It may have been a short week but there’s still be plenty of transport news. So here’s a bit of a round up of the other stories that have cropped up this week.
First new electric train arrives
The first of our 15 new electric trains arrived last week
AM810 arrived from Spain on via roll-on/roll-off vessel, Hoegh Transporter. The three-carriage train was delivered in parts by road carrier to the train depot in Wiri, sneaking through Auckland’s streets early in the morning.
The 15 new trains are being built by the company which manufactured the original 57 trains for Auckland, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) at their factory in Beasain in northern Spain.
They’ll have a similar look and feel, with some minor changes – new seat back covers, changes in the carpet and faster doors to reduce time at stations.
AM810 will spend the next few weeks being tested by AT and CAF staff before being rolled out into service.
All 15 trains should arrive by July 2020 and be on the tracks by September 2020.
There’s some more details about a few of the changes in this post from last year.
Subsidised Taxi trial extended
On Friday AT also announced they were extending their rideshare trial in Devonport with some small changes such as cutting weekend operations.
The Auckland Transport rideshare service operating in the Devonport peninsula will be extended for another six months to understand how the service performs in the summer months, with a significantly larger customer base.
Launched in November 2018, AT Local is the first on-demand rideshare service in New Zealand using only electric vehicles, and among the first in the world.
AT Local aims to make the first and last leg of a public transport journey easier, giving the people of Devonport even more incentive to use the ferry services. The service is achieving its weekday ridership targets, averaging 216 rides per weekday since 1 August, with more than 36,000 rides provided to date.
Mark Lambert, Executive General Manager of Integrated Network says that the project is a team effort. “We’ve worked very closely with our app partner, Via Mobility who have continued to improve the functionality, based on customer feedback. Our operator, Go Bus have been great ambassadors for the service, with 98 percent of customers giving their ride a 5/5 rating.”
Mr Lambert says the trial has provided AT with a considerable volume of insights and learnings about rideshare that would be beneficial, should the service be rolled out in other areas.
Recent customer surveys show that 43 percent of customers using the service have moved over from using private vehicles.
Usage has grown but is still not high enough. Also this suggests that 57% of customers using it got to the ferry by walking, cycling, bus or being dropped off? Perhaps it might be more successful if there wasn’t free parking at the terminal. That AT haven’t done anything about that while putting over a million dollars into this is absurd.
Bus/Truck Lane for Mt Wellington Highway
Other than perhaps a few on-ramps, I’m not sure if we’ve got any combined bus and truck lanes but in certain locations, such as Mt Wellington Highway, that sounds like a good idea.
Auckland Transport (AT) is seeking feedback on a proposed bus/truck lane – to improve traffic flows along Mt Wellington Highway.
The lane is proposed to be located between Roslyn Road and Longford Street, where it will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It will be available for use by buses, heavy vehicles over 3,500kg and motorbikes. The bus/truck lane will be about 300 metres long and will run from 226 to 270 Mt Wellington Highway.
The lane will not remove any existing traffic lanes – it will be created by road widening, narrowing of the painted central median and the removal of on-street parking.
AT observations of on-street parking, on several occasions, showed no vehicles had been parked along this stretch of road.
David Nelson, AT’s Portfolio Delivery Director (Projects), says the proposal will speed up travel times for 7 to 9 buses and around 120 trucks an hour.
Consultation is open till 12 November
SH16 speed reduction
It’s not just AT that are looking to improve safety though lower speeds and the NZTA this week proposed lowering the speed limit on SH16 between the end of the motorway at Brigham Creek Rd and Waimauku
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reviewing speed limits on SH16 from Brigham Creek to Waimauku in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes on this high-risk road.
The Transport Agency’s Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton says it proposes to reduce the speed limit on different sections of the road from 60km/h to 50km/h, from 100km/h to 80km/h and from 70km/h to 60 km/h.
“We are committed to improving safety on State Highway 16 as the area continues to grow. There’s been a high number of crashes on State Highway 16 between Brigham Creek and Waimauku, and locals have told us that speeds on the road feel too high to be safe.”
SH16 is mostly a high-speed rural road that passes through many towns including Huapai, Kumeu, Waimauku, Helensville, Kaukapakapa and Mangakura. Over 30,000 vehicles a day use the route between Brigham Creek and Kumeu, and 15,000 vehicles a day between Huapai and Waimauku.
Between 2009 and 2018, there have been 449 crashes on this section of road, with seven people killed and a further 57 seriously injured.
Light Rail Leaks
There’s been plenty of news continuing about the leak of information related to Light Rail and a lot of that focused on the Minister. Yesterday the NZTA announced they were launching an investigation into the leak.
The NZ Transport Agency Board has appointed Michael Heron QC to undertake an independent investigation into recent unauthorised public disclosures of confidential and commercially sensitive information relating to the delivery of light rail in Auckland.
“It is disappointing and concerning that this information has been improperly disclosed, and it is appropriate that an independent investigation be undertaken in order to establish the facts,” says Transport Agency Board Chair Sir Brian Roche.
Summing up the City Centre
It’s hard to disagree with this assessment of Auckland’s city centre.
“The centre, certainly around the area of Sky Tower, is actually horrible,” says the Welsh-born actor, comedian and travel show presenter.
“If you want people to enjoy your city, you’ve got to be able to walk around it and you can’t walk around the centre of the thing because just crossing the road means you have to cross four lanes of traffic.
“So, I would say, Auckland needs somebody in charge of it to work out how to make it into a decent city. I really do. And that’s that. So you can quote me on that.”
We really need to get Access for Everyone in as soon as possible to make walking so much easier.
A green carpet
A neat little video. If only changing streets was as easy as rolling out a green carpet.
Just in case you needed a reminder of all the LIFE you can fit into cities when you rethink streets for cars. Space for green & nature that supports great urbanism, and space for PEOPLE!
Via @watgdesigns @LondonNPC, #NationalParkCity Fleet Street vision. pic.twitter.com/1vtN8DoVpN
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) October 29, 2019