The Eye of the Fish

August 6, 2015

Now THIS is what I call a PT increase in Patronage

If you’re not aiming at a substantial – a SUBSTANTIAL – increase in PT numbers, then what are you doing here? Wellington City is already aiming at a substantial increase in the number of people living in the city over the next 20-30 years, of about a 30% increase in population. NZTA have already established quite thoroughly in the Basin Bridge Board of Inquiry, that all the main roads into and out of Wellington are pretty much running at full capacity at peak times already – and no new roads into or out of the city are bing planned. Therefore it can only follow that any increase in extra population, will need to be handled by a corresponding increase in Public Transit.

Public Transit needs to meet certain criteria to succeed. It needs to be:
Fast (faster than taking a car).
Cheap (cheaper than taking a car).
Safe (safer than taking a car).
Reliable (ditto, etc).
Clean (ditto).
Comfortable (ditto).
Convenient (parking is always going to be simpler with PT than with using a car…).

It also needs to be able to scale upwards to cope with extra growth pressures. Having a proposed Public Transit system that achieves none of these, is absolutely pointless. Therefore, what the Eye of the Fish thinks, is that we need to be looking at a PT system that can give increases in the order of what I show here – or we all pack up and go home, leaving this city to rot. First to go home should be PWC, authors of their useless report.

Andy Foster
7 - 08 - 15

Hi Levi – you are 100% correct that if that is the level of increase in patronage that you’d expect from the proposed PT investment – you would not bother to do it at all. These numbers come from the Public Transport Spine Study, and – as I said several times at the time that was being debated – they are nonsensical.Incidentally the PTSS numbers for increased patronage from any investment – including LRT – were just as pathetic.

What made no sense in that PTSS report is that the same report considered that there would be huge time savings – I’ve not got the report in front of me as I write but it was in the order of about 1/3rd from Newtown and a 1/2 from Kilbirnie if I remember correctly.

One thing that is a bit contrary is that some people are panning these numbers (rightly in my books) and in the next breath saying that BRT might not have the necessary capacity to cope with growth.

So – new vehicles, less delays, faster journey – and no change in patronage ??? I didn’t think so then, and I don’t think so now. GWRC’s estimate is that the combination of initiatives being considered will lift patronage by at least 10-15%. suspect they are being conservative.

So what do I expect to see ?
New bus route priority – Option 4 does say full priority 24/7 – the only thing it doesn’t do is Option 5’s physical separation – putting in median strips etc. Full priority would have issues for other road users – including pedestrians and cyclists as well as servicing buildings and motorists. The next stage of work will do the detailed design. I would LOVE to have those details right now so we could all see what it could look like, how intersections might work etc but that’s what this upcoming stage is to deliver.
New buses – that’s a GW decision but one we will work with them on – issues like pavement strength are being worked on. We are very interested also in motive power – we want electric if at all possible.We do know what will and will not fit. (so we know double deckers if chosen won’t work on the Karori – Seatoun route, but will work on Jville – Seatoun.
New routes – some downsides here but mostly upsides
New timetables including weekend and evening services for many areas that don’t currently get them
New fares – dealing with transfer penalties is an important issue that GW has to deal with. Daily capped fares. Offpeak discounts are all part of GW’s plan
New operators – this will be very interesting to see

We will also need to look at core suburban routes feeding into the ‘Spine’. It’s not enough to have reliability in the Central City – Newtown – Kilbirnie when the buses that serve that route have erratic timetables because they are stuck in traffic on Karori Road, Hutt Road, or Rintoul Street

One more thing to add – I should say is that protecting the corridor is important if we are one day to go beyond buses – ie if growth is so high that we need LRT. If we do then I think GW’s route network is a basis for that with exceptions that we’re probably talking about a different way through to Kilbirnie – so we resolved as part of our response last year to the PTSS to protect Constable St as an option. Also I would expect LRT to better service the airport than is currently proposed. I would like to get the Karori – Miramar – Seatoun bus (one of the two core ones) to get as close to the airport as possible and have some thoughts on that. I also think that ultimately if we went LRT it would need to be the whole of those core routes (Karori-Airport and Island Bay – Jville) That would be expensive – but so are some of the roading investments currently underway in the region.

I hope that helps Levi.Very happy to discuss further.



7 - 08 - 15

Great to see your comments here Councilor Foster, and I’m glad to see you share my concerns. I presume also that these are already being shared with GWRC. It seems to me that a lot of faith is being placed in the next report. My faith in that next phase would be more assured if I felt that those writing that next phase have some ability in the subject. PWC do not profess to have any knowledge or experience in the field of roading or traffic planning. Can you give us any indication who or what will be writing the next phase of the report? Thanks

8 - 08 - 15

If these comments are only shared with GWRC then they are missing the mark. Follow the money on this. Central govt through NZTA control the purse strings. The PWC report is for a business case to try and convince NZTA to fund public transport improvements. They are only putting forward what they think NZTA might actually be convinced to fund. NZTA only fund what fits with central govt priorities which is mostly roads and more roads.

Don’t expect any bold visions on city transport as long as central government has its heel firmly on the throat of councils.

26 - 08 - 15

Amazingly enough, I find myself agreeing with Councillor Young – on this occasion. She’s just made a very sensible speech to Council, which has been posted on Scoop.

I’ll quote from it:
“This is the biggest change in Wellington’s public transport that we will see for decades. The council should not be making decisions without first giving both councillors and the public more time to understand and consider which are the right options to pursue. There’s been no public review. No public reference group. Wellington needs leadership, the ability to take big decisions; we need to clear the decks and look at the benefits and costs of ALL options. Far more analysis needs to be done.
Voters were misled with promises of light rail, and then came the compromise of Bus Rapid Transit, which would have buses running on dedicated lanes and not sharing corridors. That’s not what Wellington is getting. This is a watered-down, dumbed-down version of a scheme that’s already been criticised for being too weak.
Bus Rapid Transit has internationally agreed standards, against which schemes can be measured; this bogus scheme fails to meet them.”

So, what are we going to do about it Clr Young?