Now there are two

light-rail-tram-nz-first

by Lindsay Shelton
Now there are two – the Greens tonight joined NZ First in saying they will build light rail from the Wellington railway station to the airport.

Can we expect Labour to join them?

When NZ First announced its policy two months ago, Grant Robertson said Labour’s transport policy would be announced soon and he personally supported light rail, first to the hospital, and then on to the airport.

But the Labour transport policy for Wellington has turned out to be far less committed and less convincing than NZ First and the Greens. For Wellington, Labour states only that it will

Develop a Congestion Free Network plan and fast-track a feasibility study on rapid transit to the airport, which considers light rail.

Another feasibility study sounds like an idea whose time is long gone.

Time now to expect Labour to step up – so that there are three parties favouring what has been so convincingly argued for so long….so long.

In tonight’s announcement, Green leader James Shaw said

“Light rail will transform Wellington, by making the city quieter and more people-friendly and allowing thousands of people to travel quickly to work, back home again, and beyond.”

The Green plan is to have light rail to Newtown by 2025, and then on through Kilbirnie to the airport by 2027.

The Green announcement gives added importance to the public meeting being planned by the campaigning Congestion Free Wellington – on Monday at the Library at 6pm. Light rail is a key part of its campaign to reduce traffic volumes, lower carbon emissions, and make a healthier city.

Expect voices to be raised in support of the Greens and NZ First and their agreement on getting on with light rail. Even better if there was a third party joining them.

Brent Efford: Greens’ light rail plan is welcome and sensible

 

35 comments:

  1. Russell Tregonning, 24. August 2017, 22:01

    Excellent news that Greens see the transformative effect that light rail will have for Wellington city. Labour now needs to come to the party. They have been fence- sitting with their ‘balanced transport’ approach– for ‘balanced read ‘a bob each way’. Their support for a roading build-up as part of the solution for increasing congestion in the Capital is hardly balance: we already have roads. We need something new to achieve real balance. Jacinta Adern says Climate Change is the new Labour anti- nuclear policy for NZ. All- electric light rail is pro-climate –4lanes2 the planes will encourage more cars, and climate- hostile emissions. Her words need to be translated into action. It’s pretty simple really.

     
  2. Neil Douglas, 24. August 2017, 22:19

    We now need commitment from Labour to retain and invest in Wellington’s trolley bus system which would cost only a fraction of building a Light Rail system on one corridor to the Airport. Such commitment would also help to bolster bus drivers’ wages and conditions. Remember we are not talking of hundreds of millions of dollars to have a 100% electric public transport in Wellington. We are talking of $100million tops for a super – modern trolley bus system which would keep Wellington’s unique place in the southern hemisphere and retain a NETWORK that is ideally suited to our hilly and windy terrain.

     
  3. Marion Leader, 25. August 2017, 7:33

    Apart from anything else, thank you for giving the reference to the Wellington.Scoop article from 2010 on light rail. It gives fascinating and necessary background.
    A pity that Congestion Free Wellington’s meeting next Monday clashes with the big meeting in Te Aro.

     
  4. CPH, 25. August 2017, 8:55

    Seven. Hundred. Million. Dollars. Lovely as the announcement may be, I think the PREFU has put paid to any light rail spend-ups of this magnitude.

     
  5. John Rankin, 25. August 2017, 9:27

    @CPH: the current National-led government has repeatedly stated that funding is available to invest in Wellington’s transport infrastructure. The PREFU does not change that; it just highlights that new expenditure will be a challenge.

    Light rail offers better value for money than 4 traffic lanes to the planes. However, as Neil Douglas has pointed out, light rail needs to be designed as one part of a wider transport network.

     
  6. Kerry, 25. August 2017, 11:08

    CPH
    Remember that one modern tram carries as many people as seven or eight buses and needs only one driver. Drivers’ wages are the greatest single operating cost. With a semi-reserved route, a tram is twice as fast as a bus, with fifteen times the labour productivity. Operating costs are cheaper from the start, and operating+capital costs are likely to catch up before long.

    Data from Auckland Transport shows that light rail operating costs break even with buses at about 2300 passengers an hour, falling to about 70% of bus costs at 4000 pass/hr. This is the estimated initial patronage on light rail in Wellington, taken as two thirds of peak present-day passenger numbers, 6000 pass/hr at the peak. Light rail usually generates rapid patronage growth, around the 20%/year mark: say up to 8000 pass/hr in four years, half the operating cost of buses.

    A 2009 paper for NZTA (no 396) recommends Zurich as a public transport model for Wellington. Subsidies per passenger are given as $1.70 in Wellington and $0.45 in Zurich. There are big savings in quality public transport, and light rail is a logical solution to Wellington’s heavily overloaded bus route. Montpellier’s overall costs for light rail–capital and operating–were cheaper than buses within 8 years, but the true break-even had been much earlier, because of reduced congestion.

    Better still, 20% patronage growth has to come from somewhere. Fast trips also attract car drivers, with less congestion and less energy-use.

    If you really want to see money wasted on transport, take a look at Michael Pickford’s evaluation of the Kapiti Expressway (Policy Quarterly, August 2013). He estimated a net present value on opening day of -$27 million: the costs are greater than the benefits.

     
  7. Elaine Hampton, 25. August 2017, 14:50

    Grant Robertson needs to step up on transport for Wellington, he is our sitting Labour MP.

     
  8. Luke, 25. August 2017, 20:49

    Light Rail to Newtown would be great. Frequent enough and we could remove a serious amount of buses on the golden mile, and remove some parking for bus lanes between Courtenay Place and the bus tunnel until we can get light rail to the airport as that will take a bit longer. Key thing is to get the first stage of light rail built from the station south.

     
  9. Brent Efford, 26. August 2017, 8:56

    A welcome revelation is that Mayor Justin Lester is now aboard the light rail bandwagon. Perhaps he understands how his predecessor was tricked out of her support for light rail by the discredited Public Transport Spine Study, and how light rail is much more than just another transport mode but has huge urban development potential as well.

     
  10. Marion Leader, 26. August 2017, 10:27

    Brent – don’t forget that Mayor Justin Lester was part of the controlling set-up when his predecessor was “tricked”.

     
  11. Victor Davie, 27. August 2017, 9:11

    Let’s not loose sight of Mayor Lester’s current support for light rail. His apparent change of mind is commendable and proof of his enduring leadership skills. Labour’s Grant Robertson should provide assurance before the general election that light rail for Wellington City will be introduced without delay.

     
  12. CPH, 27. August 2017, 17:53

    Kerry – even if we assume your numbers are correct, you have only described the internal cost/benefit for the project itself. To have any chance of proceeding, a light rail scheme for Wellington would have to stack up against all other transport projects in the country and demonstrate that its return on investment was equal to or greater than the other alternatives. Despite the myriad of words that have been written by light rail advocates in this city, I see no sign that they have considered this factor.

    Governments only have a limited pool of capital to invest, despite what some on the Left might like to believe. If we assume that transport funding is ring-fenced (it’s not, but that’s a problem for another day) then there is the obligation to invest the money as efficiently as possible. The question then becomes, which project across the country provides the most bang for the buck? I contend that light rail in Wellington has a very steep hill to climb in this regard. For instance, I can think of two immediate projects that on the face of it would offer a better return on $700 million. The first is light rail to Auckland airport, which would have much greater congestion, productivity and regional benefits than a light rail link to Wellington airport by virtue of greater population numbers and airport arrivals (particularly international visitors). The second would be to spend $700 million to upgrade our motorways to the same standard as the Roads of National Significance. I see the NZTA has announced that there have been zero deaths on these new roads so far, and that this is a much better safety record than any other motorways. Our road toll is back on the increase and I am sure there are many people in the Government considering what to do about it. One alternative is to build roads where it is harder to have fatal crashes, but this costs money.

    Despite the bad press roads get from some commentators on this site, it may well be that saving people’s lives is a higher priority for the Government than replacing an adequate bus service with a much better light rail service. Or it may be that putting light rail to Auckland airport will move many more people than putting light rail to Wellington airport and will therefore be a much better investment overall.

    I am supportive of light rail in Wellington, but I think it highly likely that until its advocates can demonstrate that it makes the most sense on a national scale rather than just on a local scale, its chances of success are not good.

     
  13. Esjay, 27. August 2017, 17:59

    All we need is the huge capital cost to install and maintain this proposal. Who is going to back it? Oh yes, there’s something else Wellington needs: the population to support it.

     
  14. Mike Mellor, 28. August 2017, 10:20

    CPH: you’re entirely right and completely wrong, simultaneously. You’re right in that in a rational world transport projects should all be ranked on their merits, wrong to think that we actually live in such a world.

    Under the current government, transport decision making is almost entirely predicated on what sort of transport we’re talking about. The current Government Policy Statement allocates money purely on the type, not the value, of transport projects – if it’s state highway construction there’s plenty of money, if not there’s just a bit of a problem. And then one of the major factors when evaluating a project is “strategic fit”, ie whether the government wants to do it or not, anyway.

    Michael Pickford’s article in Policy Quarterly, referred to above, shows the results of this: very poor-quality investment decisions, (NZTA clearly knew this – when I questioned the then Chief Executive on this paper, his only response was a personal attack on the author – he didn’t even try to justify this government policy.)

    Until the government considers return on transport investment in the mode-neutral way that you suggest, we’re all barking up a gum tree.

    And don’t forget that when it comes to saving lives on the road, the most effective solution is to take public transport rather than use a car. That reduces the risk by 90% – does any other single individual decision have anything like the same effect?

     
  15. Mike Mellor, 28. August 2017, 10:23

    Esjay: so Wellington has the population to support the capital cost of installing and maintaining motorways, but not for light rail? Hmmm…

     
  16. CPH, 28. August 2017, 12:24

    Mike Mellor – Whether or not you agree with the political direction given to the NZTA, it’s hard to argue with the fact that they prioritise investment according to criteria that they are handed by the Government. In the case of the current administration they are prioritising roads over public transport so I think we can safely assume that a Wellington light rail scheme is never going to be funded in the current environment.

    A different administration may have a different view about public transport and might choose to prioritise that instead, which is clearly what some light rail supporters are hoping for. Even so, you would expect that investment would still be targeted where it would have the most impact, either from an economic, social or political perspective. I submit that the Wellington light rail scheme would still fail this test on a rational basis. To use my example, light rail to Auckland airport will forever make more social and economic sense than light rail to Wellington airport by virtue of population size and economic impact.

    This only leaves the option of Wellington getting its trams by virtue of political expediency, or “pork barrel politics” in the old term. To my eyes, that also has some difficulties given that the electorates that would most benefit from the project already vote Labour/Green. It entirely unlikely that putting in light rail would lift the Left vote by much at all in Wellington, so a Left government would not have a single extra seat to show for its large investment.

    Every political party knows that elections are won and lost in Auckland these days and that a light rail system up there would pull more votes in battleground electorates than spending the same money down here where there are safe seats. This leads me to the conclusion that the current administration will not fund Wellington’s light rail because of its preference for roads, while a Left administration will not fund the same project because they will get more political, social and economic bang for their buck in Auckland.

    And to pick up where we came in, the $700 million price tag means the system cannot be paid for locally and requires central government money. This is a problem.

     
  17. Esjay, 28. August 2017, 16:52

    Mike, the vehicle population is already at overflow proportions in Wellington.
    The passenger volume for Light Rail would not take away the requirement for Ruahine Street and Wellington Road to be widened, let alone a second tunnel. Installation of Light Rail would only take care of passengers between the Railway Station and the airport. You should take a look at the congestion on Cobham Drive and Karo Drive at peak hours to understand the real problem. Perhaps you can suggest how Light Rail would solve the destination of motorists who travel between Wellington and Lower Hutt, Porirua and elsewhere who face the daily clog up.

     
  18. Daran Ponter, 29. August 2017, 0:17

    @ Lindsay. As you might expect, I will defend the Labour policy on LRT because it is precisely the approach which the Greens and NZ First will follow. It’s all very well to rock up with a map and say “let’s build this”, but in reality this is not how initiatives like this get off the ground..

    While it is nice to see the Greens and NZ First banging the drum for LRT we all need to know more about what we are getting into – which is the best route, for what reasons, at what cost, what impacts etc. Rocking up with a simple map just simply isn’t good enough – it belies the complexity and cost of putting in LRT. This holds true for any significant public infrastructure investment.

    I agree with CPH around the politics of funding public transport…..which is why investment in a quality feasibility study for LRT still needs to be front and centre as our first priority for getting LRT on tack. Without it LRT will flounder for another ten years – irrespective of a red, green, blue or iridescent pink government.

    I am a huge fan of LRT, but we have to do this right. We can’t afford false starts and poor decisions. We get one chance to get this right.

     
  19. Neil Douglas, 29. August 2017, 8:53

    Daran – TREXIT! You make some rational points about LRT but how about the far more immediate issue of TREXIT?

    Both NZ First and the Greens want to retain the trolley bus network but Labour has been silent even despite the protestations of hard working drivers who happen to be unionised. Where is Labour’s support for them?

    Wellington can’t afford to continue with a poor ‘decision’ to dismantle trolley bus system based on removing ‘barriers to entry’ to engender competition into Wellington’s bus market.

    Investment in Wellington’s existing 100% electric trolley bus network needs to be considered as part of LGWM just like ‘future proofing’ LRT for reasons of health and climate change. We have got two months (one before and one after the election) to reverse the decision and stop the dismantling of Wellington’s trolley bus system.

    Hopefully, NZ First or the Greens will insist some money is spent on retaining and enhancing Wellington’s trolley bus system as part of any coalition with a National or Labour Govt. Let’s do this Daran.

     
  20. Daran Ponter, 29. August 2017, 10:08

    The trolley bus issue is a regional council issue. I am not aware that this is an issue that LGWM is focused on.

    You will need to explain how the trolley bus issue relates to drivers.

     
  21. Neil Douglas, 29. August 2017, 11:47

    Daran: Chris Morley (Vice President Tramways Union) explains how ‘the trolley bus issue relates to bus drivers’ in his article in the Standard (Aug 27th). He writes:

    In a move that reflects everything that is wrong with the public transport operating model, Greater Wellington Regional Council have voted to remove a key component of Wellington City’s transport infrastructure. The present system has served the city for 67 years and was seen at the point when Wellington’s trams were phased out in 1964 as a viable alternative. Key to this is that fact that the trolley bus system replicated the tramcars by running on the existing tramways. However a more desirable aspect to trolley buses over tramcars is that they have the ability to work up to 15 feet either side of the overhead track giving enhanced flexibility.

    For Wellington bus drivers, the trolley network has protected jobs, wages and employment conditions. Wellington is the only city in New Zealand where drivers have retained pre 1991 penal rates. This means drivers get paid time and a half when they work over 8 hours during the week, time and a half for working Saturday and double time for working a Sunday. This means drivers have greater control of their working life, so if they work a weekend they are reasonably remunerated. If they have family commitments and can’t work a weekend day, it is easy enough to find another driver to pick up a shift. As a result drivers at Go Wellington are about $200 better off a week than drivers working for other bus companies who pay a flat rate. . .

    The Trolley Bus network created a monopoly in the city. While in Auckland or Christchurch, councils were able to break up the bus network and tender routes to different companies, in Wellington the trolley bus network prevented this. Due to councils awarding tenders to the lowest bidders, drivers in most NZ cities lost their penalty rates, service pay and other hard fought conditions. In Wellington all these conditions were protected, due to the trolley buses and the workforce being fully unionized. The goal of Greater Wellington in removing the Trolleys is to break this and save money by reducing drivers’ earnings. According to then Greater Wellington transport chair Paul Swain at the time that Greater Wellington tabled their 2014 report … to revamp Wellington’s entire public transport system, the time was ripe for radical change… Swain claimed that Trolley buses didn’t necessarily go where people needed to travel to. This was a peculiar stance given the city grew around the tramways and Wellington’s hilly topography limited any future growth. Which begs the question where do people need to go in the future where they can’t get to at present by public transport?

    Most cities in the world that run good public transport do so off a solid base system. Wellington is no exception with its trolley bus network spanning the city from the CBD in all directions, especially including areas which have been earmarked for high density accommodation within the north/south spine between the Basin Reserve and Wellington Hospital along Adelaide Road. Worldwide trolley buses are enjoying a renaissance. Yet in Wellington an opportunity is being missed through a Regional Council implementing the competition model. This is underpinned by heaping potential savings on the backs of workers with a thinly veiled dogma about the existing systems being outdated and removing the trolley bus network to allow pure competition into the market place.

    The full version of Chris Morley’s article (with 67 comments) is here.

    So Daran – it is not too late to change a wrong decision. If NZ First and the Greens get enough voter support, you have the basis to table a motion to keep our unique, quirky, healthy and environmental trolley bus system. You need to make Chris Laidlaw aware of this possibility of Central Government support. Likewise, the City Council should vote to stop the wires being taken down. And LGWM? Well they are not doing a full job if they don’t consider Trolley Buses!

     
  22. Barbara, 29. August 2017, 13:19

    Good research Neil.

     
  23. Daryl Cockburn, 29. August 2017, 13:33

    Daran; Renegotiate the wiring demo contract and make a contract for Tranzit to buy new sexy trolleys

     
  24. Daran Ponter, 29. August 2017, 14:33

    @ Neil. My understanding is that Go Wellington drivers get the same pay irrespective of whether they drive a trolley bus, a diesel bus, or possibly even a Wright Speed bus. While I agree with many of Chris Morley’s statements on the trolleys, I don’t see how retaining them will necessarily protect wages and conditions.

    I have to advise that we are now past the point of no return on the trolley buses – contracts for new services have been signed as has the contract for removal of the trolley buses. Sue, Roger and I are attempting a last effort to extend the trolleys to 30 June 2018.

    Let’s see how the election turns out – this really is the last hope. There will be plenty of time for deal making after the elections – after all it was post election deal making that gave birth to the GOLD card.

    Chris has made his position known – I’m sure he is aware of the various policies being put forward by different political parties.

     
  25. Mike Mellor, 29. August 2017, 20:30

    Esjay: there is no “requirement” to widen Ruahine St etc, but as you say at peak times the vehicle population is at overflow proportions. As is generally recognised, road building is not a way out of congestion (it generally just makes it worse), so we need to think smarter, and smarter means public transport, focussing on moving people, not vehicles. That’s where light rail, connecting with heavy rail at Wellington station, will help people avoid the daily clog up (as you put it). That clog up is too many vehicles!

    CPH: of course money is an issue, but Bill English has said that money is not a problem for addressing Wellington’s transport issues. And Auckland is of course very important, but your suggestion that transport investment is about winning electorate seats makes no sense in an MMP environment – with a few notable exceptions it’s the party vote that counts, and all parties are at least starting to recognise that the future of urban transport does not rest with the private car, for many good economic, environmental and land-use issues: there just ain’t the space for zillions of little tin boxes (even if they’re autonomous). What makes a city is people, not cars.

     
  26. Esjay, 30. August 2017, 11:48

    Mike, please explain how leaving Ruahine Street, Wellington Road and a single tunnel will get vehicles off the road. I cannot see how the installation of Light Rail will alleviate traffic congestion in any way. There is a plan for Shelly Bay to be developed. If this proceeds there will be an estimated 4700 vehicle movements in addition to the existing mess. If SH1 is not upgraded, Wellington will end up like Auckland where negligence of essential road works has clogged up traffic to unimaginable proportions. Having traveled on Light Rail in Europe, I can vouch that it is ideal for tourists. Europe still has high speed roads for motor vehicles.

     
  27. Mike Mellor, 1. September 2017, 16:58

    KB: Auckland has ended up as it has precisely because of the over-reliance on roads that you seem to be advocating. It’s not because of negligence of essential road works, it’s because it wasn’t until recent years that was any real alternative to travelling by road. They’ve now seen the light: 20 million people a year are travelling by train, and more than half the people crossing the harbour bridge are on the bus. Just imagine the chaos if they were all driving!

    All parties involved in Wellington transport now acknowledge that the crucial issue is moving people (and freight), not vehicles. So traffic congestion by itself is only part of the issue, and a symptom of inefficient use of road space. You may not be aware that many commuters from the eastern suburbs don’t use Ruahine St or the Mt Vic tunnel – they use the bus tunnel, served by frequent local and express buses (faster than a car to Courtenay Place, but bizarrely not marketed in any way). More and better public transport (and its promotion) would provide a good choice for more people who currently use Ruahine St, so reducing people congestion and creating space for people who need to use vehicles.

    Agreed that light rail is ideal for tourists – and even more ideal for commuters.

     
  28. Esjay, 2. September 2017, 18:28

    Mike, seems as if you are wearing blinkers. I was aware of the Auckland traffic congestion in the 1950s, let alone today. Perhaps you can produce a plan that will alleviate the Cobham Drive congestion in one direction and congestion along Vivian Street/Cambridge Terrace in the other.

     
  29. Mike Mellor, 3. September 2017, 21:22

    Esjay: what was done about traffic congestion in Auckland in the 50s-80s? Lots of big roads were built. What has happened with traffic congestion in Auckland since the 50s? It has got worse. And you appear to be saying that the remedy for congestion in Wellington is building roads…

    In the early 90s Auckland started to see the light, and now millions and millions of congestion-free journeys are made to and through its CBD from all directions each year, using the Northern Busway and trains. The same applies coming into Wellington from the north, but any other direction (with the valuable but short bus tunnel a notable exception) you’re stymied. Clearly we should learn from Auckland and improve public transport before we do anything else, so that we can choose freedom from congestion, too. After all, continuing to do the same thing (eg build roads) and expecting a different result (eg reducing congestion) is one definition of insanity.

     
  30. Esjay, 4. September 2017, 17:33

    Mike, the problem with Auckland was that they did not construct roads for the future. They may have taken until the early 90’s to wake up. Authorities in Wellington have followed suit with Levin to Airport still in the doldrums.
    I fail to understand how a light rail system will be the answer to Wellington’s congestion

     
  31. Ross Clark, 7. September 2017, 1:54

    I think we have to be quite upfront about wanting to reduce road use and therefore road congestion. People are not going to give up the use of their cars simply because a light-rail option is available.

    The point is that even if we invest heavily in LRT, the shift in demand during the peak will not be that great. We may shift some car passengers to LRT, but not drivers. The only way we can do that is by clamping down on central city commuter parking.

    In the offpeak, I don’t think there is a lot of scope for shifting the current car demand to light rail, and certainly not to bus. Cars are simply far too convenient, and outside the peak, nearly always faster, on a point-to-point basis.

     
  32. CC, 7. September 2017, 10:15

    The problem Ross, is that NZ (and Wellington) planners haven’t studied how places that have not bought into the ‘every family needs two cars’ culture function. Having observed how people meet their needs in major cities in the UK, Spain, Italy and Portugal, it is apparent that public transport systems work very well when the presence of cars is diminished in cityscapes for practical reasons. When there are limits on private parking so that ‘free garaging’ on the street is not available, there are restrictions on in-city parking and streets are prominently the domains of walkers, cyclists and public transport modes, people function pretty well. Where public transport has not been privatised with massive subsidies from civic funds, it is preposterously cheaper than in greater Wellington. Imagine travelling from Upper Hutt to the CBD for less than a trip from Miramar to the city, with ‘free’ transfers if necessary between services or modes as in much of Europe. When our planners are seriously charged with showing some gumption rather that protecting the status quo and maximising the profits of property speculators, Wellington could be headed for a change in the way its citizens meet their needs. For a start, what might happen if anyone who wanted to live in the proposed Shelly Bay development either had to work there in local enterprises or their own businesses, use a ferry or bus and light rail to get to work in the city and by choice, had to pay for car parking space at the cost more than for commercial floor space? Those are the sorts of conditions that apply for residents in other parts of the ‘civilised’ world.

     
  33. Ross Clark, 7. September 2017, 22:29

    CC – I take your points, thank you; what this highlights is the need for a change in our mobility ‘culture’; the planning conditions you list are impressive, but pity the local or national politician trying to get them accepted.

    What I mean by culture. I live in Edinburgh, a city of half a million or so people, and quite wealthy. The bus system and tram line carry about 125m pax/year – 250 trips/person/year. Mostly bus-based, this is better than comparably-sized European cities with LRT (Bonn, Nantes). The rate of use is twice as strong as Nottingham, the nearest UK equivalent. There are also many more bus trips which start or end outside the city limits.

    In contrast, Wellington’s “bus catchment” (the city less Tawa) handles about 100 trips/person/year, somewhat more if the J’ville Line traffic is included; but it is still better than the Auckland isthmus, where the rate of use (that is, for all journeys starting and ending within the isthmus) is lower again.

    Parking control is part of Edinburgh’s good result, but the underlying difference is, in my judgement, cultural; people *want* to use the buses. How do we get to shift that outlook in New Zealand?

     
  34. Mike Mellor, 8. September 2017, 20:57

    Ross: in Auckland there’s been no clampdown on central city car parking, but 20 million trips pa are now made on the trains compared with a fraction of that just a few years ago. How do you explain that significant shift in demand?

    But the point is not necessarily to reduce vehicle congestion (vacated road space will tend to be filled), it’s to provide people with a congestion-free choice. That’s what Auckland has done, very successfully.

    Parking is part of the issue, but it’s not all of it. Certainly not the “only way” – but it would help.

     
  35. Ross Clark, 8. September 2017, 23:55

    Mike – the growth in Auckland’s rail demand has come from (a) significant growth in population helping grow the overall market; and (b) a lot of traffic shifting across from the buses, whose traffic, from what I can see, is growing very slowly compared with the market as a whole (about 1 percent over the last two years).

    I take your point about providing a congestion-free choice, but I still think a lot more could be done to make Wellington’s buses work better.

     

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