Here’s the roundup of some of the things we didn’t yet cover this week.

More Auckland Transport Consultation

After months of silence in the lead up to the local body elections, AT are clearly now playing catch up and trying to squeeze in all of their consultations before Christmas. This week we’ve had another few important ones.

City Centre Bus Lanes for CRL

As discussed a few weeks ago, the city centre is in for considerable disruption over the coming weeks and one of the big changes will be the closure from March of the Albert St / Wellesley St intersection for City Rail Link construction. With Wellesley such an important bus corridor, AT are looking to put in bus lanes to ensure buses can still get around the city and not be stuck in congestion.

Auckland Transport is proposing to introduce a range of city centre road changes for new 24/7 bus lanes and other bus priority measures to accommodate new City Rail Link (CRL) works commencing in early 2020.

From 1 March 2020, the CRL project will close the intersection of Wellesley Street, Albert Street and Mayoral Drive for at least 9 months. As works progress, the Victoria Street/Albert Street intersection will then close for at least 12 months from early 2021.

To ensure people can continue to travel in and around the city centre during these works, bus lanes are being proposed on additional roads to ensure buses are given priority.

Like others that already exist in the city centre, the proposed bus lanes on Queen Street, Victoria Street and Mayoral Drive will operate 24/7.

The proposed bus lanes
How the affected buses will be routed through the city centre

Consultation is open till 10 December

Point Chevalier improvements

AT are consulting on a range of improvements to walking and cycling in Pt Chev. Our friends over at Bike Auckland have a detailed post on the proposal.

Impression of Meola Rd

Consultation closed 20 December

St Lukes Cycle Safety improvements

The NZTA are to make safety improvements to the cycleway on St Lukes Rd

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is delighted to confirm that construction of safety improvements on part of the St Lukes cycleway near the north-western cycleway crossing on St Lukes Road will start early next year.

A contract to build these safety improvements, which includes four raised crossings, has been awarded to CLL with work beginning in January and expected to take around two months.

The NZ Transport Agency has worked with Auckland Transport and Bike Auckland to develop a design that improves safety for people on foot and on bikes connecting between the local cycle network, schools and community facilities such as the local parks and reserves.

Raised crossings are a Safe System* improvement that make it safer for people on foot and on bikes. The Transport Agency is committed to the Safe System approach.

NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton, says these upgrades form a missing link in the cycle network, safely connecting St Lukes Road to the north-western cycleway and Great North Road, and to places like the Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Western Springs Park and Western Springs College. They also deliver a safer west-east crossing for north-western cycleway users.

“Safety for all road users, including people on foot on and bikes, is a priority for the Transport Agency. These upgrades will significantly improve safety at this busy intersection, as well as the Duncan MacLean intersection, by slowing traffic down.”


Improvements also include a Copenhagen-style raised bike lane southbound from the overbridge to Duncan MacLean Link, cycle phasing at the controlled crossings, extending the traffic island by the westbound motorway off-ramp, and improved lighting. These safety improvements will allow the eastern lane of the St Lukes overbridge, closed two years ago due to safety concerns, to be reopened to cars.

Safer Speeds around Schools

Yesterday the government announced a number of changes aimed at improving safety. These include mandatory speed limit reductions around schools

The Government is delivering on its commitment to make streets safer for kids to walk and cycle to school, by reducing speed limits to a maximum of 40 km/h around urban schools and 60 km/h around rural schools.

“Our kids should have the freedom to walk and cycle to school and feel safe doing so,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

“Many parents would like their kids to get to school independently, but are understandably concerned about fast moving traffic near their school.

“Safer speeds around schools is proven to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for children to walk and cycle.

Here are some of the other changes coming

The safer improvements around schools is part of a broader programme to tackle unsafe speeds across the country. These changes include:

  • a new ‘no surprises’ approach to safety cameras that will introduce warning signs so drivers know to go slow through high-risk, safety camera areas;
  • transferring the ownership and operation of safety cameras from NZ Police to the NZ Transport Agency;
  • rolling out additional cameras on high-risk roads;
  • streamlining the process for communities and local authorities to determine the appropriate speed limits for their regions.

The NZTA taking over the ownership and operation of safety cameras is quite interesting given the issues AT had with getting the police to manage them. And just the other day I was thinking, as a truck barreled through a red light with a pedestrian about to cross, “imagine if we had red light cameras on every single intersection”.

As for the school changes, it is positive to see the AA coming out in strong support. Auckland Transport have also done the same.

AT: Fix the Gt North Rd / Carrington Rd / Pt Chev Rd lights

For I believe the fourth time over the last week or so, and third time within as many days, we’ve seen reports that the pedestrian crossing signals at the above intersection have not been working and despite being reported to AT each time, they don’t seem to be doing anything about it with the signals often out for much of the day, including when school children are trying to cross the road.

AT this is unacceptable and it needs to be fixed properly as it’s creating major safety issues.

National Ticketing system two years behind schedule

One of the reasons for the NZTA investing in the system that became HOP was that they wanted to use the back end functionality for a national system. But that goal fell apart a few years ago after Wellington refused to use it and so bizarrely the NZTA decided to they would start from scratch and build a new national ticketing system. AT will eventually need to adopt the system and as such put on hold plans improve the functionality of HOP.

But things haven’t been going so well and yesterday it was revealed it the new national system is at least two years behind schedule.

A national system of paying for public transport tickets virtually anywhere – using cellphones, credit card or paywave – is beset by delays and uncertainty.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says the rollout of the Next project will start on Wellington’s trains in 2022, two years behind schedule.

It has blamed delays on changes in the available technology options.

But a consultant’s report to NZTA found a lot of problems at the agency itself, including how it put the project into the hands of its dysfunctional Connected Journeys unit (CJS) for two years.

“We were advised the head of CJS [director Martin McMullan] adopted a relatively hands-off approach,” consultant company Deloitte’s report stated.

Why do ticketing projects always seem to end up such a saga?

The article also includes this worrying comment

More fundamentally, it said NZTA lacked an “active vehicle” to implement the government’s public transport priorities, and had let its focus on a national ticketing plan lapse.

City Centre Progress

On Albert and Wyndham streets the first sections of new footpath have opened outside the Shakespeare Hotel and it’s so much nicer than what it ever used to be. Already the Shakespeare and its patrons have started spreading out onto the street. I can’t wait for more to be finished and for the trees to start going in.

Quay St has been subject to a lot of disruption over the last few months as works to upgrade it have been underway but the first sign of light at the end of the tunnel has started emerging with the first of the permanent paving starting to go down. You can now get a feel for how much substantially wider the footpath on the Southern side will be., which is will be fantastic.

A few tweets that caught my attention

The Princes / Shortland intersection is minor, it’s hard to see why AT would object to this change

We shouldn’t have ads on buses given it makes the experience worse for users, but that is even more so when those ads are encouraging people to drive. Do AT even think about this stuff?

“If there was just one more lane it would fix it”

One from me (because it’s faster than uploading the image directly), we don’t build squigly roads so why do we do so with cycleways/shared paths? From this video

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  1. I can’t picture how the closed St Lukes bridge traffic lane can be reopened while improving the crossing (aside from grade seperation which isn’t being discussed).
    The bottom photo of squiggly cycle lanes is just typical. Look at other recent efforts like the waterview cycleway beside Oakley Creek, so many bends and corners with limited visibility and added risk. The latest plans for the cycle/pedestrian seperation of the NZ cycleway near town also leave some unncessary wiggles in the cycleway.
    Noone should be able to sign off these plans without being a cycle commuter.

    1. Maybe one sign-off by a cycle commuter and one sign-off by a parent who cycles with little children on their little trikes and bikes.

      1. Here’s a dumb question: Why can’t this be done and checked using something like VR? I can drop a giant Minecraft tree in my company’s stock yard so why can’t we use it to asses actual stuff that people will have to use every single day.

    2. As its a shared path there is some justification in that it will slow cyclists down. Of course a much better outcome would be properly separated footpath and cycleway

      1. As a software engineer I just can’t understand how those ticketing systems take so long and cost so much money. It all seems pretty straight forward to me – a few database tables to hold balances and transactions, a front end web interface to load money and view balances and transactions, and some form of integration to the hardware (which is probably out of scope of a national system). I’m sure there are some complexities but realistically it doesn’t actually do that much. I get the feeling that I could build a national ticketing system in 2 years by myself!

        1. For AT Hop, yeah that’s about it – Though the in-field hardware integration is always the tricky part.

          The problem is that they wish to move from “stored value” to “stored value and/or credit/debit card” – Removing the need to have an account. Dealing with the banks must be an insane clusterf…. of an experience. I imagine that’s what’s causing the delays, finding hardware that is certifiable, auditing the software before coming up with something certifiable and then trying to integrate that all… I know that in theory it’s easy to find microcontrollers with inbuilt cryptographic engines etc (Microchip CEC1702 / CEC1302 for example) but satisfying the banks that the hardware is secure would be a challenge.

        2. Any software project carried out by a Government department always takes this long, costs a fortune and results in something barely usable. That is one of life’s rules.

          These projects always start with overseas travel, the travel business class phase last around six months. Then there is the attend conferences and workshops phase. Followed by paying someone external to write the brief for something they know nothing about. Next comes tenders followed quickly by a delay to enlarge the budget. Only then does work start which involves weekly meetings and issuing as many complex variations as is humanly possible.

        3. Jon_K why not go credit/debit card only? In that case the bank is doing almost all of the work – all the ticketing system needs to do is work out the cost of the trip and make the transaction to the bank. There are plenty of private companies that do this – is it any different to pay at pump for example?

        4. @JimboJones, not debit/credit only as a range of people in society don’t have banking access, normally child, so there will probably always be some form of stored value required. This is one of the reasons that phasing out cash is inherently bad.

          I keep thinking, we don’t we license a system that has already been built, (Sydney – Opal, Melbourne – MyKi, Brisbane – Go) and then we contribute to updates of the functionality, rather than trying to do it all ourselves.

        5. ‘Why not license a known good existing system’ – my thoiughts exactly. But NZ seems to have a ‘we’re Diffrunt ‘ere’ mentality which discounts any such sensible notion. It used to happen back in the day with accounting software, until the internationalisation of standards, GAAP etc, rendered the bodged-together local ‘solutions’ irrelevant. Any Aussie system would work, given that the banking interfaces are similar if not actually identical. Let’s Do This!

        6. Miffy? How do you know the exact government process for major IT projects? Did you steal the secret manual??

    3. After the fifth wiggle, the path could have headed straight for the bridge but instead it carries on and ends up with 90 degree to the left followed by jump to the right. Put your hands on your hips etc etc..

      1. Zippo they hve been done that for people that don’t want to busted for DiC and instead of walking/cycling straight the curves help them better to get home .

  2. Massively all over the place piece from Simon Wilson, basically a giant puff piece for the elevated Light Rail pitch.

    1. Yeah, disappointing. Here it is for those who can get behind the paywall:

      Elevated lines have their place, but no-one should be presenting them as if their construction is disruption free. Nor more acceptable to the communities along their length.

      But as for this: “NZF and CDPQ are in it to make money, which is good: they know the only way to do that is to offer a service people want to use.” and then quoting the NZSF’s Etheredge: “Returns earned by NZ Super Fund will benefit taxpayers”… sorry, Simon, the best way to finance anything is by the government doing so, because the interest rates it pays on borrowed money are so much lower. Whatever we do, we need to pay for it ourselves within a shortish timeframe. There’s no way future generations should still be paying for it because the costs increase so much with CDPQ’s involvement. Future generations will have so many costs due to our negligence, don’t put this on them too.

      1. I was most surprised about saying the aesthetics of Queen St/K Road would suffer if Light Rail was trenched under K Road, but then ignores the huge elephant in the room of elevated rail lines, which will cast shadows and take up a fairly big footprint of their own.

        I’ve noticed Simon’s pieces tend to cheerlead for hugely transformational projects and shout about the things they do actually do, but gloss over the downsides. His focus on the Waterfront Stadium is similarly infuriating as he’s the only voice that really gets any column-space on Auckland issues. With great power, etc.

        1. And all that fuss about 5 story apartments in Dominion Rd and the objections. I can just imagine the objections from the locals!

  3. I hope they don’t just add a second lane heading south to St Lukes on the overpass. The biggest issue I find there is cars queuing to get on the motorway blocking the intersection with St Lukes. I would suggest having two lanes for motorway queuing and one lane heading straight would solve a lot of the problems with traffic queuing back to the east bound on ramp in the afternoon.

  4. It baffles me that Queen Street still doesn’t have dedicated bus lanes, the 105 from Grey Lynn takes more time to traverse Queen Street than it does to get from Grey Lynn to Queen Street.

    Also that AT advert killed me.

    1. Joe
      If AT was making a serious and rational approach to a climate emergency then there would be bus lanes on Queen St and many other places. If AT was serious about changing mode share, ditto. If Auckland Council was serious in having air quality within health organisation standards, ditto.
      Why does Auckland have one of the highest car share modes in the world? Can we not adapt to a changing world?

  5. I wonder if the bus lane work for CRL may be possible to become a foundation move towards Linear Park.

    While not supportive, I wonder if the squiggly path is an attempt to slow cyclists for children and pedestrian safety? Personally don’t think will work and just make more dangerous but…

  6. With integrated ticketing we should just go back to the 2015 idea and roll out AT Hop nationwide. Particularly, given At Hop was looking at better ways of paying anyway. The Deloittes report gives no confidence that it will be rolled out well. My understanding is the project team is located at GWRC. The public transport focus there will be on Wellington buses.

    1. I like having a particular card for a particular purpose it helps me to keep my finances in order. Recently I have taken to buying Gift cards in shops like the Warehouse. Its real easy just give the teller some money and get a card. I don’t want all my purchases coming out of the same account as I find I lose track. However I appreciate that we are all different and some people want to use their phone to manage all aspects of their life. I find it easier to extract the right card from my wallet. My other point is if we are to use phones, credit and debit cards along with HOP cards it just makes the software so complicated which is probably why it takes so long to implement and by the time we do the next thing has come along so we never have a system which will please everyone.

    2. No, we couldn’t possibly roll out AT HOP nationwide because Wellington is different and special and must always have its own hodgepodge of ticketing systems.

      1. It’s typical of wellington . Go back to the 1930’s Auckland was going to have an electrified rail system , who got it in the end Wellington and now Auckland has a great system for all the different PT services and Wellington dosen’t or can’t understand how AT Hop works and they can’t even get their one working properly .

        And as for the NZTA they are just a bunch of idiots that are scared of their masters who all/mostly live in Wellington , so the best thing is to tell Wellington to pull their head out of the sand and stand up to wellington and tell them ” NO@ , and just use the HOP system . Auckland originally had a number of different card systems and all the different companies finally agree to using just the one and the sky didn’t fall . So screw Wellington and their stupid system .

        1. “Go back to the 1930’s Auckland was going to have an electrified rail system , who got it in the end Wellington ”
          Auckland’s 1930s Main Trunk deviation did not involve long tunnels. Wellingtons did. Like the previous two NZ rail electrification schemes (Otira & Lyttelton) , smoke issues in tunnels were a major part of the justification. The initially approved (1934) electrification for Wellington consisted of Wellington to Paekakariki only & did not involve suburban multiple units. J’ville was approved later (1936) & the Hutt Valley was post WW2.

        2. It did the tunnel was going from the old Auckland Railway Station through to Morningside . But the Government of the day though 450000pounds was to expensive . So they gave wellington the power as the Poli’s didn’t want gritt in their eyes

        3. “Go back to the 1930’s Auckland was going to have an electrified rail system , who got it in the end Wellington”
          Ah not quite.
          Initially; only the Johnsonville line and Kapiti line (and only to Paekakariki) was electrified and in the latter half of the 1930’s (before the second world war)
          The Hutt valley line was just a freight spur until the 1950’s, which was when the rest of the network was electrified.
          And that was a completely different project to anything happening in Auckland. Auckland got a brand new Railway Terminus. There was talk of electrifying the network and even building “the morningside deviation” (a tunnel much like the CRL) but it was only ever long term plans, which were shelved due to the war and then abandoned afterwards.
          This idea you habour that Wellington somehow got what Auckland was supposed to get is small-minded parochial drivel.

          “Wellington dosen’t or can’t understand how AT Hop works and they can’t even get their one working properly.”
          You make me laugh. Wellington had a electronic card PT payment system when Auckland was still building the Britomart terminus. And it introduced the Snapper card (which the HOP card is derived from) when Auckland was still building project DART. Somehow I think Wellington understands it at least as well as Auckland does. By your logic; Auckland failed to use Wellington;s existing system 😉

          “And as for the NZTA they are just a bunch of idiots”
          Hahahaha I’m so sure you’re much more of an authority than they are.

          “hat are scared of their masters who all/mostly live in Wellington”
          Oh here we go, the conspiracy theory.

          “So the best thing is to tell Wellington to pull their head out of the sand and stand up to wellington and blah blah blah reassuring tough guy nonsense”
          Of course you mouth this off with the luxury than nobody will take any of this rubbish remotely seriously. And it’s not hard to see why.
          That’s enough inferiority complex for me to laugh at…

        4. You know you really should do some research before making these strident and easily disproved claims. Auckland has had electronic ticketing since the early 90s when the Yellow Bus Company began using Wayfarer ETMs on its buses. Britomart opened in 2004 and as far as I’m aware, only Mana buses were using electronic ticketing in Wellington at that time, the rest were all the same old paper and cardboard. Incredibly, Wellington trains are STILL using paper and cardboard. And no ticket machines at stations either. As for the HOP vs Snapper saga..

        5. I’m sorry Zippo; exactly what have you disproven from me?

          And exactly why do you give a toss if Wellington still uses cardboard tickets? Does the Wellington system need to spend the considerable amount of money abandoning it? Hmm? What would be the point of it again?

        6. @Zippo
          Cityline buses had Go Rider cards in Auckland & Wellington regions. IIRC, these both came in during the 90s & I think were Wayfarer based tech. The Wellington (Hutt) one was replaced by Snapper.
          Hutt Valley Branch (as it was then) opened in 1927 to Waterloo with passenger service from the beginning. First section of Gracefield Branch was a few years later coinciding with the opening of the Hutt Workshops.

        7. @GK
          Okay I stand corrected on the Hutt branch.
          But the idea that Wellington somehow robbed Auckland of rail electrification remains silly.
          Clearly there were already established non-electric passenger services to Paekakariki (via Johnsonville before the Tawa deviation) and to Waterloo and Upper Hutt and that upgrading them to electric multiple units had been a long term plan, which had nothing to do with Auckland.

      1. Because the transition is being held up by the ongoing snafu in Wellington. Further development of the HOP system has stopped while this new nation wide system is being developed which is now, to no great surprise, years behind schedule. If AT HOP had been used as a basis for the national system, it’s very likely Auckland commuters would either have or be close to the ability to use bank cards now.

      2. Also around integrated ticketing, the idea that “rollout will begin on Wellington trains” seems to defeat the purpose. Will Wellington have one card for trains and one for buses? Though that card might be a credit cards, its not really integrated ticketing.

        1. Starts with trains then replaces Snapper on buses shortly after. (Assuming it eventually happens. GWRC uselessness + NZTA uselessness. Yay…)

        1. I could be mistaken but think the way they do it in London is when you tag on with a CC the details are stored in the backend of the ticketing system and at the end of the day it works out what you spent based on the fare rules and charges you once you’ve made all your trips

    3. Please explain: Exactly why should money be spent so Wellington and Auckland have the same ticketing? What will be the big benefit from this expenditure?
      The vast majority of PT users in either city don’t go to the other city to benefit from it. so why would anyone be gung-ho over it?

      1. The benefit is meant to be that by having a single back end we’re not (as a country) spending huge sums of money building multiple versions of the same thing

        1. These systems are contracted to local government authorities. So either way; each of these authorities are going to be paying for whatever system.
          Why not let every region use what suits them best?

          In the case of Wellington; smart card ticketing on the train system would require millions in upgrading the stations & their access for little-to-no benefit.

        2. ” smart card ticketing on the train system would require millions in upgrading the stations & their access for little-to-no benefit.”
          Yes because complicated disintegrated ticketing is known to drive patronage. No wait, it’s exactly the opposite…
          Spent some years as a bus-train-bus commuter getting ripped off by the transfer penalty. Disintegrated ticketing = crap
          “Why not let every region use what suits them best?”
          Because regional authorities can’t be trusted to act in interests of passengers. GWRC, for example, endlessly kicking the can down the road.

        3. At one point Wellington Tranz Metro or whatever it was called then, was charging an extra adult fare for a bicycle, even on a Sunday afternoon! Crazy stuff. Very much into using pricing to push people off trains.

        4. GK – where I live the whole system is all 1 stage and if you fail to tag off the penalty is $4.90 not the $1.95 fare you would have paid . And with the transfer between say buses the max time allowed is 30mins or less , if you get on again 1sec over that you then get stung another fare . But for 3-4hrs travelling around the max fare you are charged is the longest part of the journey say 3 stages . And with the train network as I did the other week I got on at Britomart went on the eastern line service to Otahuhu then to Newmarket changed there to Mt Eden tagged of there , then tagged back on there to go back to Britomart and the whole trip cost me $1.95 . and I never moved off the platforms the whole time . So if you know how to work the system you can benefit from it . And it’s a lot better than it was from when it first started

          When we first got the Hop system where I live we got stung 2 stages to go to the Supermarket and coming home it was 1 stage and the difference between stops was 50metres so we then learned to tag of opposite the return stop to save money . In the end AT changed the whole Island to 1 stage to stop all the confusion .

        5. @GK:
          With Wellington: There aren’t that many people who take both the bus and the train, the buses are generally for placed with no rail access (like Wellington itself) and most train users live or work within walking distance.
          I strongly doubt if anyone is put-off by the current arrangement at all.

          Let’s say you merely have a new arrangement where the snapper card is now used on the Metlink trains and people tap on and off at a card reader at their station. Have you seen the condition and current access situation of the train stations on the Wellington network? Most stations would need new shelters to protect any ticket machine and surveillance cameras to watch for vandals. A lot of people would simply cheat and not tap on nor off their train unless you still employ a guard to check everyone’s card, doing essentially what they currently do with clipping tickets. Only Wellington station and possibly Waterloo and Porirua station could have gated entry (although it would be very restrictive in Porirua station’s underpass) but for any other stations to have anything more than a mere touchpad; it would require millions spent on rebuilding the stations and their access points.

          Given that the GWRC has committed funding to catching-up on deferred maintenance on the Wairarapa line and finally double-tracking to Upper Hutt; where would the millions for what adds up to a minor improvement come from?

          “Because regional authorities can’t be trusted to act in interests of passengers.”
          Okay, let’s disband Auckland transport then 😉

          “GWRC, for example, endlessly kicking the can down the road.”
          Or maybe they’re doing a good job with limited resources? If you think that chucking money away on smart cards for the trains is a wise investment; I’m pretty sure that you’d be a disaster in their shoes.

  7. The intersection AT has knowingly left without pedestrian signals is the one I blogged about here:

    What kind of an agency knowingly leaves children and elderly and anyone on foot fending for themselves in an intersection like that? They respond very quickly when traffic lights aren’t working for cars! I first complained to this on the evening of Tuesday last week, but it had already been reported in the morning. This is appalling.

  8. That’s interesting about the national ticketing system. It’s being rolled out in Whanganui in Dec 9. It should be all across the Horizons region within a few months.

  9. Agreed, those giant ads plastered across the windows of buses really do make using them even less pleasant and they’re not exactly attractive as is. One feels like you in a furniture removal van suck is the lack of vision.

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