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No White Elephants to be found here

There was a quite angry editorial in the Sunday Star Times (SST) yesterday about Len Brown’s mayoralty which included this stunningly bad comment on transport.

He did manage to slip through one win, the city rail link, just before details of his sex antics became public. Unfortunately, this $2.5 billion project will do nothing to address Auckland’s transport problems; 99 per cent of Aucklanders will never use it.

This is a vain egotistic folly that will serve only to shuttle the ladies-who-lunch between the leafy suburbs of Mt Eden and the trendy restaurant precincts of Federal St and Britomart, and to deliver more sad-eyed gamblers right to the doors of SkyCity casino – the same powerful constituent that donated generously to Brown’s election campaign and greased his palm with free hotel rooms.

One of Auckland most ineffectual leaders, Brown would be quickly forgotten – but for this white elephant in the room. The city’s ratepayers and, indeed, the nation’s taxpayers will still be picking up the bill for his rail project decades into the future.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen comments like these about the City Rail Link from a mainstream media outlet, with the anti-CRL vitriol now normally the domain of the rabid anti-PT types.

Work is now happening to shift services on Albert St and in May the diggers will get started on the project itself. Due to that it’s been a while since we last did a bit of a recap of why the CRL is needed, so I thought perhaps it was time for a new one.

Firstly, where things are at so far.

Rail is becoming an increasingly important mode in Auckland, and while it may only be a small percentage of all trips in the region, the impact it has is far wider. To the end of September rail patronage for the prior 12 months was 14.6 million and growing rapidly: up almost 23% (2.7 million) in just a year, and up 65% (5.8 million) over the last 5 years. Further, that growth hasn’t come at the expense of other modes with bus patronage up 6% over the last year and 24% over the last five years. Based on the growth we’ve been seeing I expect we’re likely to reach 15 million trips sometime this week, and patronage is on track to reach 20 million trips some time in 2017.

2015-09 - Rail Patronage

At 14.6 million that equates to 40,000 trips per day across the year. However, most trips take place on a weekday, with people commuting to work or school. Auckland Transport include the average weekday patronage in their monthly stats reports and the most recent showed the weekday average had increased to over 51,000 trips per day – but that also includes times when not many people use trains, such as in January. As you can see from the chart below, since about February/March it has averaged about 55,000 trips per day.

2015-09 - Weekday Rail Use

Auckland Transport say that every day, around 35,000 people pass through Britomart on their way to or from a train. That is considerably more than the 21,000 in 2021 forecast when the business case was written and is only set to grow – this is shown below. Patronage is also on track to exceed the predictions of modelling done to support projects such as electrification despite implementation of it occurring two years later than expected (prediction was 15.6 million trips by 2016 – we’re on track for about 16.1 million trips by then).

Daily Britomart Passengers - Actual vs Projected 2

During the two-hour morning peak (7am-9am), around 8,500 train passengers  arrive at Britomart (probably more now as that figure is some months old). This highlights a couple of key points.

  1. Imagine the impact on the roads and the overall economy if 8,500+ people had to shift how or when they travel because the rail network wasn’t invested in on the basis of “not a high percentage use it”. Imagine the impact if we took the same approach to roads.
  2. This is only a small amount of total 55k daily trips across the network.
  3. It also represents only about half of all patronage arriving at Britomart every day with the other half arriving off peak or counter peak in the afternoon. Add in the trips leaving Britomart, and the morning peak accounts for only about 25% of all trips to or from the city.
  4. The busiest single road entry to the city is Nelson St which is fed by two motorways, but during the morning peak it only carries around 6,000 people.

There are of course many other roads that lead to the city for cars (and buses, walking and cycling). The screenline surveys that produced some of these numbers are no longer conducted due to the cost and because much of the data is now available from systems like HOP. The last one was in 2014, and at that time just 47% of people entering the city during the peak did so in a car. Interestingly the car figures have remained static or declined slightly for more than a decade, so all growth in travel has happened on PT.

But why is the CRL needed? The simple answer is growth. Auckland, and especially the city centre, is growing rapidly. It is predicted that by 2041:

  • Auckland is expected to have another 700,000 people
  • The number of people living in the city centre and the city fringe will double to 140,000
  • Employment in the city centre and the city fringe is expected to increase to more than 200,000
  • Tertiary Student numbers in the city centre are expected to grow by 30% to 72,000

Catering for that growth isn’t easy. The roads are already busy, which is starting to limit the ability to increase bus capacity, and Britomart is also approaching its capacity – at a rapid rate, as pointed out above. The figures from the past seem to suggest that without the CRL, patronage on the current network will top out at somewhere between 20 and 25 million trips in the early 2020’s.

The CRL may only be a short 3.4km piece of track, but by busting through the cul-de-sac that is Britomart it enables significantly more trains to run, so it is an upgrade to the entire rail network – turning it into a higher frequency, 100km metro-like system. By through routing many services, AT’s suggested future operating pattern would see up to 36 trains per hour passing through the city during peak times, each carrying up to 750 people. That’s almost double what is possible without the CRL, although some of those will be counter peak so won’t be as full.

Post CRL running pattern

The last figures we saw were in the City Centre Future Access Study a few years ago – it looked at over 30 different options to address the expected growth in the city centre. It was modelled then (integrated CRL + Surface Bus) that around 30,000 per day would come in to the city on the rail network in the morning peak.

CCFAS 2041 results 3

If we use the assumption that the morning peak only accounts for around one quarter of all patronage to the city and extrapolate that out to the numbers above, it suggests that by 2041 the CRL enables about 120,000 trips per day. That’s over three times what we have now and doesn’t include any trip destinations outside of the city centre. Train trips to other destinations would also become more attractive, since for most of them frequencies will increase as a result of the CRL. For example, if you want to get from Henderson to New Lynn, currently there is only a service every 15 minutes at peak (eventually to be every 10), but the CRL enables a train between those destinations every four minutes. Total annual patronage on the rail network is likely to rise to close to 50 million trips per year.

As for who will use the CRL, yes there may be some ladies from leafy suburbs using it, just as there may be gamblers, but many others will too – and the vast majority of people who will use trains in the future will do so because it offers the most rational choice for them.

 

Lastly along with the editorial and accompanying article the SST ran a survey asking a few questions. Among them was one on what the next mayor should focus on. It may only be an internet poll and it doesn’t say how many voted, but at the time of writing this post there was a pretty clear winner. Results like these are in line with many other surveys we’ve seen over the years from a range of organisations using a number of different methodologies. Interestingly in the same survey is a question about who people would like to see in the running for mayor and Phil Goff is the clear favourite with 41% ahead of John Banks on 12%.

Stuff Survey - 2015-11-14 - Auckland Priorities

I’m not sure about you but I would personally put the CRL in the improving public transport category.

If the editor of the SST is looking for White Elephants to slay then he’s looking in the wrong place with the CRL.

168 comments to No White Elephants to be found here

  • Stu Donovan

    The Sunday Star Times editorial is curious for three reasons.

    First up, Mr Mile is patently wrong: He suggests 99% of Aucklanders won’t use the CRL. Some quick back-of-envelope calculations (using readily available figures) suggests approximately 5% of Aucklanders will use the CRL on an annual basis. I.e. five times as suggested in the editorial. And for a single transport project that’s actually quite a large proportion.

    Second up, Mr Milne implies user benefits is the key metric by which transport projects are to be assessed. That’s just bonkers. The primary reason the Government subsidises public transport in the first place is because of indirect benefits. If user benefits were the key metric, then there’d be no need for subsidies.

    Third, the editorial is unnecessarily nasty. There’s an underlying sexist tone where Mr Milne talks of ferrying the “ladies-who-lunch”. There’s also the quite bizarre allegation (with no evidence) that Len Brown’s support for the CRL is somehow linked to SkyCity’s political donations?

    I don’t know much about laws on defamation, but the latter seems beyond the pale …

  • Mike Sheerin

    I have to say the comment that started this page today is True .the Rail link is going to be a burden on the city for decades to come .For what only 6 % of the people will use it as the comment states the people who would use it most are heading to the casino and to get drunk in the city .Sadly most of the rate payers are against this rail project and Auckland city did not take any notice of what they were saying .Their are more important things that need money spent on like the 2nd crossing from the city to the north shore .Come on guys take notice of what the rate payers are saying to you .

    • Stu Donovan

      Couple of points:
      1. Next Waitemata Harbour Crossing (WHC) is the responsibility of NZTA not Auckland Council. The WHC will also cost approximately twice as much as the CRL, and have a lower economic return (NB: based on the last study the economic benefit-cost ratio is less than ~0.5, whereas the CRL is about 1.0).
      2. What evidence do you have that most ratepayers are against the project? The surveys I have seen show the majority of Aucklanders support the CRL.

      • Matthew W

        What study puts it at 1.0? The MOT one was about 0.2 I thought. And the Auckland Council one was about 300 (just joking, it was about 3, but I kid you not that I have heard a very senior member of the council say in a speech that its real BCR is about 300. At which point I tried to wake myself up but unfortunately was already awake).

        However, if it is about 1, then why are you advocating it? Given the deadweight cost of taxation, you really need a BCR of 1.2-1.4 for a project to be considered viable, and given opportunity costs of other higher BCR projects, I would expect the an even higher BCR should be required to justifiy it.

        • bbqroast

          The BCR was 1.1-2.3. The 0.2 was using an outdated methodology which has been shunted all over the world, and since removed form NZ planning by the central government.

          Also important to consider that something in the city gets *more* expensive as more stuff is built.

    • Odd I have here the summary of 27,000 Long Term Plan submissions saying more wanted investment across the public transport modes and less so on roads https://www.scribd.com/doc/261089713/LTP2015-2025-Consultation-Update-Report-7-1-April-2015

      I have a more detailed document from the LTP 2015 show of those wanting more investment in public transport the City Rail Link was the biggest request to get done ASAP somewhere floating around – or you could ask Council for it when not making up tales

    • conan gorbey

      Wouldn’t matter to you as you’ve left town since the rates were too high.

      • Mike Sheerin

        *** This comment has been deleted for violating TransportBlog’s user guidelines. More specifically, when the commenter was asked to supply evidence to support their previous statements, it was not forthcoming. ***

        • Mike Sheerin

          I think it is not good canceling a reply when what has been said was true .

        • Ben

          I disagree strongly with Mike’s opinions on the CRL here, but is it really necessary to be deleting his comments? If unsupported assertions are being made then so be it; respect the intelligence of the readers to be able to judge Mike’s comments accordingly. Why do it for them?

          • Mike Sheerin

            Thank you Ben .Even so you disagree which what was said .most dont we are up set that the council wont give the rate payer a chance to say what they been force to pay higher rates for

          • conan gorbey

            Mike, have you ever made a submission to the council on any of these matters?

          • Mike Sheerin

            I did some time ago as to did a number of my friends in Atteed Conan

          • Ben

            Mike, have you seen this herald article (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10738341) which shows that most people support the CRL? Stuff.co.nz also did a similar poll a little while ago. People support the CRL because they know we need better public transport. We do have alot of congested roads, but the only way we’re going to solve it is if we get on with improving our public transport network to give people options.

          • stu donovan

            We expect readers to supply evidence when asked for it, rather than repeat unsupported claims, because it makes the comment thread more concise, readable, and informative. That’s why.

    • spartan

      So Mike what you’re saying is that the NZTA should be funding the CRL as they do white elephant motorway projects instead of ratepayers. Totally agree, good point.

    • Alex F

      Most Aucklanders are not against the project, they are in favour.
      http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/07/14/huge-public-support-for-city-rail-link/

      64% of Aucklanders gave their support in a Herald digipoll. An equal proportion of Auckland ratepayers support it in submissions to Auckland Council. The CRL has over twice the support of the Puhoi-Wellsford motorway which the government are pushing for. Quite understandable given the cost-benefit ration is only half that on the CRL, even with proposed tolling on the motorway.

    • Nick R

      Mike, you realize that the harbour bridge carries less than 6% of people today right?

      170,000 a day over the bridge = 85,000 return = 5.7% of Aucklanders.

      So do we rip out the harbour bridge because ‘only’ one in sixteen Aucklanders use it each day?

      • Nigel Owen

        So probably more Aucklanders will use and benefit from the CRL than an additional road crossing the harbour. And the proposed road tunnel is going to cost twice as much (if not more).
        I think it will be important to elect a new mayor and council that will continue to push ahead with the CRL and will resist NZTA/government plans to build an additional road and instead push for rail.

      • Mike Sheerin

        Hi Nick ..the harbour crossing is needed badly when you sit in traffic for over a hour from silverdale is not good at all . We see that the new tunnels are been build at present to try and move traffic south with ease .This project will ease the flow to the city on the western motorway which is great news for us west Aucklanders but the north shore is and has been a problem for years .Some would say this needs to looked at before the rail link .I for one believe this is the case .. the rail link is not going to help anyone out side west Auckland

        • Alex F

          Except the choke point on the motorway isn’t the Harbour Bridge, it’s the off-ramps which connect to the city roads. Therefore instead of waiting on a motorway to cross at bridge, you’ll have the choice to wait either on a bridge or a tunnel. The logical solution is not more bridges or tunnels, but fewer vehicles.

          Any tunnel must have provision for rail and any rail link for the North Shore needs to be complemented with the CRL or else it will be inadequate

          • Mike Sheerin

            Fewer vehicles.now that would have to be a dream when Auckland is growing so fast we cant keep up with the demand of houses .. Auckland council needs to have a look at the problem and consult with the people who pay the rates properly and not rail road them into a dream project which only will be used by 6 % of the residences of Auckland
            Please take note The Council dont take much notice of what we are saying to them

          • Mike you seem to be having trouble reading responses to your views. 6% of the population gaining access to where they need to go everyday without driving is actually huge and an enormous contribution to the road system remaining usable for those that need or prefer to drive.

            Just because you can’t imagine using a train doesn’t mean the rail network isn’t benefiting your life. It, being a completely separate network, is the best way we have of maintaining connectivity as the city grows without overwhelming the very considerable road network. Those two tracks have the capacity of 12 lanes of extra mway; now where would you put an additional 12 lane mway through the middle of AKL? How much would it cost?

            We need roads, we need trains, we need buses, we need bike lanes: welcome to AKL: City.

          • Mike Sheerin

            Hi Patrick .I have been reading the reply’s .But sadly most are rubbish and I dont answer rubbish .. ..I think what i do as most Aucklanders are unhappy with the rates going up as much as they have .As for the older people of Auckland who have lived here for most of there lifes they are having to sell up andmove out of Auckland due to not been able to afford there new rates bills .Sadly they are paying a huge cost for this rail link do you think that is fair on them .They work all there working life to pay for there homes only to have to sell out due to all this

            I dont think it is

          • Alex F

            Mike. Auckland Council did consult with rate-payers with 64% in favour of building the CRL, more people were neutral than in opposition. They also consulted rate-payers as to the preferred funding. Two funding options gathered much interested, tolling motorways and petrol surcharge, but these were rejected by the National government. The same National government who support the CRL but won’t fund it until five years later down the track in 2020.

            An estimate of 6% of Aucklanders using the service does not factor the vast number of Aucklanders who will be indirectly benefited when train patronage increases (as proven with dual tracking, electric trains, etc) meaning more people leaving their cars at home. Given that the population of the Waitemata Ward which encompasses the CBD is increasing at rate higher than any other part of Auckland, there will be little space left to accommodate parking for any increase in commuter vehicles of which an estimated 40-50% are used by single occupants.

          • Mike Sheerin

            I am sorry Alex i have to disagree on what you are saying here .. if this was put to the rate payers now you might get a shock

          • Alex F

            I am not expecting much movement on what the majority of rate-payers in Auckland favour. What I know is they favour good public transport as opposed to rates relief (39% public transport vs 22% rates and 9% for more roads) according the the Stuff poll provided above. Aucklander’s have had enough of 50 years of repeated failings of government and local policy favouring motor vehicle use over mass transit. With population increasing and limited options to improve vehicle capacity (none of the NZTA motorway projects have a cost to benefit ratio greater than the CRL) this project is not only necessary, it is urgent

          • Josh

            Mike, just out of interest, do you believe the Northern Busway has been a success, considering the number of vehicles has almost reached pre-busway volumes? It might just help us understand your thought process regarding the CRL.

          • Mike Sheerin

            I do think that was a good thing but and theirs a but the groth of Auckland has again been a big factor as to what is happening with the amount of vehicles using the state highway system

          • Mike, no answers to my questions? Just repeating your personal opinion without evidence is unlikely to make any kind impact here.

          • Mike Sheerin

            Hi Patrick What questions have you asked apart from am i ready what has been posted which i am and having a great laugh as to some of the rubbish coming out as to why this should happen ..

          • Josh

            Agreed, however with the huge growth in people crossing the bridge and a downturn of vehicles it shows public transport investment works. CRL in my opinion has the same, but on a greater scale, of benefits of the northern busway. the difference is this benefits the south and west more than the north, while the busway benefited the north more than the south and west.

        • Well suppose you’re looking for a job in Auckland. How to you decide where to look and where not to look?

          Chances are, you’ll have to figure out how far you can reasonably commute within a given time. The limiting factor is almost always how much capacity there is on the roads or transit of whatever. There is always a lot of latent demand for more transport capacity. And we just have to accept it’s prohibitively expensive to meet that demand.

          So whenever someone tells you that any of:
          – Building an additional motorway
          – Widening some roads
          – Building a rail link
          – Increasing the frequency on whatever transit line
          – Getting bigger / faster trains

          Will achieve any of:
          – reduced travel times
          – less crowding on the bus or train
          – less congestion

          Then you know he’s selling you snake oil.

          There is one thing any of the things in the first list will do: enabling growth. Even if it works out, that additional harbour crossing will not reduce your commuting time. It will allow more people in Silverdale (and the rest of the Shore) to commute by car to somewhere south of the harbour.

          • Mike Sheerin

            Hi Roeland .Those factors are right .Problem is the Rail link is for west Auckland .have a good look at South Auckland and the north Shore they have more problems getting to the city than west Aucklanders .And they have a bigger population of people living there .I am from West Auckland and don’t have a hour commute to the city in the morning lucky if it takes around 20 min to get there on the motorway even though there is major road works been carried out on the western motorway .Sadly areas where things need to be sorted out is not looked at as much as this dam rail link .. .We look at what Auckland Council are doing and there are some issues that are over looked in health and safety .in the products that have ben used in the road marking industry .A product is been used which is not good on the workers and the environment once again the council don’t care because it is cheap they have been told do they listen no ,They same thing is happening here with the rail link

          • Yes, and those also happen to be the areas where there’s a harbour between you and the city. Roading doesn’t tend to work well with harbours (and other pinchpoints).

            But to elaborate a bit more on driving a car from Silverdale and the city. The next time on your commute, observe the traffic around you. When going home do you encounter congestion north of Takapuna? From my observations during the evening peak, that answer will be “yes”. That congestion will definitely be made much worse by an additional bridge. Where else do you think all that extra traffic will go?

            So we’re not even seeing the full cost of this extra crossing. Probably to use it effectively, they have to widen the Northern Motorway again, all the way to Albany.

            What about the morning peak: where should that traffic go once south of the harbour? Do the city street off-ramps get an extra 6,000 cars per hour? Should we build an additional 15,000 car parks in the CBD?

            In short: if you hope an additional bridge will shorten your commute: don’t hold your breath. It probably won’t.

          • Nigel Owen

            Hi Roeland,
            I agree, the biggest problem I have with an additional road crossing the harbour is that it won’t (at least not initially) allow more cars to travel from Silverdale across the harbour. Most of the northern motorway appears to be near or at full capacity during the morning peak. building more lanes across the harbour is not adding capacity to the bottlenecks on the northern motorway. And it is the northern motorway that is the bottleneck and not the bridge. When the northern motorway has 3 lanes and the bridge has 5 during the morning peak it should be obvious where the bottleneck is.
            However all of that I think would still be missing the point. as the question should not be how do we enable more cars to get from Silverdale south of the harbour but how do we transport more people! Extending the northern busway to Silverdale will probably do a lot more to increase transport capacity at a fraction of the cost than building more traffic lanes across the harbour.

        • JBM

          Mike, if you are sitting in traffic for over an hour from silverdale, then I suggest you get out of your car and get onto the bus (northern express). It only takes 20 minutes. Better still, a rail line from silverdale using the northern express bus route would be much better for you. There are much better things to do than sitting in traffic.

          • Mike Sheerin

            Problem is JBM i live in west Auckland .I have workers living in Silverdale who have the issue daily getting to job sites around Auckland

          • JBM

            Well you should applaud the CRL then, because it will get more cars off the roads to free it up for your workers to get around to their work sites during the day. A lot of the cars on the road don’t need to be on the road if there was a better more efficient and more frequent public transport system. The CRL is not about the inner city as much as it will make the trains running from papakura and henderson run every 10-15mins at peak periods. Without the CRL, those train frequencies are much farther apart and everything just slows down because of trains having to wait for other trains to get out of britomart before entering. Eventually a north shore rail line all the way to silverdale will happen (taking more cars off the roads over the harbour bridge). The north shore rail line cannot happen without the CRL being built first.

          • Mike Sheerin

            JBM its getting worse not getting better as you think

        • Nigel Owen

          I can sympathise with your views because I used to hold some of them my self. I used to think that the CRL would cost too much compared to its benefits and that another road across the harbour was desperately needed.
          However I have found my views have changed over the last couple of years. The reason for this is that where public transport has been invested in and vastly improved in Auckland there have been some amazing results. For example thanks to the northern busway there has actually been a reduction in the number of vehicles crossing the harbour bridge. However the number of people crossing the harbour bridge has increased. This kind of evidence and thinking has helped me realise that it is not about trying to move cars around Auckland as best we can but about moving people. It is not about being ‘anti-car’ it is about exploring other options for moving people as well as roads so many Aucklanders will have an option to not use their car. But I also see investing in public transport as often being a win-win scenario. It is a win for existing and new public transport users. BUT it is also a win for drivers because even if only a small % of people stop driving and shift to public transport then there can still sometimes be a dramatic reduction in congestion such as we see during the school holidays.

          • Mike Sheerin

            Hi Nigel comment was great problem is people are hard to change and with the growth of Auckland the issue is only going to get worse .Have a look at what has happened to get people to change there veiws .1st the council put up the cost of parking cars (again this is showing Aucklanders how forceful the council are ) then the rates went up to cover the cost of these projects(which not only hurt every Aucklander bu has forced elderly people to sell up and move to areas in the country which has lower rates ) Now we are reading the the cost of using PT is going to go up .. Come on we are all not rich at some stage the council will have to look at what this is really costing its population ..

          • Josh

            Mike, however the evidence show that people want to change. Where the northern busway is a great example of people changing habits once investment has been made. Electric trains have only just been introduced and have seen the same affect across the rail network, to the point stations are at capacity. So recent investment suggest people do change travel habits.

  • Hopping mad

    A very spiteful alarmingly ignorant editorial that is even worse than something Roughan or Hosking would write in the Herald and that’s saying something!. Shame on the Star Times which claims to be not a tabloid publication. Milne lives in Auckland. He obviously drives to work. I hope the editorial will be challenged by the Transport Blog and you write a reply along the lines of this excellent post.
    I thought we had moved on from such ignorant comment but obviously we have yet to win over the media with
    the basics about the CRL.

  • Ari

    Keep that message up. It is ridiculous when the media don’t report facts and let people decide for themselves, instead they repeat the same idiotic opinions which people take as fact because it matches their own ill informed opinion.

    I found it amusing that only 20% of respondents thought the super city was a success whereas 40% thought it was a failure. Maybe those 20% were the 20% from outside Auckland lol.

  • To be fair to Jonathan Milne, after I engaged with him over this editorial on Twitter and he replied he was keen to learn more so we are meeting tomorrow.

    There is an opportunity for the SST to cover Auckland’s current transformation as the Herald is completely missing it, and party because it has fallen for the same erroneous narrative; that projects like the CRL are somehow all about one person, the Mayor, and that the only thing of any importance about the Mayor is his foolish affair. There is, I think, another reason the Herald is avoiding it which is it is always trying to be the NZ Herald and not the Auckland Herald. Absurdly this means downplaying or avoiding any coverage of Auckland that they fear won’t interest people in Taupo or somewhere. So motorway yes, PT [except for outages or cost overruns] no.

    Arguably this tension is even greater for the SST as it is a truly national title, but if they can accept that Auckland is in fact all of NZ’s big city and not give in to the parochial urge then they should find a way of framing it. Anyway a great deal of central government money will be spent here over the next decade so it does concern the entire country, and, of course, the whole country benefits from a more efficient and successful primary city…. we shall see.

    • Stu Donovan

      While I appreciate you taking the time to engage with Mr Milne, people in his position are expected to engage with evidence ***before*** they shoot their mouth off. That’s what journalists are paid to do … investigate, report etc. Unless Mr Milne is going to publish a follow-up in which he apologises for this article, any engagement after the fact is just a sop.

      • George D

        I was reading an interview with the famed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande, and he mentioned the fact-checking process for the New Yorker, for which he writes. If only the Sunday Star Times had a commitment to fact-checking which was a fraction as robust.


        At The New Yorker, they will not only look to see if I have references and sources for everything I say, they will look up the references and call the sources. And they will also search themselves to make sure I haven’t cherry-picked the information. It’s a much more rigorous process than the one I go through with my scientific work.

        http://www.statnews.com/2015/11/11/atul-gawande-health-care-journalism/

        Misinformation hurts us, in very real ways. News media have duty not to create it.

        • Stu Donovan

          completely agree

        • Nick

          I think a lot of our problems in NZ are down to not having a proper media, that strives to be accurate, and holds politicians to account. Instead we’ve got a few glorified local rags, “news” websites that are simply interested in generated clicks through appealing to the mass market, and commercial TV channels that churn out reality TV dross.

  • Carolyn

    From one who’s had to sit in a train just outside Britomart waiting for the station to clear, I’m very much in agreement with the CRL for Auckland. It’s frustrating when trying to link with other public transport – in these instances, the ferry, – to actually miss the connection due to the train not being able to enter Britomart. The CRL can’t come soon enough IMHO!

  • Greg N

    Yep, CRL will join the long list of other (predicted to be) white elephants that fail to come to pass.

    Like: The Northern Busway, Britomart, Electric trains, Public Shared Spaces in the CBD, Grafton Gully Cycleway, CBD bus lanes

  • Nigel Owen

    It is times like this that I am so thankful for the work the transport blog does. Taking the time to properly research and report facts rather than mindless uninformed ignorant opinions.
    A couple of years ago before coming across the transport blog I might have read something like that editorial and largely accepted it uncritically. However I can now see straight through it without blinking.

    As someone who lives and works on the shore I am not presently going to directly benefit form something like the CRL. I was originally worried that it might be more of a burden than a benefit to the city as a whole. However after doing more reading and research I agree it is needed and will bring huge benefits as the city grows.

    • Ted F

      ditto on your thanks to AT BLog for their information. Recently referred Duncan Garner to the “Is Auckland out of Control etc” thread to see if he corrected the views he’s expressed. It hasn’t happened yet.

  • mfwic

    So AT want to spend a fortune on a bridge to Cowper St in Newmarket and yet the number of trains on that section drops to 6 per hour?

  • I think it’s urgent that we try to find out why the modelling has been so consistently inaccurate this century. Especially as the ATAP process is underway and will rely on modelling to test proposals. I can only speculate so would love to hear other people’s views, especially from anyone with experience in this arcane field; why do the models consistently under-predict Transit use and over-predict vehicle use? Here are some thoughts:

    1. Overall it seems there is an assumption that everyone will choose to drive in every circumstance outside some kind of duress; Transit as a last resort. I don’t think that’s at all true now, if it ever was. For a number of us it would a first choice if it was any good. And it is getting better, and more importantly when modelling a future proposal that significantly improves the whole system, like the CRL, is that transformation captured by the current model?

    2. It seems the modellers’ assume no-one will transfer, or at least only reluctantly, and that it can’t be time efficient, so heavy time penalties are added for transfers. yet we are moving to a transfer based system city-wide and the early evidence from Panmure and New Lynn is that people are transferring well where the frequencies and facilities enable it to work.

    3. Perhaps these models are out of date with how they represent driving; I know they add time for PT users for walking to stops and stations; do the models assume every driver has a dedicated car park right next to their desk? No time spent circling looking for a park? And the chance of settling for a park at some distance from the destination either because of lack of supply or cost? We know this happens in the real world. Do they capture the variability of driving times? Now AKL is becoming properly urban roads can infarct for drivers any time…?

    • Stu Donovan

      First off, in Britomart’s case I suspect the key modelling issue was land use assumptions. More specifically, in the 15 odd years since the business case was developed, the city centre has seen surprisingly strong employment and residential growth. This may have been rectified by now …

      In terms of your other comments:
      1. Yes, PT has often been seen as an inferior good. I’m not sure to what degree this is reflected in AT’s modelling tools, but it would seem out-dated given what we now know about people’s preferences. As an aside, I think it’s funny that in the Netherlands that data suggests that high-income people have a preference for PT. Horses for courses!
      2. Transfers are an interesting issue, mainly because they’re so complex. I remember reading a paper on the tube which found that transfer penalties varied dramatically by station, presumably in response to factors such as configuration of internal walkways. What I’d be interested in seeing is model predictions for how the % of journeys which involve a transfer will change over time. I understand Auckland’s rate is currently vary low, but would expect it to increase to say 20% in ~10 years due to things like integrated ticketing/fares. If the model doesn’t show this then you may well be right …
      3. Parking assumptions are one area where current strategic transport models are particularly weak. It is common, for example, to apply the average price of parking (derived from surveys) to new users (with some growth etc). However, the marginal cost of parking is much higher than the average. It’s a classic example of a situation where the average cost is likely to be quite different from the marginal costs. And because it means a difference between paying $10 per day on parking and $30, this can make quite a large difference to results!

  • Angus Robertson

    The plan is for the CRL to provide transportation within the concept of a denser city, but Len Brown has not delivered the reform needed to create a densely populated city. We have to have people living or working closely together within direct proximity to the CBD and allow at least medium density access on the rail corridors. If this reform does not happen the growth in use of the rail network will likely cease well before capability of the rail network is met.

    We have planning decisions that act against the effectiveness of the CRL. From the “historical” preservation of the inner isthmus enforcing “characterful” low density suburban, to the locking in of ultra low density “rural living” on the outer rail corridor.

    • This is true in part, but is somewhat overstated. The central isthmus is not after all on the rail network. There is work at many levels to intensify around the Rapid Transit Network and this must go on, and is surely inevitable.

      Additionally it is a bit much to expect the mayor to achieve this by himself; all councillors and MPs are on the line for this. There are layers of resistance to change at all levels, some reasonable and some not.

      • Nick M

        I agree Patrick. It is hard for people to form an educated opinion of our politicians from the mainstream press but having taken the time to watch some of the streamed council meetings particularly around the setting of rates and the transport levy and after not actually voting for him I think Len has made very good progress in a divided council. Would I have voted for him with my current perspective? Despite his short comings, more than likely.

      • Angus Robertson

        Intensification is not even possible as long as it is blocked by law. Politicians exist to attract blame, Len Brown was the mayor whilst the needed reforms were being blocked. Get rid of him and his faction. Get another mayor to refresh the council, repeat process.

        The central isthmus is going to be served by a light rail network, in connection with the CRL. The intensification of the central isthmus is critical for success.

        Without patronage the CRL will be an ambitious project, sadly underused.

        • Like the Northern Busway? I guarantee it will not be underused. Name a PT project anywhere in the developed world that has not exceeded its patronage and investment projections.

          Easy to identify motorways that have not even met projections, let alone exceeded. The Northern Gateway for a start plus many in Australia and the USA.

    • Stu Donovan

      yes, I pointed this out to an ACT party MP a few months ago: Ironically, a more sprawled city would increase the congestion reduction benefits of the CRL, because it loads more cars on the southern and western motorways.

      So if someone *hypothetically* wanted to undermine the business case for the CRL, then they should be supporting buttloads of intensification around, say, Epsom.

      • Angus Robertson

        So if someone *hypothetically* wanted to undermine the business case for the CRL, then they should be supporting buttloads of intensification around, say, Epsom.

        Without density on the central isthmus why would residents of outer Auckland commute there? If density is deferred any minor congestion reduction benefits on that linear route are low priority compared to improving transit to the new places New Zealanders actually need to get to.

        To “hypothetically” undermine the CRL you would need to prevent, restrict and at all times defer development away from the central isthmus. You would at the same time of course “hypothetically” act to prevent sprawl.

        • stu donovan

          I thought we were discussing where to zoning allowed for res intensification. More res on edge of city means more congestion on sh holding other factors constant. Note they might not be travelling to city centre, but like it or not most jobs are within the isthmus and inmer south area.

          • Angus Robertson

            The jobs will move, this factor cannot be held constant. People will site businesses in places where workers and customers can access them. If population density is held constantly suburban from just outside the CBD, but land rentals are 1/4 price at the outer edge – where do you site your business?

          • So Angus why is that not happening now? Why are the major employment centres still central? Not all but most.

            Why are so many businesses choosing to locate to the CBD despite the high rents? Reports of the death of the central city have been constant and much exaggerated as long as I can remember.

  • Lindsey

    This is probably one of the opening shots of whatever right wing group is being set up to contest the 2016 Local Body Elections. It has the Dirty Politics fingerprints of inflammatory articles being fed to compliant “journalists” with no consideration for facts or research.

  • Russell Familton

    The sooner they get the CLR done the better.
    Auckland and NZ makes good money from it’s students.
    Students will get disillusioned if they spend too much time and money on travel.
    We have world class businesses in the city.
    We must do all we can to improve transport and make living here easier.
    Motorways everywhere to far away areas is not a good idea.

  • peterc

    To paraphrase a comment made on this blog about objectors to an apartment development in Milford ” they’ll complain right up until the day they climb aboard”.

  • Mr or Ms Brown

    A suggestion just for our viewing pleasure:
    Perhaps add a horizontal line across the Britomart ridership graph showing capacity and how close we are to reaching it.

  • Brian Rudman

    What is it with Patrick Reynolds and his relentless hatred of HM Herald and all who sail in her. Transport reporter Mathew Dearnaley is as fair and knowledgeable a roundsman as any I have worked alongside in a lengthy career in this trade. As a Herald staff columnist, I have extolled the virtues of better public transport and in particular the CRL since well before the Transport Blog – which has been a welcome addition to the campaign – came onto the scene.
    Mr Reynolds is like one of those ISIS fighters who believes only he is the true believer.

    • Lindsey

      Unfortunately Brian – for every one of you, there are two others happy to print “straight outta Whaleoil”.

    • Perhaps his views are influenced by the articles written by Bernard Orsman, which seem to consist of nothing but blaming Len Brown and putting down anything associated with him. The article from the SST we are commenting is just the sort of material he regularly publishes.

      • Linz

        Not to mention that noted futurist John Roughan.

        Brian your longstanding strong support and advocacy for decent transport improvements has been the only decent thing in HMS Herald for a long time. Sadly some of your colleagues have given the appearance of desperately trying to hold the city back frozen in nostalgia.

    • Greg N

      Well Brian for every article you write about the benefits of PT, CRL or whatever – your Editor, that Roughan chap, writes a scathing article pouring scorn on anything to do with the same topics.

      In fact as I recall he has only recently stopped calling it “City Rail Loop”, “Lens Loop” or “Lens Train-set” when everyone else outgrew that phase years ago (except for National MPs like Joyce who persist in calling it these things).

      And it was Roughan who loudly proclaimed from the get-go how the Northern Busway would never be a success, and would become a white elephant, along with the same for Britomart.
      Yet both of those were successes from the start, a fact that even now Roughan has yet to admit.

      So while *your* crusading efforts may well be sterling, you (like the ISIS fighters you allude to), *are* judged by the company they keep (or work for), and yours has a very tarnished image.

    • Ted F

      I wonder if the Herald has a policy like the one quoted by George D above?

      “At The New Yorker, they will not only look to see if I have references and sources for everything I say, they will look up the references and call the sources. And they will also search themselves to make sure I haven’t cherry-picked the information. It’s a much more rigorous process than the one I go through with my scientific work.”

    • John Polkinghorne

      I’m a bit confused Brian – Dearnaley hasn’t been mentioned anywhere here that I can see?

      • stu donovan

        Neither has isis.

        Btw shall we put them in same bucket at nazis and stasi? I.e. general family of no-no comparisons that are covered by godwins law?

    • I doubt that is actually Brian Rudman, especially as this comment appears just as both he and Dearnaley have been ‘restructured’ off the staff writers payroll at ‘HM Herald’.

      And despite useful and reasoned contributions from both these writers I still see the Herald as completely failing to cover the huge changes underway in Auckland right now at all well. In particular the editorial direction has been almost entirely captured by an irrational hatred of Brown of the type that characterises the SST ed that this post is about, especially in the form of Bernard Orsman’s personal and completely one-eyed campaign (another being ‘restructured’).

      I also maintain that this dropping of journalistic standards has not help the paper in its navigation of the widespread media crisis…. we shall see I guess.

      • George D

        Orsman, Dearlaney, Rudman all going. That’s a big loss.

        While those three don’t always get it right (especially when they stray from reporting into opinion), they’re a consistent source of information. We’ll be poorer for their absence.

  • These middle class, middle aged white guys like Mr. Milne (and Mike Hosking, who uses the same sort of angry, arrogant and bitterly saracstically dismissive language about PT) really do live in the middle of the last century. it’s not about facts. It is about a desperate attempt of an old order to deny a world they don’t understand or are a part of or are relevant to even exists.

    • stu donovan

      Yeah i get the same feeling whenever i hear their anguished, plaintive, entitled pleas for moar subsidised roads. Moar transport cake for me please!

  • JBM

    The SST is part of a dying breed of right-wing road fanatics. History will look on Len Brown very kindly for the CRL and in the future students will be studying the incredibly moronic editorial rantings of the SST with much hilarity. This fanatical approach was given hilarious expression by Mike Hosking during the rugby world cup. He lamented that London was not a car city and then pompously pronounced the London congestion charging as a failure.

    • stu donovan

      Hosking is correct to say that london is not a car city.

      Hosking is incorrect to say that the congestion charging has been a failure, at least by normal metrics.

      Also, london is growing gang busters so must be doing something right.

  • From an anonymous reader

    I read the editorial re the City Rail Link in the Sunday Star-Times with “interest”.

    I catch the train to work every day, from Mt Albert.

    The City Rail Link will halve my journey time and bring me trains more often as well as a more reliable and effective system. It’ll end the time wasted every day going east to Newmarket when I want to go north, waiting for drivers to change ends of the train and then often having to wait for other trains to exit Britomart because we have a one way dead end train system.

    Can you imagine if our motorways were all dead ends???!!

    However we have a train system that is exactly that- a dead end, even though it moves more people in a shorter time.

    The City Rail Link will join the ends allowing a two way system, doubling the number of people within 30 minutes travel of a city station and with two new city centre stations, making our city more accessible.

    I am not, as the SST described customers, a “lady who lunches” and neither live in Mt Eden or Remuera (nor visit the casino). I catch a train to work to support my family.

    So do most of the other people who pack my train every day and contribute to the 14million plus train trips Aucklanders take every year. There are more of us every day- 40 per cent more on the eastern line, 20% more on each of the Southern and Onehunga lines and a 22% increase overall in the last 12 months. These are verifiable facts, unlike the SST’s assertions.

    Auckland is on target to meet Statistics New Zealand projections of us gaining the equivalent of Christchurch and Wellington’s population in the next 30 years. The City Rail Link is one of the keys to managing the transport challenges of this growth.

    Yours sincerely,
    A Lady Who Does Not Lunch (much).

    • Angus Robertson

      Dear anon,

      We are glad that you enjoy the benefits of rail travel and we want to extend these to many more people. Since we are doubling the services to your area, to get full value out of our investment in this infrastructure we need to have significantly more people living in your area. A CRL allows greater mass transit, so we must allow greater masses of people access to the CRL. We need to relax planning laws to allow doubling/tripling of the density on the central isthmus – from Otahuhu to New Lynn.

      If Auckland’s density of living does not increase the post-CRL rail network will be under utilised – there is a colloquial term for such infrastructure. As of yet Len Brown has not provided the impetus for change needed to create the density growth.

      Yours,
      the rest of Auckland and New Zealand

      • Since you are ignoring direct questions – I will try again.

        Will it be under utilised like the Northern Busway? I guarantee it will not be underused. Name a PT project anywhere in the developed world that has not exceeded its patronage and investment projections.

        Easy to identify motorways that have not even met projections, let alone exceeded. The Northern Gateway for a start plus many in Australia and the USA.

        • Angus Robertson

          “Auckland is on target to meet Statistics New Zealand projections of us gaining the equivalent of Christchurch and Wellington’s population in the next 30 years. The City Rail Link is one of the keys to managing the transport challenges of this growth.”

          I envisage that as we add this 700,000 people to Auckland over the next 30 years, we should allow the majority of these people to live in places where they can access the transport infrastructure of this CRL and the new light rail network. Therefore I think we need to have 400,000 additional people living in the central isthmus.

          Where do you envisage these 700,000 people living?

          If they live outside of the effectiveness of the CRL and light rail network, then we have a problem. Because then we will have to build more infrastructure to cater for them.

          • I agree 1,000%. We need to allow more intensification in the existing city and especially within 1km of a train station. In addition, we need to link residential areas to stations with good quality bus services and separated cycle paths.

            However, you still haven’t identified any PT projects that have failed to exceed projections. Even in low density Houston, its light rail has been a success. http://www.metro-magazine.com/rail/news/291684/houston-metro-rail-line-ridership-exceeds-projections

            The CRL will be jam packed at peak times from day one.

          • Alex F

            Not sure what you are talking about. The current rail network is almost at full capacity now. This is with apartment units being built very close to major stations (New Lynn, Avondale, Ellerslie, Papatoetoe). If anything, rail capacity should increase before housing capacity. With Auckland reconfiguring it’s bus routes as feeders (especially to hubs such as Panmure and New Lynn) and switching to multi-mode integrated ticketing users won’t need to live close to a train station, there will greater demand from people who live near frequent bus routes as it will be much easier to take a bus/train combination than a bus all the way into the city.

            Plus the CRL will also allow rail to serve the airport and the North Shore, Mt Roskill via Avondale-Southdown and further extensions to places like Huapei/Helensville or south to Tuakau or beyond. But as trains are almost at critical capacity these extensions will be useless without the extra capacity the CRL will enable.

          • Peter Nunns

            Goosoid, Angus: I think you two guys agree with each other about the direction Auckland should be taking.

          • Yes, we appear to be violently agreeing.

          • Angus Robertson

            goosoid,

            I don’t have any examples, but they are not relevant. If the CRL is built and we do not utilise the potentially higher density created in CRL catchment area, we will under utilise the investment. It doesn’t matter if all the trains are full, because trains only accommodate 5 – 10% of the mix and we will have to pay for more infrastructure elsewhere.

          • Angus Robertson

            Goosoid, Peter – yes we do, vision-wise agree, “1000%”.

          • Angus Robertson

            Alex F,

            The CRL is due for completion in 2024 and likely we will get light rail for the isthmus in the 2030s. This all gears the central isthmus up to have high density living, which is sensible since this is how areas close to a CBD are to be used.

            Unfortunately Auckland’s unitary plan is for the inner isthmus to be a swathe of single home dwellings till at least 2041. Herein lies a problem.

          • Peter Nunns

            “It doesn’t matter if all the trains are full, because trains only accommodate 5 – 10% of the mix and we will have to pay for more infrastructure elsewhere.”

            Hmmm. Interesting statement. First of all, I’d observe that if the trains are full, then it means that *some* new infrastructure or transport services will have to be provided. That’s the point at which you have to buy new trains.

            Second, my best estimate is that peak-time trains *will* be full by 2019-2022, even under the existing low-density built form along large swathes of the rail corridors. In part, this reflects the fact that people are willing to walk further than 1km to rail stations, or transfer from buses. My suspicion is that even without further changes to planning rules, there are other things you could do to expand the effective catchment of rail stations – e.g. bus/rail transfers, walking/cycling improvements around rail stations, or park and ride (sub-optimal due to space requirements).

            But yes, I think you’re right to ask how we can leverage planning rules to maximise returns from rapid transit investments.

  • Mike Sheerin

    As for my comments on this blog .As you all can see when someone comes along who is against what is happening they get hammered .Take a look at what has happened tome today both Patrick and Conan have been doing that to me .People who read this page wont make a comment due to been bullied by these 2 .I for one have balls to stand up and say what i think and what is true to Auckland .This rail link is a total wast of money and will cost Auckland for eva .It will never generate enough money to pay for its self .Auckland will regret the rail link going ahead .
    I bet this will be deleted as this is not what some people want to have on this site as it is not on there agenda to deal with they just want to rail road Auckland rate payers

    • Alex F

      You are not being bullied Mike. You are simply not convincing in proving your point

      • harrymc

        Why are you even answering this guy? He’s a typical right wing troll: keeps repeating the same thing as some sort of mantra; comes up with no facts and then when his “views” are criticised he plays the victim! Boo hoo poor me. And to top it off he is barely literate

    • conan gorbey

      I made two comments Mike. One surprised that you hadn’t left town yet as you stated that you would have to a while back, due to high rates. I’m guessing from your comments you haven’t made the move yet which does imply a little inconsistency in your comments in this blog. The second was a genuine question as to whether you had engaged with the council. This is not bullying.

      If this is ‘hammering’ then you need to grow a little stronger in your approach I’d suggest and engage with the discussion.

      You’ve spent a sizable part of your morning typing comments that state your opinion as fact which isn’t going to wash. You need to provide actual facts. I’d suggest you take the time to proof read your comments too, as some of them are simply not understandable.

    • Guy

      Mike, I can see where you are coming from – if you live out west or on the Shore, therefore you drive, therefore you think you will never take a train. Therefore, according to you, and others in cars on the Shore, the trains are a waste of time and money. But sadly, as others have tried to point out here, you’re not listening. Can we agree on something first: we both agree that the roads are stuffed, right? Stuffed full of traffic? And hard to find a car park when you’re in town right? So your answer is, what – build more roads? You know that’s not going to work, don’t you? We need a different answer.

      The rail lines are a second system, which inherently can take more people on every single trip. And they don’t run on roads. So it is a completely separate transport system, which won’t clog up when the roads do. But that only really works when trains run straight through, and don’t have to reverse out of stations. Let me get this straight to you – Auckland’s ONLY chance of really becoming a world city is if it can densify and intensify and that will only happen if the city is planned for people, not cars. In world standards at present, Auckland is an embarrassment with its lack of a decent public transport system, and the CTRL is the best hope it has of growing without killing itself. It can’t keep growing by cars alone.

      • Peter Nunns

        This is a great explanation of how investment in grade-separated public transport can also benefit people in cars.

        Having a competing, congestion-free transport option means that the roads will never get *too* bad. If they slow down beyond a certain point, people will simply switch modes instead of suffering the frustration. And because congestion is a nonlinear phenomenon – it’s fine for ages, but at a certain point it goes haywire – you don’t need *that* many people riding the bus or train to keep it under control.

      • Mike Sheerin

        Guy from the first sentence you have it wrong I live out west Auckland not the shore

        • Stu Donovan

          Guy’s first sentence reads “if you live out west *or* on the shore …”.

          To which Mike responds “Guy from the first sentence you have it wrong I live out west Auckland not the shore”.

          Mike, I’m afraid it’s hard to debate with someone who is, well, not taking the time to read other people’s comments. I’d suggest you read Guy’s comment again, especially the first sentence, and then try replying.

      • Great comment Guy – 100% with you.

        However, I can’t see how living on the Shore or out West is an excuse. The West will be the part of the city that profits the most from the CRL as travel times will be slashed. Almost everyone in the West lives within 3kms of a train station – a 10min cycle or bus ride.

        I live on the Shore and I hardly ever drive. Between my electric bike and the ferries there is no need. The busway is also a great resource and again the majority of people on the Shore live within 3kms of a busway station.

    • Josh

      Mike, I find people on here like intelligent debate, compared to other blogs they tend to use evidence, stats and facts to backup their opinions. Theories normally have evidence based figures to reinforce their ideas, while emotional and vague commentators tend to believe they are being attacked when they don’t have numbers, statistics or evidence behind their beliefs.

      • Mike Sheerin

        Hi Josh .your right they back up there ideas with paperwork which id far from reality I can tell you .. What has been said about the rail link is so wrong its not funny .I come from the business world and we all are in shock of all this wrong paper work

        • Bryce P

          wrong paper work? Which bit? In what way?

        • conan gorbey

          I come from the business world too and we are all in shock at your lack of ability to present a coherent argument.

          • Mike Sheerin

            as per normal Conan you seem to think i have not made a good argument as to what your pushing .How about reading all my posts on this subject and stop making up story’s
            I remember you saying in some posts about 6 months ago all the old people of Auckland needs to move out due to not been able to pay there extremely high rates .then you told me Your happy if I move my international business from Auckland .. If you dont remember what you said to me i have every comment said on this subject printed ..

          • Mike Sheerin

            One last thing Conan .I bet if this project was put to the Vote in next years election .That Auckland rate payers would say no to the project going ahead .
            Which is something you all need to look at doing

          • conan

            Mike, you were complaining that Auckland was too expensive for you. I suggested you leave to a cheaper place. That is business. Or maybe you have discovered that your customers are here in Auckland which is why you haven’t left.

            Not sure what you are talking about with regards to old people but by all means post your printouts.

            I think you’ll find the CRL was put to the vote in the last two local elections and won. I’d be surprised if there was any change this time around but that is what elections are all about- giving people a choice in the direction of their city.

        • spartan

          Mike, do you know the difference between you’re, your, there, their, they’re

        • Josh

          I come from an engineering business world, and I totally agree how wrong it is. They have negated soo much wider indirect benefits it’s ridiculous, patronage is highly conservative (under-estimated) like every other public transport project has been in recent history. And road vehicle numbers for Harbour crossing has been conservatively (over-estimated) like every other roading project in recent history. But I guess my fault might be looking at recent projects with current trends, because everyone knows how numbers are over-rated right?

          Now as someone with a company car, who currently can’t justify using public transport due to not making financial sense, I look at it from a purely number outlook and it’s a no brainer.

  • Warren S

    Brian Rudman – I have been a Herald subscriber for 55 years but am becoming increasingly disenchanted with its news emphasis – some may say I am merely old and grumpy. Why do the first 3 or 4 pages seem to be mainly about boldly headlined crime which is of little interest. Crime used to be ashamedly reported in small print in the 3rd to last page.
    The Herald seems to do little to promote good design and the requirements of a livable city for which an efficient public transport system is a primary requirement.
    Which is why I love this blog – the posts and the discussion and the quality of the analysis, because the relevant statistics and the trends are all here.
    So Brian,what I would really like the Herald to do, is to take an aspirational view of Auckland’s public transit needs and daily champion the cause, with severe criticism of the government’s present failings in their allocation of taxpayer transport expenditure, because it is huge. True reform is needed.

    And if the Herald do that my respect for the paper will be restored

    • Peter Nunns

      Hear hear! Fully agreed!

      I like print media. I buy books and read magazines. One of the reasons I appreciate public transport is that it lets me read while travelling around. Print media and PT are a good combination. (As are smartphones and PT.)

      However, I’ve never subscribed to the Herald or the Sunday Star Times. Although I appreciate the work done by some reporters – e.g. Brian Rudman, David Fisher, Rod Oram – the editorial lines are frequently retrograde and the content is becoming increasingly vapid. I don’t want a paper that always agrees with me, but I can’t stand one that is lazy in its own analysis and opinions.

      Message to the editors: If you print quality journalism, I will buy it.

      • conan gorbey

        The Herald does have some great people. They also have some dreadful people. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have a unified editorial approach so you’ll get a different line each day depending who has control of the tiller. And they really have little aspiration for how much greater Auckland can become.

        Contrast that with my fav newspaper The Economist, which has a very clear editorial line built up over decades. I don’t always agree with that line, but knowing where it is enables you to adjust your viewpoint on stories to suit.

        • Peter Nunns

          Yes, the Economist would be my example of a paper whose editorial line I don’t always agree with but which consistently publishes well-argued, evidence-based reporting. Even if I disagree with their take on an issue, they tend to present enough evidence to make me think about it more carefully. Whereas the SST editorial Matt’s responding to was too ill-informed to be persuasive.

  • Evan James

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why people get upset by an opinion piece by the editor of a newspaper. What people have to realise is that, like politicians, journalists don’t have to be qualified – anyone can call themselves a journalist and have published anything that comes into their heads, whether researched or not – it can’t be a bunch of lies though because then they can be sued for liable. So, in a nutshell, anyone can put their hand up and do what could be argued as the two jobs that affect our lives the most, the difference being that if we don’t like a politician we can turf them out after three years.

  • JeffT

    I thought the SST was a bit more progressive. If that’s what the editor of the broadsheet thinks of developing PT towards international practise I’ll skip his rag in the future.

  • Charles

    The SST is trying to dis a PT project on the grounds that it will only be used by the idle rich…that’s actually quite entertaining. I thought the argument was that cars are aspirational and the idle rich wouldn’t be caught dead on the train. I guess the SST thinks its readers are disaffected working class so anything bad must be a rich man’s project. Really the only question is whether the editors’ errors of fact are wilful ignorance, or just plain ignorance.

  • Ari

    wow, Mike Sheerin doesn’t appear to understand any of the evidence presented and still choose to repeat baseless opinions without evidence and then is surprised when people call him out on it.

    • Mike Sheerin

      Matt I do understand all the evidence i mean so called evidence ,,DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR A LONG TIME NOW LET THE RATE PAYER HAVE THERE SAY … I bet the 96% of them will say not to paying for 6% of the city usage ..The numbers dont and will never match up

    • Mike Sheerin

      I also think if the next want to be mayor comes along and commits to stopping this over expenditure will become the mayor of this city

      • Mike this really isn’t working is it? You keep insisting that what every survey, every election, every piece of data says is wrong because you know better and can find the caps-lock key.

        Not very convincing. You need to calm down and perhaps reflect on this mismatch between your view and reality.

        There won’t be a single serious mayoral candidate running on a platform stopping the construction of the CRL, the jackhammers begin next month.

        This is the real world and it would be good for you if you were to pay it a visit.

        • Mike Sheerin

          Look Patrick go take some photos that what your good at .At least i am getting what i think and others think about this white Elephant out there for everyone to see
          And please stop putting people down it dont make you look good at all mate

          • No Mike it’s only you who thinks this which is why you’re constantly asked to prove your statements which you have failed to do repeatedly. Fact is at the last election John Palino stood on a campaign on not doing the CRL and he was beaten. Every poll, survey and piece of consultation has shown overwhelming support. Even the AA’s polls have shown support for it.

            You have derailed this thread way too much already. Any future posts on this topic will be deleted and posts on other posts will be monitored closely. Make your point then move on somewhere else

  • Ben T

    With the CRL, you open up the possibilities of a train network to the airport, to be included with harbour crossing and to essentially run along the north shore. In doing so you provide the possibility of reducing urban sprawl as people are more likely to look at options close to public transport access, that in turn allows them to not have the cost of owning, running and maintaining a private vehicle. They also see more of a return on their tax because the money they have been earning that is taxed is going towards public improvements (albeit a distributed portion across multiple sectors, programmes etc etc).

    this is future thinking. Auckland will keep growing, but the land mass that is New Zealand won’t. its fixed and could actually shrink if water levels rise and make it harder to have lower lying coastal properties. So if you start looking at ways in which you can move a population around who live work and play within the city limits, you can expand on the development of other sectors in order to improve the over all well-being of the city. yes the out of town people will need a vehicle to access the city, but who is to say you need a car to get to the supermarket or to work or to go visit someone.

    I think CRL is only the start of something much bigger for Auckland. We have the chance to make Auckland a much more connected city. Just think if you didn’t have to drive from a central north shore location across the bridge to get to your downtown job. you wouldn’t need to pay for parking, all the fuel you use stalled in traffic, the wear on your car, the frustration of leaving slightly later than normal and being stuck in heavier traffic, the ability to read a book or finish emails while being transported to your destination. Yes CRL makes the West and South more viable but once you have this, you have something to connect to for the North.

    • JBM

      Spot on. I’ve met many people over the years who live in London and don’t own a car. They don’t see the need for one. An unnecessary expense and they have a brilliant public transport system to get them around to everywhere they need to go. Auckland doesn’t have that at the moment because a roads-first ideology has predominated for 50 years.

    • David B.

      Well said Ben T – I just wish that the Council and AT would agree with you, because there’s still no planned start time for any North Shore line, with or without the CRL, not even in ten years time! It’s very very disappointing, because it means on the Shore we’re stuck with buying cars basically forever.

      • Mike Sheerin

        This is how bad the wool is getting pulled over everyone’s eyes here

        1… The 6 % of population usage of this rail link has been made up of current users
        2… The paper work that has been provided has not said anything about how long this rail link is going to provide a return to Auckland for its investment
        of over 3 billion dollars .(Taking into account of the yearly running costs we will all be dead and gone before this pays for its building )
        3 .. We have seen documents that show the rail link will improve congestion in the city .(Is the council going to put the cost of parking up again to force people to use it like they did with the northern bus link )
        4… Rates rises to cover building and running costs .Where is the paper work for this or is that just something the the people of Auckland are not privy to untill we have to pay more in rates to pay for a this project
        5 .. So far all the paper work that has been let out has shown us what the rail net work did when the world cup was here .There is no current paper work that shows us what the actual usage is ….

        • Alex F

          There are perfectly good answers to all five questions which TransportBlog have provided time and time again.

          If you’re not willing to go there and inform yourself then stop wasting your time on here. And stop whining like you believe the whole of Auckland is on your side. They’re not

        • Stu Donovan

          1. The 5-10% consists of both current and new users. Note that many existing users will benefit from CRL because it provides them with either 1) a shorter journey and/or 2) greater frequency (which cannot be run without CRL).
          2. The CRL business case evaluates benefits and costs over a 40 year lifetime. I believe the inflation-adjusted costs are $2.5 billion. This includes all capital and operating costs, plus costs of new rolling stock.
          3. Yes, the CRL is expected to improve congestion.
          4. Projected capital and operating costs are included in Council’s forward budgets.
          5. AT publishes PT patronage reports every month. The latest one is for the month ending September 2015 and is discussed here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/10/22/september-2015-patronage/

        • You should now do the same analysis for the additional harbour bridge, so you have at least 2 projects to compare.

          One of them is easy: because of the relatively low throughput of a motorway, only a few percent of the Auckland population will use this bridge. It will almost certainly be less than the rail link. (note that morning and evening commuters are the only people having a problem with the capacity of the current bridge)

          And another issue is this: how much is it going to cost to upgrade the surrounding road network to use this bridge effectively. Eg. we would almost certainly need to widen the Northern Motorway.

          • Mike Sheerin

            *** This comment has been deleted for violating our user guidelines. More specifically, the commenter engaged in obsessive and repetitive arguing, while evidence to support statements was not forthcoming – despite several repeated requests. ***

  • Harriet

    For that anti CRL guy above.

    If your workers live in Silverdale and work out West at your business why would they use SH1 through the city rather than the Western Ring, also wouldn’t Waterview be more useful for long term cross town trips than a six billion new tunnel into the city.

    Motorways are great and should be supported when they are a) orbital rather than radial motorways and b) The cost benefits stack up. The third crossing is neither.

  • Evan James

    There’s an election cpming up you guys. What you anti-CRL guys need to do is persuade someone credible to stand on an anti-CRL platform and let the voters decide – simple as that. Somehow I think the pubic will support a credible candidate who promises to sort out our transport chaos, no matter what the cost.

  • Ted F

    What is causing congestion? Is it vehicles or people?
    That link with the American city block with single occupant cars, the buses to accommodate them and the tram was the best example of the effects of public transport.

    I think it is time AT put a greater cost on parking in the city so that 15% are available at any time.

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