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The Standard

Congestion Free Network

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, August 1st, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: public transport, sustainability - Tags: , ,

 

It’s hard to get around Auckland (even at the best of times) – due to its underfunded public transport network. As our biggest city, Auckland should be a liveable low carbon city we can be proud of. The good news is, its doesn’t have to be this way. – and with help from our friends at Auckland Transport Blog we have a plan to fix this.

It’s about time we had investment into a fully integrated public transport system or otherwise know as a 
Congestion Free Network – one that paves the way for a future beyond fossil fuels.
Auckland Council has the power to prioritise investment into the key transport projects over the next 17 years to make the Congestion Free Network a reality. This election is our chance to get candidates to commit to the Congestion Free Network, but in order to do that we need to show them the support that exists.  

Our goal is to get the word out to as many Aucklanders as possible this election. And we need you to make this happen! Lets get 1000 of us over the next week to take the first step of action, to get the Congestion Free Network on the political agenda.

A Congestion Free Network is a public transport system that is free from the delays of traffic because it is separated from roads. This includes, rail, buses with designated bus lanes and ferries. Auckland currently has a transport strategy that relies on spending over $60 Billion on mainly motorways – that we know only makes congestion worse. For as little as $10 Billion we can complete the Congestion Free network by 2030.

We’ve seen what happens when we stand up and demand investment in public transport – we got the City Rail Link funded because New Zealander’s like you showed our elected representatives that we will not take no for an answer. The future of Auckland as a liveable low-carbon city depends on it.

Local governments elections are right around the corner, so Councillors are looking for the next big thing to get behind. We are going to make the Congestion Free Network that thing. But we need your help to do it. I’m going to be demanding action from our elected representatives every time I see them, and so can you, but we can make our voice even more powerful by coming together and uniting over the Congestion Free Network. How powerful will it be to go to your elected representatives and say that more than 1000 New Zealanders are taking action from signing on their support, getting friends to sign on and flyer dropping their neighborhoods with us to put this on the political agenda?

Get your friends and family to join together by signing on and sharing it with them,
 to show support for this vision and together we will get investment in the Congestion Free Network prioritised in Auckland. Take action now: 

 

congestion free network generation zero

69 comments on “Congestion Free Network”

  1. srylands 1

    Looks interesting. More investment in public transport is worthwhile. It is a struggle to get people to use PT. One problem is cost – In Wellington I find public transport expensive compared to Melbourne. Plus I have to wait around and it takes me forever to get places. Much better to drive even if I have to pay $350 a month for a park. I am paying for the convenience and the comfort. (Having said that I did catch the bus and train for 20 years so I have good basis for comparison)

    It is a shame that Auckland made the decsions it did in the 1950s on Transport. Having grown the way it has, it is very hard to reverse direction.

    Andrew Coleman’s research draws attention to the task of changing direction in Auckland.

    http://www.motu.org.nz/publications/detail/motu_note_4_transport_infrastructure_lock-out_and_urban_form_highway_develo

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Having grown the way it has, it is very hard to reverse direction.

      And the longer it delays making the change the harder it will get. The facts are that in the late 1950’s a small group of city councillors (in the day there were literally dozens of TLA’s in the Auckland city) who were connected with the car industry saw their chance to build their business’s by destroying the existing train, tram and trolleybus network.

      NZ has repeatedly seen these kinds of nakedly ideological, venal decisions being foisted on us over many decades. They’re very often very hard to reverse indeed.

      • Stephen Close 1.1.1

        Please enlighten me what TLA stands for apart from three letter acronym. The comment does not make sense if you do not understand that.

    • lprent 1.2

      It is a shame that Auckland made the decsions it did in the 1950s on Transport.

      I wish that Auckland had been able to make that decision. But alas no. It was made by another short-sighted and foolish National government in the 50’s.

      The Transport Minister at the time mandated that no government investment would be put into trams and that motorways and buses would be the way of the future. Must have had shares in the car companies of the day… To ensure that there would be no revival he also personally made sure that all of the tracks were torn up so that the decision could not be reversed.

      Of course we still have a fool for a National Transport minister, Brownlee. This particular fool tried to prevent Auckland from getting the rail loop that we need to make the electric rail system effective. It appears that he still wants people to drive for several hours everyday. Instead it got put on the never-never – planned not to start before 2020.

      I guess that the real estate developers on the outskirts of the city are still funding National eh!

      Basically Auckland needs to extract their taxes back off National and start using them for the city rather than National’s mates.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      One problem is cost

      Yeah, that would be because we’re doing it all wrong. Instead of seeing it as a reasonable expense that can be minimised by community action we actually expect it to make a profit. This stupidity is brought about by the economists and politicians telling us that the dead weight loss of profit is a Good Thing thus it ends up costing far more than it should or would if it was fully local government funded (with possible central funding to get it set up in the first place) and free to use.

      • karol 1.3.1

        That was partly dealt with in Campbell Live last night.

        I had started to prepare a post on it last night, but then so much else seemed to be going down, I shelved it. Have notes and quotes. May finish it tomorrow.

      • srylands 1.3.2

        What PT makes a profit? Wellington PT is subsidised heavily. The farebox take is about 50% of operating costs. (No I don’t have a source – I’m going on memory but you can look it up.)

        Isn’t the problem one of scale? You have PT routes in off peak hours with hardly eanyone using them.

        The reason PT in Melbourne is cheaper than Wellington is because it gets a bigger subsidy from the taxpayer (Melbourne PT users cover one-third of operaing costs and none of the capital costs. That higher subsidy (and scale) is why it is cheaper over there.

        If PT was “free” someone would still have to pay for it. And even if it was free most people wouldn’t use it.

        • karol 1.3.2.1

          And even if it was free most people wouldn’t use it.

          BS! I was travelling on buses in Auckland today – standing room only coming home. I left home after the main rush hour, so while there were plenty of people on that bus, no-one had to stand. An that’s with it costing me $5.60 each way to get to and from the city – bus from my street goes right into the CBD.

          If public transport was free, way more people would use it.

          • srylands 1.3.2.1.1

            Yes if it was free of course way more people would use it. But not a majority of the population.

            About 2% of motorised trips in Auckland are by public transport. If it was free it might triple or quadruple, but still that would mean that 90% of people wouldn’t use it. I’m not judging – just stating the obvious. Most people don’t drive their cars because they can’t afford the bus fare.

            • karol 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Part of the reason many don’t use PT is because it’s too unreliable and not frequent enough. I prefer using PT to go from West Auckland to the CBD during the day time. It’s much less hassle and I can do other things while traveling.

              The more people that use PT, the freer the roads will be for those who use them.

              • BM

                The general consensus in NZ is that public transport if for poor people.

                Which is why 90% of people take their car
                The only way that mind set will change is when people can no longer take their car either because it’s become so expensive or you can’t get from a to b without it taking for ever.

                • RedLogix

                  The man sitting next to me on the train … right now … is a communications engineer (major telco infrastructure) earning a good deal more than you do. Average income in the carriage is probably over $100k.

                • karol

                  It’s very usual to see professional types in suits, with brief cases, laptops, etc on trains at peak travel periods in Auckland.

                • srylands

                  Yes it is sad – I used PT for 20 years but have now switched to a private motor vehicle. It amazed me when I was using buses how much flak I got – from a variety of people – “Public transport is for losers”. I got that even in Wellington but especially in Auckland. Those people won’t use PT if you paid them.

                  • RedLogix

                    The attitude changes very quickly when you provide modern, comfortable and efficient services. Smart types in suits very quickly work out that it’s far better sitting in a train reading, working or chatting than being stuck in the daily Auckland car nightmare achieving nothing but screwing with your blood pressure.

                    • Arfamo

                      Too right. Driving in daily traffic jams is the pits. Heaps of good conversation on trains, especially if you’re part of a regular group travelling around same times each day. Welly trains are pretty good.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Singapore, New York, London,…seriously rail is the way to go

                  • BM

                    Yeah, I don’t have an issue with PT, I’m a pretty pragmatic sort of individual, if PT can provide a better and faster mode of transport compared to the private vehicle I’d use it in a heart beat.

                    But, since I don’t live in Auckland or the worst place ever to build a capital let alone a city, Wellington, the car is still King.

                • tricledrown

                  Blinkered Monetarist Yeah because this right wing govts agenda, public transport always gets pushed down the priority list, even the Tory Camoron govt in the UK has stopped building motorways and put all that money into expanding the public transport system as it is 18x more efficient that the private car!
                  Joyce and now brownoselee are so far up the oil industries preverbial their is no light at the end of this tunnel!

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The general consensus in NZ is that public transport if for poor people.

                  As I’ve seen on Twitter:
                  A developed country isn’t where every poor person has a car, it’s where the rich use public transport.

              • lprent

                Part of the reason many don’t use PT is because it’s too unreliable and not frequent enough.

                Pretty much. Anywhere near peak hours the buses I use are usually all completely chocka. Instead of being once every 15 minutes at peak hours they wind up as being 3 or 4 at once every 45-60 minutes when they arrive one after another, only the last one (if you are lucky has room to stand).

                So I go to work at ~10 and come home after ~18 when they resume a more useful schedule and are less crowded. Off-peak is easier when most of the travellers are members of the gold-card and an inability to have a liscense. But we really just need more buses and bus lanes.

                Basically, provide sufficient public transport and people will use it. The more people use public transport, the less cost there is on providing those new and expanded roads – and the cheaper it gets overall despite the PT subsidies. If the laden trucks want more roads and bridges to damage, then they should pay the full cost for it, rather than getting subsidised by taxpayers.

                As I said earlier. All we really need to do is to get the interfering National arseholes away from decisions about

                • karol

                  Yes, off peak is better. Though not always reliable – I need to leave extra time for buses that never arrive or arrive late. Fortunately this morning I ended up in Auckland city well ahead of my appointment. So I went to the public library and jumped onto their free wifi access.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.1.1.2

              If it was free it might triple or quadruple, but still that would mean that 90% of people wouldn’t use it. I’m not judging – just stating the obvious.

              You’re not stating the obvious, you’re pulling figures out your arse.
              PT frequency of usage

              The last few lines of the table below are asking people how many days in the last month they had used public transport. I won’t dwell on it except to point out that half the Aucklanders who used PT in the last month hadn’t used it very often. Only 14% used it on 5 days or more, ahead of Dunedin (11%) but behind Christchurch (16%) and Wellington (27%).

              And those figures are rising as we get better PT.

              Most people don’t drive their cars because they can’t afford the bus fare.

              Maybe not most but I think you’d be surprised by the number of people who do. As I said, we’ve got it backwards. The cheaper option is always going to be efficient PT so why is it that cars are cheaper? The answer to that is because we don’t have well designed PT and we’ve been building lots and lots of roads with massive subsidies over the last 50+ years.

        • tricledrown 1.3.2.2

          srylands when was the last time you were in Melbourne I was their before xmas and their public transport costs were dearer than Wellington by along way ever since the Kennett govt fucked up Public transport by partially privatising !

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.3

          What PT makes a profit?

          I note that all the private companies providing the PT do, as a matter of fact, make a profit. Those profits are, as you say, heavily subsidised. We could save money by having the councils provide the service directly and thus not have to pay out the dead weight loss of profit as well. After all, it’s now the council (In Auckland anyway) that’s actually designing the bus/train network and not the companies. The private companies are just adding more costs and “competition” inevitably does – mostly in bureaucracy.

          Isn’t the problem one of scale?

          Yep, if more people used PT instead of cars then it would be massively cheaper. How to get people out of their cars and into PT? Massive reduction in congestion, comfortable/reliable rides/times, and not charging for the ride. The latter makes it obvious that the PT is the cheaper ride and people really do make decisions on price.

          If PT was “free” someone would still have to pay for it.

          And whatever made you think that I wasn’t aware of that?

          • srylands 1.3.2.3.1

            “and thus not have to pay out the dead weight loss of profit as well”

            Maybe Councils could provide food for everyone so we don’t need to use profit-making supermarkets? Or maybe Labour can do that. A single buyer “NZ Food”.

            We could all line up for our food just like the good old days in the Soviet Union.

            Markets are generally better at providing most things. That is why they do provide most things – thankfully even in socialist New Zealand. New Zealand is a socialist country run by a socialist Government, but luckily markets are resilient.

            I detect a lot of misplaced anger in these threads about markets. I would recommend that you read this book:

            “Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets”

            The author. John McMillan was the Jonathan B. Lovelace professor of economics in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He was a proud Kiwi, a genius, and he died far too young.

            http://www.amazon.com/dp/0393323714

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.3.1.1

              Maybe Councils could provide food for everyone so we don’t need to use profit-making supermarkets?

              Supermarkets are massively inefficient – another failure of the free-market.

              I’ve already suggested that the government buy up large amounts of land and produce enough food to supply all of NZ. They would supply to meet demand and sell at cost. The food would then be distributed through a government distribution chain supported via taxes that would deliver for free. Ordering would be online. There would be no advertising costs, no large CEO salaries and the costs (fuel, parking, time) of every household going to supermarket would be massively reduced.

              And it’s not as if it’s out of the ordinary – many farms are now owned by absentee landlords and are run by managers who watch the “market”.

              “Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets”

              I read Debt: The First 5000 Years. It has the benefit of being based in reality rather than delusional theory and pretty much proved that “markets” were a social construct, not universal and usually failed.

              The author. John McMillan was the Jonathan B. Lovelace professor of economics in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

              Which just proves that he was an ideological idiot. Economics as taught at universities is wrong and he failed to pick that up.

              • srylands

                I would be grateful if you can convince the Greens to adopt your “NZ Food” idea. Could you please expand on your post and devote some time to getting this adopted as Green policy?

                You really should promote this widely. I am a little sceptical but you go for it.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Ah, right, so you have no argument against it.

                • felix

                  srylands, if the govt did this it would simply be entering the market. You do approve of markets, don’t you?

                  Surely you wouldn’t approve of artificially excluding from the market an entity which thinks it can better meet the needs of consumers.

              • Populuxe1

                So basically you’re advocating collectivised farming and bread queues. I think I’ve heard this one before.

            • RedLogix 1.3.2.3.1.2

              Markets are good at some things … and not others.

              For instance markets do a good job of delivering cars, but the state does a better job of delivering roads. In fact the private and public sectors are mutually intertwined, they depend on each other.

              The idea that somehow everything would work better if it was turned into a market is a myth. If this were true then somewhere in the world such an economy would have evolved and if it had been so much better it would now totally dominate the world.

              But in fact in all successful economies the public sector is around 40-50% of the total.

    • Macro 1.4

      “One problem is cost”

      Costs of the Congestion Free Network is here:
      http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/07/10/how-much-the-congestion-free-network-will-cost/
      The alternative is to follow the Govt’s antique reptilian thinking and pour 75%+ of transport funding into building “Roads of National Significance” sic.

  2. Bill 2

    …we got the City Rail Link funded because…

    Oops. Erm. Apparently not. http://www.labour.org.nz/news/50-50-rail-link-funding-who-us

    “Mr Brownlee confirmed today that National has made no funding commitment at all for the Auckland City Rail Link.”

    • lprent 2.1

      Ha! Time to start pushing that fool out. Perhaps Christchurch needs more of his full-time attention? After all they’re the people who inflict him on us.

    • srylands 2.2

      Why fret over the Government’s equivication? The best Auckland can do under the current government is a 2020 start. When Labour wins the election in 2014 it will be go with a 2015/16 start.

      Given Labour is firmly committed to the project and will probably win next year’s election all will be good.

  3. tricledrown 3

    srylands the pragmatic one good on you!

    • srylands 3.1

      They better deliver. Imagine the screams if labour wins the election next year and says “oops sorry can’t afford the rail loop”

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Issue transport bonds, problem solved.

        Or, just issue the currency required, also problem solved.

        • srylands 3.1.1.1

          “Or, just issue the currency required, also problem solved.”

          So explain how this is different to what Zimbabwe does?

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            its different in every single way you can think of mentioning.

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.2

            @sry.

            Where do you think money comes from?

            • srylands 3.1.1.1.2.1

              For the left – it grows on trees, or more usually from other people who work and pay taxes – hence the left’s love of OPM (other peoples money)

              • Colonial Viper

                Where does the money you pay your taxes with come from? If you didn’t need to pay taxes, do you think that money will be as useful as it is now?

                PS you do not have to “print” or “grow” money, you can create it by digitally incrementing a bank account value upwards.

                • srylands

                  The RBNZ said you were full of shit.

                • srylands

                  BTW I have cross posted you to Kiwiblog for a laugh – I couldn’t resist

                • Colonial Viper

                  Can you answer the question that was asked? Where do the dollar notes you use to pay your taxes come from?

                  If you make the payment to the Government electronically, where do those NZD originate from?

                  • McFlock

                    Spylands doesn’t want to reveal the ultimate secret known only to the Lords of Lucretia: in each of the financial centres of the world there is a nondescript but (discretely guarded) street, and in that street there is a plain door lacquered with the tears of child labourers. Behind that door is a richly-adorned series of antechambers disguised as social areas (bars, dining facilities, billiard rooms, and suchlike), and deeper still, hidden in the oak panelling, is the door to a chapel where only the highest priests (the “Billionarie”) may enter. Beyond small facilities for ceremonial cleansing sits a small area designed for contemplation, probably the smallest area in the entire building. Rather than an altar, this area is occupied by a solid gold bench with a large hole in the seat. The Billionairus sits on the bench for a few moments of quiet contemplation, and his (almost always “his”) contemplative efforts result in the producton of a few hundred grams of Libertarium, the substance from whence all finances in the universe are manufactured.

                    Or maybe spylands is just a dumbfuck :)

              • tricledrown

                Srylands ACT were pushing your redneck economics theory back in 1997 of cutting all taxes to one flat tax then cutting all welfare richard prebble and rodney hide were out on the hustings saying we should be copying Argentina who ta the time had their economy taken over by the IMF (CIA)
                They cut all benefits including the pension unemployment went from 6% to 38% overnight!
                Argentinian’s rose up in massive protests and the Monetarist theory imposed on Argentina was ditched immediatly>
                Funny Dickhead prebble and minion hide stopped metioning Argentina as a shinning example of free market economics and have never mentioned the failed experiment again.
                Jenny Shipley Stole my words from a letter to the editor running down Mathew Hooten’s defence of monetarist policies
                Shipley repeated my research on every economy in the world at that time that countries that had strong welfare systems did far better economically especially in recessions!
                Recent research backs that up ie recent economic study carried out by BBC World news on the US economy shows states with right wing policies are in recession while those with left wing policies are growing!

          • tricledrown 3.1.1.1.3

            srylands printing money is the same as the US ,UK,EU, Japan,China does
            Srylands your pathetic out of date trolling doesn’t wash here !

  4. Blue 4

    I gave a lecture today to one of my regular classes and used parts of this video to reference the impact of urban sprawl, benefits of Public Transport (USA = Transit). Little gems about how the car has driven design needs. My students task is to construct urban transportation design strategies where the demand and production of trips exist but cars do not. Its been interesting. I asked them to take a position on the benefits and costs of a smaller world in transportation terms. I found the video, although a few years old, helpful to frame the assessment as well. Thought some of you might enjoy the perspective.

  5. Blue 5

    Sorry it is long, worth the time.

  6. Lloyd 6

    Right wing politicians always argue that public transport is expensive and runs at a loss.

    It all depends on the transparency (that’s also something right-wing politicians go on about) of where the money comes from and goes to.

    Public transport is usually wonderful at raising the value of property, especially in the centre of cities. I imagine if you could properly capture the increase in value of property in central Auckland the central rail loop shouldn’t cost anybody other than the owners of central city property, and they would be better off when they sold their property.

    The fact that the owners of central Auckland properties haven’t persuaded their right wing mates to service their buildings with value increasing rail just goes to show that property owners often don’t have enough imagination.

    Similarly cheap public transport is almost certainly better at raising value of property than expensive public transport where fares are high. With carefully targeted increases in rates public transport fares could be reduced to token amounts (say $1 for any trip in the Auckland Council area). Property owners would probably complain bitterly about the rates rises but I bet there wouldn’t be complaints about the increase in property values close to public transport hubs, and railway stations that improved public transport must generate.

    So basically I am saying that public transport increases property values and when you factor the increase in property value into the cost/benefit of public transport, then public transport is basically a low-cost item. It isn’t costly! Build it and the money will come (to someone).

    Conversely car orientated transport has a whole stack of costs that are not captured by price of petrol, (such as deaths from air pollution) and therefore when politicians start arguing about the costs of say rail versus roads, they end up comparing apples with potatoes. Roads are a lot more expensive than the bill for building and maintaining the carriageway. Don’t forget to use a road everyone must buy a car. To use rail I personally don’t have to buy a carriage…..

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Public transport is usually wonderful at raising the value of property, especially in the centre of cities. I imagine if you could properly capture the increase in value of property in central Auckland the central rail loop shouldn’t cost anybody other than the owners of central city property, and they would be better off when they sold their property.

      Given how unaffordable housing is, you seem to be suggesting that we totally ban public transport as it will simply make housing in the area less affordable.

      I’m not saying that your analysis is incorrect, its just that we’ve got to get out of the habit of justifying social goods via neoliberal values e.g. profitability and asset price increases.

      • Arfamo 6.1.1

        I dunno. I thought it was an interesting argument for those who do just object that the cost benefit analysis doesn’t stack up.

        Woo. Another strong Cook Strait 4.9 mag in Welly just now.

    • lprent 6.2

      …the central rail loop shouldn’t cost anybody other than the owners of central city property..

      I guess you haven’t been listening (or thinking).

      At present there are 4 rail lines converging on the Auckland city centre. There is at least one other being planned when they put the tunnel across the harbour. Auckland effectively centres on the isthmus for reasons apart from the city centre being there. It is where the main transport hub is for getting to other parts of the city.

      The primary use for the CRL is to link up all of those lines and allow the trains from one part of the city to go directly to another part. Or alternatively for passengers from one line to catch a train from another line without having to change platforms. For instance from South Auckland to West Auckland, from West Auckland to the airport when they finally extend the line there, from the North Shore to Howick. The new electric train system will provide the longer hauls across the city – which is freaking large – 69 kilometres from Papakura to Owera

      But that is why they call it a “Link”. But I guess that was such a BIG clue that you kind of missed it.

      Yes it will increase property values. But it will do so across all of the rail lines because it eventually allows an ability to travel across the city faster and with less hassle than being stuck (for instance) on the great north-western parking lot.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      Don’t forget to use a road everyone must buy a car. To use rail I personally don’t have to buy a carriage…..

      That is the bit that people truly don’t understand.

      A train weighs a few hundred tonnes and is constant use and thus are very efficient. The cars in Auckland weigh several hundred thousand tonnes and most are in use twice a day (to and from work) and are thus very inefficient. And that’s just the cars – the same can be said of the roads, car parking buildings and everything else that goes into maintaining car culture.

      When we look at our economy from a real, physical perspective it’s highly wasteful.

      • Phil 6.3.1

        Don’t forget to use a road everyone must buy a car. To use rail I personally don’t have to buy a carriage….

        Well, that’s not entirely true. Every time you buy a train ticket you’re buying a service from the train owner. It’s not much different to renting a car, in terms of onwership and service provision – someone, be it the government or a private company, did have to buy a train (with all the associated opportunity costs) so that you can use it.

        A train weighs a few hundred tonnes and is constant use and thus are very efficient. The cars in Auckland weigh several hundred thousand tonnes and most are in use twice a day (to and from work) and are thus very inefficient.

        What happens when those cars are safely snuggled in their parking spaces, having navigated rush-hour, and their occupants sitting for long hours at their desks or work spaces? They’re not ‘actively’ poluting any more.

        But the train – it keeps chugging along. Up and down its line, wasting energy, largely devoid of passengers – that’s far more inefficient than the car that’s just sitting, waiting, for the return of its owner.

        This is the real reason public transport, globally, generally runs at a loss. They continue providing service throughout the day that very few people use.

        • karol 6.3.1.1

          This is the real reason public transport, globally, generally runs at a loss. They continue providing service throughout the day that very few people use.

          You clearly haven’t used public transport in Auckland during the day – loads of school students, gold card users and others using it during the day.

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