Welcome to 2024. After wrapping up 2023, here’s a look at some of the things we can expect to see and will be watching for this year.


Public Transport

Ridership Recovery

The last few years have been extremely disruptive for public transport ridership, initially from COVID but then we were hit with massive disruption across all modes with staffing shortages on buses and ferries, and the need for Kiwirail to rebuild large parts of the rail network resulting in closures.

With the bus driver shortage resolved last year, the Eastern Line back in operation next week and less rail disruption expected in 2024, and new services like the Western Express, we should continue to see PT use recover throughout 2024. The big question is really just how strong that recovery will be. We ended the year with PT use starting to sit regularly above 80% of pre-COVID levels. How close to 100% could we get?

City Rail Link

It will be another huge year for the City Rail Link in 2024. The project is really starting to look like an underground railway now with tracks laid and other fitout tasks well underway. There will of course be a lot more of that and by the end of the year most of the station fitouts should be complete.

Then comes the big job of testing everything and that will take well in to 2025 to complete, though a big milestone this year should see the first testing trains through the tunnel – currently expected sometime in the middle of the year.

Papakura to Pukekohe electification

Perhaps the one big project currently due for completion this year is electrifying the rail line from Papakura to Pukekohe. When passenger services were suspended in mid-2022 to electrify and upgrade the line AT announced this would take around two years, with services resuming in the “second half of 2024” – though I wouldn’t be surprised if this slips to 2025.

The upgrade also includes a complete rebuild of the Pukekohe train station.

Eastern Busway

This is other big public transport project currently under construction and will continue throughout the year.

National Ticketing

This year should see the first region (Canterbury) roll out the new National Ticketing system. Auckland isn’t due for this till 2026 however some of the features, like being able to pay with credit cards and phone wallets – should be coming to HOP this year.


Active Modes

Te Hā Noa

Throughout 2024 we should start to see the first completed, or near completed sections of Te Hā Noa – the Victoria St Linear Park. This is going to be a fantastic addition to the city though the full delivery of this first stage – from Kitchener St to Federal St – isn’t expected to be finished till spring 2025.

Great North Rd and Pt Chev upgrades

These two big projects are currently underway and include significant active mode improvements and two of brightest spots on the horizon for active modes given the rhetoric from the new government and council/AT over the last year.

A concept image of the Meola Road project. Image source: Our Auckland

Smaller Projects

There are other smaller improvements underway though, for example, the widening of the Ngapipi bridge on Tamaki Dr is due for completion soon and will the cycleway and footpath separated out, like has already happened on Tamaki Dr west of the bridge.


Roads

Penlink

The biggest road under construction in Auckland is Penlink and progress will continue on it throughout 2024 as the project isn’t due to open till 2026. However, during the year I also wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see the new government look to change a few aspects. This could be either:

  • Re-litigating the tolling decision – tolling has been a part of the Penlink proposal for decades and had strong support from locals but as expected, as soon as the project was confirmed, locals demanded it be toll free. The government could look to change this by either by cancelling the plan for tolls entirely or alternatively giving it to a private company, like Australia’s Transurban – to manage instead of having Waka Kotahi doing it.
  • Looking at options to four-lane the road – though this is likely to be very costly

Dynamic Lanes

Making use of dynamic lanes has been pushed strongly by Mayor Wayne Brown and throughout 2024 I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Auckland Transport propose the idea on a number of urban streets – like they’re doing for the section of Gt North Rd between Blockhouse Bay Rd and SH16.

Note: consultation on this proposal closes on Monday.

New RoNS

The big road story this year is likely to be about the new government’s focus on progressing the motorways they promised during the election. Given how much design and consenting work will be required on them, we’re unlikely to see any start this year and I also suspect we’ll the government find most are going to be much harder and more expensive to deliver than they had expected/assumed in opposition and on the campaign trail.

Road Pricing and fuel taxes

Could 2024 be the year the government agree to road pricing. All parties supported the concept during a select committee inquiry but will the government actually do it. And what will be the relation to the regional fuel tax, given the government have pledged to remove it – even though it’s critical for paying for many projects.


Governance

Central Government

The big thing to watch this year will be to see whether the government, and particularly Minister for Transport Simeon Brown, moves away trying to generate a culture war over transport and towards an even slightly more rational and evidence based transport policy.

Auckland Council

Wayne Brown proved to be somewhat of an enigma in 2023 and also showed he was not afraid to tell people and the government what he really thinks. His relationship with the government will be critical to watch in 2024.


Housing

There are a couple of big things we’ll be watching on housing in 2024

  1. What changes will the government make to housing plans – they’ve already indicated that councils will be able to opt out of the Medium Density Residential Standards legislation, will Auckland do so?
  2. Will we see building consent numbers pick up again. They’ve been declining since late 2022 but with house prices starting to rise again, will we see that change?

The year unfolds ahead of us. Tell us: what are you most looking forward to, concerned about, and would add to the watchlist?

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124 comments

  1. This is what I aw at Christmas at Pukekohe , All the wiring done and there is a hort section to be completed at the Papakuta end .

        1. Experts often end up with handcuffs caused by organisational structures.

          From the outside it is hard to tell what is a legit physical constraint and what is not and could be solved through public / political pressure.

        2. As someone who is working in the industry, we do not have any such constraints and such pressures would not help.
          Open to new ideas though, sometimes there can be new clever work arounds discovered. But just a generic statement such as “Can’t they start testing while”… doesn’t uncover any new ideas.

        3. Mr or Mrs Brown: many of us are engineers of some form, many of us have had dealings with council or government and understand the silos and red tape that exist. In this case there is $6 billion of assets lying idle, it is very much worth questioning.

        4. If you like asking questions that have been asked many times before at the very basic level of planning, sure.

        1. Can they do something like do with Airline Pilots and train them on simulator ? , to cut down the number of Days required or do it at Night .

        2. Remember that the drivers still need to work reasonable and safe hours with enough time for sleep etc, so for those having to do the training and keep driving existing trains there must be limits. Some increases during the training might be reasonable, but I definitely don’t think we want e.g. doctor level hours (which I don’t think are reasonable in the first place).

          New drivers won’t have the same limits but I assume there’s not enough of them and at some stage, it won’t be worth training them for the non-CRL system.

  2. I was in the city on the 2nd. Lots of people around, it felt like a proper city again. Victoria Street starting to look a lot better, Queen Street looked good. This could be the comeback year for Auckland City.

  3. Another big thing is that the incoming Government has promised that EVs will start paying RUC on 1 April 2024, and it will move towards all light vehicles paying RUC, rather than fuel excise duty.

    While this somewhat reduces the incentives for people to buy an EV, in theory, universal RUC could be combined with a move to a time and location based charging system. But there are likely to be equity and privacy concerns with that.

    On an unrelated note, I’m sure this policy will lead to rejoicing from petrolheads around the motu as petrol suddenly gets a one-off 70c/L price reduction when the tax goes away. From my experience, RUC is a much more lumpy and less visible cost (you might only buy it once or twice a year) so driving might *seem* cheaper.

      1. You use to be able to do that back in the 60’s but only once a year when you filed your tax return , but only for items like Petrol for lawn mowers and boats as they didn’t as such run on roads . But that in the end was canned as the Govn’t found they were on the losing end .

    1. It would be good if the RUC payment system were improved. If you could opt for a monthly bill or similar that would be much more manageable for people.

      One big thing I’m watching is also how the ACC levy will be handled. Right now there is an incredibly inaccurate levy added to motorcycle / moped rego. They justify this with “bikes cost acc lots, shut up or we’ll make it even more”, and there being no other mechanism to claw back the (admittedly) disproportionate per km acc costs. But it really raises the barrier to entry, it’s a big distortion. If someone wants a vehicle to do 1000km a year (or so) on, you get pushed into a car as its just cheaper.
      But if you have RUC’s specific to each vehicle class, and ACC has no need to come from fuel tax, then it can finally be fixed.

      1. Ideally when you buy fuel. They ask “Would you like to buy some RUCs for that”, you tell them your number plate, they calculate how much mileage you should get from the fuel you just bought and add that many RUCs to your fuel purchase cost.

        1. If you’ve ever had a company fuel card, the pumps or eftpos terminals actually let you input your odometer reading which then gets put on the invoice. That system could be adapted or extended for the invoicing of RUCs.

    2. By an older car and disconnect the speedometer. That’s how it’s done out in the sticks to avoid RUC for diesel vehicles it would be fairer if petrol vehicles can do it as well.

      1. It would have to be a very old Vehicle and most drivers would have to resit their test as a lot have never driven a Manual only Automatics .

        1. When you’ve got a full license, you can (legally) drive manual or automatic. Only restricted if you sit it in an automatic can you only drive an automatic.

      2. I grew up out in the sticks, only person I met with a switch never used it any more. Disconnected it one day for his wof and just never put it back on. Wasn’t really worth it. Everyone talks a big game but don’t generally defraud the state when they can afford not to. I’m sure there are areas where it’s more prevalent though.

        None of the farmers, or anyone on decent income will bother, they want to / do drive much nicer safer new vehicles where it’s impossible, and anyone with a farm or related business can claim a lot of k’s as off-road anyway. People with any other business still have lots to lose, more auditing, and get gst back.

        It is worth pointing out that people that primarily use roads with very low capital expenditure are subsidising people that live in areas with higher capital expenditure. Areas like southland, otago, pay the same fuel tax, and make the same capital contributions as the Kapiti coast, but don’t get billions in new roads.

        1. Just going to fact check you on that third paragraph. The National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), which is the money collected from RUCs and fuel tax, doesn’t just get spent on big capital expenditure projects. It gets spent across a range of things including fully funding the capex and operational expenditure for the highway system, funding road policing, and partially funding the capex and opex of local councils.

          While its true that some lower traffic rural areas don’t see spending on big capex projects very often, they do end up with a greater share of the funding for opex and small capex projects relative to the amount of RUC and fuel tax revenue they generate, and any state highways within their regions are also fully funded from the NLTF.

          Waka Kotahi has this thing called the funding assistance rate(FAR) which varies between regions. The more well off areas with large urban populations and/or greater amounts of fully funded state highway (including all the large city councils) get a FAR of 51%, while rural districts in many cases get a higher FAR, this varies but in some cases can be up to 75%. To put this in perspective if Auckland Transport spends $1 on a Waka Kotahi co-funded project they get $1.04 in contributions from the NLTF. If a council with a 75% FAR spends $1 of ratepayers funds on a co-funded project they get $3 in contributions from the NLTF.

        2. “…fully funding the capex and operational expenditure for the highway system”.

          I thought it only amounted to about 50% of that cost and required a subsidy from the general taxpayer pool? And then there are RoNS…

    3. Moving to road consumption based pricing based on weight is an idea that’s time has come. Need to make the heavier vehicles carry a bigger share of the load.

      1. Although trucking companies claim they are paying the full cost of using their trucks on the road, in truth they are not. I was talking to a Road engineer recently, and he told me the main roads in NZ both State Highways are nowhere near strong enough to take the continuous pounding by large vehicles.
        RUC’s must go up to pay for this.
        Another Elephant in the Room!

        1. No surprise there. When “High productivity vehicles” become a thing, and the road maintenance budget was pinched to spend on RoNS the last time National was in Government, it was only really a matter of time before our road surfaces started having more issues. That coupled with weather events really hasn’t helped, but it was quite convenient for National that the roads survived long enough for this to be a major issue for Labour.

  4. I’m looking forward to hearing about progress with Inter-regional rail:
    – Te Huia quietly achieving more than was expected, resulting in a snowball of expanding service and increased ridership
    – The Northern part of the North Island having new rolling stock added to the Southern part of the North Island order that is currently progressing, giving us a common fleet
    – A trial starting with commuter/urban rail in Christchurch and potentially Dunedin, once again common fleets and a minimum viable product approach to getting things started, with a plan to get better over time

    1. Unless the minister changes from his waging of a culture war, there’s zero chance Te Huia will have funding extended. And certainly no new trains or trials in other places

      1. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Willis and Brown pull the plug on LNIRIM altogether, despite the fact they campaigned on funding the full 22 trains instead of the 18 as funded in Labour’s last budget. Something something fiscal responsibility, gold plating, “but buses use roads too”.

      2. The unknown in the equation is NZ First, they have historically been very supportive of rail so given the relatively small saving from canning it I wouldn’t be surprised if it stays.

        1. That’s true but I can’t recall seeing anything in the coalition document with National that advanced passenger rail. Could be wrong.

        2. NZ First is an unknown quantity all round. Winston will alter his view to suit his perceived voting catchment. He rubber stamped the stopping of the ferry project which could quite possibly be the undoing of a lot of lines.

    2. Given the huge cost to the taxpayer of subsidizing Te Huia when there are existing affordable bus services operating on essentially the same route and similar travel time, it’s very unlikely the service will continue.

      1. And how much is it costing the Taxpayer to subsidize the Capital Connection over the last 30plus years and they have just given it an upgrade with new carriages , ex SA/SD’s .
        The biggest inital expense was the setting up expenses , from 2 new Stations 12 Carriage rebuilds .
        And if you are rich the intercity bus would be ideal but the 2 stops in Auckland are out of the way and the worst part is you have o book a seat whereas the Te Huia it’s show up and board , and not missing the bus and having to wait for another as that was full .

      2. Just one roundabout at Piarere is costing $40 million but sure, continue with this ludicrous shtick about the “huge cost” of Te Huia. Of course there are many ways to reduce the “huge cost”. New modern rolling stock for example would cut the fuel bill in half. Letting Te Huia run on Sundays, public holidays, Christmas etc etc would also dramatically improve the ridership as would a modest station in North Waikato. And no, buses are not a substitute for trains, not even close.

        1. It may happen after the works between Pukekohe and Papakura when they have finished the works on the line as it’s closed to all Rail Traffic between 8am and 4pm on Sundays right now . And the only passenger train that comes up from the South is the Northern Explorer as it arrives at Papakura around 5.45pm .
          So hopefully we will see the Te Huia doing a Sunday trip later this year , fingers crossed , if this Government doesn’t can it altogether .

      3. There are no existing affordable bus services from Waikato to Akl.
        Some meandering local buses to Pukekohe from Pokeno, and irregular Intercity buses. You can’t rely on Intercity bus timetables to get to work.

  5. And another thing Matt L Didn’t mention is some of the works that KR have done at the Strand Station with the installation of a new ramp for the disabled and the new Waiting room in the old Signal box with proper toilets for those that need them ,

    And with the Eastern line reopening on the 15th they will be needed for that 1st week , as it terminates there ‘.

  6. After announcing the scrapping of the Wellington-Picton ferry upgrades due to ballooning costs, will be interesting to watch what happens with the proposed East-West Link, which is on the list of priority RONS. Cost estimates were already ballooning in 2017 on top of a terrible business case, by now it would theoretically cost more than the interisalnd ferry blowout. Given the travel time savings were minimal and an argument to develop that road is to service the rail port, it will be interesting to see how it will be justified as somehow more important than the ferries.

    1. Yes, and also they can do more minor improvements for the E-W Link to achieve some good outcomes. For example, a while back now they took out that lump out of Neilson St which went over the now unused rail line. Big trucks etc queuing at the light can now take off a lot quicker etc.

    2. It wasn’t the east-west link itself that contributed to the escalating costs but all the other projects that went with it, such as relocating a power station and turning the upper harbour mudflats into an area of beauty.

      1. The upper harbour already is an area of beauty – I don’t think a four lane road was ever on the list of improvements to a harbour…

        The best think about the harbour is the quiet, until you get about 1km away from the motorway

    3. Unless you live in Picton, you would not realize that we have Dublin St closed at the town end. This was so that a road bridge would be built to replace the level crossing. With a halt put on the upgrade, how long will we have to wait to unblock the town. By the shortest route it is now 800 metres one way from my place to work through suburban streets that do not normally see all the traffic when the ferries arrive.
      Multiply that as all other workers doing a similar commute to me, and that adds up to thousands of extra kilometers a year at high fuel prices. I’ll bet the government will have to make a quick decision to at least complete that contract which is currently on hold, and all the workers gone away.
      The authorities are between a rock and a very hard place on thus one. Goodbye tax cuts?

    4. Further to my ferry post, that is 800 metres extra each way. On one shift I do that three times, nearly 5 km extra!

      1. Are you driving 800m to work?
        or have I miss read your comment?
        ‘800 metres one way from my place to work … adds up to thousands of extra kilometers a year at high fuel prices’

        1. One way to work and return was 3km. It is now 4.6km. The only way to understand the road problem in Picton is to see what I see every day. There are about 65+ return ferry trips into/out of Picton every week. With cruise ships October to April (55 this year) it can be road chaos on many days during summer.

  7. O ye of little faith.
    As I mentioned on the previous thread electric trains will be running to Pukekohe this year.

    1. Yeah I got that impression I see they have started to string overhead between Puhinui and Middlemore. Apparently same company as is doing the Pukekohe electrification.

        1. Yeah it’s surprising more companies don’t do it considering it’s so easy. Just throw ‘em up plug in the extension cord and sweet as.

        2. Mr or Mrs Brown – HaHa , also does than mean with the new electric ferries they will have a long extension cord to recharge them when the battery dies in the middle of the Harbour ? .

        3. Three companies stringing wires all with their own specialised equipment and once its all done then there will be no more wiring in the pipeline so what happens to the equipment knowledge etc. I suppose it’s exported or reported back to where it came from probably Queens land or Western Australia. I suppose it would be better if there was an annual budget for electrification instead of stop go boom bust approach to railway funding.

        4. david L you should never get on a battery ferry. At least a bus can stop and you can get off when it catches fire.

        5. Reply to Miffy:

          Extract from:
          https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/fire-on-electric-powered-bus-closes-wimbledon-streets

          “The electric bus is one of 1,000 introduced into the capital as part of the city’s ongoing zero-emissions campaign. While the cause of the vehicle fire is yet to be determined, data acquired by EV Fire Safe indicates that electric bus battery fires are a rare occurrence. Of approximately 250,000 electric buses that are in operation globally, only 27 battery fires have been reported, alongside one vapour cloud explosion.”

          I’m totally happy driving my EV and parking it my garage to charge it. I sleep well so enough of the alarmist BS. You are too smart to indulge in it. One example is not statistically relevant.

        6. I would happily own an EV. I just wouldn’t store it in a garage attached to my house. It isn’t just the fire you need to think about but how you might clean up all the toxic waste after the fire.

          But my point is you can’t evacuate a ferry quickly unless people end up swimming.

        7. I am sure I could even avoid thinking about the environmental effects of lithium mining, or the cobalt miners earning $3 per day. I would avoid that and just be smug that I could afford an expensive heavy car that doesn’t pay any road tax.

        8. When they ditch cobalt, what will the next tired talking point become? Better get ready. As for lithium – the tech sector has been hoovering up lithium for batteries in devices that used to get thrown away after a year and no one batted an eye. It’s the very definition of convenient morality in action.

        9. Miffy, based on the insurance data coming out of the US, EVs catch fire less often than combustion vehicles. Depending on which data set you use, EVs catch fire 5-20 times less per 100,000 vehicles.

          Based on the data, I’d take an EV every time over a tank of flammable liquid.

          The media just creates hysteria about them, but the reality is starkly different.

          The big issue with EV fires is that they are more difficult to put out, but that can often be due to inexperience by fire departments.

          Fair point about a battery ferry or plane though…

          Maybe we will get some breakthrough in nuclear batteries and end up with batteries that remain charged for 50 years.

      1. Look forward to seeing you change your mind once you see P2P is on program and budget, despite covid etc.

  8. Bit bold to say locals supported tolling penlink as this is so clearly incorrect. Locals had already paid for penlink and had thr money set aside with the previous Rodney district Council, then upon formation of the super city the funds were re-diverted elsewhere. I understand why this blog is against more roads, but the obsession against penlink is tiresome.

    1. As far as I’m aware that’s not correct. Rodney never set aside money or collected rates for Penlink. They did multiple surveys though asking if residents would support the project to happen sooner if it was tolled and a high percentage said they would. That’s why ever since it’s been suggested to be tolled and was a condition of it being progressed, including when it was announced in the NZUP programme.

      Our objection to it is mainly that it’s a hugely expensive project that doesn’t benefit all that many people and isn’t going to change the fact that SH1 is still going to be just as congested, probably more so due to both the growth in the area and that it will encourage more trips (especially if it’s not tolled)

      1. If money was put aside for it, it would have been built.

        Paying rates and getting an agreement from the then-council to lobby for it is not the same as putting money aside.

        It was never funded, which is why they have been lobbying central government for decades.

    2. There is a feasible existing alternative. So therefore it should be tolled, makes it faster for drivers (as less congestion), lets it be maintained better, and allows more cash for other areas.

      The trick that was missed was Transmission Gully, which should’ve been tolled from day 1 (except for when the old route was closed).

      I’m not sure what money pot was put aside for it? Rodney did prior works on planning etc. but couldn’t get the cash for the road. Then the project went ahead on the condition it was tolled, and now obviously the people who benefit from the project want it to be the average ratepayer to pay for the whole project rather than chipping in more.

      It only serves locals who live along the route and the peninsula, it’s not on the way to anywhere else.

  9. Wayne Brown seems to prefer acrimonious media announcements over lengthy negotiation. I wonder if this approach will get results with the current government?

  10. The Eastern Busway Project as per their website latest timeline says in 2027 it will be complete.
    This means the big ribbon cutting will be done by the next government in power, perhaps another Labour led one. The Reeves Rd flyover will take 2 years, it appears, from reading between the lines.

    https://easternbusway.nz/construction

    The saddest thing is the CRL will be ribbon cut by current government.

    1. Perhaps the cutting of the CRL ribbon might be some positive reinforcement to make National a little more rail-friendly, at least for urban passenger transport.

      Over in the most recent Aussie state elections, the ALP and the Liberals were clambering over each other to announce which rail projects would be next, particularly in Victoria. Hopefully we’ll get to that stage here one day.

      1. Yes I do suspect the CRL will make trains cool to many of the people that vote right and currently hate trains. The UK conservatives built Crossrail!

        1. If it’s just from the CRL, I can’t see it happening to 2030 i.e. what could be the third term of the current government at the earliest. I mean the CRL isn’t due for 2026, and 3-4 years from then for people to start to accept, actually this is great seems reasonable. I think it might have been similar for the Northern Express? I definitely don’t think the Herald moaners shut up about that in 1 year or 2 of it opening

        2. I’d add that there’s also the North Shore etc to consider. Unfortunately given history, I’m not convinced the CRL will help much for those who don’t use it. And while some in North Shore might use rail to get to other from Britomart, I suspect there will be far fewer and they’ll take longer.

          (I mean you still see plenty of North Shore politicians moaning about how the CRL is a total waste of money, there’s no rail to the shore so why should we be paying for it etc. They don’t seem to care that we pay for their busway. Which to be clear there are good reasons to, it’s just the selfish it needs to be something we use attitude that bugs me.)

  11. Perhaps we can get our train doors opening faster this year???
    https://youtu.be/ioZ2fx0t7Fc?si=Pzpa8SfP6-d5g7FJ
    Video from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), introducing automatic door opening system. Not sure relevant to ours, I know our plug doors take longer in itself, let alone the centre (of each 3 carriages) take even longer with the ramp having to be extended at least partly. I think we still have all day (or daytime hours at least) automatic opening of all doors rather than waiting on a passenger to push the green button when it’s lit up. Without looking up prior posts/comments I think the driver still has to OK the opening here but at what point is that?
    Pity with the newer sets they order they couldn’t of modified the trains to have the straight sliding doors, at the expense of some window area I understand. I think the standardisation of a fleet can be overrated, if we are continually going forward and adding more units anyway.

  12. Wow, I just read that the National ticketing system is costing half a billion. All for something that is obsolete on day 1.
    Almost every one of us has a computer in our pocket these days, why spend half a billion on a card based system. I could build them a software solution for 1000x less cost.

    1. Are you are software engineer or in the past? Anyway based on how hardly any other countries as far as I know have a national ticketing system it’s not surprising. The devil is in the detail with these things I find.

      1. The national part makes sense. The fact that it needs a card and costs $500 mil does not. I bet more Aucklanders have a smart phone than a HOP card.

        1. I for one do not like using my phone for economic transactions.

          Just yesterday here in Rio I witnessed theft using said device. Your welcome to it but I’ll stick with my waterproof, no battery or power required, easy to hide equivalent.

    2. JimboJones – Not everyone has a computer in their pocket , I myself still use what they call a dumb phone and I ave other friends who don’t oen a phone except for a landline which I also have and I refuse to use my tap and go card unless I really ave too .
      The Card tat orginally going to be the National Card was Hop but Wellington said no as they had snapper , and talked NZTA into no using the Hop card
      And here is the press announcement of the Launch of the card ;-

        1. And at least with a card it can be used anytime without worry about flat batteries , unavailable reception or leaving it behind or dropping and breaking it .

          And cards have all different concessions , child , student , disable and pensioner .

        2. The simplest is to use paywave like Sydney. Can be credit card, debit card or phone. They could issue a Kiwibank card that only works for public transport for users who do not have cards.
          We certainly could save a lot of wasted spending by looking at systems overseas and even licensing them. We are not unique! The problem in NZ is we always feel we need to develop our own systems (e.g. covid tracer app).

        3. Because even the leading big cities that have contactless payment haven’t reached that level of user acceptance yet. London has had contactless for a decade, yet Oyster cards are still used more than mobiles :-
          Mobile 25%
          Oyster 28%
          Credit/debit cards 47%

        4. Another point, what are the stats in NZ on using phones for Pay Wave etc payments? I don’t pay that much attention and i live in an area where I expect to to be less common, by my impression is it’s still a lot less common than cards. Heck it’s a lot less common than contactless card payments too. Yes fees means some stores still don’t allow contactless payments but the ones I”m thinking about except Gull generally do and without surcharges. There’s no reason to think the lack of support for phone payments for PT is a significant factor in why they don’t use them for stores, it’s not like people are using their AT Hop for payments in stores.

          And if I’m right and people still use their cards a lot more than phones, what’s the reason to think they’ll do something much different for public transport? Yes maybe many more will use general purpose payments cards instead of a public transport card; but the point is we’re still going to need support for cards. And since we also want the other features people have mentioned, we really need a specialised payment card as well.

          Note that the funny thing is I distinctly recall people on Kiwiblog etc complaining when AT Hop was launching that it was silly to worry so much about cards when everyone would be using their phones soon anyway, yet now here we area and as I mentioned plenty of people still aren’t using their phones in cases where they probably can.

          As for the cost, I admit these costs always sound high to me although as a NZ wide solution and the need to therefore cover buses and other PT all over the country with who knows what standards, I can perhaps see it better. But also I haven’t been following the details that well but is the system really totally unique to NZ? It may be bespoke, there are reasons why that tends to be the case in most places IMO. But I strongly suspect a lot of it isn’t unique and we’re re-using elements already used elsewhere or maybe even already used in NZ, It’s bringing them all together in a system that will reliably work throughout NZ, is easy enough for users and operators, is robust enough that it can be adapted for future changes; that results in the cost. (Or at least we hope.)

          While I joked at the idea cards would be long dead, I do feel the inability to use either phones or general payment cards with AT Hop until now was not a good thing either. While I think there are good reasons for a regular user of PT in Auckland to have a Hop card, ultimately I don’t think it helps that they need to have one.

    3. A government IT system for $500 million? It will never happen. They will bloat it to at least $1billion or they will never be able to mix with other public servants again.

  13. 2024 – the year Skypath finally opens? Sadly not and the bridge will reach retirement age in May and still not be open for active modes.

    1. I doubt it, making the series of rides/NZ cycleway a high profile part part of his GFC recovery plan didn’t seem to convince John Key and the then National Government of the merits of cycleways for everyday commuting, And that government frankly seemed less weeded to the roads+cars ideology than this one, and more willing to listen IMO.

  14. Project that should be in 2024 is a public transport hub & Western Line rail spur into St Lukes. Project National should do if they’re running out of public transport ideas! It’s cost effective in your budget and should look into investigating idea and start construction next year.

    St Lukes rail spur isn’t a new transport idea, it’s been an issue over the past in the 2000-2010s. Last year on the News feeds, during the Black Friday sales. Westfield Newmarket had shoppers stuck in cars and stuck in carparks, due to mall being really busy. On top of it, the nearby road broadway is always congested and fill with buses come and go literally every min on any given day. The mall also reached its point by running at full capacity to be able serve customers sustainability in quality manner. Auckland Transport & Central Government (National) should fund a rail spur into St Lukes beside or partially under the mall to make it easier to commute by public transport to Westfield St Lukes. The cost of construction would be very low compared to other projects $60 Million – $120 Million, since it’s spurring a rail line and creating a public transport hub.

    St Lukes not very accessible by public transport due to lack of transport hub. Being able to locate easily is difficult too and for buses to terminate their services to serve broader suburbs nearby cannot be done unless there’s a public transport hub & rail spur of Western line. Being able cross the busy intersection between Westfield St Lukes & St Lukes Road is another issue cause its really busy road and road is very wide, meaning not good for pedestrians to walk across. You have one bus stop on the opposite side of the mall and another bus stop on the side of the mall of a really busy road full private vehicles, not convenient for public transport users who rely on public transport.

    Green MP David Clendon 2009-2017, a Sandringham local at the time, says to create a more liveable city less dependent on cars, need to create more public transport infrastructure.

    “The area is not well served by public transport.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/6244788/St-Lukes-mall-extension-slammed

    St Lukes is mostly known for having a Westfield mall. A public transport hub beside or partially tunnelled under Westfield Mall would attract more retail chains such as New World, Bunnings, JB HI-FI, Harvey Norman, Briscoe’s to the area cause they know there’ll be more foot traffic coming into their retail chains cause there’s more easier transport options for their customers. Also there’s no big retail shopping complex in the area and A public transport hub & rail spur of Western line will attract big retailers to the area. Be more variety of retail chains for families to drive into and shop. It would be a start of high density residential complexes too since everything would be mobile convenient for those living nearby.

    Unemployment rate is set to rise by 5% this year and unemployment rate 3.4% currently., the most impacted will be those who have roles impacted by AI and being replaced by AI. A public transport hub & rail spur of Western line construction would be an opportunity to grow jobs in the area and out of unemployment. Roles impacted by AI and being replaced by AI usually ones rely on public transport to get themselves to work and will need to in their retail roles. They’re the group normally dependant on public transport since car is costly.

    St Lukes has notably always been known for its Westfield Mall for the last 50 years, it’ll stay that way for another 50 years if no modernised development happening in the area and retail won’t grow too.

    1. “Also there’s no big retail shopping complex in the area”

      They are literally across the road. There even used to be a JB.

      I can’t think of a lower priority area for heavy rail access that St Lukes, which could be effectively served by a cross-town Light Rail route along Balmoral Road, and which could intersect with Dominion Road, Sandringham Road and Great North Road as well as going as far east as Greenlane.

      1. Light Rail no go and won’t be in Auckland ever! Auckland needs to continue its progress of small incremental projects public transport projects which bring huge benefits. Only way we can do that is constructing projects such as public transport hub & Western Line rail spur in St Lukes and should be made high priority to relieve bottlenecked Westfield Newmarket since it’s reaching its capacity limits. Even broadway(road) beside Westfield Newmarket is congested everyday.

        “could intersect with Dominion Road, Sandringham Road and Great North Road”

        No to Dominion – would require local bus service, Yes to Sandringham, as for Great North – don’t need two ‘Western Lines’ one running on existing line and underneath existing road.

        1. Heavy rail is massively expensive, this is a built up area so you’re either talking about huge land acquisition or tunneling, both massively expensive.

          It might be small and incremental in terms of what it acheived but it would be an absolutely massive amount of money to funnel into one extremely tiny area of the city, to gain minimal benefits over what other cheaper alternatives could acheive.

          Spending billions of dollars to ease congestion into a shopping centre car park is not a luxury the city or government can afford.

        2. Heavy rail is more expensive than LR and delivers little – and I can’t really see any – material benefit over that or a busway, in the routes you suggest.

          More expensive, for no extra benefit than the cheapr alternatives. You think National will go for that, seeing as its not a road?

        3. Actually both (buttwizard & KLK) of you are wrong. How do you think a 19 KM Papakura – Pukekohe electrification costs $870 million to build vs $14.6 Billion 19 KM long city – airport light tram? That just proves light tram not achieving any accomplishments vs heavy rail! We need more passenger Heavy Rail in this country! Hope to see Pukekohe- Mercer electrification be next on the list of upgrades!

        4. “How do you think a 19 KM Papakura – Pukekohe electrification costs $870 million to build vs $14.6 Billion 19 KM long city – airport light tram”

          The core of the Papakura-Pukekohe line (the rails) was already built.

          The $14.6bn LR proposal included totally unnecessary tunnelling, when a significantly cheaper surface level solution, like Papakura-Pukekohe HR, was perfectly adequate.

          Let’s compare apples with apples. The relatively short HR Onehunga extension to the airport was estimated at about 40% of the cost of the entire 19km surface line LR between airport and the city. And Onehunga HR could not add as many stations south of Onehunga as LR could.

    2. Auckland is becoming more congested city as time passes on, reason-not enough bus lanes and transport hubs to create terminuses for buses & heavy rail. For our transport hubs, we definitely need more transport hubs in Central parts of Auckland in suburbs like St Lukes, Ellerslie, Glen Innes so it can host more local buses in the area. Problem cited for these suburbs is shelter for waiting for buses (rainy day get commuters dampened & wet due to size of bus shelters, most of time not enough shelter to keep commuters clean & dry, meaning most of time need a bus station sized bus shelter), terminus for the buses to park problematic since there’s no bus parking, so instead the ‘Not in Service’ buses park on designated bus stops for service running bus routes and block the incoming buses way. Lastly nowhere for buses to make a 360 turn at where service terminates, instead of deviating section of roads without needing to do 360 turn.

      Bus lanes & Busways badly needed here in Auckland. It would reduce time of travel, be ‘priority express lane’ for traveling into Auckland suburbs. The more Bus lanes & Busways get constructed, faster the bus travels, the more spare buses to create new local bus routes at connecting transport hubs.

      Where bus-lanes or busways are needed in Auckland:

      Central Auckland:
      Kepa RD
      Stoddard RD
      Herd RD
      Pah RD
      Pilkington RD
      Apirana AVE
      Khyber Pass RD
      Park RD

      North Shore:
      Lake RD (Hauraki Corner – Belmont)
      Onewa RD
      Othea Valley RD
      Constellation Drive
      Glenfield RD

      West Auckland:
      Lincoln RD
      Great North RD (New Lynn – Kelston)
      Great North RD (Waterview – New Lynn)
      West Coast RD (Glen Eden – Kelston)

      East Auckland:
      Pakuranga RD
      Cascades RD

      South Auckland:
      Great South Road (Otahuhu – Takanini)
      Buckland RD
      Massey RD
      Mangere RD

      1. + 1

        Forgot to add more for North Shore
        Extend the current Northern Busway all the way to Millwater and terminate NX1 at Orewa

    3. Putting aside all the other flaws in what you said which others have mentioned, I don’t understand the relevance of the Newmarket problems last year. We’ve already discussed this around the time it happened, but there is already good rail connections to Newmarket. The rail connection wasn’t saturated. The people stuck in cars didn’t use the rail whether because they couldn’t get on the other end easily, or they just prefer to use their cars for whatever reason.

      So if anything, your argument falls down. Why would people use rail to get to St Lukes when they weren’t using it to go to Newmarket?

      Likewise even if we put aside the plenty of suggestions to help deal with bus congestion in Newmarket, how is rail to St Lukes going to fix that? I mean people in St Lukes might take a train to Newmarket instead of a bus so I guess by that token less bus traffic to Newmarket, but that seems to be the opposite of what you’re suggesting.

      Also St Lukes and Newmarket are relatively close. And the St Lukes area while not that dense, doesn’t exactly have significant amounts of free land. So why should it be the prime target for more shops. I’m biased since I live out west, but if you did want to improve public transport to a mall, shouldn’t Westgate/North West get higher priority?

      The new WX1 is widely accepted to be not that good unlike St Lukes which already has decent bus connections. No problem since according to you, we can build heavy rail there easily and cheaply. I mean if we believe you that you can somehow magic heavy rail to an area with no room like St Lukes, should be easy to do it an area with a lot more room like Westgate,

  15. Yes there would be land acquisitions involved, possibility of tunnel or having station partially beside the mall. Estimation of about $60 Million – $120 Million, since it’s spurring a rail line and creating a public transport hub.

    “Spending billions of dollars to ease congestion into a shopping centre car park”

    Not a luxury for everyday workers who need to be able to park especially if they live far out the and public transport routing not direct, without need of transfer. Creating a public transport hub would ease that problem for St Lukes since there’d be more direct routing of buses. As for spurring Western rail line, it brings convenience to those coming from west suburbs like Avondale, New Lynn, central suburbs the CBD, Mount Eden and Newmarket. If continued by bus, traffic light contention, traffic congestion, slower journey and bus not convenient to locate stops than heavy rail.

  16. May I suggest that any investment or capital be into transport infrastructure or council infrastructure like waste water, etc be accounted for returns. My concern is from time to time about things popped up like broken pipes or infrastructure deficits .If returns are difficult to record but at least some accounting be made to make public acknowledge the real costs of living in city.

  17. NZ First is an unknown quantity all round. Winston will alter his view to suit his perceived voting catchment. He rubber stamped the stopping of the ferry project which could quite possibly be the undoing of a lot of lines.

    1. Can anyone tell me why they are so fixated on rail infrastructure at Northport, but not anywehere else?

      As I said, they did mention heavy rail to the airport (via Puhinui – so a billion dollar, one station spur) on the campaign trail, but its never been mentioned ever again.

      1. IMO, Winston Peters seems to really want to move a majority of port traffic out of Auckland to Northland. Plus economic development in Northland seems to be a key focus of his. The cynic in me suggests a big part of that might be because he’s hoping NZ First will be able to get a consistent electorate seat out of it and avoid being depend on the vagaries of 5% to get into parliament, especially since he must realise he’s not going to be around forever but I do think he wants NZ First to outlast him, on his schedule. And in his mind, Northport rail will ensure both happens so it’s what he’s desperate for.

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