Tag: HOP card

Auckland Transport Inducing Fare Evasion

AT causing induced Fare Evasion on its own accord?

 

We have heard much about Auckland Transport cracking down on Fare Evasion on our rail system, with Veolia Ticket Inspectors hard out on the trail trying to enforce what can be only described as a hopeless situation. Hopeless because in my opinion Auckland Transport is inducing actual Fare Evasion due to it’s beyond lacklustre technical support systems for both AT-HOP and the Rail Ticket Machines.

How?

This example in Papatoetoe today which I hear (the example) is quite common through feedback via Facebook and emails.

I caught the train from Papatoetoe and headed in to Britomart, repeating the exercise for the trip home. I have an AT-HOP card so I tag on and off and will top up either at home or a rail ticket machine if possible.

While waiting for the train at Papatoetoe I noticed people could not use any cash (even correct change) to get a paper ticket to head into town. The machine had no change and the coin slot was jammed meaning unless you had EFTPOS like I did (I topped up on the machine) you were pretty well stuffed in getting a ticket.

If you were getting off at Britomart or Newmarket you could still pay your fare, get off anywhere else and hello no ticket – a freebie for you.

So I sent a tweet to Auckland Transport alerting them to the machine basically down:

@AklTransport Rail ticket machine @ papatoetoe not accepting cash at all even correct change

That was sent about 10:10am today

I get back to Papatoetoe around 3:15pm today and the machine was still with no change and not taking coins. And no reply from AT either…

 

Come on Auckland Transport – where is your support services to keep these machines fully functional so good citizens can get their tickets? FIVE HOURS and no technician when the support for an “urgent” problem such as this is meant to be TWO HOURS in turn around (getting it fixed)!

Knowing my luck and I should go check it tomorrow the machine will still be down at 9:30am tomorrow morning after the morning peak!

So fare evasion? Yep – induced by Auckland Transport rather than the rail patrons themselves due to lack tech support services on the rail ticket machines. 

Do people out there know of any other rail ticket machines constantly down and if so how long before they are back up again.

Leave your comments below (AT do keep an eye on this)…

 

Screwing the Little Guy?

Auckland Public Transport Fares to Rise

 

Yes the sole machine was out of order, however tech support had been notified 10mins earlier
Yes the sole machine was out of order, however tech support had been notified 10mins earlier

Well I managed to personally stave off a fare rise for AT-HOP care users in September last year (Fare Increase Ctd) for rail users. However, this time no such luck – you are going to be lugged with it this time around.

From the NZ Herald this morning after AT announced it last yesterday

Students bear the brunt of Auckland public transport fare rises

Auckland Transport has been accused of targeting students with public transport fare rises that will also affect thousands of Hop and multi-trip ticket buyers.

Auckland Transport – which waited until late yesterday to announce changes approved by its board two months ago – will lift cash fares for tertiary students by between 7c and 40c a trip on June 3.

Adults who use Hop cards on trains or 10-trip tickets on buses also face fare rises of 2c to 22c a ride.

Ten-trip tickets on inner harbour ferry trips such as from Devonport, Bayswater and Birkenhead to the city will also rise by up to $2, but water transport will become considerably cheaper for Hop card users.

A single trip fare for a Hop card user from Devonport to the city will fall from $5.40c to $4.10c compared with an unchanged cash price of $6, but ten-trip tickets will rise to $41.

That is to align Hop cards with multi-trip tickets, which Auckland Transport ultimately wants to scrap in favour of seamless travel across ferries, trains and buses.

Public transport operations manager Mark Lambert said close to 50,000 public transport users could be affected. The changes were required before Hop cards were rolled out to the city’s buses between June 23 and November, he said.

Auckland Council transport chairman Mike Lee asked why fares could not be aligned downward, particularly on trains.

“It seems the most loyal passengers are being targeted – students and those taking multiple trips.”

Auckland had the highest public transport fares of any Australasian city and students were “a key part of our market”, he said.

Mr Lambert said an increase in the student discount from 20 per cent to 40 per cent in 2008 proved highly effective in lifting demand and getting cars off the road, but there was a limit to ratepayer subsidies.

Auckland University Students’ Association president Daniel Haines said the fare rises appeared aimed at those who could least afford to pre-load Hop cards for multiple trips.

He said transport was the second highest cost facing students, after accommodation, and the increases would hit those who faced long trips from suburbs offering lower rents.
• For detailed information about fare changes, visit maxx.co.nz.

I remember fighting tooth and nail to retain the existing fares seen here below rather than having AT-HOP users pay a technical rise as AT were to flat line the discount rates at 10% right across the board

Savings with AT HOP

Adult Child/Accessible Tertiary
Cash fare HOP fare You Save! Cash fare HOP fare You Save! Cash fare HOP fare You Save!
1 stage $1.90 $1.60 16% $1.10 $0.90 18% $1.90 $1.10 42%
2 stage $3.40 $3.00 12% $2.00 $1.70 15% $3.40 $2.10 38%
3 stage $4.50 $4.05 10% $2.60 $2.29 12% $4.50 $2.79 38%
4 stage $5.60 $5.04 10% $3.40 $3.00 12% $5.60 $3.47 38%
5 stage $6.80 $6.00 12% $4.00 $3.55 11% $6.80 $4.21 38%
6 stage $7.90 $6.90 13% $4.50 $4.05 10% $7.90 $4.75 40%
7 stage $9.00 $8.00 11% $5.30 $4.75 10% $9.00 $5.58 38%
8 stage $10.30 $9.05 12% $6.10 $5.44 11% $10.30 $6.38 38%

 

I believe the new fare guide is not out but reading the material from AT properly you have:

  • Cash fares remaining the same
  • AT-HOP card fares going up as the percentage discount level is lowered across most if not all areas.

So rather than targeting the cash users and hiking the cash fares (if the actual fares did need to go up in the first place) which would move people over to AT-HOP, Auckland Transport go and hit “the little guy” who is already on AT-HOP. Ouch and nasty!

The AT-HOP fare rise also seems to be the exact opposite of the Deloitte HOP review would suggest

 

One wonders what the thinking was behind the latest move?

 

From Dr Lester Levy

Dr Levy writes in the NZ Herald

 

I caught this piece this morning (while debunking Orsman) from Dr Levy – head of Auckland Transport

 

Lester Levy: Restoring faith in Auckland’s transport system

Commuters can be assured public transport will be sorted and the service will be one everyone enjoys using.

 

Far too many Aucklanders have lost faith that there is an alternative to their private car. Photo / Brett Phibbs

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Far too many Aucklanders have lost faith that there is an alternative to their private car. Photo / Brett Phibbs

When it comes to transport in Auckland the stakeholders are as many and varied as are the differing and divergent views.

I guess it has always been like this and over many decades ad hoc decisions, decisions half-made, questionable decisions and decisions deferred or never made have severely limited options.

Transport solutions in Auckland are well behind where they should be, but not where we have to stay.

I have been chairman of Auckland Transport for six months. What do I see? Public transport in Auckland is just not yet good enough. The trains do not run frequently enough and frequently they do not run on time. The bus real-time information does not seem real to many, because it is not, a lot of the time.

Peak times on trains and buses are often very crowded and it just seems like there are not enough of them – that is because often there are not. The new AT Hop card has had some issues – these have been very frustrating for passengers

 

You can read the rest over at the Herald site

 

I have made mention before of Dr Levy’s mission and drive for both Auckland Transport and Auckland’s Transport here at the blog:

While I can be harsh upon Auckland Transport (AT-HOP, Snapper and the Family Pass being the classics), in the same regard I can praise and work alongside them as well (The Regional Public Transport Plan which is back for consultation). Dr Levy though is right through Auckland losing faith in its public transport (as I covered with the fall off in patronage statistics with rail) and even AT itself. I do not particularly envy Dr Levy’s formidable task in turning AT and the public transport system around but I do praise him to take the task head and hands on. Having seen Dr Levy turn around Auckland Hospital I can have faith he can do it again with Auckland Transport 🙂

 

In saying that though while I have faith in Dr Levy, I am apprehensive about the Auckland Transport Executive Team headed by CEO David Warburton. I am allowed to feel apprehensive as a human is I have concerns from the executive team not pulling its weight enough to get the changes we need through. The disdain executive members can have for the Auckland Council Transport Committee don’t help me allay that apprehension and I wonder if all the changes required can be pulled off by 2020-2025.

 

The apprehension against the executive is my private ponderings although I have mentioned them here as I know they will pick up on this.

 

Still; full praise to Dr Levy and his mission.

 

If the RPTP can be pulled off right (so far it has (and I have been involved in it through submissions and hearings) then that should be a big boost for AT and the transport system in Auckland. In saying that I better brush up and prepare my submission for the RPTP southern sector feedback AT is asking after. Need to get those bus routes right you know 😉

 

Fare Evasion

Fare Evasion in Melbourne

 

Lesson for Auckland?

 

As AT-HOP continues to be rolled out across the Auckland public transport network (albeit late, over budget and full of bugs) I would like to remind Aucklanders of the Melbourne situation in regards to fare evasion from a similar system to ours which includes “enforcement officers.”

From The Age:

 

Thousands escape fare evasion fines

Date: February 25, 2013 Adam Carey

More than 21,000 people avoided paying a fine after being booked for fare evasion on Victorian public transport system last financial year – meaning almost 11.5 per cent of fines issued were not enforced.

Figures released to the Victorian Greens and made public on Monday reveal that people who challenge an infringement notice have a better than 10 per cent chance of avoiding the fine, despite high-profile advertising campaigns warning “there is no excuse”.

“[Public Transport Minister] Terry Mulder’s whole ‘get tough, no excuses’ line on fare evasion is hollow,” Victoria Greens leader Greg Barber said.

“Ticket inspectors sometimes get it wrong. Special circumstances sometimes apply and the courts form their own view. That’s why 11.5 per cent of all tickets aren’t enforced – a pretty poor hit rate by any standards.”

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The figures show that 188,566 infringement notices were issued in 2011-12 and 21,674 of those were withdrawn.

Most withdrawals, 17,152, came with an official warning, with just 591 notices being withdrawn completely after being reviewed. A further 2417 fines were waived after being challenged in court.

Mr Barber said the state’s system of using patrolling authorised officers to police fare evasion was inefficient. He called for a return of tram conductors and fully staffed railway stations, not seen since the 1990s.

“It’s a pretty inefficient way to try to reduce fare evasion,” Mr Barber said.

“You’ve got to make it normal to meet a human, buy a ticket, have your ticket checked, or you’re never going to get any progress.”

A Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman said everyone was expected to have a valid ticket, but that passengers had a legal right to appeal against their fine.

“By far the most common reason for fines being withdrawn is where a passenger travelling on a concession fare has forgotten to carry their proof of eligibility,” the spokeswoman said.

“Where they can later produce proof of their concession entitlement, the fine may be withdrawn. Clear cases of fare evasion, such as those travelling with no ticket at all, will get fined and no excuse will be tolerated.”

The fine for travelling without a ticket is $207.

Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said last month that much fare evasion was “opportunistic” because of the lack of customer service staff on the network.

“There needs to be a full staff presence at every station from first to last train … it is simply penny-pinching to not provide that staff presence now,” Dr Morton said.

“It is no doubt that some fare evasion on the train system is opportunistic evasion that might be avoided if there was a consistent staff presence on stations and people had an idea that they might get caught.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/thousands-escape-fare-evasion-fines-20130225-2f162.html#ixzz2M45Q7Lit

 

Rather disturbing from Melbourne.

 

Now reading the Business Report from the February Auckland Transport Board agenda it states on page 19 that 16% to 23% of passengers travelling by rail were checked by roving Ticket Inspectors with an unknown percentage not having a valid ticket or tagged on AT-HOP card. 16% – 23% means a maximum of 6.000 individual checks done (according to the Business Report) where there is an estimate of around 30,000 passengers travelling per (week)day on the network across some 326 approximate services (Monday to Thursday, with more on Friday, and less on Saturday and Sunday). It means in technical terms that upwards of 23% of total revenue from rail passengers is protected meaning currently some 77% if total revenue if everyone paid their fare (or had a Super Gold concession) per day is at potential risk. In saying that there is safeguards at Newmarket and Britomart where you need a ticket or AT-HOP card one way or the other to get through the gate system, but the idea is to not get that far without a ticket.

77% of your revenue at risk from fare evasion – due to only 23% of all passengers being individually checked by roving Ticket Inspectors – big case of OUCH! So it begs the question would you take the risk on skipping out of your fare providing you were not passing through Britomart and Newmarket ? With those figures I quoted it would be a case of “Why Not!”

 

Now before anyone points fingers, I am a good citizen and tag on and off with my AT-HOP card when travelling by train – so I pay my fare as it is only fair.

 

What I am pointing out is that Auckland with AT-HOP has the potential issues as Melbourne does with Fare Evasion – although Melbournites face a stiffer penalty at $207 (Australian) and a higher chance of getting caught. Our poultry “penalty” fare is $10.30 and moves to $20 next month – however this limitation is due to legislation issues currently being sorted to address.

 

We also have the two issues with AT-HOP of: lack of customer service, and the reliability of Rail Ticket Machines and Tagging Posts (I usually do a post every fortnight on the machines breaking down over the weekends). I will write separate posts on these in due course however, those issues do not really inspire confidence in the public transport ticketing system to the point they could act as a catalyst to fare evade.

 

So a warning from Melbourne and another LGOIMA request to go fill out.

 

I wonder if “we” are taking in the lessons learned from our cousins in Australia?

AT COO Interviewed – On Auckland’s Transport

Chief Operating Officer Talks About Auckland’s Transport – Yet Still Misses the Basics?

 

On Friday; Auckland Transport posted up on its website an interview with their Number Three – Chief Operation Officer Greg Edmonds with TV9’s Asia Focus.

From Auckland Transport:

Transport in 2013: Greg Edmonds interview

Last reviewed: 11/01/2013 2:46 p.m.

​Watch this interview on AsiaFocus by TV9 with Greg Edmonds, Chief Operating Officer of Auckland Transport.

Mr Edmonds answers questions about integrated ticketing (HOP), its benefits and the rollout to buses that will begin in April.

He also speaks about measures Auckland Transport is taking to continue to grow public transport patronage. These include integrated ticketing, electrification of the rail network and electric trains and the redesign of bus networks to better integrate them with the rail network.

Watch the recording of the interview on TV9.co.nz. Length: 20:25

 

And so I watched the interview and took some notes on the following aspects (with some help of other keen eyes and ears):

Noted from Interview with AT-CCO Greg Edmonds

 

1.52min
“Looking for a population of 2-2.5 million people in 10yrs”

Where are the people coming? 2030 was when Auckland was due to hit the 2-million mark so is there something statisticians not telling us?

2.39min
“Current Dual HOP card system”

Why couldn’t AT get it right in the first place? It’s not that Auckland is the first place ever to use such a system. However I have covered this since my alternative to Snapper in February Last Year)

4.55min
“Rail patronage dropping since RWC – How to fix public transport patronage:

  1. Integrated train/bus/ferry timetables
  2. $600million electrification
  3. 10min a train will turn up (all day every day, 7 days a week)
  4. 15min a bus will turn up (all day every day, 7 days a week)
  5. City Rail Link post 2022 (or rather 2025)”

My Reply: From observations and experiences: trains/buses running around just about/or empty all the time outside peak hrs. However will another million people in the city in 10yrs and an aging population use their free travel passes their might be a bit more usage. But doubling usage by another 70 million in 10 years is somewhat overly optimistic given the current situation. I have also touched on AT not getting the basics rights with Customer Service in the FIRST STEP IN IMPROVING AUCKLAND’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT post which basically states all the investment in infrastructure means squat if the customer service experience is least to be currently desired. More on this again later)

7.21min
“Greg Edmonds stating passenger numbers not dropping”

Someone asked me: “I wish someone would confirm whether they dropping or rising and all officials/bureaucrats stick to the same story line.” The answer to that lies in the patronage stats from Auckland Transport which is currently stating there is overall growth in public transport patronage, but declines in Northern Busway patronage and a rather disturbing 14-15% drop in rail patronage which shows no sign of currently slowing down.

8.00min
Greg Edmonds not concerned about overall public transport use trends.”

Someone said this to me (so not my own words): “Naturally he’s not… he’s selling the fear factor of 2-2.5 million people being in Auckland and the place turning into chaos.” In saying that, however I might go an explore Edmonds comment around that remark. His role clearly dictates that he must be concerned around overall public transport trends for if they either:  fall through the floor in patronage, or the Customer Service situation does not improve – then his head might be on Councillor Mike Lee’s PLATE!)

9.25min
“Real time information system not accurate…”

I cannot comment on the Passenger Real Time Information Display System (RAPID) currently due to previous employment however a reader did ask this: (Question) “Why couldn’t AT implement a system that would work right in the first place? It’s not as though Auckland has the first system in the world. How much did this mistake cost ratepayers and who has been held accountable for it?”

10.51min
“We have patronage “Targets” – by 2020 achieve 140 million based on investments being made”

Observation: It means an extra 70 million rides in seven years, that’s an increase of 10 million per year which with the current problems AT are facing with public transport – it could be a case of “barrow” and “uphill”.  The slide in rail patronage which is becoming entrenched and systemic needs to be reversed. The question is: “how is Auckland Transport going to honestly reverse that slide?”

A remark from a reader: “Looking forward to reading what the honest and true figures are this time next year while hoping all AT staff are made to ride the buses for a year to see first-hand what really goes on in our public transport network”

 

15.18min
(This was noted by me and from feedback by readers as well): “No plans for the North Shore Rail Line despite apparently according to Greg Edmonds: NZTA starting the second harbour crossing around the 2015-2016 mark. Now last I looked NZTA were in the building of that tunnel crossing, going to include I believe a heavy rail line that can be joined to the City Rail Link on the CBD side while extending along the Northern Busway – replacing it.”

To me this is a rather flippant attitude of Greg Edmonds in regards to the North Shore Line and could be very well contradicting both the Mayor’s and NZTA’s plans for the eventual North Shore Line. Auckland Transport should be very well making plans for the Busway to be replaced by the North Shore Line (Heavy Rail) as was “planned” when the busway was built. Heavy Rail (The North Shore Line) can carry upwards of 900% more passengers at full capacity than the busway ever could at full capacity, while allowing a seamless train trip from the North Shore to either: the CBD, New Lynn, Sylvia Park, Newmarket, Manukau, Onehunga, THE AIRPORT, Papakura, Botany, or even Pukekohe. The North Shore Line would connect a relatively isolated part of Auckland back to the main isthmus and allow for growth on the Shore that would be better catered for.
I shall let readers making their own call on the Greg Edmonds interview but those were my thoughts (as well as some others who gave feedback).

 

For the benefit of Auckland Transport’s Chief Operating Officer – Greg Edmonds, I shall re-stick the Customer Service post here below for him to go and read – as I don’t quite think he has quite joined the dots to our dismal public transport performance (including that of the CCO as well):

FIRST STEP IN IMPROVING AUCKLAND’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT

 

Posted by BR:AKL_Admin01 on January 10, 2013 · 

 

Treat Humans as Humans

 

Not as numbers, not as dollar signs, not as a total pain in the ass that should be treated begrudgingly.

 

While I have been running commentary on things like Rail Efficiency Programs and operational models post City Rail Link to boost patronage via infrastructure and operations, another blogger raised a very fine point on something that is very well hammering our public transport patronage statistics – our customer service.

 

Before I highlight the said post from the other blogger, a quick reminder: Auckland Transport asked for submissions to its Regional Public Transport Program (RPTP) of which the hearings are next month (and that I am attending). One of the main focuses Auckland Transport was looking for in submissions to the RPTP was the “Customer Service Portal” – in other words the quality and level of customer service in our public transport system from front line staff right through to AT bureaucrats in Henderson.

This post is by virtue of an extension to my submission on the RPTP as well as replicating a point made at another blog.

 

So lets take a look at Customer Service on Auckland’s Public Transport System

This is from Auckland Transport Blog:

 

By Guest Post, on January 7th, 2013

This is a guest post by John P

The Ministry of Transport, bless ‘em, actually have a lot of interesting information on their website if you know where to look. One of the things they do is carry out a Household Travel Survey, which surveys 4,600 households in various parts of New Zealand each year. There’s plenty to look at, and you can check out various results at their transport survey, but for today I’ll look at a summary they put together on public transport use – taken from here.

The thing that stands out to me is a table showing the percentage of people who use public transport in NZ’s major cities. From this, 53% of Aucklanders surveyed hadn’t used PT at all in the last year. This put us on par with Christchurch and Dunedin, both of which are significantly smaller, neither of which have rail, and neither of which are particularly PT-oriented cities. We’re well behind Wellington, where only 27% of people hadn’t hopped on a train or bus at least once. Remember that (greater) Wellington is around the same size as Christchurch, and both cities are less than a third the size of Auckland.

Wow, that’s not a good start. How about people who haven’t used PT in the last month, but have in the last year? 17% of Aucklanders fell into this camp, in line with the other cities except for Wellington.

So, by this point, we can see that only 30% of Aucklanders had used public transport in the month before they were surveyed. We were in between Dunedin (26%) and Christchurch (34%), and well
behind Wellington where 46% of the people had used it at least once.

The last few lines of the table below are asking people how many days in the last month they had used public transport. I won’t dwell on it except to point out that half the Aucklanders who used PT in the last month hadn’t used it very often. Only 14% used it on 5 days or more, ahead of Dunedin (11%) but behind Christchurch (16%) and Wellington (27%).

Wellington is leaps and bounds ahead of Auckland, but I think we all knew that. I think these results are a pretty telling scorecard, and, to put it mildly, Auckland doesn’t look too flash. The majority of Aucklanders never use public transport at all, and most of those who do don’t use it very often. Two basic questions come out of this:

  1. Why don’t Aucklanders use PT very often?
  2. How do we improve PT usage in Auckland?

Questions that are answered in a number of different posts in this blog! A redesign of the network, and rail electrification, should help boost patronage over the next few years. But the thing is, we should really be aiming to get to where Wellington is now in the short to medium term. Anything less is short-changing ourselves in my opinion.

 

You can read the full article over at the Transport Blog site.

However the two questions in red are the points being raised and I answered over there. My answer was:

John (P) while a great post I think (from experience) the obvious is missing to give our flagging P/T patronage especially our rail patronage good kick until the infrastructure comes on cue over the next 10-30 years.

I take note here:

  1. Why don’t Aucklanders use PT very often?
  2. How do we improve PT usage in Auckland?

Questions that are answered in a number of different posts in this blog! A redesign of the network, and rail electrification, should help boost patronage over the next few years. But the thing is, we should really be aiming to get to where Wellington is now in the short to medium term. Anything less is short-changing ourselves in my opinion.”

Those are the two questions we are all seeking to actually answer and the reason why (to my personal disagreement as well as Councillor Mike Lee not being amused either) AT are about to embark on spending our money on “professional experts” ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10855436 ) in finding “fixes” to our rail slump,

 

However again Councillor Mike Lee has hit the nail on the head right here with this comment from another article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857062

“Mayor Len Brown says the arrival of the trains will be “a huge step on the path towards the kind of integrated transport system an international city like Auckland needs”.

He believes the electric units – which will have greater acceleration and braking power than the existing diesel fleet – will make rail patronage “rocket” and create even more pressure for a 3.5km underground rail extension from Britomart to Mt Eden.

But council transport chairman and veteran electrification campaigner Mike Lee believes the new trains will not be enough to boost flagging patronage unless they are supported by general service improvements, notably far better punctuality and extended weekend timetables, without prohibitive fare rises.

“I would not bank on electric trains in themselves fixing chronic underlying human management problems,” he said.”

 

Basically cutting it short why don’t Aucklanders use P/T much and how do we improve our P/T usage in Auckland? Well the infrastructure part of the answer is being dealt with so to me it is rather irrelevant in this point in time. The actual answer came from Dr Lester Levy – Chair of AT:

Dr Levy said he agreed there was a need for “critical measures” to be adopted and Auckland Transport needed to be far more customer-led in creating a demand for its services.

And there is the answer right there and there – he said it himself: ” Auckland Transport needed to be far more customer-led in creating a demand for its services”

THAT TO ME IS (and excuse the caps) PRIORITY NUMBER ONE above else at the moment.

2013 is going to be long and interesting year getting the patronage back round again. However (and in my opinion (what ever that is worth these days)) we (by we I mean AT, Council, the p/t user, you guys here at the blog, myself, and others who give a damn about our city) can do this – slowly but surely. :D

 

Now I am going to extend the “situation” from another Transport Blog commenter emphasising the point:

George D

But council transport chairman and veteran electrification campaigner Mike Lee believes the new trains will not be enough to boost flagging patronage unless they are supported by general service improvements, notably far better punctuality and extended weekend timetables, without prohibitive fare rises.

He’s right. It doesn’t matter how fast and shiny the trains are if they’re still late and unreliable, and riding them costs more than ever. Every time fares rise, demand decreases – we’ve actually reached the point now where we’ve passed an equilibrium and ridership is decreasing towards a new equilibrium with those who are prepared to pay for a particular level of service.

 

Now since then a few more comments from Transport Blog have come up however I can’t specifically address those issues at the moment.

But as for my point and George D’s point, the writing for Auckland Transport is literally on the (virtual) wall. Improve customer service FIRST (and restore affordability to fares while at it) or all this multi-billion investment in our public transport system is going to be an utter waste if Auckland Transport can not get the basic human to human interaction right. People (both front line staff and passengers) just want to be treated like humans and be able to at least have a pleasant experience on our public transport network – even in times of disruptions. It can be done, it has been done and it is straight forward if the culture (and tools) are there.

 

There will be more said on this matter next month when I front up in front of members of the Auckland Transport Board next month for my RPTP hearing. However 5-minutes doesn’t quite seem long enough to hammer on about the “Customer Service Portal” at this current rate of dissatisfaction out there.

 

As I said: “There will be more said on this matter next month when I front up in front of members of the Auckland Transport Board next month for my RPTP hearing. However 5-minutes doesn’t quite seem long enough to hammer on about the “Customer Service Portal” at this current rate of dissatisfaction out there.”

 

Long way to go folks, long way to go.