Tēnā koutou katoa. We’re all feeling thoroughly used to these short weeks – hope you’ve enjoyed some rest and quality time over Easter and Anzac weekend. Back to normal a tērā wiki!
The week in Greater Auckland
On Tuesday, Heidi wrote about the Eastern Busway, and proposed a strategy for achieving it without a whole lot of expensive and disruptive property acquisition.
Wednesday’s post covered the exciting announcement that the Waitematā Harbour is soon to get electric ferries.
And yesterday, Matt celebrated the soon-to-open Northern Busway extension and the future improvements to come.
Advocates have their day in court, challenging AT and Council’s decision-making
In August 2021, All Aboard Aotearoa, a coalition of advocacy groups, filed for a judicial review of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-31. This week, the case was heard in court.
All Aboard Aotearoa has argued that the RLTP is unlawful, given it will fail to result in a meaningful reduction in emissions:
All Aboard says that the adoption of the RLTP was unlawful because it does not make any material reduction to Auckland’s transport emissions. As the RLTP itself records, it will increase land transport emissions in Auckland by 6% by 2031 compared to 2016 levels (or reduce them by 1% if proposed central government interventions are taken into account, such as biofuels improvements and clean car standards).
As reported by Todd Niall for Stuff, All Aboard says Auckland Transport didn’t sufficiently consider climate change in its ten-year plan for transport:
“Auckland Transport failed to apply a proper climate lens in selecting projects and programmes for the investment programme, and there was no priority given to climate outcomes,” the group said.
[The group’s lawyer, Davey Salmon QC] argued the RLTP had a “wrong starting point[.]” with 93% of spending deemed to be “committed” projects that could not be revisited.
AT and Council’s position is that the RLTP is just “one piece in a jigsaw puzzle of interlocking transport legislation and funding steps” – but as reported below, it seems there may be room for change:
AT and the council said advice had been correct, and if the court found the RLTP to be unlawful, it could be modified, and that setting it aside completely could have “potentially significant consequences” for transport planning and funding.
The judge has now reserved his decision, which means it could be a while before we know the outcome of the case. (In the meantime, the case files – the affidavits, the responses, and the rebuttals – make for very interesting reading.) Of course, in a way this is already a win, in that it highlights the urgency of accounting for climate outcomes in long-term transport decision-making. And the value of alert citizens calling attention to this.
The Spinoff on what Light Rail could bring to Auckland
This is a good broad-brush overview of light rail to share with your non-transport nerd acquaintances. The backstory outlined by Spinoff writer Alice Webb-Liddell will be familiar to many readers of Greater Auckland: the shift to planning for cars in the 50s and 60s, the ever-growing congestion issues, and the return to looking for solutions in public transport strategy. It then goes into the benefits of light rail, and how to make sure it offers a good service to everyone.
We don’t disagree with this statement at all:
So what does light rail give us that a robust bus or train system won’t? For starters, it provides an ease of access that other options, like underground heavy rail, often does not.
“You think about your quintessential European [light rail system] … one of the key things is that they’re at street level, so people can easily get on and they can easily get off,” says Myers.
But which light rail system is it talking about – the one we’re told we’re getting, or the one we wish we were?
EVs won’t save the planet (but they’re a start)
Simon Wilson’s been doing excellent work explaining progressive transport ideas recently – yet again, we want to share his most recent op-ed. This week, Wilson wrote about electric vehicles, and the risk of being duped into thinking EVs will tick our emissions-reduction box for us.
EVs, he reminds us, don’t solve safety – and many new EVs, particularly those coming out of the USA, are just electric versions of the super-sized SUVs that are becoming more common here in Aotearoa.
An EV battery typically weighs about 450kg, compared to the 50kg weight of a typical tank of petrol, and the weight means the car takes longer to stop.
‘Flipping the fleet’ in NZ will take years, and simply won’t happen fast enough to reduce emissions on the scale that’s needed.
The Canadian urban planner Brent Toderian puts it like this: “Here’s the blunt reality — reasonably sized electric vehicles need to be the future of cars, but they can’t be the future of urban mobility. Fewer cars. Less driving. More inviting mobility options. Better communities and cities. These are the four pillars of the real solution.”
World-first transit lane monitoring on Onewa Road
AT’s new cameras on Onewa Road are a world-leading trial of technology designed to monitor vehicle occupancy in T2 and T3 lanes. The Transit Lane Enforcement (TLE) technology will be running by the end of April.
The monitoring technology will then go live from Tuesday 26 April, with AT issuing warning letters for 3 weeks with advice on the correct use of the lanes. There is a break of one week between warning letters being sent and infringements starting to be issued from 24 May for incorrect use.
Catch the outdoor extension at Basement this weekend
It’s your last chance to enjoy an al fresco performance at Basement’s outdoor area this weekend, a space supported by an Auckland Council Outdoor Dining Grant. According to the theatre itself, shows are heading back inside for winter, but “you can still enjoy a drink and a hangout in our outside space all year round.” Phew!
We love this al fresco performance space/beer garden @Basementspace, which received support from an Outdoor Dining Grant thanks to @aklcouncil and the city centre targeted rate. It’s your last chance to check out a show there this weekend! pic.twitter.com/wZtuiqX8jP
— Heart of the City (@hotcity_akl) April 27, 2022
Wellington’s green carpet comes with solid climate messaging
The comms around Wellington’s bike network roll-out are excellent. Local advocate Patrick Morgan attended an event and shared some of the storytelling online. The information signage leads with the big story – climate action. We’re rolling out the green carpet, says the headline, followed by:
Work is underway on our new bike and bus lanes, connecting Newtown to the city. This is part of Paneke Pōneke, Wellington’s bike network plan – working to reduce our emissions by providing more low-carbon choices, and addressing housing density demands.
Bike lanes and 24/7 bus lanes are coming to Newtown. I predict these will be popular. Thanks @WgtnCC @BikeNewtown @CycleWgtn pic.twitter.com/qHtESWqBet
— Patrick Morgan (@patrickmorgan) April 27, 2022
(And of course Auckland is set to enjoy the same green carpet treatment by replacing parking with bus priority and bike lanes for all, on <checks notes> as much as 3% of its road network over the next <squints at paper> ten years…)
Free fares in Sydney cause jump in public transport use
Sydney’s ‘Opal’ public transport system recently had 12 days of free fares which saw people come out in droves to use PT. The most noticeable jumps were in off-peak travel times, as people took advantage of free ferry trips in particular over the school holidays.
Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said 7.7 million free trips had been taken on the public transport network since the start of the fare-free period, and almost 250,000 people travelled on ferries over the Easter long weekend.
Some 87,000 people also travelled on Sydney’s light rail services on Wednesday, which was the largest-ever daily patronage for that mode of transport.
But are free fares the most environmental solution to transport problems?
It’s a debate we keep on having. Fare-free public transport sounds great on the surface: wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone could get on a bus, whether they’ve got money in their pocket or not? David Zipper examines the case for free fares in this article on Bloomberg, leading with a long list of American cities and states that have recently dabbled with free public transport.
After more than a decade of transit agencies around the world experimenting with free trips, it’s far from clear that dropping fares delivers an environmental upside.
It boils down to this: If fare-free transit doesn’t substantially reduce driving, it’s not mitigating emissions or slowing climate change. And all signs suggest that it doesn’t.
To reduce emissions, fare-free public transport needs to get people out of their cars and onto the bus, and for many drivers, that shift happens for a range of reasons – not just cost. Experiments with fare-free PT in Estonia and Chile found that the scheme increased public transport patronage, but didn’t reduce car trips in any measurable way.
Increasing the quality of public transport and disincentivizing driving, making public transport more attractive than taking the car, is what’s needed to reduce transport emissions.
There is a lesson here: Serious efforts to entice drivers to become transit riders won’t come cheap; local leaders must allocate significant dollars and political capital toward expanding transit service and curtailing the preferential treatment of cars.
Could cars be on the way out of Melbourne’s city centre?
Pedestrianisation is a trend in Melbourne, and some in the city are starting to talk about the possibility of a Ghent-style car-free, city centre. Melbourne already has slow-speed pedestrian friendly laneways, a high pedestrian trip rate, and a growing network of pandemic-era cyclelanes.
About 89 per cent of trips that start and end in the CBD are on foot, according to Melbourne City Council, yet cars and parking utilise 60 per cent of road space.
The city has been looking to Barcelona, London and Oslo as examples of the path it could take towards a ‘car-lighter’ city centre.
The cars are gone from (the middle of) Golden Gate Park
After a long campaign by community and advocates, San Francisco’s board of supervisors have voted to keep the park’s central avenue, John F Kennedy Drive, free of cars. It’s been closed to cars since the pandemic started, and advocates argued that ‘a car-free JFK was in line with the city’s commitment to safer streets and clean air.’
The hearing leading up to the vote took a gruelling 9 hours, and included one local musician singing a song in favour of keeping the road car-free.
“Keep it car-free so the kids can play,” [John] Elliott sang at the podium while strumming his guitar. “Car-free to scoot and skate and ride. Car free so we can all have a place to safely move outside. Car free for 100 years.”
When the roads in our own Cornwall Park were closed to traffic during 2021’s lockdown, they filled instead with families, kids on bikes and scooters, adults on bikes, joggers, walkers and pets. We suddenly saw how much space there was for play, once through-traffic was out of the picture. So there’s one we could make permanent here in Tāmaki Makaurau – and how about the Auckland Domain, too?
New York gets nearly $1billion to make its streets safer
A few roundups ago, we linked to the story of New York City’s attempt to get $3.1b in funding approved for street safety and public space upgrades. Well – they’ve been granted $900m, which may only be a third of what was sought, but it’s still a huge injection into the city’s streets.
The announcement, by Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, included strong messaging about reclaiming space from cars.
“Today, we are announcing $904 million to reclaim space from cars on our streets. We will be building even more bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes as well as new plaza and other public space,” said Rodriguez. “We know we have a lot of work to do to address reckless driving, at the same time we announce this investment. Help reduce dependency on dangerous cars. The future of our city depends on alternative forms of transportation.”
North-East London becomes a network of Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods
We were super excited to see this map shared by UK journalist Jon Stone. It shows that the extent of LTNs now covers more than half of North-East London, proving wrong critics who claim that LTNs only serve a select few. In the map, blue areas are LTNs already in place, and the pink areas are planned LTNs.
London’s illegal e-scooter ‘problem’
E-scooters are everywhere. They’re all over New Zealand, and all over the rest of the world too (except, perhaps, certain European cities that were already full of people on bikes). In the United Kingdom, there are nearly a million e-scooters – and they’re all being ridden illegally, because it’s not technically legal to ride e-scooters on public land in the UK.
The Guardian tackles the e-scooter phenomenon in the UK, where, just as in NZ, e-scooters have experienced a sudden boom. The article looks at who’s using them and why, their benefits and disadvantages, and the element of moral panic evident in concerns about e-scooter safety.
These deaths attracted national media attention due to the novelty of e-scooters, but it’s worth putting them into context: about four people die each day on our roads, and these deaths pass largely unnoticed, while newspapers fulminate about the “e-scooter menace” on our streets.
Quit driving, be happier
Share this enthusiastic endorsement of public transport with your PT-sceptic friends and whānau!
Here's the story of why I quit driving and became a full-time bus boy. pic.twitter.com/ifMZd4fsQm
— Adam Conover (@adamconover) April 16, 2022
Yes but how am I supposed to transport my new dining suite if I don’t have a car?
Like this Berliner, just pile it all onto a trolley and roll onto the S-Bahn. Follow the link to the Twitter thread to see what happens next…
Ok so just hours after this I see this guy get off a tram with a full five piece dining suite on a trolley! But then… https://t.co/O8Q5oLaaRC pic.twitter.com/vcmzXC0qpZ
— Nicolas Reid (@Nicolas_Reid) April 26, 2022
It really is amazing what you can do on trains in Berlin, as per this classic 2015 video shared in Nick’s thread, with the refrain “Is mir egal”, i.e. I don’t mind. The video speaks for itself, but if you need a translation, here it is. (How about an AT re-make, with the refrain “It’s all good”?)
A kōrero with the awa
A lovely little bit of placemaking on one of Ōtautahi’s beautiful river paths.
Tell the river your worries and let them float away. pic.twitter.com/dHaDINDmuC
— Marion Ogier (@MonzaGT) April 25, 2022
The joy of walking
We loved this ode to walking by Chris Arnade. Arnade argues that walking is the best way to explore the detail, grit and reality of a new city, the best way to encounter its ordinary residents, its habits and rhythms.
Because walking forces you to see a city at its most granular. You can’t zoom past anything. You can’t fast forward to the “interesting parts.” It is being forced to watch the whole movie, and more often then not, realizing the best parts are largely unseen by tourists.
Walking also changes how the city sees you, and consequently, how you see the city. As a pedestrian you are fully immersed in what is around you, literally one of the crowd. It allows for an anonymity, that if used right, breaks down barriers and expectations. It forces you to deal with and interact with things and people as a resident does. You’re another person going about your day, rather than a tourist looking to buy or be sold whatever stuff and image a place wants to sell you.
We’ll leave you with this to ponder over the weekend. If it’s not real, it should be…
— bolty (@AmbJohnBoIton) March 31, 2022
That weight equation for the EVs is highly sus. Once you account for the things you don’t need, like a cast engine block, a gearbox, the associated ancillaries and cooling, you’re coming up at a weight premium of maybe a hundred or two hundred kilos over an ICE, not to mention all the emissions that goes into making those bits of the ICE that you’re not using anymore.
In fact a 40kwh Nissan Leaf is about 300kg for the battery and probably another 100kgs for the motor and inverter. While these are second-gen cars, integration of the drivetrain, controllers and charging equipment is rapidly advancing.
The Model 3 battery pack is a shade under 350kg too and between it and the Leaf, that accounts for a significant portion of the EVs on our roads, so I’m not sure how ‘typical’ a 450kg battery is. I feel like 450kg for a battery alone is possibly overcooking it.
Either way, the over/under on an ICE is way lower than the 400kg as an implied weight premium as a Leaf’s ICE equiv (arguably 1.6l Qashqai) has an engine weight of easily 100kg, before allowing for gearbox etc as stated above that you’re not hauling around.
That is not sus at all. E cars weigh a lot more than their petrol equivalents, often upto 50% more. These cars are heavier so if they are travelling the same speed as normal cars they are far more dangerous.
That is the point.
No… no they don’t. A Kona ICE is 1500kg, the EV is 1700kg. The Cooper S is 1300kg and the Cooper SE is 1770kg. The Tesla and Leaf have no equivalent ICE model, but the Leaf looks about about the same as a Qashqai. The Tesla weighs 150kg more than the Model 3. None of these are even remotely close to ‘50% more’. I’d suggest this range covers a good 90% of all EVs sold in NZ in the last five years.
I struggle to see how you can suggest they are ‘often’ as much as 50% more when I can’t seem to find an example of a single one being 50% heavier than the ICE equivalent.
As I stated in my post, the net difference once the weight of all ICE components are offset tends to be a couple of hundred KGs at most.
I do not understand why people feel they can be so liberal with claims about EVs that don’t withstand a basic level of scrutiny.
Leafs and Tesla weigh 1400-1900 kg, unladen, that approaching twice the weight of basic ice car like a Suzuki swift or Mazda demo.
E cars are heavier, so they are more dangerous moving at same speeds as ICE, this is the point.
A Leaf and a Demio/Swift are not even remotely comparable as cars. It’s like saying a Hummer is bigger than a Mini. Well… duh.
It’s not exactly a useful exercise when you’re trying to argue the weight premium inherent in an electric powertrain by virtue of it being electric, not by being a totally different model in a totally different segment.
No they absolutely are comparable cars. They are cheaper end city driving cars that are doing similar short urban trips.
The leaf is massively more dangerous to by hit by, because of its weight.
Taking your bad faith “couple of hundred kg at most”, ecars are making our outrageously dangerous roads more dangerous.
“No they absolutely are comparable cars. They are cheaper end city driving cars that are doing similar short urban trips.”
They are not more comparable than the exact same model with a different powertrain, which is the argument you started off trying to make before it I pointed out it was garbage.
You’re the one who went off about EVs having a premium ‘often’ of up to 50% by virtue of being EVs which is demonstrably false and are now shifting goalposts by claiming that it’s relative to completely different makes and models of cars in totally different segments.
Look, just accept it, you did what most people did when it comes to EVs: you parroted a baseless talking point and are now moving goalposts trying to make it hang together. But sure, I’m arguing in ‘bad faith’ because I can understand the simple concept of ‘one of these things is not like the other’.
The 2.0 litre petrol Hyundai Kona has listed kerb weights (lightest/heaviest) of 1280kg/1383kg. The 39khh electric Kona is 1535kg/1593kg and the 60kwh one is 1685kg/1743kg. There is also a 1.6T petrol but I am not thinking about buying that one.
Irrespective of weight (which should be kept low – just ask Colin Chapman*), there is no functional reason why an EV pickup should have a bonnet at shoulder height. It’s all about aggressive aesthetics at the expense of pedestrian safety.
It shouldn’t be legal to drive this on a standard car licence. Want to drive a truck? Get a truck licence and become a truck driver.
*founder of Lotus Cars and a lifelong proponent of lightweight design: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Chapman
They’re perceived as a solution because people don’t have to do anything.
what an absolute balls up the Onewa Road infringement camera system is.
First the well documented placement of the camera poles fiasco. Since ‘mitigated’ by adding 300 mm of concrete to the shared path adjacent to some of the cameras.
They removed the enforcement officers months ago. The infrastructure has been in place for about a year and now we learn it hasn’t been operating and we learn this because of a publicity campaign inviting the many selfish pricks who think the rules dont apply to them to use the T3 without ramifications for the next month.
Here’s a tip AT you don’t need to invest in all those cameras just put some weird looking cameras on a pole with associated announcements about a new infringement regime. the T3 in Onewa has been rigorously observed since the enforcement officers left, something that never happened when they were in place because there was a Facebook page that updated the guys location every morning. the pm was never enforced so was totally ignored. Except for over the last few months because everyone thought big brother was watching. Lesson big brother can get on and do other stuff as long as we think he’s watching.
Icing on the cake. This week to coincide with the 3 week warning phase the T3 has been coned off while something is done on the footpath forcing buses to try and join the general queue of traffic
Melbourne looks to… Melbourne, as an example of the path it could take towards a ‘car-lighter’ city centre?
In response to the joy of walking. One of the things I like to do in a new to me town or city is to hunt out a few geocaches. This is an amazing way to explore and discover on foot or cycle.
The Chaser did moving furniture on public transport years ago – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGIZg1cFXfU
And this happened on the Te Huia on Friday 4th March . The person sitting opposite had his car stolen in Hamilton and the Door was damaged , and he found 1 online in Auckland came up paid for it and then found the easiest way and cheapest means to get it home was by Train . After a discussion with the TM who finally relented he was able to board with his purchase ;-
That is a great idea. If he got too warm he could have wound his window down.
Miffy – He did have the Window down as it was the easiest way to carry it .
Ridiculous that he even had to talk to the TM. It’s a piece of luggage on a half empty train.
The TM reasoning was , That only Bikes should be Carried on the train and as there were no bikes that day She relented .
True that it isn’t an issue yet, but as more people cotton on to it being a cheap way to transport items, it could become commonplace and eventually problematic.
For this reason you can find bans on cardboard boxes on low-cost train services in Europe, to discourage the services being used for freight. I was (very frustratingly) caught out by this when I was travelling with my dismantled bike in a standard cardboard bike-box. The OuiGO TGV refused my boarding. If the dismantled bike had been in a fabric bike-bag instead, it would have been fine.
If it will be problematic eventually, we should manage it eventually. Trying to kick someone off of an empty train for taking up too much room while we are trying to grow ridership has to be the dumbest idea yet.
Speaking of emissions and government initiatives to help. I don’t really get it, we added a relatively complex subsidy programme.
But if we really care, why don’t we update our rules to be “world class”.
New vehicles to be of same standard as those in Europe, Euro6+, and once euro 7 rolls in, that’s what we get.
For imported vehicles, allow Euro 5 to be the lowest, that’s it. the fact that we still can bring in euro 4 vehicles is crazy
I understand we don’t have the market power to demand compliance with extra rules etc, but we could easily ride on the coattails of other big players like the US or EU. But nope, dumping ground for old tech it is.
Regarding Te Huia and one of the commenters mentioning it being possibly ‘half empty’. I got the 14:00 Te Huia back from Hamilton today and it was 100% full with people having to stand all the way to Auckland……..a good sign for the future perhaps.
AC – Thanks for that update , and did you find if they were coming up for the weekend or were they coming back from the school holidays ? .
And it will be good to see what the latest passenger numbers look like .
Great to hear. We should definitely have a Te Huia watch type thread, I’d appreciate regular updates on how it’s doing – plus of course new in regards to new calls (Puhinui), increased frequency, and fingers crossed – any journey time improvements…
Does seem as if it’s starting to slot into the zeitgeist of existence, and being a valid option. That can only permeate more. Curious what marketing there is and if it is more AKL or Waikato focused.
c – it would be nice to see the figures from the 24th January until now , and mainly for April . After some of the staff about the Numbers either side of Easter it seems like it could shut the Doomsayers up hopefully .
The numbers until March 31 are here: https://www.tehuiatrain.co.nz/assets/Te-Huia/Patronage-reports/Te-Huia-patronage-report-to-31-March-2022.pdf
Keep watching https://www.tehuiatrain.co.nz/travel-with-us/patronage/ as April should be added in a few weeks time.
AC – Going by video that Te Huia posted on their Face Book page they ran a 6 [six] carriage train today ;-
Looking at the video with the Te Huia going up through Parnell it seems the Carriages are reasonably full at this stage .
My family was on that train. As dad said, it was predominantly the grey haired or under 5 crowd. It’s all well and good having Gold Card riders use it but if it’s key market, 18-65 year olds, do not use it (actual fare payers) it could disappear again. I don’t expect to see Tory governments prop it up and can see a National/Act govt. kill it.
AC – Te Huia carried over 568 passengers on that Friday . And going by some of the comments on their FB Page they were sitting in the aisles
David L – Guessing a bit, but my observations: Quite a few families coming up I’d say to visit Auckland for the weekend (and/or returning home). Quite a few oldies taking advantage of the free day out, and also a whole carriage reserved by a Church Group which I think took everyone by surprise – that it would cause a seat shortage problem!
And just a few randoms like me who visited Hamilton for a few hours.
There was an announcement reminding people that putting their bags or suitcases on their seats was totally unacceptable as the train was full 😀
Saw a few cyclists and bikes too.
More broadly, I’ve seen way more people on PT in Auckland since the 1/2 price fares (I’ve been using PT way more), I quietly hope Govt lock those cheaper fares in for the long haul, would be politically dumb to jack prices back up again in July !
There’s another 5 carriages sitting at Te Rapa so maybe on Fridays they just need to hook up a couple more. Seems as though Friday is the busy day although the mid morning service from Auckland didn’t seem all that full when I saw it go through Papatoetoe. Anyway being able to add more carriages to increase supply would seem to be about the only advantage of using locomotive hauled carriage trains. Still I suppose we should use the five carriages to run an early morning service from Auckland two train sets need to get the locomotives pointing in the right direction either that or use the SD driving sets this dragging around a dead 100 tonne locomotives doesn’t seem right in a climate emergency.
AC – so was the train you got 5 carriages or did they leave as 4 car set ? .
I think it was 5 carriages on the way back.
AC -Thank you for that .
They should go a step further and make PT fares zero. Permanently.
Zen, where is the evidence that this will work? Kids travel for free on weekends now and yet there is little evidence that they have flocked to public transport.
That was the Manukau City Baptist Church seniors group outing. Sounds like they had a good day out 🙂
S L , Thanks for that , and also I hope they had a good trip both ways and if they did I hope they spread the message how good the service is , to all the other large groups around that want to do day trips .
Thanks in particular for the link to Walking the World. I hope it’s OK to list some books relevant to that activity.
THE OLD WAYS: A JOURNEY ON FOOT
WALKING: ONE STEP AT A TIME
WANDERLUST: A HISTORY OF WALKING
THE RINGS OF SATURN by WG Sebald is ostensibly about the author going on a walking tour but he gets easily sidetracked, in a good way.
What a magnificent book that is by Sebald.
“The monitoring technology will then go live from Tuesday 26 April, with AT issuing warning letters for 3 weeks with advice on the correct use of the lanes. There is a break of one week between warning letters being sent and infringements starting to be issued from 24 May for incorrect use.”
The delay by AT in enforcing this is pathetic. Nothing has changed apart from the means of enforcement. The message that AT is sending to motorists is, do what you like for 4 weeks. Unfortunately this is all part of AT’s badly undercooked (raw) approach to facilitating better public transport and less car mode share.
By coincidence, just catching up after being in Melbourne last week (first international travel since pre-pandemic)
My hotel was in the free tram zone along with the lab/office I was working, and while I had been to Melbourne before and had a Miki card loaded up, didn’t really use it.
Couple of random observations though;
1) Walking was improved by trams. I walked a lot; less cars and easy to cross major roads as the tram tracks and stops are in the middle, so you only have to cross one lane of general traffic and then just the tram tracks. And nice to know that if you get tired, you can just jump on a tram which will only be minutes away
2) EV cars are noticeable by their absence – I am so used to seeing a bunch of Leaf’s and Tesla’s around Auckland. In a week in Melbourne I think I only saw the one Tesla. 91 Petrol being ~$1.80 a litre – with the government reducing tax as fuel was getting expensive like here, but encouraging the use of high emission vehicles
3) Bicycles on the other hand were everywhere – some new cycleways were really busy, and E-Bikes everywhere, including delivery drivers. Even took a photo of a service tech stopping to fix a parking machine, with a EBike panniers containing tools
4) Miki cards you can buy/top up everywhere, and there is a version you can load onto Android phones; so ahead of HOP cards
5) Only noticeable gap in the network was the airport; no trams or trains?
6) Southern Cross station seems well located, and swarming with security, transport inspectors
As good as Miki is there should nomoonger be any need for Miki/Hop/Oyster cards anymore.
In places like London and Singapore you can use your phone/credit/debit (EFTPOS for kiwis) cards at the discounted transport rate. Australia and NZ are both decades behind in this regard.
As I was saying; Myki is also available on Android phones; I have no idea why they don’t support Apple but it is integrated with phones at least
I used to work on Smartcard systems and Oyster was pretty advanced. Just checked and they didn’t integrate fully with financial institution (FI) cards unto about 2014 (still earlier than I thought) and were only about the second transport card to integrate like that. Huge numbers (40m+ cards) helps, but the Smartcard can do quite a lot offline so they still have a place in the bigger picture.
Mobile will happen in NZ sooner or later, but not so sure about politics of FI card integration given we still suffer high credit card surcharges
Your right about CC/debit fees. I’m shocked at how expensive they are to use in NZ compared with elsewhere. Would be great for the government to do something about it like the UK and Europe has.
Grant, it is noticeable when you travel that Auckland is 20 years behind other cities in terms of other than car mode, and 50 years behind some European cities.
It seems from the most recent NZ climate change report that parts of NZ will have sea rise of 30cm within 10-20 years. (an example was to expect the North western motorway to flood every year) What’s the bet that the Auckland response will simply be to want to build more roads higher?
surely a kelly tarltons to north head sea wall will be cheaper than raising all that Waitemata harbour infra / building in some extremely expensive short term “holding back the tide with our hands”. For the next few decades it wouldn’t even have to have that much environmental impact, more of a storm wall thing like in london.
Sea walls like the dutch build are not too crazy expensive and are extremely long lasting infra.