09 Nov

“Sensible solution for Auckland Transport is back to the future” 

Best and Worst Bus Stops

The discussion over new Mayor Phil Goff’s decision not to appoint Councillors to the AT Board highlights that “there’s little debate that Auckland Transport’s governance arrangements need reviewing” says the Public Transport Users Association.

“While there are differences of opinion about the solutions, there is widespread agreement about the problems”. “Poor performance on some indicators, a perceived lack of accountability, inefficiencies, a lack of contestable advice – all show signs of typical transport capture with AT”, says PTUA Chair Christine Rose.

“But the most sensible solution may rest in Auckland’s past” says Mrs Rose. “Up until 2010, and everywhere else in the country now, citizens have the value of a broadly representative Regional Land Transport Committee to help shape important strategic transport decisions”. “Everywhere else in the country high-level transport direction is informed by political representatives. But these are supplemented by voices from the community too”. “PTUA recommends that in addition to the two re-established political Board roles, key Board members could also include those mandated for the rest of New Zealand”.

Regional Land Transport Committees (RLTC) elsewhere in New Zealand develop Regional Land Transport Strategies that set out the region’s transport vision and objectives. In Auckland, Auckland Transport already has the legal functions of an RLTC. “It makes sense therefore, to reflect what is essential and works well for the rest of the country. For a Unitary Authority like Auckland, the main transport decision making board (the RLTC equivalent) should include five elected representatives from the Council, one from NZTA, one cultural representative, and one to represent each of the objectives in the 2008 NZ Transport Strategy – economic development, safety and personal security, environmental sustainability, public health and access and mobility”.

PTUA co-ordinator Jon Reeves says there are clearly many voices missing from important transport decisions in Auckland, that are mandated to sit at the table elsewhere in the country. “Where are the voices for those with disabilities or cultural knowledge, or for sustainability?” “Up until the latest decision to axe the meagre two elected representatives, these Board members carried those cudgels. Now even that opportunity is being removed”.

“Ultimately on an enhanced AT Board that takes on the equivalent role of an RLTC, those positions might be filled by sector representatives, such as the AA, the Employers and Manufacturers’ Association, cycling advocate representatives, other advocates” says Mr Reeves. “But we’d be ensuring statutory objectives were being considered openly, as is required elsewhere in New Zealand.” “There’s no case for Auckland exceptionalism and the prohibition against political and community representation here”, he says.

Mrs Rose, who was Chair of the region’s last Regional Land Transport Committee before the creation of Auckland Council and the Auckland Transport CCO, says the monolithic, hostile AT Board edifice would well benefit from more open governance, rather than closing it down. “Inclusive and consensus based decision making is essential for transport governance elsewhere in the country, and it worked well in Auckland until amalgamation”. “We may have to look to the past – and elsewhere in the country

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.

20 Jul

Pukekohe Electrification Needed

Image courtesy of M Kilgour

Today hails a massive step forward for Auckland rail passengers with electric trains rolled out on all lines. However, Franklin passengers have yet to share the joy of full electrification as it stops short in Papakura.

The Public Transport Users Association would like the Government to come to the party and put up its share of funding to have electrification extended to Pukekohe, or even Tuakau/Pokeno.

PTUA-Jon-Reeves-PukekoheJon Reeves, PTUA Coordinator, says “the only reason why Pukekohe passengers have to change trains at Papakura is because the Government has not funded the logical extension of electric rail services to Franklin. Compared to building the Takanini motorway interchange around $200 million, the estimated $110 million to extend electrification 18 kms from Papakura to Pukekohe is extremely affordable for the Government and will benefit the huge growth in population and passengers.”

The PTUA would like to see the new Hunua MP, Andrew Bayly, actively lobby the Government for immediate funding approval. Auckland Transport has already undertaken in-depth studies and the Benefit to Cost Ratio stacks up. Passengers are now encouraged to actively start contacting their local MP to let him know that Franklin deserves electrified rail services now. “The time for fobbing off Pukekohe rail passengers with excuses is now over. Action and leadership from the local MP is now needed seen and heard” Reeves said.

new-auckland-transport-at-electric-train-no-good-for-pukekoheThe PTUA is also concerned that the diesel rail shuttles operating to Papakura require extremely high quality performance on the part of Auckland Transport (AT). With Pukekohe passengers now having to change trains at Papakura the onus is now very much on AT to deliver perfect train time keeping. AT need to ensure all rail shuttles connect seamlessly into the network. “The last thing we want to see is Pukekohe passengers arriving at Papakura just as the electric train to Britomart departs or vice-versa” Mr Reeves said.

The PTUA will be at Pukekohe station surveying passengers at various dates and times over the next few months to collect feedback about the rail shuttle experiences. Passengers are also encouraged to fill out our online General Passenger Survey. This can be found at www.PTUA.org.nz

Today hails a massive step forward for Auckland rail passengers with electric trains rolled out on all lines. However, Franklin passengers have yet to share the joy of full electrification as it stops short in Papakura.

The Public Transport Users Association would like the Government to come to the party and put up its share of funding to have electrification extended to Pukekohe, or even Tuakau/Pokeno.

Jon Reeves, PTUA Coordinator, says “the only reason why Pukekohe passengers have to change trains at Papakura is because the Government has not funded the logical extension of electric rail services to Franklin. Compared to building the Takanini motorway interchange around $200 million, the estimated $110 million to extend electrification 18 kms from Papakura to Pukekohe is extremely affordable for the Government and will benefit the huge growth in population and passengers.”
The PTUA will be at Pukekohe station surveying passengers at various dates and times over the next few months to collect feedback about the rail shuttle experiences. Passengers are also encouraged to fill out our online General Passenger Survey. This can be found by clicking HERE.

 

28 Apr

Western Connector Trains Gathers Steam

Waitakere and Huapai Kumeu trains

Image courtesy of M KilgourRepresentatives from the Public Transport Users Association say they were “listened to, but not heard” at their presentation to the Auckland Transport Board meeting today. The group’s Chairwoman Christine Rose and Co-ordinator, Jon Reeves, today took their concept of the ‘Western Connector’ to the Board for the first time.

The Western Connector seeks to retain existing rail services to Waitakere township and extend them to the growth areas of Huapai-Kumeu, using existing rail lines, stations, rolling stock and other infrastructure.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN OUR PETITION TO RETAIN EXISTING SERVICES TO WAITAKERE & FURTHER EXTEND THEM TO SERVICES THE FAST GROWING HUAPAI-KUMEU AREA!

The plan to kill current services to Waitakere and long-planned extended services to Huapai-Kumeu was made last year. The Public Transport Users Association says that decision was based on false, outdated information, with inflated and gold plated costs. Their critique of the report, and huge development occurring in the area leads them to ask the report be reviewed, before the current services to Waitakere are cancelled in early July.

Auckland Transport acknowledges the report needs to be reviewed, with fresh analysis of the case for retained and extended services in light of the Special Housing Areas bringing an extra 2,500 houses to Kumeu-Huapai.

But PTUA say it’s premature to cancel the service with all the growth occurring and given peoples’ current transport needs. Christine Rose, a Kumeu resident and long term public transport user, says ‘The Waitakere service has been run down, with over 1400 services cancelled last year. But that’s no excuse to stop the service altogether. The existing and future residents of the “far-west” need reliable, comfortable and direct rail services to key employment, education and commercial centres.

In all aspects, rail provides a superior service to the west than buses. These services should be put in place while the planning for massive growth in the area proceeds – especially since much of the growth is adjacent to the currently moth-balled Huapai station”.

PTUA co-ordinator Jon Reeves says “We were somewhat disappointed at the reception we received from the AT Board. While they agreed a review of the report was required, they failed to engage with our proposal”. “We understand a review of the report is scheduled for October, but we believe this is a premature decision which undermines the need for transport services, reliability, regional rail equity and integrated transport and land use”.

Mr Reeves says “we know we have the public mandate for this campaign, and more and more local politicians are in support – including the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Waitakere Councillors, Rodney Local Board members, and Auckland Council’s Infrastructure Committee”.

Mrs Rose adds, “Our campaign is gathering steam – and despite the ambivalence from the AT Board, we have more campaign initiatives in the wings, we won’t give up our efforts to ensure the area has the public transport services it deserves – using existing lines, assets and infrastructure”.

Mr Reeves says “we know we have the public mandate for this campaign, and more and more local politicians are in support – including the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Waitakere Councillors, Rodney Local Board members, and Auckland Council’s Infrastructure Committee”.

Mrs Rose adds, “Our campaign is gathering steam – and despite the ambivalence from the AT Board, we have more campaign initiatives in the wings, we won’t give up our efforts to ensure the area has the public transport services it deserves – using existing lines, assets and infrastructure”.

ENDS

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