Groan; Build the Airport Line, and the Botany Sky Train Line

Introducing “competition” to Taxis at the Airport

 

I have seen the Herald stories about the rather expensive taxi fare from Albany to Auckland International Airport costing an eye watering $200 approximate. I have also seen the airport boss come out this morning saying he would like a flat fare between the airport and CBD.

I have a better idea to introduce competition to transport options to and from the airport. Why not extend the Onehunga Line to the airport to form the Airport Line to allow trains to run from the CBD and the Airport, while we have the 380 bus and the Botany Sky Train connecting the airport to the South and East.

From the NZ Herald:

Fare go – airport boss wants flat taxi fee to city

 

Auckland Airport says it would like to have a fixed taxi fare price for the journey into the city to stop some drivers charging exorbitant fares – but it can’t take any action until current contracts expire in 2016.

Drivers and taxi companies say they are charged high fees – up to $10,000 a year for each car – to operate from the airport and have to pass costs on to passengers.

The Herald has been flooded with readers’ stories of inflated fares after we published a price comparison by global travel company CheapFlights that showed Auckland was the third most expensive of 24 international cities for catching a cab from its airport to the city centre.

…..

 

So if I was to look at this you get stiffed by the airport for expensive parking, the taxi companies getting whacked by fees by the airport which they pass on to the user (who subsequently get whacked from high fares charged by the taxis), and we have no direct express option like most international cities do – that is rail.

 

Solution?

Three prong

 

Onehunga Line gets extended to the airport forming the Airport Line

This would allow ideally 10-15 minute services from the CBD to the airport on the new electric trains. And with rail you are separated away from the road so you will not be stuck on the roading network which is often congested at peak times.

 

The Botany Sky Train Line

 

The Botany Line Sky Train Route
The Botany Line Sky Train Route

An elevated light rail line running from the airport to Manukau, Botany and Panmure Interchange (where you can connect back to the Eastern Line) that would allow part of the south and a large proportion of the east to connect to the airport on a 10 minute frequent service that again is separated from the congested roading network.

 

Southern Line and the 380 Airporter Bus

Having the Southern Line and the 380 Airporter Bus that connects with the rail system at Papatoetoe Station before heading out to the airport both running at 15 minute frequencies all day would allow an express connection for those living south of Homai like I do (Papakura), or between Otahuhu and Papatoetoe in the north. Of course State Highway 20B that is the southern road link to the airport will need dedicated bus lanes for the bus not to be stuck in peak traffic. Fail that if you don’t mind a bit of dog legging you can catch the train to Manukau before hoping on the Sky Train line at the Manukau Interchange and use the Sky Train to complete your journey.

 

Fares (adult):

  • Airport Line; CBD to Airport (without airport charges that you see in Sydney) – 5 stages ($6.80 cash). I believe the Airport Express bus is $16 one way from Ferry Terminal next to Britomart to the Airport as a comparison
  • Sky Train; Botany to Airport – 3 stages ($4.50 cash)
  • Papakura to Airport using the Southern Line and Airporter bus from Papatoetoe – 4 stages (technically it is two sets of two stage fares unless AT HOP recognises a seamless transfer. If paying by cash it would be $3.40 x2 or $6.80 total)

Note: AT-HOP offers usually 10% discount on cash fares, transfer discounts* and you can use the monthly pass.
*Check Auckland Transport website for more information

 

Rail services, the Airport Express, and the Airporter buses to and from the airport at 15 minute frequencies all day, seven days a week? Seems a no brainer to me. Although and ironically I would know where the loudest protests would come from if we tried these express ideas. Sadly the airport would as they would see a perceived (but non realised) threat to their income earners such as parking, and charging taxi companies exorbitant rates rather than turning the airport complex into something where we might spend our money (rather than on parking or taxis).

As for charging airport access fees for those who would use rail to and from the airport; I would rather not however, if it must happen then a flat fee of $3 on top of the rail fare would see “doable” rather than silly like Sydney.

 

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