Auckland Transport spends $356,000 on PR for them

June 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Public transport bosses in Auckland spent $356,000 to improve their public image – even as they lined up a special shuttle so staff don’t have to travel on buses and trains.

The marketing campaign came with the introduction of the new electric trains and was also intended to encourage people to “give the trains a go”.

It was revealed this week has set up a regular private shuttle service to move staff between its Henderson headquarters and its central Auckland waterfront office.

The shuttle was intended as a time-saving measure for staff, but attracted criticism from public transport advocates because it leaves from and arrives at the same places used by the slower public transport options.

The $356,000 spending on the April campaign came as the shuttle service was being prepared for launch. The documents, released to the Taxpayers’ Union, show the campaign was intended to “increase positive perceptions towards Auckland Transport and our breakthrough projects”.

I’d rather they spend their money on actual trains, rather than on PR about the trains!

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18 Responses to “Auckland Transport spends $356,000 on PR for them”

  1. mike tan (433 comments) says:

    I wonder if there are any links between whoever is allocating this funding and the PR companies that are benefiting.

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  2. wiseowl (827 comments) says:

    This is the result of having a super sucking council and will be repeated in other areas.
    Meanwhile the debt keeps growing and the ratepayers keep paying and National want to inflict the same nonsense in other regions.

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  3. Fox (202 comments) says:

    I’d rather they spend their money on actual trains, rather than on PR about the trains!

    Why?

    It’s becoming quite clear that they, just like councillors, the Mayor, and the people of Auckland, have no intention of actually using them.

    It would be best if they simply didn’t spend the money at all, and perhaps (heaven forbid) gave ratepayers a bit of a break from the incessant oversized rates increases.

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  4. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘I’d rather they spend their money on actual trains, rather than on PR about the trains!’
    Some money on publicity for their services is probably okay. $356k is not a huge amount for what is a very large operation. Criticise them for the shuttle nonsense, but a small PR campaign doesn’t seem unreasonable.

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  5. Fox (202 comments) says:

    Small marketing campaign raising awareness of slow, inefficient, overpriced train service: $356K.

    Large negative marketing campaign surrounding the revelation that council workers prefer using a special shuttle service because the public transport system is too crappy: priceless.

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  6. prosper (140 comments) says:

    You don’t need to know someone in council to get their work.They contract out as much work as possible because they don’t want the responsibility, are inefficient, lack business knowledge, don’t want to get their hands dirty. Talented people do not work for the council they are in private enterprise.

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  7. B A W (98 comments) says:

    The $356,000 question is what did they get in return?

    An increase in patronage which brought in fares greater than the amount spent?
    That would be good value.

    If it were about rail safety then that could be good value – one accident shuts the line down for hours. That is if the safety message works.

    As for the shuttle bus – why don’t they add a hop card reader and try and cut the cost?

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  8. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Naturally DPF, and the writer of the article, have no idea what the money was spent on or what the return might be. To condemn this spending without that context seems quite pointless, like much of the ‘Taxpayers Union’ stuff.

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  9. OneTrack (2,815 comments) says:

    “Naturally DPF, and the writer of the article, have no idea what the money was spent on or what the return might be. ”

    Sounds a lot like Auckland Transport.

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  10. Surely Knott (9 comments) says:

    Fox. The trains are busy. Standing room only at peak times. They need the rail loop to be efficient. The 20 mins saving with the rail loop would take the train directly to the town centre making it as fast and more frequent that council shuttles. The money should have been spent on necessary improvements to the product – fixing the hop card stations (often broken and people can’t pay) wardens to make the trains safe, and more trains. The trains are super important. I hope that we don’t make this a right/left issue. The trains are good and necessary. Useless PR and Shuttles (eg private chauffering to the door) is gross mismanagement of funds. Build the train product and then advertise it.

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  11. OneTrack (2,815 comments) says:

    Surely Knott – So why don’t they buy some more trains, instead of wasting money on PR campaigns and shuttles for the elite?

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  12. Alan (1,082 comments) says:

    @One Track.

    They’ve bought more trains. 57 of them iirc.

    However you simply can’t keep adding trains to the network, there is a straightforward capacity issue on the tracks. right now britomart is a dead end, this limits the number of trains that can run.

    I’ve rode the new electric trains a couple of times, they are good and fast. Because they accelerate faster and can brake faster, journey times are reduced. The integrated ticketing with the HOP cards works well.

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  13. Steve (North Shore) (4,522 comments) says:

    I still have not the idea of why Council workers need to travel from the City to Henderson and back.
    What the fuck is going on in Henderson, why is it not going on in Takapuna, or Papakura?
    Move the Council to Henderson – that solves it, and it is cheaper

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  14. goldnkiwi (1,170 comments) says:

    Advertise the bus/train service on the shuttle?

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  15. Alan (1,082 comments) says:

    @Steve, Auckland Transports main facility is in Henderson, right next to the Railway station

    They have a secondary office down town.

    Staff need to move between them.

    When the western line is electric, journey times will be reduced and the need to shuttle removed.

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  16. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    No problem with shuttles. What’s the net effect for ratepayers ? Work that one out. Try measuring cost / benefit of $356K PR. Good luck with that.

    Transport is about economic divisions. If you’re up high enough – you don’t use public transport. That’s real.

    In Wellington – higher-ups could take the bus to the airport. Taxis. CBD-airport road is awash with suit-filled taxis Mon-Fri.

    And just quietly – if the SuperCity mayor got the last seat on the train – I’d be fuckin fuming – get out of here ‘HotDesk’ !!

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  17. lazza (369 comments) says:

    How much does Auckland Council spend on all of its PR apparatus … include logos, PR people (salaries) and admin (offices), advertising, signage, brochures, spin of all kinds (including ffnancail feel good reporting) PD Browns peccadillos (make that pecker-dildos?), community board publicity … the list goes on and on and on …

    As for balanced useful performance reporting … forget it!

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  18. Left Right and Centre (2,883 comments) says:

    I’ve rode the new electric trains a couple of times, they are good and fast. Because they accelerate faster and can brake faster, journey times are reduced. The integrated ticketing with the HOP cards works well

    You’re not kidding – I caught a Wellington Korean set – 10:14pm – I was home at fuckin 10:30pm. No shit. It was like time travel. Teleporting. You couldn’t beat that with a car ffs. Do you want to say ‘I’ve ridden the new electric trains . . .’. I’ve rode doesn’t sound right. Always happy to ‘help’.

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