In mid-October Auckland Transport cut off peak and evening frequencies on a swathe of bus routes across the city.

There are more of them than any sane person would read through, but of most relevance to this post are the many previously frequent “15 minutes until midnight” routes, introduced with the new network, which have been cut to near useless 30 minute frequency in the evening.

Route 22 (combined)

  • Weekdays
    • From Avondale reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10:12pm
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10:55pm
  • Weekend
    • From Avondale reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10pm
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10:40pm

Route 24 (combined)

  • Saturday
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10:50pm

Route 25 (combined)

  • Weekdays
    • From Lynfield / Blockhouse Bay reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10pm
    • From City Centre reduced “in the evening” after 8pm
  • Weekend
    • From Lynfield / Blockhouse Bay reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10pm
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 10:30pm

Route 30

  • Weekdays
    • From Onehunga reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 9pm
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 9.25pm
  • Weekend
    • From Onehunga reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 9.10pm
    • From City Centre reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 8.55pm

Route 75

  • Weekdays
    • From Glen Innes reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 8:45pm
    • From Wynyard Quarter reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 9pm
  • Weekend
    • From Glen Innes reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 8:45pm
    • from Wynyard Quarter reduced from 15 to 30 minutes after 9pm

Booby prize: route 106

(Included because even though this service was not originally frequent at 30 minutes, a reduction to hourly is particularly awful)

  • Weekdays
    • Reduced from 30 minutes to hourly after 7pm
  • Weekend
    • Reduced from 30 minutes to hourly on weekends

In many other cases, and on many other routes than the ones listed above, individual services have been removed, seemingly at random. It’s hard to know when you’ll get usable frequency on a route without looking at the timetable, which is an extra barrier to casual use on top of the brute reductions in service level.

Auckland Transport’s communication to customers about this has been to “re-plan your journey”. There are two curious things about this:

  1. When the buses were frequent, you didn’t need to make a plan, you’d just go whenever – just like driving a car. And it’s the car that public transport in Auckland needs to compete with if it’s to become a real alternative.
  2. If you’re going to a movie, a show, or any other event, you can’t plan – because the event might end at a time inconvenient to the bus planners and then you’d end up waiting 29 minutes in the rain. The only real option is to simply not go. Or rather – unfortunately for city centre’s business, who are the among the beneficiaries of our bus services – go somewhere else.

While I’m lucky enough to live on a couple of bus routes – so the cuts don’t affect me as much – if you live on most of the others Auckland Transport has effectively imposed a curfew, starting in some cases before 9pm.

My experience living on a frequent route is that it has allowed me to go car-free for leisure activities, not just commuting. It enables me to stay late in the city after work: having dinner, drinks, going to the movies – with the knowledge that I can get home without needing to worry about how. It lets me do stuff that I that was previously only possible by car, entirely by public transport, and in car-like timeframes: go to work, go home, go shopping, go home again to feed a cat and deep-fry a chicken, go back to the city and then come home again late at night.

But something as mundane as going to dinner and the movies after work is now no longer an option for people dependent on the routes subject to the cuts.

The reality is that most people won’t “replan their journeys” – they’ll drive to Sylvia Park or 277 instead. Because if you’re gonna have to drive, you might as well drive somewhere designed for it. And malls don’t put their carparks behind doors which only open every half hour.

Or they won’t go at all – like I decided on Saturday night when I realised with a thud that my previous freedom to turn up at any time I want to get a Dominion Road bus had been taken away and replaced with a service from 1957 instead.

Why does Auckland Transport think it’s OK to penalise the city centre’s night time economy like this? 

If they really need to make savings, why not finally address some of the fundamental inefficiencies in the system instead of trimming randomly round the edges? Why not increase bus priority measures, so we can run the same service levels with less? Or start doing some active headway management on the very busy peak routes which often have 3-4 buses arriving at stops at once, half of them running around semi-empty? 

And what is it about, say, Dominion Road, which has lost it’s weekend frequent service after 10pm, that makes it different to Mt Eden Road, 800 metres parallel, which has retained all of its evening service, even in the weekend? Are the people there fundamentally different, living in a hyper-progressive bubble, with special public transport needs? Or maybe it’s Dominion Road itself: is there a drive-in somewhere stashed behind the dumpling shops everyone hangs out at after they catch the latest Buddy Holly recording on the wireless? And is there an unusually high density of eleven-year-olds living along the 75, who all have to go to bed by 9?

Auckland Transport does not appear to have any strategy or vision behind this decision: they’re just counting beans.

But it gets worse: in another part of Auckland Transport, where they have lower ridership, they incentivise people to use them.

Here’s what you get when you open the AT Local app, your conduit to ride the underperforming subsidised Uber-for-british-expats cruising around Devonport:

Screenshots of $10 of free rides for referrals and off peak fares with AT Local

Why is there such a different strategy when the mode is a car, rather than a bus?

In much larger cities across the world you can get on metro trains in the last couple of hours before end of service and, like buses in Auckland, they’ll be significantly less busy. You can get into the MTR at the end of service, a system which does something like 69 trillion passengers per direction per day, and you could hear a pin drop. 

Inside of near empty MTR train at the end of service

But other countries still run them: because they provide certainty for customers, economic lubrication and life to the city. 

Ultimately, Auckland Transport has made a value judgement that people who work, study or relax in the city in the evening are less important and less deserving of usable public transport service than those who do so in the daytime, and those who use it for work. 

This is wrong, and is a projection of the provincial attitudes within Auckland Transport rather than a reflection of the people that now enjoy Auckland, and its night time centre. Bring back the all the evening buses, and market them hard, like appears to be possible with the Devonport shuttle. Cutting services won’t do anything to encourage people use them: it’ll do the opposite. If Auckland Transport’s goal is to kill ridership, suppress evening business, and suck the life out of a finally blossoming city, cutting bus frequency is the way to do it.

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  1. Yep and the train line has the same glorious 10pm curfew. With ever so slight improvements this month, but still pretty much in that 10pm area. Meanwhile they run until nearly 2am on a Friday…. I’ve been complaining about it for several years, nothing ever changes.

    Why does AT think the world ends at 10pm… or even as early 5pm if you live in the wrong place.

    They could remove the 5am-11pm bus that runs down my road if they want to save money, nobody can catch it because its upto 30 minutes early at times. They still dont do anything about the plague of early running buses across AKL.

    I used to be obsessed with PT, now I strictly drive and cycle because I’ve had enough and want to boycott their out of touch bullshit broken PT system. I still occasionally train with my bike but that’s about it.

    1. Why is patronage still a justification for service though? If anything it should be based on road vehicle volume as that’s what they’re trying to convert. Internationally in some cases they introduce frequent services to towns before they’ve even been built, so when people move in they already know there’s a reliable service there. Meanwhile AT put it and and take it away before a lot of people even trust that its there. Either that or they just put rubbish service, which nobody uses and then make it even more rubbish because nobody has been using it – see the issue?

      1. Given the cost per ride of Devonport ubers and their continued funding, I’m assuming the cut bus services must be worse. I’d like to see some data.

  2. I only use PT off peak. With these changes I’m just driving my company car or using uber now. Used to use 75. Waste of time now.

  3. For the longest time the 76X services had final departure at 11pm, which in reality was 1030pm because they had a tendency to leave early. Meanwhile, other routes servicing GI continued into the wee small hours. You’d have to leave social gatherings or events hours before anyone else just to be sure you’d get home. On more than one occasion, I’d have to call ahead, taxi and on one particularly unfortunate pay cycle, I walked the 12km from town.

    That was 2005. Good to see nothing has changed in 14 years.

  4. The 106 is a very interesting one. The timetable shows that the running time of the little loop is only 20 minutes in the evening. Add in a little time at the end of each run for timekeeping and driver breaks and it’s perfect for one bus to keep a 30 minute headway.

    What does cutting it to hourly achieve, the bus and driver parked up downtown for 40 minutes out of every hour?!

  5. I wonder whether these cuts are the result of the weird incentives which are at play here. Auckland Transport obviously wants more funding so it has an incentive to make it seem like if that doesn’t happen they need to cut critical services.

    Oddly their attachment to subsidized taxis in Devonport kills any argument they might have for more funding though.

  6. I make sure I leave the CBD before 7pm each workday as that’s when the trains stop being a turn up and go type service. I doubt I’m alone in this. That’s how ever many fewer potential shoppers, diners, event-goers etc. ATEED, Heart of the City et al should be up in arms about this.

    1. They basically force people to go home early and kills off city night business.

      The free PT friday afternoon was a great success to city night economy and why they are not doing more of these.

    2. Yes!!! Last Western train home (that I won’t need to sit around bored at Britomart) at 7.12 pm. And if you’re out late at a film on a weekday, you had better hurry back from the cinema to catch the 10.12 pm service.

      1. Same.

        You quickly learn 7-8pm is the dead zone, even more frustrating than later in the evening when you might have learnt to expect a poor service. Not uncommon for people to stay at work in the city centre until 7pm, but it appears AT don’t appear to know about that kind of reality…

        The Frequent Network story suggests that PT will be good in the early evening, but once you try to connect a train from the city (every 30 minutes after 19:12) with a West Auckland local bus which goes to 30 minutes at around 19:30 you might as well not bother. The journey can easily double overall if you get your timing wrong.

        You can spend most of an hour just waiting, not to mention risk getting charged under HOP twice because a small delay may mean your connection might easily end up outside the 30 minute window.

        Surely this is PT basics, right?

        1. My bad, train is 20 minutes until 20:15 or so (read Henderson to city by mistake) then 30. Still causes problems inter changing (fit of 20 train and 30 minutes bus not great)

  7. Just wait until they get light rail. They will be able to link five trams together and run it once every hour and 10 minutes.

    1. When they get gold plated metro to the airport (with a handful of other stations) they can probably just run it twice a day.

  8. Meanwhile the most frequent services such as the 110, 129, 125 ever get is 30min. It is painful, yet that is the only option many of us have. In fact, the 129 only operates 4 times in the morning and 4 times in the evening. Yet our routes are the first to be dropped or delayed by NZ Bus whenever there is an issue in the city.

    1. 125 runs every 2 hours, which is beyond a joke. I just brave it on SH16 with my e-bike to get to Waimauku… or drive when im not up to that. Its pathetic.

      Also why not add bike racks to “rural” services… its a no brainer, you increase the catchment radius massively and thus make better use of capacity.

  9. Other options to consider (at least on certain routes):
    Smaller buses. Most overseas cities do have a decent fleet of smaller buses that are about half the capacity of their main buses (and about 1/3 double decker capacity). Sure you still have a driver to pay but capital and operational costs are lower and being smaller there is also the possibility of routing them through routes that might not work for larger busses. On top of that they are quieter and arguably safer for late night passengers.
    20 minute headway’s rather than 30. Gets you 3x services per hour and not too long of a wait.

    The reductions should all be happening after 11 not 9pm.

    1. Capital cost are higher because you need to purchases these buses in addition to the larger bus fleet you need to run peak time services.

      Then operational costs are higher as you have these extra small buses to maintain, and you have a mixed fleet.

      And running different routes off peak to peak is a nightmare confusing for users.

      Like dominion Rd buses, off peak they take a 15 minute detour down view Rd and Mt eden Rd.

      1. Purchase price is approximately half that of a full size bus and less than half the price of a DD.
        Ongoing costs such as fuel, maintenance, tyres etc are lower due to smaller size (the bigger the engine the more maintenance costs in particular).
        No, operational costs aren’t higher. We aren’t talking about a huge fleet, but it does mean that you don’t need as many of the big expensive buses (rather than having the smaller buses purely as additional). At night when the smaller buses replace some bus routes those bigger buses can get maintenance etc done rather than having to have spares to cover them. There are many smaller routes which even in peak only have a handful of passengers on board (which AT are trying to grow of course) – put the smaller bus on then upsize when needed… rinse and repeat.
        They can also run during other periods (intrapeak etc).
        If running different routes off peak is such a nightmare then why does one of the greatest cities in the world (with generally excellent PT) do exactly that? Or is it that Dan C and AT know better than London and others?…

        In case anyone is wondering the buses I’m talking about are similar to the Optare Solo series etc.

        1. Purchase costs and running costs are very far from proportional to vehicle size. Hence the push from the Road Users forum for ever increasing truck sizes. Crewing costs are the same. Labour costs for maintenance are the same, part costs may have some proportionality to size.
          It is the same in the aviation industry hence the much lower fares on 737 and A320 served routes then provincial routes and the almost terminal decline in making sub 60seat passenger aircraft.

        2. Night busses in London are what you get at 4am, not 8pm and they are not small busses but fullsize busses.

          Operational costs are higher because either

          1) You replace some large busses in the fleet with the small busses. On peak you then run 3x small busses at 1.4 min headway instead of 1x large bus at 5 min headway. Gives you greater operating costs because you need more drivers.

          2) You have the small busses in addition to the large bus fleet and only use the small busses off peak. Then you have a larger mixed fleet to maintain = higher operating costs.

          You suggest doing maintenance at night, but at night you’re not using the full quota of large busses so you can rotate the maintenance of them. Therefore having small busses doesn’t reduce the need to carry spares of the large busses. You need spares to cover large busses being out of service, and you can replace them with a small bus cause then on peak you need 3 drivers instead of one

        3. Trucks are an entirely different matter with issues like long distances, larger and heavier loads etc. and yes actually drivers of H vehicles do earn more than drivers of smaller trucks (not a huge amount granted).
          Maintenance labour costs might be the same but the amount and duration of that labour is less on a smaller bus. Why do you think a service on an SUV costs more than a sedan?
          Interesting you mention aviation examples… those cheaper tickets on A320s work only because you can fit 171 pax in an A320 and fly a lot faster than an AT72 or Q300. An A320 with 100 pax is less profitable than an ATR72 with 50. Why do you think airlines have these smaller aircraft? Partly it is to fit into smaller airports, but mostly it is due to their reduced costs when demand doesn’t justify a larger plane (or indeed larger bus!). Otherwise all planes would be A380s and it would be a roaring success (it’s not and the A380 program has been cancelled).

          Dan – having lived in London I can certainly tell you that their are night buses that are smaller (by night I’m talking about in an Auckland context of course). The all night buses in London are a different story of course, but then they are well patronaged.
          No, where you currently have a large bus operating a route where the demand doesn’t justify it, you can replace that larger bus with a smaller one. No need for extra buses. Those smaller buses can then also be used offpeak for low patronage routes.

        4. AKL Dude. It is not the slow speed of the turbo prop aircraft that causes the high fares it is the reduction operating costs is minor compared to the drop in seat count. The market for new sub 80 seat prop aircraft is subdued at best with production of the Q400 and ATR 42 near dead. Production of sub 100 seat passenger jets though has all but ceased. What killed them is that their operating costs are remarkably similar to the 170 seat 737 800 and A320 but without the seat count to spread these costs.

        5. Which routes in London operate small busses at night time?

          I have never seen a small bus in London, let alone a small London bus on a night route. It’s always been same bus that operates the day route in my experience. If the night busses were smaller they would be leaving even more people behind at the stops than they do currently.

        6. London operate some very small buses on their very infrequent routes. These routes are created for people who can’t walk 500m to the nearest normal route. I used to ride the 236 if it turned up at just the right time. Approximately 10% of passengers were in wheelchairs and 20% required other walking aids, approximately 40% of passengers were part of a family group that included a child in pram.

          Small buses are great for infrequent social access type routes on tiny suburban streets. Auckland doesn’t have tiny suburban streets so we should use normal sized buses.

    2. I think you’d find that the capital cost of a 30-40 passengers small bus is still close to the same price as a standard 70 passenger large bus. Maybe 80 of the cost. You’d have to drop down to a van style vehicle of 12 to 20 passengers to get a big drop in capital price (but they you have something that is pretty useless at peak times)

      Operations of fuel and maintenance would be the same story, still most of the whole amount despite half the capacity.

      Quieter and easier to route through local streets, I think that would be your only real benefit.

  10. Excellent post thanks, Shan. This is not just about a few services.

    It’s about AT management not understanding the organisation’s core functions and what its key strategies should be. It must be so disheartening to the Metro staff who work so hard to optimise the network.

    The Board should have asked more questions, including about the AT Local trial. There’s a serious lack of good governance going on.

    1. AT are always keen to spend billions on shiny new things but not a few million to properly run the buses that carry the majority of the people.

        1. Seems to me this is a systemic problem, throughout not just transport but Council too.

          Easier to find multiple millions to rip out and rebuild than to do occasional repairs and to maintain well…

  11. Last weekend I got stuck in the city waiting for a Dominion Road service that I thought was meant to be every 15 mins till midnight. Ended up taking an Uber instead. Even stupider thing was that both Lynfield and Blockhouse Bay buses left at midnight – why couldn’t one of those been at 11:45?

  12. Note sure what is meant by the quote “Uber-for-british-expats cruising around Devonport”.

    This is supposed to be (and usually is) a evidence based sensible site not a home for xenophobic remarks taking a dig at certain communities.

    Humour yes but small minded xenophobia no thanks.

    1. Yeah, I thought that too, let down an otherwise excellent article with a pointless, cliched dig at a group of immigrants.

      Needs to do better.

    2. I agree – silly small minded anti-immigrant comment. Shame as generally a good website but this comment was more becoming of whaleoil.

    3. Although I doubt British expats are a underprivileged group there is no need to have a cheap dig at them based on prejudice and no data.

        1. In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat” which white people (often English) use to describe themselves. People of colour are usually called immigrants.

  13. Thanks, Shan – this issue needed to be brought to the fore. I can say that this retrograde step has already dented my social life. My regular weekly outing with friends, who I had just recently persuaded that it was OK (and fun) to use the bus, has now reverted to car-only because we come home late at night and they refuse to consider public transport now that it’s no longer “turn-up-and-go”. The change impacts more seriously on us because we live centrally and, wherever we choose to go, we’re returning at a time close to the last inward bus anyway.

    This may have seemed like a small step to AT, but to a regular user, it was huge – and to potential new users (like my friends) it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I feel hugely let down by AT.

    I look forward to AT recognising their mistake and coming back and reinstating these services. They would do well to remember that the inner city population is now many tens of thousands, and growing fast. These people also have the right to public transport to get them home late at night.

    Just a comment on the 106: I don’t know how many people use or observe the 106 on a regular basis, but it surely has to be the “peakiest” route in the entire network. Most of the time, it is absolutely, literally empty when I see it on K Road. Except at the end of the school day, when it is absolutely jammed full and the “Bus Full” signs are up. I was frankly surprised that it was not cut altogether, so few passengers does it carry. Surely there’s a better way of providing a bus to Freemans Bay passengers than this route, which because of its low patronage plays right into the hands of the PT naysayers?

    1. Interesting that during the great fire the 105 and 106 buses shared the same route out of the city via Victoria Park Franklin Road and Howe Street to K Road.
      Now we regularily use the 106 bus to and from the centre of Freemans Bay but we also hate seeing precious resources wasted traveling empty so much of the time.
      I think there is potential to combine the 106 and 105 bus routes again as a variation of the old 020 route.

  14. Back in the day we used to have 10 o’clock closing plus films at the picture theaters were shorter so the Christchurch city transport board used to run their last buses from the square at about 10.30. Maybe buses only ran hourly but you knew the timetable. Of course these days we have workers knocking off at midnight. I always enjoyed 10 o’clock trading get there at 8.30 meet all your friends have a good social time and no hangover so you could do it all again the next night. Happy days.

  15. Auckland will never be a truly global city if it continues to subtly encourage car dependence. A small town on steroids it will remain

  16. It is clearly AT did not consider the social implication such as night time economy and people social entertainment choices.

    The decision is a poor one and it shows how incompetent those people making decision.

    Senior managers who made those poor decisions need to have their company cars withdrawn and issued AT Hop cards instead.

  17. Surely our ‘climate emergency’ Auckland Council will be all over these cuts and reversing them? Right? Our progressive mayor?

  18. For us poor buggers that use the 14t/14w service, we are now down to hourly after 9pm. Totally unacceptable for a frequent route.

  19. Great post.
    This has made me so furious. I am now back to using the car regularly.
    The cut backs are crippling and make a joke of all the fanfare about the new bus services introducing the need for no timetables.
    The decision to continue the elitist Devonport service is the last straw.
    Why is AT and the board so unaccountable! Why aren’t Cr Darby and Hills speaking up?
    You’re right. We are back to the dark past and what infuriates me as someone else noted, after persuading my friends they can use PT at night they’re now Resorting to using Uber or their car again . Sigh.

    1. So, why are you good folk not lobbying councillors to ask these questions of AT? The decisions are taken internally because there is no oversight / holding to account. Write to a councillor!

  20. Connecting routes suffer the same issue – the frequency drops too early, even accounting for the extra journey required.

    For example the 120 route (Constellation to Westgate) becomes half-hourly from 6:15pm. To reliabily connect to the 6:15 at Constellation I have to catch the NX1 no later than 5:50pm. So the connecting bus frequency dropping so early makes the NX1 frequency irrelevant.

    If i miss the 5:50pm bus from Albert Street (which we can all agree isn’t late), I might as well wait half an hour and get work done, rather than kill half an hour at Constellation station.

  21. AT could fund all these services by charging market rates for city car parking. The situation where AT sets the base for prices ($2 per hour nights and weekends) needs to change so that people are truly encouraged to use other modes than the car.

  22. I’m in bed by 10. 🙁

    I was hoping they would start filling in the great South Western Frequency Hole between Blockhouse Bay and Avondale but they are digging deeper instead.

    And it’s not the only frequency hole in the isthmus. I know it’s worse elsewhere…

  23. “Weekdays
    Reduced from 30 minutes to hourly after 7pm
    Reduced from 30 minutes to hourly on weekends”

    30 minute headways is the minimum acceptable level of service. AT should look at on-demand transit to retain that minimum frequency & should have a policy to do so.

  24. That MTR photo – one person on the train?… even at the end of the day? Never. The photo shows a train at the Kennedy Town terminus station (station name visible through the door) waiting likely after another train has just left. So not at all representative. Instead even the last trains are full of people – which would have supported your story far better.

    That said – at the moment MTR trains are stopping at 10pm on Fridays and weekends due to the (um) ‘curfew/repair period’ the government has imposed. The bus system has stepped up to replace that transport option. Longest wait for a bus at 11:30pm? – < 5 minutes as there are so many buses along the main HK Island corridors. Other routes in further flung districts not quite as good but no more than 20 minutes up to 12 midnight. So yes – no need to plan.

    1. Thank god AT weren’t around in “97” , I got a bus in California on a Sunday morn. going from Redwood City to San Fransico a trip of around 26 miles as the crow flies . The bus was a bendy bus and on board for the whole trip there was a driver , a learner driver and myself and the farew was $us2.00 . The service was a regular timetabled one and after reading the article If AT was running this service it would have been canned right there and then . And the only reason I got this bus was that I missed the train by 5mins .

      But I think the reason why most of services have been knocked on the head is they the bus companies just don’t have the drivers , reason for that is the wages being paid .

  25. Wellington’s curfew is not quite as bad, with the main bus routes petering out between 11:30pm-12:00am, and the trains between 11:02-11:14pm. However all services drop to ½-hourly or less after 8:00-8:30. On Friday and Saturday nights, trains run hourly until 01:02-01:14am, and an array of late Night buses on special routes run hourly until 03:00.

    However the big blow for Wellington was the slashing of weeknight train services in 2004. From 1997-2004, weeknight trains ran ½-hourly until Midnight on each line. This was incredibly useful during those years, but it was slashed to hourly after 9pm, last train 11:00-11:05. The effect was largely to kill the late-evening patronage and make the trains far-less useful for evening activities. The excuse at the time was staff-shortages, but the curfew has persisted right to this day. The Hutt and Kapiti frequencies were recently restored to ½-hourly until the last train, but not the Johnsonville Line which remains, unhelpfully, hourly after 9pm.

    I would be very surprised if those who plan and specify NZ’s public transport services ever use them in the late evenings or have any appreciation of the deterrent effects of sparse and prematurely-curfewed timetables. I long for the day that a more-enlightened bunch of PT planners comes along.

    1. Auckland has been well served by an “enlightened bunch of PT planners” in recent years Dave. They created the “every 15 minutes until midnight” services in the first place, against the odds, and they fought very hard to retain them. They were not responsible for their removal. Please give them a break; a little support would be so much more constructive.

      1. That’s great to hear, PT Planner. Please come down to Wellington and give us “every 15 minutes until midnight”!

        1. Um. That’s where I am now, and I can assure that, unfortunately, “every 15 minutes until midnight” is not yet anywhere near the top of the priority list. Fixing what’s broken comes first – including restoring some things that a certain “enlightened PT Planner” originally put in place 20+ years ago. Very little is possible while there aren’t enough buses and drivers to drive them.

  26. Great post of a sad development. Don’t forget they had recently cut other south Auckland routes, some altogether IIRC.

    Our frequent 32 Sylvia to Mangere also chopped back at night etc.

    Yet the trains slightly improved at night showing yet again the isolation of some things AT do.

    Note my day was brightened up by the best bit of reasonable unexpected news from them in a long time and that is apparently they are going to cut the Outerlink into two with the 650 becoming a frequent 65. I think the 30 night frequency will have to be reinstated as a result.

  27. The sad reality is that despite the fact that we have a climate crisis AT is doing precious little to shift mode share.

    I am going to say it again because this story never loses appeal no matter how many times it is told – AT Local in Devonport is a complete fiasco. (well done Matt for saying this over and over). This money (despite whether it might come from another pot) should be apportioned to PT opex.

    Someone asked earlier about what Cr Darby thinks of it – he indicated to me that he thinks it just needs more marketing. Really? With all the bad publicity there can’t be a single person in Devonport who doesn’t know about it.

    Why can’t local govt and politicians just admit that they sometimes get it wrong? Or is something that buys a few votes (and is unlikely to cost votes) ever wrong?

    And Devonport has another fiasco – a charging station at the ferry terminal – that at last reporting was used on average every two days. Could it have been the same person? Money for misguided activities like this (what are the odds that having driven to the ferry you would need to recharge?) and yet no money for needed PT.

    Are free fares for kids on weekends being paid for by the cutting of these services?

    I was only yesterday that climate scientist James Renwick said that we need to decrease emissions by many percent per year. For Auckland, at least achieving peak emissions would be a start. That won’t happen unless vehicle emissions are reduced.

  28. Our government bodies never seems to join the dots on the big picture with sprawl and transport. Deploying viable evening/night services would presumably be easier if the density were there.

    1. Why does it require density though? If all SOV motorists decided to get PT one morning, I doubt our system would have anywhere near enough capacity. We need to encourage people into PT by making it more attractive, and that might mean running at a loss or more of a loss. Who decided public services have to be profitable, or partially profitable? Just seems silly.

      Don’t get me wrong density is great, but its not a requirement for decent public transport. If they can run PT to towns before they are even built in other countries in the world, why are struggling to run decent PT for some of the busiest PT corridors. Our thinking is backwards.

      1. When the Wellington Suburban rail system was electrified in the middle of the last century “electric units” spent most of their time trundling through farmland.

        1. Great, lets get it done then, I would love to get rail (or well trains… as it already has rail) further South and further Northwest. Fantastic for more biking opportunities too.

        2. Erm no I’m pretty sure that’s not remotely true. Maybe North of Porirua but everywhere else was already built-up & developed by the time the electric train services were introduced.

        3. Roland Sapsford says:
          November 7, 2019 at 11:04 pm

          An accurate answer is a bit of both On the eastern side, the lower Hutt Valley was largely a market garden before WWII. The rail service (which ran up the foothills on the West) served the Western Hills and the upper Valley After WWII there was extensive state housing development in the flat lower Valley and a parallel investment in re-routing and double-tracking the railway lines at the same time. The Hutt was essentially developed around the train service and vice versa.

          On the Kapiti side there is similar story where the Tawa deviation (pre-WWII public works, creating the current double track two tunnel link, and the Johnsonville Branch – which used to be the main rail line) created a rapid mass transit link between the nascent Porirua settlement and Wellington – there was some state housing development there as a result, esp between what is now Porirua and Wellington but changes in policy led to a more car dependent layout in Porirua as Porirua was developed after the Hutt, and in the era of autocentric town planning. .

        4. Hi Roland.
          As I understand it: Before the second world war, it was only the Johnsonville line (now no longer the main trunk line) that was electrified for EMU services.
          The Hutt Valley and Porirua weren’t electrified until the 1950s, in the case of the Hutt, much of the line was actually laid then. The market gardens around Taita & Naenae were being turned into state housing before and during the building of the railway. Everything south of that and north of the Silverstream bridge around the line was already developed.

        5. Hi Daniel

          Yes I think we are agreeing here 🙂 Yes the J’ville line was the first electrified when the Tawa deviation was built and that was (I think) circa 1938. And yes the Hutt lines were reconfigured and electrified in the 1950s to coincide with housing. But the line to Paekakariki was electrified in 1940 (ish) and so the comment from Don above has some truth for what is now the Kapiti line.


      2. Yes you’re right Peter; Auckland should be able to and are actually successfully improving PT in the current density. As far as I can see though, normal large-city transport would be very very very much easier if the government would stop allowing decades of low-density sprawl. It’s perverse.

        1. What improvements exactly though? We have seen the new network, which took forever to implement and there have been very little improvements since, in fact many areas have had services slashed since the new network.

          Waimauku, Helensville and Laingholm, reletavely busy semi-rural areas still have 2-3 hour frequency for the most part under the new network. So do growth areas like dairy flat (down from fairly frequent before NEX extension) and Paerata (down from service to Papakura, to only southbound to Pukekohe at diminished frequency, requiring you to now double-back on the train…

          The only semi-rural area with any decent improvement under the new network was Whitford/Beachlands/Maraetai which saw an increase from 3 hour frequency to hourly, and addition of Sunday service. Also Waiuku which saw a 2-hourly service added, where they only had peak-only before.

          Rodney local board had to fund their own services, adding a riverhead/coatesville bus at hourly frequency, a Warkworth to Wellsford service also hourly and a Helensville to Silverdale bus at 90 min frequency.

          Meanwhile those of us out west still cant access our beaches without a daunting drive or bike through the Waitakere ranges. Piha, Huia and perhaps even Bethells seem like no-brainer locations to run buses. Both for locals living along the route and for those of us who want to get the beach without the hassle of driving and parking.

  29. Thanks for the post Shan. I couldn’t agree more. I use the 30 and have been gutted by the reduction in frequency after 9pm. I only switched to PT about 4 months ago and have been telling folks how easy it is to go out in the city using the bus; e.g. don’t need to worry about paying for evening parking etc. I was really enjoying rediscovering the city centre too. I really hope that AT realises what a mistake this is.

  30. This is bizarre and backward looking, especially at a time when the Government has hundreds of millions in unspent public transport funding. This move will undermine confidence in public transport at the time when Auckland and the planet badly need the opposite.

  31. To be honest: I’d rather that Auckland transport ran more buses after hours (even if they made a loss) than trains of unnecessarily high a frequency.

  32. An accurate answer is a bit of both 🙂 On the eastern side, the lower Hutt Valley was largely a market garden before WWII. The rail service (which ran up the foothills on the West) served the Western Hills and the upper Valley After WWII there was extensive state housing development in the flat lower Valley and a parallel investment in re-routing and double-tracking the railway lines at the same time. The Hutt was essentially developed around the train service and vice versa.

    On the Kapiti side there is similar story where the Tawa deviation (pre-WWII public works, creating the current double track two tunnel link, and the Johnsonville Branch – which used to be the main rail line) created a rapid mass transit link between the nascent Porirua settlement and Wellington – there was some state housing development there as a result, esp between what is now Porirua and Wellington but changes in policy led to a more car dependent layout in Porirua as Porirua was developed after the Hutt, and in the era of autocentric town planning. .

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