New Rail Timetables

 

New Rail Timetable Now Out

 

Auckland Transport ambassadors were sighted at Britomart this evening handing out the new rail timetables that become effective October 15.

That means October 15, all the Auckland metro rail lines will be operating under a new timetable Monday to Friday (weekend timetable remains unchanged).

 

Here is the fronts and back of the new timetables being handed out:

 

 

Make sure you get your copy as there are some changes that might catch you out.

 

Online versions can be found at: http://www.maxx.co.nz/timetables.aspx

 

Submission to RPTP

Have Begun Writing Submission to Regional Public Transport Plan

 

As mentioned in the ALL THINGS PUBLIC TRANSPORT, Auckland Transport has released the Regional Public Transport Plan for public submissions. I have read the 138 pages of the RPTP document and have begun writing my submission to the plan. My submission will be covering five main points on the RPTP which will be further reinforced in the subsequent hearings panel afterwards – the points being:

  1. Lack of direct Manukau to Papakura South Rail Link from Manukau Station
  2. Constructive Criticism and Praise to Chapter Five – Key Directions which looks at the proposed network (and services) through to 2022
  3. Chapter 6.4 – Fares and Ticketing. Especially my counter proposal around zone fares and pricing
  4. Chapter 6.5  – Infrastructure of the physical Public Transport network and facilities (building on from my submissions to The Auckland, and Long Term Plans)
  5. Chapter 6.6 – Customer Service Interface – and how best it can be used and improved for a clean,easy, efficient and “happy” portal for customer service interactions

 

I will endeavour to keep a running commentary as I write my submission and get it in by the deadline of Monday 4th November 2012. But in the mean time I will again show my (counter) proposal for zone based fares including this time MAPS and Graphics on my counter proposed zones. Also note that this RPTP submission will form the continuation of my comprehensive policy proposal package for my election campaign next year to the Papakura Local Board (in the Local Government 2013 elections).

 

BEN’S PROPOSALS FOR ZONE BASED FARES (Update Version 2.0)

 

Four Zones (maps of the first draft of the proposed zones are below)) with the Central Post Office (so Britomart Transport Centre) as the central focus point in which the zones are calculated:
  • City Zone: (Orakei, Newmarket and Ian McKinnon Drive, the city side of the Harbour Bridge and Ponsonby Road form that boundary (so the CRL falls inside the City Zone))
  • Isthmus Zone: (Basically marked by the traditional Otahuhu (Mangere Road and Savill Drives and New Lynn (including Rata and Ash Streets) fare boundaries, and Northcote Road on the North Shore)
  • South and East Zone: (Manurewa, Mill Road (north end), Point View Drive)
  • Mid West Zone: (Westgate (Brighams Creek) and Swanson, west side of the Waitemata Harbour)
  • Mid North Shore Zone: east side of Waitemata Harbour, Albany and Long Bay)
  • Outer South, North and West Zones: (all areas beyond the outer zone)
  • Optional South and East Zones: ((so South and East mega zone split into two) State Highway One and Otara Locality)

These zones are like a target with a cross in the middle extending through the zones. From the very south to the very north of the zoned areas would mean travelling through seven zones one way. Four zones to get half way the journey and another four zones as you move through the centre to the other end of the city.

The fares for moving within or between the four zones (single trip – cash fare one way – flat fee regardless or adult or child)
  • Within a single Zone: $2
  • Between two Zones: $3
  • Between three Zones:$5
  • Between four Zones: $7
  • Five or more Zones: four zone fare plus the price of the “extra zones” travelled to the daily fare cap of $15 (so travelling six zones would equal $7 + $3 = $10 one way)

I also propose a maximum fare cap of $15 per day for all travel on the integrated public transport system. However you would still be able to by a full day pass for unlimited travel on all modes across all zones from 9am Weekdays and all day weekends and public holidays for a discounted cap price of $13 if you know you are going to be travelling around all day.

The trusty Family Pass should also be made available at the same time as a full day pass for the flat fee of $25. Super Gold holders ride free per usual at their dedicated times.

Okay so we have the zones set (maps further down) and the fares organised for cash-single trips (no using an AT-HOP card), the day and family passes, Super Gold Holders and the maximum fare cap for any one day’s travel.

Now to using an AT-HOP card in place of cash.

Those who would use an AT-HOP card would be our current more frequent travellers who use the exiting ten-trip passes (being phased out) or monthly passes. Using an AT-HOP card should mean you get a discount when paying your fare compared to feeding money down a ticket machine or to the ticket office. Thus I propose the AT-HOP cards have a flat 20% discount regardless of child, adult or tertiary student on the cash fare otherwise charged for your journey. As for Monthly passes there would be four sets of “monthlies” available with prices reflecting discounts accordingly. The same conditions on your 31 days of use from the first day “used” with the existing monthly paper monthlies will transfer over to the AT-HOP Card loaded with Monthly profiles.

The Four Monthly Passes and fares (child in brackets)

  • 1-Z – For travelling within one zone: $60 ($50)
  • 2-Z – For travelling between two zones: $90 ($75)
  • 3-Z – For travelling between three zones: $ $150 ($110)
  • A-Z – Ultimate pass – travelling between four or more zones: $210 ($150)

The discount rate for adults with Monthly Passes is at minimum 25% compared to single-cash fare with child passes higher (there are no Tertiary discounts).

As for bikes – free travel but as per usual to on-board staff discretion depending on train loadings.

 

These are the maps of the proposed zones (first draft and subject to refinement)

Click for enlarged pictures

 

Balance, simplicity, fairness and minimisation of fare evasion was the methodology behind the zone fares, prices and boundaries stated above. Further refinement will be done as I continue the submission but constructive feedback in the comments department down below is welcome as always.

This submission is part of my “What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland” fundamentals;  the backbone in the formation of my comprehensive policy proposal package for my election campaign next year to the Papakura Local Board (in the Local Government 2013 elections). :

Part Three of the Better Auckland fundamentals: An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign. This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Back to the Table – Again

Bus Drivers Reject Latest Offer

 

Not so sure what to think here but it would seem NZ Bus Drivers have rejected their latest pay offer from NZ Bus who run Auckland’s  Metrolink, Waka Pacific, Go West, North Star and Link (City, Inner and Outer) bus fleet.

This is from my inbox this morning (Saturday):

 

Results of Auckland bus drivers ballot

 Bus drivers have voted against a revised proposal from NZ Bus for their collective employment agreement. 

The vote was 51% against ratifying the proposed settlement, and 49% in favour. 

Drivers voted by secret ballot at their different bus depots over the past week and a Company lawyer was present to supervise the counting of the vote. 

Spokesperson for the bus unions, Karl Andersen, said that the voter turnout was very good.  There were very few union members that didn’t vote. 

“After careful consideration of the offer, drivers are still of the view that they don’t earn enough to provide for themselves and their families,” he said. 

Karl Andersen said despite some movement from NZ Bus, both the amount offered by the company, and a delayed implementation of pay increases, was still a core issue for drivers. 

The unions are considering their options at the moment and will make some decisions about next steps early next week, he said. 

 

On Monday we will probably hear what is next in store for NZ Bus, its union workers, and bus commuters. Hopefully no more strikes…

 

 

All Things Public Transport

Auckland Transport Releases RPTP

 

Some good news after the Bums Rush Auckland Council gave yesterday with its continuing crap handling of our finances. Auckland Transport had released the much vaunted Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) for viewing AND submissions. You can check the RPTP at the AT website HERE (which includes links to the submission form) or read the embed at the bottom of this post.

I am busy reading through the 138 page document but from what I have seen so far I can personally say that if we follow through with this, then Auckland as another blogger said is on the cusp of a (Public) Transport Revolution. Yes I will be forming an extensive submission on this RPTP, especially around the “zones,” fares and most likely feeder bus set ups. And yes I will trundle along to a hearing in front of Auckland Transport if the CCO gives enough heads up for me to get a period of time off work.

 

As I said earlier, I am busy reading through the document, so no extensive commentary just yet. But from glances at the website and summary documents I can safely say (for now) that the RPTP will meet the number three fundamental in my “What I Stand For – For Auckland” page:

  • An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.

 

While I begin writing the submission to the RPTP, I’ll show an example of what will be in my submission – in this case Zonal Fare:

From my ZONAL FARES post written last month:

Ben’s Proposals for Zone Based Fares

Four Zones (I will draw a map later) with the Central Post Office (so Britomart Transport Centre) as the central focus point in which the zones are calculated:
  • City Zone (Orakei, Newmarket and Grafton Trains Stations, plus the city side of the Harbour Bridge andPonsonby Road form that boundary)
  • Inner Zone (Basically marked by the traditional Otahuhu and New Lynn fare boundaries, and Smales Farm on the North Shore)
  • Outer Zone (Manurewa to the south, Westgate and Swanson to the West and Albany to the north)
  • Regional Zone (all areas beyond the outer zone)

These zones are like a target with a cross in the middle extending through the zones. From the very south to the very north of the zoned areas would mean travelling through eight zones one way. Four zones to get half way the journey and another four zones as you move through the centre to the other end of the city.

The fares for moving within or between the four zones (single trip – cash fare one way – flat fee regardless or adult or child)
  • Within a single Zone: $2
  • Between two Zones: $3
  • Between three Zones:$5
  • Between four Zones: $7
  • Five or more Zones: four zone fare plus the price of the “extra zones” travelled to the daily fare cap of $15 (so travelling six zones would equal $7 + $3 = $10 one way)

I also propose a maximum fare cap of $15 per day for all travel on the integrated public transport system. However you would still be able to by a full day pass for unlimited travel on all modes across all zones from 9am Weekdays and all day weekends and public holidays for a discounted cap price of $13 if you know you are going to be travelling around all day.

The trusty Family Pass should also be made available at the same time as a full day pass for the flat fee of $25. Super Gold holders ride free per usual at their dedicated times.

Okay so we have the zones set (map coming later in an update) and the fares organised for cash-single trips (no using an AT-HOP card), the day and family passes, Super Gold Holders and the maximum fare cap for any one day’s travel.

Now to using an AT-HOP card in place of cash.

Those who would use an AT-HOP card would be our current more frequent travellers who use the exiting ten-trip passes (being phased out) or monthly passes. Using an AT-HOP card should mean you get a discount when paying your fare compared to feeding money down a ticket machine or to the ticket office. Thus I propose the AT-HOP cards have a flat 20% discount regardless of child, adult or tertiary student on the cash fare otherwise charged for your journey. As for Monthly passes there would be four sets of “monthlies” available with prices reflecting discounts accordingly. The same conditions on your 31 days of use from the first day “used” with the existing monthly paper monthlies will transfer over to the AT-HOP Card loaded with Monthly profiles.

 

The Four Monthly Passes and fares (child in brackets)

  • 1-Z – For travelling within one zone: $60 ($50)
  • 2-Z – For travelling between two zones: $90 ($75)
  • 3-Z – For travelling between three zones: $ $150 ($110)
  • A-Z – Ultimate pass – travelling between four or more zones: $210 ($150)

 

The discount rate for adults with Monthly Passes is at minimum 25% compared to single-cash fare with child passes higher (there are no Tertiary discounts).

As for bikes – free travel but as per usual to on-board staff discretion depending on train loadings.

I still have a lot of work to do on these but it is a start and would be a good time to get the initial dialogue going to refine this idea ready for a submission to Auckland Transport in due time.

 

Well that due time is here and it is time to write that submission.

The submission will also become another piece of my “policy platform” when I contend for Papakura Local Board in next year’s Local Government Elections.

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light –
To a Better Auckland

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

Auckland Got The Bums Rush Again

Crony-ism Much with White Water Shafting Deal?

 

So it seems we (the ratepayer) got the absolute Bums Rush for due process and all things fiscal responsibility when it came to this White Water Rafting proposal for Manukau.

From The NZH:

Water facility clears first rapid

By Bernard Orsman

5:30 AM Friday Oct 5, 2012

 

Rafting and kayaking venue approved, but the vote leaves some councillors fuming

A controversial $30 million white-water-rafting and kayaking facility in Manukau is back on the drawing board after coming through the political rapids at Auckland Council.

After a lengthy and testy debate yesterday, the council voted 11-9 to allow the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust to build the facility at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, subject to public consultation.

The trust will receive $20 million from the sale of a piece of adjacent council-owned land and promised to raise the remaining $10 million.

Trust chairman and business leader Sir Noel Robinson gave a guarantee to councillors that the project would not require any ongoing funding from ratepayers.

Sir Noel said the trust was proud of what it had achieved for the community and the youth of South Auckland with the Pacific Events Centre and wanted to complete the next stage, the white-water facility.

The commercial venture, with an entry fee of $35 for kayaking and $55 for rafting, is budgeted to run profitably, which will enable the trust to subsidise 15,000 local schoolchildren annually.

 

You can read the rest of the article over at the NZH site.

 

The feeling that I am seeing coming through right across the spectrum from main stream media to social media outlets is one of pure and utter condemnation and disgust against the 11 idiots who voted for this proposal behind the Telstra Pacific Events Centre in Manukau.

This remark from Manurewa Local Board Chair Angela Dalton surmises the current feeling out there in Auckland:

Angela Dalton shared a link.
This morning I spoke alongside colleagues from 6 other Boards at the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance meeting. We told the Councillors we are struggling with the money we have been given in our budgets. To find another 3% savings they
must first look to the regional budgets and projects such as the Waterfront and CDB. They should also look to the CCO’s before coming to the nickel and dime budgets that the Local Boards have to operate on. Following that I stayed to listen to a four hour debate on why we should or shouldn’t sell ratepayers land in my ward to fund the construction of a White Water Rafting Project that is touted to deliver many of the outcomes of the Southern Initiative. In a deja vu vote of 11-9 the Manurewa Local Boards wishes were once again discarded, 11 votes that included the 2 Maori Statutory Board is the same scenario that saw us have 1.75 million dollars stripped from our budgets a few months ago. I can tell you most assuredly that a trip down a white water rafting shute is not going to turnaround the lives of young people in Manurewa. I thank the Councillors who supported Manurewa in the debate, Cameron Brewer, Calum PenroseDick Quax,Christine FletcherGeorge WoodSharon Stewart. I hearBernard Orsman who was at the debate today will have a piece in the Herald tomorrow about the Trust who are leading this project. Today was jacked up politics once again marginalsing Local Boards advocacy on behalf of their communities.

And this from Orakei Ward Councillor Cameron Brewer:

The most outrageous decision in the two years of this council’s existence was made today. Nine councillors agreed to sell council land and for the proceeds (worth $20 – $30m) to go towards a whitewater rafting facility in the paddock between Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau and the southern motorway, subject to public consultation. Another nine of us councillors were against this controversial project which was rejected by the Manukau City Council 10 votes to 3 back in 2010. However this time the proponents secured the support of two non-elected Independent Maori Statutory Board members so it just got through 11/9. This is a project that’s been 10 years in the making but leaped frogged the exhaustive Long Term Plan consultation and budget processes, which was only signed off on 28 June! Disgusting when you also consider the growing debt mountain, the core council service and local board cuts, and the rates increases. This money needed to be spent much much more wisely

 

With this final remark from me personally:

Ben Ross I suppose I raise this challenge here as well for those who do care genuinely for Auckland: 
Okay so Council led by our now wayward Mayor has failed beyond doubt with this White Watering Rafting project. So where is our Alternative Mayor and Council (candidates) willing and ready to stand now against this failure and say to Auckland,”We stand for Shining the Light for a Better Auckland” come 2013. 2013 Shining the Light for a Better Auckland.

I said Council failed as the motion got passed 11-9, meaning that motion now constitutes going into Council policy for which all of Auckland feels the effects of.

 

I looked at my What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland page which is located one over here at BR:AKL and looked at which of the eight fundamentals which have been “breached” by yesterdays decision at Council. Apart from numbers two and eight (as urban planning and transport were not in effect here per-se) the Council basically breached the rest of the fundamentals ESPECIALLY numbers six and seven:

  • Basics first: One thing I learnt when I moved out from the parents’ home and struck it out in the real world (including getting married and owning our first house) is that with the limited resources you have got, you did the basics first then with anything left over you just might be able to afford a luxury. Same applies to our civic institutions; they have limited resources so get the basics right first then “treat yourself or others” to a luxury if you are able to do so once the basics are taken care of.
  • Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions:  you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.

 

So because six of the fundamentals were breached and especially two of the “heavies” that I believe in were totally disregarded by nine Councillors and those two useless Independent Maori Statutory Board Members who voted for the proposal, I am in total opposition to them with me showing no confidence in them what so ever!

 

The question is then ‘now what?’

Well I am running for Local Board in Papakura next year in hoping to do my part in restoring sense and responsibility back into our civic institutions (for a better Papakura and Auckland), but for the rest it is a case of what I said above: “So where is our Alternative Mayor and Council (candidates) willing and ready to stand now against this failure and say to Auckland,”We stand for Shining the Light for a Better Auckland” come 2013. 2013 Shining the Light for a Better Auckland.

 

Auckland now waits for that alternative!

 

As what I stand for – in Shining the Light for a Better Auckland; you can check my fundamental principles below:

THIS IS WHAT I STAND FOR AND BELIEVE IN FOR A BETTER AUCKLAND

  1. Strong but no interfering Governance: Meaning Council  shows active and real leadership but does not interfere with the daily lives of residents and businesses
  2. Finances: If my family has to live within its means then so does the civic institutions that impact on us greatly (that being Council and Government). You work out your income, then what you can spend on – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND as with Auckland Council
  3. An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign
    This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.
  4. Open Governance: I believe in open governance where the public can sit in, listen and where possible discuss “matters-of-state” as much as possible with their representatives. None of this hiding behind closed doors (except for commercially sensitive material that does come up from time to time), and fessing up when you know you have stuffed up. You might find the public are more sympathetic you one acknowledges and apologies for a legitimate mistake
  5. Keeping It Local: Large centralised civic institutions seem impersonal (if not frightening) to most us. So how about keeping it Local and allow our Local Boards to be resourced properly so they can execute their true functions of local advocacy and providing our local community parks and services for us.
  6. Basics first: One thing I learnt when I moved out from the parents’ home and struck it out in the real world (including getting married and owning our first house) is that with the limited resources you have got, you did the basics first then with anything left over you just might be able to afford a luxury. Same applies to our civic institutions; they have limited resources so get the basics right first then “treat yourself or others” to a luxury if you are able to do so once the basics are taken care of.
  7. Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions:  you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.
  8. Stay out of my way: I believe in the following strongly “Individual Freedom -> Individual Choice -> Individual Responsibility (oh and do not forget the consequences)”   I am an adult who can make choices for myself (whether it was right or wrong), treat me as such rather than a child.

 

Sydney’s Rail Woes

Sydney Suffering from Rail Woes

 

 

I was meant to get this published but just ran out of time. Check this piece from the SMH on the impending rail woes about to hit Sydney Metro:

 

Crush hour: $9b rail link flaw

Jacob Saulwick

Transport Reporter

 

RUSH hour commuters will be forced to wait for at least two crowded trains to go through Chatswood station before being able to continue their journey to the city, under the O’Farrell government’s centrepiece $9 billion transport project.

The government’s decision to build the north-west rail link as a shuttle between Epping and Chatswood, breaking its promise to allow trains to run all the way to the city, will lead to potential chaos for many north shore and Hills district commuters.

Thousands of commuters disembarking at Chatswood will be unable to get on city-bound trains already operating at capacity. And passengers getting off the north-west trains may struggle to fit on the crowded platform at Chatswood.

With an ”optimised” timetable for the north-west rail link, more than 40 per cent of peak-hour passengers transferring to the city at Chatswood will be unable to get on the next service because it will be too crowded, according to analysis commissioned by Transport for NSW and obtained by the Herald.

 

Further, more than 15 per cent of them will be unable to fit on the next two citybound trains on the north shore line.

The analysis was commissioned and done just before the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, and the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the new model for the north-west rail link on June 20.

Last night Ms Berejiklian said one of two environmental impact statements required for the link has received planning approval.

Under the model, the line will be built and run by a private operator rather than RailCorp. Transport for NSW hired consultants from the engineering firm Arup to look at whether Chatswood Station could cope with the passengers transferring to citybound trains.

Arup modelled what would happen if one peak-hour train on the north shore line was cancelled which, on RailCorp’s record, would happen about once a fortnight. In this case, 62 per cent of north-west rail link passengers would not fit on the first train to the city. Almost 40 per cent would not fit on the second train. More than 20 per cent of passengers – about 1900 people – would have to wait for a fourth, fifth or sixth train. In this scenario there would be ”extreme difficulties to alight and to enter the platform from stair”, a summary of the analysis says.

”Patrons entering the station have difficulty moving away from the stair and patrons coming off NWRL services … cannot exit carriages due to congestion,” the summary says.

Even with a good running service, queueing levels would exceed good practice. ”Modelling doesn’t take into consideration the frustration and anxiety of missing trains,” it says.

The modelling assumes 8880 people will get off the north-west rail link at Chatswood to transfer to the lower north shore or city.

Using freedom-of-information laws, the Herald requested the analysis in July. The response from Transport for NSW redacted all substantial analysis, in part because it said releasing it could jeopardise procurement for the line. The department said the analysis was only preliminary because it was based on assumptions still being developed.

The Herald obtained sections of the analysis independently.

A spokesman for Transport for NSW said the modelling obtained by the Herald assumed 20 trains an hour on the north shore line in the morning peak.

”We are undertaking work to determine what improvements need to be made to the network to run 24 trains an hour,” he said.

Ms Berejiklian said: ”The government is working to make this a world best-practice interchange and we are confident we will deliver that.

“Everything that has been presented to me by Transport for NSW leaves me in no doubt that Sydney’s rail future has been well thought through.”

The government’s infrastructure adviser, Infrastructure NSW, will release its plan for new tollroads through the inner west and south of Sydney tomorrow.

It will also recommend building an airport at Badgerys Creek, a move that is not supported by the O’Farrell government.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/crush-hour-9b-rail-link-flaw-20121001-26vkt.html#ixzz28HA6rrqN

 

As I was pasting that article to here, this came up just now at the SMH:

 

Adapting existing infrastructure will put NSW on road to recovery

Opinion – Paul Broad

 

Making Sydney a more economically successful and better place to live is a major objective of the State Infrastructure Strategy. This is because Sydney, as the major economic force of NSW, is most capable of driving an upturn in the state’s fortunes.

The strategy is called ”First Things First” with good reason: this phrase captures the main messages that have come out of the past 12 months’ consideration of what the state needs to set it up for the future.

There has been too much waste and misdirection in past infrastructure policy, which has contributed to the slowing of our economy compared with other states. The result is that in spite of record spending on infrastructure – $70 billion spent in the past five years, representing a doubling of funding from the previous five-year period – much of our infrastructure networks fall short of community expectations.

Take transport as a case in point. Some passenger train services are actually slower than they were decades ago. Road congestion has been gradually worsening. The CBD in peak hour defines gridlock.

 

We need to address this situation by dealing with the most urgent priorities first. This means focusing on those initiatives and projects that will yield the greatest economic impact.

There are more than 30 transport-related recommendations in the strategy covering urban and regional areas and all major modes of transport. Each is important in its own right and represents a considered assessment of the best, fastest and most cost-effective solution available.

Using the yardstick of economic impact, the single biggest transport priority is the WestConnex project that involves construction of an M4 East linked to a duplicated M5 East and major urban renewal along Parramatta Road.

The NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics data shows that overwhelmingly Sydney relies on roads for daily travel. Of 17 million average weekday trips, 69 per cent are by road, 19 per cent by bicycle or walking, 7 per cent by bus, taxi or ferry and 5 per cent by rail. If you consider passenger transport alone, 93 per cent of trips are by road.

Most road travel is dispersed to myriad smaller locations across our large metropolitan area. They are not trips to CBDs that could be easily transferred to rail, for example. Our motorway network acts as a major distributor of these millions of journeys as opposed to being a funnel through which people commute to the major CBDs, contrary to popular opinion.

Considering all these points, as well as the dominance of roads in moving freight, WestConnex will have a major beneficial impact on the largest possible number of Sydneysiders.

Conversely, roads do not replicate the role of public transport, especially rail and buses, in servicing CBD locations.

Public transport is the best option for these large centres and it will need significant targeted investment to grow the capacity of public transport systems, as well as speeding up journey times and making services more reliable.

While there are cases where capital investment is needed, the strategy recommends much can be achieved at less cost and more quickly by incrementally improving the road, bus and rail networks we already have. What is advocated is a mix of both.

The strategy’s future vision for central Sydney is built around the CBD Transit Improvement Plan – a mixture of bus rapid transit and rail improvements. In short, most of the peak-hour buses that flow into the city at present will be able to bypass the traffic completely via an underground route similar to the successful Brisbane model. As a result, bus/rail interchanges will be built at Wynyard and Town Hall as part of a major modernisation of these critical stations.

A significant upgrade to the City Circle Line to increase capacity and allow more services is also proposed, as are plans to introduce rapid transit on key rail lines including the main west lines and turn-up-and-go express services between Sydney and Parramatta.

For areas serviced by buses, such as the northern beaches, a program of upgrades including an extra lane on the Spit Bridge are being proposed.

Speeding up train services is the focus for outlying areas. Getting the main intercity journeys Wollongong-Sydney and Gosford-Sydney down to one hour is the goal of the strategy.

Infrastructure NSW believes this approach has got the priorities right. Its methodology is more modest than the infrastructure planning of the past – in our view, a positive advantage that will deliver more real results for public transport users and motorists alike.

Paul Broad is the managing director of Infrastructure NSW.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/adapting-existing-infrastructure-will-put-nsw-on-road-to-recovery-20121003-26zkc.html#ixzz28HBHdl00

 

 

After reading both of those I was wondering to myself; “Geez this sounds all awfully familiar.” That’s right, it is the very same problems, debates and solution seeking that Auckland and its transport is going through RIGHT NOW! At least we can take some small comfort that our Aussie neighbours are experiencing the same issues as us in Auckland. Although flushing A$9 billion down the shitter into some rather large rail fallacy prone project (The North West Line (Sydney)) is rather eye popping stuff here (compared to our large scale mega projects).

 

I do have to ask this though:

Why does everything a Centre-Right central or state government in the Northern Hemisphere do in regards to mass transit turn out to be success stories (okay might be pushing it with the USA) while in the Southern Hemisphere, anything the Centre-Right central or state (where applicable) governments do in regards to mass transit turns into one big shit-stink pile that gets us no-where (maybe backwards if we are lucky to get any movement)?

I thought we were meant to achieve: “An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign. This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.” (From my What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland page)

Groan and eye-roll material stuff here folks…

 

 

Hauraki Gulf

Divisions Within About The Hauraki Gulf

 

I have noticed one heck of flare up over the Hauraki Gulf, The Hauraki Gulf Forum and the attempt to set up a bureaucratic nightmare in regards to implementation of The Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan.

This flare up is what is inspiring me to compose my technical first speech of my campaign in the Local Government Elections next year as I contest for a seat on the Papakura Local Board.

 

I will continue to keep an eye on the Hauraki Gulf developments and possibly follow-up with some commentary this weekend.

 

But it seems Auckland ratepayers are being taken for a ride by those who voted AGAINST Councillor Mike Lee’s amendment yesterday…