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How genuine are the supposed “bus fans”?

Rodney Hide’s opinion piece in the Herald on Sunday highlighted an issue that’s been bugging me for some time – whether those opposing the City Rail Link on the grounds that “buses can do the job fine” are really interested in improving Auckland’s bus system or not. Here’s what he says about his preference for buses:

It’s not obvious to me that a heavy train having to stop and start and be confined to tracks is the best way to ferry people around Auckland. Buses along roads strike me intuitively as a cheaper and more flexible form of public transport.

Many more people live closer to a bus stop than a train station. That’s because buses go along roads that people live on. Buses can also pass one another. Trains can’t do that.

Because of the flexibility and convenience, more people travel into the city centre by bus than train. That will stay true even if Auckland spends billions on trains at the expense of better roads and better bus services.

John Roughan made a similar cry in favour of buses in the Saturday Herald:

The crossing would have to be under water and probably it would be connected to the northern busway that one day conceivably could be converted to a railway, but that, too, is a solution looking for a problem.

The busway, like the bridge, is fine.

The problem lies in roads closer to home. By car it can take as long to get on to the motorway as it takes for the rest of the journey. By bus it takes too long to get to a busway station. Once on the busway, you can be in the city in eight minutes.

In fact, the North Shore is probably better served by the busway than the rest of Auckland is by its railways, which also have to be reached by bus or car from most people’s homes.

The only reason the mayor invokes rail for the Shore is to answer its ratepayers when they ask why they should help pay for a project that isn’t coming their way. It’s a silly answer to a silly question but this is election year.

Russell Brown from Public Address notes the great irony of John Roughan now being a huge fan of the busway when he absolutely hated the idea back in 2007. I guess we chalk that up as someone won over – or should we?

The simple fact is that all these supposed bus fans have done diddly squat to actually encourage the improvement of Auckland’s bus system. I can’t exactly remember Rodney Hide out there campaigning to save the Remuera Road bus lane from turning back into a T3 lane. Or John Roughan supporting the implementation of the HOP Card – he pumped for Snapper back in 2009 and didn’t that end well?

As for the cabal of local councillors, Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax and George Wood. They frequently like to grandstand against the CRL claiming it is sucking up all of the money for PT, like in this article from 6 months ago.

Mr Quax said the rail project made little sense because it would gobble up 80 per cent of the public transport capital budget over the next 10 years when much-needed bus lanes and ferry terminals received a “paltry” 20 per cent.

They use this line quite frequently these days, despite their numbers actually being wrong – the PT capex budget for the next decade is ~$4b and the inflated CRL price is $2.86b, or 72% of the budget. Despite this, I haven’t exactly seen George Wood talking much about the stalled progress of extending the Northern Busway to Albany, or Dick Quax wanting to see the AMETI busway’s construction schedule sped up. In fact I don’t think I have seen any one of them suggest where a single metre of bus lane should be added or where they think new ferry services should operate from. Yesterday in response to the alternative funding proposals, they once again made vague comments without giving any detail.

I have a nasty feeling that when rail opponents say they support buses they’re actually not quite telling the truth. They realise  it’s not viable for them politically (or practically) to dismiss public transport out of hand anymore – so they pretend to support buses on the spurious grounds of “buses need roads too” – when in actual fact they’re just mainly interested in spending as little as possible on public transport so all the money can go back into roads.

So next time someone plays the “buses are better than trains” card, I suggest asking them “so what have YOU specifically done to try and improve Auckland’s bus system recently?” Or “I look forward to your support for introducing bus lanes along desperately needed routes like Great North Road in Waterview, Manukau Road, Pakuranga Road, Onewa Road (uphill) and in many other places”. Then let’s see how deep their love affair with the bus really is.

69 comments to How genuine are the supposed “bus fans”?

  • Sanctuary

    Everyone should pop over to kiwiblog and completely ruin David Farrar’s latest bit of mis-information by hijacking his comments section and praising this site and pointing out his errors… After all, kiwiblog is the number one news source for the ZB network.

    • Trev

      You mean where he forgets that most of the spending over the next 30 years that creates this “funding gap” is on silly motorway projects that we don’t need or want?

  • I intensely dislike the “buses need roads too” argument on the basis that it tends to lead to buses in mixed traffic, which is the worst kind of bus environment. I try to stay tech-agnostic for situations like this. I prefer to start discussions with what we’re trying to accomplish and then pick details that can achieve it.

    • Bbc

      Yes none of these buses need roads proponents ever support roads just for buses. Only roads for cars that buses can sit in the traffic on.

      • Snow Flake

        I support them all the time, its probably one of my greatest passions when it comes to transport along with cycle and pedestrian facilities. Apart from safety and smooth flow I don’t care all that much for pumping more and more cars.

  • Jon Reeves

    It is very clear this is a timetabled assault on the incumbent Mayor. As you mention, they are well aware the public want better PT so need to play that card without actually really doing anything.

    We saw Waikato District Council Mayor Alan Sanson do the same last election. Having never been a fan for pt in his council, once ge saw the support for Hamilton commuter rail, started saying he would build a rail station at Tuakau. Has he done anything since being elected? No.

    • Gary Bennett

      This is my thinking as well; are we seeing the lead up to the announcement of a right wing candidate that will be supporting non-rail options as a ‘cheaper’ alternative to what the current elected mayor wants? I have my suspicions that we will hear an announcement from a past politician who recently wrote about this very thing and is testing the waters at the moment?

      This will not be good for Auckland because once again we could be set years behind in our development and have even higher costs o fix later on!

  • SFG

    I’m always really interested when people start bagging rail in favour of buses, then point to things like the Northern Busway as an example of why buses are better. It’s not about the mode per se as Gregory notes – it’s about there being a dedicated route that is well-connected with local feeders and, once you have that, what the best way to move large numbers is. It could be a bus, a train or a flying carpet – none of us should care as long as it is regular, efficient and reliable. Buses will always have a place as feeders, but on the spine they can only do so much before trains become more efficient – in the case of the Northern Busway, it is actually designed to grow patronage on the spine before one day converting to rail. So when Roughan goes on about the success of the buses he is missing the point. As to Hide claiming that trains can’t go past each other and rail is “stuck” on tracks, it’s barely worth responding to.

    • Snow Flake

      The thing they point out about buses is just how easy to impliment and scalable they are.

      In the case of the busway it cost about $400 million yet to connect albany to the CBD by rail could well cost you about $5 billion, using normal rail.

      What wrong with responding to a broken down train? If a bus brakes down a handful of people get delayed 10mins. Post CRL a train brakes down and tens of thousands could be delayed an hour or two.

  • sunnynookparadise

    What are Mr Williamsons views on PT?

  • John M

    Matt, I love your insight. Gold. And I like the subsequent call to action at the end of the post: nicely internally consistent!

  • Cam

    I think Roughan has lost any shred of credibility on this issue. His columns are so illogical and ignorant that at one stage I seriously thought he might be going for satire.

  • I must say that I can’t see any case for rail to the North Shore. One case where I would agree with Prof. Hensher of USyd. Other than that, I think you might have something.

    • I can see it as an alternative to another road based crossing. Was high level costed at about $2.5b to get from Wynyard to Albany (AWHB study says rail only crossing to Akoranga ~$1.6b). Factoring in a few extra costs lets say about $2b to get from town to Takapuna at least initially. That would take huge amounts of traffic off the existing bridge and would be much cheaper than the $3.9b road tunnel proposed.

      • But the road based crossing has little justification itself, so an alternative isn’t necessary.

        • No the missing alternatives to driving across the harbour will be needed, just not more traffic lanes. First the walking and cycling add on to the Bridge, then the missing Transit RTN, which will also free up the traffic lanes on the bridges by adding providing both capacity and speed which will make it a very attractive choice and therefore reduce the number of cars and buses…..

          • What about more people crossing the harbour in buses?

          • Frank E

            I think with some moderate improvements with the busway (extension to Albany, Fanshawe St) you should be able to get away from building any sort of new infrustructure to the north shore. Especially considering how expensive even just the rail only tunnel is going to be.

      • snow flake

        Based on the traffic modeling you get more traffic on the bridge and not huge amounts less.

        If you only go to akoranga that is.

      • snow flake

        $2.5 billion to get to Albany and tie into the existing network is just wishful thinking. You only need to look at the cost of the CRL to see how far out that figure is.

        Plus lets not fool ourselves into thinking that converting the busway will be cheap and easy. It will be hard and expensive closing that RTN line for about 3 years.

  • David O

    This is bang on Matt. They don’t support buses any more than they support trains. They support roads, pure and simple. Buses in mixed traffic with no priority or grade separation are exactly the kind of PT that such right wing politicians think the proles deserve, if they deserve anything at all. Even at grade bus lanes with inadequate times of operation (4-6pm on New North Road – give me a break!) are anathema. This is classic muddying the waters, running interference politics, not seriously intended contribution to the debate, and should be treated as such.

    • Even though this clearly a bad outcome for private car and business drivers too; more and more buses on clogged streets. Their train hate is very deep and really very curious.

    • Snow Flake

      Do you know why they have all these part time bus lanes?

      Well if not, its due to people being allowed to build places without enough parking and so the overflow goes into the road reserve preventing bus lanes, cycle lanes, wide footpaths and nice verges.

      But this is what most pro rail people want it seems.

      • Steve D

        The council is free to have bus lanes, cycle lanes, footpaths and/or verges regardless of people’s desire to park cars in that space. If they can’t find offstreet or alternative parking, and they park in the bus lane, the council has plenty of tow trucks to solve that problem.

        Now the council we have at the moment do let people park pretty much anywhere, but that’s a choice, not a law of nature. In fact. some of our only 24-hour bus lanes are along Symonds St and Anzac Ave, where there’s no parking required, and there are even limits on how much people can provide.

        • snow flake

          Sorry but the councils job is not to screw over Aucklands but rather to help them.

          If we want to continue to allow developments based on people using onstreet parking the council can’t come along a few years latter and remove them.

          If they did they would need to provide compensation or buy out the developments.

          • Steve D

            They really don’t. The councils have removed 843 spaces in the CBD from 2007-2012, without compensating anyone, and without hordes of cars parked in the bus lanes: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10797568

            I don’t agree that removing parking is necessarily screwing people over. On a popular bus route with a lot of car congestion, the quicker travel for bus passengers can be of more benefit than a little bit of parking. It can even be a benefit to the businesses along the way, by providing a lot more potential customers than the few who can park outside.

            In Auckland, in particular, there’s tons and tons and tons of parking absolutely everywhere. We can stand to lose a tiny bit of it to improve our buses. There’s no such thing as “overflow”, anyway. People choose to park on the street because it’s usually free, which again is council policy. It’s a logical policy if there’s more than enough parking to go around, but when free on-street parking is full up, it’s time to introduce time limits, permits or meters. Then businesses can’t “free-ride” on the on-street parks. No need for council to regulate how much parking businesses must provide.

          • snow flake

            Steve you are making a very strawman argument. Parking in the CBD and up shopping centres is a very different story. The amount of spare parking available at Sylvia park on an average day has pretty much nothing to do with parking on a residential street.

          • Steve D

            I didn’t know you were talking about houses, rather than shops and workplaces. That is a bit different, but the council has lots of options to make sure residents can still park without sacrificing street space. Most suburbs have ample parking on side streets, and residents parking permits can help manage demand. Most streets don’t have bus lanes and never will.

            Part time bus lanes are pretty awkward places to park your car at home, though. No matter what you’re doing, it has to be moved from 7-9 and 8-6 every day. It’s not a lot better than a full time bus lane, unless you’re driving to work, leaving before 7 and getting back after 6. Every single day. That’s a nine hour day with a one-hour commute each way, at least. Does every car in your family get used like that?

            Anyway, I think you’re concern trolling. There are plenty of main roads with no parking, no bus lanes, no verges and small footpaths, because they carry multiple general traffic lanes. You don’t seem to care about the people living along those roads not being able to park outside their houses.

            But in this day and age, people know what they’re getting in for if they buy a house on a main road with no off-street parking. But you know what they will have, if there’s a bus lane put through? Regular bus services with their own right of way, outside their doorstep. A lot of people would prefer that.

          • Steve D

            Part time bus lanes are pretty awkward places to park your car at home, though.

            What I meant to add was that, why not just have a full time bus lane, if it’s needed? The only real benefit I see to part-time bus lanes over full time is that it allows short-stay parking for visitors. It’s not a very practical option for most residents.

          • snow flake

            Steve, the comment I responded to mentioned New North Road so I obviously was not referring to road side in the CBD or past large shopping centres.

            Also my concern is not about losing carparks on the sides of main roads, it is and always had been about developments that are build on the expectation that residents park on the side of the street pretty much forcing them to drive to work each day due to the time constraints you mention. You saying I don’t seem to care is a bit of a laugh as my past 3 posts have been about just that.

          • snow flake

            Regarding being practical for residents most people are not at home during peak hour, so once they start driving the work the time issue is not a constraint at all. Plus you only really need to avoid on peak hour as then tend to only operate in one direction at a time.

          • Steve D

            New housing developments have been required to build parking for decades. Under the Unitary Plan, they’ll be allowed not to in areas zoned for intensive housing, but if you then make a choice to live somewhere zoned for intensification it’s not realistic to assume you’ll be able to park on the street for free forever. I think people in houses where they’ve been parking on the street, because the house was built before parking requirements, should be given preference for on-street parking, but even that’s not an absolute. If you want to be assured of a park, you need to pay for it.

            My concern is for people who don’t want to own cars. That was 8% of households in Albert-Eden (i.e. the area that includes New North Road) at the last census. You can’t say that developments are built on the expectation that residents park on the side of the street – they may have nothing to park at all. Forcing them to have parking at their house is a huge cost with no benefit to them.

          • snow flake

            Steve, your making strawman arguments. We are not talking about putting bus lanes down local side streets in auto dependant sprawling suburbs with ample off-street parking.

            We are talking about the old main road that feed into the CBD that have these part time bus lanes and where most of the houses built on them were made way back in 1950. Places like new north road and Manukau road where a large portion of the properties are 4 bedrooms with 1 off road car park. These new places you talk of that have 4 lane roads with plenty of off street parking could have 24 hour buslanes installed tomorrow with few issues but these roads tend to be far from the CBD with little space.

            Now if someone wants to build a house with no parking I would have less of a concern if it was down a side street, but again that’s not we are talking about. We are talking about developments on main roads the expect the residence to park on the main road.

          • snow flake

            In terms of huge cost and no benefit. I live in one of these terraced town houses that is said to be the way of Auckland for the future.

            Each place comes with 3 bedrooms and 2 carparks. Of the 7 places 5 people only park one car in their garage with the rest for storage. Of those 5, 4 of them park another car on the road.

            It would seem that the big benefit for people with no cars or less than the maximum is that they get a huge storage area for their bike on so on.

            From what I can see that is a huge benefit given storage space is such a premium and is going to become even more so in the future.

          • Steve D

            Main roads:

            I don’t see what your point is then. Unless you have a time machine to go back to 1950, all those houses already exist. While lots do now have off-street parking spaces, lots don’t, and people can’t be made to add them now. The only question for us today is whether people being allowed to park on the street is more important than bus lanes that will improve travel times and reliability for lots of bus passengers. That is a genuine tradeoff, but in the case of New North Road I think it’s clear the bus lanes are more important.

            I live in Kingsland, very near New North Road. Most of it was built before about 1910, well before cars were popular. It’s exactly the sort of old main road you’re talking about, and there’s yet there’s loads of free on-street parking there, with lots of vacant spaces overnight. It’s not going to be the end of the world if we lose a few.

            Huge cost and no benefit:

            People who have fewer cars than parking spaces use that space for storage because they have it, and they might as well do something with it rather than nothing. That doesn’t mean people would choose to pay for it if they had that choice. As long as the council is credibly signalling that free on-street parking isn’t an automatic right that is guaranteed forever, people know what they’re getting into when they buy a home with no parking.

          • Snow Flake

            Steve, my point is very clear and you can review it in thr first post I made which you replied to. Im not wanting to go back in time to change anything, what im not wanting to happen is for the council to go back in time and bring back the design standards that cause the issues we have today.

            Regarding your side streets in kingsland, pretty much whst you pointing out there is that back in 1910 off street parking was not provided and the roads where wide enough for people to park whatever they wanted on the side. Again however this is a side road which we are not talking about, and I fail to see how you would create a 24/7 buslane by only removing a few car parks.

            Regarding storage and carless houses. You will find that for most people they don’t go looking for the smallest place they can afford but rather the opposite. If there were such a massive demand for small places with no parking, why is it that the market is flooded with such places in prime locations at very cheap prices?

            If yoy were flat hunting you could snap one up within an hour, try to find a nice place with some decent storage you will be hard set, be you care about parking or not.

          • Snow Flake

            Also people don’t always know what they are getting into when they buy a house, that is why we have the resource management act.

            For instance, if you lived down a caldesac and then the council came up with a plan to convert it into a main through road you can hardly just tell the person to stuff it and that its for the good of the city.

          • Stu Donovan

            I’m late to this conversation but Snow flake your arguments re: on-street parking is, shall we say, rather curious? I did not know that people had a right to on-street parking. And I also thought Road Controlling Authorities had the legal right to allocate space within the road reserve as they see fit? I think you’re talking baloney.

          • snow flake

            Steve, your the only one to bring up this legal right to park on the road nonsense, but yes you were mistaken to think the RCA can do what they like.

            You clearly are yet to witness the extensive consultation required for even a small change.

          • Steve D

            Re: side roads, my point is that even if you’re not allowed to park on the main road right outside your house, there’s still loads of parking on the side streets, if you’re determined to own a car but not have your own off-street parking.

            Councils consult whenever they do anything, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. In fact, here’s Auckland Transport consulting about getting rid of some carparks on good old New North Road: http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/improving-transport/cycling-and-walking-facilities/new-north-road-cycle-safety/Pages/default.aspx

          • Council has just removed a strip of street parking off a section of Mt Eden Rd in front of one of my places. Goal was to improve sightlines around a side road with a bus stop right next to it. I got a letter as the owner, that was about it. Not sure if it was particularly extensive consultation, or what the response was, but they did it within a month or so anyway.

          • snow flake

            Steve, removing a couple of car parks from the side of the road is a very different story from removing all carparks for some 3-5km length on both sides of the road 24/7.

            As you said before, people already park all over the side streets in that area and what you are suggesting would have people parking some 200-300m from there house, hardly ideal for unloading the groceries or getting the kids in the car.

            I really have to ask what your actual point is here. I pointed out why it is hard to get 24/7 buslanes on our main roads into the city. This isn’t just my idea but the actual reason.

            Are you suggesting we should make more more arterials that people have no chose but to park on so we have more roads that we can’t get bus lanes on? As this is what it sounds like you are arguing for?

          • Steve D

            Now who’s making strawman arguments? I’m not talking about building new arterials. Most new main roads seem to have no parking at all, anyway. I’m talking about the arterials that already exist.

            You said, if I understood you correctly, that we couldn’t put full time bus lanes on arterials because councils in the past had allowed people to build houses without parking, and allowed them to park cars on the street. So people have bought loads of cars that they had nowhere else to park – overflowing onto the street. That meant that the council was now prevented from putting full-time bus lanes on those streets, because it was committed to continue allowing people to park there. Not true – the council can, if it thinks that the bus lane is more important than the parking, remove the parking and use the space for a bus lane instead.

            Now this is somewhat unfair to people who chose to both own cars and live where they do at the moment because they had the expectation they could park on the street. So I’ll agree with you that if people weren’t parking there we’d be more likely to have 24 hour bus lanes. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but councils are deeply concerned about people relying on on-street parking, and this is why to this day people in really old apartment buildings like the Courtville can get permits to park free on the street outside, and we’ve had resident parking schemes introduced in many suburbs.

            But that’s not because the houses were built “without enough parking” as you said, it’s because people were allowed to store cars permanently on the street in the first place.

            It was kind of an accident that overnight on-street parking was allowed at all. Horses, carriages and early cars – open top, no ignition lock – couldn’t be stored on the street long-term, and they simply weren’t common enough to cause a problem. But secure cars and the motoring boom started suddenly, and people parked on the street because they could get away with it. There’s a good series of blog posts on how it happened it New York here: http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2012/09/when-overnight-curbside-parking-was.html

            It’s taken a while for the streets to become fully clogged with parked cars – as late as the 1970s I believe my mum was driving to Auckland University and parking for free on Princes St all day. In commercial areas, meters and time limits were introduced pretty early. But in residential areas too many people were relying on free street parking for the practice to be stopped.

            That reliance has become one of the more important reasons why people oppose new developments in existing areas, and why the developments that are allowed are required to build enough parking that everyone who wants to can park there for free, without “using up” on-street spaces. We’ve ended up in a trap where parking has to be plentiful and provided free for everyone, so we never have to make the hard decision to undo that mistake.

            But it’s simply not possible to go on like that forever, and as the city grows people will need to decide whether having a car is worth the cost of providing somewhere to store it when it’s not in use. This is already starting to happen, and little bit by little bit, on-street parking is being removed entirely, or metered, time-limited or otherwise restricted. Some of the spaces are being removed for bus lanes, and that’s undoubtedly going to go on.

            Anyway, with the many comments and this last wall of text I think I’ve pretty much mined this topic. If you want to respond, you can feel free to have the last word.

      • Part time buslanes are an attempt to wring maximum use out of a public resource. That’s all.

  • Swan

    I think people like Hide don’t really care about particular travel modes very much at all. Most people don’t love or hate particular forms of travel at all. Hide is basically coming at this from the POV of a fiscal conservative. $3b is a lot of money, particularly given it has zero chance of being recouped from the users.

    • Randle IS a mode obsessive [google him] and Hide is an opportunist.

    • I think Hide does actually, he cares about not having trains because he see’s them as a more expensive form of waste (with the assumption that all PT is a waste). If he didn’t care, he would look at the issue objectively are realise that a combination of buses and trains (as proposed) is far cheaper than just buses.

      • Robert M

        Rodney Hide just express’s the standard right wing, act party view. They have always seen public transport as a limited bus service for the poor, based on the assumption no one with any assets would use public transport.
        But I wonder if the CBD is still the centre of Auckland as far as employment and entertainment is concerned. It no longer seems to be the centre of business,, tourist numbers have dropped dramatically and the life has gone out of the bar and club scene.. NZ main centres were alive 20/24 7 days a week ten years ago. Now they only rock F/S and very roughly after 1am..
        My guess is the congestion in the CBD area is mainly traffic passing thru the area rather than people arriving or departing from a CBD ocation.
        A better option than a likely $3 billion loop- unlikely to birng much dynamism to the CBD is to extend the Wynard tram loop- doube track in the side or centre of Quay St to Britomart corner and extend it past vector by a short underground tunnel to a renovated strand station to acommodate extra trains. This would help a port less harbourfront become even more of an entertainment and club/Bar zone.
        The Upper Symonds area would better be served in my area by thu running on the existing rail route without the Newmarket backshunt.

        • “$3 billion loop” – Are you actually Gerry trolling? It would take about 2 seconds research for you to know that 1. the CRL wont cost $3b and 2. that it is not a loop – the CRL is a lunking tunnel to finish the rail network – just like the CMJ linked the motorways.

          I am not sure how much time you spend in the CBD but I couldnt disagree with you more. Since the Britomart area was developed the CBD is slowly sucking more and more people in, especially younger people. The bars in Briotmart are full after work and even on the weekends are doing very well.

          I have friends who own many of the bars in the city and they tell the same story, Britomart, Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter bars are booming (also just happen to be pedestrian areas) while city fringe bars struggle except when events are on. Suburban bars do well where they have no competition from any other bars.

          Keep in kind too that hospitality spending has gone up by 400% or so in the Fort Street shared space. More evidence that people actuallu wnat spaces where they can walk around and feel like they are in a pedestrianised area. I think the High Street/O’Connell Street area will boom if it is made more pedestrian friendly. People love littlew narrow streets full of bars and restaurants.

          Your light rail idea would be great up Queen Street but I cant see the advantage of your route. We already have a good train system – we just need to finish it with the CRL.

          • Snow Flake

            Lol about fort street, you do know how pubs and students work right? The migrate from the in bar to the next in bar on a 6th monthly cycle.

            Fort st would be on about its 3rd cycle now with the first 2 cycles already have moved on.

            You can look at places like flight lounge for an example of how hospitality spending doesn’t need a nice pedestrian friendly street to crank in money. That place used to crank about 3 times a week but its passed it time now.

            For fort street its income is coming from drunk students and its almost time for a change.

        • Myself likewise, I currently live on the CBD fringe, as I did nine years ago while at university too. The change since then is enormous, far more activity and life on all days and nights of the week today. Retail sales are up, employment is up, residential numbers are up and student places are up. It is busier than it has every been. There are around 160,000 trips to the CBD on an average weekday.

          I’d have to ask what bars you are going to if you think the life has dropped out of it!

      • Swan

        But cheaper still is not to spend any public money on transport. Airlines are self sustaining PT.

        • Stu Donovan

          in your opinion are subsidies justified in the presence of externalities? As a second best policy solution? And don’t change the topic to road pricing ;).

  • Robert M

    Goosoid and Nick R. The official figures show that tourist numbers have decreased dramatically over the last four and five years, particularly in terms of young people from Ireland and UK who were everywhere in Auckland and Christchurch from say 1999 to 2007. Sure the bars in the Britomart are booming but their and say in the Aotea area the patrons are either ethnic, Asian or ordinary workers. The sophisticated business, fashion, US, Brit, Irish, Germans, Dutch people the Auckland and Wellington bars were full of in 2000-2006 have largely disappeared. The Viaduct bars are full of family and ordinary types which bore me. Lively bars only really Kevins Arcade and Luncha- everwhere else it prole or ethnic in Auckland now.
    In the upmarket backpackers and tourist hotel the Anglo American Aus are much less present and theres a lot from the Middle East or Latins and Sth Americans who basically keep to their own groups and friends and lovers from Europe or Latin America.

  • I would like to say
    Yes!! none of these buses, must always support proponents only roads roads for buses. Only the roads for cars that coaches can sit in traffic.

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