Ata mārie everyone and welcome to the month of Hongongoi-July.

The week in Greater Auckland

On Monday, Scott argued that ‘zoning’ isn’t helping constructive development and should be abolished.

In Tuesday’s post, Matt wondered if there’s a bigger story behind a recent sponsored NZ Herald article about Auckland Light Rail.

Wednesday’s post cheered on the first of AT’s planned low-cost cycleway barriers (on Upper Harbour Drive), in the face of some pretty vicious backlash.

And on Thursday, Matt broke down the items on yesterday’s AT Board Meeting agenda.

Good news for Waiheke Ferries

This week, the Minister for Transport announced that he’s beginning the legal process to bring Waiheke ferries into the public transport system. At the moment, Fullers has an exemption to run the Waiheke ferries outside of the public transport network. This means that Waiheke residents have missed out on the advantages of government-subsidised public transport.

The company announced an 8.4% fare rise in late June, while the rest of the subsidised public transport network is enjoying half-price fares due to government funding until the end of August.

Removing the exemption will take some time, but Michael Wood hopes it will be changed by the end of the year.

The change should come this year, but is not simple as it still requires agreement by Fullers or another ferry operator, to provide the new regulated public transport services.

“​​This exemption removal process will take some time, and I remain hopeful that the two parties will come to an agreement,” said Wood.

Ockham to bring more homes to Avondale

Just announced on Eke Panuku’s blog, Ockham has purchased a 1.58 hectare site in Avondale right next to the proposed new library and town centre development.

With easy access to transport links, the development of this central site is destined to offer more than 500 homes directly adjoining the future site of Auckland Council’s eagerly anticipated multimillion-dollar investment in a new town square, multi-purpose library and community facility, as well as provide new retail and commercial premises along the site’s Great North Road edge.

The project will be just down the road from Ockham’s under-construction Aroha development and a block from its earlier development, Set. Could Avondale become one of the best examples we have of a medium-density, thriving local centre?

We haven’t solved housing yet, though.

Steps forward, steps back. The debate about density, where it’s allowed to go, and when a villa is worth more than a dozen decent homes stumbles on.

In Wellington last week, the much-agonised-over Spatial Plan was enshrined into the District Plan after 6.5 hour council meeting that came with a fresh round of agony for, well, everyone. This should have been a straightforward transfer of a set of agreed decisions and principles into a zoning plan.

Instead, “a very slim majority of councillors, a couple, changed their votes and undid a year’s worth of work, and probably millions of dollars’ worth” of planning, according to pro-density councillor Rebecca Matthews.

In particular, an 11th-hour amendment by mayor Andy Foster – who is yet to announce whether he is running for re-election this year – made two major last-minute changes that will likely lead to less high-density housing being built.

Those two changes included reducing the City Centre walking catchement (which allows buildings up to 6 storeys within it) be reduced from 15mins to 10mins, and a redefinition of the Johnsonville Train Line from a rapid transit line, which would significantly reduce the amount of housing that can be built around it.

The Johnsonville amendment was re-worded after Council was informed that the change was illegal, but the re-worded version is still legally shaky.

Meanwhile, in Auckland…

Moving incrementally forward? At Thursday afternoon’s planning committee, the question of ‘which house is prettiest’ continued to get quite a bit more airtime than ‘how can we make sure fewer people are trapped in housing poverty?’

However, homes did win out over fretwork – narrowly. A motion to widen the criteria for special character areas to include ‘Category 4’ homes was voted down, 11 to 10.

Shane Henderson, Councillor for Waitakere, expressed his impatience with fellow Councillors who support density in theory but don’t turn up with the votes.

Councillor Cooper was equally frustrated:

The same people make the same arguments. They say they want a more compact urban form, they say they want to reduce emissions, but when it comes to the hard decisions they’ll go and vote for their area. We just can’t do that.

And Councillor Dalton spoke about the reality of a changing city:

Yes, that includes reducing emissions. I got stick for voting for the parking strategy, for the cycling plan, and I’ll get stick for this – but I will be consistent. The city has no choice but to change.

Mode shift is Wellington’s future

A big Let’s Get Wellington Moving announcement came this week. The Government revealed that it’s backing Option 1 of the four major LGWM investment options. That’s the option which builds a new car and transit tunnel through Mt Victoria, turns the existing tunnel into a walking and cycling link, and sends light rail out to Island Bay.

Some, including Julie Ann Genter, have pointed out that that means choosing the most expensive and difficult option, which comes with high embedded carbon. On the other hand, Minister Wood sent a strong message about mode shift in the announcement.

Pumping as many cars through the city as possible was “1960s thinking”, Wood said. Mode shift was “what every successful dynamic international city is doing”.

Perhaps the Minister actually did make it to Paris’ Coronapistes, or Ghent’s low-traffic area in his recent trip to Europe…

What mode shift really means for the people of Pōneke

We’ll really miss the Dominion Post’s Mode Shift series now that the month of June is behind us. It’s done an excellent job of talking about transport issues with a more human, less catastrophic tone than what we’re used to seeing in the media. Here are a couple of highlights from the last week.

Lily Chalmers is a bike activist who understands that access to cycling is about more than just the infrastructure. When the Hutt City cycleway opened last year, she realised that many in her community didn’t have bikes – they couldn’t afford them, and there wasn’t even a bike shop in the neighbourhood. So Chalmers started Bike Box, a charity that repairs and gives away unused bikes to people who need them.

She says hard infrastructure needs to be backed up with initiatives that encourage and enable cycling, particularly in areas where people otherwise wouldn’t have the means to get themselves mobile.

Chalmers points out that bikes allow people to participate in their community, which is exactly what a cargo bike has meant for six year old Elliot, who lives with a brain tumor. Elliot’s family’s cargo bike has become the main form of transport for Elliot and her sister, and it gives them access to the city and the people in it in a way a car never could.

“Those small pleasures and little adventures you can have every day, it’s been life changing for her. She can have that sense of normality and childhood fun,” [Elliot’s mum Caroline] Beech said.

Elliot and her mum Caroline on the family wagon. Image via Stuff.

Why we need Vision Zero

Spotted on The Spinoff this week: a fantastic plain-language summary of Vision Zero (Road to Zero) and why we need it, produced in partnership with Waka Kotahi and beautifully illustrated by Hope McConnell.

And the month of June was a particularly awful reminder of why Vision Zero changes of all kinds desperately need to be rolled out all over the motu. The 2022 mid-year road toll is now the highest its been since 2018. New Zealand is, along with the USA, one of the only developed nations in which the road toll isn’t decreasing.

Then, on Monday, 28-year-old Jessica Moser was killed by a truck on a central city street in Hamilton when she was cycling to work. At an intersection that’s known to be dangerous and where planned improvements haven’t happened.

If Jessica’s tragic and untimely death is not a reason to speed up safety improvements to make streets safer for vulnerable road users – and to re-think how heavy freight works, then what is?

Trucks not trains for Bay of Plenty to Waikato supply chain?

A collection of freight industry stakeholders have come together to work on plans to deal with anticipated pressure on supply chain infrastructure between the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato. Capacity will increase across sectors, but there’s a disproportionate focus on roading projects and the trucking industry above rail.

Choosing trucks over trains is not aligned with our Vision Zero goals, nor the climate emergency and our national commitments to reduce transport emissions.

Major investments planned included spending $88.6 million on rail between FY22 and FY24, completion and use of the Ruakura inland port in Hamilton and annual roading investments in Waikato and Bay of Plenty of around $800m and $400m respectively. Proposed and approved National Land Transport Fund investments for the two regions totalled $2.6 billion.

Head down into the CRL tunnel boring machine

This CRL update video follows communications coordinators Olivia and Nicole down into the tunnel that’s being bored at the moment for a tour of the many different parts of the tunnel boring machine itself – including its lunch room and pilot’s cabin, and walks them through a typical safety induction.

Depaving for climate

The topic of ‘depaving’ – removing asphalt and concrete to make way for green and blue ‘infrastructure’ – popped up in our feed this week, and got us thinking…

Vienna depaves with style

In Vienna, Austria, depaving is done in the service of cooling the city down, and has happened alongside the addition of misters, green meadows and an artificial lake.

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Depaving freeways to create space for people

In a growing worldwide trend, space-hungry motorways and freeways are being reimagined as space for homes…

…and for expansive boulevards, like this transformation in Rio de Janeiro.

There are countless examples of unnecessary swathes of asphalt in Auckland, from wide residential cul-de-sacs, to complex knots of intersections and traffic islands like this on in Blockhouse Bay. What would you do with it?

Would fare-free PT be good for Auckland?

A report commissioned by the Trade Unions PSA and First Union is claiming that dropping fares on public transport would improve social equity and people’s perception of the services.

Report author Dr Jen McArthur, Associate Professor of Urban Infrastructure and Public Policy at University College London, told Morning Report three international cities who had implemented the policy were studied – Tallinn in Estonia, and Kansas and Boston in the United States. She said the benefits were apparent.

“They all had different experiments going free and had slightly different ways of implementing it,” she said.

“But across the board it shows if you do it well – it’s not just about making the fares free but having a holistic package about improving the transport and going free as part of having a number of measures for improving accessibility, it definitely has gained.”

We’ve argued in the past that free fares aren’t the answer – improving services across the board, and making sure everyone has access to good PT options is what really matters. And that’s kind of what the study seems to be saying: that getting rid of fares alone isn’t enough, it has to come with improvements to the service too.

We’re expecting to see more of this debate, because it’s Mayoral candidate Efeso Collins’ flagship policy.

Gas Station bans becoming a reality

We touched on the future of gas stations last week, and it’s surfaced again, this time on Los Angeles, which might be the first big american city to ban new gas stations.

Proponents of the policy say that the destructive wildfires, killer heat waves, and heavy flooding that have hit the U.S. recently, fueled by climate change, are a sign that it’s time to stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. They also point out that gas stations can cause lasting health effects, releasing benzene — a known carcinogen — and contaminating the air, water, and soil. Shuttered gas stations make up half of the country’s 450,000 contaminated brownfield sites, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That number is sure to grow as electric vehicles take over the road in the coming years, cutting the demand for gasoline.

What the ‘war on cars’ is really about

Here’s a reflective weekend long-read, by Doug Gordon of the War on Cars podcast, on reclaiming the ‘ban cars’ language from alarmist TV hosts, and the deeper thinking behind the tongue-in-cheek name of the movement.

Given the aggregate ways in which cars negatively impact individual lives, communities, and the planet, I believe a good-faith understanding of “the ban cars movement” is actually less radical than maintaining the status quo, which often seems to take the shape of a ban on everything but cars.

The joys of collective transport: cargo bikes on the rise

We shared the Dom Post’s story of the joy Elliot Beech and her family get from their cargo bike earlier in the post, and now here’s the New York Times with an article that’s both an explainer and ode to the cargo bike.

The humble little box on wheels — the Dutch word for cargo bike is bakfiets, or box bike — can do everything, from helping families with their errands to increasing efficiency for companies delivering products and services, all while reducing emissions and congestion and increasing safety, experts say.

Across the Atlantic, cargo bikes are an essential part of Paris’ hot cycling summer

While the Japanese have known about cargo bikes for a long time…

… they’re several steps ahead with this tall and narrow, double height three wheeled pedal-powered machine. This is the kind of futuristic innovation we can get excited about!

The Streek Trike can be configured many different ways to suit the user.

The future of red carpet transport

Or, how we like to think we look on our bike commutes into the city.

Tamaki cycleway is brimming with tamariki

The indicator species was spotted on the Glenn Innes to Tāmaki cycleway in the weekend.

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A revolution in transport planning

This might well be our longest weekly roundup up yet, but this final piece is too good not to include. In a concise summary, Lisa Kane pulls out five key points from Karel Martens’ book Transport Justice. These key points, Kane argues, ask for nothing less than a revolution in transport planning methods.

Thinking about human beings first means thinking more about the ability of all kinds of people to travel (by whatever means). It broadens our possible toolkit beyond infrastructure and vehicles and traditional transport planning. Thinking transport justice is not about a focus on people as an add-on or as an after-thought, says Karel Martens, it’s about completely new methodologies. We need transport planning processes which intentionally focus on those we serve, and this means starting afresh from the ground up.

Whew! Hope you enjoy this bumper roundup edition on what’s looking to be a rainy weekend. See you next week.

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  1. Tāmaki cycleway? Glenn Innes to Tāmaki cycleway? Hmm, it’s not a cycleway, but a shared path.

    And Stage 2 of Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai is nowhere near Tāmaki or Tamaki Drive, but wholly within Meadowbank and Kohimarama.

    Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai is also called the “Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive” shared path, but those tamakiri don’t look like aren’t going to or from GI or Tamaki Drive, any more than most of the 100s of users daily who appear to be locals walking or running along parts of Stage 2.

    Some of the people cycling on Stage 2, like the road warriors in the photo, are going long distance; but like all shared paths, the main value of Stage 2 is in enabling mode shift by providing safe, short local trips.

    Stage 2 does this in spades, substituting a gorgerous direct route between homes and schools and between homes and Meadowbank train station for tortuous, often congested trips by car or bus.

    There’s an unfortunate tendency among people commenting on Stage 2 to frame it as a cool new thing to expereince on a day trip for the weekend. Which it certainly is. But it’s not the primary point of this path, or why it was built the way it was, following community advocacy over many years, and strong support from the Local Board and Ward Councillor, with several local links in Tapaha Reserves East and West, at John Rymer Place, and *stop press! after yesterday’s vote at the Governing Body now fully funded and confirmed!*, to Gowing Drive.

    1. It’s still a road to nowhere until stage 4 is finally completed. I think we will then see a lot more people using it for commuting into the city, especially if they finally connect GI to Panmure.

      1. “Road to nowhere” lol.

        Apart from the 100s of Selwyn College and St Thomas’s School students who live on the opposite side of the Pourewa. Or the Kohimarama residents who can now substitute a 30-45 min congested commute into the city with a 20 min bike+train. Or anyone who wants to run or cycle to the waterfront from Meadowbank. Or cycle to or from St Heliers. Or, when the new link is open, anyone in Gowing Drive who wants to walk or cycle instead of drive to the train station. Or anyone who just wants to walk or run around the Pourewa Valley.

        None of these trips was even possible before.

        Stage 4 doesn’t make any new trips possible or even any shorter than they are now. It just avoids having to cycle on either the road or footpath along part of Ngapipi.

  2. Extremely disappointed by Pippa Coom’s anti-housing vote. Does she really think she can fight back the return of Mike Lee with C&R support by, er, doing just what Mike Lee would do in office anyway?

    1. Yes, shocked with the voting of some of the ‘progressive’ councillors. Imagine we will see similar low turnout numbers at local elections, after all what’s the point.

    2. Very notable that the Councillors leading Council’s climate change response (Coom, Hills) didn’t vote for more housing close to the city centre, rapid transit stations. And people wonder why the likes of AT ignore that strategy.

        1. Shouldn’t be a surprise, he talks a big game but is ultimately for improving the city for NIMBYs, not everyone

    3. Not sure about all this, surprised too, but as someone noted on Twitter that “Never that simple. Wait for the other motions.”

  3. Funny you mentioned the Whitney / Terry Street intersection, I have often wondered how that came about. Neither of these streets are particularly busy, there is no need for such a monstrosity. AT are always too broke to build cycle infrastructure but sit on a lot of land like this worth millions. Sell it and use the money for something else.

  4. The BOP-Waikato supply chain thing is a problem.

    As the article says the Kaimais are not suited to heavy trucks and SH27 is really breaking up and needs major work. Although if trucks are going to the inland port surely they would use SH29/SH1 – there is no need for them to use SH27. (In fact we in Matamata/Waharoa are looking forward to the Expressway being opened on Thursday week as SH27 should then become less congested and less broken up by HPMVs) When we go to Auckland we use SH27 to Tahuna then cut across to Ohinewai.

    As to rail, do Kiwirail have enough rolling stock and/or drivers to increase services through the tunnel? Have the rules deeming rail tunnels to be mines after Peter Whittall killed those men at Pike River been changed or does there still need to be a purge time after each train? Can the tunnel be wired for use by hybrid diesel/electric locomotives?

    1. Apparently there are extremely serious maintenance concerns with the Kaimai rail tunnel. Lots and lots of water causing all kinds of problems. So some sort of extended shutdown might be in store in the next decadeish.

      Might genuinely have to duplicate the Kaimai tunnel

      Aside from that, they could possibly install the whole extractor fan door setup like they did on the Otira tunnel.

      1. It is fairly easy to find online stories about maintenance problems with the Kaimai tunnel. It took a long time to build the tunnel, partly due to difficult geological conditions, but duplication should probably be considered. An early start might be desirable. The Wikipedia entry says the clearances allow for electrification. The same applies to the Rimutaka tunnel.

        1. Given the tunnel’s importance in the logistics chain to our largest port and the dire consequences of it being out of action for months, it should be duplicated asap. Of course being NZ, this won’t happen and projects of zero national importance like Penlink will be given priority.

        2. Equally, a government might leverage or build up such problems to justify building a motorway tunnel or equivalent to Tauranga.

          Rail seems to be on quite the upper lately (compared to a few decades ago). The planned kiwirail freight facility in Palmerston North, and the freight in Hamilton being developed now. It’s not completely being neglected and dependence continues to be built. Perhaps all will end well.

    2. I wonder why there isn’t hybrid freight trucks then the power expended getting a 60 tonne truck to the top of the hill could be recovered through regenerative braking going down the other side.
      A train driver told me that the Kaimai tunnel is flat so its not like a train would be burning megawatts of power, like powering a coal train up through the tunnel from Otira to Arthurs pass. Maybe a battery locomotive hooked up to a diesel could reduce smoke but the best thing would be to electrify the whole line though. But then both the Otira and the Lyttleton tunnel electrification were removed so it seems we have gone backwards.

    3. A lot of the problem is the tga CT site itself which only has 4 roads and and is squashed on that narrow strip of land.
      It’s not just getting the trains through the kaimai it’s that they have nowhere to park once they get to TGA.
      Maybe investing in expansion there or another CT site on the mtmng side to create more space.

    4. If the Kaimai railway tunnel is in need of serious work, at it’s worst that may a entail a total line closure for a period, or at least a longer period of reduced capacity.
      Surely planning for duplication as well as electrification should be bought forward.
      Commision the new tunnel, then close and rehabilitate the existing tunnel efficiently, therefore ending up with a further stage, in the very desirable duplicated, or better, line, between the Port of Auckland and Mt Maunganui Port. Serving everything in between. A huge chunk of NZ’s freight generation.
      In our provisioning for freight, there is still far too much adhoc crisis management as an alternative to doing more longer term strategic planning and provisioning.
      The Port of Auckland is in terminal decline for freight. Therefore provisioning high volume transport access to alternative ports is increasingly becoming more urgent. As is ensuring these longer freight hauls do not work against our increasing international obligations to reduce emissions.

  5. A serious move towards rail freight would be a plan to duplicate the ECMT to Tauranga including a second Kaimai tunnel. That would allow for growth into the future.

    1. Yes, but that would mean spending lots of money on vital national infrastructure instead of pandering to urban car drivers with unnecessary motorways.

  6. It’s a real shame the council are stuck on retaining all of the villa belt around Auckland’s CBD.
    And this is made even worse as the planned LRT route has zig zag’d tunneled and duplicated existing rail to avoid the villa belt.
    I can to some degree understand the mentality of retaining the heritage areas as you only need to look a bit beyond these areas to see some real tasteless bland developments some even covered in yellow brick…..

  7. No surprises, that the most vocal opposition to “pretty houses” came from Shane Henderson,there are no votes in it for him.All the other councillors have considered their narrow voting base and made their choice on that,l guess you call that representing your electorate.
    Shane’s patch,(West Auckland),represents all that is wrong with Auckland,sprawl development,woeful PT,no real alternatives to driving,although NW cycleway does some serious heavy lifting.
    His advocacy for his voters, to improve their lot,offers benefits far outside his electorate,just a pity,other councillors take a narrow view on big picture items

    1. And many of the dissenting councillors will be home owners in that belt which they represent. So there is a conflict of interest.

  8. This website continues to propagate the patent nonsense that doing away with special character in favour of medium-high density zoning will meaningfully address housing poverty.
    Totally simplistic and ideological nonsense.

    1. No, you can’t get away with just saying that, you have to provide reasoned arguments that show it is “totally simplistic and ideological nonsense”. Otherwise you are just another elderly ranter.

    2. Zen Man continues to propagate the patent nonsense that allowing more supply doesn’t reduce price.

      1. More simplistic nonsense and assuming much which can not be inferred from what I said.
        The unitary plan already enables an awful lot of supply. The NPS-UD requirements and MDRS requirements enable a huge amount more, even if special character was untouched…

        And btw, I didn’t say special character shouldn’t be untouched (my bone is with people who say it should all be abolished) I think the council should be more discerning on what is retained, perhaps 40-50% should be retained rather than 70% plus. Also, I can’t see why density and special character can’t potentially co-exist in some locations, with design guidelines.
        Also please advise me how enabling density in central Auckland suburbs will ameliorate housing poverty. It most certainly won’t.
        Only through the state building much more social housing will that occur.

        1. More supply has been enabled by the Unitary Plan. However, even more supply will exert more downward pressure on high density housing in inner suburbs. Not all the sections rezoned for high density housing will be redeveloped, even in the medium term. It is necessary to have many times more sections rezoned for high density housing than will be redeveloped.
          At the moment high income earners are moving into low income suburbs and pushing prices up. If they could buy a house on a redeveloped section in Devonport they would not be exerting that upward pressure. Assertions that all new inner city housing will be high cost because of high land values are an argument for even higher density in inner city suburbs.
          State housing can exert downward pressure on house prices. However, there is currently considerable opposition to state housing and limits on the development of inner city state housing sections. Hence, relaxing character protection is one means for reducing housing costs and housing poverty, as well as making it easier for people to walk, cycle or catch a bus to work.

        2. The million dollar question is this: What is this debate actually about?

          (a) We want to preserve heritage, or

          (b) We want to reserve this large chunk of well-located land for the rich? (commonly phrased as “keeping the wrong element out”)

        3. Only it will be 20km from the city centre, and in areas that do not have a multitude of public transit options like the centre does. That’s the literal point of the whole excercise – unless you think that congestion is a poor person problem and we should keep focussing development on the formerly outer suburbs like Silverdale, Huapai, Westgate and Drury while charging people an arm and a leg for a car commute they have no alternative.

          Meanwhile, in the central suburbs: Link buses, trains, bike lanes, AND on-street parking over and above what you’d find 20kms away in places like Hobsonville.

  9. Zen Man,if you are going to have special character, then it is far more than the villa belt.Why are there no state housing blocks included, Art Deco houses,Walker Henry developments? these all add to Auckland’s special character,but are not on the list ,as they are not multi million dollar villas.Special character as it stands is elitism .

  10. “Why are there no state housing blocks included, Art Deco houses,Walker Henry developments?”

    They can’t be special, because they are not in his neighbourhood or ones similar to his. Its very simple.

    1. Wow.
      I live in a pretty average South Auckland suburb that has no special character protection.
      Talk about assuming and stereotyping an opinion.
      Have a good day, I have better things to do than comment in an ideological echo chamber.

  11. The irony of the AUP is that it creates ‘character’ destroying developments through their planning rules, with inward facing townhoues. Today’s architecture will be someone elses heritage.

    So which one is it Council, protect/create ‘character’, or as many houses as possible?

  12. To be honest, the last few years has been all talk and little actions. We are in a climate emergency and yet we are very slow off the block compared to the most European countries.
    We need to sort this now with plan for 40 years later, that is more railways lines (double tracking will be awesome) between each cities with provision for electrification. Diesel is no-no especially with the fuel price is still rising and we have plenty of electricity capacity in NZ as long we are continuously upgrading our electricity infrastructure (I hope so, not this need to be done asap) and stop thinking about making profit and as we are all here once and we should be planning for the future generations. They will thanks us later.

    I apologise for rambling on but this is becoming frustrating with the political parties keep changing/cancelling between roads/railways/cycleways – I am over with it.

  13. “Vienna depaves with style.
    In Vienna, Austria, depaving is done in the service of cooling the city down, and has happened alongside the addition of misters, green meadows and an artificial lake.”

    This city has so much that we can learn from. Something I liked was all the cars parks that had been re-purposed.

    However the best learning that they can offer is how to run a PT system as a transport system, rather than something to ease the plight of the less well off. It’s something that Efeso Collins might well heed. They offer annual passes for adults at about $750, and for kids at $150. So a whole family can travel all day/everyday/ almost everywhere for less than the cost that an Aucklander pays for their petrol for just one car.

    From an economic perspective this system (pre pandemic) produced a fare box recovery over 50% with a substantial source of revenue for more lines and more frequent services. And if you look at the history that is exactly what Vienna has done. There ridership has grown more off a very high base than has Auckland off a very low base.

    Efeso’s scheme will produce no revenue and without handouts our PT system will be confined to what we start with.

    Vienna has amongst the lowest level of car ownership in Europe so there is no economic pressure to build new roads. This is what will improve Aucklanders economic outcome most, if we no longer need to spend money on cars or roads.

    Vienna had 950 million trips pre pandemic. Auckland had 100 million. Efeso’s scheme will apparently increase that by 23 million. Auckland will be left with PT that needs at least a three fold increase in ridership to reduce emissions with no revenue to facilitate such a change.

    Vienna has a GDP way in excess of Auckland.

    Efeso, you are not just pushing a bucket of shit, it’s a huge mountain. For this single reason I won’t vote for you because you will run the system into the ground and as a very regular user that has no advantage for me, free or not.

    1. Yes that upfront pass cost must be a great cash injection, and perhaps some users don’t end up using PT as much as they intend so it would be even more of a bonus to the system.

      1. The other factor is that tourists don’t get a free ride. Those who use PT the least pay the most and surely this makes sense?

    2. I would rate the likelihood that Efeso gets universal free PT over the line as very low. What will probably happen if he got in is an expansion of subsidies for various disadvantaged groups. Maybe some routes or zones or times might be free? And this will all depend on central govt too.

      But the real money maker routes, Northern express at peak into the city I cant see becoming free. Commuters with jobs are willing to pay for shorter times / convenience, it would be pretty crazy to not take advantage of that to expand service / infra.

      We’ve seen just how much central government politicians can promise and not deliver. The Mayor of Auckland with way more constrained resources, with AT being a separate entity. Their abilities are much less.

    1. Yes. She is pretty much supporting plans that are already there, just fast tracking them & dropping the light rail project that probably will be anyway due to the cost. Though you think Heart of the City would want LRT in the city centre rather than a pile of bumbling buses.

      1. Heart of the City has about as much say over whether Auckland gets Light Rail as I do, even if she did become Mayor.

    2. And her proposal appears to be building a bus way in a significant ecological zone instead of reducing number of road lanes on motorway. Who was it again that failed to include a busway in the widening of the NW Causeway?

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