Guest post: Auckland’s transport towards next year

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, October 1st, 2015 - 18 comments
Categories: public transport, transport - Tags:

Auckland is over a third of New Zealand’s economy and its population.

And if you agree with Bill English, the whole of Auckland’s real estate is going down an apocalyptic gurgler.

But at least in transport, there are a few developments altering things for the better.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s coming in 2016:

  • HOP card and fares will improve, because you will be able to go from New Lynn to Onehunga and all points in between in one zone.
  • Vector and others are installing recharging points for fully electric vehicles.
  • The trains work, are electric, and actually turn up on time. That’s a fifty-year first.
  • Every major train station, and every bus (as routes are retendered), will have free WIFI.
  • More flash rail stations open in Otahuhu, Parnell, and Pukekohe, and an enormous bus station gets underway in Manukau.
  • Construction on the City Rail Link starts in earnest, alongside huge urban renewal projects.
  • Double decker buses really get rolled out on the North Shore, Dominion Road, and to Botany Downs.
  • Anyone with a Gold Card can still get all the way to Waiheke Island – and indeed anywhere on a bus as well – for free, traveling off-peak.
  • You will get to and from work or uni from Glen Innes to town, or Avondale to town, on a dedicated cycleway, by late 2016. If they get their diggers going fast.
  • And for the majority who love their cars, by the first quarter of 2017 you get groovy tunnels to drive to the southern employment areas via SH16 and SH20, rather than having to grind through Spaghetti Junction.
  • Deep in the pipeline we are likely to get a view on a dedicated light rail system as well, though I fear a smelly BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) will land on the Mayor’s doorstep.

Most of the above is well beyond any one political term to achieve.

And there’s plenty still wrong. That’s for other posts (TransportBlog covers them in detail).

For next year though, some things will improve.


18 comments on “Guest post: Auckland’s transport towards next year”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    A smelly BOOT ?

    As the Council is buying the land ( and the tunneling rights under other), does that mean the people who build dont buy it off the council?

    These sort of fixed term systems in reality dont return to public ownership after say 25 years, as they reetnder at that time for another 20 years.

    I dont have much hope that the council will compete on a level playing field with well financed possible BOOT firms. Council staff arent the sharpest knives in the draw ( or they switch sides ?)

    The finance costs and the the big legal costs and enormously to the overall cost, so the current numbers in the low $2bill + would magically be around $1.5 bill more !

    There could be a consortium with Serco!

    • Ad 1.1

      Duke, the BOOT potential I was referring to was the light rail proposal, not the City Rail Link.

      On CRL what one needs to watch for is two commercial points:

      Firstly that the large scale private developments abutting the CRL corridor seek to effectively privatise the public realm with shops, leases, advertising, etc. Compare for example the long term concession Cooper and Co has over the Britomart area, and also Precinct Properties gaining title over QE2 Square.

      Secondly that the government loads their proposed 50% of costs with a whole lot of commercial conditions like air rights, land development deals, Wider Economic Benefits becoming actual presumed profits back to the public sector, etc etc similar to the Sky City deal.

      The CBD is so commercially hot right now and I don’t really see the Council in control of much of it really.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Thanks for that.

        Means I can give light rail a good kicking, as I think Dominion Rd is ideal for ‘tram like’ double articulated buses or as they are called ‘bi articulated’
        Curitiba in Brazil the place that was in advance with its bus type metro, seems to like them.

        The long straight main road without many sharp turns would be ideal

        A lot of dominion rd has building setbacks dating from the 50s or so we can make dedicated super stops or a full continuous busway
        The heart of areas like Balmoral and valley Rd area arent set back, but could be with rebuilds of the existing shops Which are outdated and not suitable for modern retailing. But definitely not demo and build a strip mall.

        The North Shore busway is more suited to light rail than Dominion Rd and a better place to spend the money.

        Best choose achievable and affordable projects rather than grandiosity trophy or vanity projects that never get going.
        Prime example is airport railway, all that land at airport would never compete with a very expensive and underused dedicated rail link.
        Even Sydney and Brisbane find the projects dont add up on their substantial rail systems

        • Ad

          Dominion Road and a number of other Auckland isthmus arterials were built for trams around World War 1. So there’s no shortage of width.

          But you are right about the cost and route flexibility arguments against light rail’s superior capacity.

          After all, it’s never the CAPEX that kills you, it’s the OPEX and depreciation. Bus operators can get new buses tooled up pretty fast and across most roads. Trams need very high local design specifics, and flexibility: not so much.

          This debate is coming up mid next year.

          • dukeofurl

            Width is not a problem for trams themselves ( I lived in melbourne for many years)
            The best option for these sort of street services is a pretty much dedicated area, which means kick out cars completely ( which happens in melbournes extra wide CBD streets). Dominion rd isnt THAT wide.

            id be happy to see the alternatives discussed but it seems a pre-emptive strike has been made to push the trams ahead. Levy has been talking about it and its not because hes a tech guy but his officials are putting that stuff for him to run with

            • Ad

              They will at least need to strip out much if not all of the parking.
              Lots to negotiate with the shop owners who will otherwise have a shitfit.

              • dukeofurl

                Morning peak not a problem there, its the afternoon peak which is continuous now from about 4ish.

                Melbourne drivers at least have a lifetime getting used to trams unloading passengers in the middle of the road ( for places of similar width to dominion rd such as Toorak Rd Chapel st etc) Not that they are perfect

                Auckland drivers are too crazy for such civility ( as shows by our much higher road toll)

                • Ad

                  Auckland Transport views the peak now and in the future throughout the entire isthmus as a problem. It’s the future forecasts down Manukau, Mt Eden, Dominion, New North, Sandringham and Symonds that are predicted to be in essentially permanent peak by 2025. That’s where even a fully double-deckered 11% productivity increase isn’t sufficient against a grade separated electric light rail system.

                • Tracey

                  “Morning peak not a problem there,”

                  Really? My street runs directly off Dominion road and the peak runs well past 930am…

          • Tracey

            the roads were due to be widened for the rugby world cup (including Dominion) but it never happened… I understand the businesses said “here will our customers park”… and so it stalled.

            • Ad

              The AT Board killed the Dominion Road upgrade – deep into procurement – due to a sharp decrease in funding from Council.

  2. mickysavage 2

    Thanks Ad. The light rail proposal is exciting. I am old enough to remember that the region agreed in 1999 for light rail being established where all the commuter trains now service and John Banks wrecking the proposal by taking a small piece out of the network in 2001.

    Why does history continuously show that the right always makes stupid short sighted decisions?

    • Ad 2.1

      One of Banks’ other glorious follies, the Eastern Arterial highway, is taking over a decade to reverse and turn into a dedicated busway from Panmure to Botany Downs. Dumptrucks of wasted time and public money as a result.

      But when it’s done right, as in the rebuilt Panmure Rail and Bus station, the patronage figures go through the roof. When it come to public transport in Auckland, Build It And They Will Come.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        Not familiar with that Panmure station, but location is a godsend. Catches all the buses from Pakuranga and Howick.

        I think the original was some distance away to service the workers at Masport and Fisher and Paykel ( when they were around)

        But I see they sneaked in a underpass road as part of the station build.

        • Ad

          Too hard to get rid of the Panmure Roundabout without grade separating some of the north-south traffic via that trenched road.

  3. Stephen 3

    If you want intelligent debate about Auckland, go here.

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