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What’s happening with rail to the airport?

While the City Rail Link is the most important transport project for Auckland – after those currently under construction have been completed – the surveys tell us that the most publicly popular project is a rail link to the airport. As a side note I suspect a large part of the reason why it’s seen as more popular is that it is much clearer that it is an extension to the network and many people simply don’t understand the importance of the CRL in providing the capacity needed for an airport link to be feasible.

Auckland Transport have actually been investigating the project for years with the current study – known as South-west Multi-modal Airport Rapid Transit (SMART) – start being announced back in February 2011. All the way through the project AT have been fairly quiet on what is happening however in recent times they seem to have gone deathly silent. In fact it seems like it has been about a year since there was even a mention of the study in AT board papers which is never a good sign.

In searching the AT website there does seem to have been a slight update with it suggested that we will hear what the final recommendations are – including a rail alignment – by the end of this year. However the study hasn’t just been looking at issue of rail to the airport, as you will have seen from the projects title, the term multi-modal has been slipped in so that roading options can also be considered (despite no one every calling for more roads to the airport). With that included it will probably come as little shock to people that the roading options will be prioritised ahead of any rail connections.

Transport improvements will be strongly linked to land use and increased demand for transport to or in the area. The improvements are likely to be staged in the following order:

  • localised improvements, for example to bus services
  • road based solutions mainly on SH20A and SH20B, bus priority along existing corridors, and
  • in the longer term, a dedicated rapid transit corridor (eventually rail) connection.

Of course the government has already jumped in promising upgrade the roads in the area. When the study finally comes out it also wouldn’t surprise me if we end up seeing the rail option being deliberately loaded up with costs by saying something like that it needs to be completely underground while a motorway can happily plough across the surface no questions asked.

However while we don’t yet know a route or have any details on timing I thought it might be interesting to speculate on just how much patronage we might be able to achieve if a link was built. The first thing to consider is just how many passengers pass through the airport each year and then what percentage of them may end up using a train if it was available. Luckily the airport company publish monthly reports on just how many passengers they have and the results are below.

Airport Passengers

Since 2007 passenger numbers have increased by roughly 3 million per year which represents an increase roughly 4% per year. Interestingly it appears to have happened with effectively no increase in the number of aircraft movements. The other thing that really stands out to me is that there wasn’t any noticeable increase in travellers as a result of the Rugby World Cup which probably shows that the visitors that did come for it just came instead of those that would have anyway. Going forward it’s hard to predict what will happen with volumes but a growth rate of half of what has been achieved is fairly conservative yet by 2021, the year the CRL is expected to open it would see passenger numbers at around 16.5 million per year. By 2025 with that lower growth, volumes would reach 18 million per year.

The next question is how many of those passengers might use a rail service. It can be quite hard to find individual results but some searching turned up the following numbers

Sydney – as of the middle of last year was seeing about 16% of travellers using rail.

Brisbane – this is a few years old but it appears Brisbane manages to get about 10% of passengers using rail.

San Francisco – San Fran manages to get about 10% of passengers using rail based on BART and airport figures.

But crucially all three of these connections charge a premium to use the service just because you board at the airport. It would be interesting to see what percentage of share they would see if those extra charges weren’t in place. For Auckland -assuming we don’t follow suit and charge an airport premium – I suspect that getting 15-20% of all passengers using a rail service should be possible. By 2021 that would put potential annual patronage from travellers alone in the range of 2.5 million to 3.3 million.

However air travellers aren’t the only people who might use a rail service. Workers in the airport precinct are another potential source of patronage. Sadly Stats NZ don’t break these details down any further but the Mangere South area shown below which includes both the airport and the industrial area to the north of it currently provides employment to about 22,000 people. That is likely to increase significantly in future years as the Airport has big plans to develop much of the land surrounding the airport. As such 1,000 people a day using a train to get to work in the area and home again (2,000 trips) should be achievable. Note 1000 people is less than 5% of the current workforce.

Airport Employment Area

But crucially a line to the airport via Onehunga is not just about serving travellers but it also provides a high quality PT link to the residents of Mangere and Mangere Bridge. It’s hard to estimate just how much patronage they may generate so using the station counts Auckland Transport have provided in the past, stations like Glen Eden and Papatoetoe are probably a good example of what we can expect. They currently seem to attract about 1,000 boardings per weekday (2,000 trips), although I imagine significantly less on weekends. Adding the potential patronage from the airport employment areas and both these two stations gives us 6,000 trips per day and accounting for weekends say 1.8 million trips per annum.

CFN Airport connection

In the Congestion Free Network we have called for a link to the airport to be completed by 2025. If it were to be completed by that time, then combining everything together gives us potential patronage from this extension at 4.5 – 5.4 million trips per year. To put that in perspective, that’s currently somewhere in between the current patronage on the western line (3.6m trips) and the Southern lines (6.4m trips). Further that doesn’t include any additional patronage that might occur from increased frequencies from Onehunga inwards.

In short there is definitely a lot of potential patronage from extending rail to the airport. The problem is just too far down the priority list so what’s needed is to bring it forward, like we’re suggesting with the congestion free network. What we don’t need is the PT components shoved in a bottom draw like the SMART study seems to be lining up to do.

130 comments to What’s happening with rail to the airport?

  • Fred

    Problem is that by advancing the motorway projects first it becomes harder to justify the PT projects later. This tactic is also being used with the Additional Harbour Crossing project.

  • Jenny

    Rather than a rail link from Onehunga, a better (and probably cheaper), option would be a spur heading west from Puhinui. Weirdly a dead end spur was built heading East which I would have thought was not a great priority. Anyhoo it’s there. But the Puhinui extension is the next logical step. Running in parallel south of Puhinui Road through mostly vacant undeveloped land, before crossing the Puhinui stream. Such an extension could end at a new terminal built on the vacant land at the South East end of the airstrip that juts out into the harbour. Passenger access could be by an underpass from the main terminal passing under the air strip and equipped with a people mover. A public rail terminal built in such a beautiful spot would be an attraction in itself, with spectacular unobstructed views of the Manukau Harbour.

    • Nick R

      A spur from Puhinui would be the worst way to do it. For a start you’d end up with a branch with just a single station at the end of it, if you come from the north you’re actually building a fourth main line with three or four new stations plus two upgraded ones.

      From Puhinui t would be yet another branch sticking out of the southern line, not only is that the slowest way for most to get to the airport it wouldn’t add any transport capacity anywhere new either, apart from the terminal building itself. So you’re just running more train services over the top of existing ones.The demand for rail trips to the airport itself just isn’t that huge, you’d be lucky to run more than a couple of trains an hour there, which is lucky because if you did run a full six trains an hour frequency you would probably kill Westfield and Puhinui junctions (assuming the southern and eastern lines are also running at 6 trains an hour).

      Why a terminal on the wrong side and a super long travellator. Why not just bring the line right into the terminal and have the rail platforms a few metres from the check in desk?

      • OrangeKiwi

        Speaking of check-in desks, what about a check-in desk at say Britomart – like they have at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. No more luggage juggling on the train.

        • pete

          Now that would be real progress, KL is cool. The whole airport overpriced land thing would be killed then too!

        • Jeff H

          Over 50 years ago passengers could check in for flights in the CBD before getting the NAC coach to the airport.

          How car dependent we’ve become since.

        • Steve D

          Once you’ve checked in the bags, how do they get to the airport? On the same train, somehow? Or by road?

          • Nick R

            Usually on the same train, or one before or after (at least that is how Hong Kong works). That system only works well where you have a dedicated airport express that sits around loading up for ages at either end.

            Ours would be more likely to be just another line that stops for less than a minute at Britomart and the CRL stations, and happens to stop at the airport too. Can’t see any problem with just wheeling you luggage onto the train at a normal station and checking in when you get there.

          • Yes and that will be quite easy on the EMU’s with the low floor section. Might necessitate some more sideways seating though.

          • KLK

            For the KL express train, you have to check in at the station at least 2hrs before if you have check-in luggage you want to offload, so after that there will be a cut-off as to which train luggage can go on and make the flight, given that the trip takes 28mins. And not all airlines can use the check-in facility – along with MAS there are maybe 5 others only.

            Its a great service though and I use it whenever I can – 28mins, non-stop, wi-fi with the ability to check your baggage in at the station and not haul it through the airport and line-up at the check-in counter there. Its about to be extended to the new low cost terminal being built adjacent to KLIA.

            There is also a transit service the makes a few more stops in between the city and the airport.

            About the only problem with the express is cost. Once you have more than one person flying, its probably better to take a budget taxi, once you factor in the extra time and cost of transferring by taxi to your hotel once you arrive at central station. Well, unless you are staying at the Hilton or Le Meridian, which are right above where the train pulls in.

  • Auckland is highly mono-modal, auto-dependent. To improve modal options; for resilience, greater choice, and to lower the dis-benefits of this auto-dependency and auto-domination on the whole city and its efficiency, and to enable transition to better and cleaner non imported oil-dependent transport options, we need to add the missing modes.

    This means the opposite, in fact, of making every project from now on expensively multi-modal. The idea as in this case that the addition of a Rapid Transit system through the southwest including the airport requires a new highway to make it ‘multi-modal’ is, frankly, a deceitful manipulation of words. A trick to do the opposite of what the study was set up to examine. especially as the highway building clearly is planned to precede the missing mode investment. We have one mode already extremely well catered for. To make this route multi-modal requires the addition of the missing modes alone and next.

    We need to add the Transit and Active modes without further doubling down on additional driving amenity in order to achieve the aim of multy-modality. We cannot afford to build everything at once everywhere, and nor should we, as we have a lavish road network and by building the complimentary missing mode the current road system will prove to be more than adequate. AT, NZTA, and the government have the order complete wrong.

    The people want rail on this corridor and we know if it is built next then the demands on the road system, especially at peaks will be considerably reduced. Congestion is hugely improved through the reduction of proportionately smaller percentages of traffic. Getting people out of cars is the way to free up roadspace especially for freight traffic. Not building yet more roads to incentivise driving. These, of course, simply lead to the demand for yet more money for yet more roads. Only reducing vehicle demand can driving become more efficient and effective.

    The only sane economic option is to fast track the construction of the Congestion Free Network and its associated Cycling Network. As the process around this corridor shows. And why our still ideologically driven transport funding system is broken and must be overhauled by the next government.

    This study will no doubt, as Matt says, follow the technique of the Wellington Spine Study and price a crazily expensive rail route and the usual pessimistic patronage forecasts.

  • PBY

    The Puhinui spur may end up being a cheaper way to rail to the airport, but dont forget the bigger picture, this would do nothing to improve the rapid transit access for Mangers and the surrounding suburbs. If I had a say I would push for rail through the already developed an populated areas of auckland before extending out through vacant undeveloped land.

    • True PBY it would only serve the airport. But also you cannot design a rail network independently of a running pattern. A line from Puhinui alone would add yet another deadend spur off the Southern line, reducing frequency to other destinations but leading to too much on the spine itself. Near term to just link the Airport south would be perverse; the CBD is still by far the biggest destination. The extension of the Onehunga line utilises an existing pattern as well as serving a whole new area.

      Extend it later to the south [and protect the route now] to make a western route; say Papakura-Airport-Onehunga through the CRL . Making three Southern service departure points Pukekohe, Papakura, Manukau City. One to the Eastern Line then through the CRL, one through the CRL via Grafton and one through the CRL via Parnell. An extension already considered in the CFN.

    • Fred

      Post CRL the Westfield to Wiri section of the NIMT becomes the key pinchpoint on the whole rail network.

      A Puhinui spur just adds more trains onto that pinchpoint, meaning the Airport spur would struggle to get more than 2 tph on it.

      Plus the ITP says the Puhinui spur is actually more expensive than the Onehunga option.

  • Ross Clark

    I don’t think that rail to the airport should be a particular priority. As that might cut against the grain, here’s why.

    In a paper I had published last year for the European Transport Conference, i reviewed the evidence on the factors which drive the use of public transport to get to and from airports in the UK. . The conclusion I came to was that it wasn’t actually about mode – I had in my sample one airport served by bus where the use it got was better than many airports with rail services – and then I had two airports, of similar size, both served by rail (principally), where the difference in use was 40% v 15%.

    Eventually I realised that the main causative factor was the proportion of the airport’s traffic which was foreign-resident, and a better fit again was foreign-resident and on a leisure journey – ie a tourist. That is certainly backed up from observation, from when I use the local airport bus. The *causation* is that tourists, quite unlike domestic travellers, are more likely to be going into a central city location. domestic travellers will disperse, and another major factor which discourages the use of public transport is, of course, luggage. That’s why the Supershuttles work so well.

    In terms of the use of airport transport for getting to and from work, the local airport – which has by far the best airport transport service in the UK for its size (9m pax/year; a third of the airport’s passengers get there by bus) – manages no better than 10 percent. Airport work is generally shiftwork, and the airport campuses generally have screeds of parking – and both factors work against using public transport. In Auckland’s case the campus is so large that no rail station could cater for the workers. I accept that there is a need to improve workers’ transport to the airport, especially from South Auckland, but I doubt that rail is the easiest way to do it.

    What I would suggest for Auckland, is provision of a connector service to about Papatoetoe, because that station would be convenient for shifting transferring passengers and their luggage. If the service is made both frequent and free, it should get good use at that time of day (ie the am peak) when the haul into the central city will be at its absolute longest. Outwith the peak, getting into the central city by taxi will almost always be faster than any train service.

    Also, what do we know about the use of the current bus services?

    • Nick R

      Most of our passengers are international, and in the summer period there are more foreign tourists than locals. But again this is more than just an airport link, it is a forth main line than ends at the airport.

      Yes from south Auckland there will be good bus access under the RPTP network, a frequent service will run out of Manukau bus interchange and Papatoetoe rail station more or less express to the airport, but from the rest of the city (including the CBD) it will be a bit less direct).

    • Ross as Nick says above this is a Southwestern line that includes the airport. Poor Mangere has been terribly hacked to pieces by motorway building and incredibly under this ‘multi-modal’ double speak they are proposing yet another terribly severing motorway through this area. The proposed rail line will go a long way to stitching the community back together. Yes bus services are already improving through here which is great but in terms of Rapid Transit there is an existing grade separate route operating from the edge of this area through the expensive part of the city that just needs extending and with that extension the increase to rapid transit frequency.

      Your data looks interesting and instructive but your conclusion is far from ‘cutting against the grain’; it is in fact the orthodoxy from the driving-only establishment, because, like you they only focus on airline travellers [especially like themselves] and not the whole area nor community. Mangere deserves a Rapid Transit service as much as the North Shore say, and certainly desperately deserves a real remedy for the severance caused by the motorways hacked through their community for airport drivers’ convenience.

      It is time for the motorway system to be costed for all of its disbenefits as well as its utilities.

      • Frank E

        Whats this new motorway going through Mangere?, Do you mean the airport motorway (20A)?

      • Peter F

        Although the motorway severed parts of Mangere, it also had a huge positive in taking large amounts of traffic off local streets that was passing through to go further south. Robertson Rd used to have continuous streams of traffic all day every day, but volumes have decreased on some local roads because of the motorway. They do need best bus services and a future rail service though.

    • Ross’s paper linked to above is very interesting [just started reading]. Here’s a list from it:

      Especially interesting for me is that I am about visit all four of those London Airports, by train, over the next month.

      Also you’d have to say that one mode does perform consistently above the median and another below, with this list anyway, Ross, no?

      • Ross’s paper is interesting and seems to justify his comments that a rail link in Auckland is not the right answer. If you look at the UK airports with the best rail patronage they are mostly serving London. It seems to make sense if you have a large super city that does not have very good motorway access then you would use the train. To get from your home in say W1 to Heathrow you would take the Express or Piccadilly line for PT which would be much quicker than finding where you last parked your car and then negotiating the A4 before eventually reaching the M4 Motorway. London City would be even more of an incentive to use rail as you could take a tube or DLR where a car would have to cross right through central London.
        In Auckland we have very good motorway access and much less congestion. That means that a rail service would struggle for the moment to compete with the bus and shuttle services already existing at the airport.
        I would love to be able to take the train from Auckland airport to downtown but I dont see how this is financially efficient in the foreseeable future.

        • Dan C

          What is your support for the statement that we have far less congestion than London. I would say it is the other way around, in general London streets have much less traffic.

          • Well surprisingly the data supports you Dan. According to the Tom Tom Congestion Index London has a combined congestion percentage of 27% while Auckland is 28%. More interesting perhaps is Londons Motorway congestion is 14% and non highway is 36%. In Auckland that is inverted to 21% and 34%. The conclusion must be that in order to reduce Aucklands overall congestion we need to build more motorways, This is a trend that is common. The cities with an overal congestion rating lower than Aucklands all seem to have much lower Motorway congestion percentages. Who would have thought the answer to less congested roads was to build more motorways :(

          • You dont think the much more developed public transport, the congestion charge and the rapid growth of cycling in central London could have anything to do with it? As well as the fact that many Londoners just dont/cant drive? Your only conclusion is that a city that already has a very high number of kms of motorway per capita needs more motorways?

            You havent noticed that investing in nothing but roads for the last 60 years has led to the fact that Auckland has congestion and it is a difficult city to get around?

          • I was as surprised as you at the stats but the facts seem to be saying that all the cities with lower overall congestion have much lower congestion on there motorways than Auckland. That suggests that the answer, whoever unlikely, must be that building more motorways eases overall traffic congestion.

          • Sailor Boy

            Are you having a laugh? Oslo Prague and Stockholm are comparable sizes with mature transit systems and limited motorways, all with lower congestion that us.

            Also, does London actually have more motorways than Auckland in both absolute, and per capita terms? The most noticable difference between london and Auckland is the PT system, the next is that 26% of private vehicles in the inner city in peak hour are bikes.

          • Sailor Boy. The non highway (motorway) congestion in London is 36% vrs Auckland 34% but overall the congestion percentage in London is lower than Auckland. This means that Londons streets are clogged with traffic in areas where PT is most available. I do not know if you have been to London but the tube is an inside the M25 transport method and I dont think all those cyclists travel up the M4 corridor.
            I was surprised myself but the statistics strongly suggest that where you have less congested motorways the overall congestion is lower. If you take the cities you mention, Stockholm, Praque, and Oslo the same conclusions can be drawn. All three have an overall lower congestion percentage than Auckland and all three have lower motorway congestion than Auckland.
            City tot congestion M/W Non highway
            Auckland 28% 21% 34%
            London 27 14 36
            Stockholm 25 23 28
            Praque 22 18 27
            Oslo 19 15 25
            The trend is clear, in all the cities (including your own examples) where the total congestion was lower than Aucklands the motorway congestion was lower than Auckaldn and the motorway congestion was lower than the non motorway figure. This clearly shows that if a city wants to lower its total congestion it has to build more motorways.

          • In fact lets look at some more detail…. Berne in Switzerland has a fantastic motorway system as it lies in the cross roads of Europe has an overall congestion percentage of only 13%, of which 2% is motorway congestion and 30% is non motorway. By contrast Istanbul has only two motorways and a choke point on the Biospheres. Its overall congestion is 52% with 58% motorway congestion and 45% non motorway. Istanbul, like Auckland is one of the very rare places where motorways are more congested than B roads.
            The stats do not lie, it seems very clear that lowering congestion on motorways seems to lower overall congestion.

          • Marcus L (Svartmetall)

            To Fotzen Schlecker:

            The reason for the higher percentage of non-motorway congestion in Stockholm (I live here and I have lived in Auckland, too) is the dimension of many of the streets coupled with the frequent pedestrian crossings (primarily zebra crossings more so than traffic crossings) and priorities to non-motorised transport, in particular in the city centre. Add to that the general speed limit in most of the city centre of 30kmph and on all residential side roads, mandatory bus priority on turnouts from bus stops, density of bus services in the city centre in particular, and you begin to see why there may be increased congestion on city streets compared to motorways. Finally, nearly all suburban districts of Stockholm are built in a modernist, non-city grid style thus relegating cars to grade separated roads outside the district and placing a transit point for buses and rail in the centre of the district. This has the effect of slowing cars greatly when within the district and causing choke points, whilst the grade separated sections flow freely.

            That said, one should also look at the fact that the modal split in Stockholm is only between 33% and 45% towards cars depending on the study that I have read thus far. The rest is transit, walking and cycling. This has the biggest impact on mobility in the city, not car congestion. Given nearly every major district in Stockholm has rail access, the congestion doesn’t really even impact buses as they tend to be mostly “local” services, or possess priority measures (like the blå stombuss routes that link suburban districts).

            Based on this, I honestly cannot see how you can equate correlation to causation on such limited data and without actually exploring the urban form of each of those cities individually and accounting for confounding factors that I have looked at in my analysis of contributing factors to congestion in a city. Also, is congestion really the best measure of how easy it is to move in a city?

            Also, despite having a very good motorway links out of Stockholm, lower congestion than Auckland both on normal and motorway roads, we still have three different rail services to Arlanda airport – regular SJ (national) trains, regular commuter (pendeltåg) trains and the Arlanda express. The Arlanda express is a for-profit express rail link that travels at 250kmph to central Stockholm and leaves every 15 minutes. SJ is also run for profit and connects Arlanda directly to the rest of the north of the country. The pendeltåg complements these services and provides regular commuter connections with a minimum frequency of every 30 minutes between Uppsala and Stockholm (it is a branch line from the regular SL pendeltåg line to Märsta which is more frequent). Couple this with a regular bus service in the form of private, for-profit airport coaches (Flygbussarna, Swebus) and regular SL (Stockholm public transport) buses leaving every 15 minutes to Märsta and other destinations and UL (Upplands lokaltrafik) buses connecting Uppsala and Uppsala county with the airport and you really have very comprehensive transport to the airport. That is despite the E4 motorway travelling directly there with lower congestion (as your own stats show) than in Auckland.

            Still think airport rail is not viable for Auckland? I certainly don’t given your initial post about motorways, congestion and what not being responsible for the modal split to London airports. Now I’ve shown you a city that has public transport both for-profit (and making a profit) and non-profit that actively compete to an airport in a city around the same size as Auckland with less congestion than Auckland and with direct motorway access.

            I think the plan above with rail to the airport in Auckland is an excellent idea and wholeheartedly support it. It would, when I visit Auckland again, make my life 1000 times easier and my arrival in Auckland all the more pleasurable.

          • Hi Marcus,

            Thanks for your informative post regarding Stockholm. Do not get me wrong, I would like to have a rail link between the city and airport in Auckland but as we do not have North Sea oil to boost our public purse, I do not see how we can afford it right now.

            As for the congestion, the stats are pretty convincing in its trend. Every city that has lower congestion than Auckland has a less congested motorway system. I was as surprised as anyone but the data points to the conclusion that in order to reduce a cities congestion you have to have better motorways.

          • Mundungus Fletcher

            Every time someone says we can’t afford a rail project I think of this post:


          • Dan C

            Last time i checked Stockholm was the Capital of Sweden, not Norway nor the UK, therefore Stockholm does not have any North Sea oil reserves. (In fact it produces no oil at all according to the cia world fact book).
            Yet it still has good public transport! How can this be?

            If you think we are too poor for extravagant transport networks, then surely we need to do more with less, making more efficient use of limited road space by encouraging public transport use instead of endlessly subsidising motorway building. As an extra bonus, the city would then actually be a pleasant place to be in if we got rid of some of the traffic on our roads. Imagine that, an urban environment to be proud of instead of one to escape at the earliest opportunity.

            Fact is New Zealand is not a poor country, we are the 26th richest country in the world according to the world bank (ppp) or 24 (nominal) according to the IMF. We deserve a world class urban environment supported by a world class transport network. I don’t want to have to fly away to Melbourne to enjoy a day in the city.

          • Sweeden benefits from the North Sea in many ways but regardless of that, my point is that an airport rail link would be great but we have more urgent need for public spending. The transportblog post on saving 14 billion is mostly money cut from road projects and the Tom Tom congestion data clearly shows we need to spend more on motorways to get Auckland moving.

          • Sailor Boy

            Can you please explain the process by which building more roads reduces congestion? Because I see a ity that has built roads for 60 years and has congestion worse than ever. Surely a transit sstem that removes vehicles from the road would do more?

          • Steve D

            And more importantly, a rapid transit system lets you get around effectively, regardless of whether the roads are congested or not.

          • I apologise if anyone is getting the wrong impression here. I would love to have a rail service to the airport. I think it would be great to be able to check my bags in at the Britomart and then take a 15 min fast train to the airport. The trouble is I dont think NZ can afford this right now and what money we do have would be better spent on other more pressing initiatives. Skypath and a new harbour crossing for the North shore, CRL for the city, and better cycle paths and PT for the rest of Auckland.
            As for roads. I was surprised when Dan C challenged me on congestion between Auckland and London. I assumed London would be much more congested than sleepy little Auckland until Dan prompted me to do some research. Clearly the data on the Tom Tom congestion reports show that not only does London have less congestion than Auckland, there is a trend to say that every European city that has lower congestion than Auckland has more efficient motorway networks. The worst congested city in Europe is Istanbul. It is much more congested than even Los Angeles and it is one of the few cities (one of only two in Europe) that has, like Auckland, more motorway congestion than non motorway.
            This data is not wrong, it applies to cities with both good and bad PT but it clearly shows that in order to reduce overall congestion in a city you need to invest in motorways.

          • Marcus L (Svartmetall)

            To Fotzen Schlecker:

            Again, I think you misinterpret what I said above, though. Stockholm is a city that has lower congestion on both city streets and motorways (despite the skew being towards more traffic on city streets than on motorways). If you read what I said, I told you why the congestion is greater on the city streets than on motorways. It has nothing to do with availability of motorways and trying to infer that more motorways results in less congestion on city streets is really a logical fallacy in this case, and that is why I told you that you must consider the built form of the city as well as the congestion ratio between normal roads and city roads.

            The data is not wrong, you’re right, but your interpretation of it is really rather flawed. It would be like me seeing that eating 20 peanut containing chocolate bars a day makes you fat, and therefore peanuts make you fat rather than saying that it is the eating of the entire chocolate bar that makes you fat. You cannot just take one element and try to form a theory that this is the sole cause for the difference in congestion in those cities you mention.

          • Marcus, actually your argument is like saying removing the peanuts resolves the problem.

            The facts are that Stockholm, like any other cities has a lower overall congestion than Auckland and this is due to the fact that they have less congestion on their motorways. Any justification you try to make saying Stockholms city streets are more congested than Aucklands is just an argument against improving PT and Cycle ways here.

            Be it Stockholm, London, Praque, Amsterdam, Paris, or Geneva the stats are all the same. The cities with less congestion on motorways have less total congestion than Auckland. It therefore becomes simple science to understand that better motorways make cities work better.

          • Sailor Boy

            @FS how do you not understand the difference betwen and elaborate motorway system, and congenston free motorways?

            “Stockholm, London, Praque, Amsterdam, Paris, or Geneva” Are all dense cities with mature PT systems, and fewer kms of motorway per capita than Auckland. According to your logic Auckland needs to stop buildng motorways, become denser and built a lot of PT infrastructure to get less congested. You can’t simply say theat Auckland needs to decongest its motorways and go off on a wild tangent, you need to observe that those cities are less congested, look at the differences between the cities and then decide how we should change to emulate them

          • Marcus L (Svartmetall)

            No, you again are missing the elephant in the room. As Sailor Boy points out (and I have pointed out to you too), the modal split in Stockholm (the example I know for a fact) is the primary reason for the lack of congestion relative to Auckland, not because of its motorways. I also told you how the urban form of Stockholm is compared to Auckland. When you combine modal split, geography and the way the city is built you begin to get a better picture as to why there is less congestion. Add on top of that a large city centre congestion charge zone, exorbitant parking fees and lack of availability of parking and you’re almost there as far as the full picture is concerned.

            More motorways does NOT equal lower congestion on city streets. Having less people use the motorways only tells you that, unlike Auckland, motorways are not necessarily the most convenient way to get to where you have to go and/or are actually not part of the primary means of transport for the population. Here, that is most certainly true.

            You cannot draw the conclusions you draw from such a limited data set.

      • Sailor Boy

        What about getting from Mangere to Newmarket in rush hour?

        I would say that the biggest thing that those routes have in common is stuff on the route that isn’t the airport. The airport is a part of the network, not just in the network.

        • who is going to use an airport rail link if it stops everywhere on the way and takes longer than the bus? That is why a spur line from Puhinui wouldnt really work. One day, when Auckland can afford it, we might be able to justify a rapid airport rail link that goes from Britomart, up the CRL and on to the airport. I just do not see it as a priority right now when the money could be spent on more urgent PT projects.

          • Ross Clark

            For the record, the current Airbus works quite well outside the peaks; the last time I used it, I got from the International Terminal to the top of Queen St (where I was staying) in no more than thirty minutes. This distinction is important because international airport traffic is spread fairly evenly through a day and domestic airport traffic reasonably evenly – it is not nearly as ‘peaked’ as normal road or public transport demand.

          • Well Herr Fotzen, the answer to that is it won’t take longer than the bus, so presumably everyone who would otherwise take the bus from the airport would shift to the faster train.

            The rail journey including all stops would be 26 minutes through to Newmarket and 35 minutes through to Aotea. Now I’ve taken the Airbus from the AIrport to K Rd in about 30 minutes before, however that was at 2am with only a handful of people on board and no intermediate stops. The usual trip is much longer. During daylight hours it takes about 45 minutes, and over an hour in bad traffic conditions.

            Nonetheless, you do make a good point about a spur to Puhinui not working, as it only serves the airport terminal. So the better answer to you question of who would take the all stops train is people who live near stations along the route would take the all stops train. It’s likely we’d see 70-80% of the patronage on the line from the airport coming out of Mangere, Mangere Bridge and Onehunga stations. If you skip those intermediate stops you’ll slash most of the patronage.

            Again it’s not an airport express, it’s a fourth main line that ends at the airport. Given that the all stops time will still be faster than any alternative during daylight hours there is no point to make an airport express anyway.

          • Sailor Boy

            Like Nick said, the entrie population of SW Auckland will use it, along with many air travelers. If the train and the bus were equally priced I would be happy to use the train even if the travel time was longer (which it won’t be).

      • Ross Clark

        To Patrick

        To put my paper back into plain English, what I was wanting to say was that it isn’t the mode which creates the market, it is the size of the market which justifies the mode. Rail can certainly be recommended in many cases, but the absolute volume has to be up to the mark (which it is at London City and which it wouldn’t have been in Glasgow). Generally the airports which are served by rail have the higher volumes, but that is because they have the higher volumes of tourist traffic anyway.

        As to how one serves Mangere (back to Matt L). I don’t question for a moment that we need to look at how Mangere should be connected into the CBD; at that stage the question *then* becomes how much we should spend at the margin, to extend the Southwestern Line out to the airport.

        Also, connecting Mangere to Manukau is a separate question. *If* both connections can be justified, *then* the marginal cost of airport rail is quite low. The only other consideration is what sort of frequency could be possible on a south-western line, as an airport link needs *at least* 4tph to get any demand. People won’t wait round that long otherwise.

        • TimR

          Hi Ross. Not had chance to read your paper in full, but you seem to suggest international travellers are a key part of PT proportion for airports – which Matt indicates is high for AKL, not surprisingly. This certainly suggests rail is an effective option for us, although admittedly data should be examined around how many head for the CBD and how many for a car or camper hire yard.
          As you also note, confusing local and non stop between airport/CBD is a key issue. Manchester is a good example, second busiest outside London, 20m annual air passengers. Rail is 10% according to their transport plan, and impaired by local rail congestion.

          • TimR

            I think manchester’s strategy doc is a good example of the right attitude to PT, unlike our local study approach.


          • Ross Clark

            Hi Tim, the rail congestion (because the line from the airport into Manchester Piccadilly is doing a lot of local commuter work as well) is not surprising – this might explain why they are extending the tram network out towards the airport as well.

            As I noted in the paper, Manchester and Stansted provide a fascinating compare-and-contrast: both handle around 20m passengers per year, and both are served by rail, yet Stansted’s much higher proportion of foreign tourists, compared with Manchester, seems to be reflected in the much higher use of rail which Stansted receives.

    • P2P

      It seems Matt’s assumptions for the number of trips to the airport are very conservative. When extrapolating from the charts in Ross’s paper for Auckland airport, assuming 14,006,122 (7,769,207 (or roughly 55%) international and 6,236,915 domestic) passengers in 2011 (source wikipedia), the market share of public transport could/should be close to the one of Stansted about 40-45%. That would nowadays already 5.6 Mio trips.

      Additionally improving public transport to/from the airport is likely to increases the time and money(!!!) international travellers spent in Auckland. As international travellers used to drive on the “right” side you are not tempted to try first after arriving to survive a spaghetti junction in a rental car. Although this maybe more a problem with perception, as standing in the traffic jam is pretty save. A high quality public transport option (fast bus or train + integrated ticketing) would be for most visitors cheaper (no rental car, no parking) and a less stressful experience. So no wonder that most tourists head directly south.

      • Ross Clark

        No, the important # is the share of the 7.8m international journeys *who are of people living outside New Zealand*. We can work this out fairly easily:

        * New Zealand has about 2.5m foreign-residents tourists per year. That is 5m air trips to or from New Zealand.
        * Of those 5m air trips, Auckland handles roughly 70 percent, so 3.5m of the 14.5m trips through the airport are of foreign residents (the balance of the 7.8m trips, 4.3m, are of New Zealand residents travelling to and from overseas.
        * Of those 3.5m trips to and from the airport from foreign tourists, if we allow a public transport share of 40 percent, that is 1.4m of the 14.5m trips to and from the airport – a little less than ten percent.
        * Local residents don’t use public transport overmuch. If you allow ten percent of the remaining passengers (domestic journeys within New Zealands; New Zealanders travelling overseas), this is 10% of 11m, a further 1.1m trips per year.
        * Add this to the 1.4m and you have 2.5m/14.5m trips, or about 17 percent of the total market.

        However, I suspect that this # is high. Allowing 15 passengers per Airbus * 6 buses/hour * 15 hours/day * 2 directions * 360 days per year comes to 972,000 passengers per year. Since the current bus service is our starting-point, can anyone do better? (Twenty percent of the foreign resident traffic on the bus, plus five percent of everyone else, comes to around 1.25m passengers per year, or around 8 percent, which intuitively seems about right).

  • Ari

    I strongly support the CRL, but I am unconvinced the benefit of airport rail is worth the cost. At a similar cost I would be more inclined to build a more extensive PRT system in the area that connects to rail at Onehunga or Manukau which would provide greater. Or do nothing and just stick with buses which is cheaper still.

  • So what is worth the cost? Another motorway cutting through Mangere? We seem to be happy to spend money as long as it is on a road. Why dont we try something different for once?

  • How would an extension of the Onehunga line to Mangere stack up as a step towards the airport line? This could also work well with the structure of the new bus network. While it would be greatly preferable to build a double track rail bridge over the Manukau harbour, could a single track using the motorway supports be enough to get over the water to start with? The rest of the Onehunga line will be double tracked with the CRL. Perhaps we could create a rail congestion point that needs to be fixed….like the road empire builders do….

    • TheBigWheel

      Agree.. staging infrastructure investment over time as demand grows is entirely reasonable.. the Onehunga line itself is an example of this, is it not?

      I’d have thought any analysis of the options for an airport line from Onehunga should probably include a single track bridge over the Manukau. Intuitively it would be manageable up to a certain point. Whilst there are obvious disadvantages, they may be offset by lower initial costs from working within the SN20 bridge constraints.

      Besides, keeping up with the zeitgeist, your proposal would create Auckland’s first truly multi-modal bridge.. 8x traffic lanes + 1x rail track + 1x ped / bike path. Just needs bus lanes to complete the picture.

      • Minimal savings; crap utility. Build it properly, once. The cost of building a double track RoW is nowhere near twice the cost of building a single one.

        • Nick R

          I would agree, no point in building new single track. However staging could be one option, say to Mangere first then the airport latter. Another option would be to forgo upgrading the Onehunga branch in the first instance, leaving it as a section of single track between the main line and the new double track section until the full line was complete.

          With a rebuilt station at Onehunga and an upgrade of the junction at Penrose you could get four trains an hour each way through there. That would probably suffice for Mangere and the double tracking of the Onehunga section could wait until you go right to the airport and/or decide you need six trains an hour.

        • Frank E

          Agree that we should build it properly though there needs to be the same standard for roads (example Penlink)

          • Bbc

            LOL you get bonus points for the most bizarre comment. Yes roads really are losing out in Auckland, we need to stop good plating the rail lines and for once build a road properly.

          • Frank E

            I’m referring to what the blog is proposing for their roading projects. Almost all the projects are half-hearted (eg. Penlink two-lane vs 4). All transport projects should be built properly the first time whether road or rail.

          • Sailor Boy

            How does Penlink justify 2 lanes though. You will end up with 6 traffic lanes coming out of an area which currently experiences very little congestion, and there is going to be very little population growth in the area due to the UP so growth won’t fill the road.

          • bbc

            Indeed, the UP has basically meant Penlink will probably never happen. If they wanted more investment they should have allowed more development, otherwise all the business cases which are assumed on increased demand and growth fall flat.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I certainly agree it would be far better to build it properly with two tracks – it was just as much a comment as how to achieve progress when the way rail projects are assessed is often skewed and short sighted, operating in an age of tarseal hegemony :)

          If the cost of building a separate rail bridge with two tracks will not be significantly more than a single track on the motorway supports, then the later isn’t worth doing – that essentially was the question I was asking.

          Pumping more trains down a single track Onehunga Penrose line could well lead to traffic delays on the Church Street level crossing, so that might create pressure for the line to be grade separated, at this point it could be double tracked too – shock horror we can’t have traffic delays :)

  • Simon

    Auckland Airport will veto this as they make far too much from parking fees.

  • Glen

    Has anyone asked Len about this lately?

    With the election on, it might be a good time to force his hand and hopefully get him to reiterate his previous support for rail to the airport..

    • Starnius

      He’s got enough on his plate. Talking about airport rail when the dust hasn’t settled on the CRL would just play into the hands of those saying he’s spending money like water on pet projects.

      And why force his hand anyway? He wants it, and just by backing him into a corner asking ARE YOU, ARE YOU, ARE YOU STILL BEHIND THIS??? isn’t going to make it happen more sooner. But we need some success on CRL, general PT etc… first so it’s publicly seen as sensible thing to start spending money on it SOON. Wait until the electric trains have really got Auckland – not just transport folks like us – talking about the new trains and how cool they are. I think rail to airport will be a perfect topic for the 2016 local gov elections (assuming we have a start date for CRL set by then).

      • Starnius

        For clarification, I am all for designating, planning, prepping for it. Just don’t think it should be a key talking point for Len right now.

  • JimboJones

    I can’t see that trains would add much value compared to buses along the already existing motorway which in 3 years time will be a direct link. Even in bad traffic you should be able to get from the airport to city on a bus (perhaps with some more dedicated bus lanes) in about 20 minutes. Why not spend the money on trains to places that don’t already have really good road links?

    • There are no dedicated bus lanes on any motorway and unlikely to be any between Mangere and the city therefore this is not nor will be a Rapid Transit answer.

      The rail network is already there for the most congested part, and is about to get new state of the art electric trains and a whole new system why not get maximum value out of it instead of cluttering the road system with buses when there’s no need?

      Why are we so obsessed with not investing in high quality permanent infrastructure just because it has rails? But happy to blow billions on traffic inducing oil burning additional motorways? Extending this route is a one time cost to be amortised over centuries. London trains are still running through Victorian tunnels on Victorian track. This is a bargain capex wise over such a period: A flat route through an existing corridor extending an existing service with good links to local buses and centres and serving a community with a real need as well as a growing employment and travel hub.

      A travel hub, it hardly needs to be mentioned, where absolutely every single user transfers to and from the mode; flying.

      • JimboJones

        I’m not saying to never do rail to the airport – I just think there are better rail projects than this one to do first.
        I’m not talking about new roads – just using the existing ones better. I don’t think changing a lane on SH20 / SH16 to a bus lane would be expensive, it sounds a lot cheaper than a train.

        • The airport buses already run along roads with bus lanes, what makes you think it would be any faster sending them round on the motorway?

        • But Jimbo this is exactly the thinking that leads to never. Several more billion will be wasted on motorways that will clog up as this investment requires that everyone drives, and then it is decided that there’s no money for a real Rapid Transit route. What we build next really matters.From any objective veiw we’re very well motorwayed, it’s the other modes that are needed now. The buses do not offer the certainty of journey time because they mix with all the other traffic, and anyway Waterview is a very indirect route from the Airport unless of course everyone is going to Steven Joyce’s place in Upper Harbour.

          • Put it this way, the traffic at Kirkbride & George Bolt is horrendous during peak times, If there’s a crash there (And trust me there has been crashes there), the only two detours are either via Puhinui Rd or a long detour through Mangere Town Centre and down Ascot Rd then onto Montgomerie Rd.

            The other route into the Airport is a narrow stretch of road that is although a great road, is sorely small for the amount of traffic that runs through that road.

            Simply put a dedicated Airport Link would be much faster to travel in than a car or Taxi IMO

    • Gary Young

      I have never done the Airport – City run on a bus in as little as 20mins. I’m not sure it’s possible, even in the best of traffic conditions. Typically it is around 40 and on more than one occasion, in my experience, an hour.

      • JimboJones

        I’m not talking about the current setup – I’m talking when the Waterview connection is finished, and if necessary, with some traffic lanes changed to bus lanes.
        Just because the current buses are slow that doesn’t mean they have to be slow!

  • PBY

    Ive been to auckland Airport a lot lately, the traffic congestion in the viciinty can be diabolical and is getting worse as the commercial development increases.

    I think that soon AIAL will be pushing for the airport train soon, to help manage congestion and make the commerical developments attractive place to spend money. Also even if 20% of travelers used the train there would still be ample driver for the airport making parkig money from.

  • PBY

    Problem with buses at the moment is that they dont have dedicated lanes around the airport. yes they have some on dominoin road which helps. I dont know if waterview tunnel will have bus lanes either. So in general buses will still get stuck in the same traffic.

  • Chris

    A rail link to Puhinui is a bad idea, regular bus services linking both terminals with Puhinui/Manukau would be great and I don’t see why they can’t do this now (there is no need for bus lanes).

    As for a link between the airport and city, I would like to see this built in two stages. Firstly the rail extension to Mangere with a bus link to the airport. The extension from Mangere to the airport should be built when the two terminals merge.

  • Frank E

    While we’re discussing the Airport, How’s the new Airporter bus to Onehunga doing?

    • Peter F

      I live in Mangere Bridge and they don’t publicise it very well. I don’t think people realise that locals can use it for local trips and it costs the same as the regular bus. It stops too early. Was going to use it this Friday but my flight is too late.

      • Does disintegrated ticketing come into play here? Unfortunately the Airporter is down the bottom of the list of the order of operators getting AT-HOP, so a bus+train trip from Mangere involves two purchases of two tickets with the only integrated options (the Discovery day and monthly passes) not being worth their cost to/from here.

        Hopefully patronage will lift in 2014.

  • KLK

    I did some back-of-envelope numbers a while back and figured that if you got just 5% of air travellers using it, that would be 1600pax per day. So that’s before the workers and those seeing off departing passengers. But again, that is (unnecessarily)focusing on air travellers which i think will just be the icing on the cake.

    Its about linking the people on that SW region with both ends of the line – the airport and the CBD as a workplace or destination – and everything in between.

    True though, its going to take a shift in thought from the airportbut that can’t be far away with the commercial opportunities expanding out that way. You’d think they’d be planning for it now given how long this will likely take.

  • Exaucklanderinsydney

    You could get good numbers using rail to airport if its the same pricing as the rest of the network. Sydney struggled cause its $16 for 2 stops from central which is a rip off.

    • Agree, what are the politics of that Sydney situation? Where does the money go?

      • Frank McRae

        It was a PPP where a private company covered the construction costs of the new stations in return for the right to impose any surcharges.

        I used to live down the road from one of those stations and never used it due to its prohibitive cost.

        • Yes, the line and service is all standard, you pay the regular fare for that to travel on a regular CityRail train… but if you want to use the airport stations you have to pay the station surcharge. Central to Airport International is $15.90, Central to the next station further out (Wolli Creek) is a mere $3.60.

          I guess some daft financier decided that international air travellers have a very high willingness to pay for airport travel so they could slap on a $12 surcharge. Meanwhile no worker or non air-traveller would do pay that, and it’s still cheaper to get a cab into town if there is two or more of you.

  • Exaucklanderinsydney

    It’s because they’re still privately owned. The state government bought out mascot and green square but refuses to buy out the 2 airport stations to reduce fares. It would be a $3.60 fare if it was Sydney Trains standard pricing. It means a lot of people would rather pay $20 for door to door shuttle from city. I got the train from Macquarie university station which was $16.59 iirc, which wasn’t too bad in value I guess. If it was $3.60 I’m sure they’d treble the numbers, although at peak times this probably wouldn’t work as they share them with commuters which are already very full

    • Nick R

      Although one of the sweet mercies of airport transit is that peak travel to the airport is normally the polar opposite to commuter travel, I.e out to the airport in the morning and in to the city in the evening. Most of the time you are simply backfilling trains running in the counter peak direction that you have to run out to the terminus anyway.

      Doesn’t always help if you need to take another line to get to the airport line, but overall a large anchor station at the end is ideal for efficiency.

  • Last time I visited Auckland, I took the bus into the CBD, and on leaving Auckland, took the railway south. While I do like the CFN’s plan for rail through Onehunga and Mangere, it was quite feasible to go from Britomart out to Papatoetoe by rail, then change mode, onto a bus and skip across country to the Auckland Airport. It does have to be said, that I was the only person doing this, that I was the only person on the bus, one of only a few on the train, and I may have been the first person in the history of Auckland to have undertaken this mighty trip – it certainly felt like i was breaking new ground.
    The trip took hours rather than minutes, but it was cheap, and (in a way) interesting. I got to see many parts of Auckland that I had never seen before. I thought the bus driver was lost and just taking me for a visit through derelict industrial machinery plants, but we eventually popped back out into civilization and advanced on the airport via the small aircraft hangars etc. felt like I was in another country. Fascinating stuff.
    But, yes, I’d be fully supporting of a rail link into Auckland. I have a vision of an interchange like The Netherlands Schipol airport, where seamless integration is on offer, going straight from rail platform to check in, or for a super fast service like the Heathrow Express, which whisks you from airport to Paddington in something like 14 minutes now, at light speed, (even if it is 4 times more expensive than the Tube, which is also 4 times slower). The main requirements for a rail link to Auckland: fast and direct please.

    • Maximus – everything you are saying makes perfect sense and is exactly the way to start turning Auckland into a proper city and allow people to move around the city freely.

      However, you have to realise that Auckland and NZ are generally run by rural people who dont understand or want to understand, urban issues. Len Brown is a rare exception. Therefore everything you have just said is absolute nonsense to them. In their eyes, all transport problems can be solved by more and/or bigger roads.

      Anything on rails is a waste of money (even if it is cheaper) and only wanted by the “elite”. Thats right. In NZ only the rich, well educated elite want to use public transport and the “real” NZers of the working class want to drive their expensive-to-run cars. Yes, I know, it is the opposite of the reality in every other part of the world.

      Welcome to Auckland politics!

    • Isn’t Schipol a breeze? Off your plane. downstairs, 3 stops and 18 minutes later- Central stn. And cheap- unlike the UK versions (esp. Luton and Stanstead)

    • I have gone to airport via Papatoetoe (380 bus) several times, and once via Middlemore too (375). Helps that I live near Newmarket, so airbus for me requires Link Bus or 25mins walk. It is much more useful coming back from the airport to city, though depends when bus is due. If there is one from airport in next 20mins I’ll take that.
      Only ends up costing about $8 too, half price of Airbus, and not much slower than the bus. Usually stick to Airbus if in evening or weekends because of much poorer frequencies.
      Next time I’ll hopefully try the new Onehunga option, though the bus runs hourly and is timetabled at a hopeless 35 minutes.

  • JeffT

    I’ve come to the party a bit late on this discussion. Is the route (through Onehunga) protected yet and what is the projected build costs? Let’s get laying some tracks!

  • James H.

    Double track to Onehunga was part of a previous business-case for the CRL.

    • …but I’m not sure if it will be part of the next business case. To me it looks like the rail reserve needs a lot of work to support double track, and quite a lot to grade separate all the crossings.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if double tracking Onehunga is left out of the CRL project to save the costs (it is a fair whack of work just for two stations), which means those costs might end up on the airport line project instead.

  • Ari

    I would just point out that building a rail link to the airport is not cheaper than doing nothing and letting buses do their thing on existing roads.

    • Sailor Boy

      Might be…..

      Depends how much the congestion will cost.

    • bbc

      Congestion isn’t measure properly anyway, we we looked at all the externalities car based transport generates we’d probably be able to cover the cost of a lot of these transit projects out of savings we’d make in the health budget. Of course, they’re simply negated by bigger roads being built somewhere else, encouraging more traffic and driving.

  • MrV

    You do get a more reliable travel time Airport-CBD in Sydney on the train however as the roads are a nightmare if you hit them at the wrong times.

    • Bryce P

      Strawman. You’re comparing a country with highly populated cities with Auckland which, even if it adds 1M residents, doesn’t come close to places like Hong Kong. Why not show a video of Vancouver instead? A city that bears a much closer resemblance with Auckland? Doesn’t suit the argument?

      • Nick R

        Vancouver is an excellent example, less dense than Auckland, although slightly bigger at about two million. It’s new airport line is easily covering its operating costs and in fact it’s paying down the capex.

    • Sailor Boy

      I love that you think that no one will catch a train on an airport line., and at the same time that we will have that problem.

      Imagine 35m people driving to work (that video is from Tokyo, pop 35m).

    • Come on it was a joke obviously. The video is from Mainland China not Hong Kong or Japan who both have very modern rail networks. I think anyone from HK or Japan reading this would be horrified to know you thought it was their countries.

      Still, it is not a poster for PT or density :(

      • Nick R

        It happens in plenty of places, including japan:

        However, if we want ‘not a poster’ for cars and sprawl, where to begin….

      • Sailor Boy

        Language on the loud speaker sounded japanese….. My bad if it isn’t.

      • Marcus L (Svartmetall)

        The video is from Tokyo – in fact it is the Seibu line. This happened in the early 1990′s. Seibu has largely rectified the problem and now both the Ikebukuro and Shinjuku lines are far less crowded.

        And the current situation. I’ve taken the Seibu lines myself (both of them) and they are nothing like the situation used to be. They tend to be “over capacity” at rush hour, but you don’t see the same extent.

        If you are going to pull examples out like that, then you really need to actually understand what you’re looking at. This is exactly what I said to you above about the motorways – you really must actually understand what you are looking at.

      • Bryce P

        I didn’t specifically say Hong Kong but I have seen crowding like that at peak times in HK and then avoided peak time. As for HK not being part of China, you’d better let the Chinese govt know.

      • bbc

        As others have said it’s clearly Japanese being spoken and even comments on the video point out that that video is mislabelled.

        • Bryce P

          Oh gosh, I wasn’t arguing that…….I don’t care where it is. My comment was “doesn’t come close to places like Hong Kong”. I never said the video was of Hong Kong but more that it was a city like Hong Kong – a city that has crowded PT at peak times. A trait quite a few Asian cities have.

          • Bryce P

            And my reply was in relation to the Fotzen post…… relax.

          • Marcus L (Svartmetall)

            We are all replying to Fotzen’s assertion, Bryce, not yours. HE is the one that asserted:

            “The video is from Mainland China not Hong Kong or Japan who both have very modern rail networks. I think anyone from HK or Japan reading this would be horrified to know you thought it was their countries.”

            Therefore we are all telling HIM that it is clearly from Japan not mainland China as he claims.

          • Bryce P

            Yeah, I see that now. Busy, busy weekend…

  • KLK

    To much focus in this thread on it being for travelers. They will be minor. the line runs through a quality PT starved area, one also of lower socio-economic households (less to blow on petrol) and linking the two largest employment areas in the region – the airport and the CBD.

    It’s a lay down winner.

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