Wellington Scoop

Why we need both

by Glen Smith
The debate over the Quays vs the Golden Mile for a public transport route is irrelevant – we need both.

One of the main faults of the profoundly flawed Spine Study was that it demonstrated that one high quality across town PT route was inadequate but they didn’t bother to look at how to establish a second one. LGWM blundered forward with this fundamentally basic flaw in their four ‘scenarios’ before finally realising their stupid error.

Unless you go underground, there are only two across-town routes suitable for high quality PT corridors close to the CBD – the Golden Mile and the Quays. We need one PT corridor on each.

What mode should run down each?

Most PT commuters from Wellington suburbs travel by bus. Forcing them to transfer by imposing a ‘Trunk and Feeder’ model, either on to bigger buses (as with the disastrous recent bus changes) or on to trains (as FIT proposes) is illogical given Wellington’s size (see my article on direct vs indirect services). One PT corridor should be bus based for direct services from all Wellington suburbs.

In contrast, Kapiti and the Hutt are serviced mainly by very efficient rail corridors but these are hamstrung by terminating at the northern end of our city, meaning rail is vastly underutilized for transport trips across the CBD (the majority of trips from the north, based on car data). The result is our motorway and city becoming a quagmire of cars with no viable PT option.

One of the main barriers here is the potent transfer penalty at the station but, a little like initially ignoring the need for a second PT corridor, there is no evidence LGWM have bothered to try removing this transfer, despite very viable options. Hopefully they will recognise and address this fundamentally basic stupid design error as well (don’t hold you breath).

So we need one corridor for buses and one for seamless rail. Fortunately, and mainly by luck, the city is well suited to this. The Golden Mile is an established efficient bus corridor and the Quays are ideally suited for across-town rail. This fits well with walk distances, with most studies showing people are prepared to walk at least 200-400m to a bus stop but 400-800m or more to high quality rail.

We of course also need car access and a cycle corridor. Featherston Street/ Victoria Street and the western side of the Quays form a natural southbound and northbound one-way system close to the CBD. With the Golden Mile pedestrianised, those able bodied can either take public transport or park on the outskirts of the CBD and catch free buses along the Golden Mile to their destination. Side road parking close to the GM would be reserved for less able bodied (policing this could be an issue).

The only really viable option for a dedicated cycleway is Featherston Street/Victoria Street which fortunately is also a good route. The overall LGWM cycleway proposals look quite good (with a few exceptions).

So LGWM is gradually settling into a good overall design (the ‘master plan’ Ralf mentions) with a few notable exceptions. The main exception is failing to remove the Station rail transfer. Others include the apparently unilateral decision on a Taranaki Street route for rail (without consultation and when I suspect a Wakefield Street/ Kent Terrace route would be superior) and the stupid plan to take rail via Newtown for no good reason, at far higher cost and logistical challenge, and without apparently objectively comparing it to a Mt Victoria Tunnel/ Ruahine Street route.

The main issue however is the mindnumbingly slow proposed timeframe – with rail not planned until 2036 and no explanation for the delay.

Modelling shows congestion will have almost doubled by then as the city descends into an unworkable gridlocked quagmire. I note skilled workers are opting not to come to Wellington due to the appalling infrastructure planning. How many will still be left by 2036?


  1. Dave B, 14. July 2020, 19:40

    Good to hear your views Glen, and particularly the need for an uninterrupted rail-spine connecting the substantial part of the region south of the present terminus that rail completely misses.
    The idea of rail down the quays and buses down the Golden Mile is a compromise that may indeed suffice, particularly in that overall bus-requirements would reduce substantially if an extended rail-spine took over from buses on the main south-eastern corridor.
    A casualty of this plan however, would be the chance to fully-pedestrianize the Golden Mile and make it all like Cuba Mall. This is something that would need to be weighed up, with competing voices calling for both options.

  2. Traveller, 14. July 2020, 20:00

    Fully pedestrianising the Golden Mile is by far the most appealing idea, but it doesnt get a chance in the three options being offered by LGWM, all of which want to keep buses. The LGWM people havent noticed that traffic-free Cuba Street is the most popular and most populated street in town…

  3. Peter S, 14. July 2020, 22:50

    Totally agree that we need more public transport and less cars, and that the Quays are a viable PT route. However, I truly believe that Wgtn is not big enough to warrant light rail and is unlikely to ever be. What’s wrong with Wgtn the size it is? Why do people keep harping on about growth? If you want to live in a megalopolis, go to AK or Oz.
    Our airfield will never be a major international hub, and even the hospital isn’t big enough to warrant a full light rail system. The key to unlocking PT is to have a viable route that isn’t held up by the endless succession of intersections. That’s a logistical challenge.
    How about a BRT loop from rail to Kilbirnie via Newtown and back via Hatatai, using the golden mile and the Quays, with electric buses going in both directions? Bendy buses and double deckers can do that. But we do need a better connection between trains and buses at the railway station, rather than that trek through a dingy subway.
    Cycling of course should be encouraged, and safe cycling routes provided, but it is not the key to solving congestion, since it will only ever appeal to a limited percentage of people.
    Looking forward to our 100 new electric buses starting in 2021. May there be many more.

  4. Dave B, 14. July 2020, 23:49

    Peter S, the projections are that Wellington will continue to grow, like it or not. This is not a sneaky plan by growth-enthusiasts. It is the simple reality that people are choosing to come here. So either we put up the barriers and turn them away, or we accept them and accommodate them.
    To say Wellington is not big enough to warrant light rail ignores the fact that it already has 90% of an excellent regional ‘heavy’ rail system, whose reach seriously needs extending to bring its traffic-reducing benefits to the large chunk of the city that is currently remote from it. Whether it should be a separate light rail system or an extension of the existing system gets argued about endlessly, but the real need is for rail to join the region up. A BRT system local to Wellington city would not do this.
    Certainly there are those who reject doing anything further with rail, believing that the answer lies in building a motorway (to the very destinations you claim are too small to warrant a railway!), with some form of bus-based PT as an afterthought. However this view is falling out of favour with each passing day, as the city-ruining implications of trying to accommodate more and more cars obtrudes itself into the minds of more and more people.

  5. Ralf, 15. July 2020, 9:14

    The cynic in me looks at the Golden Mile and concludes that a decision already has been made to implement option 2) … Option 3) is outside of the budget and Option 1) is a joke. This option is also the option which will allow to have “mass transit” in the form of a crippled BRT system along the Golden Mile.

    “Wellington is too small for LRT.” There are countless examples of cities in Europe with working LRT which are the same size as Wellington (or even smaller like Bergamo, Ulm …). I am not opposed to BRT, but the problem with BRT is that it is not much cheaper than LRT, unless you see BRT as the doorway to BRT creep (which has it’s own Wikipedia page). One example making me sceptical is our “transfer stations” which are just bus stops.

  6. Peter Steven, 15. July 2020, 15:43

    I hope that when we build light rail the system is designed to be compatible with the rest of regional rail network so that even if it’s not joined up at the start, it could be in the future.

    A one seat ride from Newtown to Johnsonville, Melling or Porirua would truly take our public transport system to another level.

    We really need to be doing the best we can with this opportunity!

  7. Glen Smith, 15. July 2020, 19:55

    Dave B. I don’t think using the GM as a PT corridor is a ‘compromise’ but a necessity. The Spine Study showed one corridor was inadequate, even with LRT. Modelling for 2021, 2031 and 2041 (so medium rather than long term and based on conservative PT uptake) showed a second spine of up to 29 units per hour was required. The underlying modelling assumptions are hard to discern but seem to be based on 180 capacity 2 carriage LRT units. How were you (and others who want the GM fully pedestrianised) planning to achieve adequate capacity on the Quays? Having longer trains? If so where do you plan to fit in the longer platforms? Or using 4 rather than 2 of the six Quay lanes? (Sorry but not logistically or politically feasible until at least after a second Terrace Tunnel is completed). Were you planning a bus corridor at all? Or to force all bus users to transfer to four rail lines? Even if you planned a Quays bus corridor in addition to rail, would bus users (the majority of PT trips) want to be forced away from the Golden Mile? The GM should, and has to, remain as the main bus corridor.

    Agree absolutely about seamless rail and that some capacity has to be switched to rail (due to overcrowding of the GM) but why do you (and others who support rail) lump the southern and eastern lines together as a ‘south-eastern’ corridor? They are totally separate areas divided by a high Mt Victoria to Mt Albert hill range. Do you talk about a ‘Karori-Johnsonville’ corridor then use this to try and justify diverting the Johnsonville rail line away from the logical route (the Ngaio Gorge) and then force Karori bus users to transfer to this rail line? That would be stupid. Johnsonville is a suburb best serviced by direct rail and Karori is a separate suburb best serviced by direct bus. Similarly large areas of the eastern suburbs have good potential to be serviced by rail but the logical direct route is Ruahine St / second Mt Victoria Tunnel (That’s why our ancestors built it there in the first place). The cheapest and least destructive option is a large bore multipurpose second Mt Victoris Tunnel (see my previous article)- I challenge you and others who favour a Newtown route to refute this.

    Island Bay and other southern areas are suburbs that are best serviced by bus and these bus lines are adequate to service Newtown. Do you really think diverting the eastern rail corridor away from its logical direct route and then forcing southern bus users to transfer to it is good planning?

    Taking (or should I say trying to take- the logistical challenges are huge) rail via Newtown is just plain stupid (sorry to be blunt- but it is)

  8. Kerry, 16. July 2020, 11:08

    Glen. Light rail by Newtown is the best option, for three reasons. First, it has the greatest residential density and will make the best use of a high-capacity route. Second, it runs past the Hospital, providing a quality service and level-platform access for the elderly and disabled; hospital staff could also make use of its speed and reliability. And third a Mt Albert tunnel could be single-track, cheaper than a double-track Mt Victoria tunnel and far cheaper than a second Mt Victoria traffic jam.
    Sure, Riddiford St is a tight fit, but far from impractical, and even Mansfield St (15.1 m wide) can be done satisfactorily. Parking on Riddiford St would have to go, but could be replaced with off-street parking accessed from side-streets – this is already happening.
    Light rail to the airport would be faster if it ran beneath Mt Victoria rather than Mt Albert, but airport traffic is a secondary objective. More important is quality, high-capacity public transport for all.
    At present, Wellington’s buses operate on the assumption that passengers don’t like hubs. Of course they don’t, but they do like the far more effective public transport that hubs make possible. Quality hubs need good timekeeping, but that can be done, and will also be possible for buses when golden mile overloading is relieved. Feeder-buses bringing passengers to light rail, say at Miramar, could arrive one minute before the tram and leave when it left. This would be the usual pattern for all bus connections.
    If light rail ran on the waterfront, with a stop at Willeston St, passengers going to central Wellington would have multiple options: walk from Willeston St, the Railway Station or Te Aro, or change to a bus at the Railway Station or Te Aro. With light rail relieving bus congestion on the golden mile, bus-stop spacings on the golden mile could be shortened to suit the disabled.
    Light rail might run as far north as Kaiwharawhara, both to interchange with the new ferry terminal and for cross-platform interchange with main line passengers.

  9. Dave B, 16. July 2020, 20:24

    Glen Smith, I sent you an email 2 years ago outlining my suggestions for extending heavy rail via the waterfront route – not underground but at-grade and covered-over with a structure which would be designed as a feature. Certainly, this would require removing traffic from the waterfront and diverting it, principally via the motorway. And certainly, as things stand, the motorway would require improving before this could happen. But the purpose of giving the waterfront corridor over to an extended rail system is that its people-carrying capacity (as-opposed to its vehicle-carrying capacity) would greatly increase from what it is now as a road. The existing SH1 route could also be greatly improved by routing both directions through the Inner City By-pass ‘trench’ instead of southbound via Vivian Street. Vivian Street I suspect is the present limitation on its southbound capacity, and yet the trench is wide enough to be configured 2-way like the Terrace Tunnel, thereby avoiding the Vivian St dog-leg. That this has not been done makes me question how interested the NZTA is, in getting the best out of what we have.
    I agree that de-trafficking the Waterfront would be a hard political ‘sell’, and staging such a change without mayhem before the rail-alternative was up and running might be a challenge. But remember also – that the city council has had aspirations to ‘traffic-calm’ and ‘boulevardise’ the waterfront route for many years now, anyway. And concerns that Auckland would gridlock during construction of its CRL tunnels proved unfounded as people simply adjusted to not being able to drive so freely.

    I don’t advocate trying to shoehorn heavy-rail into a combined road/rail Mt Vic tunnel. Heavy rail needs an alignment of its own and via Newtown is where the main catchment is. Neither do I advocate removal of the bus-corridor, although the requirement for buses would significantly reduce if such a rail extension existed, and buses that remained could run via Featherston St – Victoria St – Wakefield St if it was desired to pedestrianize the Golden Mile. I have no strong views either way on this. I just have strong views to see the regional rail system extended to serve this important part of the region.

  10. Glen Smith, 17. July 2020, 0:03

    Kerry. Most travellers to the hospital are from Wellington (Hutt and Porirua have their own hospitals) and hence are bus users. The majority would have direct bus trips if major north/ south and east/ west bus lines went via Newtown (see my proposed overall network plan) while you propose an unnecessary bus-to-rail transfer on ALL bus travellers to the hospital (with a 17 minute ‘disincentive’ transfer penalty). All these bus users have to get off by non-level access whether this at the hospital or your transfer stations. The minority of travellers to hospital come from the Hutt or Porirua/ Kapiti and these would require one transfer (‘heavy’ to ‘light’ rail at the station) with your proposal and one transfer (seamless rail to dedicated hospital shuttle at the Basin Station) with my proposal. Objectively your proposal results in overall inferior outcomes for hospital travellers.

    You say that rail has to go via Newtown because it has the ‘greatest residential density’ (incorrect- the highest density is the main CBD areas) which I assume you are using as a proxy for trip demand (which ignores high trip generating destinations such as the airport/ colleges/ aquatic centre/ sports facilities etc). In fact bus passenger tallies show that few riders get on or off in Newtown and almost all riders are ‘through’ passengers from either southern suburbs or eastern suburbs. Dave B then makes the statement that “Newtown is where the main catchment is”. Really?? The population of Newtown is around 7,000 – 8,000 (depending on the boundaries). The population of the ‘Eastern Suburbs’ is almost 40,000. This is the “main catchment” for the eastern rail corridor – not Newtown, or the airport which you seem to indicate is my main concern (although the airport is a high trip generator).
    Even if Newtown were the cities’ “main catchment” IT IS ALREADY ADEQUATELY SERVICED BY THE SOUTHERN PUBLIC TRANSPORT LINES. It is a little like saying “the southern Hutt Valley is a major catchment so we had better divert the Kapiti line via there” when the southern Hutt is already serviced by the Upper Hutt line. This doubles up on coverage of Newtown and provides no coverage for southern Mt Victoria, Wellington East or Boys colleges, Hataitai and northern Kilbirnie (which have equivalent population to Newtown), Hataitai Park, Kilbirnie Park including the Aquatic centre, St Pats College, the badminton hall etc

    You say that a Mt Albert tunnel would be “cheaper than a double-track Mt Victoria tunnel and far cheaper than a second Mt Victoria traffic jam” without giving any objective justification for this statement. In fact world tunnelling expert Alun Thomas showed that a single large bore tunnel would almost certainly be cheaper than a separate smaller tunnel. And rail along Ruahine St/ Wellington Rd done in conjunction with road changes would almost certainly be cheaper than the huge cost of moving services etc to run rail through Newtown.

    Your statement touches on just a few of the huge logistical barriers including removing all parking on Riddiford St, turning Mansfield St into a thoroughfare, forcing large numbers of bus riders to unnecessarily transfer to rail (which you claim will produce
    “far more effective public transport” when the research evidence I previously presented shows this ‘Trunk and Feeder’ design would lead to inferior outcomes) and forcing Newtown commuters onto a Quays route. You don’t touch on the fact that Newtown would then have to suffer huge trains every 5 minutes or so, packed full of the thousands of commuters from the east who don’t want to be there but just want to get to the CBD or beyond.

  11. Kerry, 17. July 2020, 10:45

    Glen. We seem to disagree almost entirely, which suggests assumptions. Why do you assume a 17 minute disincentive, when transfers should never take that long?
    Wellington Hospital is regional, and patients come from throughout the region, which includes the eastern suburbs. Newtown is denser than Hataitai and Kilbirnie, which makes it the better primary route to the eastern suburbs. You say that I propose an unnecessary bus-to-rail transfer on ALL bus travellers to the hospital: I disagree. Are you assuming heavy rail down the waterfront? Passengers having to change is not a problem when it is done properly, but having to change twice is minimised wherever possible. LGWM have some very good proposals (MRCagney) to work around this problem. Sure, transfers delay passengers a little, but they often REDUCE trip time, because transfers allow more frequent services.
    Tunnel costs are roughly proportional to length and diameter, so single-track light rail (for both directions) is cheapest, double track light rail next, and four lanes to the planes is self-defeating: more cars, more pollution and more congestion. Don’t forget that a bus lane can carry far more passengers than a car lane, let alone a parking lane, and light rail far more than buses. Perhaps your biggest assumption failure is condemning ‘Trunk and Feeder’ proposals. Try reading Jarrett Walker’s book: Human Transit: how clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives.

  12. Glen Smith, 17. July 2020, 12:54

    Kerry. The 17 minutes is not the actual transfer time (which you have to add to this) but the disinclination to make a trip at all (measured in equivalent journey time) if it involves a bus- train transfer. So when deciding whether to drive or take PT, riders are as disinclined to make a 30 minute PT journey that involves a bus-rail transfer as they are to make a 47 minute direct PT journey (plus actual transfer time so likely 50-55 minute total) This is a fairly basic planning concept. Did you read my article or Neil Douglas’s research? You trivialise transfers which is a guaranteed way to limit PT uptake (as the station transfer demonstrates).

    You say you aren’t going to force all hospital users to transfer to rail. This implies you are running rail and buses through Newtown. Is rail on a segregated corridor? Are buses on dedicated lanes or mixed with general traffic (with increasing delay as congestion intensifies). If both are dedicated how are you going to fit these down Adelaide Road/ John St/ Riddiford St? Which specific bus routes are you going to continue to the CBD and which are you going to force to transfer onto rail/ a Quays route?

  13. luke, 17. July 2020, 16:30

    Best way to get heavy rail thru the CBD would be some sort of elevated skyrail akin to what Melbourne’s been building. Personally I think they look great but the nimbies would be up in arms I imagine. I don’t see the airport as a priority personally but the other side of the CBD and ideally Newtown would be where I see heavy rail going too.

  14. Dave B, 17. July 2020, 17:08

    @ Luke – Elevated rail would certainly be an option, though it would likely get rejected like the Basin Flyover did. Interesting how the ugly Thorndon Motorway viaduct was deemed acceptable when it was built back in the 1970s. Far more obtrusive than a slender, 2-track railway viaduct would be!

  15. Glen Smith, 18. July 2020, 10:31

    Dave. Absolutely agree that we should remove the station transfer by running through trains, something which FIT and our planners seem to have abandoned without looking seriously at options. Not doing this would mean that from now until the end of time, every person wanting to travel across the CBD by PT would have to endure an unnecessary transfer penalty at the station. However retrofitting this into an existing compact city is extremely difficult and I don’t think you can ram this through regardless of the effect on other city users. I think it is possible …just.

    “Removing traffic from the waterfront and diverting it” is just not realistic. Even using 4 of the 6 lanes is unlikely, and – with good network design – unnecessary. Two will suffice. The Quays are a major across-town vehicle route and even if you divert across-town cars via the motorway (which would require a second Terrace Tunnel) the Quays are needed for cars to access the CBD.

    You want to run all current ‘heavy’ rail trains as through trains. If the Hutt and Kapiti lines are running to maximum capacity this would require 4 rail lines running 8 carriage Matangi units and 180m long platforms. (Can you show me where you are fitting this into Newtown?) Running all units through is unnecessary since a large percentage (in fact all current rail users) get off at the station. Therefore we only need to run a subset of trains as through units. These could be Matangis but would require expensive ‘heavily’ engineered corridors. The alternative is ‘lighter’ units that ‘Trackshare’ with Matangis. This is a well established strategy overseas (perhaps someone from LGWM could update us on their investigation of this option, including which international experts they have consulted with….yeah right!) Running a subset of trains means you have to ‘sort’ travellers into station vs through riders. But station riders will be tempted to get onto the first train that comes along, whether this is a ‘through’ train or not, and so occupy limited ‘through’ capacity. In addition there are problems with running equally spaced units while also accomodating freight trains.

    The alternative is to run through units immediately after station units – possibly within 60- 90 seconds (very viable with modern train control systems and some light units can run on driver ‘line of sight’). The front train would deplete station travellers leaving only through riders. The net effect would be to increase the capacity of each scheduled train at peak time from 8 to 10-12 carriages with the front 8 carriages being station riders and the back 2-4 carriages through riders (I have deliberately said 2-4 through units since it is unclear what the through vs station demand would be- we should assume higher and plan for as long platforms as feasible). The 60-90 second gap between the ‘front’ and ‘back’ sections of each scheduled train would have negligible effect on freight train windows.

    This is the only way I can see to run seamless trains without incurring the cost of going underground or overhead, and without taking too much of the scarce across town corridor width away from bus riders, car travellers, cyclists and pedestrians. No one has given any valid reason why this plan would be unworkable (or even that difficult).

  16. Kerry, 18. July 2020, 21:02

    Glen. The fundamental difference between us is the concept that Wellington Railway Station is a barrier to public transport. In fact it is the standard system, used in almost every city in the world, and the delays barely matter. There are a dozen examples in London alone. In a properly organised system, transfers generally take two or three minutes, and very rarely more than five minutes. But these delays are offset by all services running more frequently, often saving more time than the transfer loses.
    Wellington now has about 40 bus routes passing through the central area. Six are core routes, running no more frequently than every ten minutes. The remaining 34 non-core routes serve various purposes, often muddled, consuming most of Wellington’s bus service-hours. If there were fewer routes — easily done with a hub-based system — more services would run more frequently. This would give passengers reduced waiting times, throughout the day, offsetting hub delays and making the whole system more effective. See the 2011 Bus Review for how such a system could work.
    If you look at my earlier comment (16 July) you will see an option to run light rail as far north as Kaiwharawhara, to connect with the new ferry terminal and cross-platform interchange with Matangis. That would be reasonably effective and vastly cheaper than running the Matangis through the city. If hubs are unacceptable, how can passengers make trips other than single-route?
    Again, try Jarrett Walker’s book.

  17. Mike Mellor, 19. July 2020, 21:23

    Glen, I was very surprised to read that “no one has given any valid reason why this plan would be unworkable (or even that difficult)” since a number of people gave very valid reasons in response to your earlier “direct vs indirect services” article that you link to above. Then, you said “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”, and I responded “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.)”. I am not sure that you ever gave any such example.

    Now, you appear to have modified this “same ‘time slot'” so that it becomes two paths 60-90s apart. Again, could you give an example of where this very short headway is achieved reliably and consistently by trains of varying consists with varying origins and destinations on a network like Wellington’s, in the open air and shared with freight trains? You also refer to line-of-sight operation: could you give an example of that working in a Wellington-like context too, please?

    Only when you have shown that what you propose can in fact be achieved in all respects will you be able to assert with any justification that your plan is workable. Until that time it will just be wishful thinking (however desirable it may appear to be), and relevant decision-makers will have no option but to treat it as such.

  18. John Rankin, 20. July 2020, 12:50

    It will be relatively easy for Glen to provide data to support his claim that a trunk and feeder design will act as a disincentive for passengers. Every city with light rail uses a trunk and feeder network topology. Assuming Glen’s claim is correct, we would predict that in cities with light rail, the ridership per capita will be lower than in Wellington, because the trunk and feeder design will, according to Glen, discourage people from using public transport.

    I think the onus is on Glen to provide evidence that he is right and the cities who have invested in light rail are wrong. He may wish to limit the dataset to cities of a similar size to Wellington.

    At the same time, we need to recognise that transfer penalties are real. The way they manifest in cities with light rail is through intensification along the light rail corridor. Living close to a light rail station becomes very attractive. Most cities with light rail promote higher density affordable housing along the corridors, so the well-off don’t capture the benefits.

  19. Dave B, 20. July 2020, 21:07

    John Rankin, I would caution against asking Glen to compare apples with pears. It is true that many cities around the world have light rail. In the great majority of these, this will take the form of trams running largely in the street. These fulfill a very different function from that of conventional rail.
    Now crucially, many of those cities will also have metro rail systems which serve a much wider area than the trams and which already pass uninterrupted on main lines through the city. Those which by dint of history inherited metro systems which terminate at a dead end on the periphery of the CBD will generally have taken steps to fix this long ago, or will be in the process (e.g. Auckland with its CRL). I cannot think of any cities with light rail or not, which still do as Wellington does which is to kick everyone out of the metro system at a single point remote from a significant chunk of the region, and expect everyone to transfer or walk from there.
    As I have pointed out a number of times in this forum and seemingly to deaf ears, you do not impose compulsory interchanging on majority arterial flows such as that currently being imposed on all users of Wellington’s rail system. You reserve transferring for secondary flows which can benefit from feeding into the main system. In fact it is a tribute to Wellington’s incomplete regional rail system that as many use it as do, in spite of this impediment
    But unfortunately rail is largely irrelevant to a large number of people whose origins or destinations lie more than about 2Km from the station. You simply don’t bother to use rail if you want to travel from say Naenae to Newtown or Redwood to Rongotai. You drive and you add to the city’s traffic problems. Do you really believe that the opportunity to transfer to tram rather than bus when you still get kicked out of your Matangi will change this?

  20. Glen Smith, 20. July 2020, 22:33

    Kerry. If you define a ‘hub’ as where a ‘transfer’ occurs (riders getting off one PT vehicle and onto another) then I have never said that these are “unacceptable”. It is impossible to have direct services from every origin to every destination so transfers are inevitable (and my plan includes many such ‘hubs’). However transfers always incur a penalty (real + ‘disincentive’) so the benefits have to outweigh this penalty. Transfers can have very different functions depending on setting, giving different benefits/ costs. PT vehicles have to follow along a ‘line’- an origin, a destination and the points in between. A line can have a variety of forms in relation to the city geometry. Together they form a network pattern. The same author notes that “the vast majority of public transit networks of individual cities are some iteration of a polar network” where major lines “radiate out from the centre in all direction with the possible addition of tangential and circumferential routes that follow a path around the town centre”.
    Functionally transfers can be
    1.Line-to-line where people transfer from one of these major city lines to another. These transfers are beneficial (and inevitable) since they allow more frequent service on each line for the same cost compared to direct services between all points.
    2. Trunk and feeder is totally different. It is where each line effectively splits into different ‘feeders’ at some distance from the city centre by forced transfer. These can be more cost effective (and so allow more frequent service) than running each feeder line directly but only if conditions are right. This is exactly the research I review in “coming soon: Bustastrophe 2” from August 20 2019. It shows that “the conditions under which the conversion of direct services to trunk-and-feeder services will bring overall benefits are fairly limited” and that “trunk feeder systems.. require from 11 percent to 66 percent additional fleet. In most cases, these extra costs will total something in the range of 34 percent of an additional cost for the trunk-and-feeder service, while the benefits from the larger vehicle use are going to be generally in a similar range only when the trunk is very long relative to the feeder route, and there are many very small routes converging”
    In a Wellington setting, a trunk and feeder model will cost more (and hence allow LESS frequent service on each feeder line) than direct services so the statement that “transfer… delays are offset by all services running more frequently, often saving more time than the transfer loses” is false. If you disagree with this can you point out the flaws in the research.
    3. In-Line transfers where riders have to transfer midway along the line (so imagine Upper Hutt riders having to get off one train at Waterloo and get onto another identical train to continue to Wellington). These transfers offer no benefit and are pure penalties.

    Wellington Station is a major location for Line-To-Line transfers (eg. Hutt to Karori) which are essential/ inevitable. But for the tens of thousands of riders who want to get from the Hutt and Kapiti to the southern CBD or beyond it is a potent and pointless In-Line transfer barrier that causes almost all of them to travel by car rather than PT. Why would you want to retain this…forever…and so hamstring our main regional PT lines when the option to remove it with proper planning is available?
    ps read my note- I don’t advocate Matangis running through the city.

  21. Pam, 27. July 2020, 23:38

    Last Saturday the only shop that I went into, on Lambton Quay and Customhouse Quay that was busy, was Lulu Lemon (the only branch in the greater Wellington area). Most other shops we went into were deserted. Sunday 3pm Bella Italia cafe in Petone was full, with at least some customers also from Wellington. In the vibrant Melbourne CBD, apart from a small segment of Bourke St, streets are open to vehicles.

  22. Morris Oxford, 28. July 2020, 8:44

    It is so easy to go shopping on a bicycle that Lambton Quay should be packed at weekends. You can always use a back-pack or rack on the back of the bike to carry things home.
    Spending lots more money on cycle ways would also help.
    Keep other cars away, I say.

  23. Dave B, 28. July 2020, 16:39

    @ Pam.
    1) Did you try to park in Lambton Quay?
    2) Did you succeed in parking in Lambton Quay?
    3) If you didn’t park in Lambton Quay, what did you do?

    Most shoppers coming in to the city by car will park somewhere off the main route, leave the car and walk to the various venues they wish to visit. Few will try to drive to every doorway they plan to enter.
    And by the way, the Lambton Quay end of the Golden Mile does tend to shut down early on weekends. It always has. If you had gone to Cuba Mall, I am sure you would have found it busy into the evening, in spite of no vehicles being allowed.

  24. Guy M, 28. July 2020, 17:48

    Dave B – you make a good point re Cuba Street. I imagine that when Cuba Street was pedestrianised to become the Cuba Mall, the first such pedestrian space in Aotearoa, there was probably a huge fuss and people would have written to the Dominion and the Evening Post and complained bitterly about how it was the end of the world and it would never work and no-one would ever come to Cuba Mall etc etc. I imagine there were a few hiccups, but it seems to be very popular now – one of the more popular streets to be in in NZ. Anybody want to tell me that I’m wrong? I see no tumbleweed blowing down that particular street…