Back From Hearing Panel

Returned from RPTP Panel

 

First of all: A thank you to Councillor Mike Lee and the other panel members for taking time in listening to my presentation

 

I have arrived back from my presentation to the Auckland Transport Regional Public Transport Plan hearings panel this afternoon. I am pleased to say that the full ten minutes plus two extra ( 😉 ) were productive and a dialogue entered on:

  • the relocation of Te Mahia and Takanini Stations to Spartan Road and Walters Road (Technically Glenora Road but for now Walters Road has stuck as the rallying name) 
  • The Family Pass not being easily accessible

 

The presentation was designed in such a way that hyperlinks (in blue) were placed into the paper copies that allow the panel members or their assistants to look up ‘extended information’ (which is stored in this blog) on points I was making (the idea of the presentation was to sum up the main points and entered into dialogue – mission accomplished).

The presentation can be seen here:

 

After the presentation (actual) dialogue was entered to on two main points (there was a third point but that was me reinforcing the Manukau South Rail Link which by the looks of it has “a-lot” of support in South and Counties Auckland (basically everyone south of Manukau through to Pukekohe):

  • the relocation of Te Mahia and Takanini Stations to Spartan Road and Walters Road (Technically Glenora Road but for now Walters Road has stuck as the rallying name) 
  • The Family Pass not being easily accessible

 

Walters Road and Spartan Road Stations

In my presentation I had emphasised the point on closing Takanini and Te Mahia Stations and relocating them to Spartan Road and Glenora Road (Walters Road is the rallying name). The two new stations would be equipped with facilities such as a bus interchange for feeder buses and Park ‘N’ Ride. The panel nodded away and picked up on the strong emphasis on the Park and Rides at all stations south of Manukau (basically). I was questioned on the Park and Rides and my belief of them being integral to a fully integrated transit system.

My answer was that I use the Park and Ride at Papakura and would do so at the Glenora (Walters) Road Station when built. I further went on and said the further away we get from the inner suburbs, the lower density housing we have, and we also have rural communities coming into effect as well.  As a result feeder buses will do well up to a range of a 2km radius from a station (if run at a high enough frequency) but due to the nature of suburbia and all things rural south of Manukau (I was focusing on South Auckland); Park and rides extend the range of the station literally to an unlimited range.

For example a Park and Ride at Glenora Road would allow those as far as Clevedon to come in by car, park, and catch a train to town, Manukau, or even out west. A fully fledged Park and Ride at Pukekohe would allow (even more) residents from Waikau to come in by car then piggy back by train from Pukekohe to town and back again as happens now. Park and Rides also give maximum flexibility to bus or rail users that allow patrons to rock up to the station in their own time then continue the trip by bus or train (which is why I use Park and Rides). But at the end of the day feeder-buses, and Park and Rides both have their places especially as you go further out away from the CBD into suburbia and even more rural communities. This is the point I was bringing across to Auckland Transport this afternoon.

More on the station relocations can be found in my THE RAIL EFFICIENCY PROGRAM #5A post

 

The Family Pass not being easily accessible

This point took up most of the allocated time session in regards to dialogue between myself at the AT panel members. Councillor Mike Lee – who is also an Auckland Transport Board “Director” led the questions on the consequences of the scaling back on the availability of the rail Family Pass. The basic sum up of my answers can be found in my “FAMILY PASS HARD TO GET” post but basically the following was observed:

  • Notice was given in a publicity drive before AT-HOP was rolled out in September 2012 about the scaling back the accessibility of the Family Pass
  • Family Passes were available on the trains at their designated times as well as ticket offices before AT-HOP
  • After AT-HOP Family Passes are now available only at the four (soon to be five) ticket offices but not on any of the 57 (approx) blue Rail Ticket Machines
  • Complaints rolled into Veolia about the scaling back of the accessibility of the Family Pass as soon as the publicity started one-month prior to AT-HOP
  • Veolia front line staff were at pains having to explain to passengers trying to explain the decision a logic behind Auckland Transport scaling back the accessibility of the Family Pass
  • It is believed verbal abuse claims rose initially after the removal of the Family Pass from the trains but not available from the ticket machines
  • Patronage in the weekend and off-peak slipped considerably especially on the Eastern Line (via Sylvia Park) due to removal of the Family Pass (and Day Rover)
  • I mentioned that in school holidays; Eastern Line trains were full when the Family Pass was readily available (everyone going to Sylvia Park), however now you would be lucky to get near 1/3 full currently with the Family Pass scaled back
  • I thus mentioned the HAS to be an option on the Rail Ticket Machines – with maximum publicity to get the Off-Peak and Weekend patronage back up again

 

So the questions were asked, the answers given to AT in person for all to hear and transcribe.

 

Now it is a case of we wait and see what happens.

 

To me personally and above all else right now – having the Family Pass option installed on the Rail Ticket Machines would make me the most happy 😀

 

As I said – we now wait and see – but I have done all I can folks!