yes it is small. Right now it really isn’t a priority compared to the growth across the Auckland region.

            The number of houses underway is equivalent to one large apartment block, or a fraction of what is happening at, say, Flat bush or Silverdale.

            The main growth in the area is still 10 to 15 years away. Personally I support rapid transit to the area on that timeframe, before then there are much bigger priorities.

            Yes I understand that area suffers from traffic congestion, not least because a state highway runs through it from a rural catchment. But all of Auckland suffers from traffic congestion, and the question is what can you do to relieve it. Interventions targeting the villages of Huapai-Kumeu will do practically nothing for current congestion, because as you note, the traffic isn’t being generated by those villages.

            I can’t speak for Patrick, but personally I think there are far greater priorities for our limited capex budget than train lines to Kumeu in the short term, whatever the particular flavour of rail. That story will be different in a decade or two, but now it shouldn’t be the priority.

            That’s not disrespect, it’s the simple truth. If the people of Kumeu want more than their fair share, then they should get together and arrange a local targeted rate to pay for it. The folks of Hobsonville did this when they wanted more than the basic commuter ferry to go with their standard bus services.

          14. Are you kidding Nick? Implying that the people of Kumeu want more than their fair share. Are you saying they are getting their fair share because if they are I would like to see that share. All I can see For Kumeu PT is next to nothing.
            What are the higher priorities you mention? I can’t see any.

          15. Nope, I’m not kidding at all and your comment clearly outlines exactly the thing I am talking about.

            The wider Kumeu-Huapai area has a population of 7,000 people, about 3,000 households.

            For reference, the average public transport subsidy in Auckland is $200m a year spent across 480,000 households. So each fair share is about $420 a year.

            Kumeu-Huapai has a bus route that runs hourly all day, and half hourly express to the city at peak times. That alone will consume more than the fair share of funding.

            But wait, on top of that people are demanding a rail shuttle train that will cost about $1,500 a year per household to run. And they want everyone else to pay for it, apparently. So yes, in total people who are demanding a train shuttle are demanding four times their fair share of funding.

            Indeed the basic bus service you see in the area isn’t a lot of public transport. But for an area that comprises less than half of one percent of the population and ratepayers of Auckland, it shouldn’t be if the expenditure is distributed fairly.

          16. Now I see where you are coming from. Problem is that you do not understand an end-of-line station catchment potential. You are attributing a Huapai station with only a passenger potential catchment of the village the station is geographically located in.
            If Huapai was the end of the western line then because of its major advantage of being located right on SH16 it will certainly induce passengers from a far wider area than just the village. More so because of the chronic SH16 congestion. With a larger Park&Ride or Kiss&Ride at the station many potential commuters my choose the train for the reasons bogle listed above.
            A diesel shuttle would not be as effective as a one seat trip using a battery EMU to hook up to EMU for 6 cars from Swanson. Bogle got that right too.
            You can see this widened catchment on the North Shore at Albany rapid bus station where the thousand or so sized car park is typical of an end-of-line PT station. Less so at Swanson but there is no major SH near Swanson but even so the streets plus Park&Ride are filled every workday.
            I suspect we will see a similar situation happening when Drury gets a station next to SH1 and car commuters may choose the train to avoid congestion towards city.

          17. I do understand that argument, I just don’t agree with it.

            I don’t think that a once-an-hour diesel shuttle that takes you to the end of the line at Swanson will have sufficient time or convenience advantage, to attract a significant amount of people out of the wider catchment, nor would it have the performance to actually do anything significant.

            Consider what you would have to do. Drive in your car to a park and ride lot, aiming to get there just in time for the one train a day where you can travel at the right time and lot isn’t already full. Then catch the one train for twenty minutes over to Swanson. Then transfer to the western line to keep going wherever you actually want to go.

            A note on the Albany park and ride. Like all others it’s full by 7am, and 95% of users come from the suburbs next door. Pair that with an infrequent train and you have practically no opportunity to actually use it. One train each morning that works.

            If we are talking about a direct train, with regular services and no transfer, and a decent feeder bus network as well as park and ride, then yes it would be a effective proposition. But that level of investment in infrastructure, vehicles and operating cost won’t be justified until there is a much larger direct suburban catchment. Otherwise it’s not four times the fair share, but ten or twenty. My understanding is the sort of suburban development to support a train is about ten to fifteen years away.

          18. Well the way I see it, the ’10 to 15 years away’ thing is what’s wrong here.

            Either we are developing greenfields in the area or not.

            If we are, the transit needs to be in place and the roads must be narrowed to make liveable and to ensure no traffic growth occurs on them.

            If we aren’t, then we need to stop the building and focus on brownfields growth.

            Since we can’t afford the investment to put in the transit, we must stop the greenfields growth there.

          19. A once an hour diesel shuttle would not work, it’s the battery emu with hook on at Swanson is the solution. For morning peak then Bogle’s suggestion of two 3 car IPEMU at say 7am and 7:30am leaving Huapai would be best as this has potential for 600 commuters, 464 seated which could mean that many cars removed from sh16.
            A two train morning in and 2 out at evening would be an easy startup to evaluate extending western line to Huapai.
            I see a Park&R at Huapai station but it looks about 60 capacity so that may need enlarging

          20. Heidi, too late to cancel, work is well underway and as you point out no hope for RT for at least 10-15 years. Not even BRT likely for 10 years and existing busses caught in SH16 crawl.
            Isn’t extending the western line to Huapai using a couple of bemus in a year or two looking quite good now? The only alternative is investing in bigger wider roads and we don’t really want that, do we?

          21. Three car trains don’t leave Papakura anywhere near full and it has a much bigger catchment than Kumeu. The idea that these trains will take 400-600 cars off the road is laughable.

          22. And why is it laughable? Do you drive thru Kumeu on sh16 and how do you know that sh16 commuters would not park up at Huapai to use the train if it was available.
            Btw Huapai is not Papakura and Papakura does not have a SH running right next to it.
            Are you really a moar roads supporter?

          23. The reason it is laughable is because 0.6 % of Aucklanders catch the train during peak hour. What you are suggesting is between 7 – 9 % of the population of Kumeu and Huapai will catch the train during the peak, with only two services being offered.

            Even if you double the population to take in the surrounding catchment that is 4 – 6 %, there is not a hope in hell of reaching these numbers. There is no station in Auckland outside of Britomart that fills a 3-car train, even stations like Panmure, which have a much larger catchment.

          24. You are basing potential passenger numbers on the population of the village and immediate surrounds. Don’t you realise there is a seriously congested State Highway running right through Kumeu. Many of the surrounding roads are now having to deal with volumes of traffic they were not designed for. Safety is seriously compromised.
            Buses use those same roads so suggesting bus based rapid PT is really laughable.
            The train is on a non congested barely used completely separated corridor. The capex to introduce a battery powered AM emu service would be a mere fraction of the capex needed for any Light rail proposal. It could be achieved in a reasonably short time rather than the distant 15 or more years for light rail.

          25. Mike, there are bus solutions, and I suspect that’s where the most effort should be put. The road space wasted on general traffic priority at intersections and in the median strip can be reallocated to bus priority.

            If our transport wasn’t hijacked by people with serious traffic capacity focused Business as Usual mindsets, some considerable improvements would be relatively easy to implement.

          26. Heidi, I agree with your point, timing the transport to lead the land use is critical.

            For the northwest, we need something significant operational in ten years as the growth starts to come online en masse. But doing it ten years in advance would chew up the budget we need to spend elsewhere.

            There are areas that have already had their growth without significant PT, we need to get them squared away asap before worrying about serving the growth that hasn’t happened yet. Likewise we have a lot of growth happening across the suburbs with intensification. That’s very significant too. So yeah, lets lead the growth with transit, but not forget about how far we are behind elsewhere.

          27. MikeP – that’s not correct, the 4 – 6 % I mentioned was the entire population that either live in Kumeu or somewhere that would pass through Kumeu to get to the city. It includes Waimauku, Muriwai and Helensville amongst others.

            You appear to be making assumptions that a decent proportion of the traffic in Kumeu is heading to the CBD or other points on the Western line, that simply isn’t the case.

            You are correct about traffic in Kumeu but putting in a train wont make any difference to that, but it will leave a bill for the rest of Auckland to pay for. No thanks.

          28. Question to Nick: I understand your point, but what is the alternative? If rapid transit comes along 10 years from now, it will be almost useless because of the settlement pattern. Look at recent aerial images: most land within the reach of a hypothetical Kumeu station is already covered in low density subdivisions right now. It will not be possible to build anything substantial near the station because the land is filled up with houses, and these won’t be end of life for another few decades. It will be too late.

            I would have naively thought the TOD would happen less far out — the strategic location is Westgate, where the hypothetical line to the city will intersect with the hypothetical line east to the North Shore. Too late I guess.

          29. Planning for Housing needs a complete overhaul, preferably by a minister who hasn’t swallowed the compromise pill and actually understands how damaging sprawl is.

          30. Jezza, You are doing the very thing you accuse Mike of, you are making some major assumptions that you then base your arguments on.
            How do you know the destination of any proportions of the SH16 traffic through Kumeu.
            Are you guessing or do you actually have evidence
            (Ref please)
            How would you possibly know how many commuters would choose to travel by train from Huapai if a train service was available?
            You and other anti-HR advocates in GA do not offer any credible alternate PT option for NW commuters. You bleat on about the costs of using HR to Huapai yet completely ignore the massive losses accrued with continued and worsening SH16 congestion. Never mind the ongoing pollution, abysmal safety implications of burgeoning road traffic in Kumeu surrounds, the real prospect of many $millions more being spent on NW roading schemes and the complete and utter lack of support for active modes (although this morning I did see some courageous punter electric bicycling alone SH16 verge towards Westgate).
            I see you and others leaning towards a bus based solution. What a croc that is and it’s just incredible reading some of the suggestions to facilitate a bus solution in a year or so. Using up sh16 hard shoulder lanes by converting them into dedicated bus lanes at the cost of some paint. Really? Don’t those shoulders exist for other essential safety reasons? For breakdowns and emergency vehicle access. How will those work if busses occupy these shoulders. Or would that just be temporary until some major capex is used to construct a separate bus corridor? That’s going to happen really soon eh?
            The lack of credible PT-for-NW suggestions from GA is looking like continued support for nzta roading schemes for the NW (if it quacks like a duck etc.). Now that this govt and transport minister have reneged on LR promises and likely will defer into abandonment any Kumeu LR, is it not about time GA started looking at a credible HR option to provide PT to Kumeu in the next year or so.

          31. http://archive.stats.govt.nz/datavisualisation/commuterview/index.html?_ga=2.9258608.49442481.1555282533-1063484435.1555282533

            Bogle – this is the data. Have a look at the number of people commuting from Huapai and the surrounding units that commute to the CBD or other points along the Western line.

            There isn’t 400 people who make this commute, so yes the idea that a couple of trains could be filled is laughable.

            ‘Don’t those shoulders exist for other essential safety reasons? For breakdowns and emergency vehicle access. How will those work if busses occupy these shoulders.’

            Probably the same way it did in 2006 – 2008 when the Northern Express used shoulder lanes – ie. perfectly well.

          32. Jezza, destination data based on 2006 and 2013 census data. I remember Kumeu in 2013, it was less developed and didn’t have the traffic volumes that now use sh16 through the village centre.
            Waitakere Road was a typical country road, not very busy. Also there was a train that went beyond Swanson to Waitakere township and just after the 2006 data there was a trial train service to Helensville. This trial very nearly made the numbers to justify becoming permanent. I have no doubt a similar trial today would easily succeed just because of sh16 congestion.
            So I would be very sceptical in using 6 to 13 year old data as a basis for establishing 2019 traffic information.
            Despite your confidence in a bus-using-hard-shoulder scheme for NW I don’t see now or in future the nzta being enthusiastic to do this. IMO won’t happen so just get on with HR to Huapai.

          33. You are right Heidi. The planning for housing does need overhauled. Too late for Kumeu the greenfields are being built on. Now we need a transport minister to get rail working to Huapai station if he intends to step away from light rail to Kumeu.

          34. I’ve bought data, you’ve just bought more anecdote. Have you got any evidence that the increase in traffic since 2013 is largely people travelling to points on the Western line?

            If your plan is HR instead of NW bus, what would your solution for people in Whenuapai, Westgate, Lincoln Rd and Te Atatu be? A train to Huapai isn’t much use for them.

          35. You brought outdated data, OTOH I see every day what is happening here, I see the substantial changes since 2013. Perhaps you should actually visit Kumeu and see the changes. Then figure out how useful data based on 2006 and 2013 census is.
            I never stated or implied that inner mid west suburbs that you list would benefit from trains, they can’t. They need LR but not in 10 years.
            Wasn’t there talk that an LR would terminate at Westgate with any section further north a longer term project?
            I do say that the Huapai and Kumeu greater region and potentially commuters currently using SH16 would benefit from train services to Huapai.
            Why is that not obvious to you? You prefer the do-nothing-for-PT in near future thereby support the only viable mode, driving cars on state highways for the NW. Thanks.

          36. I agree things have changed since 2013 but those census numbers are nowhere near the claims of 400 passengers on peak hour trains, even if you double them they don’t even go close and the population of Kumeu and it’s surrounds has nowhere near doubled in the last six years.

            It doesn’t matter how much traffic there is if the train is not taking them to where they want to go it wont make a jot of difference.

            If the people who live in Kumeu and commute to the North Shore are happy to pay a targeted rate to pay for a train that is no use to them then that’s their call but good luck selling it to them. You haven’t done much of a job of selling it to the rest of Auckland to pay for.

          37. Jezza, there was no claim of 400 passengers, the potential is there and as with any start of line station the inbound journey would gradually fill the train especially in peak times. Thats why I suggested a 2 train peak time early inbound service with reverse in evening. Between Huapai and Waitakere stations I would think a sufficient number of passengers would board to make the cost of extending the western to Huapai worthwhile.
            Not exactly a massive capex either to try this service. Two emus from existing new stock. Two or three sets of $400k traction battery packs plus whatever costs to install and test. The two stations may need some minor spruce up and hop stuff installed. Rail line and signalling all in situ and operational, P&Rs already exist. Might need an LE TM cabin on Huapai platform a a couple of portaloos.
            The only unknown is the Waitakere tunnel but I can’t see that being a deal breaker. Spend the few $m to fix it or modify end cabs in EMUs as fire escapes.
            So what if you are correct and it’s a dismal failure?
            The capex will probably be less than the traffic fine income generated by that Whangerai speed camera in this morning news. The bemus would hardly go to waste either as likely plenty other uses for these (Pokeno)
            This bemu service to Huapai would also be a nice easy intro into bemu use for AT, something they might need for Pukekohe if it stays wireless much longer.
            It would also be an achievable PT project for this govt to complete this term since it now looks like the other large PT projects they backed are fizzing into far futures.

          38. Whoa kids. This is so cray.

            Here’s some perspective. Today EB1; Eastern Busway stage 1, broke ground. The first bit of work towards getting the first ever Rapid Transit route into East Auckland: A busway.

            East Auckland has the same population as the whole of Dunedin, not ‘will one day have’ or is ‘growing fast’ or ‘the potential to’ or some such. Now, right now. 130,000. And it has no train, no LR, no busway.

            In a couple of years there will be a little bit of busway so people there will have the option to ride a fast bus to Panmure Station.

            Seriously people here who think it’s unfair that Kumeu, or some other small ex-urban village, doesn’t already have an expensive dedicated train, or won’t get LR for a decade, are frankly not able to understand equivalences.

            Yes in an ideal world all parts of Akl would have Swiss quality rail services, or whatever is your chosen ideal model. But we have to start from where we are now. And even growing small ex-urban places are going to have to wait until some other more populous places catch-up first….

            A frequent bus to Swanson post CRL, or a frequent bus to Westgate post LR, will be pretty good soon. Then either extended Metro services (if the NAL is upgraded), or extended LR will complete the picture. Ideally both. But neither can be soon. So it goes.

          39. Ok. I have made my point clear in wanting HR to Huapai. Time now to get on with seeking more immediate local road improvements.

  18. I think you are probably right regarding the timeframe for LR to Kumeu. However, the BRT proposal that Matt has proposed (and I suspect is part of the NW business case) could be up and running much quicker and would be probably be able to get to the CBD just as quick as the train post-CRL.

  19. Personally, I’d rather spend the 6 billion+ on implementing “vision zero” across the country’s road network, ahead of light rail for Auckland.

    It would have an economic return, and substantially reduce the slaughter of 380 people a year and the maiming of thousands of others.

    1. Failing unlock Auckland from congestion will knock a lot more than this off the national economy in the long run, money which wont be available for future safety improvements.

      Also $4.2 billion of this is expected to come from private investment, I’m not sure the superfund for instance will have the same interest in a nationwide road safety programme.

      1. Vision Zero and Public Transport are complementary. The more people feel the environment is safe, the more they’ll feel they can walk to the public transport. The more public transport is available, the more they can leave their car at home and remove that source of risk from the network.

        It’s not VZ vs PT.

        And it’s not VZ vs Economy, either. Failing to make our transport networks safe impacts the economy. If you can only attract customers and employees who will drive there you are limited by carparking space. If people can arrive safely by walking, cycling and taking public transport, you have a bigger market without having to distance your business by wasted, expensive land for carparking.

        Classic divide and conquer stuff…

        1. Do you really understand Vision Zero? Swedens primary goal with Vision Zero was to eliminate highway accidents, where most fatal accident occured. Sweden has spent billions upgrading roads to make them safer, most of the E roads are divided multilane with barriers. Most of the roads between smaller towns are now 2+2 or 2+1 with a central divide. Speed cameras are everywhere, intersections are being replaced by roundabouts.

          This is completely at odds with what you would like which is a massive reduction in road spending an an increase in PT.

          1. No Master Chief. A massive reduction in the building of hugely-expensive NEW ROADS and a redirecting of a portion of the saved funding to making EXISTING ROADS safer. This is now government policy (or at least it is according to the GPS).

  20. Getting light rail to the Norwest in three easy steps.

    1. Get someone who is driven about this project and actually knows what they’re doing.

    2. Stop making excuses and breaking promises.

    3. Keep Phil Twyford as far away from this as possible.

    1. Yes to all 3. The govt might need to think about a shuffle around of its ministers….we are well into their term and they are just not convincing in delivering on their PT and housing promises.

      1. Strongly disagree; it’s been what?, 18 months, ffs, you think both these fields are simple to fix, to actually execute transformation?

        Changing Minister would just reset the clock, constant reshuffles are not conducive to consistent change and sustained performance….

        1. I don’t know how much power ministers have to be honest – Phil says he wants light rail but then the plebs under him say nah. Same happened with Kiwibuild – he couldn’t even sack the guy and state services had to do it lest it be seen as interference. The whole transport/ land use planning process needs to have ministerial interference just to get stuff happening.

  21. Thanks Matt for detailed ideas for the way forward. It was a good meeting on Saturday and I appreciate knowing some of the steps to improve PT and reduce congestion. It is important for me that plans are better focused for people being in places and not alienating people with car highways only.

  22. More disappointing reneging from the government. They are proving very disappointing on the urban front, in terms of housing and PT.

      1. The big mistake was that some time before the 2017 election Tywford and maybe Goff got together with Matt and other Greater Auckland members over a cup of coffee and mapped out the Labour parties transport policy. The overly ambitious agenda some would say dream list of projects is sucking the oxygen out of projects like electrification to Pukekohe and the third main also the Puhinui busway and others. They could easily have sold the idea of a light rail up Queens street as stage one while signaling their intention to extend it when funds and resources became available. So now they are in the position of frantically having to back pedal on their overly ambitious plans. They just promised too much and it is coming back to bite them. But its not too late they can acknowledge their over eagerness and come up with a staged scheme which might include the rail shuttle to Huapai. Another project which might get them off the hook is to build a bus only bridge across the Manukau as an interim measure while they actually work out what they should be doing. This bridge could be used for light or heavy rail in the future.
        Greater Auckland job is to sell the dream but it is up to politicians to balance what is possible against what is ideal.

        1. Royce, just to clarify GA published it’s CFN plan in April 2017 and the RRR plan a few months later, and sent them both to all political parties at the time… Labour and the Greens unilaterally (and separately) adopted parts of those into their policy largely due to a vacuum of any policy around rapid transit at the regional or public level.

          There was no mapping out, not even a cup of coffee!

          It’s also important to note that the CFN plan is just a collection of AT and NZTA plans from the ATAP process drawn up and presented as a network. Apart from a couple of extra bus links, and making a call on mode for the NW and NS lines, it was all government policy already. So in practice all labour did was agree they would continue ATAP but prioritise the public transport elements over the roading ones.

          Another point is that the CFN doesn’t place any strong timeframes or priority on the individual elements, nominally it is still a 30 year programme. If Twyford has promised to build one LRT line in four years and the next within ten years, then that’s his own agenda.

          1. Okay no cup of coffee so Phil’s promises are all his own lack of judgement. Not sure about a thirty year program though a lot can change. Maybe Greater Auckland should have a three year program then it can be measured and it might promote some action rather than the gridlock we have now. Just stage things a bit to avoid the paralysis by analysis

          2. Actually Matt and I did meet the minister of transport (Bridges), as we always try to, and gave him a hard copy of the CFNII. We had a pretty good relationship with him as minister (largely based on our support and passion for the Urban Cycling Fund he started), but I recall he was in quite a bad mood that day. Pretty sure that was to do with him spending the whole day in AKL traffic (his crown limo with driver was outside on Queen St in a loading bay). It was late on a Friday.

            Also I suspect all he had heard all day in his meetings with AKL Council and Transport was that he was funding too much of the wrong things, not enough of the needed things, and even then not actually funding even all the things he liked… (all true). Us dropping this big joined up plan must have looked like the last straw….

            I also had meetings with various opposition members about it too (Nick and others were not involved in any of this), from all three current govt Parties. Obviously they were more receptive (and on RRR). As a rule the best time to influence a Party’s policy, especially to really change it, is when they are in opposition… we always aim to bring solutions and possibilities, and not just complaints.

            We believe strongly that a full coordinated RTN plan for NZ’s primary city is a vital multi decade project that should be uncontroversial at both a technical and political level. I have also always believed that this will become the case. The new normal. And we can see this happening now. National will lead the govt again one day; but despite their current rhetoric they won’t try to undo this. It’s too successful, too rational, too necessary.

            GA supports all good policy carried out by all stripes of politician.

        2. The delays in Pukekohe electrification and the 3rd main appear to be more to do with NZTA processes, I can’t see any evidence that they are being crowded out by light rail.

          Labour are part of a coalition government so not all of their promises are going to be delivered. Labour are not the first party to promise things and either not deliver them or delay or water them down. Ask John Key about promises to build a cycleway the length of the country or to have a common border with Australia by the end of 2009.

          1. I like the way Shane Jones has being able to sideline the bureaucrats and the planners with his provincial growth fund.Good old Keynesian economics it would be good if we could do this with Auckland’s transport problems we might get some things done. Of course the main stream media and the swamp are hating it not that I am any way wanting a Trump like leader in Wellington but lets get things moving a bit this is just painful to live through.

          2. Shane Jones has really just replaced the bureaucrats with private consultants, the majority of PGF money so far has gone towards business cases, scoping studies and investigations.

            Be very careful what you wish for with Ministers cherry picking projects they want. While it’s nowhere near perfect, the arms length system we have had for the last 30 years has reduced the amount of pet projects and also dramatic changes between governments.

          3. Well Joyce could push his RONS so why can’t Twyford push Light Rail. But yeah a lot of the PGF has being business cases etc. And we don’t want another Muldoon. Still direct political interference to get something done especially if it has being promised and labelled as urgent in the election campaign such as the third main should just be done full stop.

          4. I attended a pre last election Labour Party event held at the LDS centre, Ferguson Rd, Otara. Although Andrew Little was leader with Jacinda his deputy and it was really a troop rallying event I clearly remember both of them promising support for PT and rail projects and reviewing the massive govt spend on RONS projects. At Kai time I asked Andrew about 3rd main and electrification rail to Pukekohe and he said it was labour policy to get these done. I and those with me felt great confidence in Labour that if elected these would get underway fairly quickly.
            This was one of the most enjoyable Labour events I ever attended, the LDS choir was amazing with boy soloist stunning

          5. Royce – Joyce did push the RoNS, however it didn’t mean all of them got done. NZTA pushed back on Warkworth to Wellsford and Otaki to Levin and his plans for Wellington were scuppered by the commisioners.

            Labour and the Greens have pushed for LR to the NW and I think that is what they will ultimately get, the question will be timing.

            You are right, there should be political interference to get things moving on 3rd main and Pukekohe but it should be in the form of saying to NZTA what the hell is going on with your processes?

  23. Mr Twyford, Minister for Housing (KIWIBUILD) and Transport, said at the meeting, in response to a comment that light rail would take 30 years to build, that the West would have light rail within a decade. Just to be clear, a decade is ten years. Mr Twyford said this on 6 April 2019. On 6 April 2029 there will be a functional light rail system operational in West Auckland. The clock is ticking Mr Twyford. I hope your estimation of transport projects is better than that of your housing projects.

    1. There is little risk he will be transport minister or any minister in govt in 2029 and therefore have to answer for this if LR is not built.
      I’d give Labour the next election with JA as leader but after the win she will likely further her career by taking a higher flying position in the UN. That will leave Labour floundering to win third term. That’s why it is so important to get these LR projects underway this session and enough done so that cancellation by National can’t occur

      1. People said the same thing about John Key but he stayed around for eight years. I wouldn’t read too much into articles from Kate Hawkesby, she along with Mike and a few others are just trying to stir with some wishful thinking.

        Jacinda could easily serve 7 – 8 years and then go into a UN role, Clark did it after serving 9 years.

  24. I don’t know how much power ministers have to be honest – Phil says he wants light rail but then the plebs under him say nah. Same happened with Kiwibuild – he couldn’t even sack the guy and state services had to do it lest it be seen as interference. The whole transport/ land use planning process needs to have ministerial interference just to get stuff happening.

  25. With the $1bn blowout of CRL costs announced today I’d bet that’s the end of NW light rail for at least 15 to 20 years and NW busway alternative too. It might even delay any light rail progress in Auckland.
    More reason for sorting out metro rail to Huapai.

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