A Letter to Hon Gerry Brownlee

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Dear Minister

Auckland City Rail Link

Recent comments you have made in Parliament lead me to believe you are receiving inaccurate advice on the expected patronage and benefits of the proposed Auckland City Rail Link.

In Auckland, over 40% of all trips into the CBD each day are made using public transport, by people from all walks of life. They do so because they find taking a bus, ferry or train to be more convenient than driving a car, paying for parking, then driving home again.

The primary benefit of the City Rail Link is to enable patronage to continue to grow over the entire rail network in Auckland, by making the current dead end station at Britomart a through station. Without it, patronage will plateau very soon after the forthcoming introduction of electric trains.

Alternatives such as increasing the capacity of the roading network for sole occupant vehicles, or increasing the number of buses into the central city are not feasible if Auckland’s transport network is to grow in an integrated and sustainable manner.

It is not unreasonable for the NZ Land Transport fund to contribute to the City Rail Link, like any other transport project that relieves congestion.

I attach a briefing paper which we gave to the Associate Minister of Transport at our meeting on the 7th June, which contains a brief overview and a rationale for the project.

Again, we are more than happy to meet with you when your diary permits, either in Wellington or Auckland. Could you kindly advise of a suitable date – we anticipate a meeting time of an hour would be sufficient.

Yours sincerely,

Cameron Pitches


Campaign for Better Transport

Update 1/8/2012:

Ministerial Secretary Hayley Eaton has replied:

Good Morning Cameron,

Thank you for your request to meet with Hon Gerry Brownlee to discuss the Auckland City Rail Link.

Unfortunately due to heavy diary scheduling the Minister is unable to meet with you.

Thank you once again.

Kind regards,


Just Get It In

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Our call to roll out the Thales ticketing solution to trains and ferries has been reported by the Herald:

“This is a $98 million project which has been going on for three years – they need to get it in.”

He said Auckland Transport was losing too much revenue on increasingly crowded trains under its paper ticketing system, which would be stemmed by electronic gates at main stations under the new scheme.

Trains suffered a 5.5 per cent fall in patronage last month compared with June of last year, and a 2.9 per cent decline in May.

But Mr Pitches feared branding would be a serious problem, given that Snapper had the Hop imprint on its bus cards, leading to confusion if train and ferry passengers were issued with rival tickets bearing the same name.

The dispute with Snapper shouldn’t delay things any further than it has.

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