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Auckland 3rd most expensive for PT

Written By: - Date published: 3:37 pm, May 5th, 2017 - 14 comments
Categories: public transport - Tags:

The same study that trumpeted Wellington as the most liveable city in the world, has Auckland as the 3rd most expensive in the world for Public Transport, behind only London and Dublin.

Now London and Dublin’s PT is a little more advanced than Auckland’s, but still the price for a monthly pass here comes in above Tokyo and New York.

And for some reason our roads-obsessed government refuses to let Auckland Council have a regional fuel tax or motorway charging to help subsidise the cost of building PT infrastructure, as Auckland desperately tries to create the PT network it is decades behind on.

Auckland’s also 8th most expensive in the world for an 8km taxi ride – no doubt due to the congestion as the government keeps pushing roads over PT for getting people around.

Noticeably Auckland is marked lower than Wellington for pollution in the Quality of Life index – all those cars don’t add up to a smog free morning.

We need a government that knows how to get Auckland moving…

14 comments on “Auckland 3rd most expensive for PT”

  1. james 1

    Agree PT pricing on Auckland is stupid.

    Admittedly I never use it (unless its the free concert bus), but from my kids I know its stupid expensive.

    “Auckland’s also 8th most expensive in the world for an 8km taxi ride”

    On the bright side there is Uber and that makes it a ton cheaper.

    • Bunji 1.1

      It’ll still be stuck in the congestion, so probably still more expensive than uber overseas too… (& still contributing to the smog)

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      If Uber is the ‘bright side’ then we must be nearing the Fires of Hell.

      • Muttonbird 1.2.1

        Indeed. I haven’t used Uber in NZ but I did when working in Asia recently.

        It was about 20% of the cost of a tourist targeted tuk-tuk but the drivers were afraid to pick up near any areas heavy with tourist traffic, presumably because of tension between them and the traditional drivers.

        A model where this sort of tension exists is not healthy or sustainable, imo.

    • Sure Uber’s cheaper- if you don’t hit surge pricing, and if they’re allowed to flout our laws.

      Their whole business model is built around two ideas:
      1) Non-compliance: They cheerfully ignore as many local laws as they can to cut costs.
      2) Operate at a loss until you monopolise the market, then lobby to legalise your previous law-breaking and bump up prices to cash in.
      (and for bonus points, dodge taxes if at all possible)

      I’m usually pretty pro-digital goods and services, but Uber is essentially a full-time scab business.

      If you have any respect for workers, or value safety procedures such as cameras, don’t use Uber.

  2. Tinfoihat 2

    “We need a government that knows how to get Auckland moving…”

    Party Vote Green

  3. Muttonbird 3

    While stuck in traffic yesterday I heard the owner of a recruitment agency which brings in foreign workers say if we slow immigration Auckland will grind to a halt.

    Surely the opposite is true.

    It is very revealing who the proponents for massive net migration are:

    The person above, who literally makes money from importing people. A opinion born of business necessity; nothing more, nothing less.

    Paul Spoonley, who has a $5million research project running on what migrants mean to diversity in NZ. He wouldn’t want that cash cow to stop chewing the cud.

    Mike Hosking, whose property portfolio depends on housing stress caused by high demand and low supply. He cares for no one other than himself and his car dealer.

  4. Ad 4

    Government requirement for 50c in the dollar cashbox return stuffs it for price.

    It’s locked into the AT kpi’s.

    • The only way that would make sense is if every cent were invested back into Auckland’s PT infrastructure. (in reality, if it’s going to anything in Auckland, it’ll be roooooaaaads. Nats are basically like zombies that try to eat new roads.)

  5. saveNZ 5

    Yep, destroying public transport seems to be deliberate government policy. AT in Auckland is a corrupt joke. Like the Natz they seem to think they are perfect and it’s everyone else’s fault.

    In terms of wages I’d say Auckland is probably the most expensive in the world as a percentage of earnings. London maybe more expensive but they have tubes every 2 minutes – everywhere! You don’t need a car there at all and you normally get extra wages for living in London.

    We have expensive public transport that doesn’t even work!

    While the answer for many seems to be charge more taxes for drivers – look around with that stick, it’s not palatable as there is not a functioning public transport system to switch too! Before people turn to public transport there needs to be frequent and reliable transport that covers all parts of Auckland and have park and ride links for the more rural areas not on public transport at all . Sadly we are years off that!

    Apparently the trains are full, the park and rides are full, the buses are full at peak times.

    Rather than the neoliberal – user pays model, maybe turn back to the old fashioned – we need this for the future – and do it. And stop bringing more people in, because there’s no houses and even if there was, there’s no transport for any more people and we are years (decades under AT) away from any solution. Meanwhile productivity is down as people have to spend hours in traffic each day.

    And the council, government, AT have allowed obstacles to be built in the way of transport links like trains. Isn’t even the proposed white elephant stadium in the way of train tracks?

    Where is the billion dollars of public money going to AT?

  6. KJT 6

    Wellington gets public transport, and roads, subsidised by the tax payers in Auckland.

    Good for Wellington, but not for Auckland.

    Of course a lot of Auckland’s woes is the central Governments punishment for not voting for Banks, and asset sales, as instructed.
    There would have been any amount of tax money available, to fatten up Auckland’s public assets, for sale to NACT’s mates.

    • I can certainly understand how, just comparing the two services and doing nothing else, you’d totally feel that way… but looking into the figures a bit more, the culprit really isn’t comparative operational funding. The comparison I found of public transport in Wellington and Auckland gave the following: (I’ve added in some maths to make the picture clearer)

      Wellington rail: $29.5m subsidy, 11.1m patrons, $2.66 per trip
      Wellington bus: $34.8m subsidy, 24.3m patrons, $1.43 per trip
      Auckland rail: $83.5m subsidy, 10m patrons, $8.35 per trip
      Auckland bus: $115.3m subsidy, 53.5m patrons $2.16 per trip

      (the subsidy numbers are totals of council/rates and NZTA funding. All of the numbers I’m using are at least a couple years out of date as the most recent docs don’t seem to be released, or these comparisons aren’t run particularly frequently, but I don’t think subsidies have gone up for either city)

      In terms of roads, both Wellington and Auckland are getting more than their fair share as of the most recent report MoT I found online, and Christchurch of all places was losing out the worst on funding, paying in about 1.8 times what it got back. (I expect the reason for that is that most of the recent works was being held off until the quakes died down during a third or so of the relevant timeframe, as it was a ten-year comparison that stopped in 2014) For PT, I had a gut feeling you weren’t entirely correct that Wellington is stealing money from Auckland because my impression has always been that Auckland is wasting its PT money due lack of investment in its services. Whatever the cause is, at first blush it certainly looks like Wellington isn’t stealing cash from Auckland. Wellington actually gets much less in terms of subsidies per trip, despite being a harder natural environment too deal with due to how ridiculously hilly it is, and thus every mode of transport has to deal with very narrow and curvy spaces for roads/tracks.

      That said, I bet a lot of the disparity in ridership has to do with how piss poor the overall service is, having relied on public transport the few times I’ve traveled up to urban Auckland, (I don’t drive) and having found it abysmal even for a day trip without much time pressure. To control for that somewhat, if Auckland’s urban ridership and transfer rate was similar to Wellington’s, it would have 40.1m rail trips, and 90m bus trips, so part of the reason for the disparity is arguably that Wellington has some pretty good economies of scale going for its public transport relative to the size of its city. If we expected the current subsidies to cover that ridership, Auckland would be getting $2.08 per rail trip and $1.28 per bus ride, so while the subsidies are generous for current ridership, they’re not even at parity if the aim is to get Aucklanders using PT as much as Wellingtonians, which is the very least Auckland should be aiming for, so not only is an up-front investment into infrastructure needed, so are some extra subsidies to control fares if ridership explodes.

      Overall, the likely culprit is most likely the current government hating public transport because they likely think it’s something for broke students to use and that anyone worth worrying about has at least one car available. Although I will concede it’s entirely possible the Clark government also underspent on Auckland public transport before them, too.

      • Ben Clark 6.1.1

        Just as a quick check on that – Auckland Rail is now 19 million trips, not 10 – and currently increasing by 3 million trips/year. Bus must be higher as well to total 87 million PT trips (not sure what number ferry makes up).

        Auckland’s going to need a bunch more subsidy on PT, as they need to build the infrastructure, where Wellington it’s largely maintaining… but as you say, the real comparison isn’t wellington v Auckland, it’s road v rail and this government’s priorities are up the spout there…

        • Yeah, this was the only comparison document I found. I could possibly look for more up-to-date info on both of them, but I didn’t want to go digging at the time. 🙂

          Road vs public transport is the real place where Auckland is losing the money it needs urgently pumped into public transport. Most of our transport spend should be on either public transport improvements, basic road maintenance, or incentivizing the switch to EVs.

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