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Trams in Trouble at Wynyard

News this morning that Waterfront Auckland is looking to shut down the Wynyard Quarter tram.

The future of Auckland’s trams is on the line after a sudden decision by the council’s waterfront agency to withdraw funds needed to keep them running. The decision by Waterfront Auckland’s board over the fate of Wynyard Quarter’s two vintage trams and their 1.5km circuit – after just 18 months of operation – has come as a bolt from the blue for Mayor Len Brown and his transport committee chairman, Mike Lee. Mr Lee, who headed the former Auckland Regional Council when it set aside $8 million for the initial circuit, was last night scathing of the decision, on top of a “failure of management” by the agency in delaying plans to extend the tracks to Britomart. The decision casts grave doubt on such an extension, to which the new Auckland Council allocated a further $8.2 million.

The debate about the merits of the tram is an interesting one. If it is left as, only looping around Wynyard, then it is nothing more than an expensive gimmick and one that doesn’t serve any kind of useful transport purpose. With Wynyard also still a long way away from being a bustling hub of commercial and residential development, there is little to attract people to use it in its current state.

At the time it was being built, many people described the Wynyard loop as a beachhead, the first step in building a new tram network and that is where the real benefit of it lies. Extending the tracks to Britomart enables it to be become part of the cities transport network. With more developments, like the new ASB building, popping up in the future there are expected to be more than 10,000 people working in Wynyard Quarter. Getting the tram to Britomart will allow for many of those workers to use it to get from trains or ferries to their offices.

Of course as Stu is bound to remind us, we do already have the red City Link buses that do exactly this. I guess my response to that is that the trams are a place making activity. They are the same as how that don’t need streetscape upgrades or shared spaces to allow people to walk yet we build them due to the nicer environment they create. Longer term I think that the entire City Link bus route is an ideal candidate to be replaced by modern trams, tied in with plans to pedestrianise Queen St. This is effectively what is proposed in the City Centre Master Plan.

queen-st-tram

CCMP – Queen St Tram

Perhaps the most worrying aspects of the report this morning is the suggestion that there are issues with integrating the tram into the upgrade of Daldy St and that there are squabbles going on between Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Transport. If it is true then both issues need to be sorted out very quickly.

I can live with the tram being stopped for now on the provision that A) any upgrade to the streets around Wynyard doesn’t prevent the tram from running in the future, B) that we still commit to extending the route to Britomart soon and C) that there is a guarantee that when that that extension is completed, the trams are restarted again straight away.

108 comments to Trams in Trouble at Wynyard

  • Ben S

    Agreed. Looks like petty inter-agency politics – Len Brown undermined by one of his own organisations going rogue. He needs to get a bit of mongrel in him, get down to the wharves and knock some heads together. And get that tram line along the waterfront ASAP.

  • Oriel

    I would love to see trams running the length of the waterfront and connecting this haphazard city, but Wynard Quarter was a terrible way to sell the idea. The council will find it much harder to convince people for the need for trams when their first attempt was such a big waste of money.

  • One of the partners in my law firm was involved in the initial discussions/negotiations for the Wynyard Quarter. He told me that what it has now is about 1/4 of what was initially proposed. However, once all the “interested” parties got around the table and started horse trading, it was slowly cut down to what we see now. The tram is a classic example.

    The lack of vision and innovation here is slowly destroying my faith in the ability of Auckland to make the leap from overgrown country town to proper city. I really feel like I am living in a city of rural hicks who are desperately fighting to keep Auckland’s rural character while blithely ignoring the population growth and immigration which are transforming the city. They are enabled by a central government that gives them ideological, political and moral justification for that fight. As most people here acknowledge, this government clearly doesnt understand cities or their value to a country.

    It is a recipe for disaster as our “city” continues to develop in the wrong direction. By the time we get rid of the Baby Boomer NIMBYs who are indoctrinated with this rural, low density philisophy it may be too late.

    Oh well, there’s always Australia or back to Europe.

    • qwerty

      i hear you. I am slowly getting more worried about the points you raise, coupled with a major property problem the long term view in Auckland is becoming misty. The biggest problem I see is the influence and accessibility that the political figures have on the running of the city and the direction things take even down to the smaller issues. All it takes is one councillor or board member to have a bad day or have some obscure idea and any process, no matter how well though out, can be instantly derailed.

      there needs to be a major shake up of the way the government and council does business.

  • Trev

    This is daft. The subsidy is only like $100k a year from Waterfront Auckland. Sounds like it’s just a dispute over the contract that’s stupidly ended up in public.

  • Harvey Specter

    The tram, as it is is daft and is just a large train set for enthusiust to play with. If it actually connected two places together, it would actually be worthwhile. Without the connection to Britomart, it is just a failed tourist attraction.

  • And you can thank John Banks, that great servant of Auckland and New Zealand, in part for the fact that the tram goes nowhere. For it was he who down-scaled the bridge so that it is unable to carry the tram to Britomart.

    Another great example of how effective leadership can be.

  • Chris

    I don’t see the need for trams in Auckland in the near future. There are too many other public transport projects that ought to receive priority over extending the tram.

  • BenH

    Not extending the trams out of the Wynyard Quarter would be good news for cyclists. Tram lines are great at snagging bikes.

  • Brendan

    Why is Waterfront Auckland funding public transport, isn’t that the job of Auckland Transport? Waterfront Auckland are a Development Agency, and it’s Auckland Transport that is responsible for the day to day activities that keep Auckland’s transport systems moving.

    Auckland Transport should be paying for the operational costs of the Trams, and I’m undecided about who job it is to fund the tracks (maybe 50/50).

  • dan

    Don’t know where to ask this but, is there any chance we can get a post on how pt usage has been going down over the past year and how car sales are back up to pre recession numbers. It would be good to have an analysis of this without the bias if that is at all possible.

    Cheers in advance.

    • Dan please feel free to submit a guest post on the subject seems like you have your conclusions sorted already.

      This is a pro-bono voluntary site, we welcome all help to keep it interesting. So long as it’s on topic, coherent, and it’s assertions are supported by evidence we’ll run it. Helps if interestingly illustrated [go Geoff!] and well written too. Un-boring helps.

      • dan

        The only conclusion I have made so far is the likely excuses. As in heaps of money has been spent on roads recently and nothing on pt. Even though this is clearly not the case.

        But besides from that I’m pretty open, only issue is that I don’t have the time or data that you guys clearly have. All I am able to go by are the stories in the paper for which there have been quite a few yet they get no mention here.

        One such interesting thing is that people still claim traffic volumes are going down even though they have been going up for the past two years.

        • harrymc

          “they have been going up for the past two years.”
          That’s a statement, not a fact. Anyone can make a statement: “the moon is made out of blue cheese” (Roquefort so I’m told mmmm).
          If there are “stories in the paper” then link to one – if any exist.

          • dan

            Well yes it was a statement, but it was based in traffic volumes. What were you basing your cheese theory on?

        • As Patrick said, you obviosuly already have your conclusions worked out and feel there is plenty of evidence, so why dont you write the post yourself?

          I for one would love to see a post on here arguing that NZ/Auckland doesnt spend enough money on roads. Mainly for comedy reasons but still.

          • dan

            Who was suggesting such a post?

          • “As in heaps of money has been spent on roads recently and nothing on pt. Even though this is clearly not the case.”

            So clearly you believe not enough money has been spent in Auckland on roads recently or that more has been spent on PT. We would all love to see the evidence to support that.

        • I’m serious dan, you seem to have plenty of time to tell us that we’re biased so why don’t you do the legwork yourself and actually back up your easy assertions with data and analysis? You also might learn that there’s a bit involved in what we here, could be educational.

          • qwerty

            pull your head in Patrick, and yes the mods and regulars on here are very biased when it suits.

          • Bryce P

            What is wrong with Patricks request?

            Everyone has bias’. Even the mods don’t agree on everything. Jeez. We all have our own loves and hates when it comes to stories on this blog. That’s the fantastic thing about it, it’s not a big love fest but a way of providing data and getting feedback on different options for our fine city. I love it as it is. I have had my share of argy bargy on here too with things I don’t agree with. Doesn’t put me off it one bit :-)

          • George D

            “Pull your head in”?

            Seriously?

            Someone comes here, accuses the authors of being biased and ignoring the facts. That person is then offered the chance to write something and post it here. That person then makes excuses about why they don’t want to, and makes even more comments about “censorship”. Then Patrick gives a fairly calm but terse reply to their tenditiousness – and you tell him to “pull your head in”?

            And at about the same time two days ago, three new commenters all arrived at the blog and started telling the the authors and regulars how to act. For example “Fiddlesticks” above telling someone who mentioned a subsidy figure “this isn’t the place for gossip”, as if public numbers and figures are somehow equivalent to what happens in someone’s bedroom. I don’t know if the three new commenters are in any way related, but their behaviour is pretty poor.

          • Wow, perhaps when you’ve actually contributed something useful to the debate you might just get to use that sort of language, although even then it’s well out of order.

            You see this is the very point. To call something biased is just the statement of opinion, go on, actually construct an analysis, find the evidence, out the bias. If you don’t, or can’t, we’ll all just have to conclude you’re just another angry ranter hiding behind a false name.

            Sorry, but the point of disagreements in online forums is the opinions of the vast majority; the other readers who don’t write but who judge us all on the quality of our arguments and evidence.

            Name calling is easier but it isn’t persuasive. And as this site continues to grow in readership and influence we have to conclude that many are interested in the arguments presented here.

          • qwerty

            I don’t think that there is anything wrong with what Dan has written, I would even go as far to say that it could be a taken as a compliment.

            again you guys have all flown off in the same knee jerk direction, I have no problem with people being biased or opinionated either, as long as they recognise that there are other points of view, interpretations and considerations. the biggest problem that I have here is that people seem to actively attack newbies and other posters that don’t agree with them as if to try and get them in line.

            that is why I make these posts to identify where I think you are being out of order with the hope that you might consider a different perspective, the passionate responses that I get from the lot of you just goes to show what kind of attitudes you have.

            Dan also picks up on a good point (that you all nailed him for) in that if people were to put a post up here that didn’t align with the perspective of the mods not only would it probably not get through but it would be considered a “comedy” post as Goosoid has indicated. Why would you think that this environment is welcoming to people making the effort to challenge the status quo?

            as far as getting new people on the site you might be interested to know that some IT person has an affinity to putting links to this site (probably without understanding the content) on the internal AT and AC intranets….. with all of the slamming that you guys do of these two outfits it might give you some idea as to why you are getting some curly comments back at you.

        • George D

          only issue is that I don’t have the time or data that you guys clearly have.

          The people who host this blog have full time jobs. Some of them have families, and they all do other things with their time. They’re members of the public and don’t have privileged access to Government information – they’d get it the same way you would, by going to the relevant websites and downloading it. Where the information isn’t public, you put in an OIA and seeing what you get.

          And traffic volumes are growing? No they’re not. They reached a peak in the mid 2000s, and have stayed static or declined since. Despite a growing population. http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/03/29/unprecedented-change-kiwis-driving-less-and-loving-it/

          The other side of the story you’re looking for? It doesn’t exist. Coming in here, waving your hands, and making accusations of bias and fact suppression isn’t how you prove anything.

          • qwerty

            you pull your head in as well. these sort of comments and alienation of peoples posts aren’t helpful and will probably turn people off from this site.

    • dan

      Well I think the sort of reaction this sort of request had shows what chance sucha post would have of making it through the censors. I simply asked a question related to a story in today’s paper and people start claiming I already have a conclusion, conclusion to what I don’t know.

      It is clear however why there have been no posts about increasing traffic volumes or reducing pt volumes. People want to ignore it as it goes against their main arguments.

      • Mr Anderson

        There have been heaps of posts about falling/stagnating PT patronage over the past year: http://transportblog.co.nz/tag/patronage/

        In terms of traffic volumes, while they were up in January for most of the last two years they’ve actually been declining:

        Graph from NZTA: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/state-highway-traffic-growth/docs/shtg-201301.pdf

        But of course we wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of a good story right?

      • What are you on about, we have had heaps or posts or comments within posts about PT patronage stalling. We have also mentioned that traffic volumes have increased again recently however you need to be careful what you compare. The site with the best data is the harbour bridge and while it has been going up again over the last year (only since Mar 2012), volumes are still way down on what they were a few years ago e.g. 2006 AADT was 168754, 2012 AADT 157192

        • dan

          Now that would be a very interesting post, to look at the harbour bridge and sh18 traffic and look at how it has changed with the change in cross harbour bus and ferry traffic.

          It would tell us how the total number of trips have changed along with how people are choosing to travel.

          • You mean like this, doesn’t include SH18 or ferries.

            Problem it, it is hard to get accurate data, at this stage we only get bus patronage regularly based on the NEX but that doesn’t include all of the other buses that cross the harbour. Same with ferry and the only thing we get the total, not the individual routes.

            SH18 data isn’t regular enough either although what we have seen is that it is growing but that isn’t surprising considering that over the last few years its had heaps spent on the route.

          • dan

            Given your a moderator you should really learn to stop trolling.

          • dan

            Thanks matt. That gives us 1/4 of the picture. Now all we need is the rest.

          • Mr Anderson

            So dan, according to you showing links to previous blog posts and data from NZTA disputing your assumption (made without any references) is trolling?

            Right. I think it’s pretty clear who the troll is here.

          • dan

            Sorry Mr A. I was referring to Patrick. I should have made that clearer.

          • You’ve got to be kidding! This is trolling?:

            “Dan please feel free to submit a guest post on the subject seems like you have your conclusions sorted already.

            This is a pro-bono voluntary site, we welcome all help to keep it interesting. So long as it’s on topic, coherent, and it’s assertions are supported by evidence we’ll run it. Helps if interestingly illustrated [go Geoff!] and well written too. Un-boring helps.”

            Funny.

          • dan

            Well most if your posts are trolling including that one.

            In response to me requesting a topic for a future post you come out claiming I have already reached my conclusions with your comment based on nothing. By doing that you are attacking me from the word go for no apparent reason.

            A classic example if trolling. So in a way, thanks for showing us and highlighting it again for us.

      • harminder

        dan, in your first post, you said “…any chance we can get a post on how pt usage has been going down over the past year and how car sales are back up to pre recession numbers”. That statement is an opinion.

        The way you said it makes it seem as if you want that opinion to be the conclusion of the post you’re asking for, even though the substance of the post you’re asking for (car sales, PT usage) is factual, and any conclusion that could be made about the changes in those statistics depends on their trends, not opinions.

        Anyway, as everyone else has commented, those figures are publicised and analysed very regularly and thoroughly here. Maybe you should be more careful about the way you write, so that other readers do not misinterpret your thoughts.

  • Wynyard wharf takes another step into becoming a gated community.

    “ASB Bank wants to move 1500 employees this year to its new waterfront headquarters, but where some leaseholders were indicating they did not want too many buses rumbling through the precinct.”

    So ASB don’t want the intrusion of Trams and Buses into their corporate paradise? And when Fonterra move in on the condition there are no cyclists or pedestrians either will Waterfront Ak roll over for a tummy rub?

    You bet they will. Harvey and Dalzell should both be fired asap.

    In a perfect world Mike Lee could run it all. Man, if he ever retires we are fucked…

    • qwerty

      I would hope that property negotiations haven’t anything to do with what is going on down there. You have to start somewhere with a tram system. having a system as good as Amsterdam (sh!t, cant believe I have referenced Holland) takes quite a bit of time. I believe that the Wynyard tram system was intended to be the first stage and was future proofed for light rail.

      my thoughts are that other areas of council don’t share the same vision that Waterfront Auckland have, remember that they were set up to develop the area specifically, but they can only go so far before AC and AT pick up the baton.

  • Pluto the Grand

    This is about priorities. How this ever got funded in the first place is beyond me. Meanwhile, our interim-ticketing system on buses is a nightmare and the bus system that carries 85 per cent of Auckland PT users continues to be unreliable and very user-unfriednly, with lousy timetables and unreliable, expensive services. As a result, patronage is falling.

    Why are aupposed PT advocates not outraged at this? Why does a dinky little tram set that nobody uses illicit such ire and woe-is-me-ism? In conclusion… who gives a toss?

    • Ahh integrated ticking is coming with it starting to be rolled out to buses next month, the awesome new bus network starts to get rolled out this year as does the new contracting regime that should hold operators more accountable.

      • Harvey Specter

        Next month? Unlikely. I’ve heard it’s delayed.

      • David O

        Not sure that I agree that the new bus network is awesome, at least not if they are planning on providing as little information about it as they did when they launched the new routes on New North Road. Many stops still have out of date information about which routes serve them. Typical of how poorly AT handle change.

    • Mr Anderson

      Project was never funded out of the transport budget and was also never considered part of the transport network. It’s like PT advocates getting outraged at Council spending money on a park or on an economic development scheme.

  • I would very much like to see trams running from St Heliers to the CBD along the Waterfront. Melbourne’s beaches are brilliantly served by trams, plus it would be a good chance to revisit actual central use lanes on Tamaki Drive.

  • Absolutely. What a shame there’s no actual network building going on.

    • Gian

      naaa rich people from st heliers want to drive their Merc (edes) to the city, without the tram tracks ruining their tyres. I can’t believe the two sides of the waterfront are being used this way. On one side Wynyard Quarter is becoming corporate 9-5 parking land and on the other side what could be one of the best cycling and tram routes in the world (I travelled an effing lot, I know it!) is given up to cars, noise and fumes. Not to talk about the imported car port in the middle.

      • I think you’ll find the 769 and 767 services to St Heliers/Glendowie well used when they show up. I’d love to not have to use a car each day, but I don’t have a choice and it I definitely do not drive not a Merc.

        • Swan

          Daniel, if it is reliability you are after, then it is the corridor, not the vehicle type, you need changed. Buses are just as effective as trams given the same corridor, and at a fraction of the price.

          • Gian

            mmm yeah, you’ll expecially notice that when you’re cycling or riding close to them they emit the same kind of diesel sound and smell. Go for the cheap stuff, always!

          • Swan

            Are you going to fork out the hundreds of millions for this tram service, Gian? Because we know it won’t pay for itself. Otherwise benefits vs cost have to be weighed up. Not sure that the benefit of cutting some small % of vehicle emmisions along Tamaki drive is going to cut it.

      • George D

        Tram tracks don’t ruin tyres. Agree with the rest of your comment!

  • KBilly

    $8 Million dollars for a tour of vacant properties. Little wonder it’s not making money. I’d rather spend 10 bucks to see $8 million dollars.

  • Its time drop the discussion about things other than this post or we may have to look at banning people and we don’t want to do that.

  • George D

    Dan, Fiddlesticks and Qwerty are all trolls, they have only contributed tenditiousness since arriving. I believe they are the same person (easily enough confirmed). Banning them – not for expressing different opinions, but for constantly haranguing and abusing the authors – seems entirely reasonable.

    • qwerty

      how do you reconcile an opposing opinion with abuse? stop taking things so personally.

      • I think making continual claims of bias by the blog’s authors, then contributing no meaningful response at all when *invited* to share opposing arguments at length, constitutes abusing them. Dan above actually requested a post about supposed decline in PT use and rise in car registrations, then when invited to write one, forgot a few responses down that it was him that proposed it – if he’s not trolling, he must have had one hell of a brainfade.

    • Mr Anderson

      I tend to think of “obi” as someone with opposing views to the blog authors the majority of the time but who engages with the issue rather than critiques the poster and always adds some value to the conversation. Clearly not a troll.

    • dan again

      How is requesting a topic for a post trolling? The reason I don’t write one myself is that I have no faith it would ever get past the censors. The fact that I got banned for suggesting such a post is a rather clear message opposing views are not permitted.

      • Nick R

        What censors are you taking about? I think we’ve posted every guest post that has been offered up that was vaguely related to transport in Auckland and wasn’t just rehashing something that had just been discussed (the spam guys offering posts about search engine optimization get bounced).

        We’d love to see some alternate views.

  • jonno1

    A very informative post Matt L, thank you. This is why I come here, to learn new stuff – even though I don’t always agree with the opinions expressed (I hope that isn’t compulsory :) ). Sorry Patrick R, I know you don’t like smileys.

    Anyway, I must admit that I’d not heard of Wynyard Quarter, let alone that I had partially funded a toy tram there, but I see from Mr Google that it’s just a fancy new name for Wynyard Wharf and the tank farm (no problem with that). But seriously, what is the purpose of the tram? A tourist attraction? Doesn’t the MOTAT tram serve that purpose? (No, I’m not trolling – had to look that up too: “to post deliberately inflammatory articles on an internet discussion board”, so similar to flaming). I can see the logic in connecting it up to Britomart, but what other purpose does it currently serve? (Serious question – heck, I must be paranoid if I have to spell that out!).

    I do like the idea of a tram to St Heliers as suggested above, I would even use it. But the costs would have to stack up if it were to be ratepayer funded. Maybe better as a private enterprise thing, with council facilitating it by cutting through all the red tape that would surely be involved under the current bureaucracy.

    • AC

      ”but what other purpose does it currently serve?”

      It does very little, but it adds a little character to the new Wynyard Quarter. Pointless but attractive.

      I believe it was meant to be a catalyst for further development of trams in the city. These things have to start somewhere. As other people and yourself have said, it would extend to Britomart (then it WOULD actually serve a functional PT purpose). And after that possibly extending up Queen St and Dominion Rd. I think theres also been mention of trams in Ponsonby and of course along Tamaki Drive, which would be AMAZING, and something Aucklanders could be really, really proud of.

      • jonno1

        Thanks AC, I guess getting across the Viaduct Basin to Britomart is the tricky part. You have to wonder what the thinking was behind creating an isolated loop in a rundown commercial area rather than a usable spur (eg Britomart to the Basin, or Britomart to the Town Hall) as a showpiece. But either way, an expensive experiment at the citizens’ cost. Maybe it’s a good example of why the supercity was needed (to eliminate fragmented development), which despite its start-up issues has to be the way forward.

        • AC

          Yea I think Patrick commented earlier that it was always planned to go to Britomart, but our glorious C + R Mayor, John ‘Eastern Highway’ Banks, downscaled the bridge so that it couldn’t carry trams. Yay! Good one!

          • jonno1

            The Herald writer suggests going round the long way. I don’t know how the relative costs stack up, and would rather not get into a political debate (Mike Lee vs John Banks, Len Brown or anyone else) as I don’t see that as particularly helpful at this point except perhaps in providing historical context.

      • jonno1

        I see that the Herald has put up an editorial on this topic (5.30am). Says it all really – maybe the writer (unnamed) follows this blog. It will be interesting to follow comments throughout the day.

  • Jeremy

    Patrick R, I agree with you that Dan should get cracking lol. Qwerty trying to be the etiquette police is quite amusing too.

  • BD

    Cameron Brewer thinks the $8.2M funding allocation should be deferred indefinitely? The problem is no one is going to see the real benefits of the trams unless they extend it all the way to Britomart, instead of running them around in a loop, which is no wonder they are loosing money. I’m all for deferring things if this means that more thought is needed to getting them to Britomart, instead of removing the trams completely and upgrading the streets to make it harder for an extention to be possible in the near future. .

    • Bryce P

      It’s going to cost much more than $8.2m to get the tram across the viaduct and then on to Britomart. I think the Auckland Plan had the figure at $60m.

      • Geoff Houtman

        Bryce- At the final ACC transport meet Cr Bhatnagar assured us the decks and footings both sides of the water were strong enough for trams but the bridge deck wasn’t.

        I think the $8.2 figure covers the new deck and Quay St tracks.

  • Mr Anderson

    I don’t get that “good money after bad” argument. If something is not useful at the moment but could be made useful then surely it’s worth considering.

  • Tom

    I like trams. Been using them my whole life and prefer them to buses. The Wynyard thing looked like a big mistake from the day I saw it run. It doesn’t work as a tourist attraction (boring, short ride), doesn’t work as a marketing tool (oooold, slow, clunky) and doesn’t work well as a starting point for a new network (disconnected, tiny tracks).

    I think I see what the authors of this wanted to do but the result looks bad all-round.

    • Why are “tiny tracks” an issue. They are standard tram gauge, also capable of being used by modern light rail vehicles as in Melbourne.

      • Geoff Houtman

        Standard gauge is great, makes everything cheaper to buy and maintain. Plus you can go faster than the narrow Cape Gauge that our intercity and metro trains run on.

        The Herald editorial seems to favour modern light rail cars, and back up the “corporates don’t want PT on Wynyard” faction.

  • Pluto the Grand

    Pipe dream… ane xpensive one at that.

    First up… how would you fit them in? You’d either have to remove roadside parking, bus priority lanes and cycle lanes along the length of Tamaki Drive (as well as narrowing the footpath) or you’d have to widen the road iself. The former would cause traffic to come to a standstill, including the much more flexible and cheaper to operate bus sytem, while peeving off the public by blocking access and forcing parking into nearby residential streets. The latter would be prohibitively expensive and would undermine the existing coastline (whether you dug into the hills or out over the water/beaches.

    Secondly… the trams would only realistically go along the waterfront, requiring PT users who live a bit into the “hinterland” to then transfer onto buses, requiring transfer facilities and complicating the PT user’s journey, thereby making the whole process less attractive. But if you keep buses along Tamaki Drive, they’re likely to lose the scant priority measures they already have, further undermining local’s use of PT.

    Thirdly… you have to separate trams from general traffic to make it worthwhile. Anyone who has lived in Melbourne knows the enormous difference between trams sharing a road and having an exclusive corridor. The danger to pedestrians, the getting caught in traffic, the chaos when a unit breaks down (seriously, when they do it becomes gridlock) – all of it threatens the entire mobility system to the Eastern Bays. But because it is so prohibitively expensive to widen Tamaki Drive and so ridiculously unpopular and self-defeating to removie roadside parking, a shared corridor is likely the only viable solution.

    Not to mention the shear expense of trams when buses are already available, can carry similar capacity (and actually more seated capacity – I hope you enjoy standing up on trams) and are more flexible in serving routes.

    I rest my case.

    • Ben S

      Pluto, what planet are you on?

      You could fit them in. We need less de facto four lane ‘highways’ and more modal mix transport – maybe we lose a car lane, who cares? We need to start losing car lanes and bus lanes too. (Classic example of bus lane lunacy, tonight I came up Khyber Pass (north) at rush hour, it was chaos with a massive tailback which I realised was caused by some buses using the bus lane and then barging across the traffic to try and turn right into Park Rd and blocking all lanes, and making the whole scene a friggin’ nightmare… you don’t get that lunacy with rail…

      Separate trams from general traffic? That is utterly wrong, there are tons of trams systems integrated into traffic around the world.

      The ‘shear’ (sic) expense? Simple answer: you get what you pay for. Tram ride quality & experience vastly superior to diesel
      buses.

      Also, lastly, as a part of AKL’s tourist bait a tram line right along the waterfront would have massive appeal.

      I rest your case.

      • Swan

        With regard to Khyber pass, the issue you are describing has to do with corridor and (possibly) signal design. Why would this have anything to do with vehicle type? I think you are mixing up causation with correlation.

  • Pluto

    Apologies, my former comment was in reply to the suggestion that trams be extended along the length of Tamaki Drive. Not sure why it doesn’t post directly underneath the relevant post.

  • A sad but unsurprising. A reason to speed up the construction of the extension, not delay it as Cr Brewer may think. My blog on the issue http://louisoutlook.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/the-future-of-trams/.

    Looking forward to reading Dan’s guest post. :)

  • John

    It looks like everyone had said their piece by March 6th.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfMtlvxHeDg

    I thought the answer was innovation in infrastructure, partnership in funding and vision for the sustainable long term future?

  • Peter H

    It is about 2 km between Tram loop and rail line behind port of Auckland fence (rail line has grade separation access to eastern line) I am guessing it cost $20m to put down rail and up wires, and then buy some train / trams for I guessing $30m each. For $50m you got the start of a new 9,000 people per hour route into the CBD from the eastern line.

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