Cheer Up!


Interesting blog post here about how negative Auckland public transport forums have become.

The forums are utterly filled with people who spend their whole time crying and complaining about everything that’s wrong with Auckland PT - and thinking that this is good tactics. I’ve been told “we can’t tolerate mediocrity” - in other words, we can never allow ourselves to be happy with anything because it takes pressure off people to be perfect.

It’s an interesting observation.

I try hard on this site to keep things positive because we want people to embrace public transport and I know for a fact that leading political figures will not take those pro-public transport seriously if all they hear are endless negative comments, no matter what funding they send in the direction of rail, cycling etc.

They conclude there is no pleasing them, and no appreciation of the money being thrown in their direction. They will soon question why they should bother trying to fund transport other than roading when all they get is grief. That’s certainly how one politician put it to me recently.

BTW, my train was on time and went well this morning. So there’s some good news!



  1. Chris says:

    That’s why I’ve moved away from the CBT group towards the Yahoo groups.

    That way if you get somebody criticizing train control a TCO or an LE will answer, usually with the good oil!

  2. LatePassenger says:

    My train was 25 minutes late today, as a result of that, I had to wait one hour extra for my next mode of PT. I’d like to see these so called politicians use PT for an extended period of time so they can see what a shit job they’re doing.

  3. max says:

    LatePassenger, only Wellingtonian politicians use PT in NZ, it seems. Which offers both an insight into how accepted PT can get once it is good, and how hard it is to get it there.

    As for the main thrust of this post - I agree with the comment, yet also see a lot of real issues to complain about. Being all cheery for a purpose may work in positive thinking (or so they claim) but not in PT. I’d rather be cautiously optimistic in the long term, but continue calling the problems as they occur.

  4. Brent C says:

    I use forums to find out information about whats happening and to share ideas. Its also a good way of sharing ideas with one another and getting your view herd.

    It seems the negative information tends to get some good debates going. Whats wrong with that?

    But if trains on the western line are only running at 36%, whats there to be positive about?

  5. jarbury says:

    I think the trick is to balance the bad news with some good news when you do have good experiences or when good things happen.

    I guess the problem lately (particularly on the Western rail line) is that the good news has been a bit few and far between.

  6. max says:

    We are also are also in Auckland in the middle of a major and hotly disputed rejig of the whole transport governance.

  7. Matt L says:

    I think it is good that people are interested enough about transport to come to sites like this. Further to that by people getting upset at problems they experience it helps to keep those running them in check, without it things can easily slip and people just stop using a service until it goes away. In that sense we also need to support things when they do well.

  8. kel says:

    Good concept Jon!

    Positivity goes a long way!!

  9. Jon R says:

    The Campaign For Better Transport forums are run by you, so they bacome what you make of them. If you are manically depressed over PT, then I guess your postings will lead that way.

    If on the otherhand you are after debate, then again you can set the agenda. And finally if you are postive about the changes to public transport, well you can make postings to that effect.

    The key thing about the forums is that they get the public talking about transport, not a small group of rail or bus fans.

    Also, as we know decision makers, politicians and the like read the CBT forums. Being in a yahoo group, which is great for single interest groups, do not get the wide spread awareness that the forum offers.

  10. Kurt says:

    You are right, negative begets negative.

    And on the positive side the improvements to Auckland’s rail service deserve praise albeit tempered by the delays while its resurrected.

    But I have lived in Auckland all my life, 46 years and its bloody hard not to get negative about the state of transport in this city.

    One only has to sit in Onewa Road, Lincoln Road or any other tributary to the motorways year in and out to know how stupid and blind our so called leaders have been to gridlock traffic and the dependence that Aucklanders have to motor cars.


    Because those politicians have a career mapped out in councils and government and if it ain’t going to win them votes who cares. The big picture has never dawned on most of them nor have they realised or cared that there is NO decent alternative to cars.

    We have a public transport system based on buses, the most base primitive form of PT. Worse still because of idiotic ideology from the 90′s the then government decided that all PT providers had to be private and worse still compete with each other and yet be financially unaccountable when it came to subsidies.

    The long and short of basing PT on buses is a slow, expensive, uncoordinated and largely inconvenient public transport costing Auckland ratepayers a fortune.

    And the biggest irony of all is buses actually add to the gridlock by taking up valuable road space in the form of bus lanes paid for by rate payers and private motorists. Grafton Bridge case and point.

    There has not been a leader either local or central government since Sir Dove Myer Robinson in the mid 70′s who had any vision for our city and God only knows this government surely doesn’t and neither do any of the mayoral candidates.

    Mark my words the underground rail proposal/dream will not happen anytime soon either.

    Until someone really listens or another Sir Dove Myer comes along the reality is the negativity is justified

  11. max says:

    “Mark my words the underground rail proposal/dream will not happen anytime soon either.”

    On a positive note, I actually think it will (opening within the next 10-20 years - whether you call that soon is another thing). Growth and gridlock are real forces, and when the next big motorway projects in Auckland clock in at several billions each, the paltry little 1 billion for the tunnel will look better and better.

    Also don’t forget that in a few years we will have an electrified rail, a new signal system and integrated ticketing. While all these three items could have been even better and earlier, they WILL be a major step change on their own. Success begets success.

  12. joust says:

    “…in a few years we will have an electrified rail, a new signal system and integrated ticketing.”

    Hear hear @max, those changes will make such a difference. The situation will be much different from now. Trenched double track stations at Grafton and New Lynn. etc.

    I also think it’d be hard for an MP to make a strong case for not building the CBD tunnel. When both main mayoral candidates are for it, the cost as you say is less than some of the motorway work going on and the benefits will open up access to the city and development opportunities along the route.

  13. Jeremy Harris says:

    This is the best post I’ve read here Jon…

    I am one of the worst at this and I am going to make a concerted effort to be more positive and thankful for the improvements we have had…


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