Today is first Auckland Transport board meeting of the year and it’s an important one as it’s also the first one with new chair Adrienne Young-Cooper as well as board member Darren Linton.

As usual, I’ve looked through the reports publicly available and here are some of the things that caught my attention.

Closed Agenda

There are a number of items on the agenda this meeting but most are things like ATs upcoming quarterly report to council, their upcoming statement of intent etc. The most interesting of the items are these for decision.

  • Submission of the Urban Development Bill
  • Submission on Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill
  • Park and Ride Integrated Development

It’s probably the last one I’m most interested in. The last time we saw this it was looking at options such as below for Constellation Station – building a multi-storey carpark flanked by apartments.

The plans should hopefully be much more developed, and by that I also mean more development and less carpark focused.

Business Report

The items below will generally be in the order they appear in the report.

Plan on a page and values refresh

As part of the section titled Culture & Transformation, they say

AT launched the Plan on a Page to our people in December 2019. The Plan on a Page is AT’s strategic framework and was co-created with the AT Board, the Executive Leadership Team and AT’s Senior Leaders in June 2019. The Plan on a Page is framed around a single organising idea – our purpose: Easy Journeys.

They also talk about refreshing the values of the organisation.

The new AT Values are the following:

  • Manaakitanga: We care…full stop
  • Tiakitanga: Safe with us
  • Whanaungatanga: We connect
  • Auahatanga: Better bolder together

It will be interesting to see how these and their purpose are translated into improved experiences for the public.

Real time displays

Getting accurate information about where your service is has always been hit and miss. AT say they’ve finally replaced the old system.

All modes (Bus, Train and Ferry) are now live utilising the new Command Centre functionality, new expected time of arrival (ETA) predictions (as shown on passenger information displays (PIDS) and AT Mobile), and schedule adherence for reporting purposes. The new solution is performing well. Following a short stability period, the legacy real-time system called RAPID was gracefully shut-down and decommissioned at the end of December 2019. This was a challenging project taking over two years to develop and deliver.

I wonder what they spent all the money on as personally I’m finding the arrival times worse than ever. For example just yesterday I had a bus on the busway that the PID told me was just about to arrive, take six minutes to show up.

They also talk about the change to the displays at train stations, on the handful that have LCD screens

A new display format for Rail Platforms was deployed during December to all Rail platform level LCD (liquid crystal display) Passenger Information Displays. Changes include line information on high contrast and larger font for improved visibility on the rail platforms, making them easier to read. The next phase will see the same principles and design benefits applied to displays at the station and concourse levels. AT has received positive feedback from customers on these changes.

Licence Plate Recognition (LPR)

Last month AT started their trial of using LPR on a car for parking compliance.

The LPR Car is in its first live trial which started on the 13 January 2020, after exhaustive testing to get the desired results for effective compliance monitoring. The installation of an additional five units will commence in February.

I’m not sure if that five additional units means five more cars but given the state of parking all over the region we’ll need that and much more. Although given ATs seemingly ultra conservative approach to enforcement it might not make a difference.

City Centre Travel Times

There’s been a lot of noise recently about travel time for cars in the city centre. The latest stats really show the impact of the downtown works. Although it’s worth noting that they’re still within the times allowed for in the City Rail Link consent conditions – although given all of the work going on separate to the CRL, AT really need to be pushing to get them removed. They also need to be upping the message telling people not to drive through the city.

Parnell Station

Parnell Station opened nearly three years ago but still has extremely poor access to and from the platforms – so much so that the trains still announce a warning about it and that the station is not suitable for those with disabilities. As well as likely being financial, delays in resolving this have been brought about by Summerset buying the old Mainline Steam site for a retirement village and apparently not wanting public access beside their site. So it seems they’re looking to help fund a new underpass.

A concept design completed by Summerset Retirement Village and reviewed by AT is currently being costed for the deliver of an underpass and mobility compliant access path. An MOU between Summerset and AT has been drafted and will allow a funding agreement between the two parties.

Building underpasses are obviously fairly disruptive to the tracks and so that means another long shutdown will be needed at some point – although we’ll need one for the new underpass for the New Lynn to Avondale cycleway too. Of course there’s also bound to be plenty of shutdowns looming for CRL related works over the coming years.

PT Value for money reviews

AT are in the process of reviewing the performance of bus routes across the region and the report highlights a number of underperforming buses and what AT plan to do about them. The underperformance is based on the number of boardings per service hour for Nov-2019 compared to what was expected in the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). Interestingly many of these are peak only services

South

5 out of 39 (13%) Southern routes are below RPTP expectation.

West

3 out of 37 (9%) of West routes are below RPTP expectation.

East

1 out of 14 (6%) of East routes are below RPTP expectation.

Central

10 out of 50 (20%) of Central routes are below RPTP expectation

North

1 out of 55 (2%) of North routes are below RPTP expectation

Huapai Gyratory gone?

Remember the horrible Huapai Gyratory AT were planning?

It seems the plan has been ditched with AT saying:

Station Road intersection, Huapai: an alternative, more affordable, solution has been identified which has in principle support from the NZ Transport Agency. AT anticipate making a funding application for the project in February 2020.

Customer Satisfaction

ATs latest quarterly customer satisfaction chart shows some worrying signs for ferry use

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58 comments

  1. Have they upgraded the passenger information without getting rid of the useless format?!

    The number one thing wrong with that system is it just lists pages and pages of arrivals, with every separate bus run listed separately.

    On the busway the system is useless cos you get six pages of NX1 and NX2 all arriving in the next ten minutes, and no information on when any of the connecting and local routes are arriving.

    Likewise at Link stops. Who cares what links are scheduled to use the stop an hour from now, you only need to see what is coming next.

    The solution is simple. Have one line per route, showing the next three departures in minutes away. Then you can get all the useful information
    four routes for the next half hour to an hour on one page at all times.

    Even the busiest busway stops would only need two pages.

      1. Absolutely. This stuff is not rocket science, plenty of good examples around the world.

        I’d like to see at least Britomart and other interchange have something like what TransitScreen offers – large screens with lots of information about nearby services, not just the rail lines on the station.

      2. And as for the Information Boards up in the main lobby at Britomart all they show is what time the trains are Due to arrive , why ‘O’ why don’t they show the next Departure as that is the infomartion the average person wants to see

  2. New North Rd buses suffer massively from a lack of bus lanes through Kingsland. Auckland Transport need to get on with fixing this.

    1. At present the whole of New North Road from Symonds Street through to Blockhouse Bay Road have clearways, essentially T1 lanes, between 7-9am citybound and 4-6pm westbound.

      In my opinion they should be bus lanes. In addition only 22N should divert to St Lukes while 22R carries on up NNR.

    2. And it’s not like there aren’t enough traffic lanes and car parking spaces on the side of the road to reallocate either…

  3. Constellation is too urbanised now to waste land and money on park and ride; develop the site properly for people not tin storage.

    1. Agree. It bugs me that if i catch a feeder bus it takes twice as long and costs $3.00, but i can park all day for free (provided I can get there before 6:30am). I’d rather they charged at a level that ensured that there were always some parks available, so I could get a park on the times I do need to drive. Maybe then we’d discover we don’t need a multistory carpark.
      Helpfully, they’ve reduced the amount of bike parking available which should suppress demand for cycling and ensure any new car parking built is well utilised.

      1. I guess that’s safety-conscious. Wouldn’t want cyclists mixing with all the traffic generated by the parking. :/

        Modeshift and safety, AT.

    2. I think the problem can be solved by dynamic pricing inside the building
      For example when entering during morning peek
      Say
      Charge $9 if car park is 95-100% full
      Charge $7 if the car park is 90-95% full
      Charge $5 if 80-90% full
      Charge $3 if 70-80% full
      Charge $1 if 50-70% full

      Free when less than 50% full, or during off peak when more people are leaving than entering

      That way people will stop rushing early to contest for parking. Time poor richer people would rather pay more than wake up at 5:00 am

      1. If a business case was governing the decision to build this car park then the starting point to even come close to break even would be a daily tariff starting at $9 per day – forget any notion that some of it can be free.

        When will AT realise that faced with global warming (yes water restrictions here, North Auckland and the Waikato for starters) that a more responsible way to approach transport decisions would be a sustainable urban mobility plan?

        As others have said, having a huge extra volume of cars descend on Constellation Station at peak is just going to make feeder buses slower and make the journey more arduous for those on bikes and walking.

    3. I think the first floor of the building and apartments should be facade by retail and service.

      For example that can include Convience shops/ mini supermarket, small bakery/coffee/takeaway shop, drycleaners, post shops, childcare etc

  4. I noticed that there was a very brief section in the business report about a new long-distance bus terminal, but there was no further information other than that AT have been in discussion with the commercial arm of Ngati Whatua. I hope they release more information about this soon, as Central Auckland really needs a better bus terminal than the totally inadequate SkyCity Terminal. But I’m slightly concerned as AT haven’t had the best track record in regard to accommodating long-distance buses, and in recent years they seem to have been fixated on removing long-distance buses from the City Centre. Hopefully the proposed new bus terminal is a step forward for long-distance public transport, and not a step backwards.

    1. Sky City will probably end up with a walk through connection to Aotea station, which would be useful if it stayed where it is.

  5. The 313 Route Manukau to Onehunga winds about a bit. It sounds like its going to terminate at Puhinui Station post its reopening. Not to sure why its not very far to continue to Manukau and there are passengers using the stops on Plunket Avenue and Wuri Station road.

      1. Well it says above “This Route will shorten with the opening of the Puhinui Station and the new 36 bus route, in early 2021.” Perhaps it will no longer operate via Papatoetoe station then going straight to Puhinui Station. Which would leave Wylie Road uncatered for.

  6. “It will be interesting to see how these and their purpose are translated into improved experiences for the public.”

    You can be so droll, Matt.

    OK, AT, since you “care… full stop”, will you fix the problem I emailed you about today, which was that the pedestrian route the Journey Planner told me to take yesterday didn’t actually exist, so I was very late for a meeting?

    If that works, we could be “better bolder together”, and look at the big backlog of issues I’ve told you about…

    Some of these are where one bus route and another “connect” with over half a km to walk on deficient footpaths, and lots of waiting at traffic signals make it a multiple minute exercise.

    Some of them are where being “safe with us” is, shall we say, aspirational… because there’s nothing deserving of the term there currently.

    1. Heidi, you say droll, I say realistic.

      This AT stuff, “values” and “plan on a page” is right out of the current People and Performance Dept handbook. It seems organisation’s just pluck out the catch phrases they want.

      Coincidentally I was reading a post by Matt just today that would represent a much better planning framework for AT outcomeshttps://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/?s=singapore
      And hell, that was 2014!

      As you say Heidi, there is just no sense of aspiration – at least not any that corresponds to the reality in which we live.

    1. Been a lot of breakdowns, lack of fit for purpose & size craft, issues with cancelled services due to cruise ship docking clashes. All this with bad press all over it from about last years popularity of visiting & residence living at Waiheke Island particularly over summer & about last winter’s scaled back timetables up until now. Also moving about temporary ferry berthing areas in downtown Auckland probably adding to it.

  7. My wife is a regular user of NX1 from Silverdale to Smales Farm. On the evening return she often has to stand until Albany, as there are fewer buses going through to the Coast. Most terminate at Albany.

  8. It is a shame they are only interested in cutting under-performing bus services.
    However the over performing services? Are they going to add more service?

    If the answer is no, it seems they are just doing cost cutting without cutting our rates.

  9. Access to Parnell was never going to be easy, given the hills involved, but the current arrangement is a joke.
    – Getting between platforms is a 300m trek (longer if you have to use the ramps on the Outbound platform).
    – Coming from Stanley St (Auckland Uni, Carlaw Park etc) you can’t get across or bypass the Inbound platform to get to destinations on the other side (Parnell, the Domain etc) without a HOP card or valid ticket. This also means AT have to employ 2 security guards on the Inbound platform rather than 1.

    1. You should tell Mike Lee this. He is the one that went against all the advice and bullied everyone until the plans were changed to put the station in the wrong place.

      1. Agreed. Fergus Gammie, when CEO of ARTA , did not have the balls to stand up to a Mike, even though he had originally supported the ARTA officer’s well considered recommendations that the Parnell station should be located nearer to Parnell Rise behind where Kiwirail is one located.

  10. As a NNR bus user it’s very interesting that express buses are destined for the scrapheap because there are many more people in-between who need to use the buses.

    It goes to show that buses running in general traffic are not appropriate for rapid transit, and you need rail, LRT or a busway for that, not “express buses”.

      1. Yes. None of that bus lane disappearing at intersections nonsense. They’ve managed it at the Dominion Rd, Balmoral Rd intersection so get on with it on all major arterial bus routes, please AT!

  11. Why not just have an app (and at stations a display) of the PT network, showing little train and bus icons moving in real time by way of a GPS feed? All buses and trains have GPS fitted these days, they just need to make the info publicly available.

    I used to use a train one when living in Auckland, it showed me where all the EMUs were on the network. Very handy to see exactly where your train is, you can plan your time with absolute precision.

      1. Any idea what happened, other than the obvious of AT dropping a good idea? Buswise app was great while it lasted, did what Geoff is talking about.

  12. multi-storey carpark flanked by apartments, and IIRC partially funded from the proceeds of selling said apartments. You can cut the contempt for apartment dwellers with a knife.

  13. Summerset […] retirement village […] not wanting public access beside their site?

    wtf. Is that to turn it into a more well isolated ghetto? Do seniors never catch a train?

    1. They just don’t want the poor relatives turning up in the cheap public transport to visit the ones they are paying to stay/live there .

  14. Well into February now and haven’t heard a peep about light rail.
    The silence is deafening. Perhaps all we should expect is more promises as we get closer to election time. Does anyone think any form of Auckland light rail will be a goer this decade? Or even the 30s.
    Will Mill Rd and Penlink be completed first or even some version of the East-West motorway link?

    1. Twyford and the NZTA have completely derailed the process, they’ve dumped the plans and are wasting millions and years fiddling round with the Canadian financiers plans to sell Auckland up the river.

      Don’t expect anything to happen for years now.

    2. Here is an idea they could use and it only involves digging 1 small trench down the road for the track and just keep the asphlat that is already there ;-

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