- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Monday, October 15, 2012

Zoning out on buses

Auckland or Alabama asks Phil Twyford:
NZ Herald:
A draft published by Auckland Transport for public discussion shows eight travel zones proposed for introduction between the middle of next year and the end of 2014.Unless the plan is radically overhauled after submissions on the regional public transport plan close on November 5, passengers will be able to travel to central Auckland from as far north as Long Bay for a two-zone fare, at a price yet to be determined.
But it will cost a three-zone fare to travel from anywhere west of New Lynn or south of Onehunga or Otahuhu, despite New Lynn and Onehunga being 10km from the city centre, compared with 20km from Long Bay to downtown.
Mr Twyford, Labour's transport spokesman, said that was blatantly unfair on low-income working families in his area and South Auckland who relied on public transport.
"It looks like the public transport map for Alabama, 1955."The parts of West Auckland I represent are probably the worst served by public transport of any area in Auckland City. I don't believe they should be disadvantaged in this way."

I've tried looking at the main site, and at the Auckland Transport website, but there's an impenetrable amount of reports and plans and they're all a million pages long and packed with management-wank-speak... so I haven't found the zoning bit yet, and I'm going to give up trying very, very soon.

Found the maps, but they can't be right. The no-change map indicates hardly anywhere with less than 15 minute frequency of service and yet one of the supposed routes is a green line doing a big loop going down Meola Rd (Pt Chev) and Valley Rd (Mt Eden) - that must be a new one because in all the years I've known it there are almost no buses at all along those streets.

The proposed map shows sub 15 minute services everywhere including a few East-West cross town services that start and finish in odd places. Looks good compared to the no-change map, but that won't matter if they are all going in odd directions where there is no direct route, forcing punters to change services at nodes.

Any change to bus routes, stages and the numbering system in Auckland will be controversial. The numbers and the stages are etched into Aucklanders minds - even the ones with cars - and changing that will need a high threshold of added consumer/commuter utility if the case is to made to change anything. As usual though it will be the car drivers making the policy for the public transport users and that means they will get things wrong because of their indifference and inexperience; like the assumption that a commuter would prefer to change services to save time rather than wait another 5 - 10 minutes for a direct service. In my experience to make the time saving worth the hassle (and risk of missing) the transfer (especially between modes) you would need a bullet train in the mix.

There is so much that can go awry when trying to change something as complicated and as historically entrenched as the bus system, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted. An improvement would be in the zoning system, but not as Twyford has described it, by giving a discount to the North Shore. The stages are lumped awkwardly at the moment with it possible to get two stages on the train from Glenn Innes, but someone up the road from the Pt Chev shops (almost half the distance away from the city as GI) must pay 3 stages on the bus. These inequalities need to be ironed out in any reform.



Post a Comment

<< Home