COVID is still impacting our daily lives and one area it’s doing so more than others when it comes to public transport usage.

Since the pandemic started, Auckland Transport have been publishing daily public transport usage which has helped give a fascinating insight into the impact it has had on our PT network – I’ve yet to find any other agency internationally going to this level of detail publicly. Here are few key things that stand out to me.

  • Usage through levels two and three were similar during the multiple lockdowns we’ve had
  • This has not been the case for times we’ve been at Level 1, where:
    • Following the first lockdown, usage recovered to around 300,000 trips per weekday, about 81% of normal.
    • Since the second lockdown, during which there were a few cases as a result of a bus trip and which resulted in PT increasingly being singled out, we’ve only just reached about 250,000 per day, about 60-70% of normal depending on the time of the year.

Had the February lockdown not happened I get the feeling we would have pushed back towards 300k, especially as the universities came back.

In total, usage over a 12-month rolling period has dropped from about 103 million trips annually to just over 54 million. But that is likely to start going up again soon with and it will be interesting to see if how all this changes in the coming weeks and months once we pass the 1-year mark.

In addition to COVID, Auckland was also dealt a blow with the significant work needed to repair the rail network and which saw different parts of it closed for a month or more at a time. The impact of this can be seen in the graph below, where following the first lockdown, all modes recovered fairly similarly. That all changed following the second lockdown, during which the repair works started. Train usage remained much lower and was only just starting to get back to bus levels now the bulk of the repair work is completed. Meanwhile ferries saw a significant boost after the Harbour Bridge was damaged.

While the numbers have been low of late, we’re still holding up well compared to many overseas cities. For those I have data for, Auckland has tracking well. The graph below is just some of the cities I have and as you can see, some like San Francisco are seeing usage just above 20% of normal.

In an article from Stuff’s Todd Niall last week also looked at ridership.

Auckland Transport (AT) said the city was experiencing not a blip but a “significant structural change” to demand for public transport, including a small shift back to cars.

…..

Proportionately, the biggest fall among AT HOP cardholders was tertiary students, with 47 per cent fewer trips compared with November 2019.

That reflected a switch during 2020 to online study, and the absence of 28,750 international students who had traditionally been high users of public transport.

The student slump equated to 433,000 fewer trips a month.

The most significant fall was adult passengers who take the bulk of trips and pay the highest, un-discounted fares. In November 2020 they took 2.3 million fewer trips than 12 months earlier.

There is also believed to have been a shift from public transport to private car travel, although it is harder to quantify.

….

AT’s chief executive Shane Ellison thought some of those who had given up or reduced public transport use might not return to their previous use, while others may be lost until borders re-open and a successful roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines boosts confidence.

“It is not the worst possible outcome, from a transport perspective, because working from home is not a terrible outcome in terms of emissions and road safety,” Ellison said.

However, it changed the historic path of big investment in public transport, matched by strong patronage growth, to one where there is now significant capacity and AT might have to seek out customers.

“We will be looking at marketing, but it will be very targetted. Once the rail lines (currently being upgraded) are up to full speed we might target those who we knew took rail with a special offer to come back,” he said.

….

Ellison was confident a re-surgence in public transport would come when major projects such as the $4.4 billion City Rail link are finished in 2024 and the eastern busway is finished.

Perhaps it’s just me but this suggests AT’s attitude is mainly just to ‘wait it out’. To me that’s not a great strategy, especially given the amount of mode-shift we need in our fight to reduce emissions. It also seems to reflect another AT attitude, that PT is only really about getting people to and from the city centre at peak times – which has been the result of a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

The increasing levels of PT use to the city centre has been one of the main driving forces behind the growth in usage over the last few decades. Much of that growth has occurred on city trips because it’s also the place that’s the easiest for people to reach via public transport. That growth has then encouraged AT to put even more resources towards city centre trips.

But if Auckland is to succeed we need them to change this attitude. We need a PT system that is useful and competitive for a wider range of trips and destinations. The new bus network a few years ago certainly helped with this to some degree but we urgently need to increase both the frequency and reliability of services to other places – more bus lanes could help achieve both.

Despite more people working from home, our roads remain clogged highlighting there’s clearly still a huge need for better public transport. So perhaps the above put another way, instead of waiting for the demand to come back to them, they need to be seeking out new sources of PT usage.

That has the added bonus that when city trips return to ‘normal’, we’ll have even more usage.

Share this

85 comments

  1. Strange comment from Ellison on the borders being closed. Surely most international students will be close to the CBD anyway?

    1. There are a large number of (generally first year) international students who do home stays, either with a Kiwi household or with a family that moved to NZ from their home country. It gives that parents back in the home country a feeling of security that someone is looking out for their child when they are 10+ hours flying away.

      These ones would be on the buses everyday.

      1. Homestays have been very big among Indian students.
        And there are far less training in on the eastern line than there used to be.

  2. My own experience is that roads and motorways are busier than before (feel more congested), and buses and trains are noticeably quieter particularly around shoulder periods. Maybe giving discount to PT travel outside the peak hours and weekends, not just 9 to 3. We really need a mindset shift towards embracing PT, and AT needs some and more pushing to get us on PT and active modes.

  3. Interesting to see no mention of working from home (WFH). These would have some effect on the PT usage. Some are full time WFH and some are part time WFH whereas I am the later.

    1. Exactly ,when rail network was “derailed”and harbour bridge compromised,commuters sought the alternatives.This should be as plain as day,that rapid,reliable PT attracts,and slow unreliable detracts,thats what i get from the data.AT should be going harder,advertising is unnecessary, when you have the train/bus zooming past lanes of stationary vehicles

    2. I don’t know how Auckland has done it. They’ve managed to make trains on a mostly grade separated corridor less reliable than busses running in patchy priority lanes. Breaking new ground, just not in a good way.

    3. That set of graphs provided suggests otherwise.

      The unreliability is just making it worse.

      PT won’t come back until the masks can come off.

      1. This set of graphs shows little impact from masks being made mandatory in November. What it does show is the impact of Covid, presumably through more working from home and less students and then the additional impact on the rail network post August with all the works.

      2. I wonder if there is s bit of self perpetuating behavioural stuff st work, too. Eg When there are few people on the trains it can feel quite unsafe, so that might be a factor for some and that is self perpetuating

  4. Auckland Transport can’t keep throwing millions of dollars a week into empty buses and near-empty trains. They will be compelled to put their scarce funding where the network needs it most – roads.

    Agree with your point about sustaining a competitive public transport network beyond the CBD: closing Queen Street to cars before CRL opens is an enormous signal to non-CBD mall customers and owners that they are the winners. The specials that AT will need to produce will have to be so good that they can compete against free mall parking.

    WEell just need to wait a few years to get our city centre back.

    1. There’s another way of increasing equipment (bus or train) utilisation rates: Speeding them up so it takes less time for them to complete a route. Across a whole network this means the same number of trips can be delivered with fewer vehicle operating hours.

      For buses this would involve rolling out a whole lot more dedicated bus lanes. On major arterials that already have peak direction bus lanes (for example Dominion Rd) this could easily be done by just making them 24/7.

      For trains this would involve shorter dwell times and faster line speeds where the rail network repairs are complete. GA has discussed in detail previously how this is possible.

      A faster public transport network would likely see a significant lift in patronage too. However this isn’t necessary for such a scheme to work.

      1. Speeding up the trains would be great. Except we’re not even keeping up with the maintenance we have: there’s about 2 years of catch-up work to go on Wiri to Quay Park.

        Also the completion of CRL in 2024 will mean the level crossings turn the suburban road network in the west and parts of the south into molasses. That entails a massive and completely unfunded programme of road-rail level crossing projects.

        Rolling out a whole lot more dedicated bus lanes is as we have seen in Dominion Road a license to shall we say upset a whole lot of people. We are running into street retail as a very damaged industry without making it worse with large capex rollouts and stripping out parking. Social license evaporates very fast.

        Not only is none of this easy, it is actually getting much harder.

        1.  “closing Queen Street to cars before CRL opens is an enormous signal to non-CBD mall customers and owners that they are the winners”

          Anyone wanting to shop in Queen St today has no access to carparks on the street itself. They must drive to somewhere nearby, and pay. That wont change by getting cars out of the street itself, noting that under A4E cars still have access. They just cant drive through it.

          Pre Covid, that certainly did not deter shoppers and I understand the street was going through a rennaisance.

          So I would have thought it the contrary; a street free of noise and fumes but instead with electric buses, LRT, walkers and cyclists will only enhance the streets appeal. Every other street that has at least gone “shared” in recent years has seen an uplift of visitors and retail spend.

    2. I don’t see how closing Queen street to cars is a bad thing for business. It doesn’t take away any impactful amount of parking, it doesnt take away any of the main routes into actual parking (driving down queen was never a good route anyway). If anything its more important to close Queen to cars before CRL opens in order to speed up the city link busses, and give more room to customers who can actually stop and buy something, pedestrians cyclists and PT users. The sidewalks, barring any lockdown, are / were always packed, far more people walking than driving even when it was 2 lanes for cars.

      1. Heart of the City are a formidable lobby group and well aligned with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

        They are in Auckland Council’s face most days of the week.

        Remember all the promises we got made in the City Centre Masterplan, and the great re-launch of Auckland with APEC and America’s Cup? We have good reason not to believe planners. Listen to the shoppers and retail on the ground.

        Queen Street is a ghost town now and getting worse with closures every week. Only planners and utopians talk of transformation now.

        Most others are just surviving.

        1. You don’t expect the poor darlings to actually WALK to the shop to buy a hand bag do you?

          I, for one, would be very happy to see the demise of the Gucci store, the Louis Vuitton store, etc – those luxury brands are nothing to do with our society and are rampantly anti-egalitarian. If they die off because there are no rich cruise boat companies, then good riddance.

        2. These comments from Roeland, Jack and Average Human are pretty sad. A few facts for you to try and take on board. Luxury stores make up a very small percentage of the CBD retail, so while you are happy to see these businesses burn in favor of your own anti car zealotry, you are at the same time burning the other 97% of retailers serving the ‘everyday’ CBD worker and resident. Oh and another thing, these businesses all pay rates which support subsidies PT. An empty CBD will dramatically reduce the rate take in the long term, ie higher vacancies will lead to lower rents, and rates are based on rentals. The reality is the CBD is a mess and people are staying away in their droves, it’s unpleasant to visit for a retail experience.

        3. Nothing I said was factually incorrect. And you didn’t address any of it. So I fully stand by my statement that queen street should be car free. That would make it a better retail experience. Bringing back more cars to queen street will make it a worse retail experience.

          As for costs we all pay direct taxes to subsidise the car in this country, and the real lurking costs that are externalised costs, that aren’t accounted for, and that are currently swept under the carpet. Regardless, plenty of people pay actual taxes that go to cars but don’t own any cars, they can make the exact same argument you do.

          It is regrettable that queen street (as with the rest of the country) is contracting economically. But as much as everyone somehow wants to blame PT and biking (I don’t know how much mental gymnastics you’d have to do for that to be the case but apparently it’s easy for some people) the answer is clearly border closures and a GLOBAL recession.

        4. It is quite easy to drive to Queen Street. Depending on where you come from you drive to the car park under Aotea Square, or to the downtown car park. Close enough. Keeping Queen Street open to cars does not make this any easier or harder. Because you don’t actually need to drive on Queen Street to visit it.

          Shops serving the everyday workers and residents will not be affected because their customers are coming in on foot anyway.

    3. I can’t see your logic with leaving Queen St open to cars, Sylvia Park doesn’t allow cars to drive through the middle of the mall.

      If Queen St businesses are genuinely dependent on the few cars that can drive along and park on the street they are likely doomed anyway.

      1. Sylvia Park has about 900 free car parks.
        Queen Street won’t compete against that. Or against Westfield anywhere.

        1. Queen Street has 50,000 people living and 100,000 people working within within 1 km of it.
          Sylvia Park won’t compete against that. Nor will any Westfield anywhere.

          Queen Street is not a mall and will not compete by being easy to drive to. It will compete by being convenient to get to *without* driving.

        2. Best of luck with that competition.

          But it’s a multi-billion bet that both public investment and our largest property owners will either win or lose.

          I’d view Manuka centre as optimal: both free car parks for the mall and also a major PT destination. Even that isn’t a certainty: Henderson has plenty of dense population and PT services, and it’s declining fast against Lincoln Road and Westgate.

        3. If it is a competition then city centres are winning all over the world. The owners of Commercial Bay obviously believe that it is the right answer too, building a huge number of shops over the train station.

          Suburban malls and city centres service different niches and have their own bases. Malls are trying to get people in to them, hence why the free parking helps, city centre already have huge numbers of people, the tricky bit is getting them to spend enough time to actually buy something, i.e. they need to linger on the street. Local employees and residents will spend time on the streets if the streets are nice to be in, and we only achieve that if we significantly reduce traffic speed and volume.

          I did have a good chuckle at the idea that Henderson or Manukau town centre have a high population densities, though.

        4. So what you are saying, is increase car dependency so people can park for free outside a shop to buy things from a large corporation. Ok!

        5. It’s not a bet. If Queen St remains the same it will have about 20 carparks, if it changes it will have zero carparks. These two numbers are about the same relative to the 900 carparks Sylvia Park has.

          Queen St will fail and has in the past if it tries to compete with the malls, it can never offer enough parking nor vehicle access. Where it has succeeded is attracting those that live in the CBD, work in the CBD and visitors.

          Those numbers have dropped at the moment, which is making things harder for businesses but keeping cars isn’t going to make it any better.

        6. Westfield just built their urban bunker in Newmarket. They certainly think this model will be successful even in central areas.

          I also kind of expect Commercial Bay to kill off business on Queen Street, together with the slump in cruise ship passengers.

        7. I also expect commercial bay to harm the retail on Queen Street. Commercial Bay is built around three car free streets (Little Queen Street, Te Komititanga, and Lower Albert Street). Queen Street is built around a traffic sewer, chock full of cars going nowhere. It’s quite sad that Heart of the City are lobbying to harm Queen Street retail by keeping the street abjectly awful, while the rest of the city centre is brought up to scratch.

        8. I thought High St would be the last to move with the times, but no, its Queen St.

          Incidentally I don’t think Commercial Bay will harm Queen St. It will attract more visitors than the weekday workers and residents and this will have spillover effects for surround streets. And the residents and workers will continue to grow, particularly at upper/Southern QS with so much activity going on, including the new development above the train station. Everyone will be traversing between those two points.

          That is, of course, if the Council make QS all it can be, rather than a traffic sewer.

  5. I took the bus to town in late February, a route that normally would have a dozen plus people standing prior to reaching the CBD outskirts. It was about 1 person per seat.

    I don’t think there has been a decrease in cycling.

    1. My experience has been less cycling. I used to ride 4 or 5 days a week along the NW to CBD. Now I WFH unless its Level 1, and then do 2 or 3 days a week in the office.

      It feels like there is less commuter cycling traffic overall on the NW, but the weekends are much busier during level 2 and 3.

  6. That graph is encouraging. I thought people had started to ignore the level 2 and 3 lockdowns but the graph shows otherwise. The motorways seem really busy even outside the peaks this week so maybe some people who have to travel have switched mode to cars. Perhaps AT could help get the message out with a billboard- “Social Distance- USE YOUR CAR”

  7. Auckland council last week approved building of homes on land, within a 10 minute walk to a station, be at least 6 stories. This is a good move and will get more PT users. Our huge investment ($10-$30 billion?) in the rail network must be supported. Council and citizens must get a good return for their money and keep Auckland competitive.
    There are many new developments and renewals all over Auckland going on but we need more apartments close to stations like at Glendene, Onehunga, Otahuhu, Albany, Avondale, Newmarket and more coming such as Ellerslie.
    I think that there are still some stations that could be better connected to local paths and bikeways. There is an excellent bikeway coming alonside the eastern busway but needs to have more connections to it from Pakuranga etc.
    The new bikeway to Medowbank will help too and get more cyclists from St Heliers and St Johns.

    1. Do you know where I can read more about this? I think higher density is preferable to sprawl in most cases, and boosting density near PT hubs is exactly what Auckland needs to combat congestion and emissions.

    2. Important to note they selected 800m as the radius from PT stations, the minimum option they had, so even there they did the least possible udner the law

  8. With working from home and the loss of international students the need for bus, train and ferry to the CDB is falling. Also the constant road and other works in the CDB is making it a less desirable location for leisure and shopping. So my take on this is that the focus should shift to the not so new “New Bus Network” as its the best thing Auckland Transport has ever done. Revitalise the suburbs by providing a good standard of Public Transport to the local Mall or shopping area. Taking a bike or car to Mall is not a good idea because of theft or the risk of an accident. A bus or train is the care free way to travel. A good quality local bus network will feed the rapid transport network even if it is not as rapid as some people on here think it should be. In addition there will be some passengers who can use it for their commute. If less train travel is needed on the Southern and Eastern lines maybe we can free up space for some expresses or even for the Te Huia to terminate at the Strand.

    1. Agree, the non CBD bus network is a key focus, needs much better bus priority. However, reducing the frequency of trains does not help the bus network as they are interconnected.

      1. The 20 minute on the Southern and Eastern lines should stay all day. The extra services at peaks are the ones that can be looked at too see if they are carrying enough passengers. But they can still run as express probably carrying more passengers but the core of the bus train network all stops would still have a twenty minute frequency.

        1. It needs to be more frequent than that, 19 mins is a long wait for a connecting service when you’re trying to compete with car travel.

          The core of your network really needs to be 10 mins all day. This and Te Huia getting to The Strand will both be possible once the third main is completed.

        2. Twenty minutes is good enough. Otherwise the trains are that empty its embarrassing and we are just wearing them out for nothing. I don’t want to wait for the completion of the third main we have being waiting for ever. Express trains from the stations with the biggest park and rides definetly Papakura and probably Takanini. And let’s give the Te Huia a chance and not ham string it before it even starts.

        3. I doubt we’ll agree on it but it is worth noting that volumes in level 1 are still higher than they were in 2014 when 10 min frequencies were introduced.

          20 min frequencies at peak even now would result in some very crowded trains, and also a number of our $8 million trains sitting idle for the whole day.

        4. 20mins is way, way too long. I wouldn’t bother.

          Think of how far you can drive in 20mins.

        5. Well I am talking about some expresses plus the 20 min service and probably only on the Southern line if they have enough trains may be it can be more frequent than 20 minutes. Either the Te Huia stops at Papakura and passengers transfer to an express or it travels onto the Strand or it probably becomes another failure.
          At this point we have an opportunity to do something different because there has being a major shift in train usage and at the same time we have the introduction of the Hamilton Papakura service. Anyway we wait and see whether they go back to the old timetable I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t given the passenger numbers.

        6. What makes you think everyone wants to go to the Strand? Ideally Te Huia would terminate at Puhinui.

        7. Ideally it would terminate at Britomart, but I agree it’s a waste of time to run any further than Puhinui if you can’t get there.

        8. 10 min peak and 15 off-peak 24/7 the waits are too long for many people & purposes. Put some decent money into it, starts too late in the morning for some for example. Let it grow even if they are very empty at weird times.

          Te Huia can terminate at Otahuhu with the new 3rd platform if they don’t run a direct west to south metro service.

        9. Another thing that empty trains do is they wear out the track for no good reason.
          If the track renewal was done properly we would need to dig out at least one metre of old ballast and replace it with fresh ballast and probably have a good look at what lies underneath after all our railway is 150 years old. So we have replaced the old track and sleepers but not fixed the underlying problem. I wonder what happens to the old rail besides leaving it sitting next to the track.
          Anyway it could all happen again so in the mean time we need to sure up the bus network so it is not quite so reliant on the trains because we have years more disruption coming with the third main and electrification and the city rail link and on going maintenance problems outlined above. I have suggested extending the 321 bus to the super clinic in Manurewa which would roughly parallel much of the Southern rail route. Other changes will need to be made.
          As for the Te Huia I don’t expect Auckland Transport to help out which is a pity. But if two councils plus Kiwirail and probably the Waka Kotahi and the Government can’t fix up a relatively simple scheduling problem to allow for the service to be successful I just don’t see this country ever being able to take the hard measures necessary to tackle climate change or car congestion. And just think $90 million has being invested it.

  9. To get people using PT they should offer free off peak travel (at least on buses and trains) for a period of time provided people use a HOP card and drop peak prices by 20%.

    I would recommend they do it for 3 months to get people used to using it and to get that habit locked in.
    Yes it will cost money, but operating half empty services over a longer period also costs money. If AT/AC can’t fund it then go cap in hand to the government explaining it is to recover PT from Covid damage and to reduce emissions.

  10. AT needs to look on this as an opportunity, rather than a problem. IMO the biggest obstacle to widespread adoption of PT is the lack of a decent RTN – the ability to quickly cross large swathes of the city without too many interruptions.

    From my own observations over a wide range of routes there is currently significant surplus capacity at peak hours. In some cases (Mt Eden Rd especially comes to mind) there are short-running buses running virtually empty at very close headways. These extra resources could be redeployed not just at peak periods but throughout the day on new “proto-RTN” routes operating on 24/7 bus lanes to create a real RTN network rather than the radial RTN we have at present. We have to eliminate to the greatest extent possible the argument that public transport “doesn’t go where I want to go” or that “it takes too long compared with my car”.

    Notwithstanding that PT (now) does go most places in the region (clearly not all, but it has improved vastly in the last decade) or that PT isn’t a “waste of time” if you can use that time productively. A bit of creativity could see the mooted New Lynn to Onehunga rapid bus connection inaugurated within a few months, just by reallocating buses from a few unused peak hour services from Mt Eden Rd, Sandringham Rd or New North Rd, for example. Or perhaps a new proto-RTN line from Pt Chev along Mt Albert Rd as far as Greenlane Station (or even Orakei) to connect together the existing RTN lines.

    So how about it AT? Without some serious creative thinking we will have no chance of meeting the climate change targets that require a TREBLING of passenger uptake in the next few years. If you don’t want to take advantage of this opportunity, what IS your strategy?

    Of course if pax numbers on peak hour services do subsequently improve, than they may need to reinstate any removed services later. What a terrible problem to have!

    1. “AT needs to look on this as an opportunity, rather than a problem. IMO the biggest obstacle to widespread adoption of PT is the lack of a decent RTN – the ability to quickly cross large swathes of the city without too many interruptions.”

      This is it. Implement this and the numbers will boom. Its always been the issue.

  11. AT had no choice but to “wait it out” while Kiwirail spent months and months fixing the rundown track. By comparison the much hyped harbour bridge incident, was over and forgotten within two weeks. The Pukekohe line is still 40km/hr max and the park and ride car park is empty. Ten months of crawling would drive anyone back to their car.

  12. If we think that Covid is likely to affect us for a couple more years, and we know that it is mostly affecting peak use to the city centre, then we should redeploy peak period buses.

    Peak buses run at very low occupancy and very low farebox recovery. THey should be redeployed to make existing routes more frequent, ideally bringing them up to 15 mins or better 6am-9pm. Otherwise, we could look to create some new routes that have been proposed. Other users mentioned Onehunga to New Lynn, but why not City Centre to Airport on the Dominion Road route, with some temproary stops on on and off ramps?

    1. Agree.

      You could also bring trains down in offpeak to once per 30 minutes from 9 to 3, and 8 until late.

      Same with ferries.

      AT will need to show they are making savings elsewhere because central government are not gong to keep propping them up.

      Get to the HOP specials once we are all vaccinated. No special pricing is going to work against this amount of social anxiety.

      1. Why would you make the network so much worse by reducing frequecy below turn up and go when you’ve just created a turn up and go network and achieved a big uptick in ridership? Surely you’d start trimming out all of the peak period buses?

        1. It would be worth a political debate at Council and with the NZTA Board if there was any service level change. Reducing your ‘turn up and go’ would apply as a principle no matter what the mode.

          But if consumer demand for CBD transit isn’t coming back to justify existing levels for years, the debate should be had. Road traffic congestion isn’t driving enough people to PT. Until the masks can come off there’s less justification for running empty carriages or buses.

  13. https://www.tmb.cat/en/barcelona-fares-metro-bus/single-and-integrated/choose-ticket
    I am not particularly familiar with the public transport of Barcelona, but what it does have is a pricing system that rewards regular users of PT. Surely this is exactly what Auckland needs? Rather than try and pick winners such as people who travel off peak, or kids who travel on the weekends, or people who travel endlessly on any day (tourists?) shouldn’t the winners be people who commit to public transport by buying (realistically priced) monthly or yearly passes?

    And how to fund it? There are endless solutions, but one that immediately appeals is to sell the Victoria St car park. That would fund at least a couple of years. The there could be a progressive sell down of AIA shares. What reason could AC have for maintaining investment in what appear to be declining activities – driving near Queen St and international travel?

    1. Why sell the car parks when you could just increase the charges and make more money out of them, funding PT for far longer?

      1. Sailor Boy
        Two issues. In parts of the city there seems to be a surplus of car parks. The Sky City facility has dragged prices right down. If there is a surplus the buildings will never be worth more than they are now as going concerns. In my view they should be sold for their land value and thereby remove another facilitator of driving, cheap parking.

        And second, while you will never see it written anywhere, AT seem philosophically wedded to either cheap or free parking.
        They consistently don’t apply their Parking Strategy to manage parking and so the best outcome is the buildings are sold and replaced with something Auckland really does need, housing.

      2. I agree that carparks should be more expensive in order to disincentivise single occupancy vehicles. But I also think they’re likely to stay unprofitable for the foreseeable future. Home Office affects carparks just as much as it affects PT, and medium term cheap robotaxis will mean nobody needs to park cars.

    1. The chilling factor to me is the number of people who won’t wear masks
      on PT. A couple of months ago I was on a 32 bus from Otahuhu station
      to Sylvia Park and only 6 of the 20 passengers on board wore masks.
      It’s no surprise to me that South Auckland is considered a bad place
      for Covid.
      I live at Pukekohe and have to use the DMU shuttle if I want to get to
      Papakura or further North. I can cope with the 28 minute journey, but
      now there is only one shuttle per hour each way off peak, I’ve given
      up and use the car to get to Papakura.

  14. My Parnell office has gone from 26 to 30 public transport trips week to 2 to 6. That decrease is due to a redundancy and massively increased work from home. The office rental market has high vacancy rates and reduced rents.

    In my opinion office workers are never going to go back to the office 5 days per week.

    Auckland Transport should be looking at redeveloping some of its CBD car parking sites. The Victoria Street car park site would be great spot for an apartment building with retail on the ground floor.

  15. Well surely the temporary effects of the rail renewals is the chief factor in this?
    Once that’s sorted out…

  16. Whether we like it or not, buses and trains are viewed as giant petrie dishes incubating the Covid virus, and until we work our way out of that mentality, PT usage will remain at low levels, and the roads will remain clogged with private cars. Probably needed to wait for the completion mass vaccination programme for anything to change.

    1. And blame for that squarely lies on the shoulders of Baker, Bloomfield, and Wiles.

      We’ve been terrorised for a year now, will be interesting to see how they walk it back.

  17. I am not really convinced by the case to eliminate cars from Queen Street, it could just become even more decrepid and occupied by homeless. It’s easy enough walking through and across Queen Street, much better than it used to be.

    1. My main counter point is, whats the penalty? There are significantly larger roads into the city. You cant really park on the street itself. All the major carpark buildings are accessed from other streets. The port exit and beach road springs to mind. And Fanshawe street. A single lane road would be a drop in the bucket compared to these main routes in. The only thing you’re taking away is the symbolism of being able to drive down queen.

      By making it a transit mall you speed up the busses, give over more space to pedestrians that actually can actually stop and spend money there. Not to mention all the other various benefits.

      I just cant see the argument for not removing general traffic.

      If your argument is legitimately because of the homeless, I don’t think that increasing the space available will increase the number of homeless that there, or at least none in relation to the number of people on the street.

      1. Well it’s not just about homeless, it’s about activity,movement and surveillance – which cars all provide.
        Queen Streer is fine for a pedestrian to navigate ever since they improved pedestrian signaling.
        I don’t think central Auckland has the people numbers to make a pedestrian mall work, especially since the Wynyard Quarter has developed.
        I am not *anti’ banning cars on Queen Street, but I am skeptical of potential benefits.

        1. Everyone is sceptical until they see it in person. This has happened over and over again, everywhere. The next thing you know business is up 200% or so.

          You can also be sceptical about the benefits of allowing cars there. Key observation is you can’t stop to go into a shop while driving down that street.

        2. Yeah, people driving past in cars really retain that sense of community lol, what a ridiculous suggestion. The more people walking down there the better. Clearly central Auckland has enough people if it works in a place like Brisbane. The pavements are already rammed, there just needs to be less space wasted on cars that have literally no reason to be using that street

        3. Fort Street, Elliot Street, O’Connell Street, and Derby Street all have lower levers of foot traffic than Queen Street, yet still have high enough foot traffic to make pedestrian malls work.

          Queen Street will be fine. You’ll still have buses or LRT up and down there anyway. Queen Street is horrible to go up, down, or across because of all the space wasted on cars.

  18. A major benefit of pedestrianising Lower Queen St is the improvement of cross town traffic flow on Customs St – via the removal of the right and left turning phases from Queen St into Customs St, and the right turn phase of eastbound traffic into Queen St from Customs St.

    This is important with Quay St and the waterfront being more pedestrianised.

  19. Threw things have taken me back to driving.
    1. The complete unreliability of the train network.
    2. The fare increase made driving cost comparable for the two of us.
    3. I don’t have to wear a mask in my car. Wearing them on PT subconsciously make you think it is dangerous.

    1. But you will be adding to congestion, adding to fossil-fuel emissions, participating in the degradation of the environment, worsening the safety hazard for others, and being part of the overall car-dependency-problem not its solution. Apart from that, good choice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.