Okay but still left wanting
In the weekend the large Pasifika festival was held in Hayman Park – Manukau City Centre after its original home in Western Springs suffered from the Fruitfly issue.
With Pasifika being held in the heart of the South, Manukau and the South being the heart of Pacific people it was going to be a case of the event being very accessible. That accessibility being excellent as Manukau City Centre can be reached by motorway and road (car), bus, and train. So with this in mind one would expect large crowds as Pasifika right? Saturday was pumping for sure (numbers slightly lower than the past but not significantly) while Sunday was more quiet (owing to the incoming Tropical Cyclone Pam at the time).
So how did the transport system hold up remembering that no extra trains or buses (apart from some shuttles from Puhinui Station to Manukau Station). It handled the extra people well enough with no disruptions on the train network and an accident on the Southern Motorway being cleared fast enough not to snag things there.
However, even though Auckland Transport and Rail Operator Transdev Auckland were running the big EMU 6 car sets to Manukau Station and those sets hold 750 passengers, reports were coming in even those trains were full and putting some off using the trains. This meant queues for those needing paper tickets (owing to AT HOP accessibility issues (see further down)) at Manukau further putting people off public transport next time.
Buses I heard no particular problems of although I heard nothing on the shuttles if they ran or not to help the full trains out.
The road/car situation needed better traffic event management planning from Auckland Transport and ATEED as the police had to install a temporary pedestrian crossing apparently on Lambie Drive to allow the influx of people to get to their parked cars on the other side of the road.
So a pass or fail from Auckland Transport and ATEED?
I give it a C, so a pass but an ugly pass that if Pasifika was to be held in Manukau again.
So what could be done in the future?
- Build the Manukau South Link to allow direct 20 minute services from Papakura/Pukekohe to Manukau. The South Link if it was in operation would have allow those south of Manukau to use train services to get to Pasifika directly rather than current. Current being you have to go to Puhinui and transfer to a southbound Manukau train from the north which would have been full already given the event like Pasifika. So chit-chat is over Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, get that link built and operational by next year
- Increase Britomart to Manukau services even with the six car sets to 20 minute frequencies rather than 30 minutes to give capacity increases. Southern Line would not need frequency increases as their would have been enough with the diesel ADL 4 and SA 5 car sets trawling the Line that day already backed up by the twin north and south Manukau services.
- Just make sure there are 15 minute frequent buses between Otara Town Centre and Manukau, and Mangere Town Centre and Manukau so the two big Pacific population centres there can access Pasifika as rail services do not service them there.
Road and Car Parking
- Car parking was deemed adequate but access to and from car parking (often you needed to get across 4-lane arterials) was a bit poor if the police needed to set up temporary crossings to handle the people at the end of the event
- Thus next time ATEED and Auckland Transport hold Pasifika in Manukau it pays to put in some more controlled temporary crossings to help people to get to and from the parking areas. That said more and better public transport would mitigate against parking pressures as well
- Owing to the equity issues especially around AT HOP and cash fares seen here: FARE RISES EQUITABLE? it would be wise for mobile vendors to sell preloaded AT-HOP cards at Pasifika so the people who caught public transport had no problems getting home (such as queuing for paper tickets)
- Having the resources available to commit to the above to allow people to move about easily
So nothing too hard just Auckland Transport and ATEED being more proactive. This includes having the resources available where I know at this point in time AT could not throw more trains on if they tried owing to Transdev having driver and train manager shortages. Being proactive means addressing this issue as it has been known since the electrics started rolling out nearly a year ago.
Lift you game next time please to what was otherwise a successful Pasifika