Mayor and Auckland Transport ‘Challenged’
At the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Long Term Plan ‘Have Your Say” session on Tuesday, the group was working its way through the topics and we got to the vexed question of transport.
I will cover the session more in-depth in another blog post but in this one I will look at the challenge I laid down to the Mayor and Auckland Transport (both were present).
First an article I have had sitting on the digital shelf since last year:
Train transfer a hassle for disabled
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2014: James Ireland
Getting around the city can be a battle at any time but it has just got much harder for Ezekiel Robson.
Now when the partially sighted disability advocate takes the train to work from Manurewa, he has to transfer from the Southern Line to an Eastern Line train at Puhinui Station so he can continue on to Sylvia Park.
And it’s even worse if he wants to get into Manukau central – then he has to take the train past the city centre, get off and backtrack on a south-bound train that heads to the station under the new Manukau Institute of Technology building.
He has no option but to take public transport or a taxi to his work all around the city so it’s just a reality he has to live with, he said.
But he expects all of that transferring will deter some people from using the trains.
“If we’re going to get people to use public transport, it has to be convenient. For most people public transport is a choice but for some of us it’s not and we need the service to be reliable.”
The new electric trains mean services can run on the Southern and Eastern Lines more often but the extra capacity has also meant that from last week the Eastern Line can no longer merge with the Southern line south of Puhinui.
The new train station under the MIT building is now the Eastern Line’s south-bound end point. Before the change, the line ran all the way to Pukekohe.
Robson supports Auckland Council’s push to improve public transport but said it needs to be a system the public wants to use.
The Eastern and Southern Lines now have six trains an hour at peak times on each line, three trains hourly during the daytime inter-peak and half-hourly services at night and on the weekend.
Mayor Len Brown said only a small number of people will be affected by the Eastern Line changes, which are necessary to deal with the increasing frequency of trains.
“I suspect once we have all of the Eastern and Southern trains operating, some of those issues of the direction of the routes will be addressed.”
Brown said land heading south from the Manukau station has been set aside for extra lines in the future.
When we got to the Transport question the group was in favour for motorway tolling but only when the public transport network is fully complete, and would be used as a demand management tool. The group was also in favour when I told the Mayor and AT that I would like the Manukau Rail South Link built over the Christmas break and operational by MIT’s semester one next year.
That gave both the Mayor and Auckland Transport a jolt into hopefully some action with both nodding to the proposal. The Mayor did say it was a “quick” (and also relatively cheap ($5m) and easy to put through. The issue of Port of Auckland losing some rail head space at their Wiri Inland Port is compensated by extending it at the south end.
With Pasifika also being housed in Manukau’s Hayman Park this year (hopefully something that can be permanent too) and a large proportion of the Pacific community living in South Auckland the importance of that South Link is now amplified.
I will keep the pressure on the Council and AT to have that South Link built as fast as possible. The Link itself at 20 minute frequencies all day gives the trip from Papakura to Manukau 14 minutes compared to 32min by bus on the Great South Road, 25 minutes using the existing transfer arrangements at Puhinui.