Well as another year draws to a end it can be interesting to review what went on and to start with
Well we started the year with the news that this sites founder was having to give up blogging due to the fact he got a job at the council. This prompted myself and my fellow bloggers to have to step up to help fill the void. Even shared between us, its amazing how much effort it takes at times to keep things going which highlights just how hard he worked to keep this going. The effort though seems to have been rewarded though with huge increases in the number of visitors and page views. I remember earlier this year I/we would get excited if we had over 3,000 page views a day yet now we regularly get over 5,000 and have recently started getting over 6,000. The graph below shows our monthly page views.
When it comes to transport, to me 2012 has been a year where not a lot new has happened but that has mainly be a continuation of the same projects that we have had going on for a few years now. We are effectively in a bit of a transition year waiting for a whole host of projects to be completed. Here is what went on with some of the big things:
Wires are starting to become a familiar sight along increasingly large parts of the network and by the end of this years Christmas shutdown around 60% of the network is expected to have been completed. A few months ago the wires along the Onehunga branch line became the first section to be fully powered up. Here is where wires the were installed up to the 19th of December.
Out at Wiri a new state of the art depot is being built to maintain the trains and in recent months those out south will have seen the framework for it going up.
Those wires are of course being installed for our new electric trains (EMUs). This year saw a lot more details come out about them and in the middle of the year we had a mock up arrive in the country that was used to help refine the design and give us a good idea of what we can expect these trains to really look like. Construction has now started in Spain and the first of the 57 new trains is expected to be in the country at the end of August 2013.
Recently we have also heard that the case is quite strong to carry on electrification to Pukekohe.
City Rail Link:
Despite recent setbacks with the CCFAS, the CRL project has taken some major steps forward this year as Auckland Transport have confirmed the exact route the tunnel will take along with the footprint needed. They have contacted affected property owners to start the consent process and while this will continue over the next year or so, it is a good step forward. We here at the blog still think AT has a long way to go to improve their marketing of the project though as there seems to be a huge amount of misinformation out there amongst the general public.
If there is one topic more than any other that driven a huge amount of views and comments on the blog this year it has been integrated ticketing. In fact 6 of the 10 most read posts this year have been about the topic. It seems to have been one of those projects that went rogue with constantly missed deadlines and broken promises. A lot of the discussion centred around the role Snapper have played in the whole fiasco and things came to a head in August when AT dumped them from the system and decided to take over the roll out of the system to buses. Snapper has responded by claiming they will take AT to court to recover their costs but as of yet we haven’t heard anything else. In October the first part of the system finally went live with the introduction of the AT HOP card on the rail network.
Redesigned bus network:
This is one of the few new things that have happened this year and something that has been needed for a long time. As part of their draft Regional Public Transport Plan, AT have completely redesigned the bus network to make it into a complete network rather than a bunch of spaghetti thrown onto a map. Assuming it passes through the consultation phase we will start seeing the system rolled out next year. The proposal is to have a large number of core routes that run at high frequencies all day and it should help to revolutionise PT in the city.
Roads of National Significance:
This is one group of projects where we would like to see a lot less haste on but sadly the opposite has been happening. Over the course of they year it seems more and more has come out about just how bad many of these projects are including discovering that at least one part of the Wellington project, the Kapiti Expressway has a BCR of just 0.2. Other projects like Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Wellsford also continue to be pushed hard despite also performing poorly economically and in the case of the former, it has recently been announced it will be built as a PPP. This massive motorway building programme has also caused the budgets to blow out a bit which has resulted in the Government needing to put up fuel taxes.
AMETI was born out of the failed Eastern Highway proposal of John Banks as a way to fix some of the transport problems in the South East. Initially it started life as a very road centric idea but over time it seems to have morphed into being at least a little more PT balanced and will now include a busway from Pamure to Botany. It had seemed to be a bit of a vapourware type project for a while but this year things have finally started construction and one of the first things we will see as a result of it is the start of the busway and a brand new Panmure station.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year has been the continually stubborn patronage figures, especially on the rail network. All year results have been disappointing and it seems that AT has been pulled out every excuse in the book to try and explain it and they now say they are now investigating a series of measures to improve things and we should learn more about them in the Feb board meeting.
The last thing but certainly not the least is this year saw the council adopt the Auckland Plan which is the high level 30 year plan is intended to guide the city. This is generally a pretty great document and will really help to make the city more liveable.
Lastly, here are the 10 most viewed posts that were written in 2012
- Fried Snapper
- Auckland Density Illustrated I: The Inner City
- Does Auckland Transport now have a Logo?
- Would You Like Some Integrated Fares To Go With That New Bus Network
- Topping up your AT HOP card online
- In come the Lawyers
- Why I love the Netherlands
- EMU Update – with new pictures
- And the transport prizes go to … Queensland Rail and Symonds Street
- The Snapper/HOP debacle finally resolved?
Have I missed anything major?