We are now only around 3 months away from the next local body elections and given how much it tends to feature in local elections, that means we’re going to start to see more and more discussion about transport policy.

With Phil Goff stepping down, the election for Mayor is probably the most uncertain it’s been since Auckland was amalgamated in 2010 and Mayoral hopefuls are starting to release policy.

On Sunday, centre-right candidate Viv Beck released her transport policy and there’s a lot to like. In previous elections, right-wing candidates seemed to focus their transport policy on igniting a mode-based culture war. Policy seemed little more than the ramblings of someone’s petrolhead uncle at the last family barbeque with public transport and cycling projects relegated to being cancelled, scaled back or replaced with unproven fantasies.

In contrast, Beck’s transport policy seems largely sensible. There are some missing elements and the cancellation of a major public transport project is included, however it is done so in order to focus on improving public transport across a greater part of Auckland.

Auckland mayoral candidate Viv Beck wants to scrap the Government’s $14.6 billion light rail project for now and replace it with practical, cheaper and quicker solutions across the city.

If elected mayor on October 8, Beck would push for a city-wide rapid transit network, including a fully separated busway alongside the Northwestern Motorway, rapid transit from the airport to Botany, $110 million in upgrades to the Northern Busway and ramping up bus lanes on the light rail route from the CBD to the airport.

Auckland’s rapid transit network – high-speed public transport separated from traffic – is currently limited to trains and the Northern Busway.

….

Beck said light rail is a bold project but it’s impossible to see how it could be feasible now, particularly given the impact of Covid-19 on the economy. If it was built sometime in the future, it would probably just run from the CBD to Mt Roskill at street level rather than tunnelling.

With people telling her congestion and transport are the number one issue and raising the cost of light rail, Beck said there has to be another way to unlock the city faster at far less cost.

Beck’s top priority is a $2.5b busway from the city centre to Westgate that could be expanded to Kumeu.

“The Northwest is one of the most poorly served parts of the city when it comes to public transport,” said Beck, adding before light rail was promised in 2017, rapid transit to the Northwest was top of the list.

She said plans for a $2b airport-to-Botany rapid bus transit line must also be fast-tracked, saying it is at least 15 years away under current plans.

Immediate work could begin on $110m of station upgrades on the Northern Busway, including platform extensions, pedestrian overpasses, bus turn-around facilities – and be completed within three to four years, she said.

Ramping up bus lanes to connect the isthmus to the central city would serve the city for the next decade when light rail, rapid buses or other solutions could be considered, Beck said.

“Together with the City Rail Link coming on line in 2025 and the full Eastern Busway soon after that, these projects will bring about a massive improvement in the quality of Auckland’s public transport before the end of the decade,” she said.

If we really want to get people out of their cars to reduce emissions and congestion, it is critical that we make public transport viable across the region. What I like about the policy is that it seeks to achieve just that and does so by taking existing projects that have been in Auckland Transport’s plans for years and just brings them forward.

As for light rail, yes we will need it eventually but as regular readers will know, we’re not huge fans of the current plan and delaying it might mean there’s a better opportunity for it to shift back to a more sensible design. For the isthmus, improvements to bus lanes, as well as perhaps options like through-routing buses might be enough for a few years while the other rapid transit projects are prioritised. There should however be some focus given to improving connections between Mangere and the isthmus/city.

What’s missing

This isn’t a complete list but here are few quick thoughts on what’s missing from the policy described above that we’d like to see.

  • Walking and Cycling
    The most notable absence I think is any discussion on cycling. Maybe that’s still to come but I think it’s critical that any serious candidate includes what they’ll do to improve walking and cycling across the region. Even something as simple as ensuring that Auckland Transport actually deliver their current plans would be welcome.
  • Other Rapid Transit lines
    Given the strong focus that Beck seems to be putting on getting rapid transit to more places across the region, it would be useful to include looking at options for at least interim solutions for other parts of the planned rapid transit network, such as the proposed upper harbour and lower isthmus crosstown routes.
  • Roads
    Like with the cycling comment, it’s unclear if the policy released so far is just for one part of a larger overall policy. It would be good to make this clear. It would also be good to have some focus on ensuring that improving road safety is a focus.
  • Trees
    Beck has said in the past that she’s supportive of planting more trees and what better way to do that and improve the existing urban environment than by planting thousands of street trees

At least when it comes to public transport, Viv Beck has laid down a solid marker in the transport policy stakes. It will be interesting to see what other candidates produce, and we shouldn’t have to wait too long with Labour and Greens endorsed candidate, and current councillor, Efeso Collins announcing hisVision for a Better-Connected City‘ tonight.

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100 comments

  1. So odd they squandered two terms of a labour mayor under a labour government to achieve nothing, and a right leaning business rep candidate has the only coherent transport policy out there.

    1. Maybe so, but she can’t actually do anything can she? She’s just one person on Council. She would have to get other Councillors to vote with her to get any traction on promises made. The mayoral elections are a sham – all BS promises with little to no chance of actually being implemented.

      1. Agree. In reality this article is probably more about the potential National party transport policy for 2023.

  2. This is a really solid rapid transit policy and would actually align strongly with what officials came up with a few years back in successive ATAP processes. Any proper analysis shows the northwest is a much more urgent corridor to progress than City Centre to Mangere.

    1. Depends on what you are trying to achieve. In the NW we need a new transit line because we built sprawl and now we have a congested motorway. The line wont really do anything to promote a compact city, in fact there will be very few well located stops anywhere near the city and most of the route is surrounded by motorway and water. Compared to the Mangere line that has so many well located stops within 10-15 mins of the city, with the proper planning rules in place it could enable the type of city most of us on this blog would like to live in.
      Do we invest in the future, or just keep trying to fix our existing problems?

      1. No more sprawl should be built, but the residents in these areas can be provided with transport options that allow them to live more local and low-carbon lives. As you know, this isn’t just about commuting. It’s about all the trips that all types of people make.

        The NW line is critical for a quality compact city, and needs full integration with local buses, ferries, other rapid transit routes including the rail line, BRT to the North Shore, plus dense, safe, tree-lined walking and cycling networks, and a full patchwork array of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

        This is building for our low carbon future and fixing our problems. Sure, it’s not as ideal as if we hadn’t sprawled in the first place. But it is doable, and it will vastly improve the city. Even better, making this transformation will show all the other sprawl cities in the world how to turn such cities around.

        The mayor we need is one who understands this. I’ll be going to listen to Efeso tonight to see if he does.

        1. But will we actually improve much if we just keep building busways? Look at AMETI, it looks like a disaster zone of tarmac, stupidly wide roads beside stupidly wide busways that still take forever to get into the city. I just don’t see how this is creating the compact city we want.
          I really feel like giving up on Auckland, billions upon billions are being spent on transport projects that wont make Auckland a great place. And the crazy planning rules are not helping either, so called heritage buildings that are just a few generations old. We need more people living as near the centre as possible, and to achieve that we need to give them somewhere affordable to live and some amenities like very quick access to the city. In my mind everything else is a lower priority than that.

        2. It currently takes about 35 minutes by bus off peak for the 6km from Balmoral to Britomart. Yes its better than many places around Auckland, but it hardly encourages people to live that close to the centre does it? Its not that much of an amenity to justify giving up your suburban backyard.
          By underground LR that trip would be maybe 10 mins. To me this is much more of a game changer than a busway to Kumeu.

        3. The problem with that Jimbo, and something that Beck will have to deal with, is that these AMETI projects and daft light rail tunnel ideas are all stupid expensive and long because they ‘add’ the transit and keep all the traffic.

          There’s no way to do it affordably or quickly if your demolishing homes to widen the roadway, or drilling tunnels under the city.

          If Beck is serious she’ll have to advocate taking away parking and traffic lanes to prioritise buses over cars. And I mean actually put the buses first and make the cars wait.

        4. By underground LR that trip would be maybe 10 mins

          That would be quite the feat considering CRL is planned to take 10 minutes from Britomart to Mt Eden.

      2. “Depends on what you are trying to achieve.” Nobody is trying to achieve anything, we have simply stumbled into 1975 artificial reality loop:
        1/ Some lunatics dream up a scheme nobody will ever be able to afford.
        2/ Labour crosses their fingers behind their backs and says “sure we will buy you one of those….(giggle)”.
        3/ National gets elected and cancels the whole thing.

  3. Is it clear if she wants to build a new busway – so more expansion into the Motu Manawa marine reserve or Traherne Island – or repurpose existing vehicle lanes?

    1. “alongside” stuck out like a thumb to me.

      Clearly this needs clarifying, yes. I doubt she’ll have realised that repurposing existing vehicle lanes is the only way to make any reasonable contribution to the vkt reduction required.

  4. My question is one of the justifications for light rail was the city centre would not be able to handle the number of buses required for a bus solution.

    1. Yes that was their claim but few people actually believed it. Light rail occurred because AT had an aggressive CEO looking for a major legacy project. The ‘need’ for it was as big a surprise to the Council as the ‘solution’ was.

      1. Well no. Bridges when he was minister commissioned a report to look into the corridor. It was pretty clearly directed to favour bus options . The report came back saying the bus options would not really going to increase capacity much, busses need more space and the busses will huge amounts of space at the ends of the line (one of these ends is the city).

        That report returned light rail as the sensible option, Bridges agreed. Years and millions spent later, somehow the ALR team make the choice to not re allocate road space for their surface option, resulting in the current insane idea tunneled project. Now the circle of reports and hot takes is set to start again.

        1. IIRC the report said that buses could do the job in the short to medium term but longer term with big investment but that LR was needed beyond that. It became a question of why bother making significant improvements to buses now only to have to do LR anyway.
          But with changes to travel/working patterns as a result of covid, we can probably get by for a while with just making lower-scale bus improvements.

        2. It’s probably not far off “long term” now…

          But sure, we could make busses incredibly effective if the things that slowed them down are taken out of the picture. Dominion road as a bike bus and walking corridor would be cheap and effective. But will never happen right.

        3. Never? What would we decide as a city once the TERP is released and the choices become clear, if we were to use proper deliberative democracy? It’s a discussion that should’ve been happening prior to the ATAP update, but second best is to have it now.

        4. TERP? They expect radical progress, through even, regenerative planning. Time everyone respected people, miffy.

    2. I’m getting very skeptical of this “we’re full” problem. Almost all of the major downtown streets have heaps to be desired in terms of bus priority. I dont think its reasonable at all to claim “we’re running out of bus space” when right outside britomart, customs street east has zero bus lanes on it for stretches. https://goo.gl/maps/1F3ooJS95Zsj7GB2A , for example. Basically every other major street leaves heaps to be desired.

      Even fanshawe which is carrying insane bus numbers is really quite poor infra compared to a proper urban busway like the eastern busway.

      And buses aren’t inherently unable to continue to scale if we throw more money at the problem. We could do a City Center bus tunnel : https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2011/10/30/a-cbd-bus-tunnel/

      With all the buses looking to be electric, that does solve some of the air quality problems that underground bus infra can have.

      1. A bus tunnel sounds expensive.

        Another alternative is to actually build a bicycle network. Quite often riding a bicycle is faster than going by bus.

        1. Any tunnel is expensive. But my point is, putting the PT underground when we are actually constrained on the corridor is possible with buses. This option is not exclusive to rail.

          Agree on the bikes. We could really shift a lot of the demand off other transport systems.

      2. When the New Network for buses was in the early planning stages, through routing of major routes was considered, but the bus companies said they’d be too unreliable as there wasn’t enough bus priority. So Auckland ended up with all these buses terminating in the CBD and then decided that light rail was needed to solve that problem. The option of good radial bus priority and through routing has never been revisited. It should be.

    3. To true. I catch a bus morning and evening between Onehunga and the Civic Theatre and back. Buses pile up at the Civic Theatre stop, causing congestion. Worse however is the nightmare that occurs if there is an accident anywhere on the bus route or the motorway, which clogs the feeder routes. A trip that normally takes 30 minutes can run to 1.5 hours when this occurs. A dedicated light rail line should not have these issues making it superior to buses.

      1. To be fair a dedicated bus line would also not have these issue.

        For both buses and trams it depends on whether or not they are in a completely separate lane or not.

  5. Given Auckland’s very low voting base,it is theoretically possible to garner enough votes to secure the mayoralty,with the announcement of niche projects that support your voting base either by area or demographic. On this announcement Viv obviously sees a Western & Eastern voting bloc,politics is so frustrating in that respect,”what will get me votes,rather than what is right”.
    Politics, nowadays is won and lost on social media,outraged letters to the editor,and firey local meetings are a thing of the past. One thing you can be entirely sure of is ,there are no votes to be won,by mentioning bikes.
    Another thought on this,is busways are asphalt,and are viewed as roads,so opposition will be muted.

    1. Goff campaigned on “overflowing bike sheds at schools” and won.

      Given the majority of people want a safe connected cycling network, failing to mention biking reveals nothing about a clever policy strategy, it reveals a bias against bikes – or a fear of the discussion when anti-cycling voices pipe up.

      A leader would tackle that head on. Given bikes are a key part of transport decarbonisation, people failing to include bikes in their policy and face the antis don’t deserve to be mayor.

      1. “ Goff campaigned on “overflowing bike sheds at schools” and won.”

        Offf. Since he became mayor bike infrastructure pretty much stopped being built.

        1. Yup. He has let us down. But the point stands: A safe cycling network is a vote winner. The idea that it’s not is just part of the illusion the haters create, and we shouldn’t ever buy into it.

          Worse, support for cycling infrastructure is dropping – very slightly – due to what the likes of Orsman and Hosking are doing. Whereas anywhere where cycling infrastructure is actually improving, support is rising, as more and more people are witnessing the benefits, (directly or indirectly).

        2. This is happening while ebike ownership is exploding and facilitating bike transport like never before.

          Meanwhile AT is allowed to spend years consulting on bike plans, to then not deliver their pathetic goals and get pass somehow. Infuriating.

    2. Or they might just be popular because we get two rapid transit lines for less than the price of one.

      1. A safe cycling network can be a vote winner,but only if you completely separate cycling from all other traffic at massive expense,which is a vote killer. When questioned on the nitty gritty,and road repurposing (sharing) is proposed,votes will also dry up. So catch 22,most politicians keep quiet about it,as it’s the easiest option.

    1. More busses = less SOV = less congestion, yes please.

      Corridor reallocation = less road building, yes please.

      I think it all depends on how you see the solutions to the issues being faced.

  6. “public transport and cycling projects relegated to being cancelled, scaled back or replaced with unproven fantasies.” – sounds like current mayor Goff and his council. what’s his right wing party again?

    1. The trick is to quote the whole sentence, where you will see that statement is about election promises to improve the city. Goff failing to keep his promises is worse than promising to ruin the city.

    2. If elected, Viv Beck would crush 100 bicycles in her first 100 days in office.

      With her own SUV.

      And if pedestrians happen to get in the way, that’s a price she’s willing to pay.

  7. “Beck would push for a city-wide rapid transit network, including a fully separated busway alongside the Northwestern Motorway”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t SH16 owned and operated by Waka Kotahi, rather than the Council? The new mayor could ask WK nicely for a busway, but that’s about the limit of their ability to deliver one, right? We’ve seen with light rail and skypath that there’s no guarantee Auckland will get what it asks for when WK gets involved.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if these are the public transport projects that National ultimately end up campaigning on next year. They will want to can light rail but it won’t be a vote winner if they just abandon rapid transit altogether.

      1. It would be a difficult decision too. On one hand I want Labour’s underground LR as I think it will really transform Auckland into a proper city, but on the other I know it will take too long to build and potentially could get cancelled, whereas National will have the buses going in probably 5 years instead of 15-20 for LR.

        1. A busway is the modern equivalent of building the four-lane harbour bridge. Bite the bullet and build LR, it has way more capacity and is far more energy-efficient. Why muck around with a busway only to replace with LR later?

        2. Great example : https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2021/05/05/the-auckland-harbour-bridge-clip-ons-planning-disaster-or-best-practice/

          It makes sense to build things that we can afford, that are decent, and get it underway and working. This is why benefit cost ratios measure benefits out to 30 years and ignore any benefits past that point. (we could stand to lengthen that slightly, but the point remains)

          Having unused capacity that cost a lot to build, sit there and serve no purpose for half a century is a bad idea. Reserve the land / options to build more capacity in the future sure, but it’s bad to go further than that. That the resources that went into building that capacity could have been put to work for the intervening 50 years and you would have more resources overall.

  8. Its the same old solution with the same old problem, there is just no more space in the city to effectively receive all the busses from those new routes there. If she really thought about it that would surely be something that would have made these suggestions problematic.

    The issue with all governments in NZ is they don’t see anything though and can’t agree. Labour really need to hurrying up and start it so that it can’t be easily cancelled or we will still be having the same argument in 10 years time.

    On another note, the RFP that the government put out for the construction of the tunnel for the light rail also includes a future harbour crossing. It looks like they are finally thinking enough to organise a pipeline of work which is promising. It might actually be worth training more New Zealanders and acquiring specialist equipment and work on more than one transport project at once in the future, shock horror.

    1. I think the biggest capacity constraint for buses is Symonds St. Buses entering from a NW busway are unlikely to go anywhere near there so I don’t think they will be an issue.

      Buses on an airport to Botany busway won’t be an issue for the CBD for obvious reasons.

      1. And even Symonds Street is just a red herring, why not put Dominion / Sandringham / New North road buses on Ian McKinnon Drive and Upper Queen Street. That would be a far quicker route too.

        1. Symonds street is a red herring. But it’s the same reason the whole “we’re running out of bus room” is a red herring.
          The bus priority on Symonds is rubbish by the uni, and at every set of lights. The stops are glorified suburban bus stops. Not more appropriate busway style shebangs.

          More bus priority would go a long way.

    2. If the NEX were to continue through to the NW for example, the buses don’t need to turn around in the city, it could almost result in less bus congestion.

      1. Through running would require significantly more bus priority to claw back the reliability you would lose. But that should be the goal IMO.

        1. Reliability is only an issue if you need a timetable, if the buses are frequent enough it doesn’t matter. They may need to hold some back due to bunching.
          But yes I would expect such a route would have very significant bus priority.

    3. “there is just no more space in the city to effectively receive all the busses from those new routes there”

      I just dont see how we can claim this when the street right beside britomart, the busiest rail station in the country, has no bus lanes on it: https://goo.gl/maps/1F3ooJS95Zsj7GB2A

      Or what recently was the busiest bus corridor in the country doesn’t even have continuous bus lanes at the slowest bit. https://goo.gl/maps/DB74u5KjAva5dFhm8

      Or the 2 major north south arterials have 3-4 general traffic lanes and 0-1 bus lanes. https://goo.gl/maps/twDVPSV7bEUhHKSJA

      The city center is full!! is only true if you are not allowed to remove any car parks or general traffic lanes. Not allowed to build larger bus stations or urban busways. Not allowed to shift to buses with faster boarding / alighting times. And not allowed to think big with the resources that would be given to light rail. Ie a City Center bus tunnel.

      Sure it long term we will need more lines, with higher capacity. But that could be after we build out a more complete system in the short – medium term, then build express relief lines. This tends to be how the great transit cities build out their networks.

      1. I think a lot of the problem is that no one wants loud diesel buses continuously going past their shop (and I don’t blame them). Surface level LR on Queen Street for example is fine, but the equivalent capacity of buses would just be a continuous row of smoke. Now if those buses were electric and potentially articulated to increase capacity, maybe they aren’t so bad.

  9. “If we really want to get people out of their cars to reduce emissions and congestion, it is critical that we make public transport viable across the region”
    Is this really true? I wonder if spreading crappy bus PT to everyone is really the better option compared to giving good PT to some and encouraging people to live near it. Imagine London without the underground and a ton of busways instead, would that be better?

    1. Pardon? Busses and trains are complementary and both are fundamental to the London PT system.

      The mayors climate change thing, resulting in more frequent bus lanes all over the show, could have a far great impact than building a single rail line.

      1. But in Auckland’s case we are talking about cancelling light rail to spend it on buses. In 40 years time we will still just have buses and the existing mostly poorly located HR and possibly some surface LR. Is that really better than having 3 well located rapid underground lines, the proper stuff that decent cities have?
        If we never invest in the proper stuff because we can get more with buses, we will never have the proper stuff, and the good PT cities all have the proper stuff not just buses.

        1. That’s a big leap to make. Investing in buses now and using all the other low cost levers to reduce traffic doesn’t mean we won’t have light rail in 40 years’ time. Building ridership and encouraging modeshift now with integrated networks for buses, walking and micromobility means a regenerating, successful city, and we probably will have light rail in 40 years’ time.

          Whereas plugging ahead with tunnelled light rail means there’ll be no money for most of the modest improvements we need. We’ll have one line for the lucky few, and a whole lot of transport poverty elsewhere, along with high debt repayment, carbon credit, fuel and vehicle costs.

        2. Heidi these things just seem to be getting harder and more expensive every year. If they don’t start light rail soon I don’t see it being done in the next 40 years. AT said they would build Dominion Road LR by 2019 for $1 billion and here we are 3 years after it was meant to be built without even a design or contract and now a minimum of $9 billion. If National win the next election and hold power for 9 years again then the whole process will start again in 2032!

        3. what process? did we start building LR already during those 6 years? I guess people are already using trams Jacinda promised would be operating by now… Must have missed it. I just hope no more Labour for foreseeable future. Their favorite words are consultations, committies and business cases. They like to talk and then talk themselves out of everything after spending millions. And then also add that it’s not their fault. Useless

  10. There would be more support for reallocating road space to buses on the isthmus with a higher population density. Arguments that infrastructure is needed for greater density are flawed because infrastructure developments invariably follow population growth. Hence the best way of getting more bus lanes on Dominion Road is to approve more apartments and townhouses that do not have carparking. The new residents will then push for more bus lanes and with more people walking local shopkeepers will be less demanding in terms of carparking.

  11. PARKING PARKING PARKING
    What’s Viv’s position on Council controlled parking?
    All good saying you’re in favour of other modes but if you don’t clearly state whether you are in favour of reducing the amount of council controlled paspace it all means nothing. The first time AT try to reallocate a car park space for a bus lane or cycle lane they will be up in arms about AT being out of control.
    Any progressive candidate must explicitely endorse:
    a) Reallocating parking spaces for other modes and more productive uses
    b) releasing council controlled at grade car parks in and around town centres so they can be redeveloped into housing/public services
    Reducing council controlled parking and a commitment to reducing VKT with a target for AT to achieve are the only two things that really matter.

    1. No way, easier to kick that can down the road and let AT consult for 4 years on removing car parks on 1 arterial road.

  12. This is encouraging but her record on the city centre where she is the head of the Heart of The City organisation has been to always fight for more traffic and parking at every turn.

    Would be good if journalists press her on how many streets there will be turned over entirely to buses with this bus only solution. Because that is what will be required.

    1. +1000

      This does sound to me like just promising things that she would be totally unwilling to make the tradeoffs that are needed to make it all work.

      1. Although really these are just National party policies in disguise. And they have to make them work after accusing Labour of not delivering.

        1. How does Nationals obsession with a 2nd habour crossing tie into all these bus lanes?

  13. Yes just bring pretty much existing plans forward and amp up cycling and walking.

    Light-rail should revert back to the simple original cheaper surface design via Dominion Rd. I like the idea i of easy to get to stations that more frequently spaced. The visibility of a system should not be understated in its ability to lift ridership. Implement first in the city working it’s way south.

    In the meantime through routing buses that are double articulated would suffice. Busway station tagging and upgrades will give a lot more bang for our buck. Double deckers could be used elsewhere as the city’s RTN is expanded.

  14. Surface light rail on Dominion Road can be matched with bus priority on Sandringham and Mt Eden corridors, to accommodate the medium density housing that is likely to be built (not the high density that ALR suggests for Sandringham, that couldn’t happen until after ALR is built, which will be so late that most of the land will be brand new medium density. By the time LR is completed on Dominion Road, all that “Character” area will be itching for TOD build, and won’t have been filled up with medium density stuff.

    1. She won’t get elected, so it’s all a bit academic.

      But if she did, she’d cancel the train spending then do as little on PT as possible from that point forward. Her focus would be on cutting costs for business and ratepayers. She lives in Remuera and her husband was a National MP, she understands how to make promises and then pivot to policies that benefit her and her friends.

      1. “She won’t get elected” – So, oh great foreteller of the future, who will ?

        Surely not that horrible Leo chap?! Who else is running that has a chance?

      2. She can’t spend money from cancelling a train council isn’t funding. She can loudly insist on refusing the govt investment i guess, but that would not lead to that money being then handed to her to fulfil any pledges. Mayor just isn’t a very powerful position (even if she could get a council majority to support her in that refusal).

        1. There is bound to be an AT and or Council portion to the project though or just closely related to it though.

        2. I was going to make this point. If people are raising the cost of light rail, remind them its not coming out of the ratepayer kitty.

          While I would prefer 3 surface lines to one tunneled indirect one, I think the horse has bolted. Let ALR continue on with their debacle of a solution courtesy of central government funding. But there is nothing stopping AC advancing buslanes and busways if they really wanted to.

          I really want to believe her, but I think she is glossing over the detail and obstacles. People have already mentioned putting a busway through a reserve. Will she sacrifice parking and car capacity on Dom Rd, amongst others? If she had come out and said “road- reallocation for buses, bikes, e-scooters” I would have taken notice. She didn’t. And quite frankly, anyone championing the CBD should have had a Queen St transit mall as the priority about 2yrs ago.

          Still, if we just got an A2B busway within my lifetime that’s probably a win in Auckland…

  15. Here’s a new and good video, 21mins long from a Netherland’s residents perspective comparing cycling between some Switzerland’s main cities. It shows how it’s not just cycle infrastructure that encourages cycling but reduction in general traffic (and also lots of trams/PT in general). It demonstrates that even “hilly” places like Switzerland (ie Auckland) can have good cycling even if it does involve more e-bikes.

    https://youtu.be/pWnreLG_cvc

  16. Also needed is reintroduction of a ferry service on the Manukau Harbour. Opening up commuter outreaches like Clarks Beach, Awhitu, Waiuku, Cornwallis and even rebuilding a wharf at Whatipu, would be great for opening up the Manukau Harbour, linking ferry services with Onehunga to complete trips into the city or enabling tourism ventures on the Manukau. The Port of Onehunga being reopened to the public for such services is vital. Ferry services will considerably reduce the travel time from the likes of Clarks Beach to the city, will remove congestion from the roads, and make these commuter outreaches much more attractive to potential home buyers that find buying closer to the city unafordable.

    1. “Opening up commuter outreaches like Clarks Beach, Awhitu, Waiuku, Cornwallis”

      I really can’t imagine there is the patronage to justify it. People moved to these remote areas for a reason, and it wasn’t for the daily challenge of a commute to the CBD. With the exception of Cornwallis, it would be quicker and easier to drive to the nearest park and ride on the southern line.

      1. Would love to agree with you, but I know one work collegue who works in the central city and has just purchased in Drury, as that was where she could afford. Under COVID, a work from home policy is in place but she has to commute in at least one day a week. Would be good to know the statistics on how many are doing that sort of journey and how frequently, as this would then identify the viability of ferries on the Manukua purely for a commute perspective.

        1. Drury is getting two new rail stations. And even before that, a commute to an existing one will be far quicker than a drive-ferry-rail option to the CBD.

        2. Headsup. Huge numbers of SHA, and greenfields developments around Karaka, Clarks Beach, Kahawai Point. Congestion onto SH1 at Papakura interchange has been flagged as an immediate problem. Time for a ferry service. Or bus Service. Or Any PT for that matter.

    2. Reestablishing wharves on the Manukau Harbour is under way. Once the wharves are in – ferry’s can run. Huge carbon savings over running cars from the Awhitu not to mention reintroducing Aucklander to its forgotten corner. Port of Onehunga – what a concept !! A while back, it even had a railway running to it. The future of manukau harbour transport is looking good. How long it takes – depends on how many on AT’s and AC’s boards have heard of this unknown harbour and its waterways.

    3. “rebuilding a wharf at Whatipu”

      You know, what would really start my working day off right would be leaving my car in a parking lot at *goddamned Whatipu* and boarding a service to Onehunga on the MV Orpheus.

      One of the most amazing proposals I have ever seen on this blog.

  17. I find myself in agreement with much of her policy. The Mangere light rail has being so badly handled it needs to be scrapped. Maybe a surface route terminating at Mount Roskill could be built at a later date if public transport passenger numbers recover to pre covid levels. In the meantime buses will need to fill the gap. Matt. L has suggested that Mangere will require better public transport connections to the Isthmus. In my view this should be bus priority from Otahuhu Station presumably down Massey and Buckland Road to Mangere Town centre. Any route through Onehunga faces obstacles that five years of light rail planning have failed to overcome. Cross town travel will just have to be handled on rail via Newmarket. A connection between the NW busway and rail will be required somewhere along the Western line. The Onehunga line should revert to providing and in and out express service to Britomart. All cross town trains should run to Otahuhu.

    1. I would add a connection between Dominion Road buses and rail will be required again somewhere on the western line to provide travel to the South via Newmarket. I don’t know what is envisaged for the New Mount Eden Station it looks the best place but I am not familiar with the area.

  18. Thanks – i read the NZHerald article from the pointer.
    Sounds like bus drivers are going to be in huge demand in Viv’s future.
    Good to know “Barney Irvine, a former Automobile Association infrastructure adviser and a consultant to the Auckland Business Forum, has been instrumental in developing the policy.”

    Matt – high praise for a Righty roading policy – your missing list of
    Walking, Cycling, Other Rapid Transit Lines, Trees – is also missing
    Carbon Crises, Ferries, Parking – or should i say PARKING !!

  19. Talking about light rail to out West, such as to New Lynn and beyond, I wonder if they could do a tunnel and combine it with the undergrounding of the high tension transmission line that runs from Mt Wellington, across Onehunga Bay and Hillsborough and out to Henderson. That would make tunnelling a shared expense, but not sure if such a thing could be safely combined and kept cool enough in such a tunnel. Interesting thought though, and maybe a stupid idea. Wonder if there are other gains by Government Departments working together on shared tunnelling?

  20. She is just another politican who as a kid thought PT was Mum or Dad that took them to School and when she was old enough got her license and now want’s PT so she can have a free run on the roads , and looking at her the only time she will get on PT is for a photo op like all the rest .

  21. Viv is too careful and tries to please anyone. Saying politically corrected things, but achieve nothing. Just another Phil Goff.

    I would rather has Leo Molly who is like Donald Trump. A crazy guy but at least genuinely do something.

    1. Trump didn’t really achieve much and left a trail of destruction in his wake, which incidentally would be my best guess as to how a Leo Molloy mayoralty would play out.

  22. For those who want “fares-free public transport”, you’re dreaming seeing that in this decade! By that in idealogical theory, it is a desperate approach to helping vulnerable people, lower income people and students! If you actually want to see “fares-free public transport”, you would need to wait for another 50 or more years till that happens since it would take a lot of encouragement for people to switch from private vehicles to public transport! But with cheaper fares that could come soon enough if more public transport infrastructure is built! First thing first, we need more public transport infrastructure before we can see cheaper fares across Auckland. If you don’t see any encouragement away from private vehicles to use public transport, guess who gets the bill of paying for the transport? The tax payers and rate payers! Which equal the vulnerable people, lower income people and students!

    Places like Luxembourg, Tallinn in Estonia, has failed because it wasn’t realistic, unaffordable and not sustainable! Luxembourg for example, “fares-free public transport” is arguably has resulted in the greatest divide of the country — between those who can afford to live inside the borders and those who can’t. Abolishing fares is seen by some a modest transportation subsidy for vulnerable people, low income and students who have been obliged by high living costs to locate themselves outside of Luxembourg. Reminds me of a very same outlook that us kiwis who live here face in this current situation, since about a million plan to leave the country due to high living costs and unrealistic goals!

    Beck expressed concerns around the cost to the taxpayer and the “best return on investment” on the One News Breakfast show.
    “At the end of the day, it comes back to also the goal. If you’re looking to get people out of cars to reduce emissions, the evidence I’ve seen is that this is not the best way to do it, You’re actually better to invest in a great public transport service and target where you’re going to give your discounted pricing, or potentially free pricing,” she said.

    She added that while fares-free public transport “does increase patronage, it generally comes from people who are already catching public transport or who are walking – not so much out of cars”.
    “To move people out of cars, it has to be great public transport, reliable and get you where you need to go when you need to get there.”

    Now if you don’t understand Viv Beck’s logic to “building more public transport infrastructure” as priority before “fares-free public transport”, here’s a little Ted Talk for ya! So basically the logic behind is, she’s saying Auckland needs to build public transport infrastructure before we can see cheaper or perhaps even free fares, but you ask how does that happen?

    The public transport infrastructure she is talking about is building more bus lanes, busways, proper bus stations, minor improvement to quality of infrastructure, which is more cheaper/beneficial and scrapping the hugely expensive $29 Billion Light Rail project which we can’t afford. The whole purpose of building the infrastructure of what Viv is stating is because it is more affordable to build, faster to construct, more environmentally friendly option, has potential of benefit of beating private vehicle to point a to b, can lead to more convenience, improved public transport travel times, improved public transport travel time, has more of potential to get people out of private vehicles and we’ll actually see some real results of projects being completed at the end! Also if you build a reasonable/satisfactory public transport infrastructure which benefits vulnerable people, lower income people and students it will drive them out of their private vehicles and onto public transport since their looking for all these things stated above!

    But then you ask how does this drive us into the introduction of cheaper fares or even “fares-free public transport”? Well answer is simple! The more cheaper/beneficial public infrastructure you build, the more likely we’ll see more people using the public transport more than their private vehicles! You need the public transport infrastructure to be affordable to build, faster to construct, more environmentally friendly option, has potential benefit of beating private vehicle to point a to b, improved public transport travel time, has more of potential to get people out of private vehicles and we’ll actually see some real results of projects being completed at the end so it entices people and people seeing the benefits of transitioning! The more demand of people you entice to public transport, more cheaper it will be in-future to ride public transport since all the cost of running the infrastructure and the transport modes themselves are being paid more faster which equals profit and can look towards to providing more transport future transport projects across Auckland!

    People if you want cheaper transport options, build the infrastructure first not “fares-free public transport” and tell for friends, relatives and colleagues to transition from private vehicle to public transport!

    Sources:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-07/inside-luxembourg-s-experiment-with-free-public-transit

    https://www.themayor.eu/en/a/view/these-eu-cities-have-embraced-free-public-transport-10588

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/06/29/fare-free-public-transport-would-ease-cost-of-living-woes-report/

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