It’s Friday again so here are a handful of articles that caught our attention this week.

The week in Greater Auckland

HOP Attack

AT Advises:

AT is currently experiencing issues with its AT HOP services. During this period, you can continue to catch buses, trains and ferries. You should still tag on and off when travelling.

The issue is impacting top-ups and other HOP card services. Our staff and operators will ensure you are still able to travel, even if your HOP card is unable to be topped-up.

This issue has arisen from a cyber incident to part of our AT HOP system. At this point in time we believe the incident is isolated to one part of our system and that no personal or financial data has been accessed.

AT takes cyber security extremely seriously, we have activated our security protocols and are working with our expert partners to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, however we anticipate it may take until early next week to fully restore these services.

We will keep you updated as we progress this work.

Services affected:

  • Online top ups, as well as other AT HOP services using MyAT HOP on our website, is currently unavailable.
  • Existing auto top ups will still work, but there will be a delay in the payment being processed.
  • Ticket and top up machines are only accepting cash payments. Transactions using Eftpos/credit cards are unavailable. Some machines may not be working.
  • AT customer service centres will have limited functionality and may only be able to accept cash payments.
  • AT HOP retailers are unable to top up HOP cards or process other AT HOP services like loading concessions.

Pets on Buses

AT are now letting pets on buses permanently.

Pets are now paw-manently welcome onboard Auckland’s buses, Auckland Transport says.

Does this news sound fur-miliar? It follows on from the success of two previous pets on buses trials – small domestic pets in carriers and large dogs with muzzles and leads.

This announcement means that household pets can now travel on buses, trains, and ferries in Auckland.


“And no matter how old your pets are in dog years or cat years, they’ll all be able to travel for free onboard our services, with no need to apply for a Su-paw Gold Card.”

There are a few rules for taking pets onboard, including that they must travel outside of peak hours and bigger dogs must wear a cage-type muzzle and a lead if they do not fit into an approved carrier.

Service and assistance dogs are allowed on all services at all times and do not ever require a muzzle.

Electric double deckers coming

Some more good news in the move to decarbonise our bus fleet. Stuff reports:

Auckland’s electric bus roll-out will this year go up a level – literally – when the first battery-powered double decker joins the fleet.

The global quest for a full-sized 90-seater double decker has been a long one, but Auckland Transport said new models from manufacturers meant one in the right format would soon be trialled in Auckland.


Wellington operator Tranzit has some smaller electric double-deckers in service in the capital, and a diesel double-decker, converted to battery power, but Auckland’s will be the first with the same capacity as the existing diesel double deckers.

Auckland now has 133 zero-emission buses in its fleet, the biggest fleet in the country, and the agency’s Edward Wright told the crowd at the depot opening, it may also be slightly ahead of Sydney – making it Australasia’s biggest fleet.

While the prototype electric double decker will hit the roads later this year, Auckland Transport (AT) said large numbers may not follow until long-term contracts for high-capacity routes are renewed from 2027.

My understanding is the issue with electric double deckers has always been the weight of them so it’s great news there are now options coming. Though on some routes, like the Northern Busway, it would also be great to see modern articulated (bendy) buses with more doors to allow for faster and easier boarding and alighting. The issue with them typically is the need to navigate city streets but many of those issues may be resolved if/when the City Centre Bus Plan is delivered.

The case for fewer car parks to fix the parking problem

A great piece from New Plymouth on why few car parks doesn’t lead to

Currently, there are about 9000 parking spaces in New Plymouth’s city centre.

Yet in the furore around New Plymouth District Council’s proposals for upgraded pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes on Mangorei Rd, St Aubyn St and Devon St West – known as Your Way Ma Āke – one argument has loomed largest: Businesses need more parking.

Somehow, there’s never enough parking. With about 9000 parks – even with the Downtown car park currently out of action – there is already masses of prime real estate locked into housing private vehicles.

How can we devote so much land to parking but always need more?

Answer: There’s never enough parking because we just keep driving more. And it’s bad for people and business.


If car parks always help and are always well-used, business in New Plymouth should be thriving.

Is plentiful parking always linked with business success?

Again, local evidence tells us otherwise.

Walking helps

Responsible Safety Reporting

One of the things that I find particularly frustrating about how media report on safety initiatives is the constant push to dramatise it. Proposals are labelled “controversial”, or other similar language, in order to generate outrage and clicks, even if there is broad support for them. So it’s nice to see some reporting from Timaru that eschews that.

They’ve even used appropriate photos, which helps highlight the need for change.

Nice work Timaru Herald.

And while on the topic of safety, from the mouths of babes.

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  1. Electric buses are going to be a game changer, and yes I agree they really need to find a way to accommodate “modern articulated (bendy) buses with more doors to allow for faster and easier boarding and alighting”.
    Now that LR is completely dead, why not spend a tiny fraction of the budget on electric articulated buses and run a single route from Albany to Mt Roskill with 24×7 bus lanes on Dominion Road. It prevents two busy routes needing to terminate / turn around / wait in the city. Then perhaps shoulder bus lanes on the South Western motorway to the airport. All up they could get most of the benefits of LR at a tiny fraction of the cost and we could have it in 1 year not in 30 years.
    Would I prefer rail – yes. Would I prefer waiting 30 years – no.

    1. Electric buses are not the equivalent of light rail, they are much inferior. No other country has this warped view of trains as PT, even Australia is years of NZ.

      1. Rubbish Perth is about to trial a modern bi articulated bus/tram whatever you want to call it several other cities are set to trial them and Melbourne looks to be favouring them for a new route that had been planned for trams initially .While not rail based they have almost the same qualities as L R but at a fraction of the cost so why not it’s better than nothing

        1. The Caulfield extension in Melbourne will be trams built in two stages. Clearly the bus/tram option has been dropped as inferior to a proper tram.

        2. Its horses for courses. And its frequency and quality that counts.

          Typical buses (modern diesel or electric) are the backbone of the network and always will be. Busier routes will be suited by bendy or double-deckers (e.g. A2B, for a couple of decades). But there are routes for which we already have bus capacity issues (e.g. NW motorway, Dom Rd) where the greater people v vehicle solution will kick in.

        3. We so seem to be hung up on mode rather than providing effective transport solutions. In particular the tram-bus seems to get a bad rap though I’ve yet to hear serious argument as to why it might not be a contender in some situations. I’ve just been in Nîmes, France, where they have single- and double-articulated (hybrid) tram-buses running on bus lanes – apparently effectively. The biggest issue with longer vehicles (including standard articulated buses) is, as I understand it, the kerb-space required. This was one of the reasons cited by AT in going for double deckers.

      2. Actually you’re wrong sorry ,nothing has been decided yet but the trackless tram option is still on the table and is favored in some circles

    2. I don’t understand our obsession with electric busses. Do they reduce actual running cost substantially enough.

      Would that money rather be spent on running the diesel bus more frequently? Or adding some extra bus lanes so existing busses run better?

      As the biggest emission change is not changing busses from diesel to electric, it’s getting people out of cars onto anything else. A better network woudl do more than some electric busses.

      But if electric busses do make a difference, shouldn’t we begin building modern trolley bus overhead wires on frequent routes, and run either hybrid diesel/electric busses that change engine depending on what they use, or much smaller batteyr busses taht can extend range?

      1. Hybrid busses would probably be even heavier as they need both ICE and batteries. So not sure if that is really a good idea.

        I liked being on an electric bus and the feeling/comfort is far superior compared to old diesel busses. If it is worth exchanging relatively new diesel busses before their time, is another question.

      2. Experiments are under way – example in Wellington – to re-engine diesel double-deckers to BEV. This may be a way to get maximum value for money out of newer diesel bus chassis/bodies as an alternative to running them until they expire. But for now, introduction of new electric buses is not leading to disposal of diesel buses with useful life.

      3. To me the best way to get people to use PT is to provide a good quality product. The quality ranges from small stinky noisy old diesel bus with no priority, to nice spacious quick frequent electric train. The closer you can get to the latter the better, and a frequent articulated electric bus on a dedicated corridor is getting pretty bloody close to an electric train considering the billions in cost difference.

        1. Totally agree, and once you had a dedicated route it is a lot easier to upgrade to LR than have arguments over whether you are to dig tunnels and make the worlds most expensive light rail system.

        1. The Neoplan Jumbocruiser ( ) was the largest passenger bus in the world with a capacity of 170. I doubt that there are other busses like this in regular use in intra-city transport. The Jumbocruiser had his most prominent line on a long distance trip from Belgium to Spain.

          There are single deck bi-articulated buses with capacity over 200: They might work on the Northern Busway but I wonder if they could make the turns at Lower Albert Street with the usual (rush hour) traffic.

        2. No I can’t, I’ve seen various pictures of them over the years, but it’s probably a case of coach builders needing someone to request them rather than them promoting them.
          Of course to make best use of them you’d want to allow all door boarding.
          Auckland could be a leader here. I’d suggest trialling a couple before buying a fleet but look at how quickly the DDs have been implemented and how successful they’ve been.

    1. Also Tesla created secret team to suppress thousands of driving range complaints.
      The train with the One Phone Company advertising covering the windows restricts the view and should be removed.
      Why too many weekends of no trains between Britomart and Newmarket? AT or Kiwi rail is not prioritising the work on the bank near the tunnel or is there another reason. There has been restricted travel on all lines for years now. They will want to get it up and running soon as they are harming our economy and frustrating passengers

  2. I agree with the sentiment, but it needs to be pointed out that the cherry picked graphs posted by Andy Boenau actually contradict his narrative. The lower graph starts in 1998, and if you align this with the above graph correctly (which starts in 1970) you’ll see that the number of children to walk/bike to school in fact increased over this same period that anti-anxiety prescriptions increased. This glaring error aside, and I thought this didn’t need to be said, but, correlation is not causation. To attempt to draw a causation between two distantly related, complex societal and neurological issues while purporting these graphs as evidence, is very inaccurate. This kind of misleading information is counterproductive because of how easily dismissed it is & I hope we can stick to solid science in this regard as its the only way to discern the truth and prove to others that change is needed.

    1. Good observation. We know there are plenty of health concerns with inactivity so shouldn’t be hard to present the numbers accurately

    2. exactly. even if the graphs would align as intended it’s hardly any evidence even though I think it probably is in some part a reason for that

  3. One of the things about Brno Czech republic that stood out to me was the use of articulated electric (trolley) buses with 4 doors, boarding and alighting at any one. Even standard buses are fully low floor with 3 doors (again all door boarding) with a door right at the back. Made a huge difference, could load / alight a busload at busy stops much faster than we do in Auckland.

    On the northern busway this seems like a super no brainer. You don’t even need to have platform payment, employ a few fare checkers to ride up and down the busway like we already do with the trains.

    1. Yeah the bus route I used to catch in London was very much like that, all door boarding articulated bus (this was before Boris Johnson). That is going back 18 years ago, hard to know why we haven’t tried it, it was a big step up from what we have.

      1. Fare evasion. Full stop.

        That’s why TfL canned them. Those buses are now staff and pax busses airside at LHR where they are busily polluting away avoiding ULEZ charges.

        I use them everyday. They are hot as hell and we Heathrow staff loathe them.

        1. Many cities around the world use articulated buses, so there are clearly other ways to tackle fare evasion. Canning them was a political decision driven by Boris Johnson as an election issue, and he has never been noted for letting the facts get in the way of a good campaign.

          I’m told that his expensive, never-repeated one-of-a-kind New Routemasters – which were indeed modified because of fare evasion – are even hotter!

  4. It is very odd when you consider that Budapest has/had the first subterranean train system in Europe, and then constructed a very modern version more recently, while the original was kept functional.
    This city had electric trams until the motorway colonisation, and despite decades of neglect, our heavy rail system, now largely electrified, is the best asset that justifies calling this city, a city. Otherwise it is just a bunch of provincial towns with lonely people driving by themselves everywhere. And by my observation there are more lonely people than ever before.

    Many people still drive into the city centre, then enjoy the increasing pedestrian friendliness of many parts of downtown. They could easily catch a bus or a train. It is sad that the human condition has led us to this point, where we would rather isolate ourselves, than embrace community.

    Living downtown I miss sitting on a train, and am very good at finding good excuses to catch one, such as donating plasma.

    But I spent most of my twenties living in places where only a bike or bus made any sense, making trains an absolute luxury.

    Those that cannot catch a train are either blissfully ignorant or suffering ongoing colonial power imbalances.

    Cars are the reason we do not get along. They justify suburban living, and the suburbs are Pleasantville; boring and excellent for rabbit holes.

    As the CRL progresses, and quality apartment based communities (Wynyard Quarter); perhaps the frightening legacy of the private automobile can begin to be discussed, politely, and not just in the places that we have to catch aeroplanes to experience!

  5. Still no work started at Middlemore Station. Papakura Pukekohe electrification is progressing well. Pukekohe is going to be a huge station the inactive amongst us will need to be chaufered in a car too much walking involved with public transport. Aparrently Kiwirail hasn’t got enough money to complete the rail rebuild only enough to finish the Eastern line. I wonder if a new Govt will stump up with some more. They are also short of funds to rebuild the inter island port structure at Wellington and Picton for the new ships. I can see a major cockup coming with ships arriving and nowhere to berth them. Finally apparently the North Auckland line will not reopen till the middle of next year but will there be any customers left if it doesn’t open in time for the current dairy season that started last week. And final final re electrification between Pukekohe and Hamilton it would be a good idea to sink a few piles into the swamp between Mercer and Te Kauwhata to see if they can find the bottom. At least we would know something we don’t know now which would help with planning.

    1. The new government? Pay for more railways? Have you listened to anything Chris Bishop has been saying for the last year?

      1. No and I don’t follow him on twit either. However cars and trucks travel on ferries as well as wagons. Now here’s an idea for a new Govt privatise the ferries that will get the RMTU going.

        1. Well if you had been following or listening, you would know the National party policy is to divert almost all of the money set aside for PT infrastructure into motorways. So there’s a high chance of a shortage of funds at Kiwirail becoming no funds just like it was during the Key government.

        2. Zippo – if you’re going to spread disinformation then at least try and be creative about it. National have already promised the kind of North Western Busway Labour weren’t interested in delivering until National added it to their campaign, as well as the electrification works and third main already underway.

          So maybe learn to work your Google machine before you go snarking on others for not ‘following or listening’.

  6. I’m surprised to hear that the electric double decker buses running in Wellington are not considered full size, as they seem to be huge, and they are certainly very very heavy on the roads. The shear weight of the batteries makes these the heaviest buses ever used on Wellington roads, and while they are quiet, they are lumbering beasts. Obviously they are fine around the flat parts of town, but they also have to tackle the hills here, including climbing up Ngauranga Gorge, which is tough for anything with an engine or a battery.

    When I compare double deckers in NZ to those in the UK, including the brilliant old London Transport Routemaster, the main difference is weight. Routemasters were carefully engineered to be exceptionally light, so a small diesel engine could propel them perfectly adequately, on only four wheels. They could accelerate well and tackle corners without tipping over. No such faith in the modern lumbering oxen that is the modern electric double decker. I wish your city all the best of luck with those huge beasts in your city.

    1. Wellington’s electric DDs are a lot smaller than the diesel ones: 68 seats as against 85, 2 axles against 3.

      And they don’t seem to have any particular problem on hills like the Ngauranga Gorge: “lumbering” is certainly not an adjective that I’d use!

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t the dog pictured in the AT video be wearing a muzzle according to their rules? It doesn’t appear to have a service animal vest.

    1. That dog could possibly be on the Waiheke Ferry as I have never seen any dog on them or the Buses on Waiheke with Muzzels . the bus drivers over there if they don’t like the look of the dog they won’t let on board .

    2. Dog seems to be muzzled in all footage other than ferry. Which I have taken dogs on and seen many dogs before and never muzzled (outside on deck though rather than inside)

  8. And another Piece of Auckland’s Major infrastructure that’s not Talk about as it’s out of sight and not in anyone’s mind , is now Halfway through their tunneling job to Grey Lynn and possibly beyond ;-

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