Transport and social equity: Part 2 Fares

(This is a cross posting from The Daily Blog, originally published Tuesday 29 October.) There is no question, public transport fares in New Zealand – generally speaking – are too high. Especially in Auckland. Our fares are much higher than most comparable cities, which offer better services and have higher patronage. Two factors may be […]

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Transport and social equity: Part 1

This is a cross post from The Daily Blog, where it was originally published Tuesday 22 October. Transport is often the third largest item of expenditure for a household. It is on average between 10-15% of the household budget, surpassed only by food and shelter. But it can be higher for low- and middle-income households. […]

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Better transport planning needed in Christchurch

This week in Christchurch I attended a breakfast lecture by visiting planning consultant Todd Litman from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, British Colombia.  He was advocating the benefits of “multi-modalism” transport planning – which basically means modern transport planning that spreads the focus over several forms of transport options – cars, public transport, cycleways, and […]

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Buses can be sexy

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Leave it to the Danes to make the best public transport ad I have seen so far. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75F3CSZcCFs&feature=player_embedded']   The ad essentially uses the same techniques ubiquitously applied to sell cars, and applies them to the bus. Given that car ads seem to be about one out of every three or four shown on […]

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On housing affordability and transport: it’s the parking, stupid.

There are two parallel debates going in Auckland that really need to be combined. On the one hand, we have a housing affordability crisis. The solution, we are told, in the very disappointing  Productivity Commission draft report, is to free up more land for development on the fringes of the urban area. This will presumably bring down […]

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Why won’t National listen to Auckland on CBD rail link?

I was astonished that a few weeks back Auckland MPs voted against inviting the Auckland Council to submit on the CBD rail link debate. I can only talk about it now because the report containing my minority report was tabled in Parliament today. The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee was discussing my petition to […]

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Greater Wellington failing regional economy

The roll-out of real time displays — screens that tell passengers when their bus or train will arrive — has been delayed yet again, Greater Wellington Regional Council reported yesterday. This is yet another setback in a long line of setbacks and broken promises stretching right back to the year 2000. European bus and train […]

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Will Auckland ever get new trains?

While Auckland’s public transport systems are getting seriously overcrowded, we are still waiting to find out which company has been awarded the $500 million contract to build the new Auckland electric rail cars (aka Electric Multiple Units or EMUs). The trains, themselves, won’t be operational until 2014 at the earliest. As motorway, after motorway, finishes 6 months […]

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Cool animated video of Auckland transport

There’s a cool video doing the rounds on the blogosphere right now which shows the Auckland public transport network working over a 24 hour period. An animated map of Auckland’s public transport network from Chris McDowall on Vimeo. Watching it really highlights to me how radial the public transport network is. There are a lot of […]

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New Auckland motorway causes congestion

The Herald has carried another story today about how building a motorway has made congestion worse in Auckland, not better. Suprised? The New Zealand Transport Agency has admitted that they seriously under-estimated how much traffic their upgrades of State Highway 16 (SH16) to form the Western Ring Route would create. Motorists are now experiencing delays of up […]

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Support for CBD Rail link strong and growing

There’s a poll on the Herald site asking if you think the Government should contribute to the CBD Rail tunnel. At nearly 15,000 votes, the vast majority (77%) say yes. Given that the Herald readership and online poll results tend towards conservative and business-oriented, there’s no reason to think that the popular support for this […]

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Auckland CBD rail loop business case stacks up

The long awaited Business Case for the CBD Rail Link was finally released on Wednesday this week, and it makes a compelling case for central government investment in the project. Just through traditional analysis of transport benefits, which usually underestimate the long term benefits of public transport projects, the economic case does stack up. But […]

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Who’s slowing Auckland down?

The skirmish that has broken out between Mike Lee and Steven Joyce could well herald the opening of an all out war. Len Brown came into office on a platform (among other things) of advocating strongly for public transport investment, with a key project being the CDB rail loop to open up the ‘dead end’ that is Britomart, which will reduce the congestion in the inner city area that imposes significant cost on businesses as well as compromising the ability of people to get around quickly and easily.

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New Lynn opens with new hope for Auckland

I attended the opening of the New Lynn transport hub last Friday. I always enjoy attending the openings of great transport projects but this one was particularly fun. It wasn’t just a lot of boring speeches but included a troupe of dancing dragons, a Maori kapa haka group performed and Govenor General Anand Satyand, made […]

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Last chance to get Dominion Road bus/cycle way

Just a reminder that the last day for submissions on the redesign of Dominion Road is this Sunday, 29th of August. I’ve commented on this issue before so will be brief.  Auckland City Council is planning to redesign Dominion Road, one of the busier roads in central Auckland. Their plans for redesign currently involve letting […]

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Trains are cheaper than helicopters

Recently Steven Joyce, our Minister of Trucking Transport, claimed it would cost less to fly somebody by helicopter from Hamilton to Auckland than it would to subsidize a commuter rail service between the two cities. Luckily, Hamilton City Councillors quickly responded, pointing out that the actual cost of subsidizing a commuter rail service is hundreds […]

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Next Harbour crossing must include rail, walking and cycling options

The Aucklander reported today that the Minister of Transport has asked consultants to conduct a study into whether the next Harbour crossing for Auckland should be a bridge or a tunnel.* Parallel tunnels for road and rail going under the Harbour are the preferred option that was selected by various stakeholders  (including the New Zealand […]

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Auckland says sustainable transport, National says motorways

I hopped along to the launch of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy last week. I’ve blogged about the strategy before so won’t say much. Basically it sets a different direction for transport in Auckland than that favoured by the National government. It prioritizes major sustainable transport projects like the CBD rail loop for funding […]

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Stop trying to privatise our public transport Mr Joyce

Last week the Waikato Times ran a worrying article about a review of public transport effectiveness that the government is currently running. There aren’t many details of the review publicly available yet but I’ve obtained this briefing from officials to the Hamilton Regional Land Transport committee about it. The briefing states that the Minister’s primary […]

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Submit to save the Stratford to Okahukura Rail Line

Kiwirail is considering closing the Stratford to Okahukura Rail Line because of damage to the tracks after a derailment last year. Kiwirail has told the media they are asking for submissions from the public before making a decision. Although, in practice, I can’t see any mention of the submission process on their website… Anyway, if […]

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Obama makes liveability central to transport funding

President Obama’s administration has recently announced progressive new changes to the way future transport projects will be funded. Obama’s administration is now adding “liveability” to the measures used to evaluate new transport projects. “We want to base our decisions on how much transit helps the environment, how much it improves development opportunities, and how it […]

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