Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

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Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby matthew25187 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:52 pm

Greens want $500m spend on Christchurch public transport
Adam Bennett

The Green Party would push for almost half a billion spending over five years on public transport in Christchurch.

Announcing her party's policies for the city's quake recovery, Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage also said the party would prioritise the "return of local democracy, and projects that put the needs of Christchurch people first".

The centrepiece of the Greens' plan is $462 million in spending on transport over five years including $250 million on a "future rapid transport network" consisting of commuter rail services utilising existing rail lines between Rolleston, Addington and Rangiora and integrated "feeder bus services".

Until that was established, the Greens' plan sees $10 million a year spent on an interim commuter rail services using those existing lines.

The Greens' plan also sees $90 million over five years spent on cycling and walking projects, $50 on a "bus prioritisation programme" and $22 million to establish a new agency Canterbury Transport to oversee the entire package.
...

Full story from the NZ Herald.
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby matthew25187 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:04 pm

So the Greens want to spend $100s of millions on new public transport infrastructure and services when ECan can't even get the locals to use what they've already got, despite numerous revisions of the bus routes and service offerings since the earthquakes.

They talk of "restoring democracy" to Canterbury, then propose a monstrous new bureaucracy, Canterbury Transport, to oversee public transport. Unless they are planning on bringing back the lumbering behemoth that was the Christchurch Transport Board, complete with its democratically-elected board members, how is that democratic? How would this Canterbury Transport be answerable to the people that fund it concerning its transport policy direction if not subject to democratic oversight as the current agency, Ecan, was until recent times?
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby JSH » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:53 pm

matthew25187 wrote:So the Greens want to spend $100s of millions on new public transport infrastructure and services when ECan can't even get the locals to use what they've already got, despite numerous revisions of the bus routes and service offerings since the earthquakes.


You could have said the same about Auckland when Britomart was proposed... or project DART... or electrifying the rail network. Apart from re-configuring bus routes, a splash of bus lanes and a yet to be constructed bus terminal in the CBD, I haven't seen a lot of investment in Christchurch PT infrastructure over the years. And you wonder why locals don't use it? Good grief. I think it is amazing that, given the circumstances of the last few years, patronage is only about 4m per annum off 2010 levels.

matthew25187 wrote:They talk of "restoring democracy" to Canterbury, then propose a monstrous new bureaucracy, Canterbury Transport, to oversee public transport. Unless they are planning on bringing back the lumbering behemoth that was the Christchurch Transport Board, complete with its democratically-elected board members, how is that democratic? How would this Canterbury Transport be answerable to the people that fund it concerning its transport policy direction if not subject to democratic oversight as the current agency, Ecan, was until recent times?


It is pretty well documented the troubles that Christchurch has had in terms of split responsibilities for PT (for example, http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/transport/9855875/Transport-model-is-flawed). Further, no where do I see the Greens suggesting resurrecting something akin to the old CTB (I assume they propose something similar to Auckland Transport, but it is too early to tell), nor do they state anywhere that it will be "monstrous". I simply don't know where you would get that idea from. I wouldn't jump to conclusions until further details emerge, and as far as I can see they are attempting to provide a solution to a widely accepted problem (that PT in Greater Christchurch is split between four local government organisations leading to lack of focus and progress.. which ECan and CCC agree with and have asked the government to fix, incidentally). I applaud them for that at least.
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby madras » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:42 pm

despite numerous revisions of the bus routes and service offerings since the earthquakes.


It's a miracle that numbers are what they are, after all those changes and service cuts.

On transportblog just yesterday:

Image
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby john-ston » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:29 pm

If I were looking at a public transport policy for Christchurch, I would be looking at median busways for the four core routes, with suitable levels of operation.
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby matthew25187 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:34 am

john-ston wrote:If I were looking at a public transport policy for Christchurch, I would be looking at median busways for the four core routes, with suitable levels of operation.

Aye, incremental improvements would be the best approach to prove sufficient demand exists for modest expenditure rather than doling out $100m per year on largely untested ideas (in the local, i.e. Canterbury, context). As a pragmatist, I am dubious of the whole "build it and they will come" mentality, especially when it involves large amounts of taxpayer/ratepayer money.

Imagine if it had been seriously suggested that North Shore residents would be best served (for public transport) by a heavy rail passenger service from the outset, before the busway was built. People would be rightly concerned about spending such a huge sum of money on a project for which success could not be reasonably assured. Now that the (cheaper) busway has been built and been reasonably successful, there is evidence that a quality public transport service along that route and serving those communities is popular, and may at some point in the future justify an upgrade to a more expensive option.

Perhaps there isn't yet sufficient detail in the public domain to "fairly" judge the Green's transport proposals (for Christchurch) but thus far it seems like they are trying to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. Public transport has long been quite popular in Wellington because it has always been there, whereas in Christchurch its popularity declined through the '70s and '80s until, like in Auckland, almost collapsing in the '90s. Prove that such services can work in Christchurch without spending up large before going for the "gold-plated" options.
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby JSH » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:01 pm

The North Shore comparison isn't really comparing apples with apples though, as there was no pre-existing railway line to the Shore. I would hardly call the busway a cheap option either. It simply isn't the same situation.

matthew25187 wrote:Prove that such services can work in Christchurch without spending up large before going for the "gold-plated" options.


I'm curious here. Are you saying Auckland should never have built Britomart? Or ordered the SA sets? Or double tracked the Western Line? Weren't there only around 2 million passenger journeys a year back then? Britomart was famously labelled a white elephant. Further, I would hardly call the Greens proposal "gold-plated" as it is $300m spent over five years which includes $50m for an interim service and $250m for an investigation and incremental implementation of a permanent rail network... using third hand rolling stock (https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/policy-pdfs/GreenerChristchurch-20140811-4-FINAL.pdf).
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby matthew25187 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:34 pm

There may be an existing railway line between Christchurch and Rangiora, unlike the North Shore scenario, but in its present state it isn't suitable for anything more than the most rudimentary of commuter services and is nowhere at the level required for a passenger rail service of the likes that Wellington and Auckland currently enjoy. Consider that when Christchurch and Dunedin had commuter rail, there were significant stretches of double-track that was singled after these services were withdrawn. As significant expenditure would be necessary to bring it "up to standard" for a similar service, as covered by several reports commissioned over the last decade, I don't see how it is too disimilar from North Shore proposals: the relative price difference between the two is irrelevant, once you are talking $100s of millions it is alot of money to be spending in the New Zealand context.

The Green Party policy is a gold-plated plan compared to the more modest proposals for transport-related changes including the improvement of existing bus services. I don't see how such expenditure as what the Greens want can be justified now before patronage of the buses has reached a point where passenger rail is the next logical step to enhance capacity.
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Re: Green Party transport policy for Christchurch

Postby john-ston » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:44 pm

JSH wrote:
matthew25187 wrote:Prove that such services can work in Christchurch without spending up large before going for the "gold-plated" options.


I'm curious here. Are you saying Auckland should never have built Britomart? Or ordered the SA sets? Or double tracked the Western Line? Weren't there only around 2 million passenger journeys a year back then? Britomart was famously labelled a white elephant. Further, I would hardly call the Greens proposal "gold-plated" as it is $300m spent over five years which includes $50m for an interim service and $250m for an investigation and incremental implementation of a permanent rail network... using third hand rolling stock (https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/policy-pdfs/GreenerChristchurch-20140811-4-FINAL.pdf).


JSH, the thing is that rail patronage had doubled from one million to two million in the period 1993 to 1997. Services were packed at that stage and patronage growth had stalled as a result. Much of the late 1990s and early 2000s were spent in discussion before the SA trains were decided upon as the best interim solution. The Western Line needed to be duplicated to accommodate extra services which were needed to deal with demand.

The other thing is that service provision was okay during that period. You had services every hour in the off-peak on the Western and Southern Lines. You had services every half-hour in peak. There would need to be serious work done to enable that sort of service provision to Rangiora. Also, while that sort of service provision may be okay, it is not spectacular - only the brave would be keen on such low levels of service provision - the Green Party's $300 million could be better used on improving bus provision and bus priority along core routes where you could run services once every five minutes during peak, once every ten minutes during the off-peak and once every fifteen minutes during the evenings and weekends. It would make public transport more convenient than the car.

matthew25187 wrote:The Green Party policy is a gold-plated plan compared to the more modest proposals for transport-related changes including the improvement of existing bus services. I don't see how such expenditure as what the Greens want can be justified now before patronage of the buses has reached a point where passenger rail is the next logical step to enhance capacity.


I agree there. Investing in a proper busway network for Christchurch would ensure that frequent services are provided to the people of Christchurch. What good is a once hourly train to Rangiora when you could have a bus every ten minutes?
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