Auckland Transport

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Unique EV ridesharing service

Auckland Transport is trialling an electric vehicle (EV) ridesharing service between commuters’ homes and the Devonport ferry.

Devonport ferry – Visit Devonport

The scheme aims to encourage more people to use the ferry and the vehicles will operate within a 3km radius of the ferry terminal, primarily in the morning and afternoon peak.

Devonport has been chosen as the location of the trial due to it’s unique geography in which the only ways in and out are on the ferry to the city centre or along the heavily congested Lake Road.

The move is also being applauded by Drive Electric.

The not-for-profit group supports the trial as it shows Auckland Transport is doing their bit to promote sustainable solutions.

“Ridesharing has a part to play in making public transport more accessible for commuters,” Drive Electric deputy chair Duncan Stewart says.

“The fact that Auckland Transport has chosen to source electric vehicles for the trial illustrates it is looking at possible ways to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.”

The ride-sharing service will allow customers to use a smartphone app to schedule or call an on-demand electric vehicle to take them to and from the Devonport Ferry Terminal and their destination.

“Commuters are more likely to use the service if it’s convenient. Being able to easily book a ride through an app just makes sense,” says Stewart.

Stewart hopes AT’s decision might encourage other public and private sector organisations to consider using EVs for commercial purposes.

 “More and more organisations are adopting electric vehicles for everything from grocery deliveries to rubbish collection these days. This continues the trend.”

The start date is expected to be mid-2018.


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No more cars on Auckland’s wharves

The views of the Waitemata Harbour being spoiled by rows of cars will be no longer due to a new masterplan from Ports of Auckland, (POAL).

The port company has revealed a draft 30-year masterplan for the 77ha of land it owns on the sea’s doorstep. The plans include a five-storey car park to keep car imports hidden from public view topped with a 1ha waterfront park accessible to the public.

“We’re proposing to build a five-storey car handling building which will provide more capacity, hide cars from view and free up space on Captain Cook Wharf for cruise ships.”

“On top of this building we will create a new waterfront park and next to it on Quay Street, we have earmarked space for a new hotel, or other such building for public use.”

Consent for the carpark will be lodged next year, with a plan to have it completed within five years.

The draft masterplan also involves development plans for a 13m piled concrete extension at the end of Bledisloe Wharf, which the company says is essential for a new berth and the success of other projects.

The extension is guaranteed to cause a stir with critics due to further expansion into the harbour. Last night, Auckland mayor Phil Goff said he did not support further extension of the port into the harbour.

“This is a proposal only and needs to be subject to public discussion. Ultimately it will go through a consent process where public can make submissions,” Goff said.

However, the extension is smaller than previous expansion plans and it is line with recommendations from the Auckland City Council’s Port Future Study last year.

“We’ve developed a draft 30-year masterplan that we think balances Auckland’s economic, social and environmental needs…it creates space for freight and gives Auckland Council the time it needs to make a sound decision on where, when and how to move the port,” Tony Gibson, the port’s Chief Executive, said.

Details of the draft masterplan can be found at:

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EV car sharing platform to launch in Auckland

Auckland is set to get its own car sharing platform with electric vehicles.

Electricity provider Mercury and start-up Cityhop are offering a new transport alternative that the group helps will address some of Auckland’s transport challenges.

They say that the addition of EVs to Cityhop’s established car sharing platform brings together two parts of the solution to the problems caused by too much city traffic: clean electric-powered vehicles to reduce pollution and noise, and car sharing to reduce the number of vehicles.

The ride sharing scheme will provide a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

“Car sharing and electric vehicles are part of the solution for decongesting Auckland and reducing pollution,” said Mayor Phil Goff, who himself drives an electric car.

“Every car share vehicle takes up to 13 cars off our roads and every electric vehicle is one less car sending carbon into our atmosphere.”

Mercury and Cityhop’s EV car-sharing trial is being extended with a second EV available at the Downtown carpark in the CBD – the same location where Mercury installed the Auckland CBD’s first ever EV charger in 2015.

The new car-share vehicle is a Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), offering the option of a larger SUV while giving drivers another EV model to try. It is located in the Auckland CBD, where over 60,000 people live and around 65,000 work each day, including 1,500 current Cityhop members.

The scheme follows the launch of an EV ride sharing platform earlier this month in Christchurch, a collaboration between Kiwi fleet management company Yoogo and the Christchurch City Council.

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New transportation app for Queenstown

Queenstown will serve as a pilot location for a new transportation app that seeks solutions for the resort town’s chronic congestion problems.

The Mobility as a Service Marketplace app, known as a MaaS is called Choice, and aims to connect users with transportation services through an online market place. Queenstown has a permanent population of 28,224 people, and is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing centres, with nearly 23 per cent population growth over the last ten years. Queenstown also receives nearly 2 million tourists every year, putting pressure on the resort town’s transportation infrastructure.

Promotional poster for the Choice app.

The app will collate available data feeds for transport providers (such as route plans, GPS locations, timetables and fleet numbers) into one place. Businesses currently signed onto the pilot include public transport provider Ritchies, three taxi companies and a ride sharing service, four ski fields and other tourism operators.

The pilot is a collaboration between the NZTA, Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Auckland Transport, supported by Destination Queenstown and Queenstown’s local transport providers. Auckland Transport’s interest lies in the potential next phase of the app’s development. Should the Queenstown pilot prove successful, Choice will be rolled out in Auckland.

Minister for Transport Simon Bridges says that the app will be available in three languages, a feature that will help reduce barriers to foreign visitor’s access to transport systems.

“With nearly 2 million tourists visiting Queenstown annually, the Choice app will provide visitors with all the information they need to know about exploring, relaxing and enjoying Queenstown and the surrounding area.”

“Enabling the utilisation of improved transport information alongside technology like the MaaS Marketplace is a real game changer,” Mr Bridges says.

The app is available on Android from today, and will be rolled out to the Apple app store next week.


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Don’t prioritise rail over road, warns Chamber of Commerce

Minster for Transport Simon Bridges, Prime Minister Bill English and Minister for Infrastructure Stephen Joyce

$247 million will be spent on commuter rail in Auckland and Wellington under National’s new transport plan, announced by Bill English on Sunday.

While the focus has been on improvements to rail, there were also a number of roading and busway projects announced in National’s plan, including $955 million for the Mill Road upgrade, $835 million for the North-West Busway and $616 million for the AMETI Eastern Busway project.

These announcements follow a report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research released last Monday that estimated productivity losses from congestion in Auckland alone cost New Zealand nearly $2 billion year-on-year.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Infrastructure NZ and the National Road Carriers Association were among those who commissioned the NZIER report.

“We’ve been pushing for pace and acceleration in this regard and it appears that is now getting traction” says Kim Campbell of the EMA.

The CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand Stephen Selwood has agreed that the announcement signals that engagement from the government with the findings of the report, but expressed the need for further commitment to the East-West link, a roading project that provides better road links to the Onehunga-Penrose area.

“It is vital that resource consents for this project are granted. Once in place, the East-West Link and other projects announced today will have a lasting positive impact on movements to, from, through and within our largest city,” Selwood says.

In a statement released this afternoon, Michael Barnett of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce agrees. While acknowledging the need for public transport upgrades he says that a more efficient system for moving the city’s vital cargo and goods is needed. 

“The East West Link has a strong business case with a projected $2.90 return for every $1 spent. We have yet to see the business case for a light rail connection to the Airport and how it will stack up against the other public transport services.”


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Govt to investigate transport pricing

The Government and Auckland Council have agreed to a terms of reference – the first step in investigating alternative transport pricing in Auckland.

The Smarter Transport Pricing Project, as it has been called, will investigate whether or not to introduce road pricing to tackle congestion in Auckland.

The project includes officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission.

The first stage of the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

“Alongside our current multi-billion dollar transport investment in Auckland, we need to look at new ways of managing demand on our roads to help ease congestion. Smarter transport pricing has the potential to be part of the solution,” said finance minister Steven Joyce.

“Work undertaken last year by the Government and Auckland Council found that smarter transport pricing could help make a big difference in the performance of Auckland’s transport system,” said transport minister Simon Bridges.

Bridges said this could include altering tolls at different times and locations and target congested areas with the hope that users would change their driving route.

“It is essential that we carefully consider the impacts of pricing on households and businesses. A key factor will be the access people have to public transport and other alternatives.

“The Government has also made a clear undertaking that any form of variable pricing will be primarily used to replace the existing road taxes that motorists pay. This is about easing congestion, not raising more revenue,” Bridges added.

The Automobile Association’s (AA) principal advisor of infrastructure, Barney Irvine, said it was good to see officials maintain a discussion around congestion charging. “We all agree that congestion charging is something we have to look at,” he said.

“It’s now up to the Government and Council to show how it would work in Auckland, and whether it would make sense when you weigh up the costs and benefits – and the sooner they can do this, the better.”

Irvine noted the sense of urgency surrounding the project. “We’ve all felt the rising congestion tide in Auckland, and the scary thing is that it’s going to keep rising for the next four or five years at least,” he said.

“We’re worried that traffic conditions will become unbearable before congestion charging or any other big-ticket solution is introduced.”

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Three new directors for AT board

Congestion is one of Auckland Transport’s biggest hurdles

Three new members have been appointed to the Auckland Transport board – former finance minister and deputy prime minister Sir Michael Cullen and experienced directors Mary-Jane Daly and Kylie Clegg.

The appointments were welcomed by mayor Phil Goff. “Auckland Transport has a vital role to play in addressing the city’s major transport challenges caused by unprecedented population growth,” he said.

“I need a strong and effective board to ensure good governance and delivery of key performance indicators. All three members have governance and business experience. Between them, they bring the financial, legal and political skills we need on the board.”

Mary-Jane Daly is currently serving as director on a number of boards, including Cigna Life Insurance, Kiwi Property Group, the New Zealand Green Building Council and the Earthquake Commission.

Olympian Kylie Clegg is the chairman of the Hockey Foundation and a former board member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Halberg Disability Sports Foundation. Clegg has also been a board observer on Auckland Transport and is the deputy chair of the Waitemata District Health Board.

Cullen currently chairs New Zealand Post, and has recently been appointed chairman into the inquiry of the local council and government response of the Edgecumbe flooding.

Goff said that with his nine years’ experience as finance minister of New Zealand, Cullen will be “invaluable” in strengthening the relationship between the Auckland Council and central government.

 “Mary-Jane Daly and Kylie Clegg have excellent financial and legal skills and also bring a better gender balance to the Board.” the mayor said.

AT chair, Dr Lester Levy said, “These three new directors bring an excellent mix of skill and experience which will complement those we already have on our board. They came through a rigorous selection process and will be part of the next phase of driving innovative change in the region.”

The new directors will begin their roles from May 1 2017.

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