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Steven Joyce: still living in the 20th century

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, March 27th, 2011 - 46 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, public transport, transport - Tags: ,

Auckland Transport Blog is a great resource on its topic. As you read through its numerous posts, you become quite aware of how much of a old fossil Steven Joyce (and NZTA under his direction) is in his thinking of Auckland’s transport priorities. They are using presumptions that don’t really apply anymore.

But first the good news – 2010 PT Patronage – a spectacular year.

Well it was a bit like getting blood out of a stone, but finally Auckland Transport has released full patronage information up to January 2011, broken down by bus, train and ferry. Helpfully, regular commenter Luke managed to get historical patronage data dating all the way back to 2002 off Auckland Transport – which probably provides us with the fullest and most helpful data I’ve come across yet.

The post goes into the detail about the changes with extensive tables which you should go to if more detail is of interest. But in summary:-

Looking a bit closer at the data really shows us what a spectacular year 2010 was for public transport patronage. Compared to 2009, every single month was ‘up’, with October and November being the most spectacular months – having increases of 21% and 15% respectively. The October data is a bit misleading because it was a recovery from the October 2009 bus lockout (hence the huge leap in bus patronage and the slight decline in rail patronage). Overall, total PT patronage for 2010 was up by 8% compared to all of 2009

Most heartening to see is how well the bus system performed last year. With around 80% of Auckland’s public transport trips on the bus it is critical that we keep focusing on improving that bus system to attract more people out of their cars and onto PT. An 8% increase in bus passengers equate to an extra 3.5 million trips – equivalent to 40% of 2010’s rail patronage. Rail patronage also continued to grow quickly, with a 14% increase in numbers compared to 2009.

ATB points out that the total increase in bus patronage in 2010 is equal to the entire increase over the 2002-2009 period and

Over the past three years we’ve seen public transport patronage in Auckland increase from 52.4 million trips in 2007 to 63.5 million trips in 2010. That’s a 21.1% increase over the past three years.

Imagine what might happen if we actually tried to improve the bus system?

Indeed 🙂

.

 

Now, why is all of this important. Well it cuts to the heart of the incorrect and dated transport planning presumptions. An earlier post at ATB was called The false assumption.

Even though the cost-benefit ratio of both bridge (0.6) and tunnel (0.4) options for providing an additional crossing of the Waitemata are pathetically low, I actually think they’re an over-estimate. This is due to the same false assumption that afflicts the analysis of all future roading projects:

That traffic numbers will keep rising

If you have a look through the business case for the harbour crossings, the main justification is that – supposedly – traffic volumes will continue to rise dramatically across the harbour bridge into the future, and therefore we will need more lanes in the form of another crossing.

As someone who has either been on the bridge or has seen it for virtually every morning and evening over the last 5 years, I’d agree that the assumption is outright bullshit. ATB puts up the numbers but I will just look at their graphs.

This reflects what I’m seeing (literally) in my last three jobs. The number of cars is slightly declining, jams are less frequent, and the crawl speed has been increasing. Many people like myself have shifted to using the bus especially since the Northern Busway was completed.

There are a *lot* of reasons to use the bus over the bridge and there is a different mix for everyone I know. Personally my major reason was that I did the morning moderation this site while in transit. A secondary reason is because I can’t get rear ended by an idiot driver talking to his female passenger as happened a number of years ago. In fact that was when I started to use the bus – 6 weeks without a car while it was being repaired was quite convincing. But in general the bus is a hell of lot less hassle and a lot more comfortable way to spend the weekly commuting hours.

The assumption that “traffic will always grow” is not only misplaced for the Harbour Bridge, but also more generally all over New Zealand. You can clearly see how the last few years has broken away from long-term growth trends in NZTA’s analysis of state highway volumes:

The world is clearly changing. As fuel prices increase and as alternatives to driving slowly but surely are improved, it seems as though there’s a clear tailing off in the level of traffic increase on New Zealand’s roads over the past few years. This cuts to the heart of justifying new roading projects of course – and therefore it’s not really a surprise to see traffic modellers, engineers and most particularly NZTA still in absolute denial over this issue. After all, if traffic levels aren’t going up it becomes pretty difficult to justify new spending (just like it would be difficult to argue for more spending on public transport if patronage was plummeting).

A world of never-ending traffic growth is a false assumption. It’s time those in charge of transport planning started to realise this.

Just at present Steven Joyce and the NZTA seem to be locked into thinking of the world as it used to be – in the 20th century. I wonder how long it will be before they see what I’m seeing and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Update: ATB just put up a post called Is the government insane? covering a NZ Herald editorial on the same theme (that I hadn’t seen). It looks like a movement….

46 comments on “Steven Joyce: still living in the 20th century ”

  1. Cheers for the post and kind words Lynn.

    Yes Joyce is living decades ago with his transport thinking. What’s unfortunate is how much support that thinking has among transport officials who should know a whole heap better. At the moment we have Ministry of Transport and Treasury officials fighting tooth and nail to discredit the CBD Rail Link business case – ignoring the pathetic nature of many of the business cases for roads like the holiday highway and the additional harbour crossing.

    The hypocrisy of it all is quite unbelievable.

    For more data on traffic volumes over recent years check out the NZTA website – where it’s published monthly. Some interesting trends over the past three years: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/state-highway-traffic-growth/

    They might need to change the name of the page – “growth” is no longer an appropriate term.

    • lprent 1.1

      I’d have just republished your posts, but I really really wanted to add my comment about what I have been seeing on the bridge

      • jarbury 1.1.1

        I think it works well this way. I see the bridge a couple of days a week and my experience is generally the same – but useful to know it’s backed up by someone seeing things every day.

        Northbound in the evening peak used to be really badly congested from just north of Onewa. You rarely if ever see that these days.

  2. Anthony C 2

    Joyce just knows who pays the bills, doubt it has anything to do with actually considering modern thinking on transport.

    • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 2.1

      And the traffic “engineers” at the NZ Transport Agency are looking increasingly like the generals who are busy planning to re-fight the battles from the previous war, rather than the one that’s actually in front of them.

      I can’t help thinking that Auckland will get its roading network finished at about the same time that genuine petrol and diesel shortages start causing transport disruptions in New Zealand.

  3. Kevin Welsh 3

    I am sure that when the CBD rail link was dominating the news a little while ago, Tony Freidlander was in Joyce’s ear discussing the next cheque for the Waitemata Trust.

  4. Carol 4

    My preference is for the train from west Auckland. As long as I can get a seat (which is most often at the times I travel – very early, the middle of the day or slightly after the evening peak period), then I can work on my netbook while I travel. I have tried the bus, but I’ve found it too jerky for working. Also, in peak periods and a while each side of it, there are some real traffic bottlenecks holding up the traffic.

    I have tried bussing to the train station, but find it doesn’t co-ordinate well. I would cycle there instead, but the busy roads scare me. So I drive to the station, and park a little walk away from the station.

    Please, we need more cycleways for shortish practical journeys. They would get more use in urban areas, than some national cycleways for a limited number of tourists & long distance riders.

    PS: I meant to add, that recent train journeys in the middle of the day have surprised me by how full the trains have been. It would seem to indicate a major increase, and not just the more usual gold card users, occasional tourists, and parents with young children.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      I have tried bussing to the train station, but find it doesn’t co-ordinate well.

      Yeah and the reason is that they’re “competing” services rather than being rational and integrating with each other to produce an even better service. But, I suppose, that’s what happens when you decide that the only way to produce an effective service is through the profit motive – even though those services are publicly subsidised.

      Went on a train journey the other day from Glen Eden (11:23) to Mt Eden and there were very few seats available when I got on. When I got off people were having to stand and that was on a 6 car train. The return journey (12:50), for some reason, had dropped to four cars and there was even more people standing.

      • clandestino 4.1.1

        Why can’t people in this country put up with having to stand? It’s absolutely pathetic that someone wouldn’t use PT just because they had to hold onto a hand strap. Read about it in the DomPost for Welly lines and it is infuriating!

        Do people watch TV? From other countries? Do they travel? If they did, they would realise most people getting a seat like we do is a luxury, and it is insane that we pay proportionately more to increase capacity just so lard-arses don’t have to actually use their leg muscles for 20 or 30 minutes!

        Rant: End.

        • Carol 4.1.1.1

          I’m quite happy to stand if I have no work to do. It can be a productive time instead of staring into space. Sometimes I’ve opted to stand when there are spare seats, because it’s cooler near the doors. I can’t speak for others.

    • JonL 4.2

      Perth has cycleways alongside most of the railways – you can virtually cycle from Fremantle to town and not go near a road.

    • Roger 4.3

      Also the best way to commute across town if you have to go in and out severals times in a day (if your lucky if with the rail stop locations!) between various jobs, plus it’s quick. Can’t park in town and make travelling around economic, also it’s a sod waiting for all those lights and irritated people.

  5. Ian 5

    In fact the governments aspirations for Auckland are its aspirations for the country as a whole. Stale and backward looking.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    Three are four utterly taboo subjects in parliamentary circles and in local government.

    1. Peak Oil. That occured over 2005-2008; we are about to fall off the global extraction cliff, which will bring all current economic arrangemnts to an end, probably by 2015.

    2. CO2 emissions. Globally increasing at over 2ppm per annum and on track to render most of the Earth uninhabitable by mid-century via abrupt climate change and sea level rise.

    3. Fiat monetary systems. Money created out of thin air and having no backing whatsoever. The system has already been stretched to the limit and could ‘fall over’ in a matter of months.

    4. Population overshoot. Populations in major centres exceed the carrying capacity of the land by at least 1,000% -hence mass starvation or mass migration when the industrial food system goes down around 2015.

    Pity anyone who lives in Auckland. Mind you, they’ve been warned plenty of times and most have ignored the warnings, so they can only blame themselves when TSHTF.

    In the meantime: ‘Better living through denial.’

    • Marty G 6.1

      “Populations in major centres exceed the carrying capacity of the land by at least 1,000% -hence mass starvation or mass migration when the industrial food system goes down around 2015.”

      you, know, there were densely populated cities before the oil age. more densely populated, actually. i’m not saying declining energy isn’t a major problem for feeding the world but you’re not going to have starvation in auckland

      • Afewknowthetruth 6.1.1

        The 1,000% population overshoot applies to central Auckland rather than Greater Auckland.

        Yes there were centres with high population density, but the total population was low. Take pre-industrial London for instance …it had a population of around 100,000 people. Indeed, the entire population pre-industrial England was only about 3 milliion, so that is a fair indication of the carrying capacity of that huge area of land BEFORE it was messed up via industrialisation. The carrying capacity is undoubtedly a lot less now.

        Pre-industrial NZ managed to support a population of around 1 million. Auckland’s popualtion is headed for 2 million. The implications are obvious.

        Practically everything that Auckland uses is imported -oil, gas,water, electricity, food. When the global industrial system goes under -and there’s absolutely no question it will, it’s only a question of when, and the failure point will definitely be before 2030 and almost certainly before 2020 – bulk imports of food will cease, the electiricty grid will eventually fail, there will be no water coming out the taps and no sewage systems. Auckland will be absolutely stuffed.

        Of course all official planning is geared to exacerbating every predicament we are in.

        As I said before, in the meantime, better livng through denial.

        • Marty G 6.1.1.1

          what about ancient roman? 2 million people, and only one of several million-person cities on the Mediterranean.

          We can easily feed ourselves with less energy. We already produce ten times the food we need and expend only a fraction of our energy resource on it. And it’s not like we’re going to have no oil in 5, 10, 25, 50 years time. Much less no energy.

          The problem of peak oil is one of coping with less, not coping with none. There won’t be starvation in NZ. There may well be elsewhere as rich countries outbid poor countries to buy energy supplies for discretionary spending so there isn’t enough for poor countries’ staples.

          Can you tell me why the electricity grid will fail in Auckland because of peak oil? We don’t use oil for electricity generation. And to the extent that we need it for ancillary purposes there will still be oil to use, just not as much.

          Tell me, if we needed to get by on half the oil we do now (ie. the amount we used in 1970), do you think we would cut demand by letting the electricity grid fail for lack of small oil inputs or by cutting private motor transport and by putting freight back on to rail?

      • Luva 6.1.2

        Won’t point 1 fix point 2?

        • Marty G 6.1.2.1

          unfortunately, no. there’s still too much oil, plus coal, natural gas etc. plus our emissions to date have locked in a large amount of future warming already.

  7. Jenny 7

    .
    Public Transport – a spectacular year?

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/03/25/2010-pt-patronage-–-a-spectacular-year/

    It is good that there is an overall percentage increase of public transport use of 8%.

    But is it enough?

    In a world where private transport is one of the leading causes of CO2 pollution and resulting climate change, to really make a difference we need percentage changes of hundreds and thousands of percent increase in public transport usage.

    The present profit driven free market public transport model will never cut it.

    Fare Free New Zealand points out that the way to achieve the sort of increase we need is to make all public transport fare free.

    According to Wikipedia Public transport in Hasselt This Belgium city saw an increase in public transport usage by 100% in it’s first year of introducing fare free city wide public transport. Since then increases in public transport have topped 1300% ridership increase.

    Apart from this phenomenal increase in public transport patronage Wikipedia lists a range of other benefits.

    Wikipedia
    Operational benefits
    Transport operators can benefit from faster boarding and shorter dwell times, allowing faster timetabling of services. Although some of these benefits can be achieved in other ways, such as off-vehicle ticket sales and modern types of electronic fare collection, zero-fare transport avoids equipment and personnel costs.

    Passenger aggression may be reduced. In 2008 bus drivers of Société des Transports Automobiles (STA) in Essonne held strikes demanding zero-fare transport for this reason. They claim that 90% of the aggression is related to refusal to pay the fare.[2]

    [edit]
    Commercial benefits
    Some zero-fare transport services are funded by private businesses (such as the merchants in a shopping mall) in the hope that doing so will increase sales or other revenue from increased foot traffic or ease of travel. Employers often operate free shuttles as a benefit to their employees, or as part of a congestion mitigation agreement with a local government.

    Community benefits
    Zero-fare transport can make the system more accessible and fair for low-income residents.[citation needed] Other benefits are the same as those attributed to public transport generally:

    Road traffic can benefit from decreased congestion and faster average road speeds, fewer traffic accidents, easier parking, savings from reduced wear and tear on roads
    Environmental and public health benefits including decreased air pollution and noise pollution from road traffic
    [edit]
    Global benefits
    Global benefits of zero-fare transport are also the same as those attributed to public transport generally. If use of personal cars is discouraged, zero-fare public transport could mitigate the problems of global warming and oil depletion.

    Interestingly one of the other major benefits of a fare free public transport system is that it actually may work out as cheaper.

    Are free buses the answer to Bristol City’s transport problems

    A spokesman for Free Bus said: “Bristol City Council subsidises the bus network for £4.7 million per year, whilst entirely free public transport in Hasselt, Belgium, costs £4.2 million per year. The cost of a fully loaded short-hop bus journey is 23p per passenger.”
    When you think about the £2 or £3 fares you currently pay for a bus journey in the city and the profits they must be making you wonder why we haven’t aleady pursued this Free Bus initiative.

    • Marty G 7.1

      I think free public transport is a really good idea. It’s like toll roads, huge costs associated with trying to charge people.

      the constraint on PT patronage in Auckland is capacity. When new lines open, patronage shoots up until they’re full. Which just proves the huge latent demand that is out there.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        That is exactly correct on the loading issues. I’m finding more and more of the buses I use are going to standing room only. Gets to be a bit of a pain when I’m carting shopping because I stop at the supermarket on the way home. Embarrassing on the occasion of some cans of fish getting away from me.

        The payment isn’t that much of a problem. I just hand over about $60 per month to the driver and they put it on my card.

        BTW: I was a bit concerned when I found the nice polite young people getting up and offering me a seat. I”m not that frigging old! Right up until I had a heart attack. Now I’m deeply grateful.

      • Buffalo Bob 7.1.2

        At the moment there is a very large cost to collect the money, at least with rail that is… with Integrated Ticketing this should fall away, as less train operators are required to run the train…. don’t know how that sits though with you lot though, I can imagine the unions having a bit of a whinge.

        The constraint on Auckland’s rail is Britomart, this is something that Len needs to push to the public…..the City Rail Link will solve this problem…once built, capacity can increase. But your right, there is huge demand for PT in Auckland… we just have to make more noise……

        I am a Truckee myself and I can see the benefits of the RoNS for productivity…but I can also see the benefits of rail removing cars from Auckland’s motorway system, which also increase productivity. I agree with the RoNS, I agree with Aucklands Motorway Network being completed and I agree with the swift development of Auckland’s Metro/Suburban and Regional Rail Network. We need all modes of transport working to get our city moving….. at the moment everything is rubbish.

      • jarbury 7.1.3

        Free PT would cost around $150 million a year in Auckland. Not necessarily saying we shouldn’t spend that, but worth knowing the cost.

        Personally, if we were to spend an extra $150 million a year on public transport in Auckland I would rather that money went on making the system better. More bus priority, nicer train stations, newer buses, make a start on the big rail projects and so on.

        The PT system is already pretty much at capacity at peak times. Making it free would swamp the system and leave you with little, if any, money to then actually improve the system and increase capacity to cope with what you just created.

        In short, nice idea but not really that realistic in my opinion.

        • lprent 7.1.3.1

          I’d agree. I want the system to be better. Unless you’re travelling long distances or have a complicated routing*, then the fares are pretty minimal.

          The worst PT commute I knew of was a guy who commuted from Waiheke to Takapuna each day. He had a expensive ferry ride followed by a bus from town to Takapuna. The real pain was the uncertain times of the ferry and bus and that there was only a few minutes time between one arriving and the other departing. If either was out on arriving he’d have to wait for quite a while for the next one. Such accidents happened almost all of the time.

  8. support rail jobs in dunedin 8

    lets not forget Gerry Brownlee wants to run transport on lignite diesel from Bill’s electorate in Southland.

    National is stuck in the 1800s…

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Trains are a big part of the answer people, Europe gets it

    http://www.theage.com.au/travel/planes-v-fast-trains-tortoise-and-the-air-20110323-1c6hh.html

    • Jim Nald 9.1

      There is a smart way to combine passenger, freight and tourists for both Nth and Sth Islands.
      Some of us can be working, wifi-ing, reading (napping) from city CBD to city CBD.
      Come on, Kiwis and Kiwirails, you can do it.

  10. Carol 10

    I use public transport a lot these days, and prefer trains to buses, though buses are useful and important too. However, let’s also not forget the contribution that can be made from promoting safe cycling and walking. Bicycles are an incredible piece of machinery, combining body power with increased mobility, while being relatively economical and enviromentally-friendly.

    http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/mailak/21582/economic-effect-biking-vs-driving-astounding-experts-say

    In his paper “Estimating the Economic Benefits of Bicycling and Bicycle Facilities: An Interpretive Review and Proposed Methods,” Dr. Kevin Krizek of the University of Minnesota’s Civil Engineering program points out that the way in which cities are built has contributed to the decline in public health and rising cost of health care:

    “Sprawling land use practices and resulting auto-dependent travel are themes that now have moved front and center into the American consciousness; the link to public health and the declared obesity epidemic remains an important component of this discussion,” writes Krizek.

    In cities with easy-access bike lanes and biking trails, adopting the bike commute routine can benefit the local economy even more than driving a car; plus, it keeps saves consumers money. …

    Cities need to move towards deisgns that provide cycleways that do not involve a lethal mix of cycles with motorised vehicles.

    Also pedestrians are badly catered for in NZ. The provisions tend to be built around the highest priority being given to roads. It can often be really frustrating getting to public transport on time to catch that bus or train. Pedestrians are often diverted to crossings & lights that are out of their way. Also the light phases in Auckland are very quick for pedestrians, often with motor vehicles blocking off the crossings, or starting to drive over them before pedestrians have had time to clear the crossing.

    NZTA did some research on this back in 2004/5, concluding that safe cycling & walking should be a significant part of an integrated transport strategy. What has been done on it since then? I’ve followed some of NZTA’s links and haven’t found any significant research since 2005. However, they are promoting certain plans and provisions in particular places.

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/planning/process/walking-cycling.html

    • lprent 10.1

      Cycling is less useful in Auckland. The lots of little hills are a pain. But the biggest issue is that it is outright dangerous riding a bike here around the main roads, both because of the congestion and because of the parked cars.

      It would require almost a complete new roading network around town where I live before I would take the risk of using one.

      BTW: I used to do quite a lot of cycling when I was a kid in Auckland, touring, and in other cities.

      • Bored 10.1.1

        Hills, what hills, try Wellington where we have real wind and real hills to negotiate. As a cyclist why are you not demanding your local section of the JK Mem Cycleway?

        • lprent 10.1.1.1

          I’ve never cycled in Wellington. But from when I have walked there it has always seemed like I either go up hills or down them.

          I don’t remember going up, down, up, down, for quite some time. You have to do this if you play safe and stay off the main roads where motorists are trying to kill you.

          • Bored 10.1.1.1.1

            The evil auto heads are out to get us cyclists here, they park cars everywhere to narrow the roads to make hitting us easier….then there are bus drivers. Its war. As for hill and winds, I cycled Auckland for a while, its all a bit too far without the Chch advantage of flat. Long slow hills and heat. Mind you the Chch nor easter is a pain in the arse as well. Why do we do it?

      • Carol 10.1.2

        It maybe more the footpaths that need to have their networks developed for both pedestrians & cyclists, rather than the roads. I see that one or two of the small number of cyclists round my way, often take the law in their own hands and cycle on the footpath, avoiding the busy roads. And, really, cyclists mixing with pedestrians is a far less lethal mix than cyclists mixing with motor vehicles. Footpathing could be developed with separate cycle & pedestrian lanes/channels.

        Hills are not such a big issues for short-ish journeys, and the downside is always a bonus.

      • Shane Gallagher 10.1.3

        Try Dunedin! My mate was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and was carrying quite a bit of extra weight and lived up one of the steepest hills in Dunedin. So he decided that he needed to get fit and lose weight and decided to cycle. The hill was a problem until he got himself a 30kgs lost and a love affair with his bike are the result.

        • Shane Gallagher 10.1.3.1

          Sorry stuffed up the tags – * got himself a Wisper Electric bike… 🙂

          • Carol 10.1.3.1.1

            Thanks. Yes, I have thought electric cycles are a great possibility for the future. I recall way back in my youth that a few people rode bicylces with motors around Auckland. They had little 2-stroke engines (like a little lawn mower engine). It required pedalling a bit to set the engine going. An electric cycle would have the added benefit that the engine could be charged up by cycling.

            • Bored 10.1.3.1.1.1

              Solexs they were called, I recall for years watching Wolfie Rosenberg navigate across Chch in a bland black suit in all weathers going as far as Paparoa prison to do legal aid work. Great man, great machine.

  11. g_man 11

    As someone who uses the Harbour Bridge every working day, I have to be honest and tell you my experiences are quite different.

    I drive in early and leave early, so that I can avoid the rush hour. I’m usually getting onto the motorway at Silverdale a little after 06:00 am, and getting to Albany about 06:10 am. Even at that time of the morning, traffic is building as I start going up the hill towards Oteha Valley Road. I crusie past Constellation Drive, but already the traffic control signals are on about half the time. Then I start to hit little pockets of traffic at Tristram Ave, Esmonde Road, etc. I used to exit the motorway at Cook Street around 6:25 or 6:30 a couple of years ago. Traffic has increased to such a degree that the crawl once you get off the Harbour Bridge at that time of the morning is just so frustrating that I have changed my routine. I now exit at Shelly Beach Road and park somewhere different, to avoid the frustration. And if I’m five minutes late (literally), even the left hand lane which exits to Shelly Beach Road is congested.

    Going home, I’m getting onto the Harbour Bridge around 3:50 pm. At that time, traffic north is generally not too bad, except at Tristram Ave and Constellation Drive.But any later and bang – traffic slows to a crawl again.

    I have found the traffic so bad those (thankfully few) times that I’ve had to drive in the rush hour times, that if I had to drive at rush hour times every day I wouldn’t do it. Just couldn’t cope.

    Maybe I’m using it at different times to you. Maybe traffic patterns have changed and increased at the times I’m using it, but decreased overall. But my experiences over the past four years of driving the Harbour Bridge *seem* to paint a different picture.

    (And don’t get me started on driving in from South Auckland, where I lived for many years before shifting north. Driving from there just got steadily worse …)

    I would LOVE to see a cycleway network given some serious attention. I carry my bike in the back of my car, and cycle from my car to work, usually through Herne Bay, Coxs Bay, Westmere and Grey Lynn most mornings (cheaper than going to the gym). I agree it’s not the safest, but in 20-plus years I’ve only been knocked off my bike once. I cycle very defensively, and treat all car-drivers as idiots – works for me. A couple of years ago I tried cutting through from Albany to Greenhithe, parking at Te Atatu and cycling along the cycleway for a few months. Really enjoyed that. If a cycleway was put over the harbour, I’d use it every day. I wouldn’t cycle all the way from home (that’s over 100 km round journey, and I’m afraid I’m not quite THAT keen), but I’d certainly park somewhere around Albany and cycle in.

    Finally, what about the bus? Well I’ve tried using it, and once word summarises why I went back to my car – convenience. I love the convenience of being able to run errands on the way home, pick my daughter up from school occasionally, not having to worry about when the last bus runs if I get stuck working until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

    • lprent 11.1

      I think a lot of it is the direction of travel. I was going out from town to work rather than the other way around. The congestion level has always been a lot less, so you tend to see the changes more easily.

      When I was working in Albany in 2007-8 and mostly taking the car, if I’d leave at 0825, I’d get to work at 0910. If I left at 0855, I’d get to work at 0915. I could take a bus from home at 0810 and get to work at 0900 on two buses (bus to town, and then out) and a 5 minute walk (before the busway was completed). But I’d have time to read. But whatever way the other side of the bridge would be jammed and running at a crawl.

      When I was working in Takapuna I’d consistently leave at 0845 and get to work at 0915 with 2 buses (after the busway was completed). The reason for that time was because I’d get a seat which made moderating easier. The car would take the same time normally, but could take up to 50 minutes. I’d be paying for parking and I’d have to go earlier to get it. The citybound side was more often jammed than not.

      These days I don’t go across the bridge. But I walk over the city end at Shelly Beach road at about 0900. What I notice is that the city bound side is moving at a reasonable crawl and is seldom completely jammed. The northbound side seems to be always moving cleanly.

      Quite simply the the congestion going into town is a major reason I don’t live in the suburbs. Also the work I do has had me working anywhere from Albany to Manakau over the last 20 years. I deliberately moved into town around the Herne Bay to Newton area because that gave me the flex to go in any direction against the main traffic.

      The car is a lot more flexible. But it jams too often if you get the timing wrong when everything is congested. I get more reliable results by busing. Then there are cars at home if I need to do the ad-hocs. Either I go home first or I’ll take a car to work if I know I have to go somewhere.

      For the last month because of the heart attack, I’ve either cabbed or more recently taken the car. But that is mostly because I need to walk a couple of km’s to the bus, and I’m only up to a km walking before I start feeling light headed. So I walk a 750m each way to get lunch each day as part of the rebuild.

      Tonight is going to be exciting (or not). Off to the gym to start actively rebuilding that heart muscle.

  12. KJT 12

    I cycle regularly in all the main port centres. Auckland is not so bad. There are always the almost unused footpaths and the drivers are simply totally oblivious to cyclists.
    A year in Hamilton they were very much the same as Auckland.
    Christchurch, Nelson, New Plymouth and Lyttelton are very good. Drivers are aware of bikes and generally polite.
    Dunedin are mildly homicidal.
    Wellington is the worst. Drivers are totally homicidal. Truck drivers in particular.
    I have given up riding in Wellington as drivers there deliberately try and run you off the road.

    • Jim Nald 12.1

      Sounds about right, from my experience.

      Mind you, I gave up cycling as a form of regular transportation in Auckland many years ago when I narrowly avoided accidents six times a week – I kept biking to off-peak or weekend times.

      I recently saw someone with a bright yellow backpack cover by ‘CAN’ and thought I would give my support to them. Anyone here can comment about them?
      See Cycling Advocates Network at http://www.can.org.nz

  13. tc 13

    All the above is obvious to any of us that’ve lived in truly great cities like London/Melbourne/New York /paris etc know that kick arse public transport isn’t an option it’s absolutely critical, if you want to attract and keep talent in a modern city which balances urban/suburban growth.

    The only logical conclusion is yet again this gov’t has no ambition for anything other than keeping it’s backers happy….screw you auckland and we’ll f up any ‘brighter future’ while we’re at it.

    Between Rortney and Sideshow John SuperShity and Joyce’s roads/bridges the queen city has been royally rogered with the perpetrators smugly sitting back in their beemers laughing all the way to their post gov’t board roles or similar.

  14. Jum 14

    And here’s some of Joyce’s media manipulation of New Zealanders.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1103/S00471/september-start-for-new-section-of-waikato-expressway.htm

    Great that Hamilton and Auckland are much ‘closer’, at least for those who can drive. Take a bus I hear you say. An elderly friend took a bus, well actually 4 of them, to get to a destination in 4 days, which should have taken her 2 days and two buses – one there, one back. There will always be people who can’t drive.

    How selfish this government is that it does not recognise or accept that. One of the major reasons tourists visit here is to visit the pristine wilderness yet it’s being destroyed daily by greedy moneymen.

    With a cohesive linked rail and road transport system, less land is taken up and less damage is done to our roads, which is certainly not paid for by the huge trucking businesses, which pass on costs.

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