Auck Transport Meeting Roundup


Auckland Transport today opened up its monthly board meeting to the public and media for the first time - although some key issues such as leasing or buying the new electric trains and the airport rail link were part of the closed session agenda.
Here are some of the things that were mentioned or contained in reports:
Tenders are being let now for the stage one of the new Manukau rail station fit-out and this includes lifts, stairs and all the station furniture but not the escalators. This will allow the station to be fully operational for the RWC. Stage 2 which includes the escalators and above ground fit out will proceed after that. The Manukau Institute of Technology building which is part of the station will be open for students from the first term of 2013 but the station and associated bus interchange from next July.
Construction of the New Lynn Clark St extension and rail bridge is on target. The embankment adjacent to the rail line leading to the rail bridge is being constructed and completed. Due to the amount of fill material involved, there is a period of consolidation required before the surfacing can be finished on the approaches to the bridge. A temporary steel and plywood frame has been constructed to cover the rail corridor whilst the bridge is constructed over it. This will allow trains to continue operating free from any debris that could fall from the construction site. On the northern side of the rail corridor, negotiations are continuing to relocate some of the buildings which will allow the balance of the road to be constructed. The next phase of development, the upgrading of Great North Rd, is due to be tendered for design in late January.

Chair Mark Ford enjoys Auckland Transport

Design work for the new emergency train station at the Strand will be completed by February and a tender for construction awarded in March. The construction will run for 3 and a half months with the station operational by mid-June just in time for the RWC in case Britomart signalling goes down or there is a bomb scare.
The design will still use the existing platforms that form part of the old Auckland Central railway station and there will upgrading of the sidings as part of the work.
Stage 2 will follow completing the stabling sidings and station development. That will be done by early 2012.

There is concern about whether the domestic airport terminal can cope with the RWC crowds. The international terminals will cope but a report to the board meeting says: “The domestic terminal, especially the concourse, will struggle, given the increased patronage.” Meetings on this issue continue.

Work is progressing fast on a new approach to traffic light phasing throughout Auckland as a whole including motorways. It is hoped there will be something definite around February and it’s considered this will see economic benefits for Auckland.

The waterfront trams development is being funded by the new Waterfront development agency CCO.

The problems experienced by concertgoers using rail to the U2 concert “provided some learnings” for Veolia. 34% of the crowds attending are said to have come by train and 41% of those leaving the concert.

Work is underway with the plan to confirm a solution for Dominion Rd by the end of January. Detailed design will commence towards the end of 2011 following preliminary design and NZTA funding with construction starting mid-2012. There are assurances that community concern will be considered.

Work is progressing with NZ Bus on redesigning CBD bus services in time for the RWC including the City Circuit and Link services.

Minor bus service changes will be implemented on February 1 including route simplification on Sandringham Rd, Dominion Rd and Waikowhai services.

The Mayoral taskforce set up after the recent Eden Park league test fiasco has asked Auckland Transport to review the legality of patrons travelling on public transport or special event bus and rail services with alcohol.

Work needs still to be done concerning taxis for Eden Park events including reviewing accreditation, management of driving hours, and sign off for the new required in-car camera installation.

There is a line in the minutes of the last meeting in connection with meeting the transport minister’s demand for more money towards Auckland rail and KiwiRail access charges that a 10% train fare rise (is that what is being suggested??) would result in a 3% drop in rail patronage.




  1. karl says:

    So why the secrecy??? What about all the promises?

  2. Matt says:

    Might be time for Len to break out the “I’m your boss, and this is not a negotiation” stick.

  3. Luke says:

    doesnt each rail journey give $15 benefit in traffic congestion. 270,000 journeys (3% of 9 million) equals dis-benefits of $4 million per year.
    I doubt the fare increase will cover these dis-benefits.

  4. Matt says:

    Luke, only peak-hour trips. Which is a majority, but definitely not the totality. Still a whole lot of extra money, though.

  5. Brad Heap says:

    With this rebuild of the old station at the strand what will happen to it after the RWC. Are they just building it for the 2% chance something will go wrong?

  6. Kegan says:

    @ Brad
    I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the Overlander ends up there at some stage, freeing up a few more slots at Britomart for commuter services…

  7. AKT says:

    @Brad it is also part of a stabling project to park trains and that also means it can be called into action (incl the station) if anything ever goes majorly wrong post RWC.

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks Jon for the info. It will be interesting to see details on some of those changes - for me Sandringham Road - are they going to do something about the very annoying 233 and/or low and uneven frequencies south of Balmoral Rd relative to Mt Eden and Dominion Rds? The only disheartening word there is ‘minor’. Sandringham Rd services could really do with an overhaul.

  9. William M says:

    There is a line in the minutes of the last meeting in connection with meeting the transport minister’s demand for more money towards Auckland rail and KiwiRail access charges that a 10% train fare rise (is that what is being suggested??) would result in a 3% drop in rail patronage.

    That’s almost certainly what Mr Joyce wants. If rail patronage can be scaled back, he can pass the buck regarding major rail capital projects citing that patronage is now “dropping”. Would it surprise you? I don’t think so…

  10. Matt says:

    William, the fly in that ointment is that the last time we saw petrol prices at current levels there was a huge spike in public transport use. Even if there’s a drop in patronage at current levels from a fare hike, and mode switch is reduced because of the increased price, there’ll still be an overall increase in use. That increase will continue, based on past experience, even if many of the new users drop back to using their cars if petrol prices fall.
    However, the last time petrol prices broke $2 they also fell back to $1.33 within months. I don’t think that’s going to happen again, or at least not to the same degree. Maybe back to $1.70, but I seriously doubt that petrol below $1.50 is ever going to return.

  11. karl says:

    “last time we saw petrol prices at current levels there was a huge spike in public transport use.”

    With 90% of PT trips on buses, very high fuel prices may also hit the PT allocations too. Sure, farebox recovery might rise, but if the fuel budget doubles - during the last fuel price spike, some overseas Councils had to REDUCE public transport services because they couldn’t afford the diesel. So while I support higher fuel prices (we need to wean ourselves off the stuff) I don’t think it will be all positive in the short run.

  12. William Ross says:

    Thanks for the coverage.
    This site is the only way to pick up such interesting stuff.
    I am amazed that the mainstream media ignored yesterday’s developments with the CBD rail loop which you broke about midday when I saw it.
    Well done and thanks.
    I hope you continue next year.

  13. Matt says:

    karl, it’ll be another three years before our public transport is in any way buffered against fuel price effects: once we’ve got electric trains. Until then, it’s not just the buses that’re vulnerable.

  14. Patrick R says:

    Another consequence of the [inevitable] higher fuel costs is considerable easing in congestion. 2008 saw volumes on motorways drop by over 10% [from memory]. Of course NZTA and the Minister will pat themselves on the back when this happens as they will point to their lavish motorway projects as the cause. And will argue that there is still no need for proper investment in RTNs as congestion is now fixed. That fact that it will be at the cost of a stagnating economy and citizen mobility will be ignored, or blamed on ‘overseas factors’ etc….

  15. Matt says:

    Patrick, don’t forget that B’linglish will continue to pontificate that people will use their cars no matter what happens to petrol prices.
    Someone on Public Address used the phrase “bunch of evidence-free clowns” to describe our current elected overlords.


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