The case for buses not rail for Auckland

October 29th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Below I blog some documents from Tony Randle, who makes a strong case that the best way to improve Auckland’s transport problems is a bus tunnel, not the CBD rail loop. Tony has done a 93 page critique of the business case for the CBD rail loop, and found numerous flaws in it. He says that the bus tunnel option has never been properly considered by the Auckland Council, and it should be. His conclusion is:

The Alternatives Paper also hides the fact that the Central Bus Tunnel option carries far more commuters on congestion free PT corridors than the CBD Rail Link option while being cheaper to both build and operate. The Central Bus Tunnel option is much fairer in providing a Rapid Transit service to more PT commuters across more of Auckland than any passenger rail system. In recommending the inferior rail tunnel option, the business case fails in meeting any objective to identify the best rapid transit solution for central Auckland.

He also notes:

The deceptive elimination of the superior Central Bus Tunnel option has reduced the debate on to whether or not the rail tunnel should be built. Aucklanders do not know a Bus Rapid Transit tunnel is the superior third way to improve CBD being. The consistent misrepresentation of passenger rail over Bus Rapid Transit is difficult to understand . . . until of course you read the title page and recognise the Auckland CBD Rail Link Business Case was “Prepared for KiwiRail and ARTA”.

So the paper which recommended rail over buses was partially commissioned by KiwiRail? And this is what the decisions were made on, rather than an analysis commissioned by someone with no vested interests?

It is also worth considering the lessons from the Rugby World Cup. One broken down train clogs the entire track. A broken down bus results in a few minutes delay only.

I hope the media seriously look at Tony’s work and we have a genuine debate on what is the best way to reduce congestion in Auckland. The Herald has already done a small story here.

Auckland CBD Rail Link BC Review T Randle – Summary Only 111026

Above is Tony’s Executive Summary. But he has done a huge amount of work backing up his conclusions. And remember Tony is no politician, with a vested interest in the conclusions. Likewise he has not been paid by anyone for his analysis, so there is no issue of it being an analysis to suit the paymaster. He’s just someone who wants the best public transport system for NZ cities.

His full 93 page analysis is here – Auckland CBD Rail Link BC – Bus Tunnel Cost Review final DRAFT 111026. It’s incredibly comprehensive.

He has also provided the detailed costings calculations which Auckland Transport refused to release until ordered to by the Ombudsman- Alternatives Cost Model v4a

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49 Responses to “The case for buses not rail for Auckland”

  1. Griff (8,194 comments) says:

    Len wants a train set just like his mp mates. How much will he blow on stupid crap like this before getting dumped ?

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  2. campit (467 comments) says:

    The bottom line though is that without the CBD rail link, the whole passenger rail system will be at capacity, especially with the introduction of electric trains which will attract even more people to rail. The current situation of having trains backing out of Britomart is a major bottleneck that can’t be solved any other way.

    Having 200 buses an hour coming into the central city isn’t a realistic or sensible alternative.

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  3. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    It is illogical for a bus tunnel to be cheaper. For a start it needs to be much wider than a rail tunnel (removing more earth from ground costs more). Also it would need extractors to remove diesel fumes.

    Secondly, the rail tunnel can leverage off the existing rail network, which has masses of capacity if it was not for the Britomart bottleneck. The bus tunnel requires huge additional bus infrastructure at its southern end: busways along Great South Rd as far as Greenlane, New North Rd as far as Kingsland & Dominion Rd as far as Valley Rd. Building full busways along those stretches would be hugely expensive and disruptive.

    Plus, buses are more expensive than trains for long term operating costs. One train driver can shift 1000 people, you need 20 bus drivers to do the same.

    The bus tunnel idea may have made sense 20 years ago when we were considering ripping up the rail network. But we’ve spent around $2.5b on the Auckland rail network in the past decade & in the next few years. It would be insane trying to duplicate it with buses, which is what the bus tunnel idea does.

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  4. Martin Gibson (247 comments) says:

    It’s amazing how often people get emotionally involved in a conclusion that rests on invalid assumptions.
    Often it is the conclusion that is the assumption, and the evidence is reverse engineered to fit it. In New Zealand the assumption that rail is superior to roads is commonly used to demand huge taxpayer subsidy of it on top of Labour’s $1B. We still hear about how efficient rail is here on the East Coast even though it has only one customer, and is subsidised to the tune of some $6m+ per year.
    A lot of brave men died building our link to Napier, so there is some history there but it is a whole lot easier to indulge sentimentality with other people’s money.
    Anthropogenic global warming, profit is bad, rail is good . . . they are all variations of Christian science the Greens fling around. It’s a shame more of them opted for political and womyn’s studies than science.

    [DPF: Yes. Those who think Tony is wrong, should do what he did and be specific. So far those commenting here againgst have just said “He can’t be right”

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  5. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    Lenny B can NOT afford to lose the Rail Loop .. it’s his baby

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  6. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    If the darkies (and others) in Auckland drive like the darkies (and others) in Lower Hutt they should all be catching the bus or train! :)

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  7. campit (467 comments) says:

    @Martin couldn’t agree more. In this case I’m struggling to understand what problem a bus tunnel between Fanshawe St and Newton is trying to solve. North Shore residents are already well served by the existing Northern Busway. Commuters from west Auckland won’t benefit, and the benefits for southern commuters aren’t really explained. Comparing this solution to a rail tunnel from Mt Eden to Britomart is comparing apples with oranges.

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  8. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    Not having been privy to the public stuff for around forty years can anyone tell me how the aircon on the buses/trains compares with that on my Audi ?

    Does it filter out the smell of the masses? :)

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  9. plebe (271 comments) says:

    I live in Wgtn, and i dont give a rats bum about auckland.I live in the capital WELLINGTON with the best stadium,cafes, museum,pubs and which happens to be the 2nd biggist city in NZ with both trains and busses.I dont give a doggie doo about public transport as the unwashed use both,so i drive my toymota and avoid the riff raf like nasty right/left wingers who blog,moan a lot and have personality problems.

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  10. dog_eat_dog (790 comments) says:

    Campit – the bus tunnel would help alleviate the bus congestion (which is central to the rail argument) that will occur on Albert St. if buses continue to stop there with increasing route frequency.

    It’s worth pointing out that even if they build the rail tunnel, the trains will only be able to go where the trains go now. It represents no transport gains to people who currently rely on buses and who cannot get to a train station in a reasonable amount of time.

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  11. V (750 comments) says:

    About as bad as making incorrect assumptions, is making it a train versus bus debate. There is no reason why the CBD can’t have a rail link, with buses feeding to stations along/further up and having a true network effect. Each mode has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, including cars.

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  12. dog_eat_dog (790 comments) says:

    Yes V, that’s true, but the Council hasn’t talked about re-prioritization of buses for rail throughput as part of their plans so you have to assume they’re just not interested in doing it. They could do it now, arguably.

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  13. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Why do the politicians believe that just because public transport is there people will use it.?There is a lot to ..bugger travelling with the great unwashed……………, that’s why people buy cars.

    The only public transport I ever used as an adult was the Devonport Ferry, perhaps the greatest way to go to work in the world, but a train or a bus from Glen Eden doesn’t have the same ………..style?

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  14. dog_eat_dog (790 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay – I like to have a few beers in town from time to time, and it doesn’t help when the buses stop running early. So there’s one passenger.

    This case is awesome, I’m loving the way it actually addresses improving bus access from areas outside the CBD.

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  15. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    Funnily enough PEB some wealthy bastards think that if the great unwashed deserve a freebie on the taxpayer then so do they.

    Not that I could think of any particular bastards in particular. :)

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  16. big bruv (14,156 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    You have nailed it.

    I don’t care how much the left ‘encourage’ us to use public transport there is simply no way that I am going to share a bus or train with some unwashed Lefty.

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  17. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Dog_Eat-Dog

    Len the Liars rail plan is ludicrous but more buses won’t solve Auckland’s problem unless the service is free, its a car town.

    And, with a smiley face here, its a lot of money so you can have a beer and chat up the chicks on a Friday night which leads us into…. come back to my place I have a Mercedes , its the number 27 and it leaves in 18 minutes……. hardly aphrodisiacal that line is it?

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  18. Manolo (14,065 comments) says:

    All evidence to the contrary will never convince the deranged Left, the Luddites at the top of that pile.

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  19. dog_eat_dog (790 comments) says:

    Paul – I agree. CBD rail loop will do stuff all for those who work in East Tamaki, or the people of Howick and Pakuranga who the Hubbard council told wouldn’t need rail for 50 years. Why should they (or I) who can’t access rail pay more for a service that I can’t use? It gets worse when you remember the Council can’t stop talking about parking surcharges and congestion fees. Judging by Whaleoil’s claimed source, it seems we’re likely to get one or both in the announcement tomorrow.

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  20. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Awesome, parking surcharges et al…. Well that will confirm the death of retail in the CBD, if it isn’t already terminal. St Lukes is free, Botany free, you don’t need to go to Queen Street for a kebab.

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  21. V (750 comments) says:

    Surely people who do simple trips home-CBD-home, or home-shopping mall-home should be encouraged to take PT, thus freeing up roads for people doing unique point-point journeys and business which need roads to efficiently visit clients etc without being delayed in congestion?

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  22. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    V
    In a perfect world it would be great.

    Just prior to the RWC I was in Auckland with my daughter walking back to our hotel, it was 7.00 pm on a Friday night. We had to cross the road because of the drunks, the teenage drunks etc that were at the Victoria Street bus stop. And I know that that is not universal but there is no way in the world I would want to catch a bus in Auckland after 5.30 let alone let my wife or kids get on.

    I just felt sorry for the people who had worked al lday and had to endure these shitbags on there way home.

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  23. V (750 comments) says:

    @Pauleastbay

    Yes, although I guess that speaks of other societal issues in NZ rather than just a PT issue.

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  24. Crusader (322 comments) says:

    The reason public transport will never solve the chronic traffic snarl-up that is Auckland is this….

    The vast majority of Aucklanders who support public transport do so with the idea that it will relieve some of the congestion on the roads, thus allowing them to drive to work a bit quicker.
    Almost nobody actually wants to (or will) use it themselves who don’t already.

    The end result is that there is a certain nnumber of minutes people are prepared to sit in traffic. If the traffic gets less congested, the population will move out to the fringe of town and spend the same average amount of time in the car.

    It’s called the idiot factor.

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  25. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Go with the trains, who cares about the cost.

    Have you guys ever driven near a bus? They abruptly pull out in front of you, take up two lanes when turning corners, and they belch out the most disgusting diesel smoke I’ve ever seen. I always have to flick my car vents to recirc and close my window whenever a bus is nearby.

    Plus they’re killers of pedestrians. They travel on designated lanes at 55km/h, 6 inches from the curb, one false step crossing the road and your head is cracked open by their flat-faced frontage. They’re always late, and a full of homeless people with goldcards.

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  26. wreck1080 (3,964 comments) says:

    Realistically, you can write a report to suit any view and put numbers down to back up that view.

    Decent rail needs high population density.

    The issue for Auckland is the issue for kiwis in general — how do we increase population density such that people will accept it.

    I like the london way, terraced housing with large parks and squares. Then, you can afford an electrified subway. But, the apartments I’ve seen in Auckland are small and dog ugly, and seem expensive.

    I visited auckland with my children a while back, planning on taking them into town via a train ride just for the fun. Firstly, found the cost would be around $80 for the return trip just for fares. So, thought I’d drive in a little closer (just wanted the kids to have a bit of fun), but couldn’t find a station initially (why aren’t they signposted?), then, when I found the first station there was no parking. The second station we found seemed to have a lot of parking, but, there was a 2 hour parking limit on all parks so that was no good either. Ended up driving and parking in a building in town and saved a lot of money to boot.

    One more thing, the auckland rail website was not working. They have a from/to destination selector, so , entered greenlane/britomart, and , it was telling me to walk to henderson to catch a bus to britomart. Ended up phoning the rail company (whats their name??), and , they said the website hadn’t been working for at least a couple of days. . . FAIL , on so many levels.

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  27. Tautaioleua (318 comments) says:

    :(

    It’s a foolish analysis given the prediction of Auckland’s urban population growth in the next fifty to one hundred years. We need to diversify the options available to Aucklanders via public transport and a new bus hub is not the long-term strategic answer.

    There should be no limitation on a first world transport system for the Auckland region. After all, it is the economic capital of New Zealand, and the gateway to most centres from abroad.

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  28. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    I will do a more detailed analysis of Mr Randle’s paper in a blog post, but here are a few more thoughts.

    Firstly, it’s great that he’s done this work, it’s great to see more analyses of large-scale transport projects. I need to double-check the details but it seems like he points out a few good points in terms of flaws in the initial business case – although these flaws were picked up on by Council’s own review of the business case. The biggest issue in this respect is the issue of whether you would keep adding more and more bus services to the city centre with the rail tunnel built, or whether you would turn many more of the routes into feeder services. Obviously the latter is more logical.

    However, Mr Randle falls into the very same trap of the original business case. His estimates suggest that there would be 19,000 more bus trips into the CBD during peak time with the City Rail Link built – that seems a bit excessive as one of the biggest points of the project is to lessen our reliance on an ever increasing number of buses and cars heading into the city centre. Especially as the City Centre Master Plan is based around reducing road capacity so we can set aside more space for pedestrians, more reliance on buses & cars in the city centre simply isn’t feasible.

    He falls into this trap even further by assuming that you would have the same bus infrastructure (beyond the bus tunnel itself) if you went with the bus tunnel or the rail tunnel. That’s a huge error to make, as obviously with the bus tunnel you’re putting a huge amount of extra buses onto the city’s streets than you are with the rail tunnel. This is particularly true at the tunnel’s southern end, as I said earlier you need a full busway along New North, Manukau, Dominion and Great South Road. The relevant map is here: http://transportblog.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/bus-support-infrastructure.jpg Good luck trying to drive a full blown busway through the middle of Newmarket!

    A rail tunnel takes a huge amount of pressure off putting a huge number of buses on the road system, which is pretty close to capacity. It makes use of a part of the city’s infrastructure which is largely under-used at the moment, whereas the bus tunnel puts more traffic onto parts of the city’s infrastructure (the arterial roads) which don’t have the spare capacity. It’s not the cost of the bus tunnel which makes it a non-starter, it’s the cost and impact on the various arterial roads that would feed the tunnel’s southern end.

    The improvements necessary to various roads feeding the southern end of the bus tunnel simply aren’t necessary if we go with the rail tunnel. Mr Randle’s assessment misses this key point and that’s why it’s flawed. He assumes that we’d build all these busways along Great South, New North, Dominion and Manukau Roads if we built the rail tunnel – which we simply wouldn’t, because we don’t need to.

    So overall, it’s an interesting assessment and helpful to point out flaws in the business case – although they had already been picked up on. But it has some pretty massive flaws that undermine its conclusions. I still think the rail tunnel makes more sense, because it eases pressure on the city’s road system, rather than adding pressure to it. It’s not like we can easily widen those arterial roads, so they’d either be bus only or would lose a huge amount of capacity for general traffic. That’s worth keeping in mind for people who don’t like using public transport – wouldn’t you rather those that did were on the train system rather than clogging up “your roads” with buses?

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  29. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Farrar says:- “So the paper which recommended rail over buses was partially commissioned by KiwiRail?”

    Well, if a paper partly commissioned by KiwiRail was to be *the deciding factor* in building a rail loop, then there is something seriously wrong with the council’s decision making process. I’d be curious to know how they respond to this allegation, because it basically amounts to corruption if found to be true.

    Rail is a waste of money long term IMO.

    My guess is that in 50 years, most cars, buses and trucks will drive themselves and either physically link up with other cars or travel very close together at speed, thus drastically increasing road carrying capacity.

    Mightn’t need a lot of new roads when road vehicles all talk to each other and hum around in electrically powered conga lines. Who needs a freakin rail?

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  30. TM (100 comments) says:

    The potentially dodgy numbers from Council are concerning. The idealistic fervour that some people pursue trains with is baffling.

    But even though buses almost always compare favourably to trains financially, people prefer to take trains rather than buses. It’s why in places like London the bus ticket is half the price of the tube to tempt people away from the at-capacity underground rail network. And the good thing about the rail loop is that it would reduce the number of buses in the central city.

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  31. Rich Prick (1,726 comments) says:

    What is it with this Holy Grail called Public Transport. My transport is 1.5 star rated, which really annoys the Greens, has a 650 watt stereo, heated and airated seats, it has txt capable bluetooth and it gets me to the office and back perfectly well. No waiting times in the rain, no transfers, no break-downs and no trudge from the last stop to the office. And it always beats the buses. Its perfect. Its called a car.

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  32. Rich Prick (1,726 comments) says:

    TM, you mention London’s tube. The reason it works so well is that all of the lines are so well-integrated with trains running every few minutes on every line. They have the population (and lack of car ownership because terraced housing doesn’t permit it easily) to make it work and a huge number live in a decent radius from where they work.

    Auckland has a population of 1/25th of London, no money, and no demand. South Auckland simply doesn’t commute to central Auckland, nor does a good amount of the North Shore, or the Westies, unlike London. However, once in the CBD, taxis do a fine job. There is just no need for a rail loop, it will be like Christchurch’s tram, for tourists or wedding parties doing dinners et el.

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  33. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Rail is a 40 year investment as housing starts to be situated around railway stations but it takes a long time to influence where people build houses, apartments etc

    The Nothern Busway is an absolute f***g waste of money – you need to get past the same traffic jams as the motorway to use them, the linking bus routes are insufficient, parking was insufficient from day 1 etc 100 million $ down the tubes.

    However, hub and spoke systems are the way to go and in Auckland only a bus system will work, Rail is the most expensive way to move a small amount of people between 2 points (yes I exagerate)

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  34. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    I couldn’t care less if PT was free and efficient…I want to ride in my car by myself at my leisure….end of story.

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  35. Griff (8,194 comments) says:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/super-city/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501110&objectid=10762330
    “There is really nothing wrong with sprawling along our lovely coast. The costs of extending services can be recovered from developers these days. The Auckland Plan invokes pollution, climate change, rising sea levels, peak oil. (Thirty years ago, it was expected oil would run out by now.) All sound like excuses for planners to design a city for the transport they like, rather than design transport for the city we love”.

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  36. campit (467 comments) says:

    @griff The Auckland plan includes $10bn of roading projects. Not sure what John Roughan is on about there.

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  37. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    campit

    So how do you see public and private transport evolving technologically in the next 50 years? (In light of your name link to the campaign for better transport)

    Will rail become redundant when all vehicles self-drive and self-organize? (No traffic lights for example)

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  38. Griff (8,194 comments) says:

    Rail is redundant all ready
    Changing the way we live to suit public transport is socialist culture at its worst.
    Remember the last round of pedestrian friendly public transport driven malls.
    Onehunga has only just recovered from the stupidity of the seventy’s close the road kill the town.
    we want cars we want to live were the beaches open space and lifestyle is.Not in crummy apartments on designated rail lines.
    rail is fixed it can not change to reflect changing work life patterns and costs way more than they will admit.
    Britomart was the classic case of rail think. way to expensive to build and maintain not flexible

    Stupid lefty’s and choo choo trains.

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  39. LeftPilot (61 comments) says:

    Rail will eventually be a bigger feature of Auckland whether the left/right etc like it or not. Auckland will continue to expand and eventually the density of that expansion is likely to increase, the more that happens the more a rail system will come into play.

    Short-sighted thinking can’t be allowed to get in the way of vision. Any decent world city (and I am not saying Auckland is or necessarily ever will be a ‘world city’ had rail as a complement it’s transport system). As both a tourist and a traveller when on business the public transport option is sometimes invaluable. I am currently in the middle of the US and the lack of public transport even in a large city makes life difficult compared to my normal experiences in Asia. I could get a big V8 rental car and that would certainly be fun but then I have to deal with the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing.

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  40. Tony (10 comments) says:

    Firstly, thank you David for giving the issues I found a wider audience and for all the commentators.

    @Martin Gibson, @dog_eat_dog and @scott Chris: Yes you seem to get the points I am raising.

    @campit Says: “Having 200 buses an hour coming into the central city isn’t a realistic or sensible alternative.”

    I agree, but that is what the CBD Rail Link plan includes ! Did you not know the bus patronage assumed for the rail tunnel you are so avidly (and blindly) promoting ?

    @jarbury (1st post) Says: “It is illogical for a bus tunnel to be cheaper. For a start it needs to be much wider than a rail tunnel (removing more earth from ground costs more). Also it would need extractors to remove diesel fumes.”

    The bus tunnel costs are from the Kiwirail/Auckland Transport consultants and are not disputed. Describing the bus tunnel option as “a 2-Lane tunnel” and then costing TWO 2-lane tunnels IS an issue.

    “Plus, buses are more expensive than trains for long term operating costs. One train driver can shift 1000 people, you need 20 bus drivers to do the same.”

    Not according to the Kiwirail/Auckland Transport consultants costings (once you correct the two major operating cost spreadsheet formula errors).

    @jarbury (2nd Post) Says: “I will do a more detailed analysis of Mr Randle’s paper in a blog post, but here are a few more thoughts.”

    I look forward to your comment that are informed and considered comments once you have actually read the report ;)

    “However, Mr Randle falls into the very same trap of the original business case. His estimates suggest that there would be 19,000 more bus trips into the CBD during peak time with the City Rail Link built – that seems a bit excessive as one of the biggest points of the project is to lessen our reliance on an ever increasing number of buses and cars heading into the city centre. Especially as the City Centre Master Plan is based around reducing road capacity so we can set aside more space for pedestrians, more reliance on buses & cars in the city centre simply isn’t feasible.”

    “The 19,000 more bus trips into the CBD during peak time with the City Rail Link built” is NOT my estimate. It is the estimate from the CBD Rail Link consultants ! See the Memo to the MoT Review that documents the actual patronage bus patronage for the CBD Rail Link.
    http://tinyurl.com/3lg6nl5

    Cameron & jarbury, you do realise you are arguing against that the proposed CBD Rail Link Business Case as proposed by Auckland Transport will not work because of the issues I have raised ? Do you realise that you have accepted both the bus and rail tunnel costings without being fully informed of them and the major assumptions behind these options ?

    Read the report if you want to know the real logic of why I believe the bus tunnel/Bus Rapid Transit alternative has been eliminated by the Kiwirail/Auckland Transport Business Case.

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  41. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    I have not read any of the reports and do not have any accurate information on either buses or trains in Auckland.

    All I know is we have major congestion for long periods at peak hour on our motorways.

    Instead of this petty argument Len Brown vs Steven Joyce & John Key, Rail vs No Rail, Labour vs National why don’t we set up an independent committee with independent professional people who know something about public transport systems worldwide and get some plan put in place for the future development of Auckland’s transport system.

    If we are going to do it right lets do it once and do it right.

    All we seem to here is Len Brown wants a completed City Rail Loop and John Key and Steven Joyce saying you are not going to have one.

    Having used the train systems in Japan, US and the UK they function very well and shift large numbers of people very quickly without interferring with road users, I haven’t seen the accurate figures so i don’t know the facts.

    However I thought fixing Auckland’s transport woes would have been a higher priority than the Holiday Highway North of Auckland.

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  42. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    rakuraku

    Contrary to popular belief, commercial activity doesn’t cease north of Orewa.

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  43. Griff (8,194 comments) says:

    “Having used the train systems in Japan, US and the UK they function very well and shift large numbers of people very quickly without interferring with road users, I haven’t seen the accurate figures so i don’t know the facts.”

    fact. they cost to much to build and maintain subsidized for ever. even the London underground runs at a loss.
    fact. they are not efficient for sprawling urban areas like Los Angeles and Auckland.
    fact. most will not use them regularly.
    fact. Auckland does not have the population density required
    fact. making our lifestyles fit lefty views of urban utopia will destroy the reason people chose to live in Auckland.
    Many Aucklands never go into the city year on year yet they will end up paying for this lefty green dream for ever.
    we are not running out of dead dinosaur juice there is still enough to burn for the next two hundred years cars are here to stay

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  44. swan (665 comments) says:

    Griff, I agree with your thoughts on rail, however regarding private vehicles, the current system directly and indirectly subsidises cars and sprawl. Also the lack of an effective market for road use results in a tragedy of the commons aka congestion. If these issues were rectified, the equilibrium would likely result in somewhat higher density and more public transport patronage, in the form of buses.

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  45. Griff (8,194 comments) says:

    @ swan
    Thank you for agreeing
    The tragedy of the commons will be self correcting as cost of fuel rises.

    There is room for tax to skew us towards smaller more efficient cars to hurry this along.

    Not tolls or congestion charges as the cost of collecting will eat about 50% of revenue. creating fiscal drag in New Zealands main economic power house.

    show a socialist politician a new tax and they will find away to waste it.

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  46. campit (467 comments) says:

    @Tony suggest you take a look at Josh’s in depth analysis here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/10/30/a-cbd-bus-tunnel/#comments

    My understanding is that the bus figures you quote from the original study have been superceded by the subsequent MOT/ Auckland Transport report. Again I also think comparing busway vs rail tunnel options are like comparing chalk and cheese. They each would have different user bases and benefits, so this is more than just costs.

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  47. Bogusnews (477 comments) says:

    What scares me is a meeting I was at with Len B in front of a group of businessmen.
    He was extolling the virtues of trains and was asked a fairly obvious and pragmatic question which was “where will the money come from for this?” Brown just smiled and said “we’ll just have to find it”.

    Pretty scary to me that he wants to commit to such a massive expenditure without even knowing where the money would come from. Unfortunately very typical of the left, they are clueless of how money is made.

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  48. Tony (10 comments) says:

    @campit: I have read JArbury’s article and submitted two comments in response. However, these comments have NOT been posted along with the others in the debate which is very frustrating and unfair. There may be a technical issue but it seems like censorship to me !

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  49. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    David Farrar – this is what you bloggers are meant to be all about. Full marks, man.
    Keeping the politicians AND the mainstream media, honest.
    Tony Randle deserves a knighthood. There is a sad lack of citizens today who are engaged with genuine tenacious investigation of the rip-offs the politicians are putting across – ESPECIALLY anything to do with Greenie nonsense.
    The MSM have failed us dismally as watchdogs on this as well as other issues.
    If I understand Tony’s analysis right, I think this is what has happened. The most basic, pared-down “case for rail” has been compared with a deliberately lavish, gold-plated “case for buses” – so as to ensure that rail gets picked. PLUS, the “case for rail” which will only move a fraction of the numbers that the gold-plated bus case would move, deliberately EXCLUDES the cost of investments in buses that will be necessary anyway to make up the gap.
    The poor sucker taxpayer/ratepayer will only find out years down the track – if they ever do. Tax money tends to disappear down black holes with specific costs of specific items hidden with creative accounting.
    The question I ask now, is WHY? WHY do politicians and bureaucrats have to put such dishonesty accross the public, on PUBLIC TRANSPORT?. For Pete’s sake, what are they capable of when it comes to much more serious issues?
    IF we might as well just use roads and buses and cars, according to rational, scientific, dispassionate analysis; WHY the conspiracy to perpetuate wastage of money on a transport mode that is past its date of relevance to the modern society and economy? Why not canals? Hulls on water are even MORE “efficient” than steel wheels on rails, after all.
    It is time “environmentalism” was declared a religion (which it is) and made to BUTT OUT of policy making on the grounds that NZ is a SECULAR country. We wouldn’t tolerate christian fundamentalists running the ministry of social development, would we?

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