The CBT presented to the Board of Auckland Transport on rail to Auckland airport. We made the following points in this “one pager”.
1. In our view the Jacobs “SMART Indicative Business Case” report underestimates the potential catchment of heavy rail, we assume because of the arbitrary requirement for a single seat journey to the airport.
2. We consider that some of the costs of heavy rail attributed to the airport heavy rail option will most likely be incurred anyway – in particular work required around level crossings.
3. We consider there is a high risk that the predicted Dominion Road journey times for light rail are overly optimistic, depending on the degree of separation from general traffic.
4. Implementation of either heavy rail or light rail from the north of the Airport is likely to be decades away and very costly.
5. Putting aside the report’s assessment of heavy rail vs light rail, we note that the three key problems identified in the Jacobs report do not have to be addressed by a single solution:
a. Constrained access to the Auckland Airport will limit economic growth and productivity;
b. Limited transport choice undermines liveability and economic prosperity for the Mangere – Otahuhu area; and
c. Unaffordable and inflexible planned transport investment constrains access to the Auckland Airport and surrounding business districts and Mangere-Otahuhu area
6. We ask the Board to take the same approach as ATAP in measuring transport effectiveness. In the context of Auckland Airport, the measure would be the potential catchment of public transport users within a 45 minute radius of the Airport. This should not preclude transfers between modes to meet this target and should therefore necessarily examine the option of a transfer at Papatoetoe or Puhinui.
7. We note that the Jacobs report identified that 7,350 daily commuters originate from Manukau and the east, twice as many than that originating from the north and central Auckland.
8. The current Airport 380 bus service connecting at Papatoetoe to rail services yields a fastest possible PT journey time of about 49 minutes from Auckland Airport to Britomart. However, there are a number of issues associated with transferring at Papatoetoe: frequency of service; ease and legibility of transfers, and the lack of a RTN quality right-of-way.
9. It is timely to bring to the attention of the Board that NZTA is currently planning a widening of 20B along the Puhinui Rd alignment for general traffic.
1. As a matter of urgency, AT should work with the NZTA to designate a rail corridor east of Auckland Airport on the 20B alignment with a connection to the main trunk line. This designation work should also consider extending further east to include Botany.
2. Immediately establish a bus shuttle service between Puhinui Station and Auckland Airport, preferably with bus priority measures.
3. Auckland Transport should continue with designating a rail corridor between Onehunga and Auckland Airport.