Wellington Scoop
Network

Getting it right, with minimal transfers

by Glen Smith
Our planners are working in secret on major changes to our region’s public transport (PT) system, with announcements expected this month. The design will set the foundation for the network for this century and beyond. The hope is that they will explore all options, think long-term and strategically, and aim for a network that maximises the attractiveness of PT in order to alleviate our current high, and projected dire, levels of road congestion. Unfortunately the evidence indicates that the design proposed is likely to be suboptimal.

I would like to look at one aspect of this design, and that is transfers.

Both research and empirical evidence shows that transfers are a major impediment to PT utilisation due to the time and inconvenience they add to a journey (the transfer penalty). This consists of both the actual extra time a transfer takes (disembarkment, walk, wait and reembarkment) and the ‘disincentive’ that a transfer represents in a riders inclination to make the journey at all (the ‘pure’ transfer penalty)- commonly measured in equivalent disincentive journey time. So for a theoretical 30 minute journey with a 3 minute actual transfer time but a 10 minute ‘pure’ transfer penalty, a rider would be as disinclined to take this journey as a 43 minute direct journey.

The ‘pure’ disincentive penalty is subjective, but can be measured by ‘stated preference’ research methodology. Being subjective, it varies depending on the nature of the transfer but research shows it is significant component of any journey involving a transfer and commonly greater than the actual transfer penalty.

Figure 6 below from the excellent research by Neil Douglas and Matthew Jones (2012) gives estimates of pure transfer penalties for commuters on short or medium bus or rail journeys for different settings in Sydney. The results are comparable to other similar research.

trasnfer-penalties-2
Click on the image for a clearer version

It shows that even the least unattractive transfer (across platform rail-to-rail for rail users) has an estimated ‘pure’ transfer penalty of around 7 minutes (roughly the off peak car journey time from the Station to Johnsonville) and the type of transfer likely to be introduced in the upcoming transport changes (rail to bus) has an average ‘pure’ transfer penalty of 17-18 minutes.

The potent inhibitory effect of this transfer penalty is demonstrated by real world data. Egress data for rail passengers from Wellington Station (see figure below) shows that the northern CBD is well serviced but, while many are prepared to walk up to a kilometre to their destination (demonstrating the public dedication to PT despite a fundamentally flawed network design) only 15% of passengers are prepared to transfer to bus to complete their journey. The result is that effectively all rail commuters whose destination is in the southern CBD, or suburbs south of the city, are in their cars choking our congested motorway and demanding a second Terrace Tunnel.

destination-final

Given these high transfer penalty values, one would expect our planners and ‘light’ rail advocates to place high priority on minimising network transfers. There is no evidence that this is the case. Instead they appear to dismiss them.

The logical way to minimise transfers is to run ‘lines’ of the same mode from one regional peripheral location, across the CBD, and on to another regional peripheral location. All commuters from any ‘major’ regional bus or rail line can then reach the CBD without transfer and can reach any destination on any other ‘major’ bus or rail regional line with one transfer. This is the design adopted in most overseas commuter rail networks.

Instead it appears our planners and ‘light’ rail advocates propose adding a 3rd separate mode (‘light’ rail) as a ‘middle’ section of our regional transport network to produce a linearly segmented (‘heavy’ rail to ‘light’ rail to bus) regional transport design that will impose additional transfer penalties on a large number of current and potential future PT users. The result will be lower PT uptake or possibly commuters abandoning PT altogether, as we have seen with the increased transfers associated with the recently implemented ‘hub’ and ‘spoke’ bus network design.

This level of transfer is unnecessary.

If a high-quality dedicated (but not fully segregated) across-town Quays-based rail corridor is added to the current Golden Mile bus corridor (rather than displacing current bus lines by following a Golden Mile route) and a high-quality train control system is introduced (which should be seen as essential given the number of reported ‘near misses’ – something which is likely to increase as rail PT expands) then across-town rail units can run seamlessly on ‘lines’ from our northern to southern suburbs by ‘tracksharing’ with ‘heavy’ rail units on our existing network.

Tracksharing has been successfully introduced in Germany and other overseas countries but I can’t see that it has been seriously considered here. Presumably our planners and ‘light’ rail advocates feel we can’t aspire to this because we are intellectually or technically inferior to people from overseas.

transfers

Peripheral rail line destinations would be ‘paired’ based on passenger load level. On this basis, town rail units from both the Kapiti and the Hutt rail lines would likely run to the airport based on the high level of projected airport trips. Passengers from the CBD, Hutt, Porirua and Kapiti could then get on a train with their luggage and get off at the airport. Bus users in Wellington travelling to the airport would require one transfer.

This wouldn’t reduce the overcrowding of buses on the Golden Mile (except for replacement of the Airport Flyer). To do this, some current bus capacity has to be transferred to rail. Fortunately there are two other northern rail lines (Johnsonville and Melling) that need ‘pairing’ with southern lines. My suggestions (based solely on practical ease, and therefore cost, of implementation and matching peripheral lines of likely similar demand) would be Lyall Bay and Miramar (see figure below of suggested major southern/ eastern lines). The subsequent lowering of Golden Mile load should free up capacity to allow the unnecessary ‘hub’ transfers imposed in the recent disastrous bus network redesign to be reversed.

bus-rail-etc
Click on the image for a clearer version

Establishing a high-quality across-town rail corridor and introducing ‘tracksharing’ on our existing network is likely to be technically more complicated and initially more expensive than a true simple ‘light’ rail. However it would result in a vastly superior network design that will minimise transfers, attract far higher PT utilisation and almost certainly pay for itself many times over through this century via savings in congestion and other secondary costs associated with car use. The network could be introduced progressively with costs spread a number of decades.

Do it once and do it right. Choosing a cheaper but inferior option based on flawed network design that will produce suboptimal outcomes in the longer term is not a sound economic or planning decision.

38 comments:

  1. Lim Leong, 2. April 2019, 19:11

    @Glen. Great article. In a compact city like Wellington, minimising transfers should be one of the key network design objectives. Transfer penalty is real. Having many transfers in a compact city degrades the customer experience and does not promote public transport patronage. Many commuters avoid transfers unless they have absolutely no choice. Let’s hope the planners/designers learn something from the current bus debacle …

     
  2. Thomas Bryan, 3. April 2019, 12:36

    I don’t claim to be a transport technical expert, just someone who loves public transport and the benefits and equalization it can bring if we get it right. I totally agree with the comments re our new hub and spoke system and the added time to completing a journey that this has now introduced. As a blind person and an advocate for accessible public transport for all, the new hub and spoke system has added additional barriers for many of us as we now try to complete our journey. While some of the hubs now have aspects of accessibility, overall their design/placement and lack of accessible information just adds more barriers to the journey and being able to access public transport.

    Where once one may have been able to catch one bus, many now have to take two or three to complete their journey which takes longer to complete, but also adds to the difficulties in getting around our city. 1 in 5 of us have a disability many for who public transport is their only option for getting around.

    I have used a number of transport systems internationally such as in Australia and the USA and many of these are streets ahead of what we now have, both in how they provide transport services, and also from an accessibility perspective. That’s not to say everyone is better than Wellington, but there are loads of great examples out there. For me, any new or modified service must meet the needs of the user and must be accessible for all. The journey starts not from the stop but from home, accessing information about my trip, knowing which bus is mine, if I need to change, then where and to what, and then where to get off so I can complete my journey. When our hub and spoke system was introduced, a number of key accessibility features/requirements were not part of the roll out. Thumbs up to GW and Metlink as they have now started to introduce and improve accessibility, however this should have been in place when the changes took place.

    If we want a world class public transport system, one that we all can use including visitors to Wellington, then it must reflect the needs of the customer, and ensure we are able to get from A-B as directly as possible, and one that is fully accessible for all.

     
  3. Kerry, 3. April 2019, 15:08

    Sorry Thomas, and Glen. If you want a world-class system you need hubs. This is very well explained in Jarrett Walker’s ‘Human Transit: how clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives.’
    If you take the ‘direct service option’ (no hubs), you need more routes, with fewer passengers on each. That means running less frequently, which explains why my evening bus home now runs every hour.
    If you take the ‘connective option’ (with hubs) you need fewer routes and can afford to run more buses on each. That way you get:
    — Often a slightly longer trip, because the hub isn’t exactly on your direct route.
    — A wait at the hub: usually under five minutes.
    But you also get
    — More buses, spread over a longer day.
    — More opportunities if you miss a bus, or make a sudden change of plan.
    — Less waiting time, because a ten minute service gets you there ten minutes before you appointment, instead of 30 minutes.
    — Faster trips, because fewer routes can be given greater priority (needed anyway, for timekeeping, to make the hubs work properly).
    — Trips possibly faster than before, despite the change.
    — All these advantages on any route.
    Walker uses a very simple example ‘city’ with six destinations: three neighbourhoods, a school, a mall and a CBD. Direct service runs on nine routes with two buses on each: two buses an hour: every 30 minutes. Connective service runs on three routes with six buses an hour: every 10 minutes.
    GW’s 2011 Bus Review proposed this system: it’s still worth a read.

     
  4. James S, 3. April 2019, 16:07

    If the system described by Kerry had been put in place, I’m sure people would have been happy with it!

     
  5. Glen Smith, 3. April 2019, 17:17

    Kerry. You need to reread the theory you espouse (very brief summary here) and compare it to what I propose and what you propose. My route proposal is the exact model of a ‘connective network – radial’- that is a model where each peripheral location is joined to just ONE other peripheral location on the other side of the city (not every single other peripheral location) via a central ‘hub’ (the ‘transfer stations’ I include – generally at or near the CBD). The difference is that mine are continuous lines of the same mode, whereas you propose linearly fractured lines in order to accommodate your vision of ‘light’ rail as a 3rd mode separate from our existing bus and rail networks. This imposes more transfers, since people have to commonly change mode along each of the lines you propose. Eg someone going from Island Bay to Newlands (currently direct) would likely have to change from bus to light rail at Newtown and then presumably change to bus again to get Newlands at the Station (2 transfers). Eg a ‘heavy’ rail user from the north travelling to the Southern CBD would have to transfer to ‘light’ rail at the station rather than travelling straight through.
    Adding a 3rd separate mode centrally is not logical. It inevitably adds transfers. If you disagree with this, then publish a diagram of your proposed network model (as I have done) so readers can compare.

     
  6. Mike Mellor, 3. April 2019, 18:00

    An interesting proposal, Glen, clearly aimed at reducing the longstanding train-bus transfers at Wellington station through extending rail via the quays to Lyall Bay/the airport/northern Miramar – a laudable objective. I’m not sure that it does that much to reduce the problematic bus-bus transfers, though: otherwise your proposed bus network looks very similar to the current one. Lyall Bay and the airport already have through buses to the city, so it’s only northern Miramar that would benefit from a new transfer-free route to the CBD – all other bus-bus transfers would appear to remain.

    Your first map shows how poor the current rail+transfer (walk or bus) service to the southern part of the CBD is. Part of that is undoubtedly the lack of through rail service, and your proposal would certainly address that – but, as you note, it would be complex and expensive. Tracksharing (usually called tramtrain) does operate successfully in a very few places, none of which share the same set of limitations as the Wellington rail network (narrow gauge, the need to share track with heavy freight trains, narrow single-track tunnels). These would increase complexity and hence risk and cost: going for such a world-leading rail system would be a significant challenge in every respect.

    There are other options for reducing the barrier that transfer at Wellington Station presents. There is no through ticketing between train and bus; buses are slow, crowded and unreliable; and the walk between bus and train is long and non-intuitive. These can and should be fixed comparatively easily, with full integrated ticketing on the agenda and CBD bus priority generally being acknowledged as essential. Onzo bikes and e-scooters will also start to help train passengers get to/from where they want to be more easily than now.

    Another factor that needs to be considered is the capacity of the railway line, where there is currently little room for additional services. Replacing high-capacity trains with lower-capacity tramtrains would clearly not be a good idea, particularly when the necessary track connections would actually reduce capacity for existing services.

    Running down the quays would also have its issues: it would probably be faster for the rail vehicles than the Golden Mile, but slower for many passengers because this route avoids the very places that most people want to go.

    It would probably be better to aim for something simpler and more achievable, such as building light rail to the eastern suburbs (perhaps as an extension of the Johnsonville Line) and getting the bus network right, rather than risk overstretching ourselves. We may get there eventually: let’s start with a core functional region- and city-wide rail and bus network, and then build on that.

     
  7. Kerry, 4. April 2019, 9:40

    Glen – We are both trying to summarise the same source, no disagreement there.
    In Wellington, FIT sees hubs on both sides of the CBD as a requirement, so that passengers who cannot walk far can transfer to a bus to reach a golden mile destination. Light rail cannot run on the golden mile unless the buses go somewhere else, and one of the more spectacular failings of the Spine Study was the it never found a somewhere else. That leaves either tunnelling or the waterfront. I think we agree that the waterfront is inconvenient for light rail but hopeless for buses.
    The FIT proposal has hubs at Te Aro Park and the Railway Station, and an intermediate stop at Frank Kitts Park, which is pretty close to the golden mile at the Old Bank. The platforms would be offset to minimise width, one north and one south of Willeston St. Passengers could then take an escalator from either platform to an overhead walkway on Willeston St, and an easy walk to Willis St & Lambton Q.

     
  8. Glen Smith, 4. April 2019, 10:05

    Mike. Answering a few points.
    – you say ‘let’s start with a core functional region….then build on that.’ and I have no problems with this. I could imagine a rail line which initially has transfer at the station but is future-proofed for eventual through-running. And the final network could be progressively achieved over a number of decades. However what I have seen proposed is a non fully dedicated true ‘light’ rail line incompatible with our existing network (different gauge, platform height etc) making any future tracksharing, and hence eventual seamless network, impossible – forever. Your acronym KISS might not stand for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ but instead ‘Keep It Stupidly Shortsighted’.
    – the ultimate cause of the bus-bus transfers at hubs introduced in the recent bus changes is lack of capacity on the Golden Mile forcing aggregation of demand on to larger (double deck) buses. You say ‘running down the quays would also have its issues’ indicating you think this is something optional. I put it to you it is inevitable. The modelling undertaken in the Spine Study showed that a single corridor, either rail or bus, run purely down the Golden Mile would have inadequate capacity almost immediately requiring a ‘secondary spine’ of up to 29 units per hour. In fact, as Kerry pointed out in a post in my last article thread, even a second bus spine would shortly be inadequate and there is no room for a third. The efficiency and capacity of a second, rail based, spine is INEVITABLE. Even if we could fit everybody down the Golden Mile, requiring all across town PT commuters to slowly navigate the most crowded multipurpose streets in the city (and shoppers along the Golden Mile to endure huge trains likely every 30-60 seconds full of people who don’t want to be there) is just plain stupid. It is like running the motorway down Willis Street and wondering why you have problems.
    – given a second Quays rail spine, we then have to choose what to run down it. Across-town commuters are the obvious first choice (and I suspect given the option of a high-quality cross town PT corridor, a large number of people currently in their cars would switch to PT). But as I say above this won’t solve bus-bus hub transfers. To do this some current bus load (which is essentially all from Wellington city itself) has to be switched to rail. This can either be done – as you propose – by just running rail to a ‘hub’ and then forcing bus commuters to transfer to it (as is happening with bus hubs at present) with the resulting potent 17-18 minute ‘pure’ transfer disincentive, or by replacing some of the lines completely by rail so some lines are fully rail and some fully bus – neither with transfer. The ones I suggest are Lyall Bay and Miramar, for practical reasons and to ‘pair’ with Melling and Johnsonville. Commuters from Lyall Bay or Miramar with a Golden Mile destination could still transfer to bus at a transfer station but most I suspect would walk the 2 blocks (or in fact there is no reason a mix of buses/ rail couldn’t be implemented).
    – lack of integrated ticketing and poor rail to bus layout are obviously also deterrents which should be addressed. But ignoring the potent inhibitory effect of transfers isn’t sensible.
    – a number of places overseas do trackshare freight and commuter trains. Why can’t we do it here?
    – Our rail network having ‘currently little room for additional services’ is, to my understanding, only a problem at the pinchpoint just north of the station which could be solved by adding a fourth track and separating the Hutt and Kapiti lines, rather than having them stupidly merge as at present. If we are going to expand rail, a solution will have to be found anyway since rail commuters all have to pass through this pinchpoint whether they transfer to light rail at the station or not.
    – The smaller size of across-town train size lowering overall capacity can be solved by only running a subset of trains across town with multi-carriage Matangi units servicing the current demand to the Station. By having across-town units following immediately after the Station units (easily achievable with a modern train control system) these units would effectively occupy the same ‘time slot’ between freight and other trains, while increasing capacity in that ‘time slot’ and sorting passengers into ‘Station’ and ‘across town’ units.
    Do it once and do it right. I remain unconvinced that the barriers you raise can’t be solved.

     
  9. luke, 4. April 2019, 21:49

    Some sort of light rail along the quays, from Miramar with hubs at Kilbirnie and Newtown, Ideally it would through route to somewhere north of the city, perhaps the Johnsonville Line (converted to light rail) meaning no need for tram trains or track sharing.

     
  10. Kerry, 5. April 2019, 8:42

    Luke, good one. That is what the original (1992) proposal was about. As a principal author of the study, I can confirm that it was NOT a tram-train study, as has been claimed. Conventional low-floor light rail vehicles were proposed.

    It is still a good idea, but a problem has grown up since. Converting to light rail will roughly halve the existing passenger capacity — permanently — because of length limits on city streets. The existing 4 trains an hour can be upped to 5 easily (close Box Hill Station) or six with partial double-tracking. That is about the limit, unless the line is double-tracked. Otherwise, the ultimate light rail capacity is barely up to the existing capacity, using 4 car Matangis, when 8 car Matangis are possible.

    It is still worth a look, but it may be too costly.

     
  11. John Rankin, 5. April 2019, 11:51

    Yes to what @Luke said. I’m more bullish than Kerry and would like to see Wellington plan and fund converting (and ideally extending) the Johnsonville line to double-track light rail sooner rather than later.

    @Glen says that “Across-town commuters are the obvious first choice” but is that really true? For me, this conversation is primarily about shaping the future city, not moving commuters from the suburbs to the city (although that is part of it, it is not the focus).

    While I agree with Glen’s analysis that a second spine on the Quays is necessary and inevitable, I have a couple of practical questions about his proposal.

    1. How many physical rail tracks are proposed on the corridor between Kilbirnie and the railway station? There are 4 lines sharing the same corridor in the diagram.

    2. My understanding of the proposal is that it would use a dedicated and segregated right-of-way, so how would people walking or cycling access the waterfront from the central city? It appears as if the waterfront would be permanently fenced off, but I hope I’m wrong.

    Thanks.

     
  12. Graham C Atkinson, 5. April 2019, 12:03

    Chinese have now introduced what they describe as trackless light rail – electric multi units running on tyres that follow a wire laid about 400mm below the road surface. I believe they are proving very satisfactory and of course reduce the capital expenditure and construction disruption significantly.

    Currently not prepared to release on to the western market but, based on past experience, I would expect these could be available for export in the next 3 – 4 years.

     
  13. Graham C Atkinson, 5. April 2019, 12:37
  14. greenwelly, 5. April 2019, 13:56

    @ Graham, Whether magnetically or optically guided, trackless “trams” are not a totally new field, and have had various incarnations over the past 10-15 years. Five years ago BRT was going to be Wellington’s saviour…. but that idea quietly died, despite promises from everybody. Simple steps like restricting the golden mile to buses and service vehicles would be an easy start, but local politicians appear totally dis-interested.

     
  15. Glen Smith, 6. April 2019, 9:45

    Kerry. Agree with a major transfer hub either side of the CBD since the CBD is several kilometers across and not a single point. One would be where northern lines converge (the Station as you suggest), and one where the southern lines converge (I had followed a Wakefield St route to avoid a tunnel east from Taranaki St, and pick up Te Papa/Conference Centre/ Embassy area with a hub by the Embassy. Taranaki St would be serviced by bus). I had proposed two Quays stations but your suggestion of a single station may be more logical based on station spacing and potential platform length. Other smaller transfer stations would occur where other lines meet, based on real world practical design considerations. So Kilbirnie (for transfer from one eastern line to another or to Newtown), the Basin (for eastern to southern transfers) etc.
    Luke. Through rail from Johnsonville would remove station transfer penalty for some but not for the majority of riders who are on the Kapiti and Hutt lines.
    John. I said that ‘across-town commuters are the obvious first choice’ not because they are a priority, but because they are people who just want to get from one side of the city to the other so are ideal candidates for a high quality Quays rail corridor. This is a large cohort. Traffic data from the WTSM study showed that of a sample of 5840 cars approaching the city on the motorway from the north 3410 continued on through the Terrace Tunnel. This is 58% – all people who definitely don’t want to go to the Golden Mile.
    I propose 2 rail lines along the Quays, using 2 of the 6 car lanes. Basic timetabling could be every 20 minutes from Hutt and Kapiti (so a train from the CBD to airport every 10 minutes) with Johnsonville/ Lower Hutt (an extended Melling line) trains inbetween (so a Quays train every 5 minutes). This of course could be altered depending on demand but there would be a theoretical maximum (? every 3 minutes) so futureproofing platform length for future larger trains (as they have done in Auckland) might be useful.
    It is unclear why people think two lanes of rail with a train every 5 minutes would produce more of a barrier to the waterfront than the two lanes of continuous traffic they replace. As long as at grade pedestrian crossings are light controlled (as they are at present), trains would present no greater barrier. However separation of pedestrians from road or rail traffic is ideal. This is achieved in an admirable way by the City to Sea bridge (it could, in my view, be better by extending it over the lagoon to access the main waterfront pedestrian walkway directly but it’s pretty good) and I suggest 4 other similar pedestrian/cycle overbridges (at the station, at Ballance St using road width for an wide upsloping walkway, at Queens Wharf – incorporated into any station, and at a station at the Conference centre).
    Graham. To produce a seamless regional network using trackless trams would require replacing all our current rail network. ie if it was only implemented south of the station it would, like ‘light’ rail, make removing the transfer penalty at the Station impossible- forever. And the basic but largely infallible guidance system of 2 steel tracks in the ground has stood the test of time throughout the world.

     
  16. Mike Mellor, 6. April 2019, 10:39

    Glen, I’m not saying that any barriers can’t be overcome – they probably can, but at a significant cost. The question is whether the substantial (I agree!) additional benefits will be worth the very substantial additional cost, complexity and risk. That’s the key issue that must be addressed – the debate has to be economic and financial, not limited to technical matters.

    That said, a few comments on your post:
    “a number of places overseas do trackshare freight and commuter trains. Why can’t we do it here?”. Indeed, a number (but very few) do, and none with the same limitations as here. The real question is not “can”, but “should”.

    “Our rail network having ‘currently little room for additional services’ is, to my understanding, only a problem at the pinchpoint just north of the station which could be solved by adding a fourth track”. True, but the junction the would be necessary to allow for your proposed tramtrain operation would actually reduce capacity here.

    “By having across-town units following immediately after the Station units (easily achievable with a modern train control system) these units would effectively occupy the same ‘time slot’ between freight and other trains”. Could you give an example of a train control system that allows two separately operated moving units with different origins/destinations to be treated as one? (And note that the word “easily” is seldom (if ever) appropriate for railway operations.)

     
  17. John Rankin, 6. April 2019, 12:33

    @Glen, thank you for your clarifications. You say, “It is unclear why people think two lanes of rail with a train every 5 minutes would produce more of a barrier to the waterfront than the two lanes of continuous traffic they replace.” You are allowing for trains every 3 minutes in future, which means a train every 90 seconds (one in each direction). Two lanes of railway track are more of a barrier because it’s a segregated (fenced) right of way; traffic in both directions stops for red lights whereas trains don’t. The only way across for pedestrians will be on bridges or underpasses, as you suggest.

    I’d add to @Mike’s request for a reference site that is a working example of what you propose: a city where four suburban train lines merge onto one city centre track, and split out again on the other side, in each direction, with trains every 3-5 minutes each way. As Mike says, “easily achievable” is not the phrase that springs to mind.

    Another of Mike’s thoughts (after Voltaire): don’t let the best be the enemy of the good.

     
  18. luke, 6. April 2019, 16:37

    you would require more than two tracks if all the current services proceeded beyond the current station.

     
  19. Glen Smith, 7. April 2019, 9:15

    Mike and John. Interesting questions. I don’t know all the answers but they should be asked.
    In terms of cost: How much would a train control system that allows tracksharing cost, compared to the one we need anyway to stop the current near misses? (likely not that much more). How much more would a rail line of current gauge cost compared to one of different gauge? (why would it cost more?). How much more would platforms of current network height cost compared to low platforms? (why would they cost more?). With competitive manufacturing worldwide, how much more would rail units specifically manufactured for our specifications cost compared to ‘off the shelf’ units? (likely not that much in the overall scheme of things). What are the cost differences for a Quays and a Golden Mile route (I can guarantee the Quays route would be cheaper). How ‘heavy’ can units be before they require the expensively engineered corridors to American rail standards? (we would likely want to keep below this limit). And most importantly: what will be the cumulative long-term costs over this century (and beyond) of NOT removing transfer due to lower PT uptake leading to higher congestion and other costs associated with car use? (likely massive).
    In terms of technical/ logistical issues: What braking capacity can be achieved on new units? And what minimum safe headway does this allow? (overseas down to 90 seconds and in fact some light rail units work on driver line of sight, like buses). If so, why can’t a second specifically-manufactured train follow 90 seconds behind a Matangi? Would reducing the current 20 minute ‘window’ that freight trains have between commuter units down to 18-18.5 minutes really impact freight movements? And if this approach isn’t adopted, what other approach do you suggest to increase rail capacity for growing Hutt and Kapiti populations over this century while also accommodating freight? What are the logistical issues associated with a Quays corridor? (These will be issues whether trains originate at the station or are ‘through running’ including accommodating cars and passengers – why would they be different?). What headway is achievable? Headways of 2-5 minutes are common overseas but interaction with cars at intersections may limit that here (complete rail priority is the ideal but at more major intersections with high rail frequency, units might have to wait and ‘queue jump’ after the current car sequence). Dedicated corridors should allow accurate timetabling but, even if not, if there is room either end of a shared dual rail corridor for units to pass or wait then what difference does it make which ‘line’ they come from? (John – off the top of my head, Chicago has a double-track town loop that trains from ?5 or 6 ‘lines’ run down. Would have to research others). If 5 minute headways can’t be achieved (I would be surprised) then options would be to decrease the number of through units from each line or drop the Johnsonville and/or Lower Hutt lines (which would be a pity since ‘pairing’ these with lines south of the CBD is what will free up bus capacity on the Golden Mile). John why do you think pedestrians crossing a dual rail corridor with trains every 90 seconds would be a problem? People commonly cross roads between cars/trucks (that are just as capable of killing them) that 5-10 seconds apart. Mike – I sent you an option for increasing the ‘pinchpoint’ capacity by separating Hutt and Kapiti lines while also allowing relatively easy separation of ‘through’ units on the east.

    So there are a lot of unanswered questions around cost and logistics that should be asked. Maybe our planners will be asking these and presenting the answers to the public this month. Or, based on performance to date, perhaps not. (I wonder if these issues are even on their radar). However I would expect an organisation such as FIT, who presumably want the best PT network possible and have the word Intelligent in their title, would be exploring them.

    I remain unconvinced that a seamless regional network that minimises transfers can’t 1. be achieved and 2. be worth pursuing.

     
  20. Mike Mellor, 7. April 2019, 12:28

    Glen, it’s good that you’ve laid out some of the many points that need resolving. In isolation some of them may be relatively easy, some harder, some very difficult, but to get the system as you propose up and running they all have to be resolved in an affordable way. The combination of such issues is unique to Wellington, and uniqueness costs money – lots and lots of it – and requires lots of compromises.

    Individual comparisons with good practice elsewhere can be misleading: for instance, what Chicago (or any other fully segregated metro system) achieves with its uniform rolling stock can’t be assumed to apply to a main-line mixed-traffic railway like ours, with lots of level crossings and a mixture of freight/passenger/diesel/electric/light/heavy/fast/slow/multiple-unit/loco-hauled trains (to which you’re proposing to add yet another variety).

    Politics is the art of the possible, and successful pressure groups know this well. I can’t speak for FIT (not being a member), but I’d be very surprised if they were focused on the getting the “best network possible”, because that is unachievable. While not agreeing with all their details, I do agree that a plain vanilla starter system such as I think they propose is much more likely to be implemented than any other option.

    So let’s focus on what can be achieved in terms of enabling people to get where they want to go to, maximising overall benefit and minimising overall cost, and for that the single best project in the region is rail between Wellington station and the eastern suburbs, such lines being relatively commonplace and simple. Once that is in place it can be added to, heading towards a seamless regional network: the many unavoidable compromises and complexities can then be tackled in (relatively) bite-sized chunks, rather than being presented as a daunting multi-course banquet.

     
  21. Glen Smith, 7. April 2019, 22:24

    Mike. I see we are essentially in agreement. That is that rail should be progressed over a number of decades but that the goal should be ‘heading towards a seamless network’ as you also wisely advocate. As outlined above I disagree that this will necessarily cost ‘lots and lots’ more than a fractured/ linearly segmented network or be far more complex. The largest costs and complexity will be associated with establishing the across town section of the rail corridor and interactions between this and downtown road/ pedestrian traffic (this will not be ‘simple’ as you claim). This cost and complexity has to be overcome whether trains are ‘through running’ at the Station or not. All of the infrastructure of our current network already exists and the costs and complexity here would be largely operational. This, in fact, only involves interactions with 3 other train types – Matangis, heavy freight and the occasional loco-hauled passenger train. And as long as we have train control systems that ensures these different types of rail units maintain separation (which we should have anyway) I don’t see it logically makes any difference what type the units are (that is the German philosophy of having enough safety networks in place to absolutely ensure train units never meet, rather than trying to over engineer them to survive a collision).

    I agree the Station to Eastern Suburbs section is the best first step. But we should have our eye on the final goal. That means that the corridor established should be compatible with/ futureproofed for an eventual seamless regional network. ie the gauge should be the same as our existing network (rather than having to redo the whole corridor later), the station platforms should be network height (rather than having to rebuild them), the corridor should to be of as high quality as practicalities allow, and the trains should have specifications compatible with through running (rather than having to buy yet another fleet). Is this what you and FIT are advocating? Because that is certainly not the impression that I get from the proposals I see which involve adding a separate central true ‘light rail’ network that will produce more fractured ‘lines’ and unnecessarily impose potent transfer penalties on large numbers of current and potential PT users- forever.

     
  22. Ross Clark, 9. April 2019, 9:21

    Three points:

    * Transfers don’t work unless you have a high frequency across both journey legs. I was reminded of that in Auckland, going out to Browns Bay from the city. There was a transfer at a busway bus station – and the stations on the Busway are impressive! – but it did work.

    * Trying to link journeys from, say, Johnsonville to Island Bay into a single link, is not the issue. The volume of journeys of this sort (through the CBD, not into or out of it) is not great and even if doubled, would still not be significant. We’re talking about a lot of work for very little market.

    * We are treating as one problem here, what in fact is two problems; first, how to get the wider region into the CBD and then how to get the city into the CBD.

     
  23. Kerry, 9. April 2019, 10:32

    Ross. Agree, Agree, Agree, one minor exception.
    Feeder routes, such a Seatoun to Miramar, don’t have to meet every main-route service, so long as they do it consistently and the timetables show what is happening. Locals will quickly learn not to catch the 5.06 express home, and strangers will sometimes get caught.

     
  24. Mike Mellor, 10. April 2019, 11:31

    Ross: re your points, in order:
    *Agreed. A transfer from a low-frequency service to a high-frequency one is also OK, but the reverse isn’t – yet that’s how our suburban hubs are supposed to work. Added to that, timetables don’t show which high-frequency services do make that connection, nor is there any indication at stops or on the buses themselves. So there’s always a good chance that the bus you’re on is not one that will be making a connection, and a wait at the suburban hub of up to 30 minutes (roughly doubling the journey time) is on the cards.
    * Agreed, but getting from Johnsonville (or anywhere else north of the CBD) to major destinations at the south end of the CBD and beyond, like the universities or the hospital, is a real issue. Re the south end of the CBD, I’ve heard that when Newlands buses were extended from Wellington station to Courtenay Place in 1991 patronage went up by over 20%, which suggests that there is significant benefit to be had.
    *Agreed, but some solutions may address both issues.

    Kerry: with an unreliable system like ours showing such things on timetables (which would indeed be a good start) is not enough. Expecting paying customers to learn from their bad experiences of “getting caught” is a strategy that no sensible business should dream of using.

     
  25. John Rankin, 10. April 2019, 15:42

    @Mike says “an unreliable system like ours” and to me this is the central problem. In advanced cities, buses are “as fast and reliable as trains, and more convenient and economical than a car” [Janette Sadik-Khan, Streetfight]. Having lived in cities with reliable and frequent bus service, I know from experience that transfers are not a big deal if you can trust they will work.

    IMO “a reliable system where transfers work” would be a better strategy for Wellington to follow than “an unreliable system that avoids transfers”. For me, engineering transfers out of the system treats the symptoms (transfer penalties) while avoiding the root cause (an unreliable system).

     
  26. Glen Smith, 11. April 2019, 8:43

    Ross and Kerry. The reason for pairing peripheral locations is not to service people who want to go from one to the other (which would be very few) but to have riders from the ‘origin’ get off across the CBD while riders going to the ‘destination’ get on. Otherwise you need twice the number of units across the CBD (eg twice as many buses on the Golden Mile- good luck).
    John. You seem to indicate that having a reliable network and few transfers are mutually exclusive. Why would you not aim for both? Low numbers of transfers depends on good network design. Reliability depends on quality of corridor and efficient operating practices. They are separate disjoint issues. We should aim for the optimum in both.

     
  27. John Rankin, 11. April 2019, 11:39

    @Glen, having a reliable network and few transfers are in fact not the “separate disjoint issues” that you claim. Frequency, reliability, connectedness and cost are interdependent. Here’s an (artificial) example to illustrate the trade-offs public transport network designers grapple with.

    Consider a 10-minute bus service on a busy corridor which terminates at a hub with connections to 3 feeder routes. Suppose we eliminate the hub and run 3 separate services. To maintain the same 10-minute frequency on the feeder routes, we have to run 3 times as many buses on the main corridor. More likely, to keep the cost the same, the frequency to each of the feeder lines will drop to every 30 minutes. Or you might pick the busiest feeder and make that one through-running, letting people on the other two feeders continue to transfer.

    But suppose we find the money to maintain a 10-minute service. If that busy corridor is the Golden Mile, we have just increased the number of buses along that corridor. Once the number of buses on a corridor exceeds about 60 per hour, the service becomes unreliable. So if the corridor was already at capacity, increasing the number of buses to maintain a frequent service without transfers will cause network reliability to drop. You point this out in your comment above.

    In short, for a given cost you can have frequency, reliability, or connectedness; pick any two and manage the third. As others have said, the most successful public transport networks make frequency and reliability their priority, with carefully designed connections. @Glen, your preference is for reliability without transfers, which means lower frequency services. That’s a valid choice and we must agree to differ.

     
  28. Mike Mellor, 11. April 2019, 12:25

    Glen: there are advantages of through routing services across the CBD, but there are disadvantages, too, such as:
    * any operational “pollution” of delays and unreliability experienced on one side of the CBD will automatically spread to the other side of the CBD;
    * with passengers both boarding and alighting, dwell times will increase;
    * fewer buses generally means the same number of passengers using fewer bus doors, which means longer dwell times.

    So through routing will reduce the number of buses, but those fewer buses will tend to be less reliable and have longer dwell times (and we are, at least anecdotally, currently experiencing both of these effects resulting from the implementation of the new no. 1 North-South and no. 2 East-West Spine routes).

    The most important factor for passengers is generally considered to be reliability, and we need to think very carefully before making any changes that will tend to make this worse.

     
  29. Glen Smith, 13. April 2019, 10:15

    John. Apologies. My last comment was imprecise. To elaborate. ‘Transfers’ during a journey are not all the same but serve different functions. I would divide them into

    1.’Transfers’ where a rider changes from one line to another. These are inevitable (you can’t run a service from every origin to every destination) but can be minimised by good design (in my view the ideal in Wellington being a ‘connective radial’ design – see previous reference).
    2. ‘Linear segmentation’ where a rider has to get off one unit and transfers to a different unit to continue the journey along the same line. This serves no purpose and adds an unnecessary transfer penalty but is what we have at the Station for a large number of PT users. We should aim to eliminate it.
    3.’Aggregation’ where several feeder lines merge into a larger line. This is what you refer to. Again aggregation is inevitable to some degree (you wouldn’t run a separate train from Belmont to Wellington even if you could) but again should be minimised. As you indicate there are number of inter-related factors which influence whether you aggregate including: passenger load on the ‘feeder’ lines, unit/time capacity of a line (you can’t aggregate 3 lines into 1 if the aggregated line can’t accommodate this), size of unit (merging 3 small units into one large unit saves the cost of running 3 units), distance of the merge from the CBD (eg a theoretical merge at Waikanae would save an hour of train travel cost, a bus merge at Newtown only saves about 15 minutes of bus travel). As you say, these factors have to be weighed against each other to produce the best outcome. However there are two things I suggest we don’t do:
    1. merge lines close to the CBD (where running them separately adds minimal extra unit travel time – as Lim indicates having lines merge at ‘hubs’ close to the CBD in a city of Wellingtons size is nonsensical)
    and 2. merge ‘major’ lines where passenger demand justifies a frequent service.

    Designing a theoretical network that minimises all 3 of these transfer types I would classify under ‘network design’. Reliability refers to how well this theoretical network performs in the real world. The largest influence here is quality of corridor (buses not being stuck in traffic, trains not being held up at lights etc) and operating practices (eg. having enough drivers). I stand by my statement that ‘low numbers of transfers depends on good network design, and reliability depends on quality of corridor and efficient operating practices’. I disagree that we have to pick only two of ‘frequency, reliability, or connectedness’- a well designed and run network should (and can) achieve all three. It involves designing a logical network plan and running this via high quality corridors.

    Mike. I disagree that you can separate delays on one side of the CBD from the other side by adding a transfer. Lets take an example. Let’s suppose a full through-running train at peak hour is delayed 5 minutes. Commuters arriving at and departing from the CBD are delayed 5 minutes. Instead let’s imagine a 6-unit Matangi of which a third (2 units) want to transfer and there is a 2-unit empty light rail car waiting for them. Does the light rail unit wait (with exactly the same outcome)? Or does it leave early (so that when the next full Matangi arrives, 4 units of passengers are trying to get onto a 2-unit light rail car)? To accommodate this you have to run another light rail car. But since you don’t know when a train might be delayed, you have to run extra light rail units continuously – ie you have to run twice the number of across town units all half empty. (In fact if you followed your argument to its logical conclusion you would transfer passengers at every station to try and ‘separate’ time delays).
    Dwell time vs running extra units across the CBD (logically twice as many if you separate, rather than pair, every peripheral location – trains still have to run south from the Station even if passengers transfer there) is interesting, especially when across-town capacity is a key limiting factor as in Wellington. Dwell times overseas on multidoor rail units are usually less than 30 seconds so if you assume you can reduce this to 15 by having people only enter/ exit rather than both and you assume 4 across town stations, this saves a minute. This compares to an optimistic 12-minute station ‘transfer penalty’ (likely 5 minute real and 7 minute ‘pure’ penalties) plus an extra ?7-10 minutes of across town rail unit time per trip for the unit. If you look at overseas rail networks they all uninterrupted through lines from one peripheral location to another peripheral location- (perhaps they know something from experience?).

    The ‘light rail’ proposal I have seen fails to remove the ‘linear segmentation’ transfer at the station, merges major lines (I think you were planning to merge the Island Bay line onto rail at Newtown- really???), adds merge hubs close to the CBD, and tries to run rail via poor quality corridors (eg Newtown) producing inevitable unreliability. Time to think again and reconsider options before a suboptimal design is implemented.

     
  30. Mike Mellor, 13. April 2019, 14:56

    Glen, you say “I disagree that you can separate delays on one side of the CBD from the other side by adding a transfer.” Evidence that you clearly can is that, before last year, bus routes 1 and 54 were operated entirely separately, and neither delayed each other; now they have been amalgamated as spine route 1, operating pollution spreads from one side to the other, with fewer opportunities to recover from disruption. Similarly, when route 24 was confined to the eastern suburbs, serious delays along Oriental Parade in high summer were confined to the eastern side of the city, but now disrupted services are all the way through to Johnsonville. These problems were created by linking routes to run through the CBD: you may not see them as significant, but the bus operator certainly does.

    And with a rail system, you can’t rustle up additional units just like that, nor can you isolate delays to any individual unit – if one unit gets delayed, others will too, with consequent passenger, rolling stock, connectional and staffing issues, all things to be avoided.

    “Overseas rail networks … all uninterrupted through lines from one peripheral location to another peripheral location” – a vast over-generalisation! As we have discussed, you can count on the fingers of one or two hands the number of places that have the sort of light/heavy rail mix that you appear to be proposing, none of them with the same mix of operational issues as in Wellington.

    Another point: no-one seems to have consulted KiwiRail about the radical and far-reaching changes to rail operation that are being proposed, and I suggest there is zero likelihood of any such changes being contemplated without the input of the infrastructure owner and operator. A few years ago there were proposals to turn the Johnsonville Line into a busway, stopped in their tracks by Ontrack (as was) pointing out that the line was their responsibility, and wouldn’t it have been nice if they’d been asked? Without such input, I can see history repeating itself, with your proposals having a much wider impact on the country’s railway network than a proposal affecting just one largely self-contained passenger-only branch line.

     
  31. John Rankin, 15. April 2019, 10:31

    @Glen, I’ll say it again, with emphasis added: for a given cost, you can have frequency, reliability, or connectedness; pick any two. See this illustration. It shows two designs with the same cost and reliability. For the cost of running direct services every 30 minutes, connected services can run every 10. If you want direct service every 10 minutes, the cost will triple and the service will probably be less reliable, as you are running 3 times as many buses on the same roads. There is no free lunch.

    So yes, you can have it all, but only if you have deep pockets or charge higher fares. Most transit agencies in growing cities eventually conclude that the best value for money is frequent, reliable service with carefully-optimised connections. I agree with your comments about the kinds of connections to design and the importance of good road design.

    I don’t understand why you say a Newtown route will result in “inevitable unreliability”. With lanes dedicated to light rail and priority at intersections, light rail will be reliable along its entire length. However, it will have a lower maximum cruising speed through Newtown, probably 30 kph rather than 50 kph elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, if as reported on Saturday we choose “trackless trams” you are probably correct that places like Newtown will create unreliability. Cars and delivery vehicles will inevitably drive (and stop just for a minute) on the road where the trackless tram lines are. What is touted as a feature of trackless trams, an ability to drive round obstacles, is really a serious bug.

     
  32. Glen Smith, 15. April 2019, 20:52

    John. The article you reference only deals with the first of the 3 ‘transfer’ types I mention (line to line) and I agree with it. That is why the design I recommend is an exact replica of the second ‘connective’ option. You notice each of the blue, red and green lines continue unbroken and without merging from one peripheral location across a central meeting point an on to another peripheral location – exactly what I recommend. Your model would have the red and blue line merging close to the central point (adding an unnecessary ‘aggregation’ transfer penalty) then stopping at the central point and a new different black line appearing (adding a ‘linear segmentation’ transfer). Ie two unnecessary potent transfers added for no advantage (except the small cost of running an extra unit from the merge point to the central point). Have another look at it.

     
  33. Glen Smith, 15. April 2019, 21:24

    John. I would be surprised if a rapid high quality corridor could be established through Newtown (can you publish the design) but even if it could it should be BRT. This is because the lines to the south will all be bus for the foreseeable future so either you have to force all these bus users to transfer to rail (adding an unnecessary potent aggregation transfer penalty close to the CBD) or you have to run both rail AND bus corridors from Newtown to the CBD (would these each be dedicated corridors?- again can you publish the design- or would either the rail and/or buses share with cars?). If both bus and rail corridors are run then the rail line would be populated by dozens of huge trains (choking the already congested Newtown/ Adelaide Road area) carrying thousands of passengers from the east who didn’t want to take this detour but just want to get to the CBD or beyond (what is logical about that??)

     
  34. Glen Smith, 15. April 2019, 21:51

    Mike. Apologies again. I should have said you can’t separate RAIL delays by adding a transfer since ‘heavy’ rail (Matangis) can’t run across the CBD so light rail units HAVE to wait for them (since, as you say, you can’t just add extra light units to transport the Matangi passengers who were planning to get on the light rail unit that didn’t wait for them). You could separate bus delays (since buses can run across the CBD from both the north and south) but only by doubling the number of units on the Golden Mile (a bus picking people up in tandem with a bus dropping people off). How do you plan to fit that many buses down the Golden Mile when they are already bunching?. A more logical way is to alter timetables to reflect real world conditions and have turnaround contingency times at peripheral terminals to allow for unexpected delays (if running on time the drivers could use this for the toilet break their employers don’t want to give them- they must have good bladders).
    Overseas rail networks do usually have uninterrupted through lines from one peripheral location to another peripheral location ( I can send you a few network maps if you like). This network design is a completely different issue as to whether these lines ‘trackshare’ or not.
    The tracksharing article I referenced above notes that ‘Introducing new track sharing systems can and sometimes does involve technical challenges – such as ensuring that the transports are physically compatible – however the most complex issues to be faced are usually best described as “human politics” with the various vested interests being – at best – sceptical but sometimes even showing outright hostility towards what is trying to be achieved.’
    In the current situation we have a government who are actively looking for the optimal PT designs and an NZTA who have demonstrated in Auckland and with cycleways that they are open to persuasion. The ‘vested interests’ showing the greatest ‘outright hostility’ in Wellington would appear to be rail advocates.

     
  35. Mike Mellor, 16. April 2019, 9:06

    Glen: “I should have said you can’t separate RAIL delays by adding a transfer” – you most certainly can, and many places do. One of the reasons that many cities have metro systems that consist of lines that are operationally separate is that this both eliminates the possibility of pollution being transferred from one line to another and maximises capacity.

    “Overseas rail networks do usually have uninterrupted through lines from one peripheral location to another peripheral location” – many certainly do, but none with the same mixture of operational characteristics as Wellington.

    “The ‘vested interests’ showing the greatest ‘outright hostility’ in Wellington would appear to be rail advocates”- there’s no hostility, just realism. There’s a really important discussion to be had about mass transport and its affordability, and focussing solely on a high-cost, high-risk, high-complexity, untried and unproven proposal (whatever its benefits) is, quite frankly, a distraction from the core issue of getting rail through Wellington’s CBD in an affordable and practical way.

     
  36. Dave B, 16. April 2019, 13:05

    The “easiest” fix for the so-called “broken rail spine” is to extend the heavy rail system that we already have. “Easiest” in the sense that the system is tried-and-proved, a known quantity, and already providing massive benefits to the many areas lucky-enough to be served by it. Unfortunately due to political ineptitude over many decades, a major part of the region south of the present railway station remains unconnected.

    I don’t pretend that extending heavy rail would be easy in funding or constructional terms. However it represents our best chance to do things properly. To really “Get Wellington Moving”. We should not discount it before exhausting every possibility to achieve it. Unfortunately for the last 50 years we haven’t even tried.

     
  37. Kerry, 16. April 2019, 15:42

    Glen. I think you are being unrealistic. A transfer is getting off one vehicle and on to another, and your subdivisions are inconsistent. You see ‘Linear segmentation’ as unacceptable because it is endways, but then accept endways ‘Aggregation’. You agree that “having lines merge at ‘hubs’ close to the CBD in a city of Wellington’s size is nonsensical.” Why?

    Transport for London has a dozen or so main railway stations in the central area, and an enormous upgrade programme — Crossrail — is doing very little about them. Similarly Amsterdam, Zurich and den Haag are satisfied with light rail connections at main railway stations. Zurich is a particular case because it has been recommended, by Paul Mees, as a model for Wellington. It has a major light rail hub at the Railway Station, and another at Paradeplatz, separated by much the same distance as FIT’s Te Aro Park and Wellington Railway Station.

    In Wellington, the principle reason for needing light rail is an overloaded bus route, with no real alternatives. Light rail passengers will have to either walk to their final destination from Te Aro Park, Frank Kitts Park or the Railway Station, or change to a bus. What other options are there?

    Wellington’s ‘broken rail spine’ is a ‘problem’ shared by a very high proportion of cities, worldwide. The standard solution is managing timetables rather than trying to eliminate a largely imaginary problem. The few exceptions have a CBD remote from the railway terminus, not an issue in Wellington. Another approach is cost. What will it cost to run railway services through the city, when street-running rail vehicle cannot be as long as a Matangi? Will the benefits of saving a few minutes outweigh the costs, when KiwiRail needs to run many more trains, simply to restore capacity?

    I suggest that the real hub issues are these:

    — Manage public transport to minimise delays of all kinds, system-wide. A particularly effective method is to design a light rail route for speed, and FIT is thinking in terms of just over 20 minutes from Railway Station to Airport, all day.

    — Be particularly careful of what FIT calls the ‘one-stop-short’ problem; having to change because walking from the hub is too far. It is unavoidable but can be minimised. This is the reason for FIT’s choice of Te Aro Park as the southern hub of the CBD. It brings light rail closer to the centre-line of PT demand: see Figures 5.7 & 5.8 in GW’s PTSS Modelling Report.

    — Take particular care to provide for elderly people wishing to access the golden mile. A possible option might be retaining a minimal off-peak golden mile service for all bus routes, say a least one bus an hour, with other services on most routes connecting to light rail and not running through the city.

    You mention congestion on a light rail route through Newtown but I don’t see any particular problem. With parking moved off-street (already happening and much cheaper the road-widening), four lanes are available from Mein St to Rhodes St: two for light rail, one for motor traffic, one for cycling (both ways). The other motor traffic lane can go in Daniel St. Light rail could run at up to 30 km/hr under these conditions; the same as motor traffic. In Mansfield St some parking is needed and there is only room for three lanes: two for light rail, one for motor traffic (southbound) and one for parking, with Fire appliances permitted on the light rail tracks.

     
  38. Glen Smith, 17. April 2019, 22:21

    Kerry. A ‘transfer’ is to change vehicles but this ‘transfer’ can serve quite different functions. Eg. Passengers from Belmont heading to Wellington catch the bus but this takes them to Melling Station for a transfer to larger train units which also serves buses from other suburbs. This ‘aggregation’ involves a penalty but is unavoidable because the Belmont volume is insufficent to justify a through service by itself. But imagine that train then stops midway along the Petone to Wgtn coast, the passengers all get out and walk to another train, get on and then continue their journey. This ‘linear segmentation’ of their journey serves no purpose- it just imposes a penalty- and research shows a potent penalty. The transfer you propose for across town ‘heavy’ rail passengers from the north onto ‘light’ rail is pure ‘linear segmentation’- a potent penalty with no benefit and one which research and empirical data shows is not an ‘imagined one.’

    The reason lines shouldn’t be merged close to the CBD is because it imposes a potent transfer penalty with negligible savings in terms of additional unit transport time (ie you are so close to the CBD you might as well just carry on rather than forcing people to suffer a potent transfer penalty). You give Zurich as an example to justify ‘broken’ lines. I am not that familiar with Zurich but a brief look at their rail map shows almost all the lines are the logical ‘through’ lines that start at a peripheral location, transit across the CBD and central station, and continue on to another peripheral destination (hence avoiding ‘linear segmentation’). This follows the same pattern as almost every major rail system worldwide.
    I asked John above if you were going to run bus and rail from Newtown or just rail and you seem to have answered that by advocating ..’all bus routes.. [retaining]..one bus an hour, with other services on most routes connecting to light rail’. So not only are you going to not remove transfer at the Station but you are going to add a potent transfer penalty (‘pure’ bus to rail transfer of 17-18 minutes) for essentially all current bus users. Do you think bus users are going to be happy with this. All bus users should be able to (and with the right design can) get to the CBD without any transfer.
    To accommodate your rail through Newtown (because you feel that all passengers from the East should detour through here for some reason) you propose what is a bloodbath on car users – removing all parking on Riddiford St and only having one way traffic with the other direction going along Daniel Street! (a narrow residential street with people getting in and out of driveways, unloading their groceries, helping granny out with her zimmer frame etc). Are car users going to be happy with this? Are Daniel St residents going to embrace this? Are Newtown shoppers and shop owners going to be jumping with joy?
    Newtown should be serviced by buses from the Southern suburbs mainly sharing with cars. Rail should follow a direct SH1 route- servicing southern Mt Victoria, Hataitai and northern Kilbirnie.

     

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