Franklin tell the Mayor to step up with transport
Southern Auckland is going to take the brunt of urban and population growth over the next thirty years. Whether it be Manukau City Centre – the South’s heart, the big industrial complexes at Wiri, the Airport or Drury South, or the mass of Future Urban Zone spanning from Papakura to Pukekohe the South is going to be taking the brunt of Auckland’s growth.
Well the electric trains only go as far as Papakura and transport options further south including into the northern Waikato are left wanting.
Cue a public meeting with the Mayor last night:
Last night about 150 Franklin residents, many of them frustrated public transport users, came to hear Auckland Mayor Len Brown speak and to ask questions about public transport.
Mayor Brown announced that he arrived at Pukekohe by train from Britomart in Auckland CBD and had a ‘smooth ride’ in.
We Love Pukekohe was there to talk to commuters, officials and other interested groups about this growing issue for our Franklin communities.
Readers will know that while most of the Auckland train system has been electrified recently, the network ends at Papakura, where new electric units are replaced with old diesel-electric locomotives through to Pukekohe.
Since then, the Papakura-Pukekohe line has been plagued with problems including delays and reliability issues, often leaving passengers stranded, late for work or feeling unsafe.
While electrification of the Papakura-Pukekohe line was the big discussion point, residents also expressed concern and anger over personal security and safety, poor disability access, fumes in the carriages, lack of train station car parking and the condition and lack of station facilities.
There were also complaints around the politics of under-served Franklin residents having to contribute rates levies to the Auckland transport problem.
The Mayor was joined by Andy Baker Franklin Local Board Chair, MP for Hunua Andrew Bayly, Auckland Transport general manager Mark Lambert, and a small team of his officials.
Jon Reeves, co-ordinator of the The Public Transport Users Association was also present along with Marek Townley, Chair of the Franklin Youth Advisory Board.
Summary of the Mayor’s message
Here is our quick summary of the Mayor’s message, and his response to concerns raised by residents.
In the first two minutes, Len Brown apologised saying, “The buck stops with me, I apologise. We did not handle the electrification transition very well.”
It’s all about the money
Niko Kloeten from Pukekohe is a daily commuter to Auckland CBD.
He launched an online petition on Change.org recently, after Auckland Council’s draft future urban land supply strategy indicated that electrification of the rail system might not be finished for 15 years.
So far over 1,500 people have signed the petition.
He spoke about a ‘score’ of 3.9 as the result of a benefit-to-cost-ratio analysis (BCR) study that was performed on the proposed electrification between Papakura and Pukekohe incorporating stations at Drury and Paerata.
He asked Len Brown why it was that other projects were funded by the council yet they received a lower BCR than the Pukekohe plan.
“In particular the alternative Waitemata Harbour crossing has a BCR of only 0.4 based on a preliminary business case,” he said.
“The Mayor didn’t answer my question, all we get is that ‘we’re talking to the government and we’re working on it’.”
“I feel like we are getting the short end of the stick compared to Auckland,” said Niko.
“We just want a start date, that’s all. All we want is answers. We’re realistic that it won’t happen overnight, but give us a start date instead of saying ‘sometime between 2022 – 2031′.”
Full article here: http://welovepukekohe.com/pukekohe-news-len-brown-public-transport/
Niko (who is a regular commenter) makes very valid points here. The electrification should be done and can be done pretty much right away for the $110m price tag (includes two new stations at Drury and Paerata). All it needs is some Budget reallocation of which I am sure we can do by shelving Mill Road and the East West Link in their current format.
Also we might as well have that inter-regional conversation too given this: Should the Auckland Regional Policy Statement – Urban Growth factor in the rise of Waikato Satellites and them commuting into Auckland?