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”.


    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.

16 Dec

Passengers Dealt Double Blow For Christmas


An unexpected gift is being delivered to Auckland public transport users just in time for the holiday season. Auckland Transport will increase the cost of purchasing new HOP cards from $5 to $10 from Friday, 17 December. As yet, no justification for the increase has been provided to passengers.

The Public Transport Users Association opposes increasing the cost of the HOP card, particularly at a time when AT should be encouraging people to choose public transport over cars. PTUA spokesperson Jon Reeves says that “while AT have been doing some great things for PT users, this completely unjustified increase is more proof that one arm of AT doesn’t know what the other is doing – and public transport users in Auckland deserve better”. This decision has been questioned by public transport lobbyists across the board because it makes no sense.

The increase follows last week’s announcement that Kiwirails’ Northern Explorer train service between Auckland and Wellington will relocate from its current home at the Britomart Transport Centre to the extremely inconvenient Strand platform at the former Auckland Railway Station, over 1.2 km from its present location in Downtown. CLICK HERE for the recent NZ Herald article.

Kiwirail say a free shuttle service will operate between the Strand and Britomart, however the PTUA are concerned this service will only be temporary. Comment from large tourist operators in Auckland suggest they are unhappy about the impact these changes will have on their customers, and have stated they will keep the PTUA informed of any issues that arise following the changeover. CLICK HERE to read more.

The PTUA has received emails from Paul Reidy, Kiwirail CEO, and Gavin Rutherford, Head of Kiwirail Scenic, but it is clear they seem to be surprisingly unaware of the damage the relocation will do to the appeal of the service. Arriving in the centre of downtown Auckland is a significantly more attractive conclusion to a 10.5 hour long train journey, however “being dumped in the middle of nowhere, with no public transport links, after that long journey, is not the smartest solution they could have come up with” Reeves says.
“I have challenged Gavin Rutherford to join me on the 23 minute walk with two suitcases from Britomart to the Strand, to see if he still truly believes it is a convenient distance for passengers to negotiate. He has failed to reply to that request.” Jon Reeves said.

The PTUA suspects Auckland Transport is behind the Kiwirail decision to relocate the service, and have asked for confirmation from AT that it has not asked Kiwirail to leave Britomart. No reply has yet been received from AT management. PTUA concludes that AT do not support long distance rail, and that the organisation has become disconnected from what best serves the public in this case.
This Christmas, the anti-public transport options being offered by AT and Kiwirail leave much to be answered for.


More from the NZ Herald

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.


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”.


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