Minister of Transport Steven Joyce has just announced the new ownership and operating model for metro commuter rail services in Auckland and Wellington. In a nutshell:
- KiwiRail subsidiaries will own the rolling stock (that means neither ARTA or the Greater Wellington Regional Council will own rolling stock, as currently proposed);
- Train operators will lease the rolling stock and operate services. This differs from the status quo in that Veolia currently operates Auckland’s rail services under contract to ARTA, while Tranz Metro in Wellington is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KiwiRail.
The model looks a little bit like the current system in the United Kingdom, minus franchises. This model has had mixed success, while passenger numbers on rail transport is up in the UK, overall service quality has decreased (although some argue that the correlation is related – poorer service results from higher demand, due to underinvestment during Government ownership).
The full paper is available at the Ministry of Transport.