Today is the last Auckland Transport board meeting for the year and there is quite a bit on the agenda. Here are some of the more interesting bits, first from the main business report.
The New Lynn train station and trench won the supreme excellence award for engineering excellence, what I found particularly funny was that the award was presented by Steven Joyce
The draft Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) recieved 700 submissions and after hearings in the new year, is set to be adopted in March. That will allow AT to start working through implementating the new routes with South Auckland being the first area being set for changes. In Feb we should also see a ‘medium-term growth plan’ which will be based on the confirmed rollout of many of the ongoing projects like the new bus network, EMUs and HOP.
Further AT say they are working on some short term growth initiatives to help address the worrying patronage results we have been seeing. Here is what they are looking at and for rail in particular, some of the items are things we have highlighted a number of times before:
Rail: tracking below forecast SOI profile year-to-date at approximately -9% due to 2011/12 year end slowdown from service performance issues and deferral of Western Line peak improvements (operator risk assessment) resulted in less than forecast 2012/13 start point; greater impact than forecast from RWC2011; upcoming patronage initiatives:
- February 2013 tertiary sector campaign and rail patronage acquisition campaign, particularly off-peak travel; utilise HOP origin/destination data for targeted campaigns
- Continuing monitoring and refinement of revenue protection plan, focusing revenue protection team at key strategic locations with early 2013 AT HOP and real-time technology campaign
- Further actions with the rail operator to improve service reliability and punctuality
- Station upgrade programme (Mt Albert, Remuera and Greenlane stations completed) deferred from 2011/12
- Early 2013 Manukau HOP electronic gateline installation prior to opening of Manukau Institute of Technology in mid-2013
- Unbudgeted special events including Pukekohe V8s
- Investigate increased weekend service span and frequency
- Investigate pricing initiatives, e.g. weekend reduced HOP rates.
Bus Rapid Transit – Northern Express: real growth above RWC2011 year, however, tracking below forecast SOI year-to-date due to 2011/12 year end slowdown due to additional Busway choice for customers accessing University resulted in less than forecast 2012/13 start point; greater impact than forecast from RWC2011 during September and October; upcoming patronage initiatives:
- Re-branding vehicles and introduction of new double decker vehicle with promotional campaign in February 2013
- Early HOP launch in 2nd quarter 2013
Bus: real growth above RWC2011 year, however, tracking slightly below / against forecast SOI year-to-date due to NZ Bus industrial action and greater impact than forecast from RWC2011; upcoming patronage initiatives:
- February 2013 tertiary sector campaign
- New airport to Onehunga service launch in March 2013
- Improved timetables on Sandringham Road, Dominion Road and Manukau Road with improved frequency on New North Road from February 2013
- Timetable reliability improvements in October 2012 (Howick & Eastern) and from February 2013 with reallocation of poor performing resources; targeted promotional campaigns around service improvements
Ferry: tracking against forecast SOI target profile year-to-date; upcoming patronage initiatives:
- HOP launch on ferry from 30 November 2012
- New Hobsonville and Beachaven services from February 2013
- Seek SuperGold funding for new services from NZTA
On the issue of Ferries, users may have noticed work starting to happen at the downtown ferry terminal. It is a series of projects intended to improve the area and will culminate in the installation of fare gates like are at Britomart.
A reconfiguration of the Downtown Ferry Terminal has commenced with the launch of the HOP card on ferry on 30 November and operation of Pier 1c. The intention by June 2013 is to create an improved customer environment for ferry passengers and to open the facility and waterfront to nonferry users improving the interface between the facility and Quay Street and Queens Wharf and enhancing the overall pedestrian and user environment including:
- Maximisation of the non-paid, land-side area of the ticket lines on Pier 1, enhancing the waiting areas and creating more public access to the wharfs, including to cafés and other facilities
- Reconfiguration of the Pier 1 ticket line with the installation of electronic gates
- Opening further direct access from Queens Wharf to Pier 1
- Creation of improved waiting facilities and public space on Pier 2 with improved access to the waterfront for both ferry users and the public
- Transfer of freight and ferry refuelling operations from Pier 2 improving access from and integration with Quay Street
- De-cluttering of Piers 1 and 2 with improved signage and information
- Increased Pier 1 and 2 capacity with the new Pier 1c; enables potential decommissioning of Piers 3 and/or 4 to enable improved waterfront public access from Quay Street Agenda Item 9
- The above improvements will be implemented in a phased manner, culminating by June 2013 with the installation of electronic gates
We also have some figures as to the uptake of HOP
- As on 30 November approximately 43,000 AT HOP cards have been sold
- AT HOP cards will be sold at the promotional price of $5 till 7 December
- 25,620 cards (60%) have been used at least once for travel, card users will continue to grow as monthly passes and 10-trip tickets are used up.
- 13,006 cards have been registered online (29%). Feedback indicates that customers like the online top-up feature.
- Failure to tag-off is currently between 3%-4% of trips.
As usual there is also an update on the EMU and depot progress. It seems that both projects remain pretty much on track. With the EMUs various parts are well into construction and testing of some of the systems has commenced. Assembly of the first train will be taking place next month.
For those interested in the debate around where train control should be, something that really cropped up earlier in the year when a fault in Wellington caused Aucklnads network to go out, there is a report from Kiwirail looking at the option but recommends largely continuing with the current plan of centralising operations in Wellington.