Banks on Rail

October 12th, 2009 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

City Mayor John Banks calls for an underground loop between Britomart and Mt Eden:

Quite simply, New Zealand needs Auckland to work, and for that to happen, it needs to work efficiently. Auckland cannot rely on roads and motorways alone to meet the region’s future transport needs, as the city’s roading network is already nearing the practical limits of expansion.

The key thing is, it is not a choice between improving roads and . They are not substitutes, but complementary.

The number of trips made on Auckland’s transport system by 2051 is expected to increase by 65 per cent from 3.2 million to 5.2 million a day.

Plans for an underground rail loop from Britomart southward underneath the CBD to Mt Eden have been debated for nearly a century.

Initial economic evaluation of the CBD tunnel shows that it attracts a higher return than many major roading projects of a similar scale, particularly as rail can shift much larger numbers than any other mode.

So long as it is cheaper per than Labour’s plan to spend $1 to $2 billion on a single tunnel to help then retain Mt Albert!

The Western Ring Route, State Highway 20 and incremental improvements to other motorway networks and roads are critical. However, these improvements and the new Central Connector and development of the bus lane network will meet future demands only if we complete a fully integrated transport system, including a CBD rail loop.

The capacity of Britomart at peak times would potentially more than double to 40 trains per hour, if it were a through-station. These are compelling reasons why we need to push through Britomart, up under Albert St, beneath Karangahape Rd and on to Mt Eden and Kingsland.

Because of its higher capacity, rail is the most effective and efficient way of providing for Auckland’s growth in travel demand, especially to the congested CBD.

So why a loop?

This CBD loop is no ordinary transport project. This project looks ahead 100 years, to the kind of centre a true super city aspires to.

Super cities all over the world have strong centres and with vision, good design and a sound business case, this project unlocks the potential of Auckland’s centre by enabling much greater access from all parts of the region. This will reinforce the existing role of central Auckland as a regional destination for workers, students and residents and it will cater for the projected growth in the size and intensity of the centre of Greater Auckland.

Enhancing access through a CBD rail loop is critical to the central area’s contribution to lifting the entire region’s (and therefore the country’s) economic performance.

This rail loop is more than a rail link. It is a transformational economic development project at the centre of the new Super City.

So what is the cost?

The currently estimated cost of a CBD rail loop is between $1 billion and $1.5 billion. If the rail loop is not constructed, we do have a good handle on that cost, which includes further road and motorway construction to meet demand (at least $3.3 billion for roading and additional parking capacity, according to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority’s latest estimate).

If it can be done for that much money, the economic argument really stacks up.

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82 Responses to “Banks on Rail”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,703 comments) says:

    Dear God, how the Greens must hate Banks. He’s pinched their policy right out from under their noses. Well, not really. They would have closed all the motorways.

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  2. Mike S (177 comments) says:

    It’s an essential piece of infrastructure and must be built.

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  3. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    His (erstwhile?) good mate Cameron Slater won’t be very happy with him,will he?

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  4. Gooner (919 comments) says:

    Fine idea, as long as North Shore ratepayers aren’t paying for it.

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  5. mickysavage (778 comments) says:

    Holy Batman

    I agree with Banks. I would not vote for him however.

    He is doing the Key thing of trying to look Labour lite. He mentioned to the Dominion that if he wore his real policies on his sleeve he would be unelectable. So is he trying to look like a greenie with no intention of actually doing what he says he will do?

    We should do the rail link and fund it from the State Highway budget. What use is the Puhoi to Wellsford “road of significance” going to be to us in 10 years when we are in the throws of peak oil?

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  6. Hoolian (164 comments) says:

    Britomart to Mt Eden? Seriously? How about Rodney to Manukau and everywhere in between? Let’s see an extensive railway throughout ALL of Auckland, not just south of the Harbour Bridge.

    I like Banksies thinking though!

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  7. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    Auckland is the most important place in New Zealand and therefore Auckland should have all its transportation needs catered to; this subway to Mt Eden idea sounds awfully fun!

    I think that provincial and country folk should be chipping in to pay for whatever Auckland requires as those chaps can benefit in the long term.

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

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  8. Mike78 (80 comments) says:

    Where is the strategy in all this, its seems like any random day, any random person is calling for something else , what happened to having a plan and sticking to it .

    one minute buses, next minute trains , then tunnels, or wider motorways – next minute carpooling etc – you wouldnt/couldnt run a business like this, so why run a city this way.

    Buses are a failure in Auckland, the last 3 work days have been the clearest the roads have been for a long time, has knocked my half hour trip (20km) to 15-20mins , they spend most of the time mostly empty – pushing into lanes and slowing those lanes, – blocking central city streets and lanes when 5 try to get into one stop at a time and traveling back to the start of runs and in peak time, 30% of the road is underutilized due to bus lanes and what is on those lanes is underutilized – you rarely get into a bus in Auckland where you cannot get a seat, overseas — say in Italy where i have lived, getting a seat is a dream, in fact not being pressed into another for the duration then fighting the crowd to get off is a dream – massive underutilization and even in Italy they cant survive without subsidies – we are kidding ourselves – there is an ideological idea we are saving the planet or speeding up Auckland, where as it would seem traffic is the same or better with or without them – and we cut 900 buses in emissions over the last couple of days at least. Meanwhile all those bus lanes and the shiny new grafton bridge – sit idle – what we really need is a plan that is based on what will work rather than “ideas” we want to work but are just proven failures – lets see some gutsy decisions .

    No guts no glory ..

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  9. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    I live in Mt Eden and the Britomart is just outside my office and I still wouldn’t get a stupid train to work. FFS it takes me 8 minutes from garage to carpark why would I bother? Please send the billion dollar bill to someone who would take the train.

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  10. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg, how much is your carpark?

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  11. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    @ stephen why would that be in the least relevant; I’m not asking you to pay for it.

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  12. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @KiwiGreg 10:07 am

    I think you will find the train trip from Mr Eden Station – Britomart via the tunnel would work out at about 8 minutes too (as opposed to the current 13 minutes via Newmarket). At current fare, $1.25 if you use a 10 trip concession ticket.

    So why would you want to drive and pay for car parking if you don’t need to use your car during the day?

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  13. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg

    See what Toad is driving at? (excuse the pun)

    Toad wants to take away your choice, he wants to force you to take public transport.

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  14. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    Toad wants to take away your choice, he wants to force you to take public transport.

    I hear Toad has been appointed to jump off a truck, stuff people who look like drivers in a sack, then take them to the train station to stuff them into a train which he then locks from the outside.

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  15. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    hmm, bruv I think toad as asking for an assessment of merit of each option. I make these kind of calls. All day in the city and I’ll bike or bus. Need car during day and i’ll drive.

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  16. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    Was just curious KiwiGreg – my guess is it would be a lot cheaper to take the train (after you’ve paid for it through rates etc of course) if/when it’s built – therefore you probably *would* take the train if it was there. If the aim is to reduce congestion, I don’t think anyone sees any other choice but subsidised trains…

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  17. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @big bruv 10:29 am

    To the contrary, I want people to have the choice of a fast, reliable & cheap rail service so that they have the choice of leaving their cars at home without significant inconvenience.

    Much to my surprise, John Banks appears to want people to have the same choice. Amazing what a pending election can do, isn’t it?

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  18. senzafine (457 comments) says:

    The problem with rail in this country is that for people to actually use it, it has to work and be convenient.

    People need a serious incentive to use rail over taking the car. KiwiGregs comment above illustrates this quite well. When i switched from the train to the car, I did so because i was sick of the frequent breakdowns, sick of the sardine effect and sick of having my travel dictated to by a timetable that was never adhered to.

    When i started driving, i realised quick smart that i could do so for the same cost as the train! Years later, it costs me two to three times what the trains cost, but that’s because I run a V8 and pay for my parking. The cost offset is still not enough to convince me to switch back rail.

    A more robust network, coupled with more frequent trains would go some way to getting things right. This auckland subway loop on the surface seems a good idea, and if implemented correctly might work.

    The mickeysavages of this world also don’t seem to be able to grasp that ‘peak oil’ is not a valid argument (the validity of such a hypothesis is questionable as it is..) because even if peak oil *is* true, the human race will adapt and WILL adopt newer, other technologies. One of the greatest human traits is that when we are backed into a corner, we will fight our way out. Whether that be individually or as a species.

    So in that context, I simply do not believe for a second that building roads is a futile effort. but we need is a nationwide package that includes road+rail. But it must be effective and well integrated.

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  19. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Toad>So why would you want to drive and pay for car parking if you don’t need to use your car during the day?

    Why should the taxpayer stump up a couple of billion bucks to save KiwiGreg money on parking? As far as I know, neither he nor other car parking Aucklanders are a charity.

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  20. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    I would drive even though it is SIGNIFICANTLY (given I only really use “my” car to go to or from work or to leave at the airport) more costly in money than alternatives because I like to start and finish when I like; I dont like travelling with the public; I value my time at quite a lot; I might have to go out during the day etc etc.

    But none of this is relevant. Taxing the shit out of me to build what can only ever be an uneconomic train service is not about providing choices – its about deciding what is “best” and using the power of the state to enforce it. You can walk from Mt Eden to Britomart; I typically do when I work weekends. That’s even better for the environment and the commuter – why not make people do that instead?

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  21. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    “the human race will adapt and WILL adopt newer, other technologies. ”

    It’s a bit like keeping on borrowing money relying on winning lotto. At some stage they won’t develop newer technologies in time. . What if it’s in our lifetime (don’t worry about the grandkids)?

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  22. Camryn (481 comments) says:

    I wish people (e.g. mickysavage) would stop assuming that peak oil = no cars. Just because we won’t be running cars on petrol doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have vehicles much like current cars in all other important respects (i.e. privately owned, family sized, independently driven). Bigger and better roads are going to be useful no matter what happens with oil.

    That Puhoi to Wellsford road has become important since the previous enhancement now ends in a bottleneck. I’d rather they didn’t build it too, but my ‘reason’ is just that I selfishly don’t want it to be too easy for Aucklanders to clog up the beaches further north during summer.

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  23. senzafine (457 comments) says:

    @Pete

    Fossil fuel replacement technologies already exist. The only reason they haven’t been developed further is because of cost and demand. If/When we start running out of oil, demand will spike enough to lower cost.

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  24. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    I would drive even though it is SIGNIFICANTLY (given I only really use “my” car to go to or from work or to leave at the airport) more costly in money than alternatives because I like to start and finish when I like; I dont like travelling with the public; I value my time at quite a lot; I might have to go out during the day etc etc.

    That’s how it is for most Kiwis, it will be very difficult to break the habit of a couple of generations. Especially when our population densities are not conducive to efficient mass transport. Auckland is a terrible place to cater for mass transport. I think it was Stephen Joyce saying that improving rail may increase the use of trains in Auckland from 1% to 2% of commuting.

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  25. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    ” it will be very difficult to break the habit of a couple of generations”

    Why do you want to? Individuals owning and using cars enjoy freedom.

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  26. Jack5 (5,274 comments) says:

    A problem with Auckland is that the more national tax money is poured into it to solve transport and other problems, the more attractive it becomes as a place to live, and the more people it will attract. Yet Auckland contributes relatively little to national exports and consumes most of the imports.

    This ultimately is the model of Third World Latin America. A big city imposes a crushing economic burden on rural-based export industries (in our case agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing, and even in currency-earning tourism would earn nothing without the hinterland of Rotorua and the southern mountains and fiords). Even a field like foreign-student education offers a quick way to residency, and thus adds to Auckland’s population. Auckland’s not like Britain, where London’s financial industry provides a key part of national income.

    Auckland also provides one problem that the big near-monocultural Latin American cities don’t. Because of multiculturalism, Auckland is becoming increasingly distinct from the rest of the country ethnically. This increases its dislocation from the heartland export industries, from their people, from their problems, and from their outlook. Many of us feel that multiculturalism and diversity provide a creative milieu, but so far in Auckland this seems mainly to have yielded trifles like ethnic eateries, hip-hop and fashion, all with micro potential for exports or tourism currency earning.

    The harsh economic reality is that if Auckland had a population of 200,000 NZ would be a wealthy country.

    As for Auckland servicing the rest of the country, cheap Tasman air travel is stitching NZ from top to bottom closer to the economy of Australia’s east coast. It may surprise many people to find how many parts etc now come to their towns from Australia rather than Auckland. Much of the national servicing function, which moved from Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington to Auckland, seems to be on the move to Sydney and Melbourne as multinational firms consolidate their distribution networks.

    The problem for NZ will exacerbate as Auckland merges into one local-government entity and consolidates its position as the ringmaster of the national political circus.

    If South Islanders had the will and the wit, they would work to become a state of Australia, but realistically the future looks like a surging Auckland will keep slowing this export-based nation, like a grossly obese harness driver in a racing sulky cart.

    The realistic approach by a benevolent dictator would be to let strained infrastructure divert people from Auckland to the export-earning hinterland, which now imports temporary labour from Melanesia, Polynesia, and the Philippines.

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  27. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg, how much is your carpark?

    why would that be in the least relevant; I’m not asking you to pay for it.

    Hmm, I’m not sure about the numbers here, but the requirement for carparking in business areas does reduce supply of prime real estate for more productive uses, preventing the most efficient use of land and driving up property values – this may be less true in the CBD where users pay through the nose for parking if they choose, but it’s an issue once you get out of the city centre and parking is provided “free” (ie. no charge to the user, not no cost to anyone).

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  28. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    So why would you want to drive and pay for car parking if you don’t need to use your car during the day?

    He won’t be using the train during the day either. Or do those 11.00 services pay for themselves? Will the train staff be working a 2 hour day from 8.00 to 9, and 5 to 6? or will ticket prices/taxes from those commuters include the cost of the rest of the day? The land and terminals has a cost 24/7 not like a carpark for 40 hours of the week.

    The car is/can also used by the wife for shopping during the day, picking up the kids or grandma. It is used to carry shopping and goods, contributes to sport and community events in the weekend (do school fairs, garage sales etc have buses to and from them?). And it is used for holidays or are there buses that take you to camp gounds yet?

    People have lives during the 160 hours per week that aren’t spent commuting. Public transport in NZ is barely able to do the job for 10 of those hours, especially when it rains (137 days per year in Akld).

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  29. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    James,

    You’re paying for the tracks and terminals for 168 hours per week, to be useful they have to be in prime land and can have an impact on land values around them (noise/visual pollution and safety). A carpark may have to be paid for 40 hours or after dropping the kids and spouse of to work may be put to other uses.

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  30. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    You’re paying for the tracks and terminals for 168 hours per week

    The total land footprint per passenger/km/year for a (well-utilised) railway is vastly smaller than that for motorways/arterial roads. And I’d dispute that it’s any less nice or less safe to live next to a railway line than a busy road – I have lived backing on to the Western line before (electric trains would help with the noise though).

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  31. BlueDevil (92 comments) says:

    The question is how long do you have to work to support your car?
    If a good public transport system could make you a 1 car family, how much would you save?

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  32. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    I agree about living next to major roads, but rail still requires those major roads to be there as they do not deliver goods to shops and business.

    Do you know anyone that choses not to live by a road? What would the value of a house or land without road access be?

    As for safety, the more you condense transport into larger vehicles, the harder it is to stop due to its mass. Cars can stop in tens of metres, buses and trucks within 100 and trains often cannot react to clearly visible hazards and have far more external safety equipment associated with them (there are no zebra crossings on railway tracks). You can teach a 5 yr old to cross a road and grandma still can. I would never let a 5 yr old cross a railway and my grandma hasn’t set foot on one in decades if ever. Motorways create a considerable physical barrier but they will always be there with or without trains, there is little additional impact to an extra lane on a major route compared to a rail network.

    Oil and emissions are also a seperate issue to cars and roads, they are associated at the moment but they don’t have to be.

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  33. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Bluedevil,

    Most households require at least half a dozen car essential trips per week. Bringing goods or equipment to or from the house such as grocery shopping, home purchases, and sports trips. These events would require an average additional cost of about $20 on the activity to pay for delivery or take a taxi service (maybe $10 to get your goods delivered, $50 there and back for a taxi equivalent service to the beach to go surfing or get home after rugby, plus taxis to hospital, gp for sprained ankle/injury once every year or two). A car, functionally would cost maybe $2000 per year to purchase and maintain (devaluation and maintenance), there is also the cost of a car port area.

    Even if the maybe $5000 ($100×50 weeks) for these services and the maybe $2000 (plus gas, which along with rego pays for the car park by the park or beach) cost of a car were equal you then have the marginal benefit of a car available all the time.

    I do think online retail for groceries etc has further to go where instead of paying for the prime land, car parks, till staff, etc you pay for it to be shipped from a warehouse, but this would also use the road network. Also cheaper, more frequent use of taxi services (essentially vehicle & driver hire) is possible but again, uses roads.

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  34. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Bluedevil,

    2 cars for a family is a common luxury decision people make. ie they get the second car because they see value in the purchase, not because it is essential. Any family that chooses to organize themselves around 1 car (not difficult, most of us grew up with one), would save a LOT of money versus public transport.

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  35. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “Hmm, I’m not sure about the numbers here, but the requirement for carparking in business areas does reduce supply of prime real estate for more productive uses, preventing the most efficient use of land and driving up property values – this may be less true in the CBD where users pay through the nose for parking if they choose, but it’s an issue once you get out of the city centre and parking is provided “free” (ie. no charge to the user, not no cost to anyone).”

    These are all assumptions you make which arent required. The market provides a price both for carparks and for alternate “more productive” uses. In fact it ensures the most efficient use of land (which might in fact be for my car park).

    All you lefty control freaks assume that a private individual driving alone in his car to his carpark is somehow sub-optimal for society. And yet all the evidence shows that as soon as you get your bureaucratic controlling paws on the problem you GUARANTEE a sub-optimal outomce for society.

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  36. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    I agree about living next to major roads, but rail still requires those major roads to be there as they do not deliver goods to shops and business.

    Having rail available can allow those roads to be narrower, safer and quieter. As DPF says, the two are complementary.

    As for safety, the more you condense transport into larger vehicles, the harder it is to stop due to its mass. Cars can stop in tens of metres, buses and trucks within 100 and trains often cannot react to clearly visible hazards and have far more external safety equipment associated with them (there are no zebra crossings on railway tracks). You can teach a 5 yr old to cross a road and grandma still can.

    I’ll break this down a bit. First, I agree, there are too many uncontrolled pedestrian rail crossings in Auckland. But, I wouldn’t let my children cross an arterial road on a zebra crossing either! Second, the total safety record of rail across all accident types is somewhat better than road – but when there is an accident involving a passenger train, the one-off consequences can be appallingly huge, which tends to affect people’s internal risk assessment.

    there is little additional impact to an extra lane on a major route compared to a rail network

    That’s only because motorways are generally built on massively over-reserved ROW to start with. A dual-track passenger-only railway line running at capacity can carry an insane number of people – there is seldom need for more except at junctions, or where the ROW is shared with frequent slow, heavy freight.

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  37. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    The market provides a price both for carparks and for alternate “more productive” uses. In fact it ensures the most efficient use of land (which might in fact be for my car park).

    Minimum car parking space for commercial development is mandated by the council – ie. it’s driven by “bureaucratic controlling paws”, not the market.

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  38. senzafine (457 comments) says:

    The question is how long do you have to work to support your car?
    If a good public transport system could make you a 1 car family, how much would you save?

    I have a 2.0l Twin Turbo Boxer and a 4.0l V8. Cost is not my concern, and i’d suspect that for most people to a point, cost is not the biggest factor here.

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  39. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Herman Poole 1:18 pm

    A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to move house to somewhere that we could both easily get to work from by public transport. At the same time we “downsized” from 2 cars to 1, and that car stays in the garage most of the time. It costs us $65 commuting to and from work for the week by public transport. The savings are heaps on what were were spending before (it used to be around $80 – $100 in fuel alone). And we’re doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and don’t end up already grumpy due to traffic jams by the time we get to work.

    But then I’m a Luddite, so don’t listen to me.

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  40. Ed Snack (1,939 comments) says:

    The point that no one so far has commented on is the cost, quoted above at $1 – $2B. Now as much as an integrated inner city loop (only the foundation for a rapid-rail solution) is highly desirable for Auckland, the cost to me seems rather too low. I would have thought something like $5 – $8B at least, and probably more. Not sure also how easy it would be to cope with the terrain, a line that is underground at Britomart is either a LONG way down at the K-Road level or has a near impossible gradient for rail.

    However I would support a proper planning exercise to see what it might cost for various scenarios, inclding the University and the Hospital as well as a simple Quay St to K Road loop. Then one could consider expansion like a North Shore dual track all the way up the Devonport peninsular to Takapuna, Milford, and beyond. Almost regardless of the utility, cost will be a key issue. A comprehensive rail network could easily cost $50B and be unreachable.

    Final comment, if the do built something, I do hope they have the wit to build on a standardardized gauge and not the Thomas-the-Tank-Engine train-set one currently in use. Otherwise any rolling stock has to be custom built and will be too narrow to carry good load anyway.

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  41. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    I have a 2.0l Twin Turbo Boxer and a 4.0l V8. Cost is not my concern, and i’d suspect that for most people to a point, cost is not the biggest factor here.

    I’m guessing for “most people”, that “point” is at a much lower cost than it is for you. My family and I have a 20-year-old Toyota Corona, a 250cc commuter motorbike, and a bicycle – and despite my greeny leanings, the major factors in my transport decisions are cost and convenience.

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  42. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @senzafine 1:33 pm

    Why do you have a 4.0 l V8? Large boat and trailer to tow? Or just as a status symbol (Paul Henry syndrome)?

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  43. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    Final comment, if the do built something, I do hope they have the wit to build on a standardardized gauge and not the Thomas-the-Tank-Engine train-set one currently in use. Otherwise any rolling stock has to be custom built and will be too narrow to carry good load anyway.

    The cost of interoperating with the rest of the (narrow gauge) system, or converting the system to standard gauge, would be astronomical – for little benefit. The main restriction on rail loadings in New Zealand is terrain – a standard gauge line would never get up the Raurimu spiral or round the bend into Britomart. Narrow gauge lines in flatter areas like Queensland and South Africa routinely carry some of the heaviest rail loads in the world.

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  44. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    That’s my point James, rail will only ever be complementary to an existing road network. Cars and roads are not the devil and neither are trains and buses but they should stand on their on two feet financially and not be subsidised to fulfill someones ideology.

    On top of that, I happen to believe that cars and roads are one the most underappreciated contributors to our quality of life and cultural vitality.

    Are there any rail networks that service an area without a major arterial road or motorway? Rail does not remove the costs of motorways, only a relatively small additional cost around the capacity.

    By all means, build a railway if you can afford it. But consider that the rail network bludges off the road network to do what it can’t, much more extensively than the other way around when making your decision.

    Here are the death rates per billion kilometres travled (note the bicycle rate)

    Air: 0.05
    Bus: 0.4
    Rail: 0.6
    Van: 1.2
    Water: 2.6
    Car: 3.1
    Bicycle: 44.6
    Foot: 54.2
    Motorcycle: 108.9

    My point is about the precautions, barriers and physical space and equipment given over to keeping people away and off the tracks, not the passengers in the train. I have a railway running alongside a road near my home, you can cross the road almost anywhere along the route and most safely with the crossings at traffic lights and one or two zebra crossings. You can’t safely cross the rail except at one (costly/inconvenient) bridge. Comparing it to the motorway is irrelevant because the motorway has to be there regardless of the rail network.

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  45. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Why do you have a 4.0 l V8? Large boat and trailer to tow? Or just as a status symbol (Paul Henry syndrome)?

    What a stuck up, small-minded, bigoted, elitist you reveal yourself to be Toad.

    Disclaimer: I do not own a V8 or boat. I have a $5000 station wagon. I genuinely like diversity and am happy to observe other people enjoying their lives in their own way though.

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  46. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    Comparing it to the motorway is irrelevant because the motorway has to be there regardless of the rail network.

    I respectfully disagree. Motorways and commuter rail networks are both there for one purpose – to provide a targeted alternative to the conventional road network, for people travelling a reasonable distance, so that conventional roads remain usable for short-distance travel. Roads are necessary, but motorways are an option.

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  47. Brian Marshall (205 comments) says:

    I’ll be happy to help pay for Aucklands trains set if they friggen well help pay for transmission gully and all the other road works needed for the rest of the country.

    For the record, trains work really well here in Wellington but are sometimes unreliable due to the really old trainsets we have. Having said that, they (trains) are expensive to operate and would not exist without subsidies to replace them.
    Not sure how well they would be utilised in Auckland with it’s lack of utilisation of public transport by the public, so could very well end up as another expensive flop.

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  48. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    Not sure how well they would be utilised in Auckland with it’s lack of utilisation of public transport by the public, so could very well end up as another expensive flop.

    Based on recent experience with Britomart, double-tracking and increased services, when a better service is provided Aucklanders are happy to use it.

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  49. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to move house to somewhere that we could both easily get to work from by public transport. At the same time we “downsized” from 2 cars to 1, and that car stays in the garage most of the time. It costs us $65 commuting to and from work for the week by public transport. The savings are heaps on what were were spending before (it used to be around $80 – $100 in fuel alone). And we’re doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and don’t end up already grumpy due to traffic jams by the time we get to work.

    Well, if everyone had the same perception of value as you, you would be paying more for your house, or else paying less and spending longer to walk or catch a bus to the station. Same at the other end for the rental on your office.

    I was catching the train to and from work at the beginning of this year. I gave up one week after the 4th day in the same week of standing in the rain at the train station waiting for a late train that nobody told me when and if would arrive. When I had paid in advance for the locked in contract of a monthly ticket, I was well aware that on my half empty trains, the rest of the ticket was coming from my rates and taxes.

    If I chose, I can arrive at work in Wgtn CBD before 8 or after 9, 10 minutes after I leave home. If I arrive between those times it takes 25 minutes, door to door the train takes about 45 minutes. The best thing about this is I can concentrate on my work and leave when I have finished my current task, rather that rush it to make a train time, or get to the station a minute or 2 late and sit around a cold, smelly train station for 30 minutes. I can arrive at work before the first train leaves if as an early riser I feel more productive in the morning.

    I spend less than $20 gas a week on actual commuting, it is only the car park that drives the monetary cost over subsidised rail, but I have more time and flexibility in my week.

    I really like driving my car, it is the only time a recieve a return on my tax dollars spent on National Radio, and when I get sick of the left wing bias, my car is one of the best places to listen to music and talk to friends. Sometimes, on a sunny day, I will take the long way home somewhere scenic or go and visit a friend or family member on a whim because I really like it.

    If I feel like punishing the 3rd world due to my guilt and arrogance, I can use biofuels from Mobils or buy a Prius, rather than travel over dirty, oil stained rubble and tracks in a diesel train.

    I’m not a self loathing lefty so I don’t get grumpy in traffic, I am curiously finding that it seems to be less of an issue in Wellington than in years past and I wonder whether more flexible work times are reducing this very solvable issue.

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  50. senzafine (457 comments) says:

    @Toad

    @senzafine 1:33 pm

    Why do you have a 4.0 l V8? Large boat and trailer to tow? Or just as a status symbol (Paul Henry syndrome)?

    Because quite simply, My *thing* is cars. Just like some others things are art or music, the howl of 8 cylinders banging away in a veritable symphony literally gives me my jollies.

    Hell, before i could talk i was emulating the sounds of dino burners.

    I also enjoy taking part in organised events that allow me to send all 400nm to the rear wheels, sending large plumes of blue smoke and spent gases from the burning of rubber and fossil fuels into the atmosphere.

    Make no mistake, this is my absolute passion.

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  51. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    I respectfully disagree. Motorways and commuter rail networks are both there for one purpose – to provide a targeted alternative to the conventional road network, for people travelling a reasonable distance, so that conventional roads remain usable for short-distance travel. Roads are necessary, but motorways are an option.

    In Wellington we have as good coverage by rail as anywhere in the country. The basics of the service are there for most people and the upgrades it needs of improving reliability or modernising the equipment and terminals is not about to transform the use of it. Our motorways are still used to capacity, and I have yet to see more than 0.1% of the goods that come in and out of Farmers, Mitre 10, Woolworths, or McDonalds transported by rail.

    Our main source of national income (agriculture) also appears to rely on the road network. In our city with the best rail network, Wgtn, it remains a subsidised luxury for those that work in the CBD.

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  52. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Auckland has one of the best motorway systems I know of for a city of its size. Its arterial and local road system, however, is diabolical. No point wasting billions on the motorway system until we connect up the arterials properly.

    Maybe if someone in Wellington realised that we might be able to get to work on time.

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  53. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    In Wellington we have as good coverage by rail as anywhere in the country.

    Which is pretty pathetic by international standards, but carry on…

    The basics of the service are there for most people and the upgrades it needs of improving reliability or modernising the equipment and terminals is not about to transform the use of it.

    Actually it can, particularly by increasing the frequency and punctuality of service – as you observe above, one thing that turns people off commuter trains in NZ is that often services are not scheduled when they’re needed, and when they are scheduled, they are often late. This is fixable.

    Our motorways are still used to capacity,

    Exactly – and without WN’s barely adequate trains, you’d need to build even more capacity somehow in a city already heavily constrained by geography.

    and I have yet to see more than 0.1% of the goods that come in and out of Farmers, Mitre 10, Woolworths, or McDonalds transported by rail.

    Our main source of national income (agriculture) also appears to rely on the road network.

    OK this is a different issue. No-one claims that rail is the best way to get goods to inner-city retailers; overseas experience suggests that it can be very competitive for longer-distance bulk hauls goods and container hauls, when investment is made in getting the service off the ground.

    In our city with the best rail network, Wgtn, it remains a subsidised luxury for those that work in the CBD.

    How so more than the motorway network? Both carry certain kinds of traffic in a way that is more efficient than normal roads. The word is “complementary”.

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  54. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “How so more than the motorway network? ”

    Because the car (and truck) drivers pay for the roads. Rail users expect everyone else to pay for them.

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  55. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    “How so more than the motorway network? ”

    Because the car (and truck) drivers pay for the roads. Rail users expect everyone else to pay for them.

    Do you have the numbers on that (genuine question – I don’t)? Generally the immediate costs-to-the-user of commuting via PT or car (where good PT is available) are not hugely different, with PT often a couple of tens of % cheaper. Plus some proportion of my rates and taxes goes towards both PT and roading. How do we enumerate the real, total cost of each? Perhaps PT is intrinsically cheaper?

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  56. James Butler (74 comments) says:

    Also KiwiGreg, did you check out the last part of DPF’s post? Re. the relative costs to the rate/taxpayer of the rail solution vs. the road solution?

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  57. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    In Wellington we have as good coverage by rail as anywhere in the country.

    Which is pretty pathetic by international standards, but carry on…

    For a city of a couple of hundred thousand people? The 3rd most populous in tiny NZ?

    Subways and similar networks cost multiple billions of dollars. We are a long way from the population and wealth to afford anything you see in Europe, Asia, or North America.

    Actually it can, particularly by increasing the frequency and punctuality of service – as you observe above, one thing that turns people off commuter trains in NZ is that often services are not scheduled when they’re needed, and when they are scheduled, they are often late. This is fixable.

    The trains I get are not very full at the moment, there is not the financial case for significantly more services in Wgtn. Most of the people that want to take the train are at the moment, you may get 10-15% more if they really sharpened their act, if they removed the subsidies you’d lose double that. They can’t stop the rain or drop you off at your doorstep.

    One of the fallacies of the train brigade is they assume that a train operator is somehow going to be more benevolent than the next company. When the price of petrol went over $2 a couple of years ago, were there significantly more services? No, they tried to make hay while the sun shined, and suprise, suprise, most people who drove, wore the extra cost (as it also got faster to drive). A train or bus operater will always be trying to cram as many people on and charge as much as they can.

    A train company is gonna cram you in like sardines and charge as much as they can get away with, just as much as an oil company is going to charge as much as they can for gas.

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  58. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Do you have the numbers on that (genuine question – I don’t)? Generally the immediate costs-to-the-user of commuting via PT or car (where good PT is available) are not hugely different, with PT often a couple of tens of % cheaper. Plus some proportion of my rates and taxes goes towards both PT and roading. How do we enumerate the real, total cost of each? Perhaps PT is intrinsically cheaper?

    Over half of the price of fuel is government taxes, that is a LOT of money.

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  59. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    @ James http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2009/estimates/est09trans.pdf here you go – RUC + Fuel Excise pretty much equals the spending on roads.

    On the other hand the users of trains (and indeed most forms of public transport) are subsidised by everyone else.

    DPF lost me at “If it can be done for that much money, the economic argument really stacks up.”

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  60. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Minimum car parking space for commercial development is mandated by the council – ie. it’s driven by “bureaucratic controlling paws”, not the market.

    At $400 per day per park revenue for a mall park you don’t think there is market incentive for car parks?

    I own a retail business and I car about car parking above almost anything, it is a driving factor of rents, compare the cost of a mall space to a nearby outside space to observe the value of their car parks. It is the predominant feature of mall shopping which is taking over everywhere, how many malls demand to be constructed near a train terminal?

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  61. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Why do you have a 4.0 l V8? Large boat and trailer to tow? Or just as a status symbol (Paul Henry syndrome)?”

    …….do you still have long dreadlocks Toad? – if so why?

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  62. Owen McShane (1,182 comments) says:

    Train technology (which is a 19th century technology developed to serve 19th centre markets) is about to be overwhelmed by the new technologies coming on stream just as slide rules disappeared with the hand held calculator.
    Cars and all manner of vehicles are about to become highly intelligent and there is no point in being intelligent if you are stuck on two lines of steel.
    Trains in NZ do not generate less GHG per passenger kilometre – their whole of day performance is abysmal.
    Then most people drive to the train anyhow. But convoys of intelligent self drive cars improve motorway capacity four or five fold.
    And genuine public transport will soon consist of small rubber tyred vehicles which convoy on to a dedicated lane so that one “driver” hauls heaps.
    Most will be electric and will recharge as they drive on highways or while they are parked at the parking metre/recharge station.
    This is no more the time to invest billions in rail that it is the time to invest billions in copper wire telephones.

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  63. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Thanks for that Owen, the idea a car represents is what you would come up with from a blank piece of paper and no limits (except it might fly).

    How many science fiction visions communicated over the last 50 years have had mass public transport as their vision? I think we have been a little slow to catch up and buses and trains will be seen as a temporary inconvenience along our road to progress.

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  64. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    Ha Ha, Owen’s been reading too many science fiction books, the reality is we still haven’t invented a technology better at serving large densities of people than rail, in particular heavy rail… Heavy rail = 25,000 – 40,000 people per hour per track, Motorway 2,400 – 12,000 per hour per lane (12,000 if every car has 5 people in it)…

    This project is as important to Auckland’s transport network as the Western Ring Route and if completed will pave the way to a more balanced and complete system… Joyce is the only one opposing this, he is the last of the dinosaurs when it comes to transport… Auckland has moved from 1950’s thinking to 1970’s thinking in the last 5 years, so progress has been made, it’s now time for us to look at cities overseas and see they are investing dollar for dollar in road vs public transport…

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  65. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Heavy rail = 25,000 – 40,000 people per hour per track, Motorway 2,400 – 12,000 per hour per lane

    So four lanes = 48,000?

    the reality is we still haven’t invented a technology better at serving large densities of people than rail

    Large densities of people = not New Zealand (the 201st most population dense country)

    Unless you live within 2 km or so of a station it does not service the population, there is another journey required to and from the station. It is the road that comes to your doorstep, not the rail.

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  66. jcuknz (689 comments) says:

    Having spent time is cities around the world with efficient public transport I can see that Auckland is a pretty pathetic example of damm fool folk ignoring the wisdom of people like Robbie who saw that to be successful Auckland needed a rail network the way the great cities of the world have. Auckland, despite looking big to New Zealanders, is really just a hick town with most people seeking their independance without regard to the welfare of their city. On the other hand I understand peoples desire for personal transport becuase I have had it and used it for most of my working life. It protects you from the illnesses you can catch in mass transport systems. My solution was to ride a scooter to work … originally from Milford into the CBD and later in a similar manner when transfered south. With the bridge I think it took me 15minutes back in the sixties and cost nothing to park, apart from a couple of parking tickets over 18 months. John Banks has the right idea like Robbie before him but I doubtr if Jafa’s have the brains to support him for the good of the city. It is apparently a city of selfish mongrels … thank goodness I live at the other end of the country.

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  67. jcuknz (689 comments) says:

    If instead of gobbling up valuable productive farmland for each family to have their own generous house and garden people lived more compactly then it becomes quite possible for a rail network to come within 2 Km of most of the population of a city with either above ground transport or subway, or even overhead as Vancouver has sweeping across the city suburbs. It really is a chicken and the egg situations. Without a rail netowrk people have to rely on car and bus and object to the innitial cost of setting up the network .. a very short sighted attitude.

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  68. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @senzafine 3:02 pm:

    So it is Paul Henry Syndrome.

    No logical reason (and I accept some people, like hisewith large boats or caravans do have one) to drive a gas guzzler like that.

    Guess the reason is I like it. After all, it’s only rock and roll.

    Not.

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  69. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    jcuknz…

    So you’re saying that if every NZer lived a lifestyle that is completely different to the one that they’d like, then we’d have more space for cows to stand on? It’s not a particularly inviting prospect.

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  70. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Toad

    “@big bruv 10:29 am

    To the contrary, I want people to have the choice of a fast, reliable & cheap rail service so that they have the choice of leaving their cars at home without significant inconvenience.”

    Classic Green speak Toad, “cheap rail” in your language is subsidised rail, sure, you claim you want choice but the reality is that you want the motorist to pay for that choice, you want the motorist to subsidise those who travel by train.

    In other words you will continue to raise petrol tax until most people have no choice but to take the train, then being the lying bastards that you are the Greens will claim that rail travel is what the people really wanted all along.

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  71. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    It’s interesting to see John Banks promoting this project – quite interesting as it rather isolates Steven Joyce as he seems skeptical of its benefits – and would rather put $2.3 billion into a Puhoi-Wellsford motorway that will only be used by around 10,000 vehicles a day.

    The CBD Rail Tunnel isn’t really a “loop” as it doesn’t go back to where it began. It is a link between Britomart and the Western Line at Mt Eden that is critical first and foremost to alleviate the capacity problems that Britomart will have within the next 5-6 years. Secondly, it will allow far better access to the CBD with station at Midtown and around the corner of K Road and Pitt Street. This will lead to significant redevelopment potential in these parts of the CBD (just look at all the development and revitalisation of the Britomart area over the past few years).

    Ultimately, the CBD Rail Tunnel is critical because unless we build it, we can never expand Auckland’s rail system beyond where it currently goes. No airport line, no North Shore Line, no Botany/Flat Bush Line, nothing.

    Yes there should be a proper economic analysis of the project, and in fact that is already underway. I am confident that it will have a good business case though – and I look forward to Steven Joyce funding it instead of his silly holiday highway if the business case for this project is far better than that of the holiday highway.

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  72. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Toad,

    We come from the animal kingdom, which you greenies tend to know nothing about. The fastest animal lives, the slower animal dies, the more powerful (louder) animal lives, the smaller, weaker animal dies. Its where we came from, its what we evolved for, and its nothing to hate.

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  73. Angus (536 comments) says:

    senzafine said . . .

    “I also enjoy taking part in organised events that allow me to send all 400nm to the rear wheels, sending large plumes of blue smoke and spent gases from the burning of rubber and fossil fuels into the atmosphere.

    Make no mistake, this is my absolute passion.”

    . . . you and me both duder !

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  74. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    Hi Herman, a case of lies, lies and statistics…

    Please explain what NZ’s density as a country has to do with a rail tunnel under Auckland’s CBD..?

    Yes a 4 lane motorway with all vehicles carrying 5 passengers could potentially carry 48,000 per hour (if there was no congestion)… When was the last time you saw a line of cars all carrying 5 people… Mine was Queen St on a Friday night but not a motorway during rush hour… The average is 1.4 by the way…

    I’m a fiscal conservative and am a supporter of fixing and massively expanding Auckland’s public transport, given our current and expected densities and population, it is the economical thing to do…

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  75. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Jeremy,

    Learn to read before you imply that I am a lier, I haven’t said I don’t think Auckland shouldn’t have trains.

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  76. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    My apologies Herman, that was meant as a saying that implies statistics can be manipulated to represent many things… I did not mean any offence…

    To be truthful with that triple negative there I’m not really sure what you believe but in Auckland a more balanced transportation system is the order of the day, that’s mean PT and we can dream about future developments but to hold off building critical infrastructure in the belief we’ll invent or perfect something soon isn’t good enough or smart…

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  77. libertyscott (344 comments) says:

    How about Auckland’s supercity set up a company, that borrows money, repaying the money from the millions of users paying higher fares for more convenient trips to work, and the businesses that think this is a fantastic idea.

    No?

    Thought not – John Banks in to get government to take more money from people’s taxes, and the worshippers of the railway religion will cheer him on. They pretend it doesn’t matter that 88% of Auckland jobs are not downtown and that each rail trip already is subsidised $4, excluding the cost of capital. Apparently pouring money into rail assets that can’t be sold for half of what was paid to build them is an “investment”, and people think bankers are shifty.

    Auckland’s rail patronage figures are pitiful by global standards, even the 30 million a year figure aimed at compares to 23 million for all BUS routes in Wellington. Perth, which Auckland aspires to, has over 34 million trips, of which over a third travel for free.

    All London underground lines individually, except the Waterloo and City line, carry more than double the total estimated for all Auckland rail WITH an underground loop. Let’s be clear, whatever London underground line you want to mention, it carries at least double the most optimistic predictions for an Auckland network of 3 lines plus the Onehunga branch.

    It is ludicrous.

    It makes perfect sense to delay this until electrification is completed and a post-facto evaluation of that and its economic impact is done. To hurry such massive expenditure, especially when none of it comes from users, is the sort of nonsense New Zealand had under Muldoon and Think Big.

    It’s worth reminding people that the proposed Puhoi-Wellsford motorway has NOT been funded, only investigation (to determine route, costs, economic viability) and land purchase (when it becomes available, given it can be sold as well) has been approved. The money needed for such a motorway doesn’t exist yet either and until the costs and benefits are known, no one is committed to building it.

    Starry eye wishful thinking by people who think trains are cool, who ignore the finances, who ignore the economics, but just believe somehow there is a conspiracy to make trains look back, because they can’t possibly be bad, is at the expense of others.

    Why anyone can think spending $1.5 billion on a underground rail tunnel is worthwhile, when the entire railway business is worth 20% of that, is astonishing. By contrast, all of the roads make a great deal of money which is reinvested in the network (and in public transport).

    The big question should be – what should be the priority issues to be addressed for transport in Auckland?
    The answers should be around reducing congestion, improving mobility, and reducing total transport costs to move people and goods. Better reflection of costs to users would help in this, this rail project does not.

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  78. NeillR (351 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone sees any other choice but subsidised trains

    So the trains are only cost effective if they are subsidised? Just like the buses that are currently gobbling $60m in a year in subsidies – yet the bus drivers still seem to think there is a rational explanation as to why they should be getting paid more.

    FFS, it’s high time (oops) you Greenies got off the dope and back to reality. While there may be some merit in bus services and trains, there is little doubt that current strategies and planning leave a lot to be desired. Talk of an inner loop has only come about because some ARC policy wonk (who obviously couldn’t get a job in the real world) forgot to ask the builders for a second track into Britomart, which means trains have to sit waiting for each other to get in and out of the station.

    There is talk about a train link to the airport, even though Sydney (which has a far better train network) built a line that went broke before it even started. There is little doubt that a train to AIA will suffer the same fate, but that won’t stop Lee and his mates (remember Len Brown when you go to vote next year because he’s part of this stupid philosophy) from demanding that we have one.

    The biggest problem in NZ (and Auckland in particular) is that we have far too many bureaucrats spending money that isn’t theirs, trying to find solutions to problems that don’t exist. There is so much talk about congestion, but anyone who lives in Auckland knows that when schools are on holidays, travel times are more than acceptable. There is a few choke points around the city (courtesy of the last wave of public officials and their moronic plans), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed – and cheaply.

    For starters, they should close the on/off ramps at Kyber Pass. These 70’s relics were built at a time when there was only 10 cars in Auckland and the concept of traffic entering a motorway immediately before traffic leaving wasn’t a problem. Now it is, so get rid of that engineering disaster and you take away the biggest choke point on the southern motorway.

    Build an airport connector between the Southern and Highway 20. That will allow motorists to bypass Manukau Road and free up another central city choke point.

    And above all else, build the Eastern Highway. Sheesh, the council is quite happy to allow developers to build another 100 thousand houses in the eastern suburbs, but they can’t spend dollar one on providing transportation links for them. Their solution – “they will get into trains and buses”. Remember, these are the same morons who have perpetrated all the previous problems on us, the poor tax/rate payer who has to keep paying for their planning blunders. A plague on their houses, i say!

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  79. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Yes Jeremy, that was a rather muddled up sentence sorry. I think you guessed what I meant to say.

    I made the point about about 4 lanes because the poster who introduced the statistics only mentioned the motorway capacity as per lane when you don’t see any single lane motorways and the point about motorways is the cost of building an extra lane or two into the design should be far lower than putting a rail route through urban or suburban areas.

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  80. jcuknz (689 comments) says:

    DavidP …I’m saying that people have a lot of bad habits forced on themselves by the short sightedness of previous generations, in this case, the longstanding preoccupation of transport regulators on road at the expense of rail and sea transport.

    Herman Poole … you havn’t been to Dunedin … we have a single lane motorway leading north out of town. We have been calling it a motorway for decades :-) It does have several passing lanes though.

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  81. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    @Herman… Really..? Bank’s 6 lane Eastern Motorway was estimated at $4 billion, while a rail link from Manuaku to Glen Innes would be approximately $2 billion…

    “The answers should be around reducing congestion, improving mobility, and reducing total transport costs to move people and goods.”

    Exactly Liberty, and guess what, in a large urban area, a transport system that has extensive walking and cycling facilities and a public transportation system of buses feeding a spine of rail combined with a good set of roads fulfills all those requirements, it’s why Copenhagen spends 4% of it’s GDP on it’s transport and Auckland 16%… It also provides a much more liveable city, with better environmental performance… I keep on saying it again and again, fiscal conservatives MUST be for public transport, hell if I was in the RTF I’d be pushing for commuter rail in Auckland, get more cars out of the way of my trucks…

    Your blinkered ideology that everyone must pay for transportation use at any time is an obstruction to the things you claim to want to achieve above… You fail to recognise that land use planning follows transportation planning as much as they other way around, that planning if done well can lead to transportation effiency… That planning requires central and local government to some (preferably small extent), urban planning and transportation (in the main) are operated largely as public goods in NZ and long may that remain…

    To quote the famous New York expressway champion Robert Moses, “If the ends doesn’t justify the means what does”..? You’re obsession with the means in claiming it produces a better “end” is contrary to overseas evidence…

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  82. libertyscott (344 comments) says:

    Jeremy: Walking and cycling facilities are an extension of access to properties and are not controversial. It’s urban public transport that, unlike all other transport for all other activities, is heavily subsidised. The only economic justification is as a second best alternative to road pricing, but Auckland goes well beyond that.

    The figure of 4% for Copenhagen is hardly surprising, as it has a 36% mode share for commuting by cycle . For a flat higher density city than Auckland, it makes sense. Auckland can never achieve that. Copenhagen’s public transport share is 33% for work trips, not much different from the current share of trips to Auckland’s CBD. Copenhagen as a capital has a far higher proportion of work in its CBD compared to Auckland as well. It is also meaningless to talk of what Copenhagen spends GDP on without the other items, housing for example. Copenhagen is more livable because of cycling and Danes are better looking than the average Aucklander.

    There is no evidence that large spending on commuter rail solves congestion, not a single city that has built new commuter rail has seen highway congestion relieved. ARTA’s blinkered ideology assumes growth in Auckland will be absorbed by trains, which assumes people will live and work near stations- an enormous assumption.

    I am NOT going to apologise for wanting robust analysis behind spending over a billion dollars. New Zealand has poured fortunes of money down holes of the grand ideas of politicians. It should not do so again. I WILL insist projects have at least a positive benefit cost ratio based on direct user benefits and external benefits, not wishful thinking of planners.

    There is also NO evidence of substantial land use changes as a result of the sort of rail investment you are talking about. No new world cities have been transformed in the last 40 years as a result of this policy.

    You don’t have evidence to contradict my view. What Auckland needs is a shift from fuel tax and rates funding of roads to road user charging which varies by time and place and distance, then the busiest roads cost the most and raise funding for efficient new capacity, whilst the quietest roads cost less. Free flowing traffic on roads allows buses to be competitive, and fares to be on a cost recovery basis, even the sunk cost rail system might break even. However, it is simply foolish to pretend that traffic congestion can be solved by pouring a fortune into public transport – it has never worked.

    The problem is pricing, the roads need pricing based on market forces, then public transport can follow, and people can start to move from all travelling like sheeple at once at the same time, to a mix of staggered commuting and telecommuting. People in part time work and off peak will pay less than they do now to commute, as they should.

    Because, frankly, once everyone pays for what they want, they will decide on the land use patterns for Auckland, and Auckland with free flowing traffic, a vibrant commercially run bus system, a cash positive legacy rail system and cycling and walking, will be better than the ARC imposed vision to duplicate the enormously expensive failed experiments of US cities from the 1970s and 1980s.

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