8 April 2019
Isn't it funny how time slips away - Volume Two - From Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal - The Second Century of Auckland Transport - was supposed to have been in the bag by the end of 2018 but the story has proved to be more complex than expected and, to do it justice, I must spend the extra time to complete it.
That means the finishing line will not be reached until much later in 2019 - longer than expected, but the extra time needed is infinitesimal when compared to the time it has taken Auckland to agree to, and finally begin construction of, a rapid rail system. I can at least take solace in the fact that my writing of the topic should be completed long before the City Rail Link. Fingers crossed...
29 October 2018
Alas, other work and family commitments have slowed progress on Volume 2 of Auckland's Transport History, Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal, and publication is not now expected until early 2019. However, the good news is that the second part of the story contains some very revealing information gleaned from the thousands of documents I have acquired since 2008.
Whereas the first volume, Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal, read more or less as a straight history, acquired mainly from the news items of the day, the events depicted merely set the stage for the more astounding affairs included in the second volume.
8 August 2018
As Sock puppet in his Greater Auckland reply points out, “There are lots of reasons PT patronage can go up and down.”
Spare an historical thought for real decline in public transport patronage recorded by John Lyne in his contribution to the 1962 publication of Auckland Expanding To Greatness: “Passenger services using Auckland Transport Board services have dropped from the peak in 1945 of 99½ million to last year (1960-61) 50 million. In 1949, four years after the peak, passengers had dropped to 89 million – without any fare alteration. These figures tell the story of the decline in public transport during the 16 years in which metropolitan Auckland has increased its population beyond all expectations.”
One of the reasons given for the declining patronage of the 1950s and 1960s is often quoted today – that of convenience:
“Bus users complain about the inconvenient location of public transport, of time wasted in walking up and down the city to connect with buses, and compare the days when most mainline tram services ran through Queen Street. Many wish for the return of those days by the routeing of buses through Queen Street. But until the kerbs are cleared of parked cars and meters and the city council has a change of heart public transport had no chance of meeting people’s wishes.” (Lyne – Auckland Expanding To Greatness pp.153 & 154)
The New Central Bus Network
29 May 2018
While the new Central Bus Network due to be implemented on 8 July may have taken Auckland Transport some six years to plan, spare a thought for the Auckland Transport Board Modernisation Programme planners who, 58 years ago, had more to contend with than just optimum routes. The following is an extract from page three of the Auckland Transport Board Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 1960:
“Modernisation: Conversion to trolleybus operation of all former main line tram services is now completed and work is in progress on removal of the last remaining tram tracks. There remains only the erection of a new head office building to complete the entire Modernisation of the Board’s undertaking. Construction of the new building has begun and it is hoped that the staff will be in occupation before the end of 1961. Development of the services is in no sense at a standstill with the completion of modernisation, and services will continue to be extended where such action is warranted and the condition of the road surface concerned will permit. In July last the Benson Road bus service was extended during off-peak hours to Lucerne Road and a cross-country bus service was instituted also during off-peak hours between Point Chevalier and Glen Innes, serving en route the hospitals in Green Lane. In November the May Road portion of the Mount Roskill trolleybus service was extended along White Swan Road to a new terminus at Griffen Road. A proposed extension of the Owairaka service along Richardson Road to New Windsor Road is held up until such time as the Auckland City Council improves the road surface to a standard suitable for modern buses.”
Yes, Auckland is congested
As a student and recorder of Auckland’s transport history, I am rarely surprised by the many topics and concepts, often referred to by the contributors to Greater Auckland, that are repeats of the observations and concerns of past commentators. The final sentence of Matt L’s post: “Getting the communications right on this might be half the battle…” reminded me of a lengthy article published by New Zealand Engineering on 15 June 1954. It was written by J W F Welch who was then the Chief Engineer of the Auckland Transport Board:
“Modernization and the Public
“The importance of establishing a good public relations service should not be overlooked when embarking upon any modernization plan which alters the travel habits of the public. It is a curious but nevertheless well-known fact in transport circles that no other industry is so sensitive to or subject to such adverse criticism of any changes as the transportation of the public. These observations apply to the industry as a whole, but the criticism seems to become more intensified when the transport system is municipally or state-controlled. There is considerable conservatism to be found among users of transport, and they do abhor any change.
“Every time methods of transport are altered there appears the usual spate of criticism, whether it be conveyed by letter or in person, and the only comfort a transport manager can derive in this regard is to read the newspaper files of happenings which occurred about the turn of the century and to note that the fathers and mothers of those who are now so loud in their protestations also had similar things to say when horse trams were replaced by the new-fangled electric trams for which a very gloomy future was prophesied.
“Before the motor car became an important factor in the problem of street congestion, public transport could proceed through city streets almost without hindrance, and passengers could alight from, or board, public transport almost at their place of business. Today, however, almost half of the travelling time to a distant suburb is occupied in traversing the city section, where congestion and delays at intersections account for the prolonged overall time of the journey…”