21 Sep

Mike Lee the Legend of Auckland Public Transport

Mike Lee

As voters consider their choices in the upcoming local government elections, the Public Transport Users Association has decided it was time to highlight and thank Cr. Mike Lee for his excellent, unparalleled efforts to promote public transport across the Auckland region, regardless of the outcome of the election.

Christine Rose, Chair of the PTUA said “ I worked with Mike Lee when I was the Chair of the Regional Transport Committee in the mid to late 2000’s and found his incredible in-depth knowledge around all things related to transport as extremely beneficial. His long term vision for public transport is something others need to aspire to”.

Jon Reeves, Coordinator of the PTUA says, Mike Lee is often overlooked by other organisations rating candidates who have their own agendas to push. Unlike them, the PTUA looks at one thing, what has a candidate done and achieved for Aucklanders in the realms of public transport.

The list of achievements with Mike Lee is a mile long, but to just name a few:

  • – 1992 Helped save rail in Auckland by acquiring the ex-Perth diesel railcars. This small but significant action helped grow rail patronage and set the plan for Britomart 10 years later.
  • – Promoted, pushed and negotiated with Central and local Govt stakeholders to have the Onehunga railway line reopened. It successfully opened in 2010 after being closed to passengers in 1973 and was on the cusp of being removed forever.
  • – Lobbied for funding support of free City Link bus promoted by Heart of the City.
  • – As Chair of the old Auckland Regional Council Lee supported electrification of the Auckland rail network . He lobbied both the Labour and National Governments for support.
  • – City Rail Link, formulated by the ARC under Mike Lee’s stewardship and later championed by Mayor Len Brown.
  • “The PTUA is not aware of any other candidates with as such a strong track record in delivering solid public transport improvements and we wish Mike Lee all the best in his attempt to win his seat on the Waitemata and Gulf Ward in the current elections. Train, bus and ferry users of today and the future, owe Mike Lee a lot” says Mr Reeves

    “The PTUA is an independent organisation, not funded directly or indirectly by Auckland Transport, development organisations or property developers and the like. We purely exist to represent users of public transport”. “We remain politically neutral, but we must give credit where credit is due to the single person who has done so much for public transport in Auckland”. Reeves added “Mike Lee is also a founding member of the PTUA.”

    Mrs Rose says “Mike has been a consistent and dignified statesman of public transport in the Auckland region. He doesn’t take credit for the actions of many, as other candidates are inclined to do, but he has a long memory and a clear vision for transport justice across the whole Auckland land-mass, not just in a single electorate”. “Without Mike’s contribution through the decades, we would have made half the progress to date”. “The Public Transport Users Association commends his contributions through the years, with an ongoing legacy that others can only dream of and hope to build upon”.

    ENDS

    Scoop Article

23 Mar

Easter Warning For HOP Card Users

No rail for airport

The Public Transport Users Association is warning Auckland Transport HOP card users to be careful this long weekend as they could be overcharged for fares on Rail Replacement buses.
The PTUA brought the issue to the attention of Auckland Transport after faulty HOP card readers on rail replacement buses and connecting trains over Waitangi weekend overcharged passengers.
Jon Reeves, Coordinator for the PTUA, said “We have warned AT that passengers HOP cards have been illegally overcharged on long weekends when rail lines are partially closed down for maintenance, possibly by hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively. AT have not responded to our concerns, so this weekend the PTUA will be checking the fares for HOP users on rail replacement services. If any illegal overcharging occurs then we will be laying a complaint against AT with the Commerce Commission for breaching the Fair Trading Act by charging higher than advertised fares. Aucklanders have been promised a smart HOP card to make transport easier. Unfortunately, it has turned out the HOP card has made it easier for overcharging users and AT have not been forth coming correcting the issue”.
AT needs to advise and refund HOP card users, who are most likely unaware they are being overcharged by as much as double the published fare.  Reeves says “The PTUA have lodged an OIA request and are waiting for AT’s response to find out how many HOP card passengers used rail replacement services in the past 14 months, and how many were overcharged.
The PTUA are asking passengers to check the fare deducted from their HOP cards on journeys this weekend which use buses as full or partial replacement for train services. If they believe they have been over charged, please contact the PTUA with details. HOP card users should pay particular attention on these services which could overcharge your account:
All services on the Western Line will be replaced by rail buses from Good Friday (25 March) to Easter Monday (28 March).
All services on the Southern, Eastern and Onehunga Line will be replaced by rail buses on Good Friday.
Trains are operating between Sylvia Park and Britomart on the Eastern Line on Saturday 26, Sunday 27 and Easter Monday 28 March. All other services will be replaced by buses.
All services on the Southern and Onehunga Line will be replaced by buses on Saturday 26, Sunday 27 and Easter Monday 28 March.

26 Jan

Prime Minister Can Solve Auckland’s Traffic Woes

Peak hour north western motorway 2015

The Public Transport Users Association is looking forward to the Prime Minister John Key’s expected announcement tomorrow that the Government will bring funding for the City Rail Link project forward by two years.   This move will allow full construction of the CRL to get underway in 2018, instead of the 2020 date the Government has previously advocated for.

Coordinator of the Public Transport Users Association, Jon Reeves, has welcomed the move. “Bringing construction of the City Rail Link forward will provide an important step change in public transport usage across Auckland. It will allow seamless travel throughout the Auckland rail network and reduce travel times to West Auckland by around 15 minutes. It will also allow for the recently marginalised Northern Explorer service to again depart from Britomart, and enable commuter rail services from Hamilton to arrive in the centre of the Auckland CBD”, Reeves said.

However, the PTUA is aware that the Prime Minister may also choose to promote the completion of the East-West connection between Penrose and Onehunga, at an anticipated cost of over $2 billion. The PTUA would view this call as the government bowing to the demands of the powerful trucking lobby. “An East-West truckway is not what Aucklanders want” Reeves says.  “What Aucklanders have been crying out for decades is a fast rail service to Auckland International Airport. Building the Airport Rail line will move thousands of vehicles out of Onehunga and the surrounding areas by freeing up space for the trucking industry. Building an unnecessary East West truckway first, instead of an airport rail line, is taking a short-sighted approach and lacks common sense.”

Other important public transport projects the PTUA would like to see brought forward are:

  • Extend electrification of the rail line to Pukekohe and Pokeno
  • Extend electrification of the rail line extend from Swanson to Huapai to provide reliable and efficient public transport options for this rapidly expanding residential area
  • Extension of the highly successful Northern Busway to Silverdale
  • Construction of the Nor West Busway to Westgate
  • Funding to build a busway from Panmure to East Auckland
  • NZTA funding of public buses from Warkworth to Silverdale
  • Funding of specialist Police unit dedicated to public transport

Fast-tracking these important public transport projects will deliver far better solutions to Auckland’s transport issues than throwing more money at plans for yet more unsustainable motorway expansion. For 65 years Auckland has been building motorways as the city has sprawled, and today the roads are more gridlocked than ever.  Recent and future housing development in areas unsupported by good public transport infrastructure is only adding to the problem. Sustainable solutions that work to move people out of cars and onto reliable, frequent and efficient public transport are the only way forward.

The PTUA hopes to see some of this thinking reflected in the Prime Ministers announcement tomorrow.

ENDS

04 Dec

Train Plan Set to Fail

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is concerned about rumours from our members about plans to relocate the Northern Explorer Auckland to Wellington train service from its current base at the Britomart Transport Centre, to the extremely inconvenient Strand platform behind the former Auckland Railway Station, located over a kilometre away between Downtown and Parnell.

“We have contacted Kiwirail on a number of occasions this week for a confirmation of this plan but have not yet received a response,” said Jon Reeves, Coordinator of the PTUA. “It appears Kiwirail have started building an office at the Strand platform in the past week. The PTUA does not support the move of the Northern Explorer service to the Strand site, where public transport connections to the rest of the city are limited.” Reeves added.

The PTUA are concerned the relocation of the Northern Explorer to the Strand will impact on demand and provide cause for the service,  the last long distance passenger rail option in the North Island, to be terminated. The PTUA are considering the possibility that Kiwirail and Auckland Transport are planning to run the service down, in order to free-up the rail network channel currently occupied by the Northern Explorer service.

Ultimately, Auckland needs the construction of the City Rail Link brought forward with confirmed investment by the Government and construction of the third railway line from Westfield to Papakura. Delaying full construction of the CRL 2020 is simply not an option, or in the best interests of Auckland. Without these critical rail infrastructure components, much needed fast inter-regional commuter rail services to cities such as Hamilton and Tauranga will never eventuate.

As an alternative, the PTUA suggest that if Auckland Transport need the morning slot in the Britomart Transport Centre for commuter trains, then adjusting the Northern Explorer timetable for a 9:15am departure would be a better alternative. A later departure time would enable the service to remain in its current location at Britomart.  Passengers, particularly tourists, will not be affected by this change in schedule, if anything it would be potentially more attractive than the current 7:45am departure time. On the flip side, passengers arriving into Auckland from Wellington in the evening will be faced with limited transfer options outside of taking taxi’s to Britomart to connect to the public  transport network.

“This is not a good look for tourists and their first impression of Auckland”, Reeves says. “We know that in Auckland city, if you place trains out near the old station – which closed in 2003 – train patronage will be hampered. The rumoured plan to move the Northern Explorer trains to the Strand platform is certainly a very unwise move and needs to be stopped in its tracks immediately.“

The Public Transport Users Association encourages tourism operators to contact Kiwirail with feedback about this plan. We would also welcome Kiwirail’s response to PTUA concerns.

ENDS

23 Feb

PTUA campaigns rolling on in 2015

WEST

This month (February) the PTUA is meeting with residents and business groups in the Waitakere, Kumeu and Huapai areas to discuss their concerns and poor public transport options offered by Auckland Transport. It is clear that rail should be offered to move passengers faster on the western line from Huapai to Newmarket and all suburbs in between. Buses cannot offer quality of service in respect to speed or comfort from Kumeu/Huapai to Western suburbs such as Henderson, Glen Eden or the growing New Lynn centre. Buses are only useful on the Huapai – Britomart direct route, though all peak hour services are trapped in heavy traffic congestion on the North Western motorway and a potential busway is at least 8 to 10 years away from being constructed.

Volunteer members of the PTUA will continue surveying passengers in Waitakere, Swanson, Kumeu and Huapai as we build up a picture of what commuters actually want. We are aware that Auckland Transport have received hundreds of submissions mainly against proposed changes to public transport in West Auckland.

SOUTH

Soon PTUA members will be surveying passengers using Pukekohe station, as it is clear there is a need for Auckland Transport services to be extended over the “magical border” into North Waikato. We would like to get a picture of how many Pukekohe rail users actually travel from Tuakau to use rail services.

We have some interesting campaigns in the planning stages for other issues affecting our members.

We are looking for members of the public to help us with our surveying. Please become a member of the PTUA and help us help passengers. Click Here to read more about the Papakura to Pukekohe section.

24 Dec

Happy Xmas & New Year from the PTUA

The PTUA Committee would like to thank everyone for their support since our creation on the 1st of December 2014. 
 
We have a number of campaigns planned for 2015 already, including our West Rail campaigns for Waitakere and Kumeu-Huapai which has been incredibly well received by local communities and public transport users. There are many issues out there which have not been adequately resolved and we will be there to support passengers needs. Should you come across significant issues, please email us: ptusers@outlook.com
 
We also have a really fun campaign planned for later in 2015. We’ll tell you more about that in due course.
 
In the mean time, rest up and relax, have a merry Christmas and a great New Year. 
 
Regards,
The Public Transport Users Association Committee

03 Dec

Public Transport Users to get a voice

Media Release

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Rally for Rail This Thursday

A group of local residents and would-be train users are meeting at the Huapai train station this Thursday, but they might be waiting a long time for a train. Despite proposed growth of thousands of new homes in Huapai and Riverhead, an existing railway line to the heart of the growth area, and existing stations and diesel rolling stock, Auckland Transport are not planning for trains.

A new group hopes to change that. The Public Transport Users Association is a voluntary organisation, newly established to give current and future public transport users a voice. They are launching their first campaign this week, to retain and extend rail services from Swanson to Waitakere and Huapai.

Chairperson of the new group, and former Chair of Auckland’s Regional Transport Committee, Christine Rose, who is a local bus and train user, says Waitakere and Kumeu communities must be
the only communities in the region facing a worse public transport future, with the withdrawal of train services to Waitakere, and the cancellation of long-held plans for hourly rail services to Huapai.

“The Northwestern motorway is severely congested and can’t keep up with growth in our area. Auckland Transport have no plans for a decent, dedicated, congestion free bus way to the Northwest. But we do have a significant underutilised asset in the rail, stations and rolling stock, that could provide a viable alternative for existing and future commuters”.

The Public Transport Users Association is launching the WestRail campaign at 4 on 4 December, but have already been encouraged by locals in support of rail services to the area. Further engagement with the community will follow. The group are also engaging with locals at the Waitakere station from 7-9 on Thursday morning, talking to commuters and encouraging awareness about the feasibility and need for rail services retained and extended in our area.

ENDS

Contact: Christine Rose 412 5668, 021 056 3784 OR Jon Reeves 027 529 0595

NOTES:

The Rally for Huapai Rail will be held at 4pm, Thursday 4pm at the Huapai train station and consultation with Waitakere rail commuters, from 7-9 on the same day. Hourly rail services to Huapai were long planned by Auckland’s transport authorities, and was included in the Auckland Passenger Transport Plan until last year Auckland Transport plans to remove Waitakere rail services altogether, by early 2015.