Not Good Start To Year


An angry email this afternoon from a Waitakere commuter:

“Yet again I am compelled to complain about the disgraceful train ‘service’ to Waitakere. There were cancelled/late/not enough drivers/trains all up to Christmas and with the Christmas closure things should have improved. If only that were true!
Waitakere commuters pay the highest fares on the Western Line and have the lousiest ‘service’.
Today for example there was no 7.02am from Waitakere instead there were taxis but the drivers did not know where they were supposed to take the passengers to, and neither did the taxi control (this was a conversation I witnessed in the car). As a result I and 2 other passengers were driven to the CBD afteranother passenger was dropped off at Henderson.

A struggle to get beyond Swanson?

“This afternoon I went to catch the 16.04 to Waitakere to find the 15.36 still in the station. When the train got to Avondale it was unable to proceed because the barriers across the road had not come down and traffic was still flowing across the tracks.

Finally when we got to Ranui I was told that the train was terminating at Swanson because of track/signalling problems!! I was told that I would have to get a shuttle bus.
Surely if buses had been engaged and were in place an announcement/notice or some sort of customer service could have been available at Britomart? It isn’t rocket science.”




  1. Oh, the Veolia woes.

  2. Commuter says:

    Obviously a total stuff up out West today and apologies for cross-posting but this situation is getting ridiculous! This afternoon I attempted to catch the 15:21 Britomart to Swanson (6 car) service from Britomart, scheduled to depart from platform 5. At 15:20 a voice announcement was made stating that the incoming train was ‘about five minutes away’. At 15:21 an empty 4 car train departed platform 4. At 15:23 another voice announcement declared that the service was delayed for some minutes. At 15:26 a further voice announcement stated that the service was delayed due to operational issues and that the train was ‘held outside the tunnel’. The train arrived on platform 5 at 15:33 and passengers boarded; there were no train staff in evidence from where I was sitting at the tunnel end of the platform. Soon after the train manager entered my carriage and informed passengers that the carriage would be closed as there were insufficient staff to man the train. Actually I’ve noticed that Veolia regularly roster only one TM and one PO on off-peak 6 car trains but they deny it when I enquire. The consequential slow boarding of passengers leads to further delays. The train departed Britomart at 15:38, 17 minutes late. There were further delays at Newmarket leading to the train departing at 15:52, 21 minutes late. At Mt Albert a platform announcement stated that western line services were running fifteen minutes late. The train reached Avondale at 16:12, departing at 16:14, 25 minutes late. I would note too that as the train was not sufficiently advanced along the platform at Avondale the locomotive blocked the pedestrian crossing for two minutes.

  3. James Pole says:

    I hope next week’s service isn’t as bad as described here. I’ll be back to using the trains regularly from next week.

    Interestingly, I caught the train yesterday evening between Mt Albert to Britomart and return — it was on time in both direction and fully staffed. The only difference from the schedule was using a 2-car ADL to operate what would normally have been a 6-car SA on the Mt Albert to Britomart trip — which made sense considering the 2-car ADL seat had plenty of capacity. So sounds like today’s incidents commented above might have been a once-off?

    I’ll see what happens and report back.

  4. Andrew says:

    In response to these incidences, Veolia promises it is employing specialised staff whose job it will be to apologise more often.

    Seriously, the only improvements I seem to notice with Veolia’s communication skills over the past few years is an amazing ability to apologise - they’re doing it by default, I’m sure I hear one daily.

    My train this morning arrived at Britomart about 10 minutes late, the train was slow the whole way in to Newmarket. Getting off the train at Britomart P5 I heard this one: “Passengers arriving from Platform 5, Veolia would like to apologise for the delays this morning and sincerely thanks you for your patience”.

  5. Martin says:

    Its a pity that the NZ rail network is virtually unmanned (Welli, AKL other regional stations) as having staff at the station would instantly clarify the constant mix-ups and poor communication that exists around the country.

  6. Dan2 says:

    Yep, I gave up on the Waitakere service about 6 months ago.

    If there’s ever a cock-up, it’s the first service to be canned. And there’s no intercom there, so you don’t even get to hear about it when there is a cancellation - you’re just left there, waiting for a train that never comes.

    It’s much less frustration just to drive to Swanson.

    On my more paranoid days I sometimes wonder if this is by design, so they can justify cutting the Waitak service because ‘no one uses it’…

  7. DanC says:

    Sounds like some silly mistakes and bad communication. Hopefully will be now sorted.

  8. San Luca says:

    hmm, i got screwed today also. but if they cancelled the 704 they should have cancelled the other services that this train was providing westbound. misinformation galore: 18 minute delay, 20 minute delay, 25 minute delay, 30 minute delay, train cancelled. Next train 15 minute delay, then train cancelled. i waited an hour at the station before walking 20minutes back home.

  9. Finn says:

    Well, you have got to blame veolia for the drama, but when you think of it, we’re really lucky that the mistake was made by Veolia and TranzMetro or whoever owned the Auckland Passenger service’s before, TranzMetro would have stuffed alot more than what Veolia have today.

  10. James B says:

    There were faults with the barrier arms today so the train more or less crawled from Boston Rd to Kingsland including lengthy stops at Boston Rd and at the pedestrian maze at Mt Eden Station.

  11. nzbcfanboi says:

    @Finn well considering what TranzRail thought of Auckland Rail and the state network at the time I think any of the bidders at the time for the contract from what I remember TranzMetro wasn’t one of them but I was 13 back then so memory might be hazy could of done a better job

  12. bob says:

    Raises the question - why do we have Veolia again?

    They run the Auckland urban passenger trains, right, we understand that. But the staff just roll over from one shell company to the next - from NZ Rail in 1993 to TranzRail (actually their subsidiary, TranzMetro Akld), then Toll, then Veolia. Same people as staff, different company leaching profits out of a public service.

    Why can’t ARTA/Auckland Transport just can the contract with Veolia, and hire the Veolia staff and run it themselves, as a subsidiary? The staff would have no-one else to work for ;)

    Which would make it report to AT and Akld Council, bringing it under direct democratic control and public scrutiny, so they would have to answer for all the above delays…

  13. Matt L says:

    Bob that would likely reduce costs as Veolia will be charging a premium so they can make a profit off it meaning subsidies would reduce which is good for everyone but we have a mentality in this country that the private sector can run things more efficiently than the public sector can.

    I think that by law the council isn’t able to run PT themselves and that they have contract it out and it has been this way since the early 90′s. That is why the council had to sell the yellow bus company and since then the bus companies have dictated things in the city.

    The only way Canterbury got around this was that the city council owned the buses and won the contract that the regional council tendered.


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