The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) is pleased to hear the government has announced the start of train services from Hamilton to Papakura but is concerned about some of the features of the proposed service.
On a positive front, it is good to see an idea that the CBT first advocated for nearly a decade ago come to fruition. In 2010 and 2011, the CBT lobbied for a Hamilton to Auckland train service utilising the Silver Fern railcars without initial success.
The CBT has two main concerns. First, the trip time at around two and a half hours is longer than the trip times of services of previous services running between Hamilton and Auckland. This is mainly due to the service terminating at Papakura and passengers needing to transfer to all stops train services in the Auckland metropolitan area. The CBT hopes work on the third main in southern Auckland will commence soon and these services could operate to a point nearer to the Auckland Central Business District.
Further, the service also does not stop at Tuakau, Pokeno or Te Kauwhata. These towns have experienced substantial population growth in recent times and many of the new residents work in Auckland and would appreciate a public transport alternative that would get them to work. The CBT urges the government to accelerate the development of stations at these locations to give the proposed service the best chance of success.
The new train service has been part of a series of improvements to public transport to the towns between Auckland and Hamilton, including the introduction of a daily return bus service between Pukekohe and Hamilton and extension of some Huntly to Hamilton bus services to Te Kauwhata earlier this year.
11,000 people signed our 2011 petition demanding services from Hamilton to Auckland and the CBT is sure that many of these people will want to support the new service which has come about following the CBT’s advocacy and their enthusiasm.