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Easter PT shutdown

It’s Easter weekend and that invariably means the rail network is shut down for works.

Auckland Transport advises the rail network will be closed for Easter and there are changes to timetables for buses and ferries during the holiday break.

Friday 18 April (Good Friday) and Monday (Easter Monday) 21 April are public holidays, therefore buses and ferries will operate on a public holiday (Sunday) timetable.

For more information about trains, buses or ferries go to www.at.govt.nz or phone 09 366 6400 to talk to our AT Contact Centre team.

Trains

There will be no trains or rail replacement buses operating on Good Friday.  For the remainder of Easter weekend, trains will be replaced by rail bus replacement services as ongoing track work continues, ahead of the first electric train services later this month.

To board a rail bus you need to be waiting at the temporary bus stop location and not a regular bus stop.  Signage directing you to the correct location will be posted at the station’s entrance and temporary timetables will be on display at rail bus stops. Buses will be marked Rail Bus.

All valid tickets and passes currently accepted on trains can be used on rail bus replacements.

Some of the work taking place along the rail corridor includes:

  • Extending the station platform at Middlemore and Avondale
  • Canopy works at Onehunga and Ellerslie
  • Wall drilling preparatory works at Parnell
  • General maintenance and electrification preparatory works

 Buses

On Good Friday and Easter Monday buses will run to a public holiday (Sunday) timetable.

Airbus Express and the Manukau-Airport service (380) will operate as normal.

There will be no Good Friday NiteRider services. Note however the NiteRider will run as normal on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Ferries

On Good Friday and Easter Monday ferries will run to a public holiday (Sunday) timetable.  There will be no services for West Harbour, Pine Habour, Gulf Harbour, Hobsonville and Beach Haven.

Motorway traffic:

The NZ Transport Agency anticipates that traffic on all motorways leaving Auckland will be heavy on Thursday and Good Friday as people head out of town, and it advises them to plan the timing of their travel to avoid congestion and delays.

The Transport Agency says there will be two significant project-related road closures in the city over Easter.   Wellesley Street east near the two universities will be closed for work related to the construction of the Grafton Gully cycleway, and the westbound Northwestern Motorway (SH16) off-ramp at Great North Road will be closed for work related to the Waterview Connection project.

Like I’ve said before about the Christmas shutdowns, I hope that with Electrification being completed this year I really hope this is the last Easter weekend we see large scale network shutdowns. While frustrating I do understand the need to do this work so I’m not complaining about that but one thing I do want to complain about is this line.

There will be no trains or rail replacement buses operating on Good Friday.  For the remainder of Easter weekend, trains will be replaced by rail bus replacement services

Both Good Friday and Christmas day are unique in Auckland in that AT completely shut the network without any kind of rail bus replacements. With AT and the council meant to be trying to dramatically improve PT in Auckland this is completely unacceptable. We (as a city) want greater numbers of people using PT and over time that means more and more people are likely to be living without a car and will rely on PT for getting around – in fact many do it already. This will only be heightened once the new bus network comes in and there are less competing bus routes.

So come on Auckland Transport, surely it’s time to drop the archaic practice of not even having a replacement bus service.

38 comments to Easter PT shutdown

  • When Good Friday and Easter Sunday meant the only commercial premises that were open were petrol stations and dairies, having no public transport wasn’t a big deal. Sure people might want to go and visit family/friends, and that’s more easily achieved for some if there are public transport options, but historically automobile ownership levels meant it wasn’t a big deal.

    Now you can go to a restaurant and a movie on those days, enjoy a day/night out, and have a drink with your meal. The option to not drive is important, and rail is supposed to be playing a key part of that. There is no longer any “but nothing is open” justification for even the crap levels of service that we got on Sundays (which is a whole different rant), and no justification whatsoever for no rail services at all.

    • I agree, I’m not observant religious so holi-days to me are simply a day off with a chance to catch up with friends and family or otherwise have fun. These days that often means a meal or other activity out of the house. I wonder how many people will be on the downtown waterfront this weekend (if the weather is fine that is)? We need transport for people on holidays.

      The tension however comes from the fact that the people who operate the transport system also want a holiday for the same reasons, and the added factor that asking people to work on public holidays means compensating them at 2.5 times the normal rate. So holiday service means some people have to work and it costs a lot to run.

      I might sound a bit capitalist fat cat, but maybe we just need to accept that people who work in service industries don’t automatically get public holidays like the majority of workers, and that time and half and a day in lieu is acceptable? The cost of that can be borne across the rest of the year comfortably, and the affected people can take their holidays at another time.

      • nonsense

        Why should only service industries work on public holiday then? Why don’t you go to work as well? The cost of a person working on a public holiday is spread over a whole family, usually, no bach time, no time with the kids, with bad (and documented) repercussions on health and social life. It isn’t only about going to work when everybody else is enjoying their families. You should try for a couple of years, then tell me again.

        • Actually I very well could be working right through Easter and Anzac day, I have a large body of work for an international client with a tight timeframe. I’ll hopefully take some time off next month instead (and no, nobody pays be time and a half either!). Now that I think about it I’ve never had a job where I was guaranteed statutory holidays off, they’ve always been a case of taking them if I wasn’t busy. The fact that my regular bus line isn’t running tomorrow is actually quite an issue for how I normally get to the office, it means an extra 30 mins on my commuter.

          Why does working a statutory day mean no family, batch or kid time? Kids have what, twelve weeks a year off school to work in family and batch time? I’m not saying that these people don’t get any holidays, I’m saying that they might have to be rostered on for some stats and take their time off at other times. My uncle is an air traffic controller, we don’t shut the airport down for the stats so sometimes he’s rostered on. Same with late nights and weekends, it’s just part of the job when you work in a seven day a week industry.

          • Patrick R

            Grab a hotel room for the weekend; charge it to the job, reasonable cost of business… [of course would need to have quoted for that!]

          • nonsense

            You understand that most of the people can’t choose when to work right? We can’t all be CEOs. I think it’s more reasonable to spread the cost of the extra holiday pay to the product all year long instead of your option ” The cost of that can be borne across the rest of the year comfortably, and the affected people can take their holidays at another time”. Go for it then, work your Easter and Anzac, then ask your wife, kids and friends how happy they are to go to the bbq without you.

      • obi

        “I might sound a bit capitalist fat cat, but maybe we just need to accept that people who work in service industries don’t automatically get public holidays like the majority of workers, and that time and half and a day in lieu is acceptable?”

        Why not do away with the concept of public holidays all together? I count ten public holiday days each year. So just give everyone an extra ten days annual leave, and let them take them when they want. Which for me would be times of the year with a reasonable expectation of fine weather, rather than weekends like Easter this year. I’d take Christmas Day, for sure since it is traditionally a family day. But Queen’s Birthday is usually shite and I really don’t see the point.

        • Patrick R

          I’d like to run the counter argument. I am a business owner, I am basically always/never working; weekends, nights, whatever, or alternately sleeping in on a Monday. The big public hols are the only times of the year that I can take part in the shared skiving experience… which I find extremely rewarding and important social glue. Way that week between xmas and new year is so fab. In fact the absence of a grand mid winter feast [called Christmas in the other hemisphere] is a major fault in our calendar i reckon. One reason why I support the campaign to elevate Matariki to full festival status.

          • Absolutely, Matariki should be a public holiday, and the centre of a week long festival celebrating the passing of midwinter.

            I see the value in having certain days where people usually celebrate instead of work, but I don’t see the point in having “lets shut down and lock up and no one can work” days. The demands for transit on a public holiday mean a weekend timetable without peaks. That would translate to about a third the staff required as on a normal weekday. So two thirds get the day off and one third are rostered on, is that really a big deal?

          • Patrick R

            -agree.

      • dpalenski

        I went into the CBD and Wynyard last year on Good Friday plenty of people around. The NEX wasn’t getting a too light of load, most buses run on Good Friday and Xmas Day so train staff I will join the bus drivers in drawing the short straw on public holidays

      • Simon C

        Exactly Nick. I’m an airline worker and if I have to be at work on public holidays I don’t see why public transport workers shouldn’t be as long as like myself they are compensated for doing so. Some workers may indeed take part in religous observances and they should be allowed to have the day off to respect that but there are others who aren’t and they could work. For me I don’t really care too much as long as I’m compensated. I’ll take a nice swathe of holidays somewhere later in the year while the rest of you are slaving away LOL!

    • Steve D

      One could argue that bus and train drivers getting a guaranteed holiday is more important than keeping the network running for people wanting to travel, and I definitely respect that point of view.

      But that’s not even what’s going on – the regular buses are still running. Auckland Transport is just choosing to randomly not run part of the network (the part that happens to normally run on rails), for no good reason. In the age of HOP the PT network is supposed to be an integrated whole. It’s ridiculous to just cut part of it out for the day. Shut the whole thing, or keep the whole thing open.

      Incidentally, this is another good reason for driver-less trains – then you’re not ripping (as many) people away from their families when you keep running on public holidays.

      • Patrick R

        Well once they’ve stung up the Western Line this should be it for full network closures- right?

        • Steve D

          For a few years, at best, until we get the CRL under way. A significant chunk of the Western Line needs to be lowered by several metres, which doesn’t seem like something that can be done over a long weekend.

  • Have AT/KR ever come back publicly in response to Mike Lee’s comment about expecting an end to these all-weekend/all-holiday rail shut-downs? Because it’s important that a commitment to quality services throughout the year be expressed early on in the piece of EMU delivery and the bus network reorganisation. If there’s even the possibility of rail shutting down regularly once there are no longer single-seat bus services to travel long distances, some people will just switch off. Especially since rail buses take the route that most closely follows the rail corridor instead of taking the quickest route between stations.

    • Simon C

      Matt it’s especially significant now that AT is paying much higher track usage fees to KR so they should be making sure they wring every single dollar value out of KR in getting usage of that infrastructure otherwise they should refuse to pay the full amount to KR. You close the network for a significant time stopping us from providing a service, you don’t get your full fees. That should be AT’s attitude. The very fact that electrification will take almost a year longer to complete than was planned (and even if the work was done by contractors, the contract and project oversight is KRs) has cost AT how much I wonder in revenue and pax numbers given all the additional shutdowns and nights where rail services have and still are finishing early. I wonder if KR has given AT some monetary recompense for that or lowered its track fees for the period.

      If the next Xmas-New Year period is again announced to have a long shutdown I think a protest campaign of protest will need to be initiated. Seriously the Xmas-New Year’s period needs to be brought up at an AT meeting in the next couple of months and AT warned there will be backlash if they don’t get their shit together on this.

  • Jon Reeves

    Yes, time AT got with this century and had rail services or railbusses on Dec 25th and Good Friday!

  • Harsha

    I think with more people generally becoming non-religious and more immigrants in the workforce (who dont necessarily care about the same holidays and might be more willing to work overtime/holidays), if given the appropriate financial incentive (1.5x or whatever it is), you will probably find enough workers who will voluntarily work on holidays.

  • BJM

    Does anyone know if the Easter and Christmas is am AT funding issue, or a contract issue with the unions? – It seems really odd to not even have rail replacements on these days, as we have weekend timetable bus services on both of these days.

    • Luke C

      probably some bizarre historical feature that has been around 40 years that no one has bothered to change. This explains most strange features of Aucklands public transport network.

  • Malcolm M

    Every other Australasian city has trains running on Good Friday and Christmas Day, so they can overcome the public holiday loading on staff time. In the more developed rail cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth there is good patronage on public holidays, so it’s a matter of developing the market. Passengers are less time-conscious on a holiday, and prepared to use a service with a half-hourly frequency when a higher frequency would prevail through the week. There could well be a lower marginal cost per passenger than on weekdays, because the load is less peaky. Note that these cities also have much lower operating costs because of electric services.

    There are extensive rail shutdowns occurring in Melbourne and Adelaide this Easter for major works, but there are still replacement buses. The lack of service in Auckland on these days is no doubt a remnant of when the few surviving rail services were focused on the commuter market. Replacement buses are normally paid for by the works contractor, so there would be some contractual issues about requiring replacement services on these days when they hadn’t factored it into their price. Once the new network involving transfers is in place, any further contracts would need to make allowance for replacement services on these days.

  • Patrick R

    Off topic, but it looks like the car manufacturing industry’s last hurrah, the ‘catch-up’ boom in China is nearly over….

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20140416-711750.html

    Is it a sunset industry, or will they transition to EVs in time and/or will we be able to afford them and be able to power them? Interesting questions ahead for this energy transition.

    • Malcolm M

      If you look on Google Earth, housing estates in China don’t have the masses of car parking that would be expected in a developed country. So there is not the back-door subsidization of car mobility through minimum parking requirements. This will set a relatively low peak per capita car ownership rate, because the millions living in these high-rise estates will no doubt have to pay full market prices for the limited parking spaces.

      China has also had political difficulties in taxing petrol to fund road infrastructure, so petrol is cheap but virtually all motorways are tollways. Again it is a market price for road space. This is great for freight, which can usually pay for the privilege, but only the wealthy would be able to afford the tollways for regular commuting.

  • And I can’t either, just said I had to work the long weekend!

    Sorry but I think you are saying exactly what I did? People who work stats get paid extra as well as getting a day in lieu, and the cost of that gets spread across the whole year.

    Had a BBQ with my family last weekend actually, not sure why I’m required to only spend time with my family on bank holidays?

  • Are rail buses accepting HOP cards yet? About one in every two rail bus trips I take I’m asked to produce a paper ticket with an explanation that HOP cards are not valid for travel on rail buses because they can’t validate the card on the rail bus. Makes one wonder what AT really means when they say “All valid tickets and passes currently accepted on trains can be used on rail bus replacements.” Is HOP not a valid ticket/pass is a question I would love to ask AT/Transdev. I usually just ignore them and take my seat on the bus…

    • Sailor Boy

      Precisely what you should do if they won’t take hop

    • dpalenski

      As far I know you show your HOP card your allowed on the railbus. There was time when it was printed AT HOP not accepted on railbuses but this is not the case any more. Get them to contact their supervisors or base to confirm or deny if you have any trouble

  • Sailor Boy

    They are so hopeless at this stuff. Are AT only capable of doing grand visions instead of running a decent network day to day?

    Every other service in the country will have staff on this weekend even if staff numbers are lower than normal. This is exactly why we do time and a half plus a day in a lieu.

  • Dave B (Wellington)

    “One could argue that bus and train drivers getting a guaranteed holiday is more important than keeping the network running for people wanting to travel, and I definitely respect that point of view.”

    OK. What about the track gangs and contractors doing the upgrades during the holiday shutdown? They have to work.

    The alternative is to work in shorter time-slots at night or even between trains during the off-peak. Less disruptive for passengers but less efficient and more-costly for the job. Always a trade-off. Unfortunately in New Zealand, off-peak and holiday public transport is treated as an dispensible extra, subject to cancellation whenever it suits and the non-motoring public can just lump it. A reflection on our society really.

    • Steve D

      I said I respected that point of view, not that I thought it was the absolute right thing to do, given all the competing objectives here.

      But we didn’t run trains on Good Friday before the current works started, so I think it’s more an obscure matter of inertia, like Luke C says. Nothing to do with the closures for electrification. We still run rail buses for every other public holiday, except Christmas Day, while the works are happening.

  • patrick

    During this easter shutdown wires are going to be put up at the remaining section between Mt Albert and Grafton, if they actually achieve this then the wiring will be complete.
    Keeping my fingers crossed.

    • George D

      This will be finished, eventually. And then we should look at working out how to run a full public transport service.

    • Rob Mayo

      Wiring wont get as far as Grafton Patrick. There are still no tops on the two gantries at Kingsland Station and a bunch of missing masts still between Morningside and Grafton. The wires will likely only get as far as Morningside by end Easter. Completion of wiring through to Grafton will more realistically be by end May. Once wires are up, there is still a lot of work, tensioning and testing the wiring thus the full 25kva power turn on for the entire Western Line may not happen until July-August.

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