If you've ever been involved in a discussion about Auckland transport

22 Responses

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    So, what's new about that?

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Sebastian,

    Excellent piece! But is it on the TV, in the cinema?

    It´s a pitty though that none European cities were put into relation. Because then Auckland would be invisible - on that scale, shown in the clip.

    It is interesting to hear that Danish prof who says he feels transported (by car, eh!?) back in time when visiting Auckland.

    When I lived in Auckland, I was first impressed with the highway system. Then I figured there was no public transport and then it was a real hassle to live in this city. Except for the view and spare time with the beach in reach.
    So I moved to the southern Shore and Devonport area, just to make sure not to rely on a car when going into town. Because the only system that actually works are the ferries, even if totally overpriced (look at the IJ ferries in Amsterdam: they are free, run 4 different lines and maintain a 5 to 15 minute frequency).

    Eventually I got sick of the eternal stupid discussion of public transport options in Auckland. A lot of good plans but the next year it started from scratch and the paved over yet another reserve for more motorways.
    And then this plan for the "Express" Bus system, installing stops far away from passengers at Motorways. And people actually applauded to this plan. A car drivers perspective on both sides - the planner and the public.
    Or just look at the various different and incompatible tickets for several different bus companies, like Birkenhead Transport and Stagecoach and whatever is running a few buses in town.

    It took me a while to realize that this must have been going on for decades.

    It took me only a few days of everyday life in Auckland to realize that there is no publiuc transport in Auckland, except of a few ferries and a few Buses. Still I took these Buses, spending hours on getting anywhere or looking for the timetable or route information. You cant even spot the stops very well. In the morning Buses drive through stops because they are overcrowded. In the early afternoon Stagecoach Buses mutate into school Buses, in the late evening - err, sorry, no Bus service at this time.

    Now, if you put in the fact that NZ has not even got any sane environmental law that would limit and controll car and truck exhausts and where cars instead are being sold, without catalytic converters and particle filters, I don´t wonder about the thick brown layer of fog over the city on winterdays and a high rate of chronic cough and related diseases.

    In fact I would even extend the message of the video to all of New Zealand. The public transport system is less a system than a chaotic, sporadic patchwork of corporate profit interest. There are so many examples that I could go one forever.

    No car, no chance. Green clean New Zealand? Yeah, right. Even the GDR did better.

    Berlin, Germany • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Fannen,

    Well, it must almost be time for another bunch of Auckland politicians to go on a jaunt around the world to look at public transport options - then come back and do nothing.

    From the perspective of someone who hails from Howick (supposed to be the busiest highway in the country) and now lives in London, Auckland's public transport is an embarrassment.

    To actually have the western line double tracked - finally - is amazing that it too so long and whenever there's any mention of light rail options they never mention East Auckland, supposedly the most commutered area of New Zealand.

    The outright dismissal of an extension to Auckland Airport with the argument "there's no demand for it" (which seems to be the justification for all things in Auckland public transport) is silly.

    We now have a lovely new central rail station - when are the politicians (and that's where the job needs to be done) going to get a comprehensive plan going. Even one new line would get things going.

    I've travelled all around Europe and while an "underground" system would be incredibly expensive, light rail and tram systems seem to be able to be deployed quite readily.

    Instead of ridiculous eastern highway plans, why not spend a tiny amount on putting a rail line in?

    The harbour bridge, state highway 1, everything - knock off a lane either way and put in a regularly running light rail line. We have new highway connections going in all over the place - like Te Irirangi linking Manukau and Howick/Pakuranga - why not reserve lanes for rail?

    Rant, rant, rant. Why does putting a new motorway (which will be saturated with traffic almost immediately) seem like a good idea when putting a rail line (where you can add frequency and add more cars to the trains to increase the number of users) seems like brain surgery?

    I was in Istanbul in the weekend and they had a modern tram running through their historic town. Athens built a new underground line through their central city - and had to work almost every inch through 2-3000 year old archaeology sites. Auckland has to lay rails along a modern, straight and relatively flat motorway or main road and we can't do it?! But we can put an 6 or 8 lane highway around most of the city.

    As for clean and green!

    Scott .... rant, rant, rant

    Warsaw • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I drive past an empty railway line every day, twice a day, 100 yards from my front door, to 50 yards from my office door. I repeat, no trains and they took the train station away too.

    John Key, local MP, are you listening?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    What was I thinking, trying to reverse the Auckland Negation Principle. As you were.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Lets face it though, Auckland must have the least number of people spread over the largest 'urban' area in the world.

    I can get a bus into the city from a few hundred metres from my house about every 30 mins in peak hour and every 60 minutes outside that. And I live in Massey. The crap things about trasnsport are that there is no real range of destinations. Buses take you to the local shopping area and to the central city and that's about it. Clearly there isn't likely to be a demand for anywhere else.

    The other crap things are the cost. For the casual user it is about the cost of running a car to get the bus. It's about 8 bucks gas into the city and back from my house but costs me over 10 dollars to get a return bus trip. But the buses are already subsidised to get it at that price. Obviously not enough demand.

    Third thing that is crap is the buses don't run late enough. Obviously not enough demand there either.

    Distance and low demand are stuffing public transport in Auckland. The only way to fight it is to subsidise it to the point where it becomes more attractive to more people so that it stands a chance of building up passenger numbers so then more services can be put on in terms of destinations and frequency.

    Light rail would be cool too down the motorways but that just isn't being laid down on the table. It's been talked about for well over a decade but I'm assuming the cost benefit analysis isn't stacking up at the moment. More infill housing and apartments please.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Yamis wrote:

    Lets face it though, Auckland must have the least number of people spread over the largest 'urban' area in the world.

    That's exactly the myth that Part 2 of the documentary confronts.

    Apparently, it's not true at all.

    See:
    Auckland, City of Cars: Episode 2

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Wow. I'm so glad this was posted. It's tooth-grindingly frustrating though.

    Automobile dependence is a major factor in my imminent move to Wellington, where things may be crap on on the public transport front, but not AS crap.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    my recent trip reminded me how great a decent PT system is.

    we grabbed a weekly ticket for $25 that let us travel anywhere, on any system (train/tram/bus) within maybe 15km of the CBD.

    to pooped to walk somewhere close? no parking in town? jump an air conditioned tram.

    and stephen, you'll like wellington. everything is walking distance. the only downside is that it's pointless to take a cab home from the pub, so you end up walking off your buzz and missing out on the great hangover.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Don't worry Che, I've stumbled drunkenly up Willis St on many a dark night...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    you didn't have an altercation with a certain mr. blumsky on any occasion did you?

    inquiring minds want to know.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    The other crap things are the cost. For the casual user it is about the cost of running a car to get the bus. It's about 8 bucks gas into the city and back from my house but costs me over 10 dollars to get a return bus trip. But the buses are already subsidised to get it at that price. Obviously not enough demand.

    I'd rather see an increase in the price of petrol. Last year I saw it working, people found alternative ways to get around. Furthermore such approach could have more far-reaching benefits. Fewer goods by road, fewer out of town shopping units rant rant rant.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    it's a catch-22, crap PT means less demand and more cost. so you have to outlay to increase demand, which eventually decreases costs.

    OTOH the Link bus service was great initially because it offered a service that other providers did not.

    maybe light rail in auckland could do the same.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    One's instinctive comparisons of the costs and benefits of cars vs PT are likely to be astray. Most people don't amortise insurance, maintenance or even parking over each car trip, whereas PT never costs more than the actual ticket. On the other hand, the utility of having your own wheels is hard to price. On the third hand, if PT were ubiquitous, it wouldn't be markedly more inconvenient...

    Personally, I work in the Auckland CBD, and my employer does not provide parking. Parking alone is far more expensive than taking the bus. I'm just fortunate to live close to Great South Road where the buses are frequent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    yeah, when i worked in central melbourne i never even considered taking my car, and i lived about the distance of grey lynn to queen st.

    as you say, all the extra costs...

    actually, even when i lived the distance of titirangi to queen street (in melbourne), i also took the train unless i needed to haul stuff that wasn't train friendly.

    once you get used to the idea that cars are often more of a damn hassle than a convenience (parking, traffic, accidents) PT becomes a very friendly option indeed.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    The car is part of an "eco-system" that will culminate in toll roads soon. These will provide income both for the road builders and the by extension, the government. If you introduce rail or any kind of efficient public transport, you'll take out a big chunk of the money flowing into that system, which is one reason it won't happen.

    There's no national railway system as such either...

    We don't need to look to Europe to find better public transport than Auckland, incidentally. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei are three places that I've been to that all have far better public transport - and they've had it for a long while. Even Kuala Lumpur has an MTR now. Yes, you can make all kinds of excuses as to why there's functioning public transport in every other city in the world bar Auckland but the main reason is... it's because none of the cities are Auckland.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I've been reliant on public transport since I crashed my car (awesome) and then sold it in 2004.

    I'm lucky that I live on a major bus route so getting to work is easy, but I've also ended up doing a lot of walking around because sometimes buses are late or infrequent (especially on weekends).

    But as useful as Auckland's buses are, I've experienced Melbourne's tram and light rail system and it's just so much better. There's something much more personal and appealing about light rail.

    In Melbourne, I'd go out to the Ikea store via a tram, train and foot. When Ikea opens in Auckland, I wonder if it will be even possible to visit it by public transport?

    Politicians aren't going to change anything without major public pressure. Let's keep pushing.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i think we might have the core of a public transport movement right here.

    who else should we be talking to?

    (and, i used to live just down the road from that ikea. i used to sit in my window and look out at that little park next door on Victoria Street and write my thesis.)

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew D,

    Mees & Dodson have written an academic paper which recounts the history of Auckland's public transport "system", and have a go at explaining exactly why it's as rubbish as it is.

    They pin the blame on our various elected and non-elected governing bureaucracies, and suggest that the Auckland publics' apparent desire for an efficient transport system has been subverted by processes and systems which favour investment in roads ahead of other modes of transport.

    See Backtracking Auckland - interesting, but a wee bit depressing.

    Since Feb 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Brendan Cameron,

    That report is a very sad indictment of Aucklands transport solutions. I for one would gladly pay more petrol tax to dump cars and use public transport. Something similar to Singapores MRT would suit Auckland I would say, especially if it were subsidised by increasing the petrol tax so that it made travelling to work by car unattractive. I guess you've got flow on costs associated with higher petrol prices but what's another answer?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Brendan Cameron,

    What about havin a motorway user pays system similar to Melbourne? Charge people more during peak times (or just any time) dependant on what part of the road/motorway is used.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew D,

    And now episode three has appeared...
    The economic cost of Auckland's car dependence, flaws in Government analyses of transport projects, and manipulation of decision makers by roading lobbyists.

    Does anyone think recent announcements regarding changes to Public Transport Procurement Legislation and hints of rail electrification suggest significant improvements are in the works?

    Since Feb 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

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