Tag: transportation

Local Board Services and The Unitary Plan – Coming Up

Coming Up on BR:AKL

 

Local Board Service Provision and The Unitary Plan

 

With AT-HOP under-way and not causing too many issues (the issues that are there are being followed up regularly) it is time to turn the light and focus onto two other issues that are perennial in the complaints department – that being Local Board Service Provisions (or lack thereof) and The Unitary Plan.

 

For the rest of 2012 BR:AKL will dedicate its focus in shining the light at Local Board Services and The Unitary Plan. Transport will still be mentioned but only if it is something significantly major in the current events department.

 

Tomorrow I will be starting my constructive criticisms and alternative idea proposals on The Unitary Plan, as well as how Local Board Service Provisions are suffering under this current Council.

 

There have been victories already chalked up at BR:AKL in various areas in progressing to a Better Auckland, and with continued dedication and passion more victories towards a Better Auckland will continued to be chalked up 😀 – For your benefit, not mine! So as BR:AKL and I continue to advocate towards a Better Papakura and Better Auckland, there will be:

No sensationalism, no emotional blackmail! Just presenting the facts as they appear and offering my opinion/commentary and ideas on progressing plans (including overhauls). Remembering my opinions and ideas are framed by the ‘What I Stand For‘ foundation principles for a Better Papakura and Better Auckland.

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
AND
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

Wheels of Progress Turning Ctd

NZ Herald on “Boost for Trains In (the) South”

 

Wednesday I had posted on The Wheels of Progress Turning and how we are a step closer to Electrification all the way to Pukekohe and getting the Manukau South Link built and operating. Today Mathew Dearnaley from the NZ Herald posted his article on these two developments.

From the NZH:

Boost for trains in south

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Transport will be asked by its council parent to give high priority to a south-facing rail link from Manukau while also considering the cost of electrifying trains to Pukekohe.

The council’s transport committee this week heard the organisation’s board is to consider electrification costs to Pukekohe at its next meeting in a fortnight.

But after the Franklin and Papakura local boards urged a more direct rail link with Manukau, the committee also decided to ask Auckland Transport to give that high priority before electric trains start running in 2014.

Although the Government’s existing $500 million electrification project is to stop at Papakura, committee member Christine Fletcher said an extension to Pukekohe was “the next logical step”.

Mrs Fletcher, who is also a council appointee to the transport board, believed an existing order of 57 electric trains being built-in Spain should be extended.

Although the cost of electrifying rail to Papakura was estimated at $115 million in 2008, and would normally be seen as the Government’s responsibility, committee chairman Mike Lee noted that he and Mrs Fletcher had persuaded the transport board last month to save $50 million by scaling down the upgrade of Dominion Rd.

“So it’s a matter of priority,” he said.

The committee also decided council staff should do their own study, although in consultation with Auckland Transport and the local boards, on the costs and benefits of a south-facing link from Manukau in relation to other rail projects.

Councillor George Wood said an $81 million north-facing line to Manukau, built to feed into a new Manukau Institute of Technology campus, was not “giving anywhere near the level of service it could do to people living to the south”.

 

Hmm Mathew, you might want to do some research (or get your junior to do so) on how the Manukau South Link came about. To give you hand go click THIS LINK and THIS LINK and THIS LINK on how the entire Manukau South Link matter arose and got to where it was.

As I have emailed Councillors Wood, Fletcher and Lee; a massive thanks to all three of them was sent for facilitating the discussion on the Manukau South Link which then got put alongside the Pukekohe electrification proposal. A special thanks to Councillor George Wood was also mentioned for bringing to the Transport Committee the Notice of Motion after I had raised concern about the South Link with him directly.

Now I will work on operation proposals on services running from Pukekohe and Papakura to Manukau using the South Link using both the existing DMU (Diesel) rolling stock and the new upcoming EMU (Electric) rolling stock and forward them to the Transport Committee for consideration.

But as I have said before:

I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

Why?

 

Well I get nothing out of this directly nor personally per se. What I do get once the South Link is built and operating is the quiet satisfaction that access for South and Counties Auckland to Manukau via the South Link (Manukau being the major Southern Hub of Auckland) has been greatly improved for residents and communities south of Manukau. Quiet satisfaction that as a citizen and ratepayer of Auckland, I have done my part in advocating and lobbying our civic institutions in wanting to make my community that I live in a better place. And that is regardless if I am elected to Papakura Local Board next year or not!

 

I’ll draw up another post this weekend on my campaign for Papakura Local Board, but as Councillor Wood noted and thanked in the Transport Committee on Wednesday: I do have a real passion and drive on transport and planning issues here in Auckland as I just simply want Auckland my home to be a better place to live, work and play in. Thus why I lobby, advocate and draw up proposals for Council on all things Transport and Planning – it is not for me – it is for you!

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
AND
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

Wheels of Motion are Turning

Fighting for the South Manukau Link

 

Continuing to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

Last month I had posted on someone deciding to place a nice big concrete pad in the middle of the path for the Manukau Rail Southern Link. You can see the post (SOUTH AUCKLAND GETS SHAFTED – YET AGAIN) by clicking on the link.

Well after some advocating and lobbying, Councillor George Wood who is a member of the Council Transport Committee got a Notice of Motion placed into November’s agenda about the South Link. The Notice of Motion is:

Requests Auckland Transport to give a high priority to the installation of a south facing rail link between the Manukau Spur Line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Wiri so that this connection can be in place by the time
that electrification of the Auckland Metro rail systems occurs. 

You can see the Notice of Motion in the November Transport Committee Agenda at the bottom of this post.

 

Naturally I am supporting this motion after kicking up the initial fuss in the first place when I first spotted the concrete pad in the middle of the South Link’s path.

I had this to say in my material forwarded to Councillor Wood as well as my submission to the Regional Public Transport Plan:

The link to the original New Zealand Herald article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10799107

 

As I said above, the Herald and I had commented on the missing link in April. Now some seven months later it seems apparent the link is a no-go or basically dead. Without the link; Manurewa, Papakura and Pukekohe are virtually isolated in easy access to Manukau by rail. This flies directly in the face of the idea around a Rapid Service that should allow very easy access with minimum fuss or transfers to a primary service centre for South Auckland.

The current proposal using trains which incur a transfer penalty at Puhinui or the bus trundling along the Great South Road (which takes more than double the time a train does) from Papakura to Manukau (and skipping Homai on the way) to me in my opinion is substandard for the people in these locales, and basically reinforces the isolation factor/feeling these residents have from a major service, employment and leisure centre!

Operational Proposal for Manukau to Papakura Link

With the Manukau to Papakura Link (The South Link) built for around $3.8m, the next question is what kind of services do you run. The answer is both straight forward for both the existing diesel passenger train fleet and the upcoming new electric passenger train fleet. The estimate length of journey from Papakura to Manukau Station via The South link is around 19 minutes (plus a seven minute walk from the Manukau Station to the Westfield Manukau Mall), compared to 30 mins using the Waka Pacific 471 and 472 bus according to the www.at.co.nz Journey Planner.

Thus allowing for turnaround at Manukau and Papakura Stations and knowing what rolling stock availability there is available pre-EMU’s; I recommend using one ADL-2 class DMU to run a single service backwards and forwards between Manukau and Papakura every one hour  in a single direction from 6:00am until around 10:19pm – seven days a week. That means for example your Papakura to Manukau via The South Link would start at Papakura at 6:30am and arrives in Manukau at 6:49am; then leave Manukau at 7:00am to make its return run to Papakura via the South Link.

An example of how a proposed Papakura-Manukau via The South Link Timetable would work (for brevity I have not included the afternoon services)

From Papakura Arrive at Manukau From Manukau Arrive at Papakura
    6:00am (first service) 6:19am
6:30am (first service) 6:49am 7:00am 7:19am
7:30am 7:49am 8:00am 8:19am
8:30am 8:49am 9:00am 9:19am
9:30am 09:49am 10:00am 10:19am
10:30am 10:49am 11:00am 11:19am
11:30am 11:49am 12:00pm 12:19pm
9:30pm (last service) 9:49pm 10:00pm (last service) 10:19pm

 

When the new electric trains are fully on-stream replacing the diesel fleet between Papakura and Swanson, the frequencies can be increased to every 30 minutes at the minimum, or 20 minutes for optimum service delivery until either the Botany or Airport Line (via Puhinui Station) is open and a new operating model would be in place (subject to EMU fleet availability).

In concluding this section of my RPTP; I highly recommend Auckland Transport remedy the situation and get that link for $3.8m built by 2016 at the absolute latest. Once the link is built, operating services would begin on an hourly timetable, stepping up to 20 minute frequencies once the new EMU fleet is fully online. To do otherwise is not an option unless you endorse isolating a major part of the community from its main service centre!

 

Now what I did not mention is the fact that we will have 10 ADL-class DMU’s available when all the EMU’s are online 2016. With ADL DMU’s already by then doing the Papakura – Pukekohe shuttle runs until the main line is electrified from Papakura to Pukekohe, those DMU’s can be extended to do a full Pukekohe – Papakura – Manukau via the Southern Link shuttle service until such a time Pukekohe is electrified and the EMU’s fully take over. So with upwards of 10 DMU’s, you can pretty much obtain 15-20 minute frequencies on Pukekohe – Manukau shuttles until those EMU’s can do the runs in place of the DMU’s (most likely 2020).

 

 

So here I am pitching for the residents and communities of: Homai, Manurewa, Takanini, Mahia, Papakura, Drury and (in-part) Pukekohe to get the missing link built for a frequent and rapid service to Manukau – the primary service and employment hub of South and Counties (former Franklin District) Auckland. Manukau has more connections to South Auckland residents than the CBD ever will, and as a result South Auckland should be able to access Manukau easily and efficiently which building The South Link will provide. To not provide the link and roll out the services utilising the link in my opinion as a Papakura resident and ratepayer, an insult to my fellow South Auckland neighbours and communities.

 

Thus I will continue to advocate and lobby hard for that South Link to be built – FOR YOU, the residents of South (and Counties) Auckland! As you deserve better!

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light – To a Better Papakura (OUR home)
AND
To a Better Auckland – (OUR City)

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

 

The Agenda

 

 

 

3, 2, 1 AT-HOP IS GO!

And We are Away with AT-HOP

 

Monday has been and gone and all was relatively well for the first day of AT-HOP (for commuters that is).

No major problems at Britomart or Newmarket were heard of via the feedback back to BR:AKL. Any problems that might have occurred seemed to be more passenger orientated as everyone gets use to AT-HOP 🙂

 

Auckland Transport has released a new brochure on AT-HOP showing the traditional cash fares, AT-HOP fares, and the expanded Monthly Pass system. You can see the brochure in the embed below:

 

And for a close up of the AT-HOP Stored Value Fares vs Standard Cash Fares

 

Hmm I remember a smallish episode with AT over those AT-HOP Stored Value fares not too long ago 😉

 

Any case; AT-HOP IS GO and away 😀

Oh and I noticed all the big wigs from AT were at Britomart last night too… hehe

 

 

 

Ooooops

Who Got Fined Again?

 

 

Ooops at the tune of $3 million a month just in Auckland. Well that is if the Herald article this morning was anything to go by:

 

From the NZH on this Labour Day:

Drivers fined $3m a month

By Mathew Dearnaley

5:30 AM Monday Oct 22, 2012

 

AA shocked at rise in amount collected by Auckland Transport for vehicle offences.

Auckland Transport has been slugging motorists with fines of $3 million a month for parking and other vehicle offences.

Figures it supplied to the Herald for its first 20 months have shocked the Automobile Association, which suspects they reflect “anti-car” tendencies of its Auckland Council parent.

The figures detail $36.2 million of fines collected from motorists in the financial year to June 30.

That leaped from $20.5 million for the previous eight months, from when Auckland Transport began business in November 2010.

Although the latest total was for a longer period, the monthly average has risen to just over $3 million from $2.54 million in the organisation’s early days.

The $17 million was Auckland Transport’s half-share of warrant and registration fines. The Ministry of Transport received the rest.

But AA spokesman Simon Lambourne believed an increase in parking fines from $4.4 million for the eight months to last winter, to $7.2 million in the year to June 30, showed too much effort put into enforcement of a flawed system and not enough into education.

That was not counting $16.4 million in court penalties for all types of vehicle infringement over the year.

Auckland Transport also raised $32.7 million last financial year from standard motorists’ fees for street parking and parking buildings, and $2.1 million from bus lane infringements, although that represented an easing from $1.9 million collected for the previous eight months

 

You can read the rest of the article at the NZH. But what I want to get at is the AA’s rather archaic thinking here, in particular to comment from them:

But AA spokesman Simon Lambourne believed an increase in parking fines from $4.4 million for the eight months to last winter, to $7.2 million in the year to June 30, showed too much effort put into enforcement of a flawed system and not enough into education.

And

Of parking fines, Mr Lambourne said: “The amount of money being collected is alarming. It’s not being realistic about the importance of the car to mobility in Auckland.”

Oh boohoo and go back to the 1950’s as you get no sympathy from me here AA! With education; well teach your member drivers how to read the following signs: No Parking, Mobility Holders Only, Bus Stop, P60, Clearway, Loading Zone, Bus Lane, etc and then you might find the amount of fines given out decreasing. As for WoF and rego fines, well who was the nupty there for parking without a current WoF or registration 😛

As for importance of the car to mobility; dang that is 1950’s thinking knowing where the AA is going with that line of thought!

 

Look I do not deny the car as one of the sources of mobility in Auckland – that is ONE OF THE SOURCES! However we do have (and need investment) other sources of mobility such as public or active (walking) transport that need equal attention (if not more) as the car. In my submissions to The Auckland and Long Term Plans I gave equal weight to both car and public transport in investment for Auckland. An example was $3.6b on the City Rail Link and Rail Efficiency Program while an equal amount of cash was allocated to The Eastern Highway and the East-West link in Penrose/Mt Wellington. All three of those projects have high benefit to Auckland and are considered Priority One and Two (so completed by 2025 or 2032). There is no skewering towards one particular mode of transport over the other here.

 

As for the CBD, cars and parking; well the CBD is a premium place with premium parking so I somewhat expected premium parking prices here. The CBD can still be access easily whether by car, bus or train; we just have to be smart on how limited CBD is allocated to traffic and how measures can be taken to best utilise premium CBD space. My parking regime submission to AT gives an idea on what I would propose for the CBD:

 

ALTERNATIVE TO CENTRAL CITY PARKING ZONE REGIME

Posted by BR:AKL_Admin01 on June 14, 2012 · Leave a Comment (Edit)

Need the Alternative first before “penalising” car users

 

MY ALTERNATIVE LAID OUT

Last week I wrote a post on how Auckland Council and Transport were planning to change the parking regime in the Auckland CBD. In the post I spelled out the pros and cons of such a change (mainly cost of parking would be more expensive than Central London (exchange rate taken into account) and my viable alternative to such a regime – both pre and post City Rail Link.

Lets take a brief recap of the alternative I laid out:

I would support the new parking scheme if we had a viable alternative in position, but because we do not I OPPOSE the scheme – pure and simple. To get me to support the scheme you need the following in position first for the CBD:

  • The CRL – so the main sections of the CBD are reachable by train regardless on how you got to the CBD from the suburbs first
  • Parking Garages on the outskirts of the CBD, complemented with shuttle buses, and the City and Inner Link Buses (for the North Shore you would need a big park and ride at Akoranga Busway Station). This would allow people to drive from the suburbs to the CBD outskirts, park up then catch a shuttle, bus or train into the main CBD core. You would also get spin offs through being able to add more pedestrian malls and shared zones with reduction of inner CBD traffic.
  • A working and frequent off-peak service to give better incentive to come into the CBD via mass transit from the suburbs (could mean extending timetables and better security on mass transit to discourage anti-social behaviour (a real turn off from using the bus or train).

If one was wondering where the main parking garages would be ringing the CBD I was thinking (but not limited to) these areas:

  • Next to Grafton Station (the old Brewery Site is up for redevelopment) and may be Mt Eden Station on the Western Rail Line.
  • Near Newmarket South (there is some under utilised car lots next to the Newmarket Viaduct that would do just nicely – and still within an 800 metre/10 minute distance gap to Newmarket Station (see Mapnificent Graphic below for areas within reach of proposed parking building)
  • The Auckland Water-Frontier Transit Station (has to be built first and that is at least 20 years away)
  • Orakei and G.I Train Stations which have Park and Rides
  • Wynyard Quarter near Fanshawe Street (State Highway One end) (My proposed Wynyard Transit Station)

Well today I drew up some maps of this alternative scheme, and filed my submission to Auckland Transport formally opposing their Central City Parking Zone WITHOUT viable alternatives in position first.

 

You can see the rest of that particular post by clicking on the link above

 

In the end, it is about being balanced and fair (well much as possible) to all users. What the AA suggests is not fair and balanced, what I propose and advocate for is. And while my alternative is CBD focused, it can be easily translated to the suburbs including my home community of Papakura! Speaking of which I think a Town Hall meeting is required in mobility and access in Papakura, especially with 500 “social” and “affordable” houses due to be built behind me – and no access what so ever to public transport…

 

In Brief

A Brief View of Auckland

 

 

Was a busy day in the NZ Herald today with two different articles on Auckland’s Transport, and another two on our Council Control Organisations.

 

The two transport articles were:

 

In both these cases I have run commentary on these and are giving specific mention in my submission to Auckland Transport‘s Regional Public Transport Plan. Further commentary will be at hand as the week advances and I continue my RPTP submission.

 

As for the other two articles covering our CCO‘s, they were:

 

In regards to these issues, I have run commentary on this before and it seems I will be doing so again here at BR:AKL again this week if not next week. CCO’s being secretive is one of my pet hates and a campaign plank as I run for Papakura Local Board in next year’s Local Government 2013 Elections.

 

So yes today was a very busy day in the NZ Herald, with plenty more to campaign on for a Better Auckland here at BR:AKL!

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light –
To a Better Auckland

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

Family Pass Hard To Get

Yes We Know You Can Not Get Family Passes for the Train Easy Any-More

 

The guys over at Transport Blog picked up and ran with a post on the lack of accessibility to get a Family Pass for the trains, for a day out as currently being seen in the school holidays:

By cbtadmin, on October 11th, 2012
…This policy discriminates against any family that doesn’t live near the three stations mentioned. For instance a family of 5 wanting to travel from the new Manukau Station to Britomart return will have to pay  ($6.80 x 2) + ($4 x 3) = $25.60 x 2 = $51.20 return!  The same family of 5 going from Britomart to Manukau return could get the $24 family pass….

 

Sorry to say guys but where have you been for the last three to four weeks – seriously?!

BR:AKL picked up on the Family Pass issue last month and ran an extensive post on this: $57.80 FOR A RETURN TRIP ON AN AUCKLAND TRAIN

 

The BR:AKL post also included all relevant public information available on the ticketing regime change as well as the Fare Matrix on the new costs of a family day out on the train due to the Family Pass issue.

I emailed every single Councillor and the Mayors Office over this situation as this was of high concern as we approach Labour Weekend and the summer holidays. Needless to say I have received a few replies back and been in extensive email conversation with Councillor Mike Lee over the Family Pass (as well as the fare affordability situation in general) issue.

BR:AKL will maintain the pressure to assure a fair and balanced outcome for family and day tripping users as it is unfair and unbalanced to get slugged $57.80 for a day in town compared to $26 if that same family went by car!

 

I have also made it an election campaign pledge in my running for Papakura Local Board (Local Government 2013 Elections) next year to continue the lobbying and pressure Auckland Transport to restore fair and balanced fairs for families if the situation as not been reverted by then (one year from now).

 

 

But regardless to who posted first on the Family Pass issue, the point being is that Auckland Transport needs to fix the issue NOW as there are not a lot of happy people. Actually off-peak patronage as noticeable dropped these school holidays according to feedback to BR:AKL. I wonder if that is due to the difficulty getting Day Rovers, Family Passes and Discovery Passes from the rail network now. Hmm…

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, QUERIES OR COMPLAINTS ON FARE MOVEMENTS WITH AT-HOP THEN CONTACT ANYONE OF THESE AUCKLAND COUNCILLORS ON THE ACCOUNTABILITY AND PERFORMANCE COMMITTEE WITH YOUR CONCERN. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT CAN HELP YOU (or Auckland Transport themselves) WITH YOUR CONCERN – NO ONE ELSE (including Veolia)!