The Herald reports:
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has received official advice to do more work on using buses instead of modern trams from downtown Auckland to the airport – a move that could save taxpayers as much as $2.5 billion.
But the minister, who says trams to the airport has a preliminary estimate of $3.7b, has rejected the idea of running buses on a dedicated corridor. Officials have put a cost of $1.2b to use advanced buses to the airport.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Twyford made an election promise last August to build modern trams, or light rail, from the CBD to the airport and from the CBD to West Auckland. The latest cost estimate for the project is $6b.
Papers obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act show Twyford was advised by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) shortly after coming to office in November to look further at advanced buses to the airport before finalising the preferred mode.
Officials said new transport technology was evolving quickly and narrowing the difference between the levels of service and capacity between advanced buses and modern trams, citing an example being tested in China.
“These technologies (of the buses) have the potential to deliver light rail performance at lower cost due to less track and fewer overhead infrastructure requirements.
Labour and Greens have an obsession with rail. Often bus lanes and the like can’t deliver far better public transport for less money.
The trouble with rail is it is so inflexible. It costs hundreds of millions to change a route. Buses can easily be rerouted. And the future will be self driving public transport vehicles that can pick you up from your home and deliver you to your destination.